Daryl and Beth settle into a new home. Maggie, Sasha, and Bob face the dangers of going it alone.
Walking Dead 09
Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The cold open kicks off with a glimpse at pre-Prison Bob Stookey. A haunted, tortured soul with a shady past, Bob has been an enigma for most of this season. Here, he’s scruffier than we’re used to seeing him, armed with a machete and his signature canvas/leather backpack. (AMC is sitting on a goldmine of replica character gear sales. Unrelated, I’m obsessed with canvas/leather backpacks.) Like Michonne immediately after the fall of the Prison, Bob trudges along as slow and aimless as a Walker. His survival skills and will to live remain, but one look at his vacant eyes shows that he has put life on cruise control. Why? He’s alone.

That is until a pickup truck and motorcycle appear on the road. Glenn and Daryl approach Bob, weapons at the ready. Daryl asks Bob the Three Questions as per the rules of the Prison community. (Aw, remember those?) Bob answers that he’s killed a couple dozen Walkers and only one person because she asked him to. Bob is eager to join them, and Daryl asks if he subsequently has any questions for them. Bob shakes his head, stating, “It doesn’t matter who you are.”

Unlike the other characters riddled with guilt and despair over their actions and losses since the Turn, Bob remains unfazed. He’s just happy to not be alone. After everything that has happened, does it matter more to build community and structure, or is it simply enough not to be alone, regardless of the company?

I still don’t fully trust him, but I’m probably being over-cautious. The questions of trust and vulnerability are prevalent throughout the back half of season four and the series at large. At the start of this episode, Sasha is unwilling to lower her guard and express her fears for Tyreese’s fate. Maggie has lowered her guard to find true love with Glenn and is hellbent to not lose that connection. Daryl lowers his guard with Beth — just long enough to lose her and any hopes of stability, joy, and maybe even love!

Maggie, Sasha, and Bob

First, there were the Walkers of the Corn. Then, there were the Walkers of the Storm. Now, there are the Walkers in the Mist. Maggie, Sasha, and Bob miraculously hold off a brood of Walkers, as they find themselves surrounded in a particularly foggy patch of the never-ending Georgian forest. With a broken compass and only six bullets left, their options are thinning. At first, I thought Bob was lying in saying that the Walker didn’t get him, since a Walker biting a bandage rather than skin sounds highly suspect and convenient. Maybe my Bob bias is showing.

Bob and his optimism are undeterred. He suggests they simply use the sun for guidance and continue on their plan to reunite Maggie with Glenn. Back on track and sporting new backpacks (indicating some time has passed since we last saw them), they reach railroad lines. Maggie notices a sign, another ad for Terminus, “SANCTUARY FOR ALL. COMMUNITY FOR ALL. THOSE WHO ARRIVE SURVIVE.” Bob confirms that this place is the same described in the radio message heard back when they went on the meds run. (One mystery solved! 100 million to go!) Ever determined and desperate, Maggie asserts that they should journey to Terminus, as Glenn would mostly look for her there. That is, if he’s still alive. Bob is on board, suggesting others from the Prison including Tyreese may be there. Sasha, on the other hand, is suspicious. Bob insists that they can’t split up, and with a tacit vote of two to one in favor of Terminus, they follow the tracks.

NEXT: One is the loneliest number…

Later in their makeshift camp, Sasha voices her reservations to Bob while Maggie is out collecting firewood. She wants to stop looking for Glenn, thinking he’s most likely dead. More than that, she wants to stop traveling altogether and instead settle in a town. Find a building and some higher ground — rebuild. Her ideal setup sounds just like Tara, Lily, and Megan’s home before the Governor showed up and ruined everything. Someone as pragmatic as Sasha could make it work, right?

The next morning, Sasha and Bob find a note from Maggie, indicating that’s she’s journeying to Terminus alone. “DON’T RISK YOUR LIVES 4 ME. GOOD LUCK,” she writes. Not skipping a beat, Bob starts to pack up their camp, intending to catch up to her on the tracks. Still reluctant, Sasha goes along.

