Spoiler alert: Don't read on unless you've seen Season 4, Episode 15 of AMC's "The Walking Dead" entitled, "Us."
After last week's devastating trip to "The Grove," the disbanded survivors on "The Walking Dead" deserved some good news. Although we don't see Carol, Tyreese and baby Judith in "Us," nor do we see the recently kidnapped Beth, two of the other groups collided and finally found the enigmatic "Terminus."
As for Rick, Carl and Michonne, we only see them for a brief moment in this season's penultimate episode, albeit a pretty adorable one. Just as the rest of the groups get closer to Terminus, we see them making their way down the railroad tracks, Rick trying to hurry while Carl and Michonne bet on who can walk the farthest balancing on top of the tracks (aw). Rick takes a second to soak it all in as his son and trusted companion laugh and split a candy bar after Michonne loses the bet. For just a moment, he forgets about how they're almost out of water, he doesn't know where his baby is, or how he just pissed off a post-apocalyptic road gang that's currently tracking his steps.
Now, about that gang. The secondary plot of this week's episode focuses on Daryl, who's in pretty rough spirits after seeing Beth taken hostage by way of a hearse. The last time we saw him, he was found by the same band of misfits lead by "Joe" who invaded the house Rick, Carl and Michonne were occupying. And just like we saw in "Claimed," they have a system for keeping things from "going all Darwin" every few minutes. Daryl learns this when he attempts to hunt a rabbit and loses it to another guy with a bow and arrow, all because that guy "claimed" it. After a fight over who gets to keep the meat, Joe defuses the situation the only way he knows how: with an axe.
Joe, who would totally be a "Sons Of Anarchy" fan if he were a real person, wants Daryl to stick with the group and form an "Us," if he can follow the rules. That would be the aforementioned "claiming," followed by "you steal, you kill" (which he somehow rhymes), and a simple one: don't lie. He warns Daryl about going off on his own with a cat analogy and comes off pretty strong.
The gang breaks into a car garage off the railroad tracks to sleep for the night. Each one of them calls "claim" on a car to sleep in while Daryl sadly mopes over the hard, cement floor and lays his head down.
Later that night, the same guy who freaked out over "claiming" the rabbit accuses Daryl of stealing his half of the carcass that Joe gave him. Daryl denies it, but there's a bunny head in his backpack. Joe, ever the mediator, asks if Daryl is lying, which is a punishable offense in this group. For a second you think that Daryl is going to get the beat down, but then Joe reveals that he saw the guy plant Mr. Cottontail in Daryl's stuff. And guess what? Being sneaky and deceptive to hurt someone else has a way worse punishment than lying. Joe calls for the guys to "teach him," A.K.A. beat the crap out of him, but in the morning Daryl sees that they executed him for the stunt.
So, yeah, this roving gang with oddly conflicting morals doesn't seem good for Daryl. Joe tries to be friendlier with Daryl as they walk onward and he offers him a drink, but one mention of the days "before everything happened" has him saying that things are actually better off now. If he thinks things make more sense now, how bad was his pre-zombie apocalypse life?
Now the big red flag: Daryl finally asks where they're going. Turns out, they're tracking Rick. They're still pretty mad about Rick strangling their cohort in the bathroom while he was "Die Hard"-ing his way out of the suburban house in "Claimed." And they're not far off, either. Just as they pass a sign for "Terminus," which Daryl clearly seems intrigued by, but Joe insists it's "no sanctuary" for men like them, they step over the candy bar wrapper Carl and Michonne dropped earlier.
Okay, now on to the main event. Glenn and Maggie's search for one another has gone on long enough (I'd say half a season is enough), and thankfully came to an uplifting conclusion that benefited more than just one couple.
We start off by hearing Dr. Porter telling Tara as they walk along the railroad tracks that this virus or whatever it is, might be what "killed the dinosaurs." This guy was definitely a gamer, and the more he talks to Tara about "science," the more you question what this guy really knows. Although he does get pretty excited by the prospect of a battery, but that might have been more about Tara than anything.
They, along with Sgt. Ford, Rosita and Glenn have been walking in search of Maggie for some time now, but they still don't really know each other. While keeping watch one night, Sgt. Ford asks Tara about Glenn, insinuating that she's in love with him and not really "trying" to reunite him with his wife. Boy is he barking up the wrong tree. The two discuss their different "missions," and why they're both trying to help other people reach a goal. He asks Tara, "Is it something you did or something you didn't do?" Although her guilt is pretty obvious.
The next day, a few miles down the road (or maybe a week later and 100 miles down the road, you can never tell with this show) they see Maggie's sign for Glenn, written in walker blood. "Glenn Go To Terminus -Maggie Sasha Bob." The excitement swells, as does the opening credits music as Glenn takes off running up the railroad tracks.
When the group reaches a safe-looking spot, the Sgt. calls for a rest stop. Glenn is not interested, even though Tara has tripped and sprained her ankle and clearly needs to tend to that. Rosita calls out Glenn for not agreeing to rest and accuses him of taking advantage of the fact that Tara will do anything he says because she feels so guilty. It's nice to hear someone speak up for Tara since she's been so pitiful ever since the prison attack.
