The Walking Dead season 4 episode 15 review: Us

Review Ron Hogan 24 Mar 2014 - 07:06

The penultimate episode in The Walking Dead's fourth season reaches an uneasy conclusion. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

4.15 Us

The tracks to Terminus stretch onward, but it seems that the more our groups walk, the closer they get to one another. Carol sees the fire from Daryl and Beth's moonshine arson party. Glenn follows Maggie's clues. Michonne drops a candy bar wrapper and Daryl walks right over it. All roads, or all tracks in this case, lead to Rome and the promise of safety and sanctuary within Terminus. Those who arrive survive, the signs promise, but is that the case? Is Terminus too good to be true?

We get our first glimpse of that promised land this week in an episode that takes great pains to showcase every character, save Beth, for a few moments at a time. Rick and Carl and Michonne get a glimpse, a little bit of levity, while Daryl's initiation into Joe's Mad Max gang continues without any real delay. Glenn is still searching for Maggie and dragging Abraham and company along for the ride. A lot of ground is covered, but it doesn't seem like a lot of ground is covered at the same time. I think had we not gotten a stellar episode last week, this week's episode would have seemed more exciting, but by the same token, The Walking Dead is clearly saving the best for last, meaning next week.

One of the best aspects of this week was the development of the characters of Eugene, Abraham, and Rosita. For once, Rosita gets to say some words, which is always important when you want to do more than prance around in a tanktop and shorts. I like the extant relationship between the three comic book characters, and I think that gives the show some interesting history. Here's a group of people who have been through the apocalypse, who have shared experiences, and who have a natural comedic chemistry that feels very authentic. Eugene is never not going to be the weirdest guy in the room, and his relationship with the dumber Abraham and the more frustration-prone Rosita is a good seam of humour for the show to mine. The scene in the van with those three is surprisingly funny.

The humour is very necessary after the episode we had last week, which was definitely an emotional downer. Not only does the show provide some lightness (Carl and Michonne's dare), and dare I say, some hope from the fact that all our groups are getting closer and closer, it also provides a lot of satisfying zombie-slaughtering action. Eugene seems like he's going to be a great source of comedy, and Abraham and company are going to be able to up the quotient of bloodshed, so it's a balanced addition to the cast of the show, even though there are a lot of cast members to balance out. This week's script, from Nichole Beattie and Seth Hoffman, seems to strike a good balance with our various groups, provides some action to play around with, has a little character stuff and actor bait, and ends up being pretty balanced while keeping boots on the ground.

Speaking of bloodshed, tonight's episode had a very impressive scene involving zombies in a train tunnel courtesy of director Greg Nicotero. The special-effects guru has become a great visual director, and he provides some great set-ups this week, particularly that train tunnel. The zombies trapped beneath a cave-in was awesome, made even more impressive by the eventual arrival of the zombie-slaying cavalry with guns blazing, leaving a pile of dead walkers (and probably some deafness for all involved). Another cool, less-violent shot was the shot of Daryl and Joe talking about the rules of the raiders while walking in tandem behind the walkers. It was just a cool visual and it gave a little artistic flair to an exposition scene. (The same technique is demonstrated during the gangland-style stomping of Len - the guy with the bow and arrow who kept picking on Daryl - while Joe and Daryl discuss more of the rules.)

It feels like there will be something to Terminus that I am not going to like. When the first group of our survivors arrives (Sasha and Bob, Glenn and Maggie AKA Glaggie, Abraham company), they immediately walk through undefended, unlocked, unguarded gates, through a beautiful series of flower gardens, and right up to a woman working a half-drum grill cooking down with meat cooking. Not only were the gates not locked, the only thing holding the gates of Terminus together was a looped chain. I have a chain holding my driveway gate closed, and when I don't lock it or somehow fasten it together, the gates will basically blow open in a stiff breeze. So yeah, Terminus immediately feels like a pastoral paradise (Hershel's zombie-free farm crossed with the walls and chained fences of the prison) crossed with the beginning of a nightmare (Woodbury looked pretty great until we got to know the Governor).

By comparison, it seems like Daryl's group of raiders (who are indeed the group of raiders that Rick attacked several episodes back while Carl and Michonne were bonding) might not be quite as bad as they look. At least they have rules and a code, even if it is the holy rule of shotgun for everything. Mary (Denise Crosby) and Terminus could be anything, but just from the way it is introduced, Terminus seems like it's going to be a cannibalistic nightmare. “Let's fix you a plate” has never sounded so much like a threat.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan, assuming he had been wandering through the woods living off canned goods for a year, would probably be first in line for a buffet of mystery Terminus meat. Make that seconds if it was slow-roasted and served with a side of au jus. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, The Grove, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

Im convinced now that Terminus will be revealed as a cannibal lair. The big reveal at the end, something which the other characters wont be aware of, will be which character makes up their 1st meal at the new supposedly 'safe haven'...... Beth.