Meanwhile, Maggie encounters another marker for Terminus as she treks along the train tracks. Just as she’s about to carve out a sign of her own, a lone Walker appears, giving her an idea. Plodding down the tracks, Sasha (finally!) calls out Bob for his creepy grin. (I may have added the creepy part.) He shares that he’s happy not to be alone, breaking his streak since his first camp fell apart.

Sasha and Bob don’t manage to catch up to Maggie. They do, however, discover Maggie’s message alongside the Terminus marker. Using the Walker’s blood as ink, Maggie wrote “GLENN GO TO TERMINUS. MAGGIE.”

That night, Sasha keeps watch as Bob attempts to fall asleep. A nearby Walker groans in the night, most likely impaled somewhere. Bob calls out Sasha for her assumption of Tyreese’s death. She refuses to answer, responding to him in a series of choice dirty looks. That doesn’t stop him from describing her as both the toughest and sweetest person he’s ever met. (Aw! I may have to change my opinion of him.)

The duo continue to follow the train tracks the next day, passing by another Walker-inked sign from Maggie. Inevitably, they reach a town, noticing an abandoned, three story warehouse nearby the tracks. Sasha tries to convince Bob to set up a permanent shelter there. Bob insists on finding Maggie; he doesn’t want her to endure the loneliness he knows so well. They are at an impasse. Bob does the only thing he can think of — he kisses her. She doesn’t pull back. She doesn’t reciprocate. Nothing has changed.

With Bob gone, Sasha investigates the warehouse, which is even better than it seems — the highest level is open and Walker-free. Even on her own, Sasha doesn’t allow herself to cry, willing herself to not break down. Outside, she notices Maggie lying amongst corpses. Reaching out, she taps the window, and it crashes to the ground.

Then things happen quickly — Maggie awakes startled, Walkers move towards the commotion, Sasha rushes to help Maggie, Maggie fights off Walkers, Sasha and Maggie kill Walkers together, and they eventually save each other. Saving one another, not going at it alone — that’s what it ultimately boils down to. Sasha and Maggie commiserate with one another, sharing grimy skin and clothes as well as conspicuously perfect teeth. More than that, they decide to go to Terminus together after all and pick up Bob along the way. The ladies reunite with Bob, still on the tracks. Together, they march on towards Terminus and the unknown.

Cut to: Glenn reaches out to another map to Terminus, indicating that he and his ragtag crew will also journey to the mysterious sanctuary. They better reunite, or I’m going to be UPSET.

NEXT: Beth and Daryl enjoy white trash brunch

Daryl and Beth

Making good on his drunken threat to teach Beth how to use a crossbow, a thankfully sober Daryl has taken it upon himself to teach Beth how to track and hunt. Some time has passed since we last encountered the duo, indicative in their new clothes and packs. Tempus fugit.

Beth tracks a lone Walker, feasting in a clearing. She approaches it but is ensnared in a hidden animal trap before she can shoot it. Daryl dispatches of the Walker and frees Beth, who has sprained her ankle. Watching this scene with the entire episode in mind, I suspect that the animal trap and random lone Walker are signs that Daryl and Beth are not so far off from other people after all. Eventually, Beth and Daryl reach a cemetery and Fisher-Diaz Funeral Home, oddly the most peaceful location they’ve stumbled upon in some time. Beth struggles with her ankle, so Daryl gives her a piggyback ride to the funeral home.

Beth speculates that there may be (hopefully good!) people at the funeral home, steadfast in her belief that there are still good people in the world. Daryl quips, “I don’t think the good ones survive.” Before reaching the house, they stop to pay respects for Hershel at an 1800s-era tombstone marked “Beloved Father.” Daryl places weed flowers atop the marker, and they hold hands, interlocking fingers. Hershel was one of the good ones — he didn’t survive.

Soon after, they scour the funeral home, finding it suspiciously clean and vacant. The only residents left are truly dead people in various stage of embalming. They also find an organized pantry of food, including a “white trash brunch” of peanut butter, jelly, and pig’s feet. Daryl suspects it may be someone else’s stash and decides to leave most for its original owner. (Aw, Daryl’s one of the good ones. Wait, does that mean he won’t survive?!)

