The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”

“No Sanctuary”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

First, came the First Four Minutes

AMC released The First Four Minutes of The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premiere episode, “No Sanctuary,” earlier in the day on Sunday, October 12, 2014 on AMC’s official website and Facebook pages.  My WD buddy texted me in the late morning:  Did you watch the first four minutes of tonight’s show they released? Intense. I’m stoked. 

I had not, yet.  I was still in the midst of Sunday chores.  It wasn’t until later that afternoon that I had a chance to sneak away with the laptop, find a quiet place, crack open a Miller Lite (for courage, and because, you know, it was time to start celebrating), and watch.

Four minutes and some later, it was a little hard for me to catch my breath. I was glad I had brought the Miller Lite.

Hours later, my WD buddy came over, bearing champagne, to watch the Season 5 premiere episode together.  It was such a treat for me to have her there.  We toasted Rick, Daryl, and the gang, and when 9 o’clock came, we rewatched the First Four Minutes:

First, we see a black screen, bearing one word:

then

The opening shot of “No Sanctuary” shows us the figures of about six young men and women, huddled miserably in a dark train car, sitting braced against the car’s walls, or in the center of the tiny, cramped space. Each person has his/her knees drawn up towards their chests in a self-protective measure. As the camera pans over the huddled figures, we hear a woman’s agonized screams pierce through the walls and the darkness.  All falls silent for a brief moment before the terrified screaming starts up again.

We can see how each scream resonates, and registers, through the body of each person who sits in the small, dark box, as he/she awaits his/her terrible, unknown fate.

As the poor woman’s screams stop, then start afresh, one young man’s head sinks lower, and lower, into his arms, crossed at his knees.  Another young woman sits quiet and still, and stares listlessly down at her hands in the brief, dark silence…then. a fresh wave of screaming begins again.

One bearded young man, huddled in the darkness, laments, in a shaking voice, “We should have never put up those signs…What the hell did we think was gonna happen?” Screams fill the silence that follows his words.

The camera pans to the profile of the young man speaking…we recognize him as Alex, the bearded, squirrely sidekick who met his fateful demise in the Season 4 finale, “A,” in the first moments of the standoff between Rick and the Train Car Superstars and the Terminans of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.

Alex concludes his lament, saying simply, miserably, “We brought ’em here.”

alex

Across from Alex, his brother, Gareth,  leans forward from the darkness. Gareth’s voice shakes too, with earnestness and conviction, as he whispers back to Alex, “We were trying to do something good

At this, Alex laughs, softly and bitterly, shaking his head at his brother in disbelief.

Gareth leans forward until he is face to face with Alex, asserts, “We were being human beings.”

IMG_8340

In this first glimpse of Gareth, we see how he was before, with a softness and compassion still in his eyes. Gareth Before…

Alex laughs thinly at this, hisses back, “What are we now, Gareth?”

Gareth says nothing.  He closes his eyes for a long moment…

IMG_8333

And when he opens them again, we see:

Gareth After.

Gareth After.

Next comes:

now

We hear Abraham’s voice as we watch images of our gang’s hands, as each member creates and modifies his/her own makeshift weaponry from whatever items are on his/her person:

“They seemed nice enough, but I was ready to go.  We had just got here, but, damn. It was time to go. When I told them about D.C., a wink and a nod from the head asshole in charge, they pulled their guns, and it was right back to our regularly scheduled shitstorm.”

Abraham is sharpening something metal down, on the floor, as he talks, Rosita is wrapping her belt around her hand, wrist, and arm…she has taken her earrings, perhaps, and has fashioned them into sharp spines that stick out from the belt she has wrapped over her knuckles. Glenn stomps on a belt, breaking off the top rounded part of the buckle, laces his fingers through the metal spines so they protrude from a closed fist, and proceeds to wrap the belt around his hand.

Michonne’s hands are testing the strength of a leather lace, snapping it taut, as we hear Sasha’s voice ask, “Before they put you in here, you didn’t see…Tyrese?

Michonne’s voice answers, “No.”

“Good,”  Sasha sighs.

We hear Daryl’s voice next, talking about Beth’s abduction, “Black car, with a white cross painted on it. I tried to follow it, I tried…” (We know you did, Daryl Dixon, you beautiful, sweet man.) 

Maggie’s voice asks, “But she’s alive?”

“She’s alive,” Daryl answers. We hear Maggie and Daryl’s whispered exchange of smiles, sighs, and laughter at this news.

Rick is using the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch to saw at a corner of a wooden support beam, fashioning himself a sharp blade.

rick fashions a knife

Outside, the voices of Creepy Comrades escalate, barking orders and telling poor, protesting people to “shut up” as they begin another horrific roundup.  Daryl peers out a crack in the door. “Alright,” he says, “There are four of them pricks, comin’ our way.” He looks up, his eyes meet Rick’s.

4 pricks coming our way

sweet daryl d look

It’s go time.

Rick tears the blade he has fashioned from the wooden beam, reminds the group that “You all know what to do…go for their eyes first, then their throats.”  Outside, a Teminan barks out the order for our gang in the train car to, “Put your backs to the wall at either end of the car…NOW!”

go time in the train car

sasha dukes it up

Rick looks back at the gang, nods silently as they crouch in ready stances, facing the door…but nobody comes through there.  The gang then hears a noise from above, looks up as a light shines down from an opening above them. A canister drops down onto the floor.

Abraham yells, “Move!” and shoves the others back as the canister erupts in a cloud of noxious gas.  Enter, stage left, The Dicks With Gas Masks.

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The following sequence is a nightmarish series of images and events, seen from Rick’s point of view as he is dragged across a large concrete floor.  The piercing shriek of a chainsaw screams, then lulls, and winds through the black, sinister hum of the Bear McCreary score that simmers and pulses as if it were alive, breathing…

Rick's head slams on the concrete...

Rick’s head slams on the concrete…

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick's face.

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick’s face.

All goes black…and then we see:

IMG_7989

We knew they were cannibals!

We knew they were cannibals! #thoseterminalbastards

First Rick, then Daryl,,and Glenn are dragged to the large metal sink, bound with zip ties at the wrists and ankles, gagged, and forced to kneel, along with others, at the long, gleaming trough.  Bob is brought last, and forced onto his knees to Rick’s right side. To the left of Glenn, there are four other men, bound,  gagged, kneeling.

One of the butchers, clad in respirator, baseball cap turned backwards, goggles, and bloody plastic apron, calls, “Hold up,” to his comrade.  He pulls out a fresh knife, then proceeds to sharpen the long, shiny blade in loud, scraping strokes. The other butcher, a tall, strong fellow with gleaming shaved head, clad in bloodstained plastic apron, grips his bat and begins to warm up his swings a couple of feet behind the kneeling men’s heads.

At the trough.

At the trough, Rick sees his refection in the shine of the metal sink, probably the last image the poor victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op see of themselves before their heads are bashed in from behind with the butcher’s bat.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long metal sink.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long trough.

It is a truly terrifying scene, the horror of watching the butchers warming up their swing with the bat and sharpening, wiping their long butcher knives.

It is a truly terrifying scene,  watching the butchers warming up their swings and sharpening their butchers’ knives,  while the bound, kneeling men try to manage their growing panic as the horrible realization of what is happening sets in.

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see a young blond man at the end…He looks familiar. ..his eyes connect with Rick’s

OMG...Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

OMG…it’s Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

At first, Rick looks at Sam...

At first, Rick looks back at Sam…

...but then must look away.

…but then must look away.

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed...

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed…

The butchers walk to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block.  The First Four Minutes end with Sam's panicked last moments before his head gets bashed in from behind by one of the butchers.

The Terminal butchers stride to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block. The First Four Minutes end with Sam’s panicked last moment before his head gets bashed in from behind by the bat-wielding butcher.

The blow from the bat sends poor Sam forward into the trough, then the knife-wielding butcher steps forward, grabs Sam’s head back, and slices his throat in one quick stroke, then releases Sam’s body back forward into the trough just in time to catch the first gush of blood as it sprays from Sam’s throat into the gleaming metal sink.  This ritual is repeated with the next young man, as the bound, gagged men who are next in line begin to scream and plead into their gags, all the while trying vainly, desperately to free themselves, to flee what is happening. But they cannot.

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (pretty much the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects.  Bravo, Greg Nicotero, bravo!

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects, like this amazingly realistic scene.

As the butchers move down the line…bash, pull back, slice, release, next, Glenn watches the dark blood drain closer and closer towards him…the butchers are now at the man to Glenn’s left…once they finish with him, Glenn is next in line.

glenn blood trickleblood drain

Rick pulls his shiv out of his boot, grips it, and waits.

Rick eases his shiv out of his pants leg, grips it, and waits.

As the butchers step behind the man next to Glenn,  Gareth strides into the room with a ledger book and pen. As usual, his manner is an interesting blend of testy officiousness and casual indifference as he flips open his ledger book, clicks his pen, and asks the goons in the bloody aprons, without looking up from his calculations, “Hey guys? What were your shot counts?”

It is some dark humor being wielded like the bald goon’s bat as the goon winds back, bashes the man next to Glenn’s head in, and answers easily, “38.”  This guy obviously knows the routine, knows to count the bullets as he corralls the panicked human cattle or mows down walkers. Gareth makes a note of this number in his ledger as the other butcher releases the freshly slit man’s body into the trough. The man’s life’s blood sloshes into the catch sink and gurgles down the drain.

The butchers line up behind Glenn, who clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow.

Once again, the  Terminal Batman winds back, and Glenn clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow, but before the Terminal BM can connect with Glenn’s head, Gareth interrupts…“Hey!” At the goons’ questioning looks, Gareth looks pointedly at the new guy, who didn’t answer the question. Gareth’s  pissy. his hand turned up in a silent rebuke. “Your shot count?”

The new guy takes a moment to remember his shot counts...grim hilarity.

The new guy squirms under Gareth’s withering look. “Crap, man, I’m sorry.  It’s my first round up.” It is some weak sauce, and they all know it. Even Daryl knows it.  Look at his face.  The other goon’s body language at this admission slumps, like, Dude, what, you didn’t take the shot count? Sheesh, fuckin’ new guys.

Gareth doesn’t really have time for this shit.  His Testy Level is at like 11 right now. He exhales, and as if explaining to a particularly stupid child, he instructs the new guy, “After you’re done here, go back to your point and count the shells.  Ok? We won’t be gathering them until tomorrow.” As Gareth goes back to writing, Bob begins to call out to Gareth through his gag, managing to convey that he wants, needs Gareth to “Lemme talk to you!”

Gareth tries to ignore Bob, counting the slumped bodies and confirming with the goons, “Four from A, four from D?” At the goons’ affirmative noises, Gareth notes this too in his book. Bob continues frantically calling out to Gareth through his gag.

Annoyed, Gareth walks over and yanks the gag off Bob’s mouth.  “What?” 

Bob doesn’t have much time. He makes it count.  He fixes his gaze on Gareth, unwavering. “Don’t do this,” he begins. “We can fix this.”

“No, we can’t,” Gareth replies. He goes to pull Bob’s gag back up over this mouth. But Bob is quick. You don’t have to do this!”  he yells, surging forward and taking Gareth back a step. Bob looks up at Gareth earnestly, continues, “We told you there’s a way out of all this. You just have to take that chance!” Gareth, unmoved, goes back to his ledger, continues his calculations.

“We have a man who knows how to stop it.  He has a cure. We just have to get him to Washington…you don’t have to do this, man! We can put the world back to how it was!”

Gareth’s Testy Level is inching up to 12 now, as he regards Bob with no small amount of annoyance.  This day is really shaping up to be one for the crap books.  He steps forward, ready to shut it down. “Can’t go back, Bob,” he says easily, pulling the gag back over Bob’s protests.  Bob tries another moment, then falls silent. Mad props to Bob for trying, though…he really gave it everything he had.

Gareth steps over to Rick, kneels down, and  pulls Rick’s gag from his mouth. He and Rick regard each other for a moment.  “Saw you go into the woods with a bag,” Gareth informs Rick, “and come out without it. I had to pull my spotters back before they went to look for it.” (So they did know Rick and the gang were coming! Those crafty, creepy people-eaters!) 

Gareth looks away as he says this, then looks back at Rick.  “So, what was in it?” he asks Rick.  Rick says nothing. “You hid it, right?  In case things went bad?” Gareth looks at Daryl, then back at Rick.  “Smart,” he nods briefly, then shrugs. “Still, we’ll find it…but…it’s too dangerous to go out there right now.” Gareth pulls out a knife, pulls Bob’s head towards him across the trough, and holds the pointed blade to Bob’s eye.

He turns back to Rick. “What was in it? I’m curious…and, it was a big bag.” Rick just looks at him, and a touch of Gareth’s former annoyance returns.  “You really gonna let me to do this?” he asks Rick, motioning with his blade towards Bob.  Rick’s voice is hoarse as he replies, “Why don’t you let me take you out there?”  Rick leans back, looks at Gareth.  “I’ll show you.”  Rick’s eyes shine with pleasure at the thought. Ha, how about it, motherfucker?

Gareth shakes his head. “Not gonna happen.” He pulls Bob’s face closer to the point of his knife. “This might.”

Rick speaks up quickly, “There’s guns in it.  AK-47, 44-Magnum…automatic weapons, night scope.”  Rick looks up, as if doing the inventory in his head. “There was a compound bow in it, and….a machete with a red…red handle.”  Rick looks at right at Gareth, now, as he says, pleasantly, “That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”

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IMG_7992

Gareth is surprised, then laughs, sheaths his knife, and pulls the gag back up over Rick’s mouth. He gives Rick’s shoulders a couple of quick pats, mocking,  says, “Thanks,” before standing back up.

Gareth turns his attention back to his butchering flunkies, informs them, with pointed finger and arch tones, “You have two hours to get them on the dryer…I want to go back to ‘public face.’ Now’s the time we can get messy, but I want to dial it all in before sundown.”  The goons “gotcha’ and “yes’sir” Gareth, and as he turns to go, his departure is interrupted by the sound of gunshots.  He pulls out a 2-way handset and tries to reach “Chuck” as the Terminal BM winds back, once again ready to brain Glenn, when another gunshot pings off something metal outside,stopping him mid-swing. Strike Two. Again, dark hilarity ensues.

The gunshots are followed by a huge explosion, which sends the standing men flying and shakes the rafters of the warehouse, sending bits of plaster and ceiling raining down upon them all.

I transcribed, and deconstructed this scene in great detail because, one, I love it so; and because, two, I feel many key elements and questions were answered in that first nine minutes.

We see the origins of Sanctuary, that once Mary and her sons, Gareth and Alex, (wrong about other predictions but nailed the Gareth-Mary son/mom connection…yes!) and their community did start out as peaceful, idealistic folk who seemed to have established a good thing, and wanted to share it with others, and got preyed upon and brutalized for their efforts.

In the blink of an eye, locked in a darkened train car, Gareth seemed to reach inward and invoke a deeper, darker side of himself….and with that, the transformation of Sanctuary began, led by Gareth, to becoming a cold, predatory, brutally efficient system that lures vulnerable outsiders into its lair with the promise of safety and sanctuary, only to imprison them, dehumanize them, and harvest everything that can be gotten from them, right down to the flesh on their bones.

