By: Heather Seebach
***The following contains spoilers about episode S4E15***
***The following contains spoilers about episode S4E15***
After last week's powerhouse episode, I fully expected this one to suck but I was pleasantly surprised by 'Us.' It is not a particularly thrilling episode, nor did it advance the plot much, but I found it engaging and even a little heartwarming. We learned more about a few characters and got a fun little horror cameo (more on that later)! This week's character development definitely belonged to Tara and Eugene, both of whom needed it.
My biggest issue with Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene thus far is they have been little more than caricatures of their comic book counterparts. This episode is the first time we've really heard more than a few lines out of Eugene or Rosita, and Abraham toned down the tough guy act. Eugene in particular felt like a more realistic, socially-awkward nerd this episode as opposed to the wooden stereotype we saw previously. This acting from these guys still isn't great but they are improving. As for Abraham, I was intrigued by "LET MOMMA BE" on the windshield - I hoped it was something cryptic and foreshadowing but I suppose it's meant just to show us Abraham's apathy.
'Us' also explored Tara's guilt and how it ties her to Glenn. The look on Tara's face when Maggie hugged/thanked her in the end was perfect. This is probably the most I've liked Tara to-date. I was also moved by all the Glenn/Maggie stuff this episode, even though I'm usually the one rolling my eyes and dreading those two getting back together because they're sooo much better apart. Still, the cold open when he sees her message and runs toward Terminus, and their reunion in the tunnel, tugged on even my heartstrings I gotta admit. He and Maggie are so bad-ass when they're fighting to find one another, and their reunion was heartwarming, but the sad irony is now that they're back together, they are going to be sooo boring again.
The tunnel scene was good, albeit a little redundant of Maggie's scene in the bus while looking for a potentially-undead Glenn. His refusing to leave Tara behind even when she repeatedly demanded he do so reminded me of why Glenn is so likable. The best part of that whole sequence for me, however, was the zombie cameo from Day of the Dead's Bub! The Walking Dead exec and FX guru, Greg Nicotero (who acted in and provided some FX for Day), happened to direct this episode, and he has been known to throw in a famous zombie cameo from time to time (much like he did recently in After). I adore Bub so this was a great little cameo!
Meanwhile, Daryl is hanging out with Joe and his merry gang of bad guys. I really don't understand why Daryl would even stay with them, honestly. He had a chance to take off while they were sleeping, why didn't be just leave? Those guys obviously can't be trusted not to slit his throat while he sleeps and take his shit. And has he really given up on looking for Beth just like that? Or is he using these guys to find her? In any case, I really liked seeing more of Joe and his "rules" - character actor Jeff Kober is great here. "Ain't nothing sadder than an outdoor cat that thinks he's an indoor cat."
After Joe orders douchebag Len killed by the other men for setting Daryl up, there is that moment when Daryl is about to cover up the body then opts not to. This was a clear indication that there is good remaining in Daryl but that side of him is losing right now. Between that, and the way he finally does "claim" something at the end (for Beth, presumably?), I'm sure the writers want us to think, "Oh no! He's slipping into his old ways again!" but I'm sure it won't last. We now know that Joe & co. are hunting that "walking piece of fecal matter" aka Rick. I am looking forward to that inevitable confrontation when Daryl pulls the rug out from under his new "buddies" to defend Rick. Getting to know the bandits this episode, suddenly the title of that episode "Claimed" (also written by Seth Hoffman and Nichole Beattie) makes a lot more sense!
Speaking of, this episode only gave us ONE Rick/Carl/Michonne scene?? C'mon! It's been nearly 4 episodes now! It was a cute scene I guess but it really only served to set up that unnecessary shot of the candy bar wrapper at the end. Rick's only function in that scene was to give Samurai Cop-esque reaction shots which amused me to no end but the whole thing was soooo pointless. To see what I mean about Samurai Cop, watch this video I made.
Finally, in the last moments of the episode, we get to see Terminus. I dig the train station setting. I dig the use of A.C. Newman's cover of Bill Fay's "Be Not So Fearful" which gives this (seemingly false) sense of security about Terminus. The survivors are greeted by a smiling woman named Mary (Pet Sematary's Denise Crosby) who offers them make them a plate (IT'S A COOKBOOK!). There is shelter, flowers growing in the garden, and food on the grill. "Lower your weapons" urges a sign on the door. I've been theorizing the cannibals are coming all this season and Terminus seems to still support that theory. That's a big ass grill, don't you think? I totally expect Beth is held prisoner there somewhere, assuming she isn't already grilled into a steak. How fantastic would it be if Maggie was served her own sister in a Titus Andronicus/Scott Tenorman-esque finale next week? Mwhaha, that would be AMAZING. I know, I know, this isn't Game of Thrones ;)
Overall, I dug this episode. It can't touch last week's of course but it's comparable to some of the season's other strong points, like Nicotero's 'After.' The "next time on..." preview looked pretty damn creepy, and I hear things get "tragic" in the finale, so I'm fairly confident in the cannibal theory. I say bring it! That is one storyline from the comics I have been eagerly awaiting! Fans are already betting who will die next week. I could see Carol dying, which sucks because I like her now. I would guess Glenn or Maggie but after their whole reunion this episode, for one of them to die now would be downright irritating. I imagine the new characters are safe but Tara is fair game. My money is on Beth. I'd prefer some horrible cannibalistic death for her but I'm not holding my breath.
Oh, and if you're not yet convinced something bad is coming, there is also this:
Finally, as always, here are some musings from Reddit about this episode: