THE WALKING DEAD 415 AND 416: US AND A

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So, I failed and didn’t get a review of “Us” out before the season finale. I know. I am disappointed with myself too. To be fair though, my brother did get married last week (on a Friday nonetheless) so things were a little hectic in my outside-the-blog life. Plus, I spent the first 4 days of the week reading the entire Divergent series of books. Looking back, it was probably not a great use of time (but, in case you are wondering, the series is not a difficult read). However, those are the choices I made, so I (and unfortunately you) must now deal with them. Luckily, I don’t think I really had much to say about last week’s episode. I will make a few mentions of it below, but mostly let’s just focus on the finale. Don’t hate me for saying this, but I was a little disappointed in how the final episode went. Let’s get to talking about it though.

1. So about “Us” – A few weeks ago I said I was over the whole Glenn finding Maggie thing.  And, perhaps the Glenn and Maggie reunion was dragged out a little too long (and was probably the least compelling story we had in the second half of season 4).  However, I did spend a lot of “Us” balling, yes, literally sobbing, over them reuniting. And, I am tearing up just thinking about it.  So, maybe I was more invested in the story than I originally thought or maybe I am really just such a girl.  Now, if only they didn’t get immediately thrown into a train car right afterwards (more on that later). At least they are together, right?

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2. Some other thoughts on “Us” – I will admit I was a little surprised by Eugene’s insistence on going back for Glenn and Tara. When did he get so attached to Glenn?  I mean Tara is hot, so I get the desire to help her (even if she does prefer the ladies).  However, I don’t necessarily find Glenn to be the type of guy to rally behind.  At least the decision by Eugene gave us the badass moment where Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Maggie, Sasha, and Bob came through the tunnel and saved Glenn and Tara’s butts. I might have done a fist pump at that moment.* It was kind of awesome.**

*Have you ever looked at the actor, Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene in real life? He was on Talking Dead last week. I would not have recognized him in a million years, even if he was standing in front of me poorly shooting a machine gun. See what I mean?

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**I don’t want to spend too much time on “Us” now that we have seen what happens next. Ultimately, “Us” just reinforced how bad Joe’s crew is and raised a lot of questions about Terminus. Questions we still don’t have many answers to.

3. Now let’s talk about the finale – HERSHEL!! I would say that Hershel flashbacks were somewhat unnecessary, if I didn’t love Hershel so much.  So, if I am being completely honest, I was happy to see Scott Wilson again.  However, I felt like the flashbacks got a little excessive.  Now, I understand that this season was largely about the evolution of Rick both as a man and as a father. Thus, flashbacks of Rick transforming into farmer Rick were meant to emphasize the stark contrast of the now post-prison (and post-Hershel) person Rick has become (i.e., a man who is confident in his abilities to overcome just about anything).  I am just saying that I don’t know that I needed so much of a reminder of how everything that happens can shape a person.  I got that Rick has now become a confident badass willing to do whatever it takes to save the people he cares for.  The whole Joe confrontation solidified that point for me.

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4. OMG!! – That was my reaction first when I saw Joe’s crew holding Rick, Michonne, and Carl and gun/knife-point. And, then Rick bit out the guy’s neck and I screamed. I mean, he literally took a chunk out of Joe’s neck! I didn’t know that was possible to do. It was gross, it was awesome, and it was epic. That being said, my problem with the whole scene was that I felt like the show was rushing to the end of the Joe/Rick manhunt and ultimate confrontation. It was just last week that we found out that Joe was hunting Rick.*** Then, within the first few minutes of this episode we had Joe find Rick and Joe get killed. It happened too fast and that took some of the drama out of it. Really, the episode should have been longer so we could have seen more of the pursuit. Then, I would have been even further on the edge of my seat when the actual confrontation happened. As it stands though, I feel the conclusion of that aspect of the story was rushed.

***I thought Daryl figured out last week that Joe’s crew was hunting Rick.  Did anyone else think that?  Based on Daryl’s comments to Rick post-confrontation though, I guess he hadn’t.