We see the scope of Sanctuary…they are placed in a ideal location, Terminus Station, where all the rail lines  around Atlanta converge. They are large in number, and they are well-armed, well fortified…well-fed.  They are brutal, ruthless.  The only way for their system to work is to decide quickly if there are newcomers who may be of value to them, and who could perhaps be persuaded to subscribe to the Terminal Method.

For those who do not rate, they must be stripped down, locked up, and harvested, quickly. I can only imagine that most people who cross the Terminal Gates are put in this latter category, and not regarded as potential members by the Terms (Scott M. Gimple’s  and Greg Nicotero’s name for the Terminans, which I really love).  Sadly, those who do not make the cut, get cut…and it doesn’t matter if they are men, women, children, elders…as the creepy slogans on the walls say, “We first, always.”

We get a glimpse of Gareth as a leader.  He is pissy (and can probably hold a grudge for about a thousand years), but he is smart, and meticulous.  Everything is accounted for, down to the very last shotgun shell used in roundups or for defense.  It has to be, as Gareth is running a veritable human processing factory, open 24/7.

Sanctuary has its weaknesses, too, as we see in this episode.  As Rick and the gang see Sanctuary’s weaknesses unfold, they exploit them as the opportunities arise (Hello, New Carol!).

While Sanctuary has the numbers, the arms, and the technology on their side, Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars & Co. have three game-changing elements on their side: Love, Luck, and Loyalty.  And a shit-ton of sex appeal.  So, suck it, Terminans.

Outside the false Sanctuary, somewhere down the tracks, Tyrese, Carol, and Judith are following the railway lines to Terminus. Carol tells Tyrese they are close, and she’ll make sure that he and Judith get there safely, but that she is not going to stay. Tyrese looks at her, and kind of nods in agreement, but says nothing.  A walker (who looks so much like the Tore-Up She Walker Abraham impaled into his truck last season in “Claimed”… could it be?) makes her way up to the tracks and spots them, hissing.  Poor Judith begins to cry, and Tyrese turns and takes the baby, telling Carol that he “can’t, not yet.”

Carol gives Tyrese a long look, saying, “Soon, you’ll have to be able to,” and rushes forward to kill Tore-Up She Walker 2.0. Carol hears hissing in the woods to her right, turns, and sees that they have another problem…

More!

more on the tracks

More!

more hear shots

The horde of walkers are making their way straight for where Carol, Tyrese, and Judith are crouched, hiding…until the gunfire from the Rick Standoff rings out through the forest…the walkers turn to follow the noise, shuffling down the tracks.

After the horde clears, Carol and Tyrese, holding Judith, step out onto the tracks. Tyrese wonders if the gunfire came from Terminus, and Carol muses that either someone was attacking them….or they were attacking somebody.  When Tyrese asks Carol if they want to find out what is going on at Terminus, Carol’s answer is clear and immediate: Yes.  She suggests an alternate route that will get them to Terminus.

“We’ll be real careful,” she assures Tyrese. “We’re gonna get answers.”

Now, I have had my doubts about Carol in the past,  but make no mistake…I am a big fan of New Carol, especially since Season 4’s “The Grove.”  New Carol is kicking ass, taking names, and getting it done, all day, every day. Much love, and mad props, New Carol.

It is especially awesome when Carol and Tyrese stealth up to the crappy little Half-TermMartin, who is setting up explosives around a cabin (to detonate and divert the walkers who will surely be attracted by the sound of gunfire from Terminus).

As he sets up the explosives, Martin indulges in some back-and-forth shit-talking with some woman comrade on his 2-way radio. Martin disses Alex for not recognizing that “the chick with the sword was bad news…bitch was like a weapon with a weapon.” The woman comrade agrees that Alex was always a “sloppy-ass motherfucker.”

Laughing, Martin then says he told “Albert” that he called dibs on “the kid’s hat, after they bleed him out.”

Nice. Martin realizes he has been stone-cold busted uttering this shitty, callous comment when he feels New Carol’s gun behind his ear.

Carol tells Martin to keep his finger off the radio’s button and drop it.  Martin complies, tries some of his Sanctuary welcome-wagon sloganage on Tyrese and New Carol, but Tyrese tells him to shut it. Martin wisely abides.

New Carol informs Martin, “We’re friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat.”  First New Carol zinger of this epic episode…drink one if you got one!

Murton, you dumbass.

Martin, you dumbass.

Inside the cabin, Martin is trying to lie his way out of the mess he’s gotten himself into, but New Carol isn’t buying his line of shit. After Carol finds Martin’s bag of flares, explosives, and weapons, she informs him that a herd of walkers is heading towards Terminus, which works nicely with her plan to head there too, armed with Martin’s weapons, and get her people out.

Martin tells her she’ll never make it. Tyrese asks her how she’s going to do this…Carol looks right at Tyrese and informs him that she’s “gonna kill people.”

New Carol zinger #2, people…toss it back!

As Tyrese is left to babysit two babies back at the cabin, Carol goos herself up with walker blood, guts, and even a little mud mixed in, giving herself a nice walker-guts & mud facial…all natural ingredients, and very exfoliating!

carol goos up

Back at the cabin, Martinn is trying to get into Tyrese’s head.  He asks Judith’s name, asks if she’s his daughter.  Tyrese replies that she’s a friend.  Martin muses aloud at the now-alien concept of friends.  “I don’t have any friends,” Martin admits. He says the people he lives with are “assholes that I stay alive with.”  When Martin asks Tyrese if the lady who left was a friend, Tyrese looks at him, then down, like he doesn’t really know how to answer that question.

Martin continues, saying he used to have friends…he used to do a lot of things…watch football, go to church. I found it hard to focus on that Martin was saying at first, because I noticed he was chewing gum as he said it, and who the hell has luxuries like gum these days?  Terminans do, but at the cost of their souls, it seems.  Martin then muses that it’s hard to tell how much time has gone by, as horrible shit just seems to stack up, day after day, in these times.

“You get used to it,” sighs Martin.  Tyrese looks up at him, replies,  “I haven’t gotten used to it.”  “Of course you haven’t,” Martin says.  “You’re the kind of guy that saves babies…kind of like saving an anchor when you’re stuck without a boat in the middle of the ocean.”

Martin continues to size up Tyrese, guessing that he’s been behind walls for a while, and hasn’t had to get his hands dirty yet. “I can tell,” Martin says. When Tyrese retorts that Martin doesn’t know the things he’s done, Martin stands firm on his take.  “You’re a good guy,” Martin says. “That’s why you’re gonna die today…that’s why the baby’s gonna die.”

Tyrese stands up to his full height at this jibe, prompting Martin to quickly offer Plan B:  Or, take the car, take the baby, and go, keep on being lucky.  Tyrese growls out, “You think you’re gonna kill me?”  In response,  Martin asks Tyrese, point-blank, with a bemused smile, “Why haven’t you killed me?  How does having me alive help you? Why are you even talking to me?”  Tyrese has no answer for this, and Martin urges him once again to get the baby, get in the car, and go.  

“I don’t want to do this today,” Martin says.

I have to give it up for Chris Coy, the young actor who plays Martin, the Half-Term, for a standout performance in this episode. I call Martin the Half-Term because even though he has definitely lost much of his former moral code, he is still just a young man, one who has survived the horror of the walker apocalypse this long by adopting the brutality of the Terminal Method.  Still, he grapples with these choices, remembering better days.  Martin is on the fence, it seems, about it all.  It seems to piss him off to see Tyrese holding onto his humanity this long, having friends, saving babies.  It makes Martin mean, and say, and do, shitty things.

Meanwhile, Walker Stalker Carol, slimed in walker goo, approaches the outskirts of Terminus.  She hears the Terminal Goon ordering the gang to get up against the walls of the train car, and then we hear the canister go off inside the car.  Carol peers through the fence to see a group of Terms dragging Rick to the processing house.

walker carol at the fence terms take rick.

With Martin’s duffel bag full of ammo, Carol stealths around the perimeters of the fence. Using the scope on her rifle, she spies two Terminal Bitches culling walkers at the fence… then she spies:

Big ass propane tank...pay dirt!

propane tank

…a big ass propane tank. Pay dirt!

As Carol continues to scope around, she sees the Terminal Bitches running from their culling posts at the fence, calling out in alarm.  She turns and sees the Hungry Herd, coming en masse, towards the Terminus compound.

Here comes the Hungry Herd,  just in time for dinner!

Here comes the Hungry Herd, just in time for dinner!

 New Carol knows the time to act is now.

new carol time is now

Carol loads up a large firecracker and aims it at the propane tank, props it against the fence…

new carol aims

…then Carol aims her gun at the tank. The first two shots, which we heard in the processing room, don’t pierce the tank. The third shot, which interrupted Terminal Batman’s lethal swing at Glenn’s head, connects with a loud “ping.”

walkers like the gas

The walkers are drawn to the movement and hiss of the escaping gas.

carol covers her ears

Carol shoots the firecracker towards the propane tank and covers her ears…

thar she blows

New Carol is going full-fucking Rambo on Terminus.

walkers go boom

Walkers go BOOM

walkers gonna party at terminus

The walkers who survive the blast are ready to party at Terminus, and show the Creepy Comrades what cannibal is all about…

Back at the cabin, Tyrese and Martin hear the explosion. Tyrese peers out the window and sees the black cloud rising over the trees. Martin, still bound and sitting, asks Tyrese if that’s Terminus.  Tyrese tells him it is.  Martin takes a moment to process this. He muses that maybe Tyrese and his people are going to win today, or maybe..maybe the woman who left was the one who got capped.  Martin continues, saying maybe it’s him that’s gonna get capped when she, the lady, friend, whatever, comes back.

Still looking out the window, Tyrese says that nobody’s gotta die today.  Martin snorts out a derisive laugh at this idealistic sentiment.  “Man, if you really believe that,” Martin tells Tyrese, “then it’s definitely gonna be you and the kid…even if that place is burning to the ground.”

The scene shifts to back inside the processing rooms, where the butcher goons are starting to rouse themselves after Rambo Carol’s blast. We can hear a voice on Gareth’s handset radio asking, “Man, what the hell was that?”

Gareth is losing it, ordering the goons to stay back with Rick and the others. When the bald guy questions this, Gareth screams at him to stay put while he finds out what is happening.

This is the opportunity Rick has been waiting for, and he continues to slice away at his zip-tie binds at his wrists.

The scene shifts outside to show Mary, who too has been knocked down by the explosion (no doubt while getting the front grill area all cleaned up and ready for “Public Face” later).  Mary looks up in horror to see burning walkers streaming through the hole that was one of their fences.  “Oh, shit!” she says.  Yeah, Mary. “Oh, shit” is right.

mary is shocked

Didn’t you know, Mary…

walkers on fire at terminus

… that karma’s a bitch…

...a bitch that will eat your face?

…a bitch that will eat your face?

While Walker Stalker Carol strides into the Terminal Blast Hole with the rest of the Hungry Herd, New Guy is freaking the hell out.  He’s trying to radio for Gareth, to no avail.  “Don’t  you smell the smoke?” he asks Terminal BM.  “The whole place could be going up!”  

Terminal BM blathers on about “protocol,” how their job is here, not there, spouting forth a bunch of bureaucratic blah blah blah.  

When this compelling spiel fails to derail New Guy’s freakout, Terminal BM  tries out some of the new management skills he learned last weekend at the Mary’s Sanctuary Effective Management seminar. (Lesson Three: Use the Voice of Authority, even when utilizing The Personal Approach, which is discussed in full detail in Lesson One.  For more on Lesson One, please refer back to page three of your course outline.) 

Terminal BM tries a combination of Lesson Three and Lesson One on New Guy : “Hey…look at me!”  New Guy turns to look at Terminal BM, just in time to see Rick Grimes teach Terminal BM a lesson of his own…

hey look at me slice!

This lesson’s called Eat My Shiv, bitch!

buh bye new guy

Here, let me show you close up.   Buh bye, New Guy.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex's body laid out on the metal processing table.  Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex’s body laid out on the metal processing table. Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Meanwhile, back inside Train Car “A”…

Abraham is chomping at the bit, and Eugene isn't exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment.

Abraham is chomping at the bit,  wondering what the hell is going on out there, and Eugene isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment. Sasha gets it, says that it sounds like “somebody hit them,” and maybe “our people got free.”

Carl comes forward, flanked by Maggie, and reminds everyone that his dad, Rick, said that they would be back, so they will be back. Maggie backs him up, adding that they just need to wait, stay ready to fight, when the time comes. Maggie then looks at her father’s pocket watch, thinking, no doubt, of Glenn…and Hershel.  She kneels and resumes using the chain, as Rick did, to saw a wooden blade for herself.

Michonne peers out the crack in the door, sees walkers roaming through the compound. A walker’s hand grabs at her through the crack, but of course cannot get at her.

Karma is slapping Terminus up like the bitches they are.  It is truly satisfying to see the Creepy Comrades of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op get feasted on by the undead:

walkers go cannibal on terminus

Doesn’t feel so good to be other side, does it, Terminal Bitches?

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

When Carol hears gunshots, she ducks around a corner and peers through her scope. She sees a Terminan shooting walkers with an assault rifle, so Rambo Carol takes him out, sniper style.  Her gunshots attract the attention of a couple of nearby walkers, and she ducks behind a heavy door and shuts herself away from them.

Back in the processing area, Rick cuts the righteous dudes loose, and as they gather knives and whatever other weapons they can find, while taking in Alex’s dead body and the carnage around them. Daryl goes to rekill one of the dead butchers.  He is stopped by Rick, who tells Daryl to, “Let him turn.”

The men wander into the “dryer” room, where sections of human carcasses hang from meat hooks.

carcasses dryer room

As Daryl, Glenn, Bob, and Rick take in the horror of the grisly room, Rick instructs them, “Cross any of these people, you kill them.  Don’t hesitate. They won’t.”

I love when Rick Grimes goes all Lieutenant Deputy.

After arming themselves with knives, cleavers, and other butchering apparatus, the dudes peer out to see a group of walkers pawing at a locked train car as the poor people locked inside cry out.  Rick suggests that they can run by, as the walkers are distracted, but Glenn says that they need to free the people in the train car.

At Rick's questioning look, Glenn says,

At Rick’s questioning look, Glenn says, “That’s still who we are…it’s gotta be.”

So, the good guys go and battle the walkers, and their heroics are rewarded with one wild, hairy dude running out, laughing maniacally and exclaiming, “I’m saved!  I’M SAVED!”

Ragin' Face Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show.  Rick shoves him off, and Ragin' Face promptly gets tackled by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom's a fleeting  thing at times, Ragin' Face.

Ragin’ Face-Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show. Rick shoves him off, and Ragin’ Face promptly gets tackled, and chomped,  by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom’s a fleeting thing at times, Ragin’ Face.

Judging from the grimly hilarious moments that run throughout this episode,  it seems that Kirkman & Co. had a blast filming “No Sanctuary”.