Surrounded by candles, Beth and Daryl spend a quiet evening with a little night music. Beth plays the piano and sings Waxahatchee’s “Be Good” as Daryl listens from his comfy, coffin bed. Continuity Police Mini-Alert! Assuming the series takes place roughly around the same time it first aired in 2010, there is no way Beth would have learned that song as the band Waxahatchee formed in 2011. The way the moment plays, it could be assumed that Beth wrote the song herself. As such, it can plausibly make sense in continuity. It most definitely makes sense for the emotionality of the scene.

What’s clever about the post-apocalyptic salon is that the more on-the-nose lyrics of “Be Good” are left out of the scene. The song starts with, “It’s unclear now, what we intend/ We’re alone in our own world/ You don’t wanna be my boyfriend/ And I don’t wanna be your girl.” The growing connection between Beth and Daryl is evident — we already know this. The song choice is window-dressing, a hint to viewers familiar with the song as well as confirmation to those geeky enough (like me) who seek out the rest of the lyrics.

Daryl carries Beth into the kitchen the next morning — in a matter not unlike a newlywed groom traditionally carries his bride. He has prepared an all inclusive white trash brunch for two. As they are about to dig in, the zombie detection device alerts them. Daryl grabs his crossbow and creaks open the front door to find — a mangy, one-eyed dog. The once-white dog sniffs Daryl’s hand and runs off as fast as it appeared. Is it a coincidence that with one eye the dog reminds me of a pirate and therefore must be a pirate-like scout for a future villain (Gareth perhaps)? I think not!

Despite my dubious logic, the dog is confirmed to be a part of someone’s plans as his return interrupts an emotionally tense — dare I say, romantic? — scene between Daryl and Beth.

NEXT: Beryl in peril

After another evening of peanut butter, jelly, and diet cola, Beth writes a thank you note to the stash’s original owners, resolute regardless of whether they’ll return or not. Daryl suggests that they stay for awhile and try to make it work if and when the original residents return. Relieved and surprised, Beth asks what changed Daryl’s mind on there still being good people in the world. Shy to respond, Daryl dodges the question. Beth is insistent. He stares at her until she realizes — she changed his mind.

The scene is electric. It could lead to something…but the zombie detection device rings again, accompanied by a dog’s barks. Daryl grabs a jar of pig’s feet and opens the door for the mangy mutt. Instead, a hungry horde of Walkers greet him. Stupid dog! You made Daryl look bad!

Barking at Beth to “grab her sh—” and escape through a window, Daryl lures the Walker horde to the basement embalming room. Daryl barely slips out of the claustrophobic space, his will to live and a strong, stabbing arm as his only tools of survival. Outside, he finds Beth’s “sh—” abandoned in the street and a car racing away from the scene. Daryl follows on foot in hot pursuit, all the while screaming Beth’s name. Faster than Admiral Ackbar can yell “It’s a trap!,” Beth is gone and Daryl is alone.

Daryl runs into the next day, struggling to follow the car and retrieve Beth. He eventually stops when he reaches a fork in the road, bisected only by a singular line of railroad tracks. (Another coincidence? I think not!) Exhausted, he falls asleep while sitting in the road. Six men dressed like post-apocalyptic prospects of the Sons of Anarchy Georgia charter surround him. The leader moves towards Daryl and consequently falls back as Daryl clocks him in the face and aims his crossbow at his head. Post-apocalyptic Sons of Anarchy are none other than Joe and the suburban intruders from “Claimed.” Joe laughs, complimenting Daryl as a real “bowman.” Joe smiles, asking, “Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people?” With that, Daryl stands down, as do Joe’s men. Hey, Joe is going to be trouble. I can feel it.

Walker of the week: Hands down, Walkers in the Mist. A swarm of Walkers coming at you inside of a funeral home is scary, too, but an indeterminate number of Walkers reigning down upon you in a thick shroud of fog is a chilling sight.

Questions to consider:

Who took Beth? Where is she going? Why was she taken?

Will Beth follow the footsteps of the other moral compasses of the series into an untimely grave?

Will Daryl continue his search for Beth or abandon the search in joining Joe and his crew?

Will we learn more about Bob’s “bull-headed,” deceased partner?

When will our favorite Zombiepocalypse survivors reach Terminus?

What will they find when they get there?

What’s up with the one-eyed dog?

Who’s Gareth?!

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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