The tunnel and the cave in walkers felt like a video game. Nicotero keeps topping himself.

I'm looking forward to watching it (airs tonite in the UK). There have been some awesome zombie moments this season I think. I get the feeling though that they are setting up Terminus to be the Hunters / cannibals from the comic book and Beth as the major death for series 4. Her being kidnapped ideally lends itself to a big season finale reveal. I think Terminus will be the 1st half story arc for Season 05 then will climax with them arriving at the Alexandria Safe Zone.

Agreed. It'll be interesting to see Abraham and Rick interact on the road to Alexandria, and whether Morgan will pop up again. The real surprise is Daryl and the Holograms. I know you haven't watched it yet and apparently you don't mind but just in case

SPOILER

SPOILER

With these guys chasing Rick n em, I can't wait to see what Daryl and Joe end up doing. Neither Carl Rick or Michonne are lightweights either. It's gonna be good

If it makes your nose bleed, stay away from the meat.

Are you local?

This Beth could do with some seasoning.

If Terminus does turn out to be the Hunters, it's going to be interesting to see how dark the TV series dares to be. Cannibalism was one half of that story, justice was the other (look at the opening shot of Rick in the next week preview...)

Now, how do you like your steak?

My thoughts exactly but even after shooting an unarmed, unwalker child last week, I still don't think this show has the balls to go down that route.
The warning signs are certainly there though and that's something I have a real issue with when it comes to this show. Everyone is an idiot, no-one ever questions when something is obviously wrong. It's pretty much beyond belief that no-one would say
"Hey, how has this commune survived unguarded?"

"Hey, seeing as you know, what caused the zombie apocalypse?"

Also, Glenn's utter stupidity and selfishness is now starting to really annoy me. You want to get yourself killed? Go ahead but don't drag other people into it. If he doesn't die next week, I'm hoping Maggie does.

the blind faith of Glenn was grating on me. It got to the point I wanted him to find a half chewed up Maggie so that some sense could have snapped back into him. so many stupid choices in the name of love

What's the timeline here? because I'm not sure people would turn cannibal so willingly so soon. Then again I have seen that film Alive. Nom Nom.

They did seem to walk in there with no weapons drawn or anything, they can't even go to the loo without loading their shotguns so walking into a meat factory can only make you a little nervous?

Still think it should be renamed 'The Still Walking (+ Dead)'

*Sigh*... after last weeks cracker we get another boring episode. I now consider everything in between the tight episodes which are focused on minimal characters (see last week) as filler, where even the better ones feel like they're simply middling. I'll watch next week but they seriously need to kill off a lot of the peripheral characters which they've introduced this series and get their focus back. Episodes like last week's demonstrate how good the show can be when the number of characters are cut down and when it's carefully plotted.

I hadn't considered the cannibal idea but reading it here it makes perfect sense. However, if that's how it occurs it feels like another recycled and wholly unoriginal idea.

*Spoilers for Telltale's TWD game*

This was essentially the same setup as the game's second episode, with Terminus standing in for the St. Johns' farm. I fear that they're simply going to rip that off and do something in the vein of the dinner table scene from the game (you know the one). The characters will be served "mystery meat" only to find that it's actually Beth. If they go with that route it'll be a bit of a shame seeing the exact same thing occur.

I really feel that Beth being the major death for series 4b would be a mistake. She's just such an uninteresting and irritating character that I don't care for her, and frankly, I want them to get rid of her. Admittedly, the kidnapping does build up well to the finale but I'd hate to see the entire episode revolving around her as she simply doesn't deserve the screen time.

I also have a horrible feeling that the Terminus will be concluded after next week's episode and that the characters will once again be forced to go on the road in a never-ending cycle of walking!

The game is better than the show, it'd be natural if they took ideas from it.

Oh, I undoubtedly agree, but it'll be such a cop-out, especially considering a lot of people who watch the show will also have played the game and will have already experienced that storyline.

It can't be Beth, the whole point about having a complex setup like Terminus is that people come to you, and you get them on your own ground. There is no logic in going out to find people, all you need to do is place more signs

What's really amazing is not that Glenn got into the stupid tunnel, but Maggie who wasn't even in any special hurry! I think absolutely 0/10 people would enter such a place.