Meanwhile, Stealth Carol finds the goods room, with items fleeced from the victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.  She first sees Rick’s watch, the one he gave to Sam…

carol sees her watch

and daryls crossbow

And then Carol sees Daryl’s crossbow…

carol picks up daryls crossbow

After Carol takes the watch, and Daryl’s crossbow, and turns to leave, she sees the heartbreaking sight of stuffed animals and children’s toys piled up on a table…each toy represents a child that was butchered by the Terminans.

Meanwhile, Glenn, Rick, Bob, and Daryl outside in the mayhem, stuck between a train car and a hard place.  Trying to go forward, there are countless walkers and Terminans, armed with assault rifles, systematically mowing the invading walkers down.  Rick tells them to wait there, and runs low to crouch behind an abandoned car. He monitors the oncoming Terminan shooters through a rear view mirror on the ground:

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Daryl saves the day by spearing a walker that sneaks up behind Rick, after following Rick to the car.  So hot, and then this happened…

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck...

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck…

...and grabs the shooter's gun...mmm hmmm, that's right, Rick Grimes.

…and grabs the shooter’s gun…mmm hmmm, that’s right, Rick Grimes.

Rick! Blast!

Rick Blast!

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it's Terminans that Rick! Blast! is mowing down.

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it’s Terminans that Rick Blast! is mowing down.

 And that just makes it so much hotter...

And that just makes it so much hotter…

Sigh...the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps <3

Sigh…the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps

With the shooters out of the way, the Terminal Walkers are free to go nucking futs on Terminus...

Later, haters.

Later, haters.

Meanwhile, Carol has found Mary’s creepy candlelit ritual room, the one with the SCC slogans painted on the walls (“Never trust,” “We first, always,” “Never again”). As Carol takes all this in, there is a click behind her, and Mary’s querulous voice telling Carol to drop her weapons, and turn around.

“I want to see your face,” Mary says.

Carol spies the shadows of walkers underneath at a closed door.  At Carol’s hesitation, Mary screams, “Now!”  Carol’s wheels are turning in her head as she slowly shrugs off her bag, and Daryl’s crossbow.  Carol still, however, has the assault rifle under her poncho, and she whirls and fires on Mary, getting a shot into her and forcing Mary to drop her gun.

Mary drops to the floor, wounded, then in a burst of matriarchal fury, tackles Carol. They scrap hard, throwing each other into ornate candelabras and basically trashing the place in an epic Top Mama Tapout Beatdown (“Who’s Top Mama? I’m Top Mama! Say it, SAY MY NAME…TOP MAMA!”) 

top mama tapout carol bests mary

Carol, of course, is clearly Top Mama, and soon has Mary looking down the barrel of her gun.  Mary looks around, her eyes tearing, and tells Carol that the signs were real, that it was a real Sanctuary…but then people came and took this place, and they raped, and they killed…Carol tries to shut her off, and find out where her people are, but Mary needs to unburden herself, and so Carol lets her keep talking.  The abuse happened over a period of weeks, but they, the original Sanctuarians, fought back and reclaimed their home, by hearing the message: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

Mary is super into her moment, but Carol has other things on her mind.  “The men you pulled from that train car, where are they?” she demands.  Mary doesn’t answer, so New Carol busts a cap in her leg, dropping Mary to the floor.

mary got a cap in her leg

Mary, who still refuses to answer New Carol’s question, lay panting on the floor, then orders Carol to point the gun at her head. Oh, you think so, Mary?

Now Mary’s just going on all crazy, lying wounded on the floor, telling Carol that she “could have been one of us…you could have listened to what the world was telling you!” New Carol don’t think so, Mary.

You lead people here, and take what they have, and kill them? Is that what this place is?” she asks Mary, still pointing the gun at her.  Mary tells her not at first, but that’s the way it had to be, and they’re still here because of it.  Carol looks at Mary a moment, then says, “You’re not here…and neither am I.”

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

Back at the cabin, Tyrese watches the black plume of smoke continue to burn.  He hears, then sees, a handful of walkers coming toward the cabin. Tyrese rushes from one window, to the other, taking his eyes off Judith.  Martin seizes this opportunity to run to Judith’s makeshift crib and grab her, one hand on her head, the other near her neck.  One twist, and she’s gone. He warns Tyrese to back off, orders him to put his weapons down, and as the walkers outside paw at the windows, Martin orders Tyrese outside, where the walkers are.

Don't you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

Don’t you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

martin tyrese window walker

Tyrese begs Martin not to hurt Judith…Martin yells back, “Don’t make me!  It’s one twist, man!  Go outside!

Tyrese must do as Martin says…and the scene ends with Tyrese charging out the door, right into a press of walkers. After the commercial break, we see Martin trying to radio Cynthia, his 2-way buddy, but Cynthia does not copy.  From outside, it looks like there is some serious mayhem happening, crashing indentations into the cabin’s thin walls.

It would be easy to assume that the walkers were having the upper hand on one lone man, but then Martin hears a bellow, and two quick, crashing blows.  The hissing and slavering of the walkers stops for a moment.

Martin steps forward, then looks at Judith, pulls his knife.  But before he can do anything else, Tyrese charges him through the door:

tyrese tackles martin

You may have watched football, Martin, but Tyrese probably played football.

tyrese knife to martin's throat

You keep poking a grizzly bear with a stick, you’re going to get mauled, Martin.

tyrese walker carnage

Just sayin’…

Back in train car “A”, our gang is putting the finishing touches on their makeshift weapons.  Michonne’s weapon is particularly badass, a double-bladed katana with dual wooden blades.  Sasha asks Eugene point-blank what the cure is.  Eugene immediately answers that it’s classified. While Abraham tries to shoo the ladies away from Eugene, the sisters aren’t about to be dissuaded.  They want the deets.

Eugene spouts off some mumbly jumbo that sounds like a bunch of bullcrap, ending with the fact that if he goes “red rain,” the cure dies with him.  Abraham is placating, telling Eugene that he won’t let that happen. Eugene is uncertain, saying again that he isn’t one to be able to negotiate the physical threats of walkers and bullets if they do get outside.  Michonne answers that while he cannot, they can.  Sasha adds that they just want to hear it, the cure.  Rosita pipes in, telling Eugene that he “doesn’t have to” tell them (why are Abraham and Rosita enabling Eugene so hard?).

Pressed, Eugene stands, and tells them that he was part of a ten-person team with the Human Genome Project that created human pathogenic diseases to fight human pathogenic diseases…biological warfare. Eugene tells them that he personally knows the delivery mechanisms to unleash disease that could kill every person on the planet…he tells them that he believes “with a little tweaking on the terminals in Washington” that he can “flip the script” on the walker epidemic, and “take out every last dead one of them.”

Sasha looks wordlessly at Eugene.  Maggie steps up and prompts them to get back to work.  It sounds like both a plausible explanation for the walker epidemic and a reasonable scenario for a hope of a way  to combat this thing…biological warfare.  But can we believe Eugene?  I want to, I really do.  Eugene is a likeable enough guy, and I am obsessed with his mullet, which is looking really full and amazing in this episode.

I just don’t know, people.

Just then, the door to the train car opens, and it’s Rick and the dudes, holding off walkers and getting the rest of the team out of there.  It’s a great scene, with our gang going to town, in their inimitable Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstar-style.  I just love our gang, people.  They are such total badasses.

rick hold off gareth

Rick hold off walkers, first, then Gareth and goons, shooting Gareth in the leg? shoulder? while the rest of the gang goes over the fence.

gang slashes rick hold off walkers fence

Later, Terminus.

Later, Terminus.

In the woods, outside of the fences, Daryl leads them back to the place where Rick and he buried the weapons.  Abraham wonders loudly why they are still hanging around these woods.  Rick’s going a little Rick Smash! at this moment…he is instructing the others to set up posts at the fences.  He still wants to fight.

At Abraham’s, “Um, what?,” Rick turns to look up from his digging, tells Abraham, “They don’t get to live.”

Bob, Blenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm....maybe we go now? Rick?

Bob, Glenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm….maybe we go now?  Rick?

The gang voices their dissent, and desire to go…Rick insists that it’s “not over until they’re all dead.”  I do understand his point, and I feel certain that we will be seeing Gareth and the Terminans later on…Gareth does know now where the gang is headed, and like I said, that guy isn’t one to let go of a grudge anytime soon.

As we we see in the end, when “No Sanctuary” comes full circle, back to Then, when Gareth and Alex’s mother, Mary, gets thrown back in the train car after being raped and brutalized, and another poor woman gets chosen, and pulled away, we see that how Gareth and his people suffered at the hands of brutal degenerates.  It took much strength, and resolve, to fight back, take back their home, and survive, even if the methods employed to do so were unspeakable and evil.

Gareth isn’t going to let this one go, and he’s not dead.  If if were up to Rick, they would stay, fight, and make sure he was.  But it’s not just up to Rick, not anymore.

But enough of that, because coming through the woods is…

Carol in the woods

Carol!

Daryl sees Carol 1

Daryl sees her…

best hug ever

…and runs in for the Best. Hug. Ever.

best hug 3

Totally crying again, watching this, posting this.

tears of joy daryl carol

Awwww, such a sweet, sweet man!

Rick approaches next, smiling, tearing up, being cautious, respectful, asks Carol, “Did you do this?” meaning of course, killing Terminus.  Carol is crying, smiling, nodding, and Rick gives her a big hug as well.

Now, remember this moment, you two...you are friends, remember that!

Now, remember this moment, you two…you are friends, remember that!

Carol tells Rick and the others, “You have to come with me.”  And so Carol leads them back to the cabin, where Tyrese is waiting for them, holding Baby Judith.

ricks sees judith

Rick sees his baby girl and rushes to her.

sasha and tyrese

Sasha reunites with her big brother, Tyrese.

The Grimes

The Grimes

Top Mamas <3 <3

Top Mamas

Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita watch as the gang is reunited. Rick says it’s time to go. “To where?” asks Daryl.  “Far away from here,” answers Rick.  Rosita looks at Abraham significantly, and he assures her quietly that he’ll “talk to him, not now, when the time is right.”  They follow the gang, and before Rick slips off with the rest into the woods, he makes a change to the Sanctuary sign:

no sanctuary

After the credits, we see another traveller, who has found Rick’s modified “No Sanctuary” sign.  He regards it for a moment, then pulls his hood, face mask off…

morgan!

Morgan! I’ve been waiting a long time for you, bud…most awesome to see you again!

Before the epic playlist, I would like to award this week’s Deadie to Carol, MVP of Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary.”  And in honor of Sam, who came up with awesome names for walkers, and who was a sweet soul, I included a little love offering for you all this week, to bring the funny, like Sam did.

They call him Carl Poppa, bitches. ❤

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist

Led Zeppelin  “Battle of Evermore”

Nirvana  “School”

Bad Brains  “I

Wipers  “Just a Dream Away”

Motorcycle  “As the Rush Comes” (Gabriel & Dresden Chillout Mix)

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 16, Finale, “A”

“A”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

I would like to jump right in with a quote from Andrew Lincoln on last night’s Talking Dead’s Season 4 finale episode, regarding the evolution of Rick Grimes:

“I don’t think he (Rick) regrets (anything he has had to do, to survive)…The final scene, in the train car, you meet a Rick who is more powerful… more together, and more lethal than he’s ever been…”

And to that I give a big, “Hollah!”

Rick-In-Charge, people, ready to bring it like it’s never been brought before in Season 5…and with tonight’s episode, The Walking Dead’s Season 4 finale, “A,” we got a sneak preview of some of the badass brutality our favorite deputy can dish out…and, by golly, I like it!

Episode 16 opens with a flashback sequence from the early days of the prison, as Carl and another young man pull open the gates to let a car come through, then close them quickly to block the walkers outside the fence.  Rick, Maggie, and Glenn emerge from the car, back from a run. Maggie is still wearing her riot gear, while Glenn carries his.

Hershel is there to greet them. “You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he tells Maggie, cupping her cheek, as she smiles gorgeously back at him. Then, Hershel turns to Glenn, puts his hand warmly on Glenn’s shoulder, and holds it there.  Glenn smiles shyly, reveling in this fatherly show of love.

It was so good to see, and feel, Hershel again, and it was sad to watch this scene, too. I was pretty much chugging Stella, and blinking back tears, while watching it.

The flashback scene ends with Rick passing Carol and Tyrese, as they come in from their “culling walkers at the fence” shift. Rick takes a modified cane, with a sharpened point, from Carol as he passes her, and goes to help other prison residents cull the remaining walkers at the prison fence.

Hershel looks on as Rick goes from one grim duty to another, and he sees Carl watching all this, taking cues from his father. It seems like Hershel’s thinking about all this…how it is, and how it could be…how it should be.

Hershel! So good to see you again!  Scott M. Gimple said this scene was shot after the mid-season finale...Andrew Lincoln said it was emotional to have Scott Wilson back, and be back, at the prison set to film these scenes.

Hershel!  Scott M. Gimple said this scene was shot after the mid-season finale, and he was relieved that Scott Wilson didn’t cut his hair or shave his beard after filming the mid-season finale, as per their request, as they knew then they would be filming this flashback scene later in Season 4. Andrew Lincoln said it was emotional to have Scott Wilson back, and be back at the prison set, to film these scenes.

The scene shifts abruptly to present day, with Rick, dazed, staring ahead…he is covered in blood, sitting against a car.  We see a close-up of his hands, which are bloodied, shaking, and still bearing his wedding ring.  Then, the shot pans out to Rick’s bloodied face, as he stares ahead…he looks in slightly in shock, but calm, processing.

One look at Rick's face, here, and we know some shit went down...

One look at Rick’s face, and we know some serious shit went down here.

Time shifts back, slightly…it’s earlier that day…Rick, Michonne and Carl are sitting around a tiny fire, in their makeshift camp in the woods. This camp is like others we have seen, with a tiny fire, cans strung around the camp’s perimeter to signal walkers coming.  Rick asks Carl and Michonne how hungry they are, on a scale from 1-10…Carl replies with a “15,” while Michonne answers with a “28.”

Rick suggests they go see if they caught anything in the snare trap he set…when Carl asks if he can come, Rick replies, “How else are you going to learn?”  He turns to Michonne, bids her to come as well.

Rick is pleased to see that they caught a young rabbit, which he removes from the snare and tucks into his bag.  While he resets the snare, Rick explains the workings of it to Carl and Michonne (while looking majorly fine in the process).

The lesson is interrupted by the terrified screams of a man in trouble, crying out for help. Carl runs towards the man’s cries as Rick vainly tries to call him back. Rick and Michonne run after Carl, Michonne unsheathing her katana.

Carl has reached a clearing in the forest, where a lone man is trying to fend off a large group of walkers who have surrounded him…they are closing in.  Carl raises his handgun to shoot, but Rick pulls him back, telling Carl, “We can’t help him.”

Carl, Rick, and Michonne watch, horrified, as the poor man, overrun, screaming, gets torn apart by the biting walkers:

Nicotero and the effects/makeup crew outdid themselves with this episode, this scene especially (which serves as gruesome inspiration for Rick in a desperate situation soon to come...epic gore and new-classic WD moments abound in this episode!)

Nicotero and the effects/makeup crew outdid themselves with this scene (which serves as gruesome inspiration for Rick in a desperate situation soon to come…epic gore and new-classic WD moments abound in this episode!)

