Several groups converge on Terminus as the series sets up for the season finale.
Credit: Gene Page/AMC

It’s the penultimate episode, and the puzzle pieces of the season are finally fitting into place. The picture that they create, however, is a little too idyllic. Maggie and Glenn are reunited, alive and well. (Yay!) Along with them, Sasha, Bob, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene have survived. (Yay!) Plus, they have all reached Terminus. (Yay?) I have a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach that Terminus may be home to those with a discerning palate. And I’m not talking sunflower seeds and corn. For more “Us” insights, check out Dalton Ross’ initial thoughts here.

Glenn and Tara plus Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene

Glenn, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene kick off the episode walking along the seemingly endless route to Terminus. Eugene is chewing Tara’s ear off (metaphorically) as he rambles on and on about dinosaurs, video games, and batteries. For the record, he doesn’t believe as other do that the Zombie Virus killed of the dinosaurs, as others may believe. Then again, it’s “enjoyable as hell to think of an undead ankylosaur going after a diplodocus. That there is a video game worthy of a pre-order.” This guy is supposed to carry the secret to the cause of the Zombie Virus? Sure he is.

At night, Abraham and Tara keep watch as the others sleep. Abraham speculates on why Tara is so loyal to Glenn. At first, he suggests it’s because she’s in love with him, a “girl in love with the guy she’s trying to help to get to his girl” situation. This isn’t some kind of post-apocalyptic Some Kind of Wonderful. Instead, the shadow of the Governor and her guilt over the events at the Prison loom large over her.

Eugene picks up his largely one-sided conversation with Tara the next day, still discussing batteries. This guy is strange, but he provides a bit of humor especially after the bleakness of “The Grove.” Tara is pulled out of her blank stare of willfully ignoring Eugene when she notices one of Maggie’s “GO TO TERMINUS” signs now also including Sasha and Bob’s names. Upon reading the sign, Glenn breaks into a sprint, running in hopeful desperation towards Terminus and Maggie.

After a few hours of going “Casey Jones,” Abraham stops the group to rest by a tower near the tracks. I’m not sure if Abraham’s reference to Casey Jones meant the historical railroader or the TMNT character — I choose to believe it’s the latter. Glenn is gung-ho to push on, re-energized by the sign confirming Maggie is still alive. A Walker suddenly appears in the tower and just as suddenly falls to its true death. In the melee, however, Tara injures her knee. She insists she can continue, even as she limps.

Rosita calls Glenn out for being “an ass,” using Tara’s loyalty to him for his selfish advantage. Ignoring her, Glenn offers Abraham a deal — continue the trek as a group until sundown. Then, Glenn will gift his riot gear to Eugene, and the groups can go their separate ways. Abraham accepts, and they quite literally get back on track.

With Eugene now clad in riot gear, the group stops at the start of a vast tunnel resembling the “real” Gates of Hell. Abraham wants to take a detour around the “long, dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses.” Knowing that Glenn won’t go for that, he decides this is where they should part ways. He gifts Glenn and Tara two cans of food and a flashlight. Rosita hugs them goodbye. Awkward as ever, Eugene tells Tara she’s “seriously hot,” despite acknowledging “he’s well aware” Tara likes girls. Sure, Eugene. Sure.

NEXT PAGE: Glenn and Maggie reunite — everything is beautiful and nothing hurts

Inside the tunnel, they find Walkers pinned under rubble — lots of rubble. Tara notes that their blood is still wet, meaning the cave-in must have been recent. The duo make a path to the top of the debris, killing immobile Walkers as they go. Glenn checks their faces to ensure none of them are Maggie (or Sasha or Bob). Upon reaching the top, they realize the other side is overrun with Walkers.

