Still separated from one another, the rest of the gang grapple with their new realities
Hope — or the lack thereof — is a common theme that runs through The Walking Dead. It’s a feeling that resonates with viewers regardless of individual backgrounds. Despite never having been through a Zombiepocalypse, we viewers have experienced hope and hopelessness. When talking to people who don’t watch the series, I often hear the argument that for all the action, the main characters’ situation is so hopeless, so pointless that there is no reason to watch. Why bother when the characters’ lives can merely go from bad to worse?
So, why do we watch The Walking Dead? Why do we care? Do we care?
I can only speak for myself, but I care. I probably care too much. The trials and tribulations of these characters are still captivating to watch — and recap. Therefore, while it’s all nice and good that Rick, Carl, and Michonne are relatively okay, I still really, really want to know how the other survivors are doing. (Especially Glenn!) But that’s just me.
Daryl and Beth
Beth’s journal entry narrates the opening sequence — Daryl and Beth run for their lives through the woods, evading Walkers and putting as much distance between themselves and the Prison as they can. The journal entry was written around the time Rick’s group found the Prison. Beth writes of Hershel’s optimism, as he hopes they can create a new, permanent home there. She even quotes him proclaiming, “If you don’t have hope, what’s the point of living?” (Hershel supported the same type of philosophy prior to entering A block to help the sick.) With all of the promise the Prison represents still fresh, Beth muses in her journal, “We can live here for the rest of our lives.” It’s a touching thought. Too bad Daryl and Beth are actually lying down exhausted in a field as vulture circle above them.
Despite their latest ordeal, and the violent loss of her father, Beth clings to hope. She encourages Daryl to use his tracking skills to find other survivors. Daryl remains silent and unmoving, reluctantly giving into Beth’s call to action after she storms off into the woods alone.
He eventually picks up on some tracks, about four or five hours fresh. Rabbit carcasses can be seen inside a nearby log. Next, they find half-eaten grapes on the trail. Ever the optimist, Daryl announces “things went bad.” Beth chastises him for not having faith, but he quips, “Faith ain’t done sh*t for us. It certainly ain’t done sh*t for your father.” Too soon, Daryl. Beth gives him a death glare that swiftly shuts him up.
They then find two dead Walkers and human blood. Before they continue on the trail, a rogue Walker surprises them. With the power of teamwork, they quickly slay it. Soon after, they arrive at a clearing in the woods — railroad tracks. Beside the tracks, a small group of Walkers feast on human flesh. They don’t recognize any of the dead, but at least one of them was a child. Beth loses it, unleashing the sobs and tears she has kept in since the fall of the Prison. Daryl continues onto the tracks, stopping twice as he realizes Beth is still crying.
That night, Beth uses her journal as kindling for their fire. Her earlier journal entry continues as Beth then wrote, “If this doesn’t work, I don’t know how I can keep going.” Beth and Daryl will now need each other more than ever to keep going.
I like the dynamic between Beth and Daryl, something we saw a bit of in the season premiere. I hope it doesn’t go in a romantic direction, and that’s not just because I ship Daryl and Carol. Daryl no longer has any crutch or touchstone he can go to that inspires him to be a better man, a leader. There’s just this hopeful teenage girl. Can Daryl continue to be the man he became? So far, Beth has been doing the real leading. We’ve seen who Daryl is without Merle, but who is Daryl without Rick, Carol, and Hershel? Who is Beth without Hershel and Maggie?
NEXT: The Next Generation prove their resilience
Lizzie, Mika, Tyreese, and Judith (!!!)
Baby Judith is alive! Tyreese has her, safe in his arms, for now. (Good job, eagle-eyed fans, who noticed Tyreese carrying something — or someone — in the midseason finale.) Lizzie and Mika are still alive, too. Lizzie is cold and steely as ever. Mika is still a terrible crier.
Lizzie stabs at the rabbits in the log with her knife, confirming that the tracks Daryl and Beth followed are those of Tyreese and the girls. Is this also proof that Lizzie is the Walker Feeder/Rat Vivisector? I know a lot of people assume this, but I feel like it’s too easy for it to be her. Anyway, Tyreese and the girls are back on the move after hearing noises in the woods.
