TV Review: The Walking Dead – Season 4 Episode 15 “Us” (USA, 2014)

carl and michonne

‘Us’ had one job and it was to put at least some of the splintered survivors onto the same trajectory. As such, we were given a mildly touching reunion with Glenn and Maggie, preceded by a showing of just how desperate Glenn can get; desperate enough to wander into a dark cave with an unknown amount of walkers.

The series’ resident Casanova and his one-track mind was interesting to watch, especially when compared to the helpful and capable Glenn of season 1. I fear this is a foreshadowing of Glenn’s weakened status in the zombie apocalypse, his love for Maggie will get him killed off and I’m dreading that it’s going to be very soon. This was explicitly foretold by that ominous scene where Maggie burned the only snapshot Glenn had of her; Sarah Conner style.

Before Glenn wandered into that cave, we got the spend a bit more time with Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, with good ol’ Abe developing nicely into a similar narrow-minded character, but one far more capable of not letting his mission get him killed. On the other hand, Rosita is proving to be nothing more than background while Eugene and his adorable asperger-y dialogue roped us into quickly caring about this mullet-sporting video game nerd.

It seemed a bit of a stretch that Sasha and Bob were so quick to just believe Eugene knew everything about the infection when all they had to go on was his and Abe’s word. Already we have characters who have been developed quite nicely (That is, Bob) being relegated back into the ‘one line an episode’ category now that the group is finally growing again. This kind of took away the air of competence that Sasha and Bob built up in ‘Alone’.

‘Us’ was a bit less coherent than the stellar ‘The Grove,’ but at least it didn’t crush our spirits. The plot was moved along quickly as we approach the season finale, and it’s quite clear that next week will centre around the mysterious Terminus. From the final scene where a solitary character named Mary welcomes Glenn, Maggie et al to the eerily quite sanctuary, one can easily tell that the finale isn’t going to be all good news. Just Mary is creepy enough, and for the video game fans – doesn’t she resemble a certain deceptively cheerful farmer’s wife? ”We’ll cook you up a plate” takes on a whole new meaning when cross-referenced with the Telltale masterpiece, right? (oh yeah, notice Tara has now hurt her leg?)

On the other side of the tracks, we have Daryl and his newfound group of rule-abiding marauders; the same that almost caught Rick in ‘Claimed.’

Joe’s explanation and compromising approach to this apocalyptic world was one of the strongest parts of the episode, and certainly made Daryl’s time with these contemptible thugs fascinating to watch. The whole mess over the rabbit head could have been a bit more tense, but watching just how much influence Joe and his rules have over the other men was terrifying, and certainly makes me want this character to stick around much longer than I think he is going to.

Though it’s pretty obvious which side Daryl would choose if it came down to it, finding out the predictable motivations for the marauders as they head to Terminus will undoubtedly fuel much of the finale as they will obviously track down Rick, putting Daryl in a position to choose sides. It’s going to be great to watch this unfold.
Rick, Michonne, and Carl didn’t have much to do but portray their closeness as a trio. Michonne playing the ‘sister I never had’ role to Carl is touching, doing wonders for the affection we are supposed to have for both characters, and grounds Rick a bit to hopefully allow him more room to be the Rick Grimes we all know and love; not the panicked man,screaming “CAWRLLL” every second that we all know and kind of hate.

Overall ‘Us’ was a strong penultimate episode, but was a complete change in depth when compared to the focused episodes of the previous weeks that began to become so endearing. The writer’s have done their job well, we know really care about almost each and every one of these characters, which of course, is going to make their deaths much more haunting.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Walking Dead screens on FX in Australia.

Chris’ predictions for the finale (yeah, I think they are going to actually do it)

1. Terminus’ Mary and Gareth (from the preview) will have ulterior motives; cannibalism will be involved.
2. Tara is taken away from the group for a ”doctor” to look over her leg.
3. The rest of the group are served dinner; the dinner is Tara.
4. (Or) the dinner is Beth.
5. One of the marauders tries to abuse Carl.
6. Rick gets into a deadly fight with the marauders.
7. Death predictions: Tara/Beth, Sasha, possibly Carol and Judith.