The Walking Dead
March 23, 2014
Rick, Michonne and Carl make their way down the tracks to Terminus. When Rick turns to encourage the other two to hurry up already, he discovers that Michonne and Carl are challenging one another to see who can balance on the track the longest. When Carl wins, Michonne hands over his reward: a chocolate bar that he generously splits with her. No one offers Rick any chocolate. : (
Meanwhile, a group that could use a little serotonin boost from a bite or two of chocolate, whom I was earlier referring to as “the hunters,” are woken up in their forest camp by a walker that has drug its face along the barbed wire they strung around themselves for protection. After dispatching it, they notice that Daryl is missing.
But he hasn’t left, he’s just out hunting a little breakfast bunny. (Bunnies really get the short end of the stick in the zombie apocalypse.) However, just as his own arrow hits its adorable target, so does another one, and standing behind him is that boyfriend from that terrible show Whitney, who yells “claimed!” like he is in 3rd grade. The two squabble over to whom, exactly, the rabbit belongs. Just as Whitney’s Boyfriend begins going down a dangerous road with Daryl, speculating that Daryl is pouting over a woman, Len, the leader of the group, arrives to settle the dispute. Len explains to Daryl that the rules of the group require the men to “claim” things: food, territory, whathaveyou, to minimize bickering/stabbing each other in the face.
The punishment for violating this rule is to be “taught a lesson,” i.e. beaten within an inch of one’s life. Whitney’s Boyfriend is eager to teach Daryl this lesson, but Len reasonably points out that it’s not fair to punish someone for a rule about which they didn’t know. And with that, King SoloLen cuts the bunny in half, hands Whitney’s Boyfriend the head, leaving Daryl the hindquarters. Fair’s fair.
They head on, Len presses Daryl for what his plan is: is he going to hang with them or take off on his own? Because the thing is, no one survives alone in this world, and Daryl is a lot like them. Daryl notes that Len’s men aren’t exactly the snuggliest, and Len counters that being friendly isn’t a requirement to survival. Len then mentions that he loves cats, the vicious animals that they are, and that there is nothing sadder than an outdoor cat that thinks he’s an indoor cat. See, because Daryl is the outdoor cat? And he’s been hanging out with nice “indoor” people for too long that he thinks he’s nice, too? Wait, lemme explain it to you a little more …
hunters Claimers make their way to a garage where the men one-by-one claim a car to sleep in, except for Daryl who is pretty sure this game is stupid and as a result, is left to sleep on the floor. Later, Whitney’s Boyfriend begins shrieking that Daryl took his rabbit head. When Daryl protests that he’s done no such thing, Whitney’s Boyfriend demands that Len check Daryl’s things. He does, and lo and behold there is a bunny head in Daryl’s garbage bag full of tchotchkes. Daryl insists he did not steal the bunny head, and Len is left to wonder if Daryl is lying or if Whitney’s Boyfriend planted the head like some “cheating coward cop.” While doing so is not technically breaking a rule, it would deeply disappoint Len. And then Len orders the other men to “teach” Whitney’s Boyfriend “all the way,” explaining to Daryl that he saw him plant the head. He just wanted the scene to play out to see how Whitney’s Boyfriend would handle it.
And then some mysterious time passes wherein Daryl takes a nap or something? While the Claimers are beating the ever-living hell out of Whitney’s Boyfriend three feet from his head? Because Daryl wakes up and seems genuinely surprised to find large pools of blood next to his spot on the floor, and Whitney’s Boyfriend’s dead body dumped outside the garage. Daryl considers covering Whitney’s Boyfriend’s body, but only for half a second before being all, “You know what? NOPE.”
Len and Daryl and the gang make their way across a meadow, where Len offers Daryl a pull off his flask. Daryl notes that he hasn’t been drunk at dawn since things fell apart, which Len finds interesting. As far as Len is concerned, things didn’t “fall apart” but “fell together,” at least for men like them.
