A Closer Look: The Walking Dead “Us”

Arrived

With the Season 4 finale of The Walking Dead only days away, this was our last episode to prepare ourselves for a finale that is being called the most savage episode of The Walking Dead ever! Considering the shocking deaths and unsettling moments we’ve experienced this season as it is, it makes you wonder what could possible happen next. With this episode ending on such a happy note as lovers reunite and “sanctuary” being reached, you know something bad is coming – and it might just be the so-called ‘sanctuary that is Terminus.

Not A Care In The World – For Now:

The last time we saw Rick, Michonne and Carl, they fled their old residence due to a band of raiders who weren’t the kindest of bunch. Now on their way towards Terminus, we find a much more relaxed vibe.

As Rick informs the others that they should pick up the pace and aren’t far, he spies Carl and Michonne goofing off by trying to see who can keep their balance walking on the railroad tracks the longest. We’ve already seen Michonne cracks smiles and open up to Carl, and it seems as though that feeling is contagious.

Of course Carl was going to say "I win!"

Of course Carl was going to say “I win!”

Rick can’t help but look back and smile. He’s not barking orders or going off on his own adventures in Rick-World. He is genuinely happy at this moment and feels that all the worst is behind them. Sadly, he couldn’t be more wrong. The worst is yet to come – and it’s coming next episode. When asked about the Season 4 finale, Executive Producer Robert Kirkman had this to say:

This is Rick Grimes being pushed to his absolute limits…If you think you’ve seen that before, you haven’t… And the Rick Grimes that comes our of this is really going to shock people.

There will be blood, and Rick will be directly connected to it. So will this breaking point come from the false sanctuary of Terminus, or from something that he thought he left far behind.

Claimed:

One of the dangers closing in on Rick is that band of raiders from the house, led by a man named Joe. Since their little run-in, Joe and his men have been following Rick’s trail towards Terminus; and are gaining. Though Joe’s band of travelers recently added a new member: Daryl Dixon

The last time we saw Darryl, he was seemingly left behind by Beth and found himself surrounded by Joe and his men. After identifying with Daryl, Joe asked him to join the group, but there are some rules to be followed.

Was it just me, or did anyone else want to beat this guy to a pulp. . . . oh wait.

Was it just me, or did anyone else want to beat this guy to a pulp. . . . oh wait.

People don’t gotta be friendly. We don’t have to be nice. We don’t have to be brothers-in-arms. We just gotta follow the rules. You ‘claim’. If you steal, you keel (get killed). I know that sounds a little funny, but nobody laughs when something goes missing. And you don’t lie. Cause that’s a slippery slope indeed.

‘Claimed’ is Joe’s little idea to keep peace amongst his group. When you see something you want, you ‘claim’ it, which explains the earlier episode by the same name – they ‘claimed’ the house Rick was living in. It doesn’t matter who got there first. It doesn’t even matter who’s stronger. You just have to ‘claim’.

Looks Like There’s an ‘Us’:

 When Daryl at first joins the group, he acts more like a tag along then a member of the group. Without knowledge of the rules – nor any interest in learning them – he quickly becomes the target of one of the other group members. After taking Daryl’s hard earned kill and then inadvertently hitting some sore spots about Beth, this guy almost got a knife to the face if it wasn’t for Joe intervening.

This other group member – who coincidentally is also a bowman –has been pushing for Daryl to get “taught the rules” for a while now, but finally goes too far when he plants half a rabbit on Daryl and tries to frame him for theft. Joe sees right through this and has this other bowman beaten instead. When Daryl awakens to find him dead with an arrow through his eye, he thinks about covering his body, but then decides not to since the guy was being a real jerk.

Greasy hair, greasy hair. Vest, vest. Alcoholic tolerance, alcoholic tolerance. New daddy figure?

Greasy hair, greasy hair. Vest, vest. Alcoholic tolerance, alcoholic tolerance. New daddy figure?

During Daryl’s travels with the group – before and after he was framed for stealing – Joe had many talks with him to try to sway him to stay with them; but Daryl always kept his distance from the rules of their clan. When the theft scenario was finally resolved, Joe framed it as though Daryl was following their rules all along. By episode’s end, we see Daryl finally use the word ‘claimed’ when he sees another group member reach for a radish or something on the ground. By using this word, Daryl seemingly has become one of them – or maybe he just wants it to seem that way.

Regardless of Daryl’s allegiance, you have to notice the similarities between him and Joe. Joe certainly does a good job of highlighting them, but even the way he dresses is similar to Daryl’s. They both acknowledge that things were always bad and that this apocalypse has given them chances to rise up. I know he’s the villain and all, but Joe grew on me a lot this episode. He is quite charming – at least in a “I don’t trust you for a second, but wish I could” way. The rest of his crew seems quite sneaky and conniving, but I do wish there is a way for Joe to stay on. Perhaps he will put his grudges aside and join with Rick in the coming trouble at Terminus.

