at Rockaway Beach
We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel. Two children lost and hungry in the woods, following the breadcrumbs to their salvation. They come upon a house made entirely of candy. A woman happily greets them and immediately welcomes them to her sanctuary and offers them food to eat. But what the children don’t know is that she is fattening them up so that she can eat them herself!
This is all identical to what’s going on with our survivors! A group of men and women starving in an apocalyptic world filled with zombies out to eat their brains wandering in the woods, following the signs to their salvation: Terminus. Okay, maybe it’s not exactly the same but it’s undeniably similar. When our friends arrive to Terminus, Mary happily welcomes them to her sanctuary, and offers them food to eat. But just like Hansel and Gretel, our survivors don’t realize that Mary plans to eat them!
The first half of the episode focused on Rick, Carl, and Michonne in their own search for food. This lead to an important scene foreshadowing what was to come for our motley crew. Rick teaches Carl how to set a snare… a trap, to catch food. He shows Carl how the noose should be set on a trail “so that any animals going by have to run this way… right into the trap.” If only Rick realized that the railroad was a trail into a much larger trap, but with the same purpose. Catching food.
Then came Joe and his team of marauders with Daryl in tow. Joe threatens to kill them all once one of his men finishes molesting Carl. All of this coincidentally happened just as Rick was noticing the small rabbit they’d caught wasn’t quite as filling as he’d hoped. So he chomps down on Joe’s neck and then proceeds to take out the rest of his crew with the help of his companions. Awesome.
Rick has gone through many changes over the course of the series. The man who was once nothing more than struggling husband and father transformed before our eyes into our reluctant leader, just before deciding to settle down at the prison where Farmer Rick tended to the crops and cattle. But with the prison destroyed, Rick spent almost all of season four trying to find his purpose. And he finally has.
Although things are rough right now with our group fragmented, the episode featured flashbacks to more stable times back at the prison. We were treated to the return of Herschel in the flashbacks as he helped Rick reinvent himself as a farmer. It helped put things into perspective as present-day Rick transitions back into the leadership role he had prior to his good ole’ farming days. Herschel showed Rick the vision of how life could be good at the prison once they grew some crops and brought in some livestock. Similarly, the people of Terminus were already living in that reality. Terminus is full of lush green plants and flowers, as well as their own livestock… people. Now this episode brought back to us the determined leader we’ve longed to see again. The hero we need right now: Sheriff Rick Grimes.
With Daryl back at Rick’s side, the four advance to Terminus. Rick knows better than to walk in the front gate, so they surprise some of Terminus’ residents when they enter through the back door. But the people of Terminus seem friendly and kind. They’re relaxed and welcoming. They’re almost too relaxed which is why Rick doesn’t let his guard down during the Terminus tour. While Mary on the grill whips up some dinner for the newcomers, Rick notices that many of the Terminus residents having very similar apparel to his own company. When he notices that Alex, one of the welcome wagon boys, has Herschel’s watch, Rick knows things are not as they seem.
Rick draws his weapon and Alex’s buddy Gareth orders a full on sniper assault. Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and Carl flee the yard trying to find an escape. After running past some locked train cars with shouts of help coming from them, and a pile of human skeletons (no meat here, all bones) they find themselves in a room filled with lit candles surrounding dozens of names written out on the floor of the room with various personal items placed beside the names. The walls are painted with cryptic messages, “NEVER AGAIN. NEVER TRUST. WE FIRST. ALWAYS.” Looks like the Terminus folk aren’t as trusting as outsiders as they pretended to be, and their “guests” wind up nothing more than a name written on the floor.
When they attempt to make it over the fence, the group is trapped at gunpoint from all sides and forced to enter a dark train car if they want to survive. However, the train car isn’t empty. In fact, inside are the rest of our favorite survivors like Glenn and Maggie, along with their new friends they picked up along the way. So here they all are, locked up and weaponless inside of a locked dark train car. But just when it seems like all hope is lost, Rick offers the dumbest final line he possibly could: “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out… they’re screwing with the wrong people.” DUN. DUN. DUUUUN!
WHAT?! Dude, you’re locked in a train car with no weapons, and you’re surrounded by dozens of armed men and women! It’s nice to see Sheriff Rick back again but perhaps he’s a little bit too optimistic considering his current circumstances. Granted, the line was taken directly from The Walking Dead comics, but it unfortunately did not translate onto the screen well… at all. It actually kind of ruined the episode. It was way too corny and absurd.
- Rick taking out Joe vampire style.
- Carl and Michonne’s ever-growing relationship. Glenn and Maggie may be the relationship the show-runners are pushing, but the friendship between Carl and Michonne has been my favorite for a while. It’s so pure and innocent, and Carl brings out the best in Michonne. Tonight Michonne opened up to Carl about how her baby died and how she turned her friends into her personal Walker slaves.
- Terminus folk all but confirmed to be bad guys. Hungry bad guys who want to eat our good guys.
- Our team almost all reunited (albeit on the dinner menu)
- Carol and Tyreese missing in action.
- Maggie’s amnesia. What amnesia, you ask? Well how about the fact that she’s seemingly forgotten all about her little sister who she hasn’t seen since just after she witnessed her own father get decapitated. She hasn’t asked a single person about her. Not even once. And on that note…
- Where the hell is Beth?
- Rick’s absurd confidence, and even more so, the final line that poor Andrew Lincoln had to read. Can’t stress how corny that was. I understand that the line came directly from the comics but sometimes it’s better to not adapt everything verbatim because it totally didn’t work on the screen.
FINAL GRADE: B-
While it didn’t deliver all that we wanted, it did set us up for what’s sure to be an exciting season 5. But that final line though…