They arrive on the train tracks and one of the Terminus signs, which takes Daryl by surprise. He wonders if they have seen this before, and Len explains that they have, in fact. But “Terminus” is a lie: there’s no sanctuary for all, especially not men like them. When Daryl wonders, then, where they are going, Len explains that before they met Daryl, they were hanging out in this house they found when some guy who had been hiding inside killed one of their buddies and left him to change. They are tracking him down, and are pretty sure he’s headed to this Terminus place. That’s when Daryl spies a wild strawberry and yells “claimed” because one of us, one of us, gooble-gobble. Oh, and then they pass the candy wrapper from Michonne and Carl’s shared candy bar just in case we missed the part where Len and the Claimers are hunting down Rick.
Hey, remember Glenn and Tara and that Abraham fellow and his friends? I barely do, too! But they are still wandering aimlessly around looking for Maggie together. One evening, while the rest sleep, Abraham tries to pull out of Tara what her deal is: for a while he thought she was in love with Glenn, that is until he saw the way Tara was looking down Rosita’s shirt. So was it something she didn’t do or something she did? Tara admits it was something she did, but she doesn’t offer any more explanation than that.
The next morning, as they make their way down the train tracks, the group finds Maggie’s blood message: “GLENN: GO TO TERMINUS, MAGGIE, SASHA, BOB,” and Glenn breaks into a run, obviously.
However, they can’t run all the way there, and so Abraham suggests they stop for a bit at a railroad tower. Glenn is NOT INTERESTED, and their bickering draws out a walker from the tower. The walker falls, and jumping out of the way so as to avoid getting walker juice all over her, Tara also falls to the ground, twisting something, her knee? ankle? whichever, point is she’s hobbled. When Abraham and his group point out that Tara is in no shape to continue going, Tara assures Glenn that she’s fine. She is not fine. But Glenn is so singularly focused on continuing on after Maggie that he “believes” her, and makes a deal with Abraham: if they can keep on moving until sundown, he’ll give Dr. Mullet his riot gear and they can split up then. It’s a win-win for everyone! Except Tara! But Abraham takes Glenn up on his offer because he’s as fixated on getting Dr. Billy Ray Cyrus to D.C. as Glenn is on Maggie, so.
They keep moving until they arrive at a terrifying walker-filled railroad tunnel. Maggie has painted another message to Glenn urging him on, and when Glenn realizes that this message is still wet, he is determined to go the faster route through the tunnel rather than over it. Abraham, et al, are less enthusiastic about this plan, and announce that this is where they part ways. Abraham gives Tara and Glenn a couple cans of food and a flashlight and is like, “ALRIGHT, LATER ON.” As they leave, Dr. Mullet, however, he looks back longfully at their new friends.
And so Glenn and Tara head into the tunnel like a couple of dummies. Glenn tells Tara that he knows what she’s going through, he remembers being numb when he realized that he was never going to see any of his friends or family again. Tara begins opening up about the whole losing her sister and girlfriend and niece thing, and how none of it was as bad as watching The Governor kill Hershel, because that’s when she knew that there was nothing she could do to stop what was about to happen.
Further in the tunnel, they discover that the roof has caved in, trapping a number of walkers in the rubble. After Glenn scours their faces for anyone he knows and when he is assured that they are all stranger corpses, he kills a few so that they can get past. Unfortunately, however, Glenn and Tara discover that there are a large number of mobile walkers on the other side of the rubble, and they don’t have enough ammunition to just shoot their way out.
Meanwhile, Abraham’s group finds a minivan, and after killing the walker trapped inside, Dr. Mullet and Rosita argue over who is going to navigate. Dr. Mullet insists that he be the navigator: he managed to get them all the way from Houston (Haaaaaay!) without incident … without too much incident. AND HE REALLY WANTS TO BE THE NAVIGATOR, LET HIM BE THE NAVIGATOR, HE IS GOING TO BE THE NAVIGATOR! HE IS!
So after his temper tantrum, Dr. Mullet does, indeed, serve as navigator to Rosita’s driver. He tells Abraham to go to sleep in the backseat, and then promptly navigates Rosita right back to the other side of the railroad tunnel to try to find Glenn and Tara. After all, after he saves the world, he still has to live with himself, and he can’t just leave Glenn and Tara behind after they helped him. And while Rosita and Abraham bicker over this turn of developments, Dr. Mullet notices … something ….