Apparently unmoved by the dangers of an approaching Walker horde, Glenn checks the mobile Walkers’ faces too. None of them are Maggie (or Sasha or Bob). He wants to push through, but Tara urges him to choose another way that doesn’t result in immediate death. The other way involves distracting the Walkers with the flashlight as Glenn and Tara scoot past the rubble blockade to the other side of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene happen upon a workable vehicle — a minivan equipped with its own zombie air freshener. Rosita and Eugene squabble over who should act as navigator. Eugene’s mix of humblebrags and “please” eventually win Rosita over, but really Eugene’s plan was to return to the tracks to ensure Glenn and Tara’s safety. Once they’re stopped at the other side of the tunnel, Rosita argues that Glenn and Tara are not the priority — the priority is getting Eugene to DC. Eugene deftly skirts the subject, affirming, “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself.” Abraham wakes up and argues with Rosita until Eugene spots something — or someone — close by.

Inside the tunnel, Tara gets her foot stuck under a boulder of debris. Glenn tries in vain to free her. She yells at him to leave her and go find Maggie. Despite everything that has happened, that’s just not the type of person Glenn is. Valiant, noble, and irrational as ever, Glenn unloads his clip into the surrounding Walkers. He’s ready to confront them as well as his certain death.

Suddenly, lights appear and a group shoots down the remaining Walkers around Glenn and Tara. Is it Abraham and Co.? No! It’s Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, AND MAGGIE (and Sasha and Bob)! Glenn and Maggie are reunited, and yes, it does feel so good.

Sharing their first moment alone in a long time, Maggie tells her “husband” that she’s the one that caused the cave in, following WWGD (What Would Glenn Do). Like Glenn, Maggie refers to herself as his wife, but don’t think I don’t want to see a real wedding, The Walking Dead writers! Maggie finds Glenn’s Polaroid of her and burns it, asserting, he’ll never again need a picture of her. It’s a touching gesture; I just can’t help feeling nervous that such an expression of love can only result in bitter tragedy.

The group decides to journey to Terminus together with all but Glenn and Maggie stating that they eventually wish to continue to Washington, D.C. The next day, they make to the end of the line, finding a large, fenced-in warehouse. It’s Terminus! They open the gate, passing a well-kept garden of flowers and crops. They enter the inner gate following the orders of an accompanying sign — “LOWER YOUR WEAPONS. YOU WILL BE MET. YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT TERMINUS.” Inside, signs of a thriving post-apocalyptic community are evident, not unlike the Prison community at its prime. What’s missing, however, are all the people.

Only one person is visible. She’s preparing something near a grill. The woman, Tasha Yar Denise Crosby in a brown Pioneer Woman wig, welcomes them. “Hi, I’m Mary. Look’s like you’ve been on the road awhile. Let’s get you settled, and we’ll make you a plate. Welcome to Terminus.” Abort! Abort! Something’s not right! Ugh, Terminus is going to fry my nerves. I can feel it.

NEXT PAGE: That “Robin Hood cat” learns the Rule of the Claim

Daryl and the Not So Merry Band of Marauders

Awaking to the dulcet tunes of a Walker rubbing its face on barbed wire, the marauders greet the day. Although there are questions of whether that “Robin Hood cat” stuck around, Daryl is still with the group — merely out hunting for grub. Daryl manages to shoot a rabbit just as Len (the other bowman) sneaks up behind him to shoot the same “cottontail.” Len invokes the Rule of the Claim, which obviously Daryl doesn’t know nor care to know. He also calls Daryl “boy” and taunts him about Beth. Daryl unsheathes his knife, but Mayor Hale Joe diffuses the situation before it turns bloody. He explains the Rule of the Claim, which acts as their group’s central law. The Rule of the Claim is essentially calling “SHOTGUN!” “SHOTTY!” or “DIBS!” for everything — common among children entering vehicles and roommates avoiding garbage duty. Acting as the Zombiepocalypse equivalent of King Solomon, Joe splits the rabbit in half, giving each man one half.

Later, Joe has a heart-to-heart with Daryl, asking why Daryl insists he’s only temporarily with them. Daryl doesn’t give a straight answer — which I hope is rescuing Beth — instead mumbling about just finding the right place. Joe wants him with the group, recognizing his value. He further explains the Rule of the Claim, adding “you steal, you keel” and “you don’t lie.” The punishment of breaking the law is a beating of varied intensity, depending on the gravity of the offense and “the general attitude of the day.”

