The Walking Dead Review 04.15 - 'Us'
Posted by Josh Syvertsen on 03.23.2014
Michonne, Rick and the rest continue to find their separate ways to Terminus, but will they all make it there? 411's Josh Syvertsen checks in with his full review of "Us!"
Welcome back to your favorite little corner of the interwebs to read and talk about the latest episode of The Walking Dead (at least it better be your favorite. I don't take rejection well.) We've got a special guest introduction this week! Please welcome Mr. Wednesday 13! If you don't know who he is, well Google it. I can't do everything for you. Mr. 13 what do you think we will see on tonight's show? "A world beyond your wildest dreams...Ghouls and Goblins, Spooks and Creeps...Welcome to creature feature number 13." Thanks Wednesday. It's episode 15, so maybe we should have thought of this a little earlier, hmmm?...Oh well. Thanks for your help Mr. Teen. Let's move on to...Housekeeping...
Caveat #1:First, and most importantly for some of you I guess, I have not read the acclaimed graphic novel series on which the show is based. I have not done this for a myriad of reasons, the first being laziness. I'm a busy man people. But the second and most important, is that this column/review is about the television show The Walking Dead, not the graphic novel series. It would be unfair to the show and unfair to you, the reader, if I was constantly bitching about how the show is different than the source material (and believe me I would bitch). Think that's wrong? Hit me up on twitter some time and mention 'Under The Dome' - watch my head explode. I will make this promise to you who are ever so pissed about my lack of The Walking Dead graphic novel experience, that someday when the show has completed its run, I will check it out.
Caveat #2: Have fun. What's expressed here is one solitary, bitterly lonely mans opinion. If you believe something different, write about it! Let everyone out there know what you think, but don't be a dick. It's a television show - not life or death.
Reader Mail: Great week for reader mail last week. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts about last weeks shocking episode. It certainly was a game changer. There was some back and forth with a couple folks over my choice to compare last weeks episode to the "Red Wedding" episode of Game of Thrones. And while it certainly didn't contain the abject destruction of a huge focus of the show, it certainly was just as shocking. But my real point was about the impact the episode was going to have on the general populous outside of the sphere of the show. In the wake of the "Red Wedding" episode people were up in arms. Specifically, the death of Talisa and her unborn child. Folks just were not prepared to see a pregnant woman stabbed to death in the stomach. Spoilers, yeah I know. Settle down. Of course if you read the book you know that the "Red Wedding" you see on television was pretty tame compared to the "Red Wedding" in the book. The point is though, that people had a similar reaction to seeing Carol shoot a child to that of Talisa getting stabbed. It was a "water cooler" moment...and frankly one I think the show really needed. Just from my own experience, folks I work with, that do not watch the show, were talking about that incident because they had heard about it on morning television or on the radio, or wherever folks get their entertainment news other than 411! That was really my point. Despite the fact that the "Red Wedding" has a much more global impact on the show, Carols murder of Lizzie generated as much, if not more buzz for the show. Frankly, the show needed the buzz too. Despite some decent episodes over the course of the first half of the season, it felt like the show was a bit rudderless during it's second half. Last weeks episode helped to galvanize the show and give it a bit more cohesion. Good stuff...thanks for the comments. Keep them coming!
Wednesday, you want another shot at this? "She was a teenage zombie...she was a teenage corpse...she was a teenage zombie...drop dead gorgeous that's for sure" Well that was disturbing...
Last Week On The Walking Dead: Carol, Tyreese, and the girls found another abandoned homestead to shack up at. Lizzie still did not understand the difference between the living and the dead. She kills her sister trying to prove a point about the walkers. Finally realizing the monster that Lizzie was, Carol take her out and shoots her in the back of the head. Carol tells Tyreese that she is the one that killed Karen and the other guy. He forgives her, but wonders if she will ever forgive herself. With only three of them left (Tyreese, Carol, and baby Judith), they decide to make for Terminus.