Carl is transfixed by the horrible scene before him, until Michonne finally gets his attention, tells them they need to go…but the three have already attracted the attention of a couple of the walkers, who turn away from the carnage and begin to follow them.

Pursued by the Tear It Up Walkers, Rick, Carl and Michonne come upon  another group of female walkers, eating some poor somebody on the train tracks (Talking Dead called them Ladies Who Lunch Walkersha!).  With walkers behind them, and more walkers in front of them, Rick rushes forward to attack the lesser threat, the Ladies Who Lunch Walkers, who are fewer in number, and who are blocking the trio’s escape out of there.

Once again, we see how vulnerable any living survivors are, out in the open. Shit can go south in an instant, and one must always be ready. Without a real shelter, a real sanctuary, nobody can really rest, live, or thrive. They can only survive, and for how long?

Back in time, to another prison flashback moment…Hershel draws a curtain back at Rick’s cell, letting in the morning light. Rick blinks awake, asks immediately if everything is ok. Hershel tells Rick he’s fine, he just needs his help with something. Rick sits up, asks what time it is…Hershel doesn’t know, tells Rick that ever since he gave Glenn his watch, it’s always “right now” to him.

“It’s early,” Hershel tells him.

At this point in the episode, two key items have been presented to us…Hershel’s pocket watch, which has been given to Glenn, and the riot gear outfits that were found and used by Rick and Co.  since the first days at the prison. As we know, these items become highly significant as the Episode 16 progresses to its climactic end. Once again, the masters of WD show us how the story really is in the details.

As Rick gets up from his cot and gets ready to join Hershel, Beth comes into Rick’s cell and takes Judith. Rick automatically begins to buckle on his gun belt. Hershel tells him he won’t need that, that the gun belt will just get in the way. Rick shoots Hershel an, “Old man, you be trippin’ if you think I’m going anywhere without my gun” look as he walks past him, and out of the cell…it’s the same look Carl has shot Rick many times before, and since.

The scene shifts abruptly back to the present, with Rick and Michonne cutting their way through The Ladies Who Lunch Walkers…the group of Tear It Up Walkers are growing in number and gaining on them quickly.  Once Rick, Michonne and Carl get an opening, they make a run for it…later, down the road, they walk quickly, but seem winded, and weary, and hungry…they spot an old car, and make camp there for the night.

IMG_4995

By the car, Michonne finds, and rekills, Goblin Walker, who has pretty much been ground into the ground…

Later, while Carl sleeps in the car, Rick and Michonne huddle in the darkness over another small fire.  Rick laments that the rabbit they had was small, while Michonne remarks that at least it was something.

Rick muses aloud that that’s all they ever talk about anymore, how hungry they are…in the days of the prison, he had forgotten what hunger like that felt like.  Michonne agrees, adding that she hopes they will get another chance to forget what hunger feels like, soon…

This, of course, leads them into the subject of Sanctuary.  Rick takes the positive approach, saying if they are taking people in, they have to be strong, have a system in place.  Michonne wonders aloud if the whole thing is legit.

I’ve said this before, people…a savvy sister isn’t going to be taken in by some white man’s slogan.  Woodbury didn’t fool Michonne, and something doesn’t quite sit right with her about Sanctuary, either. It seems to be the whole, “Come One, Come All!”  aspect about it…why open yourself up like that, instead of conserving resources and protecting what’s valuable inside an established community?  Seems weird…what does Sanctuary gain by openly advertising like they do, drawing whomever, from wherever, to them?

My first hit: they’re cannibals.  My astute work colleague agrees: “Food and fertilizer!”  And weapons!  What a concept…advertise that you have a sanctuary with radio broadcasts, banners, and signs, being centrally located where all the railway lines converge, Terminus Station.  After luring the unsuspecting people in, strip them at gunpoint of any prized clothing or possessions, take their weapons, and store them in train cars until it’s butchering time…then, strip them of their tasty flesh!

(And, if the flesh isn’t so tasty, I’m sure ol’ Mary at the grill has a spice rub, and a special sauce, for that!)

The Cannibalism Theory seems to be a prevailing theory among WD fans regarding Sanctuary.  The Daily Beast ran an interview with Scott M. Gimple regarding the cannibal theory, and what else may be in store for fans in Season 5.

Check it out:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/01/what-s-next-for-walking-dead-showrunner-scott-gimple-on-season-5-and-what-mary-s-grill-really-means.html

Meanwhile, back at the tiny car camp, as Michonne and Rick speculate about Sanctuary, they are startled by a noise from the nearby woods…they whirl around, wait, no other noise, so they begin talking again, only to be interrupted by a gun to Rick’s temple:

Dirty Joe and his band of Downstairs Thug Boys, come to get their revenge...

It’s Dirty Joe and his band of Downstairs Thug Boys, come to get their revenge…“Oh, deary me,” mocks Joe. “You screwed up, asshole…you hear me? You screwed up!”  I do need to give mad props to Jeff Kober, who plays Joe, for a great performance, all around…especially for his evil laughter in this scene…somebody give that man a Deadie!

See that look, Joe?  That's the look of a man who is about to go off...

See that look, Joe? That’s the look of a man who is about to go off…

As Joe blathers on about how it's a day of

As Joe blathers on about how it’s a day of “reckoning,” Rick is thinking, planning, waiting for opportunity…

Meanwhile, at the car, a nightmare comes a knockin' for poor Carl...

Meanwhile, at the car, a nightmare comes knocking on the window for poor Carl

As Joe counts down (how did he know it was New Year's eve?), Daryl is horrified to see his friends being held by Joe and the DTB's...

As Joe counts down ( and how did he know it was New Year’s Eve?), Daryl is horrified to see his friends being held by Joe and the DTB’s…

Being the beautiful human being that he is, Daryl lays down his weapon and offers his life for Rick's, Carl's and Michonne's.

Being the beautiful human being that he is, Daryl lays down his weapon and offers his life for Rick’s, Carl’s and Michonne’s.  We love you, Daryl Dixon!

As Joe realizes where his man-crush Daryl's loyalities lie, he gets pissed, calls Daryl a liar....

As Joe realizes where his man-crush, Daryl’s, loyalties lie, he gets pissed, calls Daryl a liar….

...so Joe sets the DTB's on Daryl,

…so Joe sets the DTB’s on Daryl:  “Teach him, boys, teach him all the way!”

Joe tells Rick,

Aaagh! Poor Carl!  Joe tells Rick, “First we’re going to beat Daryl to death, then we’ll have the girl…then, the boy…then we’ll shoot you, and we’ll be squared up (for Lou’s death)…”

Rick, Smash! don't think so, Joe...

Rick In Charge don’t think so, Joe…

As he watches what is about to happen to his son, his friends...

As he watches what is about to happen to his son, his friends…

Rick goes primal, busts Joe's nose with the back of his head...then goes slo-mo...he's hulking out...Rick, Smash!

Rick goes primal, busting Joe’s nose with the back of his head and discharging Joe’s firearm…then Rick goes all dazed and slo-mo...he’s hulking out…Rick Smash!

At Joe's taunt,

At Joe’s taunt, “What the hell you gonna do now, sport?” Rick takes a page from the Walker Handbook and Bites The Crap Outta Joe’s Neck…

And spits it out!  Holy fuck!

…and spits it out! Holy fuck!

Looking like a crazy killer clown, Rick Grimes turns to his son's would-be rapist, growls,

Looking like a crazy killer clown, Rick Grimes turns to his son’s would-be rapist, grinds out, “He’s mine!” through clenched teeth while striding towards Deserves It Dan (TD’s name for the doomed pedophile) with Joe’s knife…

Later for you, pedophile.

Later for you, Deserves It Dan.

Rick, Smash! slices and dices the bad man in a primal fury...

Rick Smash! slices and dices the bad man in a primal fury…

As Daryl, Michonne and Carl watch in shock and horror...

As Daryl, Michonne and Carl watch in shock, horror…and recognition of what must be done to survive.

As Michonne hugs Carl close, and he watches his dad exact vengeance on the DTB's, I typed into my laptop,

As Michonne hugs Carl close, and he watches his dad exact vengeance on doomed Deserves It Dan, I typed into my laptop, “Why am I so turned on right now?”   Am I sick that I think it’s hot that Rick goes so dark?  Because I do, people…I really do.

After this harrowing scene, and a much-needed commercial/bathroom/ beverage re-up break, we are taken back in time once again.  Hershel and Rick stand in the prison yard, and Hershel outlines his vision for settling in, making the prison a lasting home. There are feral pigs, horses in the forest that can be captured and domesticated; they have seeds and space for planting.  It is time to prepare and plant, says Hershel, and he wants Rick to be the one to help him do it.

Rick reminds Hershel that he needs to be “out there,” going on runs, manning the fences. Hershel lays it on the line…he wants to teach Rick how to farm, to plant roots, cultivate a lasting, peaceful life at the prison, so Rick can teach Carl, and in doing so, heal both their wounded spirits.

“He (Carl) shot that boy,” Hershel reminds Rick.  “He needs his father to show him the way…what way are you going to show him?  He can shoot, we know that…What’s his life going to be? What’s yours?”

Rick looks down, taking Hershel’s words, and the lesson, in. Hershel looks around the prison yard, sees the potential for things to be better now.

Rick replies that making things better inside the prison fences doesn’t change what is happening outside them.

Hershel knows this, but he tells Rick, “This is a good place to start.”  I love Hershel’s faith and his vision, that their positive intentions and actions to build a lasting community can influence the world beyond the prison fences in a positive way. His influence and teachings resonate throughout this episode, as Rick must bid farewell to the peaceful life they worked so hard to create at the prison, and embrace the new order, the savagery that he must wield in order to survive and protect his son and his people.

The scene shifts back to Rick, bloody, sitting against the car. Michonne and Carl are inside the car, shirts covering the windows. Carl is sleeping a troubled sleep, his head on Michonne’s lap.  She gently smooths his hair back, looks down at him protectively. Such a horrible world for a young child to be in, and while Carl has had his annoying tween-tool moments, he is still just a kid…and this past day has been shitty, and tomorrow isn’t going to get much better, unfortunately.

Daryl walks up to Rick, wets a cloth and hands it out to Rick, for him to wipe his face with…I guess that’s how the scene was supposed to go, but on Talking Dead later, Andrew Lincoln said that Norman Reedus really didn’t pour very much water on the cloth, and so trying to wipe the dried fake blood that was caked in his beard felt like getting “a Brazilian.” As soon as he said “Brazilian,” the audience laughed, and Andrew Lincoln got really cute and embarrassed.

Anyway, Daryl tells Rick that he didn’t know what they were, Joe and the DTB gang. Rick asks him how Daryl got up with the DTB’s.  Daryl tells Rick how he and Beth made it out of the prison together.

“I was with her for a while,” Daryl begins.  Poor Daryl looks like he is about to cry as he says this, looks down.

Rick looks at him, asks him hoarsely if Beth is dead.  Daryl looks at Rick, says she’s just…gone.

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Daryl tells Rick that he didn’t know what the DTB’s were capable of, that they had a simple code that seemed to kind of make sense on the most basic level. Rick understands, reminds Daryl that he was alone.  “It’s not on you, Daryl,”  Rick tells him.

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What makes Rick so hot is that he can be so dark, but so tender, loving, and wise…he loves his people and will do anything to protect them, stand up for what’s right.

When Daryl looks down, not convinced, Rick says, “Hey…”  Daryl looks up, and Rick is looking into his eyes.  “It’s not on you,” Rick says, again. “You, being here, with us, now, it’s everything.” Daryl takes this in, and then Rick drives it home by telling Daryl, “You’re my brother.”

(Dude, I married the love of my life and brought two beautiful children into the world, but I will tell you, that moment when Rick tells Daryl that he’s his brother is, hands down, one of the best moments of my life.  For real.)

Daryl tries to return the favor by telling Rick that what he did last night, anybody would have done that.  “No, not that,” Rick disagrees…he reminds Daryl of what he, Rick, did to Tyrese…it’s not all he is, but it’s there, and it’s why he is still here, and why Carl is still here.  He will do whatever it takes to keep Carl safe…that’s all that matters. The scene ends with a shot of Michonne, and Carl, his head on her lap, listening to this conversation from inside the car.

Later, as they walk along the rails, Rick turns to Michonne, asks her if she’s ok…she tells him she is…he turns to her, tells her he’s ok.  “I know,” Michonne replies. As they near Terminus, and Sanctuary, Rick suggests they take the woods for the remainder of the journey, as they don’t know who these people are, yet.

As they approach the fence and look down upon Terminus, Rick advises they spread out and watch for a while, see what they see. Rick turns to Carl and asks him if he wants to stick together. “Sorry,” Carl says, walking away from his father.

Michonne notices this, asks Carl why he doesn’t go with his dad. Carl doesn’t answer, and after a moment, Michonne begins to tell him about how Andre died. She, Andre, Mike (Andre’s dad), and their friend Terry had gone to a refugee camp after the turn. The camp got worse and worse, people leaving, people giving up…but Michonne did not give up. One day, she returned from a run to find the camp’s fences down, heard the moans…Michonne’s voice breaks as she tells Carl, “It was over.”

Michonne goes on to tell Carl how Mike and Terry were “high” when it happened, thus unable to protect little Andre.  Michonne, in her grief and fury, did not rekill Mike and Terry, although they were bitten.  She let them die, and turn, and then she cut their arms and bottom jaws away, so they couldn’t bite or scratch, put chains around them, and kept them with her as a reminder.

With tears running down her face, Michonne tells Carl that while she discovered that having them around her “hid” her from other walkers’ detection, what she did was “sick” and that she lost herself, for a long time, until Andrea brought her back…along with Rick, and especially, now, Carl.

Michonne tells Carl that she sees how he’s been looking at his dad. “You don’t have to be afraid of me, or him,” she tells Carl.

Carl breaks down, tells Michonne that the other day, Rick told him that he was proud of him, that he, Carl, was a “good man,” but Carl has “all these thoughts.” He looks at Michonne, “I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m just another monster, too.” Michonne shakes her head with a little smile, gathers Carl up in a hug.

Meanwhile, Rick is going through the weapon bag, then buries it, stashing it.  He looks at Daryl, who is watching him. “Just in case,” Rick says simply. They then jump the fence into Terminus, weapons out, and make their way into a large warehouse-looking room with a woman on a microphone reading the radio broadcast for Sanctuary, “All who arrive, survive.”

Rick greets her and the others in the room, startling them.  One tall, peevish-looking young man, Gareth, steps forward, asks, “Are you here to rob us?”  “No,” Rick replies, “We just wanted to see you before you saw us.”  Gareth looks around at his comrades, who seem to have been hand-painting some Sanctuary banners and other propaganda, and with a shrug and a tight smile, says, “Makes sense.”

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Dude, these guys look like DIY emo-types who work at the organic vegan co-op…

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…and the fact that they’re probably cannibals makes it all so much creepier…the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op can go suck it.

Gareth tries to mask his annoyance and alarm at getting caught so unawares by adopting a false-seeming concern (“Looks like you’ve been on the road for a good bit,” which is pretty much verbatim what Mary said to Glenn, Maggie, and the crew upon their arrival…very suspicious!), to a false cheeriness as he invites them to come up to the front of the house, where the “welcome wagon” area is…so much more inviting, but first, “we need to see everyone’s weapons…if you could just lay them down in front of you.”

