TV Recap: The Walking Dead, ‘Us’

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Plot: While searching for Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Glenn (Steven Yeun) finds one of her many handwritten messages. He then makes a beeline right to Terminus to get there as soon as possible. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) however wants to keep moving north to Washington DC. Daryl meanwhile is busy learning the rules of his new group lead by Joe (Jeff Kober).

It really is difficult to stay positive in a world overrun by animated corpses. We have seen all best laid plans go to hell time and time again on this show. We’ve witnessed people do unspeakable acts either in the name of survival or pure insanity. Last week’s episode exemplified beautifully how bad things really are with Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) murdering her sister and Carol (Melissa McBride) having to put her down. When you’re at the point where children think it’s okay to murder other children, you know there’s no turning back. Some might say that there’s really no hope left for anyone in this environment. Yet “Us” proves that it’s okay to keep up hope because sometimes, and only sometimes, everything will work out exactly as planned.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Glenn and Maggie are finally back together. After several weeks of searching and questions about survival, these two lovebirds have somehow reunited. Perfectly unscathed too I might add! Seeing as this show is so focused on being as dark and depressing as possible, it was incredibly refreshing to have a moment where everything is simply perfect. You’d have to be some type of heartless monster to not smile at their emotional reunion and Maggie claiming that Glenn “will never need a picture of her again” because she’s not going anywhere. The odds were truly against these two and their emotional reconnecting was everything it should have been. Plus, you also got the sense that Tara (Alanna Masterson) felt personally redeemed after playing a big part in bringing Glenn and Maggie together again. There is not a lot of time for happiness so, like every character on this show, I’m going to enjoy every moment.

Glenn’s plot actually took up the main chunk of this episode and it really worked. Not only was the reunion a memorably enjoyable experience, everything leading up to it was fun to watch too. I’m not even talking about that ridiculous walker death tunnel either which was incredibly well designed. This plot was as much about Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) too. We have barely spent anytime with these characters so far and it was nice to actually see their rapport together. Perhaps the one person who benefited the most from this was Eugene. Behind that nerdy exterior and epic mullet is the mind of a brilliant tactician. “Us” showed us that despite Abraham’s brash and commanding exterior, he is very much under the command of Eugene. This very likely stems from Abraham’s insistence on making Eugene the next human Messiah but you can tell that Eugene knows not to always show his true hand. Case in point: Tricking Rosita to rendezvous with Glenn and Tara. He’s definitely a much more compelling character now than when we first met him.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

There was a lot of focus on Daryl’s new group last night too, which was appropriate considering their formal reveal two weeks ago. We still don’t know much about who these people are but it was interesting to see this new dynamic they’ve created for survival. Even though they are all clearly bad people, they follow a strict set of rules implemented by Joe. They actually have some semblance of order. Daryl doesn’t fit in with this group early on but you get the sense that he’s coming around to their way of thinking by episode’s end. This is a bit unsettling obviously. Joe’s group looks exactly like the type of people Daryl would have hung around before the outbreak. Joe very much fits the role of Merle (Michael Rooker) in this regard. He’s someone that can connect with Daryl but is clearly the ringleader of everyone around him. Daryl spent his entire life under Merle’s thumb and the outbreak has allowed him to become his own man. Even though I doubt the writers will want Daryl to become an outlaw, it’s sad to watch how comfortable he’s becoming.

The truth about Joe’s group though is that I can’t find myself getting too invested in them. As we saw in “Claimed” these guys are willing to brutally assault each other for breaking rules. Last night a man named Len (Marcus Hester) wanted to frame Daryl as an excuse to kill him. But this all backfires and Joe orders his group to beat Len to death as punishment for lying. If any of these excess group members can die whenever, why should we care about them? I saw a lot of parallels between Joe’s group and the prisoners we saw back in Season 3. Ultimately I feel like Joe’s group will make a brief splash in the show and that will be that. We also now know that Joe is trying to hunt down Rick (Andrew Lincoln) for killing one of his companions. Remember how Tony (Davi Jay) saw Rick under the bed? That was a good call back. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next week but I’m fully expecting Rick and Joe to have it out with Daryl ultimately joining Rick again. I mean, Daryl can only be a good guy, right?

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Speaking of Rick, we actually got some follow up to him! If you count one five minute scene as follow up. What gives? After being absent for three consecutive episodes, Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) got no more than a reminder that they were still alive. Now I’m not saying that Rick should be shoehorned into every episode, these past few episodes have proven that supporting characters can carry the show no problem, but I found myself wanting some more with these main characters last night. I will say though that the friendship between Carl and Michonne is just awesome. It really makes them more endearing and it’s just nice to see these characters smile every once and a while. Plus, I will admit that the candy bar wrapper proving Daryl is on the exact same path was a good touch.

No matter how you slice it, “Us” was ultimately a build up into the much bigger event of Terminus. The appropriate loose ends were tied up and now every character is on their way to this supposed sanctuary. Glenn and his crew made it first and met some friendly woman named Mary (Denise Crosby), but holy shit talk about red flags. Everything about Terminus screams bad idea now. It’s too clean, too empty, and too perfect to be anything but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have my own theories about what this place can be but I’ll save those for next week’s review. Either way, “Us” was another enjoyable hour of television that appropriately rounded up some subplots that leaves the door open for one insane season finale.

Rating: 8/10

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