This Week On The Walking Dead: Glenn, Dr. Porter and Co. are walking down our favorite set of railroad tracks. Dr. Porter is discussing the possibility of undead dinosaurs...and he's right, it sounds awesome. Later that night Abe and Tara have a moment. Abraham admits he thought Tara might have been in love with Glenn, until he saw her staring at Rositas cans. He's cool with that lesbian thing. Good for him. The next morning there is more walking. Glenn finds a note from Maggie to go to Terminus. He takes off running...straight to the opening credits.
Daryls little group, which consists of him, some guy named Joe and a few faceless/nameless (IMDB tells me one of the guys is named Harley and another Tony) wakes to find Daryl missing, but his stuff still there so he will be back. Michonne, Rick, and Carl are also walking down the railroad tracks. Michonne and Carl are fooling around, betting candy on who can walk on the tracks longest. Carl wins, but splits the candy with her. What a nice boy.
Daryl and one of the nameless/faceless (Harley?) have a run in over a rabbit they both claimed to have killed. The nameless guy brings up banging kids - which Daryl takes exception to. Joe shows up just in time to stop Daryl from killing the other guy. Joe explains the rule of the "claim." Basically you just have to say "claim" and it's yours. He splits the rabbit in two like some sort of modern day Solomon and everyone leaves unhappy. Joe questions Daryls plan and motivations. Joe talks more about his philosophy and the way he runs things. Daryls not really into it, but he knows he can't survive by himself so he begrudgingly buys in.
Abraham calls a halt to the march because Eugene is exhausted and wants everyone to take a break. Eugene needs to stay safe and the tower they are under gives them plenty of cover. A walker falls out of said tower and injures Taras leg. Glenn gives Tara the option of coming with him or staying behind. She says she wants to go with him. Rosita calls bullshit based on the fact Tara feels she owes Glenn so she will follow him anywhere. She gets talked down by Abraham. They all compromise by giving Eugene the riot gear to keep him safer and keep walking. I'm not sure how adding the weight of riot gear will aid in alleviating exhaustion, but what do I know.
They hit another sign - it's also still wet, so they are indeed closing in on Maggie. That's the good news. The bad news is it's at the entrance of a long dark tunnel filled with walkers. Glenn is going through, but Abraham begs out, citing the "we have to keep Eugene safe" clause. They decide to part ways, but not until Eugene tells Tara how hot she is. Once they separate, Glenn and Tara have a moment. Glenn says he gets what Tara is going through. Tara goes through her roll-a-dex of dead friends and family members. She recounts some of the Brian/Governor stuff from her perspective. They reach a part of the tunnel where the roof has caved in and crushed a bunch of walkers - again the blood is still wet, so it was recent. Post cave in though, the tunnel is filled with walkers! Glenn searches the walkers for Maggie, her absence is encouraging...their current predicament is not. Glenn plants a ruse to attract the walkers - it works, but as they try to quietly slide down the other side of the cave in, Tara slips and gets her foot caught.
Daryl, Joe, and Co. enter a warehouse full of old cars. Everyone claims a car but Daryl, who decides to sleep on the floor. Harley claims Daryl stole his rabbit. He has both halves of the rabbit. Daryl claims Harley put it there. Harley denies it, but Joe says he saw him do it, so the group beats the shit out of Harley. How long are they going to be carrying around that meat for? I'm not a hunter but I would think a dirty garbage bag in a backpack in the Georgia heat isn't the best place for fresh meat. But what do I know? The next morning Daryl finds Harley dead outside. Daryl and Joe find a sign for Terminus. Joe tells him it's bullshit. He then recounts the story the of Rick and the house. Daryl claims a tomato, so I guess he's on board with that whole thing.
