Feb 10, 2014
Walking Dead Recap: On The Road To Terminus
This week, “The Walking Dead” continues shambling along the path towards sanctuary while striving to build relationships. We get a flashback, a kidnapping, two zombie attacks, and a mess of story possibilities that we absent last week. It’s almost like the creators are playing hop scotch between the good shows and the bad shows instead of just throwing it all in a pot and letting life take over. At least this episode was one of the pretty good ones. It also seems like we’re in the home stretch with episode thirteen, “Alone.” So let’s not waste any time.
We begin with a flashback of D’Angelo Drunksdale / Bob / Lawrence Gilliard Jr. traversing the apocalypse on his own. It’s a small trick similar to the one’s they used to pull on “Lost” with the flash forward episodes, but on a much smaller scale. The eye would believe that Bob has lost Maggie and Sasha, but in the reality of the show he’s never met them. And for comparisons sake, Bob is doing a lot better now than he was at this moment. We’ve all had rough benders, but the wandering Bob Stookey we meet at the start of “Alone” is taking the crown.
Luckily he runs into Daryl and Glenn during one of their many runs, a fact we shall return to in a moment, and you can immediately understand why the man is all smiles later in the episode.
Back in the present, Daryl and Beth are having a honeymoon of sorts where Daryl forgets his brain and Beth gets kidnapped. That’s what they call a successful wedding in some parts of the world. Of course they’re not a couple or anything, they’re just a lot closer after last week’s arson-filled heart dump of an episode. An episode that could’ve easily been blended into this one and salvaged the connection to the main story plot, but oh well!
It’d be foolish to say that episodes like last week’s aren’t needed, be it because of the real world production costs or just as a reprieve from the storyline, but getting the same thing from other characters in this episode while also advancing the general narrative makes it look bad.
Their honeymoon locale is a graveyard/mortuary of course, which is pretty much a dream come true. Until they come across the zombie bodies being made up to look like humans again of course. That will put a damper on an evening and eventually throws quite the wrench into this budding relationship between Daryl and Beth.
Back with Bob, Sasha and Maggie, we find ourselves trapped in a random fog bank being assaulted by zombies. It’s a very creepy sequence and obviously one of those things that shout, “we just threw this in because it was cool” and they couldn’t be more right. The trio dispatches their attackers though and head along their way, reaching yet another sign post for the sanctuary known as Terminus.
Now this is where we need to go back to the supply runs of the prison days and the alarming amount of Terminus signs in the area. Are we supposed to believe that all of these people have just now found out about this place? There was the mysterious radio broadcast from earlier in the season that mentioned sanctuary, but you’d think the mystery would be solved already judging from all of these signs and messages hanging around everywhere. I have to question the tracking skills of Daryl or Michonne’s search for the Governor because they clearly missed all of these directions to this Mecca for the zombie survivors. It’s just another thing that boggles the mind.
The good thing is that now almost everyone is officially on their way to Terminus and it would seem that the group is slowly coming back together. That is until Maggie decides to ditch Bob and Sasha to continue her search for Glenn without them.
The whole point for Bob in this episode is the idea that he is not alone like before. He’s not wandering and sleeping in makeshift cages while sipping on old cough syrup. He’s got connections and people he cares about and vice versa. So it’s clear why he really pushes for the group to stay together. Now why Sasha wants to keep them apart is a mystery, but it works out.
Maggie is out marching through zombies and leaving a trail of dead bodies and signs for Glenn to head toward Terminus, something we know he understands when we see his goofy hairless face later on. Bob decides he’s going to go get her, but Sasha turns out to be the one to actually find her when all she was doing was attempting to go it alone once again. A “Gift of the Magi” moment, basically. Chocolate and peanut butter, you shaved your head and I bought you hair clips. It’s a classic move. And it really works in this episode because we get the crisis of conscience that was there last episode, but it finds resolution and all three go back together to continue down the yellow brick road to Oz/Terminus.
Back with Daryl and Beth, the missing brain mentioned earlier comes into play when a dog shows up at the doorstep and begs for food. Forgetting the main rule about feeding stray animals, Daryl decides to go and give it some of their grub and just flings open the door like there isn’t a zombie horde marching around.
So of course zombies ruin the party and of course Daryl and Beth are forced to flee from their mortuary homestead. But the twist in this escape is that Beth is kidnapped by someone driving the mortician’s car. Is it the makeup master who was trying to give the zombies their humanity back? Is it one of the old group members? We will have to tune in and find out. But just as the scales of life tipped in favor of Bob this week, they tip away from Daryl and he is once again alone.
But he isn’t alone for too long. After giving chase to the hearse and conveniently giving up right next the very train tracks that lead to Terminus, Daryl is confronted by the house invaders Rick encountered a few episodes earlier, lead by Jeff Kober from “Sons of Anarchy.” His boys are armed to the teeth, but that doesn’t stop Daryl from punching him and pointing a crossbow at his head. But then after a few words, including the ominous “why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people,” Daryl lowers his crossbow and makes nice with the marauders.
We don’t know who they are and Kober’s character, Joe, has no counterpart in the comic as far as anyone can tell. But there are many thoughts traveling around and the general consensus is that they’re bad news. Walking Dead writer and producer Robert Kirkman himself even hints at it in this week’s recap, noting that Terminus and the direction the show is going is bad news for our favorite group of survivors. He’s basically George R. R. Martin with a better work ethic, treating his characters like playthings.
Daryl certainly isn’t going back to his roots here, but it does look like he’s going to traverse down a wayward path for a bit on his way to Terminus. Luckily we have almost everyone heading to a final destination now and we can start progressing a bit from the prison. And if anything can be said for this half of the season, it’ll probably make a better watch all at once as opposed to as a weekly experience. It was something that was made for Netflix or Amazon Prime, where instant gratification is king and plot lines like this post-prison search all blend together. It is nowhere near the frustration of season two’s search for Sophia, so that’s a positive.
Next week we are returning to follow Tyreese and Carol, so expect a few fireworks between them as they head towards Terminus. Don’t expect a full reveal, but I do expect something kinda major to happen with only three episodes left in the season. Something to set the stage for the finale at least.
Will Beth enjoy her new life with the “Phantom of the Mortuary?” Will next week feature a higher quota of mullets and mustaches? Is Terminus really just the island from “Lost” or will it turn out to be the town of Twin Peaks? Why haven’t we met any cannibals yet? We should really meet some cannibals soon! Hopefully we will in the coming weeks on “The Walking Dead,” Sundays at 9pm on AMC.