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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!