‘The Walking Dead’ stays on track

The Walking Dead
March 9, 2014

Poor Bob. Before meeting up with Team Prison, he was not much more alive than the walkers themselves, and spent his days shuffling through the woods, dead-eyed and half-drunk. Who knows how long he was out there, alone, before he crossed paths with Daryl and Glenn while they were out on a Sunday drive. Bob explains to Daryl and Glenn that he’s the last survivor of two different groups, and it would be really awesome if he could hang out at their camp maybe, possibly. Sure thing, they agree, but they have to ask him Rick’s patented 3 Questions first:

  1.   Q. How many walkers has he killed?

A. A couple dozen maybe?

  1.    Q. How many people has Bob killed?

A. One.

  1.    Q. Why?

A. She asked me to.

Fair enough! Hop in the truck! And that’s how Bob became a member of Team Prison.

Which is why he’s now trapped in the fog, standing back-to-back with Maggie and Sasha, fending off walkers that they can’t see. Stabbing the walkers, stabbing the walkers, shooting the walkers, stabbing the walkers. After all the walkers are dead, the trio take a break in the woods and wait for the fog to clear. When the ladies bemoan that they are down to only 6 bullets and their compass is broken, Bob refuses to be all Debbie Downer about it. It’s cool! They’ll just use the sun and a smile as their guides!

Once the fog clears, the three head down the tracks where they find a sign for Terminus, and Bob is like, “OH HEY! I know these guys! We heard them on the radio that one time!” This is news to Maggie and Sasha (I mean, really? No one thought to share that story with the rest of Team Prison when they returned from the medicine run? Huh.), but Maggie is too busy thinking about Glenn to worry about Bob and everyone else withholding potentially valuable information. Glenn could be at Terminus! Tyrese, too! Let’s go to Terminus! Bob is inclined to agree, so even though Sasha is of another mind, she’s outvoted. They are not going to split up, so down the tracks they go.

But it’s a bit of a hike to Terminus, and so when they stop to make camp and Maggie is off collecting firewood, Sasha expresses her concerns about this whole Terminus plan to Bob. Let’s be honest: Glenn is probably dead, they only have 6 bullets, and time is not on their side. So, wouldn’t the best plan be to find higher ground in the next town hey find and make that their new home?

The next morning, however, Maggie made her own plan and left a message for them in the dirt: “Don’t risk your lives for me. Good luck. BYEEEEEEEEEE.” Sasha and Bob sigh heavy sighs and try to catch up with ol’ Hard Head. Along the way, Sasha wonders about Bob’s relentlessly optimistic attitude: why is he so happy to be alive while they are marching through the heart of darkness? But Bob explains that he’s not happy to be alive; he’s just happy to not be alone.

Further down the tracks, Maggie finds another Terminus sign on a switch box, just as a walker lumbers towards her. Maggie makes short work of the single walker, but instead of getting back on the tracks to Terminus, Maggie tears open the walker’s belly and begins digging around. OH GOD WHY MAGGIE GROSS.

As it turns out, she was using the walker’s blood to leave Glenn a message instructing him to go to Terminus because this is what happens when you don’t follow new Zombieland rule #34: Always have a Sharpie: you end up tearing zombie’s bellies apart with your bare hands so that you can use their gore to leave messages for your husband. Anyhoodles, Bob and Sasha discover the message, not that they were confused as to where she was going, come on.

That night, Bob asks Sasha why she is so certain Tyrese is dead: they both know that if Tyrese is still alive, he’ll be headed to Terminus, so why is she so afraid to find out whether he made it? And to think, he thought she was the toughest (and sweetest) person he knew …

The next morning, Sasha spies a multi-story building that she suggests they make into their new home, but Bob reminds her that Maggie is out there all alone and needs them. “Whatever, she made her choice,” Sasha sasses back. Bob then explains that when he first arrived at the prison, he could feel the clock ticking, and wondered how long it would be before everyone was dead. Bad things happened to Bob because he was afraid, but he didn’t need to be, and she doesn’t need to be, either. Bob then kisses Sasha, but it’s still not enough to convince her to come with him, so he heads down the tracks towards Terminus to help Maggie on his own. BYEEEEEEE!

So Sasha checks out her new digs, and they’re pretty nice, akshully! But even her new loft’s cool modern industrial vibe can’t cheer her up, and she has a little cry over Maggie’s broken compass. That’s when she happens to look out one of the large, not secured windows to see Maggie asleep on the ground. In her urgency to get Maggie’s attention, Sasha accidentally knocks the entire window out, drawing the attention of the local population of walkers.

