After last week’s heart-rending episode, the producers of “The Walkng Dead” took things easy on the audience with the episode “Us.” No major plot twists this week, no shocking revelations and the only recurring character death was no one we’ll mourn. Essentially, this was a breather before the season finale next week.
But that’s not to say nothing happened in this episode. In the raffle ball way the series has decided which characters we’d follow in any given episode during this current run, we got caught up with Daryl and Glenn, with a bit of Maggie, a fleeting glimpse of Bob and Sasha and a brief moment with Rick, Carl and Michonne that only served to remind us that Rick was still on the show.
Daryl’s scenes were the least compelling, with the broken-hearted tough guy stuck in a group of ultra-macho biker dudes with their weirdly rules-obsessed leader, Joe. In a post-apocalyptic world, there’s nothing more tiresome than seeing a bunch of tough guys trying to out-tough guy each other. While one of their number met an untimely fate (because he broke the rules, of course) it’s really only a matter of time before all these guys get dispatched in one way or another. If there’s one type of character “The Walking Dead’s” producers like to kill more than little girls, it’s ratty-looking tough guys. It’ll be a miracle if any of these characters make it past next week’s season finale. And because of that, they’re not worth our time.
More interesting is the saga of Glenn and his reunion, at long last, with Maggie. Maggie’s roadside messages to Glenn are perhaps the first time in the series that such public bulletin board missives have actually done someone good, since usually they just serve to create a sad and forlorn backdrop to our characters’ unrelated drama. But in this case, they served to inflame Glenn’s armored loins, driving him to make some foolish and selfish decisions all in the service of getting reunited with Maggie quicker. How else to explain why he made poor Tara keep moving after she’d twisted her ankle in a fall? And why he allowed her to follow him into a dark train tunnel filled with zombies, when the more sensible Abraham suggested they’d be safer detouring around it? Glenn’s single-mindedness almost caused Tara to meet her fate at the hands of zombies in the tunnel before he was saved by Abraham and Maggie, reunited first because, hey, even Maggie makes smarter decisions than Glenn.
So finally, Maggie and Glenn are reunited. Now, what are we to think of Glenn’s behavior? The series has been fairly ruthless in the past about punishing those who allow their thinking or survival instincts to become cluttered and dulled with emotion. Will Glenn get a pass? Or were his reckless actions here just the begining of a descent that’ll end with him getting chomped? One safe bet is that Glenn will definitely outlast the scruffy biker guys from Daryl’s storyline. Those guys are definitely goners.
The episode ends with our very first glimpse of Terminus, the place our characters have all been heading toward during the second half of the season. And our first impression is a good one. Terminus has its signage down, its hospitality cranked up high and its sense of civility in just the right place. It’s all got to go to hell soon, right? Not this season, friends. With Rick still on the road, we’ve got one more episode to get him to the promised land before we start to see everything fall apart again. Still, it’ll be interesting to see exactly what the flaw in this latest shelter will be. After all, Terminus may be the end of the road, but it’s definitely not the end of the story.