Inside the tunnel, Glenn and Tara manipulate the flashlight so as to distract the walkers while they try to sneak past, but then Tara goes and gets her foot stuck under some rocks because it can never just be that easy. Tara insists that Glenn leave her there, but he refuses because Glenn. So as the walkers finally figure out that they are merely gazing at Plato’s cave and return their attention to Glenn and Tara, Glenn does the only thing he has left in his bag of tricks: shoot the walkers. Shooting shooting shooting and then he runs out of bullets, obviously, when, conveniently just in the nick of time, the light at the end of the tunnel appears and someone yells towards Glenn and Tara to get down. SHOOTING ALL THE WALKERS, SHOOTING ALL THE WALKERS, SHOOTING ALL THE WALKERS. And that’s how and Glenn and Maggie were finally reunited: in a hail of bullets and an assist from Abraham, Dr. Mullet and Rosita. Hooray!
They make camp there in the tunnel, because what could go wrong with that, and Abraham reveals his D.C. plans to Sasha, Bob and Maggie. They agree that they will join his expedition, but only after they check Terminus for Tyrese and the others. And who knows: maybe they can recruit some Terminus folks! It’s worth a shot!
Maggie reveals to Glenn that she shot the roof of the tunnel, causing the cave-in, before finding the picture of herself that Glenn has been carrying around. WHICH SHE BURNS FOR NO GOOD REASON OTHER THAN SOME TERRIBLE FORESHADOWING OR SOMETHING. Oh fine: Her reasoning is that he doesn’t need a picture of her because they will never be apart again. BUT I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF SHE WOULD STOP FORESHADOWING HER DEATH. OR WORSE, GLENN’S.
The next morning they finally arrive at Terminus.
And the fences are open? And there is no one guarding the place? And it seems empty? And after passing through the first gate, they approach a second where they are greeted by a sign imploring them to lower their weapons, that they have arrived at Terminus? And as they proceed further inside, they find container gardens and laundry, but still no people? Not until they find a woman cooking at a lit grill who introduces herself as Mary, and who promises to prepare them a plate of food? Welcome to Terminus!
I’m not going to spend a whole heck of a lot of time on this episode — I’m already late with it as it is, and let’s be honest, after a half season of pretty deep character development, this was a “we need to tie up all the loose ends before the finale” kind of episode.
What is intriguing is Terminus. It’s sinister, right? The internet is pretty convinced that Mary and whomever is with her at Terminus are cannibals, which I have to admit is as good a theory as any. While Terminus does not exist in the comic books — spoiler alert for the comics and video game if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, otherwise scroll over to read — there is some precedent for cannibalism in The Walking Dead universe. The “Hunters” in the comics are a group that are not unlike the Claimers in the TV series, except that instead of tracking Rick for killing one of their own, they literally hunt Rick and his group as food. During a negotiation with the hunters, the leader reveals to Rick that they ate their own children. Yikes! Additionally, in the comics, The Governor admits to trying cannibalism once, but he didn’t care for it.
In the video game, the characters encounter the St. John family on their farm. Brenda St. John, the mother, offers the protagonists of the game a place to stay after one of the group is wounded. Brenda offers to take care of the wounded character, Mark, and brings him in the house where he is not seen again for a long time. Eventually, the main protagonist goes inside the house to discover Mark in an upstairs bathroom, missing his legs, and Mark warns him, “Don’t … eat … dinner.” BECAUSE DINNER IS HIS LEGS. Yikes!
Thus, some people on the internets are speculating that we will see Beth soon, and she will be missing her lower legs. Let’s hope not. (Speaking of Beth, was that her on The Following this week? It was, right? Sorry. Got distracted there.) That said, stripping the cannibalism angle from the Hunters and turning them into the Claimers, while at the same time turning the false sanctuary aspect of the St. John’s farm into Terminus — a place where the disparate groups would converge — makes narrative sense while maintaining one of the most disturbing elements in The Walking Dead universe.
So, what I’m saying is, there’s a good chance Mary and her friends are going to try to eat our heroes.
A couple of final neat little things. There is this:
Also, some folks who are way more into the zombie genre noticed that one of the tunnel walkers was an homage to Bub from Day of the Dead. Well done, everyone! Good catch! Now try going outside or talking to other actual human beings sometime!
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.