Killing all the walkers with a street sign, killing all the walkers with a street sign, killing all the walkers with a street sign.

Once the situation is secured, Maggie explains that she overheard Sasha tell Bob that they should set up in the first town they came to, and so she thought she might find them here. Also, too, she heard the part about how Sasha thinks Glenn is dead. But Sasha is wrong and that’s why Maggie was here waiting for her: even if she catches up with Bob, she still needs Sasha’s help. She thought she couldn’t ask Sasha to risk her life, but she’s changed her mind, because it’s not just about Glenn. Sasha FINALLY admits that she’s afraid, and Maggie is like, WHO ISN’T? and then they go catch up with Bob and head on their way, all smiles. Happy friend times!

Elsewhere, Daryl is teaching Sister how to use a crossbow, when she goes and steps on a small trap, injuring her foot. The pair hobble towards a cemetery, where they symbolically place some flowers on a tombstone inscribed “Beloved Father,” and hold hands while they share A Moment.


Daryl then gives Sister a piggyback ride up to the funeral home, which is empty but in remarkably good shape … like, “someone is clearly cleaning the joint and could be back at any moment” shape … like, “hey, maybe let’s be a little suspicious here” shape …

But caution be damned! And the two explore the grounds where they find a couple of walker corpses in the embalming room and a well-stocked pantry in the kitchen. After agreeing to only take some of the food and leave the rest for whomever actually lives here, the two set up a warning system at the front door and then spend the evening entertaining themselves in the parlor, singing at the piano and resting in the coffin because symbolisms.

The next morning, Daryl carries Sister back into the kitchen like a groom with his new bride, so I guess that’s where we’re going with Bethyl. ALRIGHT THEN. Something triggers the front door alarm, but when Daryl checks, it’s just a one-eyed dog (what did you do to upset Michonne, Dog?) who runs off in the opposite direction.

That night, when Sister’s Southern Good Girl comes roaring out, she decides to write a thank you note to their unmet hosts. Instead, Daryl suggests, how about, you know, they stick around here for a while? This place is pretty nice, and maybe they could share it with whomever is taking care of it … Sister reads this as Daryl coming around to the idea that there are still some good people in the world, and wonders what changed his mind? Daryl gives Sister A Look that is meant to read “YOU, STUPID,” but the moment is interrupted when the front door alarm is triggered again, this time accompanied by a distinct dog yelp.

However! When Daryl goes to help the dog, he opens the front door to a horde of walkers instead. RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! Daryl yells at Sister to meet him outside on the road, while he, for unfathomable reasons, heads down to the embalming basement where he has to fight his way back out of a self-made trap.

Eventually, Daryl manages to escape the house and get out to the road where he finds Sister’s pack on the road — but no Sister — just as a car screeches away. YOU COME BACK HERE WITH SISTER, DOG!

Poor, poor Daryl chases after the car all night and all morning until he collapses in the middle of the road.

And that’s where the hunters that invaded Rick and Michonne’s suburban dream home find Daryl. When Daryl takes a swing at the leader of the group, the rest of the hunters prepare to shoot, only to have the leader call them off. He has nothing but respect for a “bow man,” and has been looking for a weapon like Daryl’s for a while. With that, the leader introduces himself: he’s Joe. And Daryl lowers his crossbow, and introduces himself to his new buddies. OH, DARYL, NO.

Well, at least Daryl and Rick’s reunion will be interesting. (Mad_Bad_n_Dangerous @reddit.com)

Elsewhere, a hand reaches for one of those Terminus signs, and we pull back to see that it’s Glenn! IT’S GLENN! YAY, GLENN! GO FIND MAGGIE, GLENN!

So yes, yes: hope, the condition of human nature,  more clock and time metaphors (this time with a bonus broken compass symbol), the power of kindness and love, blah blah blah. What I want to know is 1. Was the funeral home really just a  well cared for home or was it an elaborate trap? And 2. Who took Beth? And I guess I actually have a couple more questions: 2a. If the funeral home was a trap, was the person who took Beth the one who set it? And 3. Why’d they take Beth? What on earth are they doing with the people they catch in their trap? If that’s what the funeral home is? Which it might not be?