Abraham and friends clean out a mini van and reboot the mission. Eugene gives Rosita a talking to regarding his navigation skills after she has the guts to bring up some of his past navigational missteps. They get going and Abraham takes a nap. Eugene seems to be a big fan of left turns. Again, Rosita questions him, but he has navigated them to the spot he thinks Glenn and Tara would be. Abraham wakes up and is pissed at Rosita for stopping. He's about to lay into her when he spots something out of the ordinary.
Inside the tunnel Glenn wastes his last three bullets protecting Tara. At the last minute, someone yells "Get down!" and they mow the walkers down. With the walkers dead, Glenn looks up to see Maggie with Abraham and company. They reconcile. It was a nice moment in the otherwise boring as hell Glenn/Maggie story. Glenn introduces Tara to Maggie and kind of glosses over the part about her being with The Governor, and by glossing over, I mean, blatantly lies about it. Abraham wants to refocus and get everyone to Washington. Eugene calls a halt to the plan saying he wants to get to Terminus. They are only one day away. Everyone else agrees with Eugene. Maggie tells Glenn about causing the cave in. She finds the picture of her she has and burns it because now they are together so he won't need a picture. Really? The next day Maggie, Glenn and Co. reach Terminus. There are unlocked doors and sunflowers, it seems nice. The place is empty except for Denise Crosby, who introduces herself as Mary and offers them some food. End Episode.
Reaction: So here we are at the penultimate episode of the season and we get a dud of a show. There is no way this weeks show could have topped last weeks, but I didn't expect it to drop off so precipitously. Another show where we just wait patiently (or not so in my case) for something to happen. That something being getting to Terminus.It's not gotten to Season Two levels of annoyance, mostly because there have been some pretty good episodes strewn throughout, but there is a certain level of maddening repetitiveness that's starting to happen. Thankfully next week is the season finale and we can say good bye to those damn train tracks forever.
Daryl has found a new group of friends. He and Joe have gotten close rather quickly as Daryl has sort of assimilated into his new group. It looks like they are going to be setting up one of those things where his loyalty will be called into play. Will he stick with his new group of folks or will he manage to work his way back to Rick and the whole prison gang? Of course there is still the whole missing Beth matzoh ball still hanging out there. It's kind of disappointing that we really haven't seen Daryl make it a priority to look for her. Of course we spent almost an entire season watching Daryl search the woods for a missing girl so maybe that's for the best.
The Carl/Michonne stuff just seemed like it was there to remind us that they are still alive. It was good to have a bit of levity to break up the Glenn/Maggie melodrama though. So no harm, no foul, although I wonder how long the shelf life of a candy bar is? Maybe someone out there can answer that question.
Speaking of levity, it was so good to have Abrahams group, specifically Eugene to add some much needed humor to the show. Even if it isn't laugh out loud funny, watching Eugene talk about undead dinosaurs helps balance out some of the more serious things on the show, and after last week, we needed to smile at something. My only gripe is that I really wanted more of it. I am of the firm belief that humor or a sense of humor has to be part of any successful show. it's one of the reasons Game of Thrones works so well. You can have a scene where the most horrible things happen to characters you like, only to cut to Tyrion and Cersei sniping at each other. Hopefully Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita can add that dimension that the show has been missing to a certain extent.
That's all I've got for this week. Please leave your comments below and as always thanks for reading. "Enjoy every sandwich."
One last thing...Some pretty cool new stuff on DreadWorld.com this week. Check out review for the hilarious Bad Milo! and a snarky look at the forthcoming NBC mini-series Rosemary's Baby.
And hit me up on the twittah machine @misterjoshua77 and @dread_world, I'm very clever.
The 411: Not a great episode this week. Certainly not on par with last weeks stellar outing. This was just another one of the cookie cutter "going to Terminus" episodes that have dotted the second half of this season. While some of the other episodes have had enough going on to keep them interesting, the Maggie/Glenn stuff is just not that good. They are to two most milquetoast characters on the show - even pairing them with Abraham and Co. didn't work here.