Previously! But before we go into the episode (and wow, serial killer growth happening, holy schnikies) I want to tell AMC that their heavily amped show Game of Arms will not get me hooked unless there is some Brundle-Fly forearm snapping.
But first, how about we hook all the viewers with a trip into a teenage-girl’s diary? Everyone likes that stuff, don’t they?
Daryl and Beth survived the attack on the prison and are running for their lives. As they navigate the woods, Beth’s voiceover is from a year and change before when they were on the run from Doc Hershel’s place and first come upon the prison, back in the Year of our Rick, 1. She mentions in her diary that she’s keeping a grab-n-go pack by her bed and a weapon. Smart!
Which leads me to: PREPAREDNESS. There was no rendezvous check point established, there weren’t any emergency evacuation plans, and this is how groups get separated. Instead of Spaghetti Tuesday, y’all should have had Spaghetti Tuesday after running evacuation drills, even if only done on paper maps. (And everyone needs to know how to use a map.) Also, all people in the group NEED a BOB (Bug Out Bag), aka emergency grab-n-go pack, aka 72 hour kit.
Beth and Daryl fight through swarms of Walkers headed towards the chaos of the prison (drawn by the noise and fire, way to go, Governor) until they find shelter in a patch of wild sage and yarrow. Beth’s voiceover continues, “We can live here. We can live here for the rest of our lives.”
Which may now be coming to an end. Daryl gets a fire going (are we sure that’s safe, Daryl? I’m not sure that’s safe) and sits shell-shocked, staring at the flames, unable to do anything but take in the futility of life. Somewhere far away Rick Grimes shifts uncomfortably, clutching his recently won “World’s Most Grizzled” award. (Don’t worry, Rick, Carl’s got his eye on it already. We’re getting close to a three-way tie.)
Somehow the next morning, Daryl magically sees footprints under several inches of rotten leaves and begins following the tracks in hope that it’s Frick-n-Frack [Lizzie and Micah, the most frustrating children in all the land]. As they move on in search of survivors, we see some mangled bunnies jammed into a crack of a fallen tree. …anyone remembering the whole rat thing back at the prison? Yeah.
Daryl, because it’s hard to stay positive in light of everything he’s seen in his life, pisses on the whole idea of keeping faith. He has a point. He shouldn’t have shit on Hershel’s hope, though, because you know, the whole “being with his daughter who just saw him beheaded” thing. There are times for diplomacy, even in an apocalypse. She grabs some Scuppernongs [muscadine grapes] growing wild (which tells me this is happening in September, or there abouts, seeing as that’s when Scuppernongs ripen) as Daryl notes a splash of human blood on the leaves.
PROTIP: If you pass fresh food, grab that food and eat that food. If there’s room in your pack, save some of that food. Plus: grapes are mostly water, so if you’re going hardcore, that counts as both a liquid and a solid on your HPs.
Walkers show up (because they’re in the woods, and evidently that is the Walker’s favorite habitat) and it takes the both of them to get the last Walker down and head-stabbed. These two are a little worn out, says I.
They come upon some railroad tracks and find a group of Walkers happily having a buffet on what can only be people who tried escaping from the prison. The two take out all the Walkers; Beth finds a child’s shoe among the gore and starts sobbing, believing it to be one of the girls’ shoes. Daryl shrugs and keeps going because that’s was Daryl Dixon does. (Also, the only kid that meant anything to him was l’il Asskicker.)
The voiceover comes back. “We’ll never die, OMG, because we have walls around us!” You can practically hear the doodles of unicorns, hearts, and rainbows in glitter pen. Nice touch: they show Beth ripping out pages to use as firestarters.
PROTIP: MAKE YOUR OWN. I’ve posted this before, but it’s great. Save your egg cartons and dryer lint. Pack each cup full of dryer lint, melt paraffin wax and pour over each cup until it just saturates the carton. Let dry. Each little cup – or sections of a cup – will start a fire in a rainstorm. Road tested, Laura approved.
Things I liked: diary-Beth was weak because she had starry-eyed idealism that things could go back to how they once were as long as they had walls. Post-Prison-Beth has her eyes wide open and knows that anything could happen. And she’s willing to fight to have any sort of comfort. I like that.
