New Show Recap: The Walking Dead, S4.E15 — “Us”

[E] Slay BelleNew Show Recap5 Comments

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Sanctuary for all

Community for all

Those who arrive survive

So here we are, friends. The penultimate episode of season 4 has aired. Next week will bring to a close the best season the show has had since it initially went on the air – the highs were really high, and the lows were only lows in comparison to some of the fantastic offerings S4 had to offer.

A banner reads "Sanctuary for all, Community for all, Those who arrive survive"

When we were at this point last year, I wasn’t sure that I was willing to continue with the show. Can anyone else thing of another ongoing series that made such a tremendous mid-run turnaround? Both plot and character issues were addressed this year. Story arcs made sense. Characters acted like fully realized human beings. We finally got a showdown with the Governor and the potential stagnation of the prison was averted. The bloated cast was (painfully) trimmed down. Suddenly, there was real sense that stakes were high and that we couldn’t expect all of our Camp Fear survivors to make miraculous escapes from seemingly impossible situations. Suddenly, I cared again.

Let’s talk about “Us” for a while.

Rick, Carl, Michonne

We get a quick check in with our favorite traveling trio in “Us”. They’re still on the tracks to Terminus, though they haven’t seen any of Maggie’s zombie-gut signs so they must be coming from another direction. I have no clue how they could have all gotten so scattered in such a small amount of time, but let’s go with it.

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Carl and Michonne have settled into an easy camaraderie, challenging each other to balance contests and splitting the world’s dwindling supply of generically named candy bars. Rick smiles indulgently. Things look good, which means next week they’re going to go to shit.

Daryl and the Marauders

Ever since season 2, Daryl’s story has largely revolved around his sense of worthlessness and the strange opportunity the apocalypse has provided to allow him to restart his life over as a meaningful member of ‘society’. Ever since Carol told him back on the farm that he was worth just as much as Rick or Shane, Daryl’s been wrestling with his inability to believe it. The war at the prison was a major blow to his ego – he blames himself for not protecting everyone, for not finding The Governor when it mattered. Beth helped him to put that loss in perspective – and then he literally lost Beth.

So it’s perfectly logical that Daryl ends back up with a walking, talking embodiment of his fears in the form of Joe, the leader of the marauder band. Joe is a more eloquent, two handed version of Merle, but even less interested in improving his lot in life. The world, he tells Daryl during their hike, is meant for guys like them to inherent. People interested in replicating the old status quo are just fooling themselves – it’s the ones willing to do anything, to anyone that are gonna make it. You just claim what you want in the world. And woe to the person who crosses you.

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Not that there’s not rules in this group. There are. Cross them, and you end up getting beaten to death with a finishing arrow in the eyeball like Len.

Joe gets the best line of the night with this particular bon mot (offered to Daryl, who isn’t exactly sure he wants to go back to this kind of life) – “There ain’t nothing worse than an outdoor cat that thinks he’s an indoor cat.”

Glenn, Tara, the Trio

The night belongs to Glenn, whose dogged faith in Maggie’s survival is rewarded. As the group heads down the tracks, they finally encounter one of Maggie’s signs. Glenn takes off at a run, leaving everyone else to follow, until Abraham has enough of it and refuses to go on. Glenn doesn’t want to stop and barters his riot gear (to offer Eugene additional protection) in exchange for the group continuing on. Tara, whose guilt over the prison has kept her from eating and sleeping, is willing to run herself into the ground to get Glenn to Maggie. Everyone knows that something is up with her, but neither Glenn nor Tara are willing to talk about it.

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Abraham, Eugene and Rosita accompany them down the tracks until they disappear into a zombie infested, darkened train tunnel. Abraham’s mission to get Eugene to DC does not include taking unnecessary risks so the group splits, with Tara following Glenn, because that’s what she feels obligated to do.