Rick exchanges looks with Michonne, Daryl, but does what Gareth asks.  As Alex, the squirrely sidekick dude, pats them down, he keeps making stupid jokes, comments (“Hate to see what the other guy looks like,” as he pats Daryl down, taking in Daryl’s beaten up face, to which Rick replies, “You would.”).

After the pat-down, Gareth says, “We’re not those kind of people, but we aren’t stupid, either…and you shouldn’t be stupid enough to try anything stupid…just as long as we’re clear on that, we shouldn’t have any problems…just solutions.”  Rick regards him with the look of a man who just got a clear “tell” on someone who is not being 100% truthful about what is really going on here.

And what is the deal with all these slogans?  Seems like people who are sincere and truthful shouldn’t have pat slogans to rely on to explain what they are all about…I am not talking about helpful, healing slogans like ones used in 12-step recovery programs…I am talking about pat, pre-packaged slogans being used in lieu of sincere, honest expression.

Rick ain't buying it...and Michonne, Daryl aren't looking too convinced either.

Rick ain’t buying it…and Michonne, Daryl aren’t looking too convinced either.

When they are ushered up to the welcome wagon area, Mary is once again cooking meat at the grill. Her manner is more cautious, guarded than she was with Glenn, Maggie, and the gang.  “Heard you came in the back way, smart,” she says to Rick and the others. “You’ll fit right in here.”  Michonne asks Alex why they take people in the way they do, and Alex answers with another slogan, “The more people we take in, the stronger we become…” Blah, blah, blah.

As Alex blathers on, Rick spies items he recognizes…he sees a large leather backpack (Bob’s?) on one person, and he sees another young man suited up in riot gear that looks exactly like the riot gear suits they had at the prison.  On another woman, he sees Daryl’s poncho, the one Maggie was wearing in the last episode, when she and the crew walked up to Sanctuary…and last, Rick sees the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch, the one that Hershel had given Glenn, coming out of Alex’s pocket.

In a pimp deputy maneuver, Rick slaps the plate of food from Alex’s hand, grabs the pocket watch from Alex’s pocket, demanding, “Where the hell did you get this watch?” Rick holds his gun to Alex’s head, while Daryl, Michonne, and Carl have their weapons drawn in a terse standoff at the Sanctuary welcome wagon greeting area:

Once again, Rick In Charge  doing what needs to be done, and looking fine doing it!

Once again, Rick In Charge doing what needs to be done, and looking fine doing it!

A brief flashback to the prison…Rick sees Beth, holding Judith, and Patrick, who is quietly playing with toys that were grabbed on a run…he is embarrassed to be playing with a Lego set that is meant for ages 4-12…Rick tells him to not be, then he sees Carl, who is looking at a diagram, trying to figure out how to put his gun back together…Rick has made his mind up, tells his son he needs his help with something.  When Carl goes to bring his gun, Rick tells him to leave it…at Carl’s questioning look, Rick tells him, “It will just get in the way,” echoing Hershel’s words to him earlier on, and taking his own gun belt off as well.

The scene shifts back to Sanctuary, to Carl with his gun drawn, the others with their weapons out.  Alex is freaking out, and Rick tells him to call off the sniper on the roof, who has Rick in his sights.  Rick asks again where Alex got the watch, and Alex lies, tells him he got it “off a dead one…didn’t think he’d be needing it again.”

When Rick asks where they got the riot gear, a voice answers from behind him.  He whirls around, still holding Alex at gunpoint, to see Gareth standing there, his hands held out in a gesture of peace, reasonableness.  Gareth has an answer for everything…they got the riot gear off a dead cop, they got the poncho off a clothesline…Alex tries to tell Gareth they can “wait,” to which Gareth answers, “Shut up, Alex, and every time Alex tries to talk, Gareth tells him to “shut up.”  Wow…kind of a weird way to talk to a comrade who is being held at gunpoint.

Gareth asks Rick what he wants. Rick, holding the gun to Alex’s head, asks, “Where are our people?” Gareth replies that Rick didn’t answer the question, and then. a gun fires from behind Rick, as some Sanctuary dude tries a cheap shot while Gareth distracts Rick.  Rick whirls, blasting Alex with a bullet in the head, dropping him.

Mayhem ensues, with Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Daryl making a run for it, through the Terminus station, while snipers shoot bullets at their feet, more like trying to corral the group into going a certain way rather than trying to kill them.

As one path out, then another, gets blocked, they run to a warehouse building marked, “A”, and as they run through, they hear voices calling to them for help, with rapping and pounding noises coming from the inside of the large metal train cars and storage boxes there…we see a shot of what looks like many skulls, spines, and ribs lying on the ground, as if human bodies were stripped of all the flesh on them,  and the bones left in a pile on a large tarp.

IMG_5076

Gimple can act as coy as he wants to…this whole mess screams “Cannibals!” to me…

IMG_5077

More slogans…these people are THE WORST.

Outside, Rick and them find themselves surrounded by Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op soldiers, all pointing guns at them. Gareth orders Rick, “the ringleader,” into the train car, then “the archer,” then, the “samurai.”  If they do not comply, Gareth tells Rick they will kill his son.

IMG_5079

Once inside the train car, Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Carl find they are not alone…emerging from the darkness, is Glenn, and Maggie, Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Rosita, Tara, and Eugene. “You’re here,” says Rick, who seems to take this as a divine sign…it really kind of is, isn’t it?  I mean, what are the odds? As always, Rick In Charge is thinking, always thinking of the next plan.

Maggie gestures to the others in their group, Abraham, Tara, Rosita, Eugene, telling Rick and them that they are their “friends” who helped them survive.  Daryl responds, “Then they are our friends, too.”  I love this feeling of bonding, of a superhero team forming…it’s Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars.

IMG_5091 IMG_5096

Abraham says, dryly, “For however long that’ll be…” “No,” says Rick In Charge…he has a different take on things.

Rick In Charge cracks the door of the train car, peers outside, then turns to the gang...

Rick In Charge cracks the door of the train car, peers outside, then turns to the gang…“They’ll feel pretty stupid when they find out… they’re screwing with the wrong people!”

In the final flashback scene, Rick, Carl, Hershel, Beth, and Judith are outside on the prison grounds…as Rick shows Carl how to spear the shovel into the ground, at an angle, and they all laugh and joke easily, Hershel tells Rick that it can be like this all the time…Rick smiles, replies that it’s like this now, and that’s all that matters.

Well, there we have it, people.  While Scott M. Gimple acknowledged that Rick really doesn’t have any reason to feel confident, as they are being held prisoner in a train car, without weapons, and surrounded by what appears to be brainwashed, flesh-eating LIVING people who are armed to the teeth,  it all does feel so right, somehow…

Rick believes, so I believe, and I will tell you that there is not a group of people I believe can get the hell out of The Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op more than I believe in Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars!

On a final note: Talking Dead, being a live show, always has some epic weirdo moment, and the finale episode was no exception…because Andrew Lincoln and Scott M. Gimple were the guests, they had some fans Skype in questions for the two…and up on the screen comes Emily the Bird Girl:

I was so surprised to see this that I didn't get the best pictures, but chose this one because I felt it captured best the whole look she was going for.    I was inspired to write a haiku for her:   Bird girl, Emily Why? I ask of your Skype-style, cockatiel question.

I was so surprised to see this that I didn’t get the best pictures, but chose this one because I felt it really captured the whole look she was going for.
I was inspired to write a haiku for her:
Bird girl, Emily,
Why? I ask of your Skype-style
cockatiel question.

Emily’s question was directed to Andrew Lincoln, but he had no idea what she asked because he couldn’t stop looking at the bird…Scott M. Gimple and Chris Hardwick were in the same boat, as was everyone…what the hell did she ask?  We were all too obsessed with Emily’s cockatiel to pay attention to her question.

Emily, if you are out there and reading this, drop me a line, or put a “Like” on my barnfullawalkers Facebook page…I am obsessed with you and your bird!

https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers

Cheers to Season 4, and to honor Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars, I am going to go Double Pantera in the Season 4 finale playlist…never been done before…an epic moment in http://www.barnfullawalkers.com history!

Take that, creepy cannibal co-op!

As the Talking Dead put it: Hey Terminus, guess what, you’re screwed!

Playlist:

Little People, “Start Shootin'”

Pantera, “Walk” (for Rick In Charge…and Rick Smash! <3)

Zero 7, “Spinning”

Handsome Boy Modeling School, “The Truth”

DJ Shadow, “Midnight In A Perfect World”

Pantera, “A New Level” (for Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars)

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 15, “Us”

“Us”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

The Walking Dead’s Season 4, Episode 15, “Us,” begins in a fairly straightforward manner…no music, no montage…just the drone of Eugene, walking along the tracks beside Tara, completely geeking her out while trying to impress her with his scientific acumen, epic mullet, and general philosophy about…everything.

“I’m well aware it sounds bananas…but lookin’ at the fossil record, knowing what I know about this infection, you cannot say for certain it isn’t what killed off the dinosaurs.  Do I believe that’s what happened?  No…but it’s enjoyable as hell to think about an undead ankylosaur goin’ after a diplodocus!”

Wow, sweet opener, Eugene…if you’re trying to impress a 10-year-old kid who’s obsessed with dinosaurs and who happens to be navigating a a zombie apocalypse. You can practically hear Tara’s eyes rolling back into her head.

Eugene is oblivious to this, chuckling to himself at the thought of undead dinosaurs battling it out. “That there’s a video game worthy of a preorder.”  (Actually, he is right about that one). Eugene looks on as Tara stoops to pick up a flattened coin on the rails. “Aw, hell yeah, score…a few more of those, a little aluminum foil and some bleach, you got yourself some volts, sister.”

At Tara’s questioning look, Eugene explains, “Homemade battery.”

As it seems to mean so much to him, Tara holds out the coin, offering it to Eugene. “Here.” “For real?” he asks.  “For reals,” Tara answers dryly.  “Much obliged,” says Eugene, as they continue down the tracks.

Emboldened by the coin exchange, Eugene tries again to impress Tara…”Speaking of video games, what kind of gamer were you? RPG, smut, sim racing?”  It is clear by this point that Eugene did not have a single iota of lady-game in the world before, and he is striking out big-time in this world, as well…it also doesn’t help that he’s trying to hit on a lesbian.

Eugene, Eugene, Eugene…while I remain unconvinced that he has any real insights on what actually caused the zombie apocalypse, I do hope he can find a way to work that angle to get some play in the new world order…he definitely has some good taste in women, Tara and the lovely Rosita!

And, he has “The Eugene,” a mullet so epic, there should be a sculpture made of it for future PZA (post zombie-apocalypse) generations to visit and make offerings to (especially, I suppose, if Eugene actually does possess the key to a walker cure as well).

That night, Tara is sitting against a tree, staring out into the darkness with a haunted look. Abraham comes to sit beside her, his assault rifle across his lap, stifles a yawn. Tara tells him to go to sleep, she’s got this…he tells her no offense, but he’s not leaving Eugene’s life in her hands.

It is clear that Abraham is 100% on Team Eugene, and he also makes it clear that Team Eugene is in with Glenn and Tara only until they find a working vehicle, then they continue on their mission to get to Washington.

Tara lowers her head into her crossed arms, and Abraham urges her to get some sleep, telling her he hasn’t seen her sleep yet.  As Tara does not reply to this, Abraham continues, “I thought it was because you were in love with him (Glenn).” Abraham chuckles to himself, muses aloud, “Girl in love with the guy she’s trying to help get to his girl…if that were the case, closing your eyes would be just too damn tragic.”

“If that were the case,” replies Tara.

Abraham knows that’s not what’s going on here.  He looks at Tara.  “I saw the way you were looking down Rosita’s shirt when she was serving you dinner…hell, the things are damn near hypnotic.” (And may I give a “Hollah!” to that?)  Abraham chuckles, continues, “Look, Eugene spends half the day staring at her ass…I’m not mad, it just means my theory’s shot.”

“I’m awfully sorry about that,” replies Tara.  Sarcasm seems to be her go-to mechanism these days.

Abraham, however, is not attached…to his initial theory, anyway. “Well, I’m right and I’m wrong…” Abraham  is, however, still trying to get Tara to talk about what is obviously weighing on her. “It’s something you did, or something you didn’t do,” he says, looking away into the darkness.  He is giving her time, and space, to talk to him.

Tara closes her eyes for a brief moment, says softly, “Something I did.” Abraham looks at her, waits.  Tara looks back to him. “You were in the army,” she says, with a raise of her eyebrows, a little smile, and a nod. Then she looks away. “I get the whole gung-ho, mission is your life bullshit.”

Abraham says, “Yeah? You do…”  “Yeah,” Tara whispers. She turns to face him. Her game face is back on. “So we both got our reasons…we both got our missions.”

Abraham nods, says nothing.

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Tara turns again to Abraham, asks, “What do you do when the mission’s over?” Abraham looks into the night, and nods in silent understanding.

The next morning, Eugene once again walks beside Tara, working out the logistics for them to share the battery her found coin will become, one day, if they collect all the materials needed. Eugene seems to know that the weak charge that homemade battery would generate would be the closest thing to any spark between them, and he’s working that angle for all it’s worth.

While trying to ignore Eugene, Tara looks ahead and spies something down the tracks…and there it is, scrawled in walker’s blood, Maggie’s sexy blood note to Glenn:

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As soon as he sees the sign, Glenn starts hauling ass down the tracks…

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Maggie!

Maggie!

Meanwhile, in a makeshift camp in the woods, the Downstairs Thug Boys are catching their last moments of a joyless sleep on the cold forest ground as a lone walker approaches.  The walker catches the barbed wire barricade in the face, sending the cans strung along it rattling, jolting the DTB’s awake.

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Mornin’!

One DTB says, “I got it” and dispatches the walker bayonet-upside-the-chin style:

Mornin', motherfucker.

Mornin’, motherfucker. After he rekills Mornin’ Walker, the DTB thrusts his bayonet into the ground, unzips, and unleashes his morning piss onto the dead walker.

Tony (the Hispanic dude who saw Rick under the bed just before losing consciousness in a chokehold) looks around, says it looks like that “Robin Hood cat” skipped out and went off on his own. Tony adds that he didn’t think Robin Hood had the “sac” to go off on his own like that.

Len, (who may have done the choking), seems like a pretty pent up dude.  He’s got some issues.  But, he does have the observation skills to notice that Robin Hood’s stuff is still there, probably just stepped out to “drop a morning deuce.” Joe, the leader, is looking pretty relieved at this.  It’s been pretty clear to me so far that he is way-gay for Daryl…welcome to the club, dude.

Somewhere where the morning shines a little brighter, Rick (yay! we have missed you, Deputy Grimes!) trudges along the rails talking, it seems, to himself…“We have about a day’s worth of water left… luckily it’s cooled off some, but…”  He looks back to see Carl and Michonne way behind him, each walking slowly, balancing on a rail, trying not to fall over.