5. Do you think Rick and Daryl will get matching tattoos? – I think Rick and Daryl just made their bro-mance official. Let’s just say it was a special moment when Rick told Daryl he was his brother. I have no doubt that this meant a lot to Daryl, given that it finally means he has a family–one that might not be totally psychotic either (well except when they are chewing through someone’s neck).  Sometimes the family ties you find are stronger even when they aren’t necessarily ties by blood.

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6. More rushing – Going back to my point earlier, this whole episode felt rushed to me. And, honestly, the episode could have been better served with an extra 15 minutes.**** The resolution of the Joe storyline happened too quickly, as stated above, and, in my opinion, the whole Terminus thing happened too quickly. I know that the writers wanted “everyone” to get to Terminus by the end of this season, but I felt like most of the finale episode was just an outline of plot points that the show decided needed to happen before season 4 ended: (1) find Terminus; (2) go inside Terminus; (3) realize things seem weird; (4) get shoved into a train car; (5) give a great last line. However, had the episode been extended (or had more of the final few episodes been spent in Terminus) the story may have been given time to breathe, so that when the chase scene happened and then the train car prisoning occurred, the audience would have been so invested into what was happening at Terminus that a certain level of devastation would have been felt for the situation the characters now find themselves in. Instead, all I really remember about the Terminus scenes is a lot of shooting, some BBQ, and Rick’s last line.*****

****Or, I would have ended the episode at the point where Rick sees Hershel’s/Glenn’s watch.  Then more of the Joe story could have been dealt with and we would have ended on the cliffhanger of Rick with the watch-stealer as a hostage and guns pointed at him.  Cut to black.  Sounds like a good cliffhanger to me.

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*****We all know Rick would have dropped an f bomb. I don’t buy Rick Grimes saying “they’re screwing with the wrong people.” Is he a 13 year old girl?

7.  Where is Beth? – And why does no one care?  I don’t see how Daryl can just say that Beth is “gone” and Rick can just accept that.  Daryl, why didn’t you tell Rick what happened?  Maybe the 4 of you could have gone on a Beth search instead of walking into the death trap that is Terminus.  I NEED TO KNOW WHERE BETH IS AND I DON’T WANT TO WAIT 7 MONTHS TO FIND OUT.  Someone get Scott Gimple on the phone.  But, please tell me creepy Mary isn’t wearing Beth’s sweater.

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8. The million dollar question – Are there cannibals at Terminus?  So, if you have read the internet today, you know that there is a cannibalism storyline in the comics.  Now, the show doesn’t always conform to the comics so much of the speculation today (and last week) has been about possible cannibalism.  I think there was some evidence of it in the few glimpses of Terminus that we got, but I don’t think there is any way of knowing until we reach season 5.  Which, let’s be honest, is really annoying.  (I am not the only one annoyed, clearly: http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2014/03/walking-dead-creator-robert-kirkman-addresses-terminus-questions/).  Here is what we know though:

  • There was a pile of skin and bones as Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl were running through Terminus;

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  • The residents of Terminus were clearly not trying to kill the group of four and instead were forcing them to the train car with their shots, so they want them alive for some reason;

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  • You can hear people in other containers screaming to be let out as the group runs through Terminus (they must not like living in the containers);

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  • Messages in the “church” room like “we first, always” seem to indicate that Terminus people value themselves a lot more than outsiders;

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  • A lot of BBQ-ing is happening, Mary always seems to be at that grill;

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  • It’s clear that the people at Terminus want to lure others to their location, hence all the  signs and radio communications;

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  • And, there are some weird phrases said by Terminites that could mean various things.  For instance, Mary tells Glenn and co. “We’ll make you a plate” when they arrive and another resident tells Rick and co. “The more people become a part of us, we get stronger. It’s why we put up signs, take people in.  It’s how we survive.”  That’s creepy;

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  • Powdered milk (used to fatten livestock) is outside the train car; and

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  • Finally, there was a lot of talk in the final episode between Rick, Michonne, and Carl about hunger, food shortage, and trapping.  Foreshadowing perhaps?

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Don’t worry we have a long time to think about all of this.

-LJ

PS.  For those of you interested, I will start discussing Game of Thrones on a weekly basis after it premieres this Sunday.  CJ says he may try to do weekly posts about Mad Men too.

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