Next on the trail are the grapes, so Lizzie and Mika enjoy snack time while Tyreese changes Judith’s diaper. Unfortunately for them, babies are loud, especially when they’re on the run from zombies. Hearing more noises in the woods — it’s not like there aren’t other creatures in the forest — Tyreese and the sisters are on edge. Crows startle Mika, and she runs off, abandoning her group. (How old is Mika supposed to be? Isn’t she smart enough to not run blindly into the woods? Apparently not.)
Luckily — I guess; I don’t have much patience for tweens — they catch up to her. No Walkers are in sight, but human screams can be heard from close-by. Tyreese hands Judith off to Lizzie and groups the girls together as he runs off to help whoever may be in danger. This may not be the wisest decision, but it does show the lengths to which Tyreese will help others, especially if there’s a chance he may help a lost friend or his lost sister, Sasha.
Stuck with two (understandably) psychologically damaged tweens, Judith starts to cry. The only thing for Lizzie to do, of course, is to cover her mouth and not let go. Just then, two Walkers approach the girls. Mika calls out for Lizzie’s help, but Lizzie is too busy smothering Judith to death.
On a zombie show, you expect to see some dark, horrific imagery. A kid smothering a crying baby to death is not an image that immediately comes to mind. I don’t often talk at my TV, but when Lizzie wouldn’t move her hand from Judith’s mouth, I shouted, “NO!” like Dr. Robert Neville having a breakdown. We just got Judith back. She can’t die like this!
Meanwhile, Tyreese reaches the train tracks to find a group of strangers overrun by Walkers. He does what he can but all but one of the group dies, and the survivor is bitten. With a final blow to the last Walker standing, Tyreese overhears his name called in a woman’s voice.
It’s Carol! With a live Judith in her arms (Thank goodness!) and Lizzie and Mika at her sides, Carol has returned. (Carol’s last appearance was in episode four, “Indifference,” which aired back in November.) In the Dead world, she’s been gone for only a few days. Since Rick never got the chance to tell Tyreese that Carol was responsible for the deaths of Karen and David, Tyreese welcomes her with open arms. Clearly not ready to come clean about her past actions, Carol lies about her exile, explaining that she merely stayed out longer to scavenge and found the Prison in chaos when she returned. She followed Tyreese and the girls’ trail as they escaped, but lost them, only to come upon them just now.
Following the advice of the bitten survivor — who later turns into the Walker that surprises Beth and Daryl — the strange familial unit follows the train tracks and discovers a marker, heralding a “sanctuary for all.” The sign reads, “Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.” A map below is hand-marked with the location of the “sanctuary,” Terminus.
Terminus was one of the original names for Atlanta, as the settlement marked the end or “terminus” of several railroad routes. It also denotes finality, which probably does not bode well for our favorite gang of Zombiepocalypse survivors. Is there even a possibility that Terminus is actually a sanctuary?
NEXT: Star-crossed lovers remain star-crossed
Maggie, Sasha, and Bob
Maggie sharpens her blade, Sasha dresses Bob’s gunshot wound, and Bob smiles like the enigmatic creeper that he is. I still can’t quite tell what Bob Stookey’s deal is. Maybe it is that simply he suffers from survivor’s guilt and alcoholism and now will serve as Sasha’s love interest. (Have you noticed the way he looks at her?)
Resolute in her decision to reunite with Glenn, Maggie is off to find the bus of escapees. Unwilling to split up again, Bob and Sasha tag along, much to Sasha’s chagrin. They follow the bus’ initial direction east on the road, passing a sign warning, “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates.” Is George a giant purgatory state? Is every character actually already dead, undergoing God’s judgment as inmates of purgatory? Crazier things have happened on television.
Down the road, they catch up with the bus, which is seemingly abandoned on the street. But the bus, which was filled mostly with the infected from A block, is now filled to the brim with Walkers. Maggie insists on letting each Walker out to determine if Glenn is among them. Sasha and Bob help her, but rather than finding Glenn, they instead uselessly waste ammo on killing the bus Walkers.
Still in a state of shock and desperation, Maggie climbs into the bus to see if any of the remains once were Glenn. One Walker, a black-haired male, is still on the bus, struggling under the weight of a actually dead body. Maggie frees him and stabs him in the brain, without hesitation. She collapses on a seat, grimacing. Her silent sobs grow into laughter. He wasn’t Glenn. None of the bus Walkers nor the bus Walkers’ food were Glenn.