“What are you doing?” he mock chides, to which Carl answers, “Winning a bet,” to which Michonne replies, “In your dreams!”  Rick has no choice but to laugh, and it did my heart good to see it…sigh…Rick is pleasedall is right in the world again.  Thank you, Rick. Just…thank you.  For. Everything.

What are those two up to now?

What are those two up to now?

Try to look stern...

Try to look stern…

...nah, can't do it!

…nah, can’t do it!

You crazy kids! :)

You crazy kids! 🙂

Michonne lets Carl win. #bettermotherthanlori

Michonne lets Carl win.
#bettermotherthanlori  (awww….just kidding…kind of)

Carl shares the prize, the last stale-ass Big Kat bar...sweet boy loves him some Michonne

Carl shares the prize, the last stale-ass Big Cat bar…“C’mon, we always share…” Michonne smiles, says, “Fork it over..”  So sweet!

Meanwhile, back in the dark douchebag forest, poor Daryl is not faring as well.  He needs some time and space to think, and a stealthy early-morning hunt will maybe help to clear his mind.

He has got to be freaking out inside about poor Beth, abducted in a creepy black funeral car, injured, alone…but, he must bide his time, and it is safer in numbers, right now, and nobody wants to piss Joe off…that guy seems a little fixated on poor Daryl.

Joe, and the rest of the Downstairs Thug Boys, are gonna be a little hard to shake. Daryl has a lot to figure out, and not a lot of time to do it.  He spots a rabbit and aims his crossbow:

um. yes.

um. yes…yes, indeed

Daryl fires, just as another, bigger arrow shoots from behind him, just grazing the hair at his temple and spearing through the rabbit, along with Daryl’s arrow.  (Daryl’s Arrow…great name for a band…someone should snatch it up…I do not play a musical instrument but love coming up with band names, so, welcome to it, and enjoy, and I’ll keep throwing them out there as I think of them.)

Daryl whirls around, and there is Len, lurking behind, poaching Daryl’s rabbit, and basically just there to harsh Daryl’s morning mellow.

“What the hell you doin?” demands Daryl, as he goes forward to the rabbit.  Len shrugs, “Just catchin’ me some breakfast.”  Len, who clearly is not gifted in the personality, nor the charisma, department, goes on to inform Daryl that his arrow went through before Daryl’s did, and that  “Cottontail belongs to me.”

Crouching down to pull the arrows out of the rabbit, Daryl tells Len that he’s been out there since before the sun came up. This is all he says, Daryl being a man of few words, and incredible hotness. Daryl clearly had first sights on the rabbit, and it clearly belongs to him.

Len, however, counters that the “rules of the hunt don’t mean jack” in this day and age, and that-there rabbit is “claimed,” so Daryl better fork it over.

Now, it is also clear that Len is picking a fight with Daryl, probably for things that went way far back in Len’s life and that Daryl has had nothing to do with, before now…but now Len is on Daryl’s ever-growing list of problems, and probably, at this point, near the top of Daryl’s ever-growing shitlist.  As Len drones on about the law of “claimed,” Daryl stands back up, looks Len in the eye, and tosses Len’s shitty arrow to the side.

Len’s gaze follows the arrow, his neck jutting forward, his feet planted, trying to intimidate Daryl by insisting that he hand the rabbit over now, or else… Daryl strides towards him as Len tries to hold his ground, unsuccessfully.. Daryl’s voice is soft, and sexy, and growly, as he stands before Len, looks him straight in the face, says, “Ain’t yours.”

Len, clearly challenged, goes for the sucker-punch, suggesting that it’s “some bitch” that has Daryl all messed up…and was it one of the “littl’uns? Cuz they don’t last too long out here…”

Daryl reaches for the knife in his belt:

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But just before Daryl can do us all a favor and end Len, Joe comes rushing up and breaks up the fight…he is so gay for Daryl, I mean, really…the dude can’t hide it, not even a little.

“Easy, fellas, easy…let’s put down our weapons and see if we can’t figure out what’s really the problem here…” Joe is of course eye-fucking Daryl the whole time he says this, and Len laughs from behind Joe in a thin, shitty way. Daryl’s eyes burn past Joe, into Len’s shitty face, looking majorly fine as he vibes Len hard. Joe finally tears his gaze from Daryl, turns to Len, asks him if he “claimed” the rabbit.

“Hell, yeah!” says Len.  “Well, there you go,” says Joe, turning back to Daryl. “That critter belongs to Len.”  Len juts his chin forward even more, demands, “So let’s have it!”  Yes, children, Len sucks.

Joe’s voice is pacifying as he turns to Daryl, “Looks like you’ll be wanting an explanation.” He steps towards Daryl, who leans back slightly and steps back away from Joe. Joe, who pretends not to notice this clear, universal signal of distaste, continues his explanation in placating, almost pleading, tones:

“See, goin’ it alone, that’s not an option nowadays. Still, it is survival of the fittest…that’s a paradox right there.” Joe leans in towards Daryl to make his point, which Daryl suffers…he already slipped with the step-back, before. Joe explains that he laid out some “rules of the road before things get too Darwin every couple of hours, to keep our merry band together and things stress-free.”

Joe is pretty much pitching this like it’s the best idea anybody ever had. While Daryl knows better, he also knows better than to show it..he’s turned away, looking down, trying not to be a dick about it, but kind of repulsed past the point of being able to hide it.  (Me too, Daryl, me too!)

“All you gotta do is “claim,” Joe continues, bringing it home. “That’s how you mark your territory, your prey, your bed at night…that one word, “claimed.” Daryl shifts back, growls softly, “I ain’t claimin’ nothin’.”  Len steps forward, reminds Joe that the rule is to teach Daryl if he doesn’t obey.

Joe, however, cannot bring himself to punish Daryl, and lays it on thick about how “it wouldn’t be fair to punish someone for a rule they never knew existed.” This flagrant display of favor towards Daryl causes Len to turn away and laugh bitterly while shaking his head, raking his hand through his hair, and pacing around with the unfairness of it all.

Len, dude, give it up.  Maybe you were Joe’s favorite at one time, but you are totally out of your league with this one. It’s Daryl Dixon, for fuck’s sake. Later for you, Len.

Daryl, deliciously defiant, dismisses all this, growling “There ain’t no rules no more.” (He’s so soft and growly this episode…really sexy.)  Joe would beg to differ, about there being no rules, that is…Joe would probably beg Daryl for a lot of things, truth be told, but he is trying to make a specific point…there are still rules, and Daryl knows it, and that’s why Joe didn’t kill Daryl for the crossbow.

Then, Joe grabs the tail end of Daryl’s rabbit, which Daryl still holds.  Daryl protests, and Joe cautions him, “Easy, there, partner.” His eyes on Daryl, Joe holds the rabbit carcass up to the tree and slices it in half with one stroke of his machete.

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Joe tosses the front half to Len, who glares at Daryl…Len is seething lime-green jelly at all the blantant favoritism that is being shown to Daryl, who clearly has the mojo and magnetism that Len has been lacking his whole life.  Len stalks off, and Joe looks at Daryl. “Claimed, it’s all you gotta say,” he says, with a shrug of his fingers.  Joe looks down at Daryl’s rabbit half.  “Ass end is still an end,” Joe says, and walks off.

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Daryl’s thinking, These guys are dicks!

Back at the rails, Glenn is hauling ass to Maggie…he’s charging ahead of the group and not looking back.  They have reached some sort of observation or loading tower, and Abraham calls for a rest, saying they are tired, and “tired is slow, and slow is dead.”

Glenn protests that it’s barely noon, to which Abraham replies, “I don’t give a monkey’s left nut!” (Ha! It’s pretty much guaranteed that any episode Abraham is in is going to bring us WD fans some pretty memorable lines to quote.)

Abraham continues, saying that nobody has slept more than a couple of hours, and while he gets it, “You have to find her,” he and Rosita have a mission too, and that’s to get Eugene to Washington, “and save the whole damn world!”  He says it looks safe here, that they are going up in the tower for a rest stop.

Just then, Tower Walker makes its presence known:

As Tower Walker steps in for his cameo, we get a rear view of

As Tower Walker steps in for his cameo, we get a rear view of “The Eugene” and how the back drape of it flows down in greasy, brown mulltastic waves…it’s truly a mullet of epic proportions!

In its undead zeal to chomp the living, the Tower Walker pitches right over the railing, becoming Look Out, Below! Walker...and hits the dirt in a gorish heap of rot and bone.

In its undead zeal to chomp the living, the Tower Walker pitches right over the railing, becoming Look Out, Below! Walker…and hits the dirt in a gorish heap of rot and bone.

Unfortunately, Tara’s knee gets hurt in the mayhem of the walker’s fall (ahem, Abraham shoving her aside, and to the ground, rudely, in his quest to protect Eugene from all the forces that want to kill his white, pasty ass). Limping gamely on her injured knee, Tara insists to Glenn that she can still walk.

Glenn is being super self-obsessed right now, and tries to bid farewell to Abraham and Co., ready to continue on, whatever it takes…”You don’t need us and we don’t need you,” says Glenn before he turns away, ready to move on.

Rosita calls him out, “Wow, you’re an ass….She (and she points to Tara) will do whatever you say because she thinks she owes you…man up! Stay for a few hours!”

Besides looking totally hot calling Glenn out, may I just give Rosita mad props on accessorizing in the zombie apocalypse…girlfriend’s got on gold hoops, cute military-style hat, leather fingerless gloves, and a cute-ass Michael Jackson-style military jacket, with long sweater sleeves over the hands, complete with DIY thumbhole cut out…Rosita is officially my girl-crush and my new fashion icon.

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Glenn proposes that if they continue on, and go until sundown, then he will give Eugene his riot gear, “right here, right now.” Abraham accepts, despite Rosita’s protests that Tara is in no shape to move on…”You’re not her mama,” replies Abraham, cutting his eyes to Glenn, then Tara.  “If she says she can walk, she can walk.” Abraham turns to Glenn and tells him he’s got himself a deal.

Back aways at Douchebag Junction, Joe is really pressing Daryl for some kind of commitment:  “So what’s the plan, Daryl?” They are walking down the railway line, Joe’s smoking a cigarette. He seems pretty tense, putting it all out there.

Daryl plays dumb, “How so?” Joe’s been around the block a few times, and he’s played this game before. He spreads his cigarette hand out in a wide arc of impatience, asks, “Well, you with us now, but you ain’t soon?”  He’s bordering on strident. Desperation, Joe…so not sexy.

Daryl knows how to play it.  He tosses his hair, acts coy, buys time.  I admire his technique. Well played, well timed, keeps Joe, and Joe’s Daryl-boner, guessing.

“So, what’s the plan?” Joe presses, trying for casual but so not fooling anybody. Daryl hedges, not about to give anything up to this man or his band of degenerates. “Just uh, lookin’ for the right place, is all,” he offers. It’s so cute to me that Daryl’s good at holding his cards close to his chest, but he is not good at lying.

“Aw, we ain’t good enough for ya, huh?” Joe presses.  Dude, so gay for Daryl.  “Some of you ain’t exactly friendly,” replies Daryl, being the master of understatement that he is.

Joe takes a drag from his cigarette, “You ain’t so friendly, yourself.”  He continues, “You know you need a group out here…”

“Maybe I don’t,” counters Daryl. Man, he’s so hot when he plays hard ball! Joe notices this too, of course, replies, “Naw, you do, you should be with us!”  Joe’s laying it all on the line, not knowing how badly that this scratch-and-dent sausage party of a group is no comparison to the fine, soulful group Daryl was with before… and Daryl likes girls, dammit, and is in love with Beth...and where the fuck is she?

Look, Joe, your motley crew is rebound, at best...Daryl's in another league, dude...sorry!

Look, Joe, your motley crew is rebound, at best…Daryl’s in another league, dude…sorry!

Joe lays out the basic rules for the band of DTB’s…you just gotta follow the rules: you claim, when you steal, you keel, and you don’t lie, because that is a slippery slope.

While that all sounds good on paper, the chemistry is so not there, but what can poor Daryl do, but go with things, as they are, for now…Daryl asks what happens if the rules get broken, and Joe answers that the offender gets “a beatin’, the severity of which depends on the offense and the general attitude of the day.” It’s a brutal code, not on any level of the caliber of community and humanity that Daryl lived with at the prison.

Joe spots a warehouse, whistles through his fingers, signalling the night’s abode.  Daryl turns to Joe, tells him he “Ain’t no us.” Joe asks him, point blank, “You leaving now?” Daryl answers by not answering…um, no, it’s about to get dark and shit, just sayin’.

“Then it sure seems like there’s an us!” Joe then proceeds to get the last line on Daryl, asks him if he likes cats.  Joe, it turns out, loves cats, has since he was three years old. He tells Daryl that there “ain’t nothing sadder than an outside cat who thinks it’s an inside cat,” before turning and heading into the warehouse.  

Aw, snap, Daryl Dixon, you have just been served The Last Word.

Meanwhile, Glenn, who has divested himself of riot gear and given it to Eugene, is once again steadily charging ahead of the group on the rails.  They have reached the entrance of a dark tunnel that the railway runs through.  At the entrance is scrawled another blood note from Maggie, Sasha, and Bob. It is still wet. “We’re gaining on them,” announces Glenn.  Abraham answers that they sure as Shanghola can’t go over the tunnel.

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Abraham says, “Hear that? That sounds like a long dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses.” Glenn says, “If Maggie went through, I’m going through.”

Abraham says, with some regret, that this is where they part ways. He tells Glenn, “You’re on your own.” Tara steps up, with a limp, says, “No, you’re not.” Glenn looks at her like it’s the first time he’s really seen her, nods to her.

Abraham kneels down, takes a couple of cans of food out and offers it up to Glenn, who declines at first, saying that they will need them…”So will you, ” replies Abraham, and it is Tara who has the good sense to step forward, with pain, and take the offering from Abraham. Abraham then offers up a gun or flare of some kind, which is majorly cool of him…Glenn, truly humbled at this point, takes the offering with silent gratitude.

“Sorry I hit you in the face,” apologizes Glenn.  Abraham answers, “I’m not…I like to fight!”  Rosita comes up to Glenn with a hug and some well-wishes (“Good luck, try not to be an ass.”) and hugs Tara.  Eugene, standing awkwardly in his riot gear, pronounces them as “good people…Tara, you are seriously hot,” causing Glenn to look down, smiling, and Tara to reply that she likes girls, to which Eugene says, “I’m well aware of that!”

Yeah, right, Eugene, like how Pee-Wee Herman “meant to do that!” when he ate it on his bike in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

I must say that I am loving Abraham and Co., especially as Abraham offers a Plan B scenario: if Glenn and Tara get into trouble, come back, and Abraham and Co. will double-back to the first road they cross, to meet  up if needed. Yes, thank you, love the plan, Abraham.  Majorly cool of you, know now how you bagged a girlfriend like Rosita.

As they enter the blackness of the tunnel, with only the light of Glenn’s flashlight to guide them, Glenn tries to tell Tara that he knows what she is going through, dealing with the loss of loved ones, the shock…he kind of falters, being a guy and all, but is really trying…I am glad he is being cool, not so selfish.

