While the second half of this season has kept the group members fractured, The Walking Dead’s penultimate episode finally saw the survivors start to come together again. And as more reunions transpire when the others arrive at Terminus, it’s almost certain the place will not be what it appears.
The episode opens with Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene assisting Glenn in his search for Maggie. At nightfall, with the rest of the group sleeping, Abraham attempts to figure out why Tara is so dedicated to Glenn’s mission. Though the audience knows Tara is looking for redemption, she reveals nothing (a move which will cleverly play a role later in the episode) to Abraham, only saying that she and he both have reasons for their quests.
At daylight, while walking along the tracks, the group sees a sign from Maggie, Sasha, and Bob, pointing Glenn in the direction of Terminus. The expressions on the faces of Tara and Glenn as they see evidence Maggie is alive create a moving scene, but then the show goes a bit overboard with a close up of Glenn’s determined gaze as he runs ahead of the group (he’d have to slow down and let them catch up, or are they all going to sprint toward Glenn’s beloved?).
Abraham wants to rest in a tower the group happens by, but Glenn, now aware he’s getting closer, needs to get to Maggie. When Abraham and Glenn have a brief argument about the subject, a walker falls from the tower, and while scrambling out of the way, Tara injures her leg. She’s in pain, but she owes Glenn, so the band moves on.
The group sees yet another sign – this one fresh – at the entrance of a train tunnel. It’s very risky, and Abraham doesn’t want to chance it, lest something happen to Eugene. The group decides to go their separate ways, with Glenn and Tara pushing forward. Abraham (who seems to have softened towards Glenn) shares a few of his supplies, and they all part as friends.
As Glenn and Tara make their way through the tunnel, Tara reveals how seeing her niece and sister die was not as bad as seeing what happened to Hershel. On the surface, this comment seems implausible. How could seeing a stranger killed -albeit by being decapitated – be worse than seeing her own sister, the person Tara has had the longest relationship of her life with, get surrounded and torn apart by walkers? But perhaps it felt worse for Tara because in a way, she participated in Hershel’s death by choosing to go along with the Governor’s plan.
When Tara and Glenn move farther into the tunnel, they see a horde of walkers trapped in a mass of rubble, presumably felled by a small cave-in. As they climb to the top of the rocky heap, they see an even bigger pack coming right toward them. Glenn distracts the zombies by setting down his flashlight, but when he and Tara go down the other side of the rocks, Tara’s leg gets stuck. Ready to pay the ultimate price in helping Glenn get to Maggie, Tara tells him to go on ahead, but Glenn won’t leave her behind. As he’s proven time and time again throughout this series (even when desperate to find the love of his life), Glenn is a very good guy.
Meanwhile, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene find a car with some gas in it, and Eugene, who insists on navigating, leads Rosita back to the other side of the tunnel so Glenn and Tara can have some help when they emerge from it. Even if he may have the power to save the world, Eugene wants to do right by others on his way to saving it.
Just as all hope seems lost with Tara trapped and Glenn severely outnumbered, a group comes in with automatic weapons, taking down every last walker. Glenn turns around, having used his body to shield Tara (aww, Glenn) and sees part of the group is made up of Maggie, Sasha and Bob. Maggie and Glenn’s reunion was very heartwarming, but it could have been prolonged a bit more before the commercial break. Truly happy moments are so seldom in this show, that it would have been great to bask in it just a little longer.
Glenn shows his kindness again when he tells Maggie that he met Tara on the road, and she just wanted to help him get to his wife. Tara’s silence to Abraham comes back into play now, because even though she hinted at doing something very regrettable, nobody knows the part Tara played in the Governor’s take down of the prison. It seems Tara may be on her way to that sought after redemption.
Abraham wants to continue on to Washington D.C., but Eugene tells him they need to go to Terminus to look for a better vehicle and for possible recruitment of others (well of course they do for story purposes – but the reasoning makes good sense here), so Abraham relents. In a quiet moment, Maggie tells Glenn she shot up the top of the tunnel, causing the cave-in that saved Sasha, Bob and herself. During their conversation, Maggie’s picture – the one that helped propel Glenn forward – falls on the ground, and Maggie tries to burn it. Glenn stops her, but Maggie insists Glenn now has the real thing, and will never again need a picture of her. Glenn then lets Maggie ceremoniously cement their everlasting togetherness and burn it, but for me, the scene is not comforting. I like Maggie, and this show has a thing with foreshadowing.
This episode gives us just a glimpse of Rick, Carl and Michonne – also on their way to Terminus. The trio’s easy going way with one another, especially Carl and Michonne, is played out in bantering and silly competitions for candy bars. And just like with Beth and Daryl, what may have originally seemed like an odd grouping of characters now feels perfectly natural.
We also get to see Daryl in the episode – trying to survive with Joe and the rest of his marauders. When an argument ensues between Daryl and a guy named Len over who gets to keep a dead rabbit, Joe cuts the rabbit in half and tells Daryl of the group’s rules for making it together: No stealing, no lying, and “claiming” out loud whatever is around for the taking. Daryl refuses to claim anything, but it becomes pretty predictable that by episode’s end he will transform inwardly enough to do it.
When the group finds an abandoned garage, they take refuge for the night, and in the morning Len accuses Daryl of stealing his half of the rabbit. It turns up in Daryl’s bag, but Joe reveals he saw Len plant it there. To teach Len a lesson, Joe has his men beat and kick Len to death. Technically, of course, Len never actually got to learn that lesson, except maybe in those few agonizing minutes before his death.
Later, we see the interesting choice Daryl makes when he goes to cover Len’s body with a blanket, then discards it, just walking past the corpse instead. It’s worrisome – Daryl, with Beth’s influence, was just starting to regain some of the warmth that he lost when the prison fell. It’s always been a push/pull for him regarding his humanity versus his dark side, and now these guys are drawing him back to that ominous place again.
As Daryl’s group moves on, Joe tells Daryl they are headed to Terminus – though he doesn’t believe the place is sanctuary. Their goal is to find the “walking piece of fecal matter” that strangled their buddy and let him turn on their group. It seems they tracked the guy to the Terminus signs, and since Tony got a look at him (skillfully tying this point in with Rick’s under the bed shot in 4.11), they are set on a reckoning.
In the end, Daryl finally “claims” a lone strawberry laying in the dirt by the tracks, thus falling further into the group’s way of life. As he picks up his prize, he (ironically) walks over the candy wrapper left by Carl.
The last shot of the episode has Glenn and Maggie’s group finally reaching the place that offers them, and all the other survivors, sanctuary. Upon their arrival, they’re greeted by a friendly woman who offers to get them some food and cheerily welcomes them (and us) to Terminus.
· I like Abraham’s straight shooting communication style. Also, Eugene’s whole demeanor is pretty funny, as long as we get it in moderation.
· I can’t help but notice every season that when the Georgia weather where The Walking Dead shoots gets chilly, the characters always just happen to have the appropriate outerwear handy.
This episode was mostly a set-up for things to come. We’ll see more reunions to provide some happy moments, but then bad things will most certainly happen. The show has quite a lot of ground to cover: Rick has to face the marauders, Daryl has to choose sides (or try and play both), Beth’s fate has to be revealed, and the reality of Terminus has to come to light. It will be interesting to see how they pull it all together. At least the group will finally be under one roof. Separating them was an interesting experiment that mostly worked, but by 4.15 it felt like it had run its course. It’s been a long road, and it’s time for our characters to get through Terminus, and whatever else comes their way – together.