We Each Have Our Missions:

Run Glenn

The main focus of this episode was reconnecting with Glenn and his group. As the episode begins, we get constant cuts back and forth of Eugene talking/hitting on Tara and Tara talking to Abraham. Whereas these might seem confusing and out of place at first, they actually frame two main storylines in this episode.

Mission – Save The World:

“But it’s enjoyable as hell to think about an undead Ankylosaur going after a Diplodocus. That there is a video game worth the pre-order.” – Eugene on the possibilities of this outbreak being in the fossil records

At first, seeing Eugene trying to flirt with Tara is hilarious – then it just gets painful to watch. Though halfway through these exchanges you realize that we’ve never heard Eugene talk this much. In fact, we don’t even know anything about him. We’ve been told he knows what caused the outbreak – though no one has asked him to explain his theory – and that he feels he is smarter than Abraham. We also learned that he stares at Rosita’s butt a lot. Though this is all talk, what do his actions say about him – besides not knowing how to handle a gun?We Need A Hero

Abraham is the rock, the pure man’s man who takes on walkers like it’s a national past time. Rosita might look sweet, but she isn’t afraid to get involved and stand up for people. Eugene on the other hand has been much more silent until his ultimate defining moment this episode.

After arguing with Rosita to navigate and then telling Abraham to sleep in the back, he directs them to the other end of the dark tunnel Glenn and Tara just went into. He realizes that a lot of people are being inconvenienced because of him, so he wanted to make sure they made it out okay. When asked why he would do this he simply responds, “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself.”

Do you see what I see?

Thankfully he did pull the switcheroo with the directions, because as he makes Rosita stop on the tracks outside, he notices Maggie and her group exiting the tunnel – he could have assumed this was them via descriptions from Glenn. He then leads this group back into the tunnel and saves Glenn and Tara just as they are about to be overrun with walkers.

Mission – Find Maggie:

The other part of the opening scene is Tara talking with Abraham who has noticed she hasn’t been sleeping much – or at all. After some fun joking and pointing out how Tara stares at Rosita’s breasts, he surmises that she can’t sleep either because of something she did or something she didn’t do. In reality, it’s both. Rosita still can’t forgive herself for what happened to Herschel. She recounts how she saw her whole family get overrun by walkers, but that still wasn’t as bad as what Brian (The Governor) did to Maggie’s father. She admits that when Brian said they’d have to kill people, she was the first person to step up and support him. Yet when he killed Herschel, she was powerless to stop it.

This is the reason why Tara can’t sleep; and more so why she pushes so hard for Glenn. Even though she injures her leg when Abraham shoves her out of the way to protect Eugene from a falling walker – a faller? – she still wants to push on. Sadly, Glenn is so focused on finding Maggie that he doesn’t even notice it – but Rosita does.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 10.41.18 AM

Rosita yells at Glenn and tells him to man up and notice how this is all one big guilt trip for Tara. Still set on finding Maggie, Glenn still pushes forward with the gang until they reach the an underground train tunnel where they go their separate ways. Judging from the wet paint, Glenn knows Maggie and them didn’t come through too long ago, so he hurries along with Tara by his side. Inside the tunnel, they come across half a herd of walkers stuck in fallen debris and the other half wandering around the other side of the rubble.

After setting up a flashlight to draw the walkers to one side of the tunnel, Glenn and Tara sneak around the other side. While sneaking, Tara’s already injured leg gets caught and she’s trapped. Glen tries to help her, but she tells him to leave when she is unable to budge. Glenn starts to move on without her, but then Rosita’s words finally get through to him. He finally realizes just how hard he’s been pushing her and how overcome with guilt she is – even if it means dying for her past sins. Glenn stands by Tara like she did for him until the very person they were looking for finds them.

Reunited And It Feels So Good:

After a half season of everyone trying to find each other, our favorite couple has finally found each other again. With the quest complete, this also means freedom for Tara. She’s atoned for her sins – or what she felt were her sins. When Glen introduces her as ‘someone he met on the road who just HAD to help him in his romantic quest’, he was setting Tara free.

She can start fresh and put her past behind her. She’s not the person who was with the guy who killed Maggie’s father. She is the person who helped bring these lovers back together out of the purity of her own heart. Everyone watching these moments shed a tear of joy or two, but these feelings were quickly replaced by fear once again.

g

“You don’t need a picture of me. You never will again.”

