10 July 2014

Talking Out The Dead: “Us”


Thomas Crawford:   I honestly wasn’t sure I liked this episode in the beginning.  After watching it once through, I was thinking, it was okay.  However, “The Grove” still has some lingering side effects.  In comparison, this episode seemed lackluster.  However…

SPOILERS.

After reading the recaps and thinking about it, this episode was sorely needed.  Think of the feelings that last week’s episode inspired.  It was a dramatic episode, but honestly only pushed the story for a small group of characters.  This episode really pushed all the characters forward, let us get some insights into some new characters, and had a nice touching reunion with some feel good moments as well.

First off, have to talk about the Glenn and Maggie reunion.  Yes, it has been a big thing, they have been apart for pretty much the entire half of this season.  I have to be honest, it was nice seeing them back together.  Yet the Glenn/Maggie couple has really not held my interest this season.  I know, isn’t it so romantic the guy is fighting his way back to his wife?  Isn’t it amazing how she moves on, but keeps leaving him clues somehow knowing he will find her?  Uh, I guess.

For whatever reason, the spark Glenn and Maggie have had for pretty much there entire time together really hasn’t been there for me this half of the season.  Maybe I am just shielding myself because I think one of them is going to go soon.  It was nice, but not something that really drove this part of the season in my view.  It really was not that big of a shocker that they made it back together.

How about the the Nerd King Eugene?  I wasn’t sure about him from the start.  Part of me believes he is full of it.  However, he apparently has enough persuasion to get an entire squad of military guys to get him safely to Washington DC because he knows what caused the walkers.  Or so he says.

Honestly, the opening sequences with him chatting up Tara about the disease killing the dinosaurs was interesting, but I couldn’t help but wonder how he hadn’t been beaten down for talking too much.  He did get points for talking about one of my favorite dinosaurs when I was a kid, the ankylosaurus.

The comic relief he gave was outstanding.  Flat out telling Tara she is so hot, then her saying, thanks, she likes girls, was awesome.  The face he made and saying he was well aware of that was priceless.  Overall, I really didn’t like him though up to that point.

Wow, he surprised me though.  In the end, not wanting to leave Glenn and Tara because he couldn’t “live with himself,” was totally unexpected.  This was the guy talking about batteries and being a gamer while sporting a mullet right?  The way he did it, was definitely manipulative, but the estimation of time it would take to get to the end of the tunnel showed maybe he does have some genius to him.  At least he is clever and knows how to play people.  Sounds bad, but he got them to do the right thing, so kudos.

Moving on to Daryl.  Not going to lie but I’m a little more then worried about him at this point.  Obviously, the group is nothing like the group at the prison.  They aren’t even anything like the group of Woodbury.  What are they like?  If I didn’t know better, they seem to be a group much like Daryl and Merle were before the whole thing started.  Survivalists, former military, and most likely a few ex-cons or criminals who had never been caught.  It might be better to call them the outcasts, who really have no desire to return to a time when they were shunned and looked down on (I thought about a wolf pack, but I think that name is too cliche).

Why am I worried about Daryl?  Well in the beginning, he seemed to just go with them for safety.  Obviously, there is safety in numbers in TWD world, even in a group like this.  As the show went on, the leader/arbiter/most respected member Joe seemed to really get into Daryl’s head.  By the end, he seemed to lost something that he had while at the prison and while with Beth.  He saw the dead man who had tried to frame him and was going to cover his body, but decided to leave it be.  In the closing sequences, he fell right into their rules of “claimed”, grabbing what looked like a plant or piece of fruit before another member of the group could grab it.

He also didn’t seem to have a problem when Joe mentioned why the group was heading to Terminus, to track the guy that had killed one of their own, who happens to be Rick.  Does Daryl belong with this group?  He had found a place at the prison, but it is gone.  The one person, Beth, who was his only connection to that place is gone as well.  He just seems a bit too comfortable with Joe and the outcasts.

Daryl has been a character that has constantly struggled with his identity throughout the entire show.  He finds himself in a world, much like the outcasts, that he just seems built to survive in.  However, he also has seen he can be part of a community, make an impact and be respected.  There is the fact that he might never have gotten completely comfortable with it.

