[Previously] I have to tell you guys, it’s getting really hard to stick with it. I mean, I’m doing this out of my love for the show, and the show is making me fall in love with a passel of kittens and then drowning them in front of my crying face. This week was just rough. But I’m here. And Maggie pretty much sums it up: “How much longer we got?”
I don’t know, Maggie. I don’t know.
Maggie barely has time to grieve all of her loss without some crusty-ass Walker breathing down her neck. Everyone is on a water hunt and times are getting rough. Sasha finds a dried up river bed full of dead frogs, Judith is surely sporting some nasty cradle cap, and Daryl’s resorted to eating damn worms. What in the good goddamn, son? I mean, all right, I guess.
They’re also out of gas, so they take to hoofing it to D.C., resembling a shambling Walker herd themselves. (Put a pin in that.) Daryl and Caryl break off to “hunt.” Oh, what? They actually are? I guess they haven’t got enough strength for anything else.
Gabriel tries to proselytize to Maggie, offering comfort in this, her time of need.
Gabriel: Hot enough for you? Ha, seriously, let’s talk about hellfire and how to keep you out of–
Maggie: Pretty sure I know that Bible as well as you, Preacher. You’re gonna want to step off.
Gabriel: Oh. Well, if you ever want to talk, pray–
Gabriel: Well, I find that a little
Maggie: –shut the hell up saves lives? DRINK A WHOLE GLASS OF SHUT UP, WOULD YOU?
A herd recognizes them as a Mama Flock and begins to trail behind them. Well, shit. Sasha, full up on stupid this episode, is about to do something Really Bad until Michonne stops her. Michonne knows all about that.
Carol tells Daryl that it’s okay to grieve. She can’t, she’s leveled up past emotions, but he should still give it a try. She kisses his forehead and the ‘shipper world explodes.
They come up with the delightfully lazy plan of shaking off-shaking off (oh WHOA oh!) the herd by standing at a bridge and shoving the Walkers down a ravine. This… this is the plan? And it’s working? Well, then what the hell do I know, carry on. OH WAIT, SASHA TOOK HER STUPID PILLS TODAY and decides to march into the HERD OF ZOMBIES to kick ass and take names, and her pen is all out of ink, mother truckers!
Abraham and Michonne lose patience with this, they all are in jeopardy, but they push through. Sasha is in Full Brat Mode (it’s like going Hardcore, but NPC get permanently killed) and won’t listen.
They come across some cars, and at some point we’ve crossed into THE DARKEST TIMELINE. Maggie opens up a trunk and finds a kidnapped victim-now-Walker. Well! That’s about as disturbing as it gets. How freaking awful! I can’t feel my hands and my face is numb, Show!
HOW MUCH LONGER WE GOT?
To really sell the point we have a close up on a dried cicada husk and later a big ol’ bag worm bag-filled to the brim with parasitic worms eating the trees to nothing (making this late July or August) and everything’s dried up and dying. Just like our band of merry folk. Also, I guess those cars weren’t working since they’re still walking. Really? All the cars were out of gas or commission?
And then! THEN! The CARDINAL SIN of surviving a horrorshow is committed by Dr. Mullet.
Eugene: I truly do not know if things can get worse.
Rosita: WHY. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? Have you never seen ANY Television, movies, videogames, played desktop games, read a book?
And on cue, the wild, rabid dogs appear. Sasha takes them out with four solid “thwips” of her sniper rifle (a bit overkill, except they’re all dead, so that was exactly enough kill. /Spike) And now it’s time for some proper BBQ. They get into the decades old argument of tomato-based sauce vs. vinegar, when Abraham chimes in with dry rub because he’s from Texas, and Gabriel just cannot and throws his preacher’s collar into the fire. Bye bye, Lord and Savior.
Abraham: Hey Sasha. How about you stop fucking up all over? We’re supposed to be a team.
Sasha: [POINTS TO GIANT CHIP ON HER SHOULDER] THIS IS HOW I GRIEVE OKAY?
Abraham: [hands up] Damn. Okay.
Daryl, wandering off again, finds a cabin, grabs a smoke, promptly puts it out on his hand because it’s easier to hurt himself to mask the hurt inside–standard issue abused child PTSD–and then lets himself cry. Poor baby. He also drops his lit cigarette in the VERY DRY pine needles, and that is how forest fires get started, Daryl Dixon. Well, 1% of forest fires. The rest are caused by lightning. BUT STILL.
As our team moves on, they come across jugs of water in the road with a note “From a Friend.”
Eugene goes to drink, Abe slaps it out of his hand like Eugene’s a nasty little toddler (he is, but damn), and they stand there, frustrated. And then a deux a machina happens: the skies open and rain pours down on them, and Tara and Rosita lay in the road soaking it up, Daryl lets it hide his tears, Maggie lets the water numb her skin to match the rest of her, and Sasha feels cheated somehow.
HEY FILL UP SOME CANTEENS, FOLKS oh, there they go, good. This was clearly a sign from God, and Gabriel feels guilty for that whole “I will deny you three times, o Lord” thing from earlier. Where’s a thick hair shirt when you need one?
The storm gets heavier, so they all troop to the cabin Daryl found earlier, dispatch the Walker who boarded herself inside with supplies and then died, turning, and wait out the night. I thought at first that Walker had a bag worm bag on her face. Seeing that this woman didn’t make it is about the last straw for Maggie. The world is full of nonsensical evil. She walks through the valley of the shadow of death and there is no end in sight.
Rick gives a “cheer up, Charlie!” speech calling their group the Walking Dead, and that’s supposed to be good? I guess? That was in the comics and was huge? Okay. I like Rick and he wants his group to make it, so that’s enough for me. But make no mistake, this is the lowest point in morale yet. Which, if you think about it, is really saying something.
Daryl wanders out to the barn door and sees another herd of Walkers just outside, the lightning lighting up their awful faces. Shit! The doors are strong enough to withstand so many, so he calls to everyone and as the storm rages, the winds blow, the lightning crashes, an old mother dies. Wait, no, they ALL gather and work together–echoing the sentiments from earlier Abe said about being a team is how they’ll make it–and get through the night. Somehow.
In the morning, Maggie and Daryl say sweet things about Beth–I think we’re to take that Daryl was in love with her, but I don’t want shipper wars here–and when they open the door, they see all the giant yellow pine trees uprooted, trapping the Walkers or flat out killing them. Again. Thank you, God! I guess! Or is this just a random bit of luck?
Sasha and Maggie go to watch the sunrise, both realizing they’re glad to be alive and see it. And that’s when a VERY clean and tidy man comes out with his hands up, saying “Hi! I’m a friend. So!” Smiles. “Can I talk to Rick?”
Sasha says, “I don’t know, can you? You may not,” because she was an English teacher and okay, that last bit didn’t happen, but whaaaaat? Is this guy a Jehovah’s Witness? Cannibal? Slaver? My money is on Jehovah’s Witness. Search him and you’ll find some Watchtower pamphlets.
Where do you guys stand on this? Weary? Excited? I’m still like Maggie in the beginning: How much longer can we go on?