1. While it’s possible the funeral home was simply a well-loved and meticulously cared for home, there’s also an argument for it being an elaborate trap, preying on survivors’ longing for security, food and shelter. It seems awfully coincidental that the home was empty when they arrived, that it was in impeccable condition, stocked to the ceiling with ready food stores and that when the walkers came, there was someone in a waiting car ready to abduct one of our heroes.

Oh, and also, of course, the whole thing was foreshadowed by Beth stepping on that foot trap while out in the woods.


But …  all that said, I wonder … We’ll get to that in a moment.

2. Here’s where it gets trickier: if the funeral home is a trap, who set it? Some on the internets are suggesting that it was set by the hunters, but I’m skeptical of this idea. For one thing, they appear to be on foot. For another, they don’t exactly seem like the tidying-up types. Or the long-range plan types. The hunters are clearly a dangerous pack of impulsive, lawless animals, which is why I find it improbable that they would devise a plan that would require either forethought or for them to stick around in one place for a length of time.

So if it’s not Daryl’s new buddies who set the trap and abducted Beth, who could it be? Scroll over to read some possibly SPOILERY SPOILS: Reportedly, there is a character named Gareth that we have not met yet, but was described thusly before season 4 began: “Character details are being kept under wraps, but West will appear in the second half of The Walking Dead’s fourth season and play Gareth, a character who does not appear in the long-running Image/Skybound series on which the AMC show is based. However, sources tell THR that while Gareth might not be playing someone from the comics, he is a remix of sorts of an unidentified character from the series. Gareth will have what sources say is a big presence and play an important character on the drama from showrunner Scott M. Gimple. … According to rumors, Gareth would be something of a counterpart to Father Gabriel from the comic, and would be encountered by the group in Terminus.”

Now, Father Gabriel is an enigmatic character in the comics: a preacher who locked himself away in his church, turning away his own flock and other survivors who came looking for help. He’s not much of a threat to Rick or the rest of our characters, but he does appear around the same time as the hunters do, so the introduction of a new character who might have abducted Beth around the same time the hunters make their appearance would make sense. In the comics, Father Gabriel is suspected of having something to do with Dale’s abduction, which was actually perpetrated by the hunters. Additionally, some viewers thought they saw a cross in the back window of the car as it sped off, which would help support the idea that whomever was driving the car might have some sort of religious background.  

Or it was the Yellow King and he’s driving her to Carcosa.

3. As for whatever our mystery abductor wants with Beth? Who knows. We have very little (read: nothing) to go on, and thus discerning motivations is next to impossible from here. Obviously, our (and Daryl’s) greatest fear is that something unseemly will happen to Beth, and on this dark series, that’s not an impossibility.

However, there is another possibility. AGAIN, SPOILERS: The house was not a trap at all. In fact, playing on Father Gabriel’s story, in this scenario, the house belongs to this new Gareth character. But instead of a preacher, Gareth was the funeral director and the person who attempted to take care of the walkers Beth and Daryl find in the embalming room: an act that Daryl thinks is pointless, but which Beth thinks is kind. During The Turn, despite being at heart a decent man, Gareth does what Father Gabriel does, and turns people away from his protection out of cowardice. And so, when Daryl and Beth come to his house in this episode, he’s out doing … something, looking for supplies? food? something. When he returns, he sees the house under siege by walkers and finds Beth in the road, whom he saves, not abducts. And if the spoilers above are any indication, he will take her to Terminus where she will be reunited with her other friends and her sister.

Maybe. Just a guess. The point is I have no idea. 

And as for Terminus itself, the more people head towards it out of some blind faith that they will be saved there, the more worried I become. Plotwise, it’s important that we reunite our characters: while it’s been nice to develop them as individuals, it’s time that we get the band back together — it’s these relationships that truly drive the series. And I’m sure we’re steadily working our way towards a reunion at this “Terminus” — that those who “stay on track,” literally, will see their loved ones again. I just am concerned that “Terminus” might not offer the long-term sanctuary being promised.

In railroad terms, the terminus is the end of a rail line — literally, the end of the road. This image is daunting enough for our heroes, but add to it that Terminus was also the Roman God of boundaries and boundary stones. The Romans would sanctify the boundaries with offerings that included crops, honeycombs and wine, as well as the bones, ashes and blood of a sacrificial victim. Granted, these victims tended to be pigs and lambs, but blood had to be spilled, nonetheless. And while I doubt official blood sacrifices will be held at Terminus, I do worry that blood will be spilled there.

The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.

Leave a Reply