'The Walking Dead' Review: "Us"Kevin Fitzpatrick |
‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 brings to life its 15th and penultimate episode, “Us,” as Daryl comes to understand the violent rules of his new group, while Glenn and the others continue down the line toward the ever-mysterious Terminus.
Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ installment, “The Grove,” saw Carol, Tyreese and the girls finding an idyllic home on their way to Terminus, until Lizzie's growing instability threatened them all before tragedy struck, so what does the penultimate 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 15, “Us!”
Eugene and Rosita discuss the potential history of the zombie apocalypse before settling in for the night, wherein Abraham reveals to Tara that he’d seen her ogling Rosita, disproving his theory that she’d been in love with Glenn. The next morning, the group stumbles upon another Terminus sign on which Maggie, Bob and Sasha have written to Glenn, for which he begins racing along the tracks. Elsewhere, Daryl’s new friends are awakened by a walker hitting their barbed wire, as the group themselves see that Daryl has gone hunting.
Rick watches as Carl and Michonne attempt to outlast one another balancing on the railroad tracks, before Michonne loses, and reluctantly hands over her candy bar, though Carl offers to share. Meanwhile, Daryl points his crossbow at a rabbit, but the archer Len’s arrow hits it first, and he lays claim to the kill. The pair nearly come to blows before Joe interrupts, admitting that Daryl is unfamiliar with the claiming rules of their group, and splits the rabbit in half to save Daryl a beating.
Abraham stops Glenn and the others by the site of a railway tower they can use for shelter, despite a few walkers holed up top and a leg injury for Tara, but Glenn offers his riot gear to Eugene in exchange for their continued travel. Meanwhile, Joe attempts to impress on Daryl that even he needs a group to survive, as well as to follow their rules, before the group finds a warehouse to hole up for the night. Daryl insists on pressing onward on his own, but Joe reminds him that many have mistakenly believed themselves capable on their own.
Glenn and the others find another sign from Maggie outside of a dark tunnel, though Abraham insists he wouldn’t be able to protect Eugene, and knowing that Glenn will press on through, they’ll have to part ways. A short while later, Tara admits to Glenn in the tunnel that she knew the Governor’s plan to take over the prison had been wrong, but didn’t’ fully realize it until she killed Hershel. Elsewhere, Daryl, Joe and the others enter the abandoned warehouse, as Joe’s men quickly claim the cars inside as sleeping arrangements, while Daryl submits to a spot on the floor.
Glenn and Tara find a small cave-in within the tunnel that has trapped a number of walkers, while several other active corpses lie beyond, though Glenn realizes that Maggie must have made it through. Meanwhile, Abraham finds a minivan for he, Eugene and Tara, killing the lone female walker inside. Eugene insists upon being the navigator, in spite of Rosita’s reservations, to which Eugene reminds her that he’d gotten them this far. Back in the tunnel, Tara gets her leg caught in between rocks, while Glenn refuses to leave her behind.
While Abraham sleeps, Rosita accuses Eugene of intentionally getting them lost, and leading them back to railroad tracks where he knew Tara and Glenn would turn up. Eugene accidentally awakens Abraham with his seat, and as the three argue, Eugene sees a captivating sight down the tracks. Back in the warehouse, Len accuses Daryl of stealing his half of the rabbit, to which Joe finds the rabbit in Daryl’s bag, but poses that Len might have put it there himself. Joe attacks Len and orders his men to finish the job, revealing that he’d earlier seen Len planting it to frame Daryl. Back in the tunnel, Glenn ignores Tara’s pleas to leave her behind, before another group arrives through the tunnel and guns down the walkers. When the dust settles, Glenn reunites with Maggie, now partnered with Abraham, Rosita and Eugene.
Afterward, Glenn introduces Tara to Maggie, covering that he’d met Tara on the road and that she’d agreed to help him. Meanwhile, Sasha learns of Eugene’s apparent answer to the zombie apocalypse, and poses they should all join him, though Eugene himself insists that they continue on to Terminus, at least to resupply before resuming the mission to Washington. A short while later, Maggie explains that she’d shot up the tunnel ceiling to eliminate the walkers, before finding and burning Glenn’s photo of her, insisting that he wouldn’t need a photo anymore.
The next morning, Daryl awakens to the group leaving the warehouse, finding Len murdered and disposed of outside. Continuing onward, Daryl and Joe share a drink before the group finds a sign toward Terminus, and Joe explains that someone hiding in a house they’d occupied inadvertently led them toward the tracks. Joe doubts that Terminus could really provide sanctuary to men like them, as the group walks past a discarded candy bar wrapper.
Finally, Glenn and the others follow the end of the tracks to a fenced off industrial compound identified as Terminus, entering to find a number of gardens and a woman tending to a grill. The woman identifies herself as Mary, and warmly greets the travelers to get them settled.
It almost feels as if every installment of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4’s latter half has required a bit of preface and regroup, and we’re in no mood to disappoint. While the prior seven episodes haven’t left much in the way of discernible structure, the majority of installments have placed focus on the individual groupings with varying degrees of success, fleshing out previously unknown characters, and providing a smaller scale that allows for more humanistic stories against the third and fourth season's more operatic heights. Last week’s “The Grove” gave us our first major deaths of 2014 as well, again wisely sticking to the stakes of a solitary grouping. “Us” meanwhile, falls somewhat short of a clear focus once again, but still admirably manages to move things along in reuniting Glenn’s group with Maggie’s, and finally showing Terminus.
We’d be hard-pressed to justify the need to check in with Rick, Michonne and Carl, other than to remind that Daryl’s new group had in fact been the home invaders of “Claimed,” while the group itself had relatively little to offer, at least this late in the season. Daryl has always represented something of a wildcard to the story, one of the first characters entirely independent of the comics, though it felt a bit off to see Beth’s kidnapping barely merit mention, while the unique nature of Joe and his group didn’t appear to bear much weight within the actual episode, other than to provide a few moments of tension. If nothing else, Joe himself provides a bit of consideration toward the manner in which survivors traveling together for a greater good constitute a group, or rather an “us,” but again, it hardly seems as if the final hour of the season could really expound upon the idea.
The unique scene construction and thrills provided by the tunnel sequences notwithstanding, it now seems painfully apparent that Eugene must be lying about the mission to Washington, again something regrettably less telegraphed by the books. For the moment, we’ve at least answered one mystery to find that Terminus doesn’t seem nearly as deceptive as we might have believed, though a solitary woman manning an apparently deserted outpost hardly bodes well. It’s enough to drive anticipation toward the final installment, as we imagine most, if not all of the groups finally reuniting, though it still seems somewhat unclear what ‘The Walking Dead’ would have us invest in for the journey going forward.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? Were you surprised by Glenn and Maggie's reunion, or the harsh nature of Daryl's new group? Could Terminus be as peaceful as it seems?? Check out all our other ‘Walking Dead’ season 4 coverage, and join us next week for another all-new episode recap of episode 16, season finale event “A,” on AMC!