Inside the tunnel, they discover a recent cave in that’s crushed a dozen or so walkers under it – walkers that are still ‘alive’, just trapped. Glenn is positive that Maggie went through, so he’s sure there has to be a way and he’s willing to risk their incredibly low ammo and Tara’s jacked ankle against whatever horde is on the other side of the cave in. This is always a bad bet, as every horror movie ever made has proven. While climbing over the rubble, Tara’s foot gets caught, trapping her while a new horde of un-squished walkers is approaching. Glenn could make a break for it and probably not get caught – walkers will go for the easy kill, which is why Shane shot Otis way back in S2 – but even though Maggie is somewhere close and they only have a handful of bullets, Glenn refuses to abandon Tara.

Quickly out of bullets and without any other weapons, Glenn prepares to make his final stand when a set of headlights appears in the tunnel and someone shouts for them to get down before automatic gun fire takes out the horde. And there’s Maggie, appearing like an angel, the heroine saving her man.

Though the trio had left them at the tunnel, Eugene refuses to completely abandon them, navigating a newly acquired mini-van to where he expects Glenn and Tara to show on the other side of the tunnel. Instead, they find Maggie, Sasha, and Bob.

And then they all find Terminus.

The gate is loosely secured with a chain. There’s a vegetable garden and some fencing, but there aren’t any posted guards. A sign tells them they’ll be met and to lower their weapons. At first glance, Terminus seems deserted, with a sweeping shot of the building showing miraculously walker-free train tracks fanning out in all directions.

They continue inside apprehensively until they finally encounter a woman named Mary who smiles warmly at them and welcomes them to Terminus, and offers to fix them a plate of food.

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Last notes:

A warm thank you to Moretta, who kindly stepped in last week to pinch hit the TWD recap. As always, she did a smashing job.

Mary, our Terminus savior? Is Tasha-fucking-Yar!

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[E] Slay BelleNew Show Recap: The Walking Dead, S4.E15 — “Us”

5 Comments on “New Show Recap: The Walking Dead, S4.E15 — “Us””

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  1. Avatar of Sheena said she is ready for spring, not summer
    Sheena said she is ready for spring, not summer

    I’m not convinced Terminus is the safe haven they think it is. I’m suspecting a cult. Seriously, no locks, no methods of keeping walkers out (well, several gates and doors, but still), and the first person you see is a woman in a long dress? Cult. I get an impression that it’s MUCH easier to get in than out.

    I’m hoping Beth isn’t in serious danger, or can make a run for it (and get away) if she is. And she finds someone from the prison, like Carol and Uncle Tyreese (since it seems they’re the stragglers). I’m protective of her, even though she’s capable of contributing to her own survival (she did well with Daryl, once they were on the same page). And Judy. I want to see toddler Judy learning to hold a knife.

    1. Avatar of Moretta
      Moretta

      Well, to be fair, if you go by the walkers, all women except for the prison group wear long skirts, so maybe we are finally dealing with reality.

  2. Avatar of MJ
    MJ

    I’m terrified to watch the season finale. I’m seeing all kinds of rumours and rumours of rumours and I DON’T WANT ANYONE ELSE TO DIE! Except the people who need to die, of course.

    Just the promos for this week kill me. No pun intended.

  3. Avatar of Moretta
    Moretta

    I had the same reaction to Tasha Yar!

    If feel very strongly that if you are offering sanctuary for someone during the zombie apocalypse, you really don’t NEED to come up with a catchy slogan. That’s a tip-off right there, folks. That and the no visible guards thing, and, frankly, the side braid, which I consider to be a very pre-ZA hairstyle for some reason. WHY DOES SHE HAVE A SIDE BRAID? No good reason, I tell you.

    1. Avatar of Sheena said she is ready for spring, not summer
      Sheena said she is ready for spring, not summer

      Even Beth’s disheveled side-ponytail seems more of a “my ponytail has been sliding out of place and I haven’t thought to fix it” than “side-ponytails are CUTE”. The majority of hairstyles are as inconspicuous and low-maintenance as possible.

      I’m feeling a culty, “you can get in but you can’t get out” vibe from Terminus. I’m wary.

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