While the others decide to push on towards Terminus and restock, we find Glen and Maggie enjoying each others company – for the first time in quite a while considering he was sick in quarantine for most of the first half of the season. While sitting with each other, Maggie finds Glenn’s photo of her and she decides to burn it assuring him, “you don’t need a picture of me, you never will again.”

We know someone – at least one – is going to die in the season finale. We hope it’s not one of these two. We just went through a half season of seeing them heartbroken without each other. To see them taken away from each other permanently after just finding each other would be horrific, but with the group arriving at “the end of the line”, someone’s story will be over.

IT’S A TRAP!!!!!!!:

It's quiet. Too quiet

It’s quiet. Too quiet

With all paths converging to Terminus, its only a matter of time before everyone is reunited; but will it really be sanctuary? Abraham refers to it as “the end of the line”; and Joe calls it “a lie”. Both are correct, but they don’t know how correct they might be. As Glenn and the gang make it to Terminus first, we get our first glimpse at this so called sanctuary. Though something is very off.

As was discussed during the Talking Dead for the episode “Claimed”, the only people surviving in this world seem to be bad people. Terminus seems way too happy. Even Woodbury – the happy on the outside/rotten on the inside town it was – had countless guards stationed on the towns outskirts to defend this seemingly utopian city. Though at Terminus, there are no guards. The gates aren’t even locked. How have they defended themselves from walkers or other people this long? More importantly, why do we see only one person.

Despite saying they will be 'met', no one else is really around. But why?

Despite saying they will be ‘met’, no one else is really around. But why?

If this is the advertised “Sanctuary for all”, where is everyone else. Beyond the copious amounts of beautiful flowers growing, we only find Mary – who looks a lot like that creepy portrait Michonne found in ‘Claimed’ – cooking over a rather large barbeque. With a smile on her face and an unspoken eerie feeling in the air, she welcomes them and offers to get them settle and make them a plate . . . . . . Oh no.

In my article for “Alone”, I briefly mentioned how one of the possible outcomes of Terminus might actually be one large “cannibal trap”; and after hearing Mary’s final words, I’m more scared than ever – and it gets worse.

The preview for the season 4 finale shows Rick teaching Carl how to set a trap. As Carl runs off in the direction of someone’s cry for help, it seems as though he is about to fall into the very type of trap Rick just showed him how to make. But what if the entire episode itself is one big trap?

"Let's get you settled and make you a plate" . . . I hope she doesn't mean literally.

“Let’s get you settled and make you a plate” . . . I hope she doesn’t mean literally.

Rick tells Carl that a trap needs a trail – hidden, yet deep enough that anything going past it would have to go through it. Sound familiar? What if the railroad tracks were the trail(s). Anyone around the area would see the signs everywhere – literally. No one would see it coming. The flowers and cheerful atmosphere of Terminus would reinforce this idea and lead people into a further false sense of security. The end is near, but who will meet their own end? With rumors of a cliffhanger unlike any season prior, it’s sure to be something people will be talking about all summer long.

In Retrospect:

Remember when Beth left Darryl back at the house. Where did she get the car? If you also recall, the house there seemed too good to be true as well. There was food in stock and no dust. What if that house was somehow connected to the people at Terminus too and she was kidnapped? I guess we’ll find out Sunday!

Ok, thats just creepy. The clothing and even the hair braid is almost exact.

Even though these aren’t the same person, the eerily similar portrait still foreshadows a much darker thing is on its way.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A Closer Look: The Walking Dead “Us”

  1. I too think the mortuary was a trap, and that Beth and Daryl “gave themselves away” by putting up the noise string, it changed the outside of the house. Also, it seemed like there was only enough food to keep passersby there a few days. Maybe whoever took Beth had a few of those set up and a route they check regularly. I think the dog was sent in to see if they were so alive and then sent walkers in to kill them or draw them out and kidnapp them. So I think Beth was kidnapped, plus her bag was on the ground with stuff falling out of it. She would never willingly leave Daryl. But I don’t think it was Terminus people, I think it’s to set up yet another group of people who will “do whatever it takes” to survive. I’m also worried that there’s “brothel-ish” aspects to this group and that’s why they wanted the girl (Beth). I also think we’re not going to see Beth again until next season, maybe just a hint of the car that took her or an indication of who the people are that took her. I think Terminus is definitely a trap, and that Rick & them are going to know right away some how. Either way, it’s gong to be an episode for the books!

    • Yes, i started to wonder if the dog and herd of walkers that magically appeared out of no where was planned as well. We shall certainly find out soon, and yah. It might be someone else since idk why Terminus would need smaller traps considering the level of trap they already are. Considering how disturbing some of the episodes this season were – and some of the things we’ve seen Rick endure – what could they possibly surprise us with? I’m kind of scared lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s