Holy smokes, Frick-n-Frack survived! Micah, the little one, is boo hooing about missing Carol. Lizzie Borden, big sister from hell, tells her to snap out of it. At least they have knives. And Ty! Oh, that’s nice that he made it out. ….with his hammer. AND HE HAS JUDITH!
Officially the Worst Group Ever.
Ty has a cut on his arm (blood from this wound may be the blood on the Scuppernong vine?). Judith, because she’s a baby, and that’s the worst thing to have in an Apocalyptic situation, starts crying. SHIT. Lizzie grabs a magically ready to go bottle (not really, there was a diaper bag loaded and by her car seat when the prison fell) and it helps some. But of course, Walkers show up, so they all get on the move rather than fight.
Because, you know, little girls, baby, and a dude with a hammer and a soft heart.
They make camp for the night, we see two sweet fluffy baby buns twitching their noses in safety of a split log (oh god, the log Daryl and Beth passed). And then…
Oh, look. She’s sitting on that same log. Huh.
Sweet leetle frands! She’s gonna whittle a wee bun house for them, maybe?
Leetle…leetle frands? NOOO! LIZZIE HAS GONE CUCKOO FOLKS.
Lizzie is the first to win the Lottery in my group, guys, not even playing. YOU WIN!*
*a bullet to the brain, prize non-transferrable
Later, they find the grapes [we see that they're hitting these places before Daryl and Beth] and Judith starts sobbing because she has a dirty diaper. Changing a dirty diaper is already a situation fraught with peril (trust me, I have children), but throw in beings trying to eat you, and you have a need for the fastest swipe-n-re-wrap in history. Lizzie tosses the diaper into the woods with a shudder. Judith keeps crying. SHIT. It was more than a swamp butt, then, but WHAT DO THEY DO THEY DON’T KNOW
They hear a woman screaming in the distance. Ty makes the best decision ever: he hands the baby to Lizzie, puts the two girls back to back so they can witness their impending death slowly shambling towards them, and prepares to take off to “help the lady.”
Man, get out of that situation while you can. It’s hard enough having three kids at the grocery store, let alone an apocalypse. So…maybe Ty thought that was Sasha? Micah is scared – naturally – and tells Ty as much before he can leave, but Lizzie tells her to cool it, Micah has a sister who will look out for her. Right, Ty? Sisters are awesome, too bad you don’t have one anymore. Ooh, sick burn on Ty!
UM. Lizzie is freaking me out. In an apocalyptic hellscape, it is the 11 year old who is frightening me. She’s all focused on Judith’s heart rate, how it beats rabbit fast, and distractedly waves Ty off. She’s got this. Oh, she’s got this. Funny how she never realized how soft and fluffy a baby’s hair is, like velvet. Velveteen, even. [/Elmer Fudd laugh]
Ty leaves quick as shakes because he’s smart to be shut of that demon-child, and finds a group of escapees from the prison being attacked (and overwhelmed) by Walkers. He jumps in with his hammer, because in Ty’s world, it’s always Hammer Time. [Sorry not sorry]
BACK IN OH SHIT VILLE, Judith starts crying again, and hand’s up if you’re of a certain age and you flashed on the final episode of M*A*S*H? Kids: that remains the most watched episode of TV ever. You should get on that series if you’ve never watched it. So, I almost quit this show, guys. Not gonna lie. Animals and babies in peril and I’m out. (That we’ve not actually seen the animals tortured is why I’m not bailing. They better NEVER show that stuff.)
Lizzie puts her hand over Judith’s face, pinching off her nose and covering her mouth, to stop her from making noise as Walkers rustle nearby. I DO NOT LIKE THIS. Ty’s fighting for his life, Judith is fighting for hers, and Lizzie stares at the baby as it struggles to breathe, smiling softly to herself. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Lizzie’s gonna kill you for Walker food.”
SHE WOULD RATHER KILL THE BABY THAN WALKERS. Take that in. Let’s all get serious about putting down this creep, shall we? While she’s all, “Yes, your breathing slows so beautifully against my hand,” Micah pulls her gun, fires and misses, because she’s, like, eight. Well, they’re done for.