As they continue on in the blackness, Tara tells Glenn that when “Brian” told them he wanted to take over the prison, she knew it was bad.  When she found her girlfriend, she was dead, her niece, dead, then Tara watched her sister, Lilly, become surrounded by walkers, pounced on…she saw it happen.  Ugh, awful…just maybe a week ago, Tara and her family were alive and in relative safety in their little apartment…and now, they are gone, the collateral damage to a needless massacre, and she is…here, in a dark-ass tunnelfullawalkers. (Drink one if you got one! Am drinking coffee right now, but kind of wishing it were a mimosa.)

Tara recounts the horror of all this, but says that it wasn’t as bad as seeing what “Brian” did to Maggie’s father. Glenn is silent, and somber, as she unburdens herself to him, to the background hiss and slaver of the Tunnel Walkers, further down the line, in the darkness.

Meanwhile, in another dark hole, the DTB’s have cleared the warehouse garage. The cars have been drained of any gas, but Joe asserts that they are getting “closer,” he can feel it.

Then, the DTB’s start “claiming” all the cars around as their own. Each time Daryl approaches a car, some douchebag DTB is there, looking at Daryl and calling, “claimed.” They are all majorly stunted, and Daryl gives up, setting his pack, and himself, on the concrete floor in the center of the garage. Dicks!

Meanwhile, back at the tunnelfullawalkers, Tara and Glenn have come upon a wall of rubble which has come down onto a group of RubbleWalkers, who paw and gape (and drool slime…gruesomely awesome, Nicotero!) helplessly at Glenn and Tara, pinned and stuck in the rubble.

Amazing slime drool moment...love it, love it!

Amazing slime drool moment…love it, love it!

As Glenn shines the flashlight to the ceiling, seeing the spot that caved in from above, Tara feels the blood is still wet…”this must have just happened today.”

Glenn clears a path up the rock wall by spearing walkers through the heads as he climbs up…if not rekilled, how long would a walker last, stuck in the rubble, unable to feed or free itself?

(For all these burning questions, consult Walking Dead Wiki:

http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/The_Walking_Dead_Wiki

Usually, I would look this up for all of us, but a combination of the kids’ spring break, plus computer-crashing difficulties, has put me way behind deadline, so I will forge ahead…we will def discuss that topic, walker lifespan, etc., another time!)

From the top of the rubble heap, Glenn shines the flashlight, sees with relief none of the Tunnel Walkers is Maggie…despite being outnumbered, and out of ammo, Glenn wants to push through…

Tara's like,

Tara’s like, “Boy be crazy loco in love…but am I crazy enough to go along with this?”

Meanwhile, Abraham and Co. are checking abandoned cars on the road, seeing if any are driveable.  Abraham spies a promising minivan, only to discover it is currently occupied…by Soccer Mom Walker:

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Soccer Mom Walker on Board!

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Me so hungry!

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One minute I’m driving my son to soccer practice, then, chomp, I’m a freakin walker…

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Abraham does her a solid rekill…

Abraham gets in the minivan, and it starts.  While Rosita and Eugene bicker over the map, and the rights to shotgun/navigator, Abraham sees a sad note written with a finger onto the dusty windshield:

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“Let Momma Be”

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Abraham puts the wipers on that one…

It’s a super comedic moment as Eugene  pleads his case for navigator, despite having messed the job up again and again in the past…

After a humble “Please?” doesn’t do it, Eugene tells Rosita that he cannot abide the thought of a world where she would be chosen as navigator over “a son of the south, who has sucessfully negotiated the travails and vagaries of journeys both real and virtual.” 

Ha! Even Rosita can’t keep a straight face, or refuse, that one.

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“Ok,” Rosita relents, slapping Eugene’s chest up with the map. “We’re going north, got it?”

It’s a good thing that Eugene seems to have his own ideas about where they are headed, because back at the dread tunnelfullawalkers, Glenn and Tara are getting in deep shit.  As the tunnel walkers begin to figure out how to get over the rubble wall to chomp that fresh meat they saw on top, Glenn and Tara try creeping around the occupied horde…until Tara stumbles and gets her foot caught in the rocks.

Luckily, Eugene has done the calculations, and lands the minivan right at the other end of the tunnel, just as Glenn and Tara would be coming out.  Rosita calls Eugene a liar, but Eugene refutes this, saying he never said he was taking them north.

“After I save the world,” pronounces Eugene, “I still need to live with myself..I’m not leaving them behind.”

As he steps out to go rescue Glenn and Tara, Eugene sends the seat back into a sleeping Abraham, who jolts awake with some choice expletives.  When he sees what’s happening, he turns to Rosita, and they go back and forth in a couple’s spat, until Eugene tells them, um, guys…look!

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Meanwhile, at the Douchebag Garage Hotel

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Daryl’s thinking…and Len’s making a big show of looking for his rabbit half…

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…so he accuses our man, Daryl Dixon, of taking it.

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Daryl sez no way, you’re the only one who still cares about that shit…

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Len sez empty your bag, and tries to grab it from Daryl…bad move, Len…remember I said “Later for you, Len?”  Well, it’s later…

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…because Joe, ever guided by his ever-present Daryl-boner, steps in, and although he finds the rabbit half in Daryl’s bag, he doesn’t quite believe that Len’s “cowardly cop” ways didn’t creep in and plant the rabbit in Daryl’s bag…

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Daryl looking hot, taking it all in…good thing his experience with hanging around douchebags is keeping him on his toes…

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Joe: Did you plant the rabbit?  Len: No…

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Joe starts the beat down, urges the “gents” to finish the job…seems he saw Len plant the rabbit, let Len dig his own grave…

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“He lied…you told the truth. You know the rules…he didn’t.”

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As the “gents” kick Len to death, Joe tosses Daryl the other rabbit half…“Hey, seems like you got the front end after all!”

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Daryl knows he’s gotta get the fuck away from these guys…sooner than later.

Back at the tunnelfullawalkers, Glenn is trying in vain to free Tara from the rocks…the walkers are coming around the corner, see them…Tara urges Glenn to go, to leave her, but he refuses to leave her.  I love Glenn in this moment, when he yells, “No!” and makes his stand against the oncoming walkers…he shoots his last three bullets, and is ready to take them on, one by one, when a light shines in his face and a voice yells to “Get down!”

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Who is that??

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The calvary has come to save the day!

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Abraham and Co. has some new members…

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Take that, Tunnel Walkers!

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Could it be…?

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Emerging from the light, in all her magnificence…

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Maggie!

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YES!

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Glenn and Maggie! So awesome!

Later, Glenn is staring at Maggie, unbelieving…“You’re so beautiful,” he says. Ummm, yeah!  The introductions are made, Glenn telling Maggie he met Tara on the road, and she helped him, that he couldn’t have done it without her.  Maggie smiles gorgeously at Tara and hugs her, surprising and disarming Tara.  Of course, Glenn can’t get all into it now, about Tara and her true story, but I am left wondering if he will ever tell the full truth to Maggie…I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Meanwhile, Sasha and Bob are tripping on the Eugene Saving the World story…Abraham is pitching the idea that the eight of them all join forces to get Eugene to Washington.  Tara tells them she’s in, that she is going to go help Abraham and Co., but Eugene overrides this, telling them that he feels they should continue to Terminus and see what supplies they have, and continue on their mission from there.

Rosita agrees, adding that they may be able to recruit others for the mission.  Sasha offers to come help Team Eugene get to Washington, but only after she checks in and sees Terminus. She must see if Tyrese is there.  Bob chimes in, says he is in on both counts, as well…he and Sasha look at each other.

Later, Maggie finds the polaroid that Glenn took of her sleeping and goes to burn it, telling Glenn that he’ll never have just a picture of her to look at, again:

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So dark and sexy these days, Maggie!

The next morning, the DTB’s are filing out of the Douchebag Garage Hotel.  Daryl is horrified to see Len’s body, dead and bloodied, with one of Len’s long shitty arrows sticking out of his head:

Later, Len.

Later, Len.

Daryl tries to salvage a sheet to cover the body with, but it is so bloody and full of holes, he just throws it to the ground and continues walking.  Beth would want to cover it, but who can blame poor Daryl for not having the energy to bother, right now. Some time down the line, he takes a sip from Joe’s flask, remarking how he hadn’t gotten lit at dawn since before everything fell apart…

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Joe’s response to this is that he feels everything has fallen together, as this kind of world supports the code that a group of men like them live by...survival.

The men stop at a Sanctuary sign, and Daryl is surprised, having seen this for the first time.  You can see the wheels in his head turning.  He asks Joe about it, Joe replying that Sanctuary is a lie, that there is no sanctuary for all…even if there was, it’s not a place that would embrace the likes of them with open arms.

Joe tells Daryl that he and the DTB tribe have been tracking whomever was hiding in the house they found, strangled their buddy, Lou, and left him to turn and attack them. Daryl asks if anyone saw this person, and Joe tells him that only Tony saw him. They are following this person to Sanctuary and will get their revenge, which, judging from the way they punished Len, would be brutal and savage, indeed.

I don’t know if, in this next scene, if Daryl calls “claimed” suddenly to divert the DTBs’ attention, but he does, as he scoops up a radish growing by the rails and puts the radish in his bag. As the men walk off, we see the Big Cat wrapper that Carl left on the tracks a day earlier…gulp!

The ending scene shows Glenn and the crew approaching the gates to…

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Terminus!

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Cautiously, they open the chained, but not locked, gates and enter… walk past garden boxes with vegetables, sunflowers growing…

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They see a woman, cooking…she turns, smiles, introduces herself as Mary…bids them come in, they will get them some food...”Welcome to Terminus!”

All I can say, people, is the only thing I know for sure…shit’s gonna go down in the finale…staying strong, keeping needed coping mechanisms on hand…until then, be happy, be well, send love to our WD peeps, and enjoy the playlist!

Playlist:

Unnatural Helpers, “Shakes”

Fleet Foxes, “Mykonos”

Samiam, “El Dorado”

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 11 “Claimed”

“Claimed”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

I have to admit, people, when I saw the title for The Walking Dead, Episode 11, “Claimed,” I was like, “Claimed? What the hell does that mean?  It was kind of ominous sounding, like some shit was going to go down, in a big way. Was someone going to get kidnapped, killed…claimed?  I was nervous.

Episode 11, “Claimed,” definitely delivered plenty to thrills, chills, and nailbiting moments…and laughs!  (Thank you, Abraham!)

Abraham…that guy rules. He’s not afraid to mess up some walkers, and he’s not afraid to bring the funny.  And I think we could all use a little of that right about now with this show of ours. We’ve hung in, and shit’s been hard, and then now we’ve got Abraham, flanked on one side by his hot woman-comrade, Rosita

(Ok, yes, Rosita happens to be my new girl crush…what of it?)

On Abraham’s other side stands Eugene, of the epic mullet (“The Eugene”)  and the (supposed) walker cure. (And, yes, in that order of importance: epic mullet first, walker cure secondSee, in my world, an epic mullet is a huge achievement and a gift to humankind…to all beings, really…another post for another time.)

Abraham doesn’t have a mullet, but he does have a handlebar, and he’s not afraid to back that shit up while making it super fun to watch. Episode 11 opens with a great shot of a street sign reading:

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Tied to the sign is a colorful blue and red balloon (Spiderman?), a sign of past good times and children’s birthday parties…the balloon floats and bobs in the breeze, as three rapt walkers hiss and paw at it, trying to get it…it’s all red and shiny, and they like that!

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Arrrghhhh!

As Abraham’s massive vehicle cruises by, the walkers immediately abandon the balloon and begin to lurch down the road after the truck.

Riding in the back of the truck, with Glenn lying unconscious beside her, Tara copies down the name of “Crook Rd.”  into her palm,  in black Sharpie marker, adding it to the list of directions she has already written on the back of her hand.

Tara’s all right…she’s got Glenn’s back by keeping track of where they are until he wakes up and decides what he wants to do. The truck stops, coming up to a line of cars, stopped in the road, and Tara is alarmed to see the trio of balloon walkers coming towards the back of the truck, and her.

As the walkers paw at the back of Abraham’s truck, Tara grabs up her assault rifle and prepares to fire upon them, only to be ordered down by Abraham:  “Do not fire that weapon!”

Abraham then climbs out of the truck, and regards the sad walker trio.  His face softens in a mixture of amusement and mock-pity:

Laughs,

Laughs, “Oh, ho, ho, ho, shit! Look at what we got here!”

And then, wielding a crowbar, Abraham steps to the walker trio and proceeds to go to town on them, slashing the first walker across the head with the curved, pointy end of the crowbar, then stabbing the long end into the second walker’s skull:

Gnarly!

When the particularly tore-up female walker approaches Abraham, he laughs at her, “Awww, honey, look at you…you’re a damn mess.”

Who you callin' a mess, asshole?

Who you callin’ a mess?

Tore-Up She-Walker doesn’t quite go down as easily as Abraham had counted on, to his surprise and annoyance.  He tries to spear her in the head, but aims a little too low, merely impaling her onto the truck…

Ha ha, missed my brains...who's the mess now, dick?

Ha ha, missed my brains, missed my brains…who’s the mess now, dick?

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In a great TWD moment, he turns to Tara and motions for her assault rife. “Lemme borrow that for a minute, would ya?” Tara tosses it to him. “Thanks.” Abraham takes the butt end of the rifle and smashes it into Tore-Up She Walker’s skull, spewing her brains all over the truck.

Abraham then turns to the first walker, who is starting to move on the ground.  “And I’m not leaving you out,” he says, and the shot is from the ground walker’s perspective as Abraham smashes the butt end into the walker’s skull, rekilling it, before tossing the goopy gun back to Tara.  He then yanks the crowbar from the female walker’s skull, freeing her body from the truck and causing it to slump in a wet, gory heap on the ground.

Abraham looks totally comfortable doing all this, like a man completely in his element.

When Abraham looks up from his ministrations and sees Tara regarding him, he asks her, “What? What?

“I’ve never seen that before,” replies Tara.  Abraham is confused, looks down at the body of the walkers, then back at Tara. He is puzzled, says, “I’ve seen you do the same thing,” meaning, of course, killing the walkers with the butt end of a rifle, or killing them, period.

“You smiled,” says Tara. “You were smiling.”  Abraham takes a moment to register this, then says, Well, I’m the…luckiest guy in the world.”  And after a brief moment, he says, “Now, why don’t you help me with one of these cars? We’ve got some miles to go.”

Back at the Rick, Carl, and Michonne house, Carl and Michonne are pouring bowls of cereal, which they then eat dry with their fingers while joking about milk.

Michonne asks Carl if he ever tried soy milk. Carl says he tried soy milk once, and almost barfed…he then slips and almost says he’d rather drink Judith’s formula than drink soy milk. Carl stops himself, upset, and gets up from the table, leaves the room.

Rick is in the kitchen when Michonne comes in. He thanks her for making Carl laugh. “I’d almost forgotten what that sounded like,” Rick says. “I can’t be his father and his best friend…he needs you.

Rick motions to Michonne, adds, “I know that’s a lot to throw at you, so let me know if you need a break.”

“I’m done taking breaks,” answers Michonne, quickly, and inside, I was like, Yes!

Michonne then asks Rick what the deal is: Is this house home, are they moving on, what?  Rick suggests they just stay at the house while they figure it out.  He is looking pretty messed up still, leaning on his good leg, facing Michonne in the kitchen.

