'The Walking Dead' Review: "Alone"

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The Walking Dead’ season 4 brings to life its 13th episode, “Alone,” as Sasha questions Bob and Maggie's decision to find the "Terminus" sanctuary, while Daryl and Beth hole up in a funeral home.

Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ installment, “Still,” saw an unusual request from Beth putting she and Daryl on a unique mission, while the two bonded over all they'd lost in the prison's fall, so what does the latest episode of season 4 bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4, episode 13, “Alone!”

In flashback, Bob Stookey travels alone through the wilderness, setting up shelters and sleeping atop abandoned vehicles, before Daryl and Glenn find him on the road. Daryl asks the three questions about his history, inviting Bob to travel with them, even as he doesn’t seem to have any return questions for the two. Meanwhile in the present, Bob, Sasha and Maggie battle walkers in the fog, as one seemingly takes a bite out of Bob’s shoulder, but only ends up hitting his bandage.

Daryl teaches Beth to use his crossbow and track prey, though in pursuit of a walker she accidentally steps into a wildlife trap and rolls her ankle. A short while later, the pair happen upon a graveyard and an adjoining funeral home, stopping to pay their respects at a grave marked “Beloved Father,” and holding hands. Meanwhile, Bob, Maggie and Sasha find one of the signs to follow the tracks to Terminus, and Maggie reasons Glenn would probably look for her there. Bob agrees, though Sasha has reservations about traveling such a long way.

Daryl and Beth enter the funeral home, which appears empty for the moment, despite the apparent upkeep. Whoever owns the house also appears to restore walker bodies with makeup to give them proper funerals, something Beth finds beautiful. Finding a similarly untouched store of food, the pair set up camp for the night, as Beth reasons there must still be good people around. Meanwhile, Sasha continually expresses her reservations to Bob, believing Glenn likely dead, and their best option being to find a town along the tracks and settle into a taller building.

While Daryl sets up shop in a cozy coffin, listening to Beth play the piano, Sasha awakens to find Bob looking over a note that suggests Maggie has abandoned them. Bob resolves to follow the tracks and catch up to her, though Sasha again seems apprehensive. Meanwhile out on the tracks, Maggie kills a walker and goes to write a note by the side of a Terminus sign. A while later, Bob admits to Sasha that he always seems happy because he isn’t alone as he was before, as the two find Maggie’s note written in blood to read “Glenn, go to Terminus, Maggie.”

Daryl and Beth enjoy their bounty of peanut butter and jelly, before the sounds of movement outside draw their attention. Daryl opens the door, finding only a one-eyed dog, who quickly flees from the porch. Meanwhile, Sasha and Bob awaken in the middle of the night to the sound of a walker who seems to be trapped nearby, as Bob questions if Sasha is afraid to find out if Tyreese is alive or dead upon arriving to Terminus.

Beth goes to write a thank-you note for whoever owns the house, but Daryl poses that they might stay there permanently, having taken Beth’s words about good people to heart, and believing that they might work it out with whoever actually lives there. The dog barks outside the house again, but when Daryl opens the door, multiple walkers spill in. Daryl urges Beth to flee as he gets himself cornered in the morgue downstairs, eventually managing to fight his way through the crowd. Upon exiting the house however, Daryl finds only Beth’s bag, as a car with a crucifix in its rear window speeds away from the scene, presumably with Beth inside.

Daryl continually runs down the road into the next day, ultimately giving up by the side of some railroad tracks. Meanwhile, Bob and Sasha pass a small town by their own tracks, as Sasha points out that one of the buildings would make an ideal shelter for them. Bob insists on continuing on to find Maggie, but seeing that Sasha has no intent on going any further, Bob kisses her to say his goodbyes, and walks off.

Sasha goes upstairs to one of the abandoned buildings and begins to cry, but stops when she seemingly spies Maggie lying down with several walkers amid a circle of cars. Sasha accidentally knocks over a window, the shatter of which awakens Maggie, and several nearby walkers. Sasha races down to help as the two fend off the walkers together, and Maggie admits to having heard what Sasha said earlier about Glenn’s fate. Maggie still has hope, but realized she needed Bob and Sasha’s help after all, having stopped in the town to await their arrival.

Still sitting by the railroad tracks, Daryl finds himself surround by a sinister-seeming group of men who begin laying claim to his things, before Daryl hits one and raises his crossbow. The group’s leader (Jeff Kober) backs his men down, admiring Daryl’s choice of weaponry for hunting and inviting him to take up with them and “hurt other people” instead. Daryl lowers his crossbow, as the man introduces himself as Joe. Meanwhile, Maggie and Sasha catch up to Bob on the tracks, while elsewhere Glenn finds one of the Terminus signs.

OUR REVIEW:

We were pleasantly surprised to find the reaction to last week’s Daryl and Beth-centric hour more positive than not, given how easy it might have been for viewers to turn on Beth’s quest for alcohol, and the relatively frivolous nature of the hour. Especially given how the groups have been scattered, ‘The Walking Dead’ needs more experimental hours to find new things to say about survival, rather than an endless cycle of despair and headshots. Much like the nature of the series and the zombie apocalypse itself, true goals or character exploration can be hard to come by, and we’d prefer to see ‘The Walking Dead’ taking risks more often, even as the back eight episodes of the fourth season have lacked any real discernible structure.

Unfortunately, “Alone” doesn’t really capitalize on the same idea of experimentation, and as a result ends up feeling all the more uneven. We’ve caught up with Beth and Daryl once again, each apparently learning from the other and growing closer as a result, though it does feel a bit soon to check in with them, if only to introduce a bit of mystery in the end. By a similar token, few viewers have enough investment between Bob, Sasha and Maggie to really care where their story is headed, as the three seem to zigzag around one another for the hour, ultimately ending up right back on the road to Terminus, the mysterious location wherein someone was considerate enough to spend the last year or so putting the same gosh-darn signs by every railway imaginable (if Terminus doesn’t end up being a train station, Georgia has a very bizarre railway system).

There’s a few things worth looking into from the hour, certainly a bit of suspense to be drawn from whoever might have run the funeral home, ducking back throughout the hour until finally making off with Beth at the end, but it’s hard to say how and when we might find anything out about it. The same goes for Daryl’s new friends, whom viewers were right to correctly deduce would return from “Claimed,” but there’s no telling yet if we’re meant to take them as anything other than random jerks. ‘The Walking Dead’ never seems to know quite what to do with other people, who apparently either die or simply abandon their shelters for unknown reasons, when they’re not murdering or kidnapping people, at least.

And sure, Bob finally acted on his feelings for Sasha in a way that precisely no one was invested to see, and Daryl seemed to be getting closer with Beth in a manner that absolutely no one wants to see (come on folks, he’s like 50), but none of the plotlines running through “Alone” really get us closer to an idea of what to expect from the final episodes of the season, instead cluing more people into Terminus and pairing Daryl with more interesting travel companions. ‘The Walking Dead’ seems to have gotten a bit shy with character deaths over the course of the fourth season, instead finding more creative means to separate characters, as with Carol, and now Beth. That isn’t to say that any major deaths would have made “Alone” a stronger hour, but it certainly lends to the overall feeling of a holding pattern.

So here we are, on the road again. Terminus remains at the end of the tracks, and no one else has reunited as of yet. Roll credits. Yawn.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? Who might have taken Beth, and how will Daryl get along with his new friends? When will we finally find the mysterious "Terminus?" Check out all our other ‘Walking Dead’ season 4 coverage, and join us next week for another all-new episode recap of episode 14, “The Grove,” on AMC!

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