Anyone remember the guy trying to thank Daryl for the deer at the prison?  I believe he was the first guy to come down with the flu and changed causing all the havoc in the prison though I could be wrong.  Even though he had been with the group for awhile, Daryl seemed uncomfortable with the praise and thanks.  Actually, I think he purposefully shook the guy’s  hand after it had been covered in grease and slop.

Many fans of Daryl, myself included, will say he will do the right thing.  This group is going  to meet up with Rick, Michonne, and Carl at some point.  However, I’m going to say there is that feel that maybe he will hesitate, not react fast enough, and someone may die because of it.   Some dark thoughts, but it is a dark show.

Kelen Conley: You were right, Patrick was the kid who thanked Daryl in episode 1 of this season and Daryl spit in his hand before shaking. I really got an “aw shucks” vibe from Daryl in that scene, mostly because in the 6 months between Season 3 and 4, Daryl Dixon was the prison hero at that point. He didn’t really want the attention since he felt like he was just doing what was needed. But he definitely seemed to be on a pedestal, especially to the Woodbury survivors or any survivors who weren’t with the group before Season 4 started.

I think Daryl is falling back into what’s comfortable for him. At the prison, he had become an unwanted leader. With Joe and the Outcasts, he can blend in and only step up when needed. There’s no Carol or Beth to protect or share his feelings (or other things) with. He’s on the ultimate man trip. Just one that doesn’t have an ending.

I want to say that I find myself liking Joe. Obviously, he’s a master manipulator but he’s also one of those people who talks and people listen. He has that vibe of someone you can trust to a point and Daryl seems to be eating up. Dare I say he even has a Herschel vibe a little bit? Take Joe and put him in Herschel’s role and I could see him filling that void almost perfectly.

I’m not worried about Daryl though. He’s loyal and that’s something you can’t buy or claim on TWD. He’s going to go with the group to Terminus and as soon as he figures out their hunting Rick, he’ll figure out a way to save him. Or they head to Terminus and run into Carol and Tyreese. The same Carol he hasn’t seen in weeks by then. His loyalties will show really quick.

Just had this thought which will turn into a segue: Beth’s dead. She was kidnapped by the people who run Terminus. The people at Terminus will be cannibals. And they will have already eaten Beth. In fact, I bet the food that this mysterious Mary is going to offer Team Maggie and Abraham is what’s left of Beth.

I don’t know why I’m thinking the people of Terminus are cannibals but it’s a natural connection. The survivors are trying to keep the undead from eating them, why not have them run across the alive who want to eat them as well? It’ll be interesting to see how they put this on TV if they go this route. I doubt we’ll see Terminus Member A feasting on Bob’s neck.

Onto Eugene, I enjoyed him in this episode. It was different to have a little comic relief on such a serious show but it worked. I think it was Angel that said he displayed a touch of autism and I believe she’s correct in that assumption. He truly believes he’s the smartest guy in this world and finds ways to make you still think it even when he’s corrected.

The relationship between Abraham and Eugene reminded me of Rain Man for some reason. Eugene would be Hoffman and Abraham Cruise but I just get the sense that sense that Abraham couldn’t stand Eugene at first, but over the course of their travels, he’s grown very protective. He can say he cares about saving the world all the time but a part of him just wants to keep Eugene safe.

I’m convinced Rosita won’t amount to more than eye candy which will lead to her death in the season finale. She had a lot more to do this episode (mostly defending Tara and arguing with Eugene) but it’s not enough to convince me she’ll see season 5. At least I follow the actress who plays her on Twitter and Instagram now though. I love social media.

Not surprised by Eugene wanting to keep Glenn and Tara around but only because he’s into Tara. Anyone he can convince into following him into his mission, he’s not going to say no to. This could be used as a plot point later.

