THE WALKING DEAD: “Us”

For those of you tuning into AMC tonight looking for an action-packed episode of “The Walking Dead,” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it was more of the same this week as the show spirals ever closer to the barrel of no-ideas on the journey to Terminus.

This week we got a scene of candy bars – for realz candy bars – with Rick, Michonne, and Carl (just so the actors could fulfill their series regular commitments), Stephen King horror involving Glen, and a band of Merry Men showing Daryl the ropes. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

We open on more emo-character expository declarations of “this is what is wrong with me” and “whys I gotsa to what I gotsa do,” this time with Sgt. Ford doing his best to screw open Tara’s mind. Between campouts, mulletted Eugene does his best Tom Cullen impression, listing off hilarious anecdotes of zombie dinosaurs and MacGuyver batteries. Just when I thought my eyes could not roll farther into the back of my head, Steven Yeun exhibits his staggering acting talent when he spots Maggie’s note to go to Terminus. The last shot of the cold open sees Glen rushing toward the camera, to Terminus with a desperate determination.

Not content to fill a whole episode with Glen and The Four Spares, we split the hour with Daryl and his new band of Merry Men, and Rick and co. In case you needed any more evidence that TWD Powers-That-Be think you’re all a bunch of idiots, we are presented with alternating scenes of Michonne and Carl being adorable juxtaposed with the Merry Men (I hope that name sticks) being complete cretins speaking about pedophilia and the theft of rabbits. Why don’t they just wear non-hipster handlebar mustaches and black hats? Also targets because they’re all toast…

Glen tries to push the Spares too hard, with Tara getting hurt in the process. But don’t worry, her new girlfriend (Christian Serratos, or, as I like to refer to her, Angela from Twilight) Ros..Rosa…Rons..Angela-from-Twilight — I don’t remember her name, and you shouldn’t either — comes to her aid and bitches Glen out. Why don’t they just ditch this guy? He’s headed to Terminus; they’re headed to Washington. Is it in the same direction? Add it to the list of questions filed under “Walking Dead Character Motivations Make NO Sense…”

Filed under: Character Motivations That Actually Make Sense… Joe (perfectly-cast character actor Jeff Kober) lays down the law to Daryl. “When men like us follow rules, and cooperate a little bit, well, the world becomes ours.” It’s a convenient plot device to make Daryl regress to the man he used to be, to become more like his father and brother, but it is one that works. Maybe heavy handed, but this is what we’ve come to expect from this show, and frankly, it’s more interesting than any of the other plots. That is, until all these groups come together. Then, it will be a more outwardly vicious version of the Governor. For now, I’ll just enjoy Daryl’s “outdoor cat” NOT “pretending to be an indoor cat….” Eventually, Daryl has it out with Len, one of the band, and Joe chooses Daryl because “he tells the truth.” That’s sweet. Daryl does fit in somewhere, after all! And, don’t you know it? The Merry Men are all headed to Terminus, too, but not for paradise. To kill Rick. Ain’t it funny how this all comes together?

In a scene ripped right from The Stand, Glen and the Spares have to go through a dark tunnel full of walkers. Why? To get to the other side, of course! Glen won’t waste a day doing the smart thing and going around the tunnel, because he has a death wish Maggie’s out there! Close! So the Spares, finally wising up, leave Tara and Glen to it, saying their brief goodbyes – because we care, oh so much — heading back for the road to find a ride to Washington.

What’s the pair to do to pass the time walking through a dark tunnel but to TALK LOUDLY ABOUT THEIR ISSUES!? Don’t close your mouth and tread lightly! Make sure you work out all of your demons whilst walking through demons. It’s the safe thing to do! I am so sick of all the talking, talking, talking…I hereby rename “The Walking Dead” as “Feelings, Feelings, Feelings, Zombie.” Inevitably all the talking about feelings lead the pair to a pile of walkers trapped under an avalanche of concrete, purportedly made by Maggie, Sasha, and Bob, mere hours before them. Once Glen and Tara climb Zombie Mountain, however, they are faced with a horde of walkers just over the “hill,” with no escape. Glen, with that desperate determination, suggests they push through, but Tara convinces him to find another way around. His solution, that actually works, is to shine a light on the wall…because the only thing walkers like more than fresh meat is FLASH LIGHT! They’re like cats! But Tara’s foot gets stuck under the avalanche, and Glen tries to shoot his way out.

We cut back to the Spares who’ve miraculously found vehicles. They consult a map and try to add comic relief with Eugene’s special brand of “The Big Bang Theory” speeches. I know these are comic book characters, but are we really supposed to care about them or believe that Eugene can cure the T-Virus? Or is this just another version of filler? In an effort to avoid a Nikki and Paulo situation, Eugene tricks Angela-From-Twilight and Sarge into driving the car right back to the tracks to catch Glen and Tara escaping the tunnel. Why exactly Eugene cares for the pair from the prison is just built into his character bio, I guess. The trio ends up finding Maggie, Sasha, and Bob, however, and the newly-formed gang heads back to the tunnel just in time to save Glen and Tara from the zombie horde. Glen and Maggie are reunited. It only took seven episodes…They all decide to go to Terminus (of course…) and then head to Washington, thinking they can find safe passage to D.C. There’s no time to speak about what caused the outbreak, however, or the check Eugene’s credentials. Let’s just trust the guy. I am sure this is going to work out fine. We close on some hippie music score and the group of eight arriving at Terminus…greeted by Tasha Yar.

Grade: I can’t even…this show has spiraled so far down the rabbit hole; I can honestly say that I can’t tell whether or not what I am watching is actually good television. I will, however, press on to recap the season finale next week, because, why not? And…I…have…to…know…

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