Poor Glenn. Less than a couple days ago, he almost died from a devastating illness. Then, his father-in-law was executed and his home was destroyed. Now, he is stranded in the ruins of his sanctuary, separated from his people including the love of his life, and surrounded by flesh-eating zombies. Today is no good, very bad day for Glenn. On the bright side, at least he isn’t a bus Walker!
Crying out for Maggie, Glenn soon realizes that he’s on his own in the Prison. He returns to his and Maggie’s old cell, taking a few moments to assess his new predicament. Pain and defeat are written all over his face. Will he surrender to his fate? He notices the snapshot of Maggie, which he took not too long ago. It gives him the resolve he needed. He brings out riot gear and gathers supplies into a rucksack, including Bob’s liquor. He isn’t giving up on life. He isn’t giving up on Maggie.
Armed in the riot gear and helmet, Glenn dives into the Walker fray. He struggles but scrapes out of the worst of the Walker horde, unharmed. (He must have turtled to avoid getting bitten in the neck.) Before leaving the Prison grounds for good, he discovers Tara, Lilly’s loud mouth yet naïve sister, who clammed up after witnessing the Governor’s true colors. She is alone and unmoving, trapped in a small gated section of the Prison.
Just as shell shocked as she was in the midseason finale, Tara needs Glenn’s presence to snap her out of inaction. (She didn’t shoot a single bullet into the assault on the Prison.) Following Glenn’s lead, Tara works with him to escape her hideout, and together, they finally leave the remnants of the Prison. They must have just missed Michonne when she returned to the Prison, as several images of the burning Prison are reused from the midseason finale. This is most likely the last we will see of the Prison. It was fun while it lasted, but I won’t miss it. Will you?
NEXT: Oh hi, new characters!
Maggie, Sasha, and Bob must have started much farther away from the road than previously thought as Glenn and Tara make excellent time, arriving at the road near the “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates” sign. Tara reveals that after her sister Lilly ended the Governor once and for all, she was overrun by Walkers and killed. She apologizes profusely for her and her group’s actions, stating that she was deceived by Brian. She also inadvertently tells him of Hershel’s death. With all of the chaos going on outside, Glenn, who was still recovering in A block at the time, didn’t know Hershel was killed, let alone killed by the Governor.
Glenn’s post-Prison plan is to find Maggie, nothing else matters. When Tara asks who Maggie is, Glenn answers in breathless desperation, “She’s my wife.” (Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun both killed it this episode.) Just as resolute as his wife (Aw!), Glenn believes Maggie is alive. On Hershel, Glenn declares, “He told me all I have to do is believe and that’s what I’m going to do.” He admits that he needs Tara’s help.
This proves true as Glenn passes out after exhausting himself fighting a small herd of Walkers. Tara tries to revive him yet takes care of the remaining Walker before she can check him. As she bashes in the Walker’s brains with the butt of Glenn’s rifle, an armored truck rolls up. Throwing the rifle to the ground, Tara exclaims, “Hope you enjoyed the show, assholes!”
Out of the truck walk three people — a pudgy guy rocking a mullet, a pig-tailed young woman with guns holstered at her waist, and a mustachioed man with a machine gun. The man with the serious mustache replies, “You gotta damn mouth on you, you know that? What else you got?” Welcome, Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Eugene Porter!
What does this mean?! I have no idea. I only read the early issues of the comics. Nevertheless, I have hope that at the very least, it’ll mean some more must-see TV.
Walker of the week: The bus Walkers were all from the Prison, people who could have been among the characters we know and love (or love to hate.) We don’t necessarily care a great deal for them, but we could have. That’s what makes their loss greater than any other random Walkers.
Questions to consider:
What was Carol really doing in exile? Would she have tried to return to the Prison to make amends? Does it matter now?
Will Tyreese learn the truth from Carol?
With Daryl and Beth walking in the opposite direction of Tyreese, Carol, and the girls, will all members of the original group ever reconnect?
What is Terminus? Is this sanctuary safe?
Can Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene be trusted? Are they from Terminus?
Will Rick and Carl ever reunite with Judith?
Will Carol confess her actions to Tyreese? Does that even matter anymore?