I understand Glenn wanting to reunited with Maggie, I truly do. But I’m surprised he got to survive this episode. Running blindly down the tracks, almost having a walker fall on him, going into a tunnel that CLEARLY has walkers…what is wrong with this dude?! I guess you could call it brave but I just call it plain stupid. Those walkers should’ve bitten him 7 times in the tunnel. I like Glenn but damn man!

And poor, guilty Tara. Rosita was right; Glenn was an ass. Tara feels bad for helping attack the prison and Herschel’s death, why does Glenn not have a shred of compassion for her? I think it’s because he was angry at her, up until they went into the tunnel and she started talking about Herschel. He also was so blinded in his quest to find Maggie that he didn’t begin to realize how cold he was being towards her until Rosita said something. I really hope she makes it to Season 5.

And the Maggie/Glenn reunion was beautiful. Maggie got to show who was the more badass one in the relationship when she showed up with the calvalry. She looked a little more sane once they were reunited. They had a touching moment when they burned the picture Glenn took of her that she hated.

Which has to mean one of them won’t make it past the finale. I’m betting it’s Glenn. Killing off the rest of the Greene family in the same season seems like it would be too much, even for TWD. But then you have a woman who could potentially lose her dad, sister, and husband in a matter of weeks. And then she could go Krazy Lizzie on whoever she’s with.

Kill Watch count: Beth, Rosita, Glenn.

TC: At this point, I don’t think I’m going to knock Eugene’s “good guy” vibe he gave off at the end.  I can’t lie, I still think he is full of it about knowing about the walkers.  You may also be right, he may have just been running after Tara for selfish reasons.  I for one, can’t blame the man for trying though.

Let’s be real, you know he had to have been shot down by Rosita at least a couple (dozen)  times.  She doesn’t seem to be creeped out by him; but she definitely views him as sort of a an annoyance.  Abraham also mentioned how Eugene is always walking behind Rosita, so there is a subtle hint he is attracted to her.  Now, this other woman appears, who happens to be attractive, and talks with him (or at least patiently listens to his rambling).  In his shoes, I might try and meet up with her again, even though he said he knew she was into girls.

Here is another reason that may be selfish but not stalker like, which is something I heard describing how Eugene played it out so they would run into Glenn and Tara again.  Maybe Eugene is lonely?  Yes, he has Abraham and Rosita, but do they seem like patient listeners?  Perhaps the talks led Eugene to think of Tara as a friend.  I’m not being mean, but the character portrayal doesn’t seem like he has a lot of people willing to listen to his talks about dinosaurs, batteries, and gaming.  Perhaps he just wanted a friend to talk to in a very lonely world?

I have a feeling Rosita is just eye candy as well.  They did give her some more lines this episode.  However, most of it was just pushing Glenn about how bad he was to Tara.

Tara did get a little redemption in the end which I liked.  Glenn not giving up on her in the tunnel sort of released her from her guilt.  However, the quick look Bob and Sasha gave her was suspicious.  If she survives, this could come back up in the story in Season five.  I definitely agree Maggie is more bad ass than Glenn.  This is something we have seen since they first met.  Who made the first move?  Enough said.

Good old Joe.  I have to agree I like the character.  I made it sound sinister when I said he had gotten into Daryl’s head.  However, he didn’t do anything that was very sinister or manipulative.  He talked to him, and told him straight and blunt what kind of man he was, what kind of group they were, and why he thought Daryl was a natural member of their group.  Manipulation, or him giving his honest opinion?  Did he lie about why they were going to Terminus?  Nope, he said point blank they were looking for the guy that had killed one of their own.

I don’t see Joe as the charismatic type of leader that the Governor was.  He doesn’t give speeches and thinks about how to manipulate people.  He seems to be the type that believes that actions speak louder than words.  He seems very conversational on a one-on-one basis, which may be the best type of leader in such a small group.  His honesty and obvious ease at violence is what draws the respect of the Outcasts.  Simple rules, follow them and you can be an ally or perhaps friend.  Break them, and face the consequences.

Is he a good guy?  Not at all at least in my view.  However, I kind of understand the character, and can think of at least a couple people I know who are similar.  Joe is a bad ass, not a pretender.  He has simple rules: don’t lie to him, don’t steal from him, and respect his property and he will respect your property.  I honestly thought of his rules almost like Old Testament Biblical rules.  The consequences for breaking any of the three simple rules are also very Old Testament; a beat down and arrow through the eye.

