By Thomas Cowley
I’ve talked about The Walking Dead earlier in this season, such as the premiere episode, and in the beginning I was not impressed. I felt that the first half of the entire season was piddling about trying to find ways to bring us back to, and make up for, how season 3 should have ended. And although I felt like it took far too long to get to that point, I felt that the mid-season finale of this season was quite good.
The second half so far has been better than previous episodes as well after they finally figured out what exactly it is that makes any iteration of The Walking Dead enjoyable. To put it simply, zombies are old news at this point. They have infiltrated nearly every form of entertainment save for perhaps a music album comprised solely of zombie growls and gunshots. What has allowed zombies (or more accurately stories involving zombies) to remain interesting are the human elements of the story. What becomes important to people, how we grow together, how we grow apart, how we change, what we become, and who the real monsters are. These things have remained interesting and recently AMC’s The Walking Dead has finally began focusing on those elements again as seen in “Still” and the now famous episode “The Grove”.
Sunday’s episode, “Us” continued the focus thankfully. Finally all the separate little bands are making their way to Terminus in the hopes that they can either find a safe place to live, or at the very least find other members of their group. Rick, Carl and Michonne make a small appearance as they head towards the sanctuary, however the story mainly focuses on Daryl and Glenn. Glenn’s story, while heartwarming, was still rather predictable though that is not necessarily a bad thing. Solid acting throughout, but the burning of the picture seemed a bit unnecessary. I understand the symbology behind it, but at the same time, you may want photos of people in case you ever get separated again, despite what Maggie says.
Daryl’s however was far more interesting. Here we see Daryl fighting between what he has become thanks to the influences of Beth, Rick and the rest of the group, with who he was. The decision whether or not to cover the body of Len, someone he hated/disliked said a great deal about the turmoil within his character. However, the fact that he still thought about it and was even going to act as Beth would have does show hope for the Daryl we as an audience have grown to love. Hopefully that side wins out in the end when Rick and Joe inevitably face off. The last thing we want to see is him run off with a group that is not good for him like he did with Merle.
The most interesting aspect of the episode was the reveal of Terminus. Now I never watch the teaser for upcoming episodes, but did anyone else get a Silent Hill/Stepford Wives feeling about the place? The gates are not locked, no one is walking about or watching the fences, and there is just one woman who is not afraid of them and just immediately offers them food. That is just too calm and normal for me, especially after the Governor. Everyone’s spider sense should be going haywire, yet they pay no heed. And I would not trust that “plate” just yet, because all of it is just too easy, and that is when bad things happen.