But it's no use. Glenn wants to press on, only compromising by agreeing to give Dr. Porter his riot gear. The tracks lead the group to another sign for Terminus, but there's just one thing in the way: a long, dark tunnel that looks (and sounds) like certain death. The Sgt. takes one look at the walker-infested death trap and suggests they take a detour to go over it. Again, Glenn isn't having it. He insists that he and Tara go through the tunnel and the rest of the group part ways. The Sgt. tells them to circle back toward the highway if they change their minds about splitting up, and even hands over a couple cans of food to help them out.
Before they part ways, Rosita hugs Glenn and Tara goodbye, reminds Glenn not to "be an ass," and Dr. Porter straight up tells Tara that he thinks she's "Way hot," to which she replies cooly, "Yeah, I like girls." Without changing his expression, the Doc says "I'm well aware of that." But was he though? He seems pretty disappointed.
Tara and Glenn, now riot gear-less, head into the tunnel with only a little bit of ammo and a heavy duty flashlight that the Sgt. also gave them. As they descend into what feels like a level in Left 4 Dead, Tara once again speaks up about how guilty she is, but this time tells Glenn what he needed to hear: that she lost people too. She saw her girlfriend, sister and niece killed because of The Governor, but she admitted that nothing was worse than what he did to Hershel. I forget if Glenn knows about the decapitation or not, but her story gives him pause. That is, until they realize they're walking straight into a horde.
There's a fresh avalanche of rocks and walkers in the tunnel due to the roof caving in, which Tara estimates just happened that day. Glenn searches the walkers stuck in the debris to make sure they're not Maggie, Sasha or Bob, and that's a relief, but the abundance of walkers on the other side of the rock pile is not. They don't have enough ammo, but Glenn says they should "push through," so they ditch the flashlight to distract the horde while they sneak along the side of the tunnel. Of course, Tara's already injured leg gets stuck under an immovable rock.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Ford, Rosita and Dr. Porter are looking for a new vehicle. Being the traditional family unit that they are, they settle on a minivan with a mom-turned-walker inside. Let's just say, this lady takes the cake for most expressive walker of the week:
With the Sarge asleep in the back seat, Rosita drives as Dr. Porter navigates, something he insists on doing after they bicker. Rosita's annoyed because he keeps telling her to take left turns, and she gets even more annoyed when she realizes he's led them to the other side of the tunnel in which Glenn and Tara are about to be devoured. Turns out, the Dr. is actually pretty cool. Whether or not he can actually save the world, he recognizes that it means nothing if he intentionally lets people die along the way. So he may be a quack, but he's definitely a good guy.
Inside the tunnel, Tara is still stuck. She, ever guilty, wants Glenn to leave her behind. But of course he won't do that. Instead, he pulls out his gun and empties his clip into about half a dozen walkers. It feels like a suicide mission (and it might have been) but all of a sudden, here comes the cavalry! A car pulls up and high-powered machine guns take out the walkers (miraculously missing Glenn and Tara) and you think it's just going to be the Sarge & company, but no! It's Maggie, Sasha and Bob, too! HUZZAH!
Okay, so that was really sweet, and after last week's horror show, it was the least this show could do. But it gets better! Glenn helps Tara out by rewriting her history. Since no one else knows that she was part of the attack on the prison, he tells Maggie that they met on the road and that he couldn't have made it without her. Now Tara is a hero! She even gets her own warm embrace from Maggie, but it's clear that she's still uncomfortable knowing she was part of the reason Maggie's father was killed.
The two united groups spend the night secured in the tunnel, build a fired and swap stories. Sasha can't believe that Dr. Porter thinks he knows what caused all this, and the group starts to discuss whether or not they should continue on to Terminus or head to Washington, D.C. We also find out that Sgt. Ford, Rosita and the Doc have lost 8 people since they started their journey, and that was when they had a military vehicle to carry them around. Everyone decides to head to Terminus, hoping the others might be there. Even the Sarge comes around, acknowledging that his opinion is outnumbered.
Oh, and there's an adorable moment where Maggie gets Glenn to burn the "Bae caught me sleepin" photo of her that he kept with him the entire time they were searching for each other. Probably because she hates it, but also because they never plan on being apart ever again. Aww.
The next day, it finally happens. The train tracks lead them to Terminus, a big train depot that has been converted into a quaint sanctuary. Seriously, there are sunflowers and grills and laundry equipment and a bunch of other creature comforts they have been living without for a long time. Happy music plays as they are greeted by "Mary," a warm, welcoming woman who is about to make them feel right at home. That is, after she tells them how rough they look.
And that's where it ends before next week's season finale. Based on the promos, it's not going to be a sunny episode. If Rick's group encounters Joe's gang before they get to Terminus, they'll surely all be killed. Then again, if Joe's gang gets anywhere near Terminus there's going to be a major problem. With Daryl unaware that the group he's with is hunting Rick, things could get messy. And we still don't know what Beth's fate will be, or how far away Carol, Tyreese and Judith are from Terminus. So many questions, and only one episode left to answer them. Let's hope it's a good one.