Michonne looks at Rick, then agrees, saying they will need more supplies, and she and Carl will go out for some.

Rick offers to go with them, and Michonne puts the kibosh on that, says he should stay put and rest another day….if only the poor man could!  Not knowing how short his rest is about to be, Rick agrees with a nod.

I love how out on the porch, as they say their goodbyes for now, Rick picks up on Carl’s sadness, and he asks Carl if everything is ok.  Carl tells Rick he is just tired. Rick is a good dad, attentive and in tune with his son’s moods, his cues. He checks in often.  I like that, and many other things, about Rick Grimes, especially in this episode.

After Rick said his goodbyes, went upstairs, and got into bed, I got a bad foreboding feeling about it all…

I actually typed, Why am I so scared for Rick right now?  Surely there couldn’t be any walkers in any of the rooms… I did have a bad feeling about it all, though.  I typed, What is going to happen?

Meanwhile, walking along, Michonne is trying to draw Carl out. She offers a can of crazy cheese that still has the seal on it. (This episode, of course, sent crazy cheese trending worldwide by the time Talking Dead came on.)  When Carl refuses the delicacy, Michonne checks in with Carl, tells him he doesn’t seem fine when he tries to tell her he is.

Carl tells Michonne what he told Rick, that he is just tired.

Then, Michonne does a hilarious imitation of a walker, squirting her mouth full of crazy cheese and letting it gob out of her mouth, while making walker sounds.  This does not elicit any laughter from Carl, which amazed me, because that shit was funny:

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When Michonne looks questioningly at Carl, he dryly tells her that he was laughing on the inside.  Michonne looks at him archly, then tells him that she had a three-year-old son, and that he found her to be extremely funny.  This of course shocks Carl into silence, and I thought, Man, she is so brave and beautiful…she actually smiles when she says it, too.

Carl of course is full of questions about her son, and her life, before…they have found a house to check for supplies, and Michonne tells Carl that she will answer one question at a time, one room at a time, and only after they’ve cleared it.

Before the commercial break, a shot or Rick, sleeping in the bed, his hands folded over a book on his chest. We begin to hear the rough sounds of men’s voices echoing up the stairwell…Rick is sleeping so soundly at first, he doesn’t stir, but the voices grow louder, escalate.

Then a crash, followed by a raucous cheer, jolts Rick awake, and he realizes in an instant that he is not alone in the house, and that he is in danger.

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On a Talking Dead interview, Andrew Lincoln talked about this scene, and of course I transcribed every word:

“What I loved about this episode is that you see a man that’s very, very scared…It’s kind of my (Rick’s) Mission Impossible, or Escape From Alcatraz…It’s about a man waking up and realizing he’s in extreme danger and very vunerable, and it’s about a man trying to escape from bad people.”

“This is a year and a half into the apocalypse, and we’re beginning to realize that the only people who are scavenging, and left moving, and not in civilization, have to be pretty ruthless, uncompromising human beings…people that would be surviving in this world…murderers, pillagers, vandals, rapists, and he (Rick) realizes instantly that he is in grave danger...There is no safety, out here, any more.”

This scene is so damn scary, I was gulping down chardonnay, and it still wasn’t making it any easier to watch.  What did make it some easier, and completely riveting, was to watch Deputy Rick Grimes once again assess the situation at hand, get himself to a safe place and buy himself some time, and begin the “Mission Impossible” of getting himself out of that house, and intercept Michonne and Carl, before they too walk into certain danger.

In this case, Rick wakes, listens, checks Carol’s watch, and quickly and quietly gets himself under the bed when he hears one of the men coming up the stairs. Rick even has the presence of mind to bring the watch, book and his water bottle under the bed with him (of course, probably to hide the evidence that someone else had been there, but you know, it could be a while, and those things would be good to have if you were going to be there for a long time!)

It is a taut, nervewracking scene when Rick is hiding under the bed, sweating, watching the boots of one of the Downstairs Thug Boys pacing around the bed he is hiding under. We see the tip of the DTB’s rifle, his boots stopping, then pacing around…he checks the closet…under the bed, Rick presses his palm over the ticking watch face in his hand to muffle the sound.

Around the bed, boots pace, pause. Then, the mattress above Rick sinks down almost upon him, pressing him a little further down into the floor, as the DTB climbs into the bed. (Apparently, being a loud douchebag in the zombie apocalypse is hard work, and someone needs a nap.) 

OMG, Rick is probably really missing his nap right about now…

Back at the supplies house, Carl is pressing Michonne, asks her son’s name, pointing out that the room they are in is actually two separate rooms, and they had already cleared the other one. Michonne hesitates, then answers, “Andre.  His name was Andre Anthony.” Her voice is a little tight as she says it, and I realized that it was probably the first time she said her baby’s name aloud in a long time, if maybe ever, since losing him.

Ugh, the mom in me gets so upset with this stuff...it’s the worst thing imaginable.

Michonne tries to lighten the moment by telling Carl to make sure there isn’t a box of cookies under the whatever, and wanders out of the room.  Carl follows her in the hallway, asks her how long it’s been…Michonne tells him it happened “after everything happened.” Michonne tells Carl that she has never told anyone, until just now.

Carl is so sweet when he replies, “Your secret’s safe with me.”

“It’s not really a secret,” says Michonne.

Carl smiles, says, “It’s still safe with me.”  (Cute! I really love these two as buds.)

Then the sweet scene turned into a pink nightmare…the mom that had to shoot her four kids, then herself, in the heads to escape from the nightmare that the world had become. Let’s just scan through the pictures of that one and move on, shall we?

Michonne sees the scary painting, foreshadowing the horrible scene she is about to witness...

Michonne sees the scary painting, foreshadowing the horrible scene she is about to witness…

She enters Mae Mae's room and once again must bear witness to tragedy...

She enters Mae Mae’s room and once again must bear witness to tragedy…

“Shhhh…Mae Mae is sleeping!”

Two sons, I think...so awful

Two sons, I think, or maybe a son and the dad…so awful.

And finally, the poor mom, who turned the gun on herself last...

And finally, the poor mom, who turned the gun on herself last..

Ugggh. Another artistically amazing scene, complete with haunting music by Bear McCreary, that messed me up for a bit.

I think about those kinds of scenes too much, dwell on them, like, “Maybe they were sleeping when she did it, but how could she shoot all four of them before they woke up? Maybe she drugged them, or poisoned them…ugh, she was probably crying when she did it.” I have an overactive imagination, people, and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t real…I still obsess.

Kendall-Jackson, take me away!

Michonne closes the door of the Pink Room of Horrors behind her and presses her back to it, blocking Carl from seeing this heartbreaking scene.  Once again, Michonne does exactly what needs to be done, as Carl says, “There’s a baby in there…” and quickly, Michonne says, “It’s a dog.”  Carl seems satisfied with this answer.

As they turn to go, Carl shyly ventures to Michonne that maybe Judith and Andre are together, somewhere.  Michonne smiles at this thought, says, “C’mon, it’s time to go.”

Meanwhile, back under the bed, the shit is getting even more fucked up and surreal as one of the other DTB’s strides into the bedroom and announces his rights to the bed that the other dude is napping in.  The current occupant of the bed replies that this bed is “claimed,” solving the mystery of the episode’s title.

A scuffle ensues, ending with one guy choking the other guy on the floor, who stares wide-eyed at Rick as Rick watches him, head cocked to the side, as the guy loses conciousness:

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I love this look on his face as he watches the dude fade out

I love this look on his face as he watches the dude fade out.

I am not sure if the dude passes out or dies, but that seems like a bad call, choking your compadre to death, leaving his body on the floor, and taking a nap while he reanimates and chomps you in your sleep. Anyway, it is clear that these guys are total dicks. The other dude, the Mattress Victor, collapses into the bed, sinking the boxspring even deeper into poor Rick’s back. Christ!

Meanwhile, three hours away and counting, as Abraham’s truck hauls ass down the road, Glenn is freaking out.  Tara has just told him that they passed the bus three hours back, and everyone around it was dead.  Glenn is getting farther and farther away from Maggie, and he needs to get back.  He bangs on the back windshield of the truck, yelling for Abraham to stop. When that fails, Glenn takes the butt end of the rifle he is holding and rams it into the windshield…that gets Abraham’s attention.

The truck stops and Glenn gathers his things, begins to walk away from Abraham and Co., down the road.  Tara follows him, tells him she has written the directions on her hand and can get him back to the bus.

Tara is awesome, but I think her motivation more than anything is to try to make things right as much as she can, as she did play an active role in getting them so fucked up as they are now. She is having a hard time forgiving herself.

Abraham tries to impart some of his epic Abrahamisms on Glenn, to get him to abort his mission to find Maggie and help them with theirs. Abraham presents Eugene, the scientist who supposedly knows how the zombie mess all got started, and who is bringing the cure to Washington D.C., or at least his insights, anyway.

Until recently, Eugene and Abraham had been keeping contact with “the muckety-mucks” in Washington, but now, when they try to call the nation’s capitol, nobody is picking up.  Not a great sign.

Glenn is digesting this all, including Eugene’s telling him the walker cause/cure information is “confidential” when Glenn asks about it. It’s like, everything is just getting weirder and weirder all the time, and it’s like Glenn can’t really fight it anymore, so he’s just going with it.  

He tries to be cool, like, “Ok, well good luck with that, gotta go try to get back to my wife,” and Abraham turns on the hard-sell, some shit like, “It’s tough to watch the ones you love kick it,  but you don’t gotta go out like that.  Come save the world and do something with your life.”

And Glenn takes off his packs, turns to face Abraham:

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And coldcocks Abraham! I love when Glenn goes off. Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) said on TD that the element of surprise got Glenn one good shot on a man who was much bigger than him.

And coldcocks Abraham! I love when Glenn goes off. Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) said on TD that the element of surprise got Glenn one good shot on a man who was much bigger than him.

Of course, Abraham does not let such acts go unchallenged.  He tackles Glenn, and is clearly winning the fight when Eugene calls to them that they have company:

Ummm, guys? Hello...!

“Ummm, guys? Hello…!”

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

Eugene tries to take matters into his own hands, fumbling with his assault rifle and basically shooting everything up around him except the walkers, including the gas tank of Abraham’s truck. D‘oh!

The gunfire alerts the gang, who abandon the fistfight and begin to join forces, shooting up the walkers together…they all look like badass warriors, except maybe Eugene…his mullet’s still pretty epic, though.

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Once all the walkers are dead, Abraham sees their other problem:

“Son of a dick!” (Best line ever!)

Meanwhile, back at the DTB house, Rick has managed to slide quietly out from under the bed and creep into another room, the kid’s room that Carl had checked out in Episode 9, when they first got to the house.  Rick ducks into a small side room when one of the douchier, louder DTB’s comes into the room and stands just on the other side of Rick, bouncing a tennis ball between two windows…again, and again, and again.

Ugh, douchebag.  I mean, why? Why do that?  It’s fucking annoying, and I am not even really in the room.

Or…am I?

While that guy is working on claiming the title of The Douchiest Man Alive, Rick Grimes is claiming the title of The Hottest Man Alive as he waits…and listens…and monitors...and improvises.

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Once again, Rick-In-Charge brings it, people.  Undetected by the ball-bouncing DMA, Rick stealths his way to the bathroom, and finds some big ol’ Downstairs Thug Boy sitting on the toilet seat, reading a comic or some shit.

I was thanking Baby Jesus that the toilet guy wasn’t getting down to some serious business in there, with his pants down, or the following scenes would have been super awkward:

Awww, dude...wrong place, wrong time, wrong man to be on the wrong side of...sux 4 u!

Awww, dudewrong place, wrong time, wrong man to be on the wrong side ofsux 4 u!

Here comes the beat down...

Here comes the beat down…

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Rick doing what needs to be done.

As Rick grabs the man's gun and prepares to go out the bathroom window, he goes back to crack the door of the bathroom open, to set a

As Rick grabs the man’s gun and prepares to go out the bathroom window, he goes back to crack the door of the bathroom open, to set a “walker time bomb” onto the Downstairs Thug Boys once the dead guy reanimates…tactical genius, Rick Grimes-style!

Rick manages to get out onto the roof, with a shoulder pack and a gun…

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

(Doing his own stunts, Andrew Lincoln lowered himself from the roof in that scene, dropping onto the porch below…later, he said in an interview that the most distracting thing about shooting that scene was Norman Reedus mooning him  from below…those wacky hot guys!)

Rick ends up crouching beside the porch, with that loud douchey guy above him eating the crap outta some can of food. He’s so annoying, he’s even doing that loudly…rattling the damn fork against the sides of the can. (Baby Jesus, please make it stop!)  Rick peers around the corner and sees Carl and Michonne, walking up towards the house.

They are still some way away, so the loud DMA guy doesn’t see them, yet… Rick knows it’s now or never, grips his gun and reaches up, gripping the corner of the house, about to pull himself up and make his move when a scream comes from inside the house…it seems Rick’s “walker time bomb” has reanimated and make its presence known and is going nucking futs in the house…yes!  

Thank you, Baby Jesus!

The DMA guy drops his can and runs into the house, and Rick runs towards Carl and Michonne, tells them to run, which they do, away from the house.

Rick has done it, gotten away from the bad guys against almost impossible odds, and now he, Carl, and Michonne are able to haul ass out of there.

Let’s all give it up for Rick Grimes, ladies and gentlemen!

Meanwhile, hours north on the lonely road, flanked now by a dead truck on one side and dead corn walkers on the other, Abraham has just asked Eugene how the hell did he manage to kill his truck?

Eugene looks away, mumbles something about not quite being familiar with the weaponry…he’s lucky he has Abraham buying his story and serving as a burly-chested, fire-haired bodyguard.

Abraham even takes the barb as Eugene tells him, “Trust me, I’m smarter than you.”

Not when it comes to firing an assault rifle, you’re not, Eugene!

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Rosita says, “Fuck this. I’m going with the young, hot people and follows Glenn and Tara.

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Hey…wait for us!

I couldn't tell if there was a ghost of a secret smile on Eugene's face as they begin to follow Glenn and the gang...what's that guy up to? (I miss Milton!)

I couldn’t tell if there was a ghost of a secret smile on Eugene’s face as they begin to follow Glenn and the gang…what’s that guy up to? (P.S. I miss Milton!)

As they follow Glenn, Abraham goes along with it,  but does bitch to Tara about how they could be saving the world right now, instead of trying to find some guy’s wife.  She basically calls him out, tells him his bullshit won’t work on her.  Ha! I sense fun interactions ahead with these two.

Rick, Carl and Michonne are walking on the train tracks…they spot the banner for Sanctuary draped on a train car.  The banner boasts its trademark claim: “All who arrive survive.”

Michonne looks questioningly at Rick, who says immediately, “Let’s go.”

Man, it looks like on next week’s previews that Daryl and Beth are encountering some shit on their journey…if I think of it now, they seem to have headed in the opposite direction of the way to Sanctuarygulp!

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:

Playlist:

Wax Tailor,  “Que sera”

Eddie Vedder, “Rise” (for Rick, and all the prison peeps)

Social Distortion, “So Far Away” (for Glenn and Maggie)