'Walking Dead' and the long strange trip to Terminus
Remember those when-are-we-gonna-get-there family trips? All anticipation and nervous energy, and then you arrive at Mount Rushmore, say, and it’s just four dudes’ big heads? And you say under your breath, I’ve been sitting in the back seat for 1,000 miles with pee sloshing around in a Big Gulp cup at my feet for THIS? In Walking Dead’s penultimate Season Four episode Sunday night the travelers arrived at Terminus.
Except. There are some nice sunflowers growing but security seems pretty lax and where are the dang people? There’s just one lady (not sure what it means that it’s Denise Crosby, Tasha Yar from Star Trek: The Next Generation) there to welcome them and serve them up some barbecue. Episode 415 ends with viewers still wondering, Is it a trap? Is it Woodbury redux, or more like the prison, or a grim martial law compound?
After last episode’s earth-shaking creepfest (Lizzie garrotes Mika; Carol caps Lizzie), maybe it was necessary to take it down a notch and focus on what old Emerson said: Life’s a journey, not a destination. It’s just that Terminus, spelled out across the red brick façade in block letter, sounds so, well, terminal.
There was a lot of journeying in this episode, called “Us.” Rick, Michonne and Carl follow the train tracks toward Terminus and haggle over a Big Cat (strange they’d resurrect a defunct candy bar from the late 1990s). Daryl’s new band of toughs, led by Joe, journey while showing him their post-apocalyptic game of Uno: You have to yell “claim” when you want something, no do-overs or give backs. Daryl picks it up quick, but peevish guy Len takes an arrow to the head when he doesn’t play nice.
And, the central story of the episode, Glenn and Tara; blockhead Abraham, brainiac Eugene and smoking-hot Rosita (the big hoop earrings seem like a dangerous accessory, just saying); and Maggie, Sasha and Bob all meet up at the edge of a tunnel, its midsection caved in and studded with flailing walker bits. Maggie and Glenn kiss and hug and it’s almost feel-good enough to soften the horror hangover from last week’s “The Grove” episode.
Best moments of the episode: The walker-against-barbed-wire face slice; Glenn telling Maggie “God, you are so beautiful” and it’s just plain fact; Eugene and Tara geeking out and talking video games.
Biggest episode head-scratchers: Joe tells Daryl, “There’s nothing sadder than an indoor cat that thinks he’s an outdoor cat.” Huh? Daryl has never seemed like a litterbox kind of guy. And why are Abraham, Rosita and crew so convinced that Eugene holds the key to saving the world? Because Eugene is a Central Casting dork name and thus he’s gotta be a super genius?
Next week’s season finale is bound to have Rick, Michonne and Carl and Daryl and those menacing dudes catch up to everyone else at Terminus. I have a feeling it will mean bad news for one or more of the central characters (Rick, maybe?), but it’s bound to be more exciting than Mount Rushmore.