Joe, a cat person, tries to convince Daryl to stay with his gang with his axiom about those lovely, vicious creatures: “Ain’t nothin’ sadder than an outdoor cat who thinks he’s an indoor cat.” An indoor cat who thinks he’s an outdoor cat is sad, too — just hearing my cat cry at the birds as he sits by the window breaks my heart… but I digress. Daryl’s sense of self-identity has been challenged this season more than ever — can he sustain the just, compassionate leader role he built for himself or will he regress to the morally ambivalent follower he once was?

Joe chooses a commercial car garage close to the tracks as the night’s shelter. Each marauder quickly “claims” a spot, leaving Daryl to the floor. Later, Len confronts Daryl over the missing half of his “cottontail.” Joe acts as mediator again, searching through Daryl’s bag and finding the halved rabbit carcass. Daryl accuses Len of sneaking it into his bag; Len denies it. Joe, chief arbitrator of the Claim law, saw Len put it in Daryl’s bag. Len lied and therefore must reap the punishment. He punches him and calls for the others to beat the liar. Oh well, poor Len. NOT.

Daryl and the gang — minus Len — gear up for another day on the tracks. Daryl finds Len’s body, beaten and bloodied, rocking an arrow in his head. He grabs a cloth to put over the body — like Beth would have — then thinks better of it, moving on to join the gang. Len was not worthy of the courtesy.

Joe has taken quite a shine to Daryl, sharing his liquor with him. He reveals that they’re on the tracks not to go to Terminus but to hunt down the “walking piece of fecal matter” that surprised them in the suburbs. With Tony catching his face, they are on the trail to enact their revenge. As they walk, they pass a candy bar wrapper trapped under a wooden plank.

It’s only after Joe addresses why they’re on the tracks that I realize it hadn’t been previously explained. I was so used to every group trudging between the rail lines every episode, I hadn’t realized not every character had yet encountered the signs for Terminus.

NEXT: Candy is the harbinger of doom. Plus, so many questions and only one episode left!

Michonne, Rick, and Carl

Like everyone else, Rick is still en route to Terminus. He surveys their status, noting that they have one day’s worth of water remaining. Carl and Michonne, however, couldn’t be bothered with his preoccupation with the gravity of their situation. They are in the middle of a bet over who can balance along the tracks the longest. Michonne loses, and as per the bet’s conditions, offers Carl some of her candy. He ends up sharing it with her anyway — just like they “always” do. (Aw…family!) Too bad murderous marauders are on the hunt for Rick and his new family, and they’re catching up.

It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen our original protagonist. That being said, Rick is featured in only one short scene. Have you missed him? Personally, I haven’t — Rick is a pretty predictable character, especially in the absence of extremely devastating and awful things happening to him. With one episode to go, I’m sure we can expect some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things to come.

Walker of the week: The Walkers in the tunnel were spooky, especially the one with gaping holes in its torso, but I can’t get the image of the Walker smearing its face onto the marauders’ barbed wire out of my head. It’s the perfect combination of gross and awesome.

Questions to consider:

Who is Mary? What is she cooking?!

Where are the people of Terminus?

Assuming Gareth is the head or at least part of Terminus, how much will he be featured in the season finale? Will we see just a teaser like Michonne’s introduction in the second season finale?

Where is Beth? Do the people of Terminus have her? If so, is she still alive? Why was she taken?

While many assumed that the smoke from “The Grove” came from Beth and Daryl’s nighttime arson party, could it be something else? Like a fiery showdown at Terminus — reflecting the showdown at the Prison in the midseason finale?

What will Daryl do when the marauders catch up to Rick, Carl, and Michonne? What will Rick do?

Will Rick and Carl reunited with baby Judith?

Will anyone not survive the season finale?

Is Terminus but a deadly (or otherwise but I’m assuming deadly) way station on the road to the greater destination of Washington, D.C.?

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

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

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