I think Maggie will be the "big death" this season- "You'll never need a picture of me again." is just tempting fate. Everyone's expecting Beth to die, but I don't see it; they've only really just started making her character more interesting and I'd love to see the sweet little farm girl become Daryl's badass protege! (Fyi I'm not a shipper, not interested in that side of the show at all)

Actually the whole show seems like a video game. Is that what Terminus will be? The end of the game? Is this some sort of massive holographic game they are all playing and not realizing it? Does playing the game render you with amnesia to your "real" life? Or has the Zombie apocalypse actually happened and they are playing out different scenarios to see how to defeat it? Will we discover they are deep in a bunker somewhere playing this out?

Um, D? I hate pop quizzes

Agreed about Beth. It'll be her and Daryl, watch. But I doubt terminus will be over that quickly

My wife agrees with you. Alright, I do too. I wanted it to be the kidnapper but yeah driving around... Wait a minute. The funeral home. Yeah I change my mind back, it makes sense again.

Made for awesome visuals though

Alls well and so forth

Terminus is a trap and so was the funeral home. 2 spots easily accessible, too good to be true. Trap. Who uses traps? Hunters...

Could be Glenn, too. He dies in the comics. Quite brutally in fact. I think Beth is on the BBQ, and they will all eat her without knowing it. I also think Daryl's new group will save the day.

Has anyone noticed where each group is, what their placement is on the track to Terminus? Like we know Beth and Daryl were behind Carol and Tyreese, and we now know Maggie and Glenn were first and second. I can easily imagine that Carol and Tyreese were actually first now, which means they could be cooking, or maybe just Judith? I hope not. In any case, Mary knew Glenn and co. were coming, why else would all the gates be open and lunch cooking on the BBQ? It's a Trap!

Did the actor who plays Joe have fame in the late 90's as "Ray of Reef Radio" in the cinema drink ad? Enquiring minds need to know.

Even worse was the girl with the busted leg (I forget her name) co-signing every silly choice by Glenn. At least consider being able to leg it if you walk into a tunnel full of zombies. She on the other hand was only going to guarantee both their deaths in there.

It was impressive. I guess it's a thin line between creating tv gold tension filled zombie scenes or applying logic to a situation.

Noooo...it's never D on those quizzes! :)

True, but I think that his death at the hands of Negan is so well known they would have to change it slightly. I think that IF we get Negan in season 5 (or if Joe gurns out to be Negan) it will be (whispers) Daryl that is killed. In the finale it makes sense that Daryl'group save the day, they will arrive after Rick, Carl and Michonne. I wonder where Carol and Tyrese are on the tracks..

I don't think the whole episode will revolve around Beth but I think she will be a big reveal at the end of the season finale. What would be super twisted is if the whole group and re-united and around a table eating dinner and the camera pans away and journeys through corridors and that to reveal Beth with a leg missing or Beth dead and chained up with missing limbs. That would be super gross, give us a big character death in a real twisted way and set up the Hunters perfectly! Terminus is deffo a cannibal lair. It was too easy for the group to get in to. I also think the Hunters group Daryl joined are part of Terminus as well. All will be revealed this week!

And less than 10 seconds on google determines... yes, he was!

Aaaaaahhhh!!

That it is. And it's a lynchpin for horror, if not survival, tv, but you can't have both all the time. When she scratched her leg I thought "ch ch ch, ha ha ha". They're lucky Abraham n em showed up. I say Abraham before Maggie because HE provided the ammo.

YouTube the mr. Show with Bob and David "Alive" parody. I don't know if that's exactly what you need to type in, but it answers your question hilariously.

Is it just me or is there something off about Eugene? I don't but his cure BS and he has had a few smirks while other characters backs are turned... I think the reason Terminus was open and ready to receive is because Eugene is bait, which would explain why he's so intent on building the group he's with...

Mark my words, Eugene is dodgy!

I hope that if they do decide to take Glenn
out they do it exactly like in the book.

More and more now I’m thinking Carol’s
group got there first, and Beth is with that preacher guy (Morgan?) who
actually saved her from the literal death trap that was the funeral parlour.

The good thing is that either way, it will be
great television! J

Nah, Eugene doesn't want to go to Washington because when they get there everyone will know he was lying all along and Abe will skin him (and give his carcass to Mary? Haha). He survives by lying and manipulation. Abe wants to believe it so bad that he goes along for the ride. Gives him purpose. Tis' what I think anyway. Didn't read the books.

Anyone have an idea what the titles of the last 2 episodes mean?
"Us" and "A"... "USA". What's the "A" mean? Someone ends up Alone again?

Abraham is a fighter, not a thinker. Eugene is intelligent, in his own way. After all, he a classic nerd and could not have survived with people like Abraham.

As soon as I saw the BBQ, for some reason my spidey-sense when from trap to cannibal. I was mentally screaming at them to close the bloody gates behind them, but perhaps they left them open for a reason.