Joe also has a sense of honor about him, in a weird sense.  Daryl didn’t know the rules, and the guy who claimed the rabbit wanted proper punishment.  Joe was the arbiter, and said can’t punish a man for not knowing the rules, and split the rabbit.  Again, I don’t know if it was the point of the writers but I kept getting a feel of Old Testament passages from my early Bible lessons.  Why go after the man that had killed one of his group?  Eye for an eye perhaps?  The arrow through the eye of the guy that tried to frame Daryl also stuck with me.  This may just be more of my thoughts than what the writers were trying to portray though.

Terminus, we FINALLY see what it is about.  Really, after living in TWD world, and seeing that place, would you go willingly with Mary?  The fence is unlocked, there are no walkers surrounding it, there are flowers planted, and nice paint on the walls.  Something is seriously wrong here.

At this point, I have to say I agree a lot with the idea of cannibals.  In a lot of post-apocalyptic movies I have seen, there are cannibals.  The entire show of TWD, there have been none.  Is it time to meet some cannibals?  It seems likely.  I also agree it will be interesting how they show it if they go this route.

You know I can’t be me if I don’t throw out another theory though.  The signs, “Those who arrive survive,” just sticks with me.  It could be a ruse of course.  But what if it is a cult?  What if by survive, they mean become walkers?  Is it possible that a sick cult rose from the ashes to honor the walkers as perhaps divine, the “chosen,” immortals, or some such nonsense?  They believe they worship the walkers by sacrificing the living to them perhaps?  There are no walkers around, in broad daylight.  It is a big building, what if the smell of all the walkers kept inside them blinds the other walkers from the location?  We did see a house where dead walkers were honored like the living and Beth was kidnapped (another way to bring Beth back into the story).  Just a weird thought I had the other day.  Though at this point I am not saying anything is for certain.

KC: I think Eugene’s intentions are mostly pure right now as well. Who knows how long he’s been on the road with Abraham and Rosita? If I was stuck on the road with you and Anthony, I love you guys, but after a while, I’d want to switch things up. He probably does like the fact that he can babble on and Tara doesn’t seem to mind. Hell, you wouldn’t mind a good looking woman letting you babble to her in this setting either buddy. Neither would I. He’s probably never even been with a woman anyway. So I’ll agree with your loneliness theory as well.

I forgot all about the look Bob and Sasha gave Glenn after he didn’t tell Maggie that Tara was in the Governor’s militia (what a sentence!). They saw her with the Governor back at the prison. But at this point, how necessary are grudges when everyone is really trying to survive? Tara has clearly been traveling with Glenn, someone they both trust. He’s alive and as well as he can be. I’d say Tara’s passed the litmus test for them. Maggie didn’t need to know Tara helped kill her father.

I think we’ve all met a Joe or three honestly. We’ve probably sat down from a Joe at the bar more than I’d like to admit (I don’t have a problem). Hell, Joe could be anybody, and that’s why I identify with hm so much. Is it he a bit crazy? Definitely, but it’s TWD, everyone who’s still alive is a bit crazy. Unless you’re delusional like Herschel was in Season 2.

Joe’s mantra probably did come out of the Bible. When the world’s gone mad, name the first place people turn to and you’re always going to say the Bible. The Outcasts that he’s leading may or may not be sketchy, but they’re his Outcasts and Joe is taking care of them. We’ve debated the timeline from the prison attack until now, but with all that Daryl’s seen in that time period, it’s probably nice to be able to fall into a lot and turn his brain off for awhile.

A walker cult would be different, but I’d have to also say it would be disappointing. It wouldn’t make much sense either.

“We’re a bunch of walker worshippers! We capture the living and make them walkers!”

“But if you worship walkers, wouldn’t you want to be one too?”

“…”

Everyone in Terminus commits suicide.

But if Terminus isn’t a bunch of cannibals, I have no other theories.

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