Ty fights off the last of the Walkers, almost worn out, almost worn down, when CAROL BLESSED PELETIER calls his name. Notice how he still makes smashing motions with his hammer. Think about this moment from Carol’s point of view. She’s assuming Ty knows about her being the one to kill Karen (he doesn’t), and she’s coming on him as he’s in a frenzied state. He calls her name and comes at her, and the woman who lived with an abuser flinches slightly but stands her ground. And then Ty hugs her, grateful that she has the baby in her arms and the two girls as well.
That’s a wonderful character moment. And if you don’t like Carol Peletier, I don’t know that I can like you.
One of the people who hasn’t died from his Walker bite tells them to follow the tracks, to stay out of the woods and get to the end of the line where there’s a sanctuary that takes in children. KLAXON BELLS OF DANGER, because the first thing I think of when I hear “we take in children” is that it’s a slaver outfit. If the name of the place is “Catamite” or “Hetaria” run far and run fast.
They follow the train tracks and come to a trestle – perfect for raiders/bandits to perch atop, giving them an excellent vantage point to snipe or hunt unsuspecting men with babies to be sold – and find two signs posted. One reads “Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.”
Hmm. I’m not convinced. Because one, how did this place survive without the Governor finding it, two, if the Gov did find it, there’s a reason he left them alone (superior firepower? Dirty deeds done dirt cheap?), and three, the sign below is a map with all the roads leading to a central point, “TERMINUS,” apparently the name of this place. Not “Safety Hollows,” or “Security Vale” or “We Don’t Sell People Into Slavery Here Happy Townville.” Nope, that’s an end of the line name. That is the name for Slavers, I’m sorry, I’m not convinced.
[Evidently the original name for Atlanta was “Terminus.” But they're not IN Atlanta. Hackles: up.]
Maggie made it! She still has her ring, she’s dressed in her Lara Croft best, and she takes some down time to sharpen her knife.
Protip: Always check and recheck your weapon. Sharpen your blade by holding it at a 20 degree angle to your sharpening stone/whetstone and sliding it across, handle to tip.
Medic Bob and Sasha are with her; Medic Bob is making goo goo eyes at Sasha, who isn’t interested. He tries to say that Ty most likely made it, and Medic Bob made it out, and he’s the worst, so it stands to reason. Maggie’s plan is to leave them and find Glenn. Uh, splitting up is a terrible idea, so they all go together.
They hit a warning sign: HITCHHIKERS MAY BE ESCAPING INMATES. Ha! Also, that’s pretty much what they all are. And the message to me is pretty clear: don’t pick up anyone you don’t know. AKA, don’t head into Terminus, don’t add people to your group, just don’t.
Bob tries to woo Sasha some more with the whole, “We can do better and do more than just survive,” and Sasha’s all, “What, you want to start an artists’ community or an academic’s council? How about we get some damn shelter and fresh water first, bro?” EYE ROLL. They come upon the bus that Maggie believes Glenn was on; it’s stopped in the middle of the road. Uh oh.
They approach and it’s clearly filled with Walkers. FUCK. How? (Someone got on that damn bus with a bite, that’s how. Always check passengers! Even if you have to toss someone out the door while you’re in motion, better that than everyone dies!)
They open the emergency door in the back to let the Walkers out one by one so she can find Glenn among them, they’re quickly overwhelmed (duh), and all of them go into killing mode. Glenn wasn’t among them, but there are still two bodies trapped on board. One looks like it could be Glenn; the other is a woman who is quickly dispatched. The man on the floor gurgles and paws at the floor, face down. She kills him and sees his face off screen. And begins crying. Laughing? Craughing?
One is the loneliest number that you ever knew. Except it is GLENN and he is ALIVE and he’s…at the prison? The hell? He’s trapped on a section of the catwalk from the guard tower.