Eugene is more of a geek than a nerd. There's a difference. ;)

Too many plot holes in this episode for such a high score. Every aspect of the tunnel was terrible. From the "let's have a soap moment *after* we get into the deep dark with the choir of the dead all around us" to the "I did not bring the ammo, I though you did". A few handgun rounds will penetrate and collapse undamaged, reinforced concrete that is under massive pressure? With everyone showing up at the last second, and going full-auto wasting all the ammo they do not have. Sure Abraham could have given some to Maggie's group, but if he did not give some to Glen, then he did not have any to spare, and Maggie used the last few on the tunnel. Of course, if shadow puppets will entertain the zombies, then the girl could have put a show on while Glen just took them out from behind with his knife. In all, probably the worst scene of the season.

I am sure the finale will be much better, as it is co-written by the showrunner.

I doubt there is anything more clever than what you pointed out - combine the two and it is USA. It could depict that there are now two 'groups' but that would leave Daryl out, as we all suspect Beth is lunch. Not overly creative or welcoming with a name which means end of the line (aka death).

The showrunners save up their meager budget for the finales (mid-season and end of season) when they blow through about double what the average episode costs. Until AMC raises the budget back to season one levels, it will remain formulaic. So expect next week to be a much more active in both plot advancement and action.

I'm strongly expecting Terminus to be a cult rather than cannibals... think the barbecue may be some misdirection... but opinion seems to be set on it being the cannibal storyline... I'm still really enjoying TWD, unlike most, it seems

I'd actually argue that that's irrelevant. The better episodes have clearly been the smaller, more contained episodes with minimal action. You can't tell me that last week's stellar episode had a particularly high budget? It was all contained to one location, with four actors and only a handful of action shots. It was almost a bottle episode in comparison with this week's, yet it is one of the best episodes the show has ever produced. A big budget does not necessarily mean a good episode. Also, TWD has a budget of around three million dollars per episode, I'd hardly call it meagre.

But yes, hopefully the pace will pick up next week after the episodes we've had recently which have seemed to be made up entirely of walking.

One suggestion was that the kidnapper is Gabriel from the comics, going from the big cross in the car's rear window. Although it's not the most subtle signposting...

I really don't understand why people take issue with the character based episodes. Ultimately this entire show is about how humanity changes given the new world. There are a million different movies out there that cover the first five minutes of zombie apocalypse. What isn't covered in (99%) of those movies is what happens two-three years after the initial outbreak. Thats where this show shines. It has allowed the characters to become for want of a better word "comfortable" and acclimatised to what the world is now. While still striving for better. Just my opinion but I think if you hate "filler" or character drama as I call it. Feel free to stop watching

A bus load of ne'er do wells are heading round to your's when you're out at the bingo.

Very true Adam. Which leaves one question: What the hell are they still doing in Georgia?!

Haha, good point Kim, I do have the graphic novels and am slowly catching up to reading them. As a Brit I don't know much about US geography, but I guess Georgia is open country enough to allow various woodland terrain etc. I gues they are avoiding cities based on the experiences Rick had in the very first ep?

Yes but the majority of the characters just simply aren't compelling enough for it to be truly effective or interesting character drama. I'm sure I'm beginning to sound like a broken record singing the praises of last week's episode but THAT was a fantastic character study. If that was sustained through every episode then I'd wholeheartedly agree with you. Unfortunately, a lot of what is being passed off as character drama simply is filler, there's no denying that.

I don't want to decend into bitchy comments and stuff. And I agree that last weeks episode was truly incredible. But specifically what characters don't you feel are interesting?

It's the best! I cannot wait for next week's episode! I think Daryl will be in a compromising situation and will save the day, i.e. rick and Beth. He will sacrifice himself. I also got the impression Maggie will die especially after the photo burning- I mean why would you do that in a world of zombies and killers?! I'm thinking a cult also. The terminus people made a lot of effort posting signs around the area, which makes me think they are up to something. Usually with a group, they are suspicious of people joining. They left the gate open, so perhaps they have been watching them? There was definitely something spooky about that woman! My partner posed an idea that Rick may die.....I hope not!!! Daryl will definitely not. But the friendship Mashan (how ever you spell it) and Rick's son have built, makes me think one of them will die. In any case, one main character will die this season, oh dear!

I can't speak for Ozy, but personally I can't really tell which one is my favorite and that's pretty bad for a TV show. I care about the group and where they are heading in the story, but individually the characters are, in fact, bland. Except for season 1, but they stopped developing them when Darabont left it seems. Actually I either hate them or don't care. Even now-cry baby Daryl.

You do realise the lady at terminus is the same one that was in those creepy paintings wth the eyes removed back at the house.

Also, ppl shouldn't include spoilers from the comics here. Thanks for ruining Glen's death for me.

At least write spoiler alert when you do that

Sponsored Links