He jumps the gap to get inside the prison (off screen) and cautiously moves through to their sleeping quarters. Smart. His gun has an infrared scope on it, which he uses to move silently and safely through the dark prison interior. Because Glenn is a gamer, he knows to sweep the quarters for supplies, pulling out his riot gear (+10 to his DR, including a bonus for using all light armor, unlocking the Fleet of Foot achievement trophy!), takes a moment to lie down and gather his strength (always rest when Enemies aren’t around), grabs Hershel’s pocket watch because he might need to give it back to Hershel.
Because he didn’t see the beheading. Oh dear…
He grabs a backpack and stuffs it with supplies because this boy knows about Grab-n-Go. No bedrolls to be found, but ammo, food, a Leatherman, water, and hey, how about a bottle of whiskey?
PROTIP: Alcohol has loads of uses beyond a buzz. Tick removal, sterilizing, disinfecting, fuel (rubbing alcohol is best and uses very little), degreaser – excellent for weapon maintenance,itch relief from bug bites, topical bug killer in the garden, to name a few.
Glenn steps out of the prison looking like a bad ass Brotherhood of Steal My Heart, why dontcha, and shoots/shoves his way through the massive crowd of Walkers. He’s almost overwhelmed, but gets out and passes…holy shit, Tara, who has locked herself in a cage and is sitting there feeling sorry for herself. Glenn leaves her, then feels bad (realizes more eyes on the road are best) and goes back to shake her out of her “I’m a terrible person!” doldrums to help him. Because that’s how she can make up for unleashing the Gov on the prison. She’s been sitting their with a damn fully loaded handgun, not shot a single thing, and this is who you want? Big mouth braggart who has no skills? Hmm.
Well, as the old saying goes, you don’t need to outrun a Walker, you just need to outrun her.
He makes a Molotov cocktail – wasting all that damn alcohol – to start a car fire, because Walkers are all FIRE PRETTY. The two survivors run off, come upon the same warning sign from earlier, and Glenn learns that Hershel died. Oh, poor boy. He’s going to believe, however, that Maggie made it, because he’s picking up the Faith mantle from Hershel’s beheaded shoulders. Tara likes the optimism and agrees to help him find her.
A bunch of Walkers come on them, they fight, and that’s when Glenn passes out because, oh right, he’s still getting over the Eye Bleeds. He was able to take most out before that, and leaves Tara to put the last one down with way too many head butts with her rifle. I mean, you got it, Tara. You’re just going to throw out your shoulder at this point. An armored truck rolls up as she beats the meatloaf into the asphalt, and MY TV BOYFRIEND MICHAEL CUDLITZ STEPS OUT. That is John Cooper, right there. Bull Randleman. He is not looking like a good guy here, though. He has Mullet and Sassbox with him (not their actual names) and they have creepy grins.
Tara yells, “I hope you enjoyed the show, assholes!”
To which Cudlitz smirks, “You got a damn mouth on you, know that?”
“What else you got?” Aaaaaand they’re raiders. They are going to turn your head into a soup bowl, kid, it was nice knowing you. (We learn in the preview for next week that Cudlitz is a guy named Abraham, but since I don’t read the comics – AND THERE WILL BE NO DISCUSSION OF THE COMICS HERE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU, ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS FOR THE LOVE OF ME – I have no idea who he is or will be.)
The one thing I want to say about this episode is that Carol is alive! Glenn is alive! Glenn is living out my Fallout fantasies, and it’s making me very happy. I am incredibly nervous about next week, because it is getting DARK. (If Judith had died… I mean, that would be fitting given the world, but wow, there’s no coming back from that, and Lizzie would need to be put down, no question. And who wants to kill an 11 year old girl who hasn’t turned? Eesh.)
And let’s talk about what Lizzie’s doing. My thought is that she’s slowly learning that fresh meat will save her. The rats at the prison were ways to make friends with Walkers, because she’s an idiot. Then it’s become something to distract Walkers, perhaps. The bunnies stuffed into the log? Now she’s got a nice, juicy baby in her hands that she could toss at a group of Walkers all “Hot Potato!” and take off running. It’s ingenious. And freakin’ creepy.
Thoughts? (And if you like these recaps, won’t you please share the link? Like, tweet, etc. Discussions are fun the more people you have!)