The Walking Dead: Alone

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #13:

We open up on Bob sad walking all by himself in the woods looking pretty worse for the wear.  “Alone” might not the most subtle episode title of the season, but at least we got the metaphorical two-by-four to the head out of the way early.  Turns out this isn’t regular Bob; it’s old PTSD Bob!  The Walking Dead doesn’t really do flashbacks unless it’s a dream sequence or switching between concurrent plotlines, so I’m not really sure how I feel about the break in style.  If you’re gonna have flashbacks, then that’s fine.  But at least keep it consistent and don’t have the only one in the whole season be PTSD Bob.  I believed you that he was sad without having to watch him drink cold medicine in a manmade cave.  Plus, sitting literally two feet inside the lean-to is just dumb.  If the walker trying to get in realizes that he has a waist and can easily eat you if he just bends down, you’re gonna be one robotrippin’ dead guy.

PTSD Bob does some more sad stuff set to sad montage music.  Sad standing around and looking off into the distance while zombies walk by.  Sad lying on a truck and looking off into the distance while zombies walk by.  Just when I’m starting to feel like the number one threat to PTSD Bob’s life is suicide rather than zombies, he catches a break and hears a car and perks up… negligibly.  What PTSD Bob doesn’t know though, is that he basically just won the lottery.  Glenn and Daryl!  And Daryl even has on his Poncho of Justice!  I miss that poncho so damn much.  Definitely more than some of the characters we’ve lost along the way.  I’d kill Lori three more times if it meant the poncho could come back.

Daryl and Glenn are actually not idiots about meeting a stranger for once and question PTSD Bob with weapons drawn.  PTSD Bob is pretty matter of fact but unintimidating as he tells our heroes about his past groups and the fact that everyone he knows is dead.  Daryl busts out the useless three question quiz that Rick invented.  PTSD Bob passes, but honestly what would that conversation look like in order for you to fail.

“Oh sure, I’ve killed a ton of humans!”

“Why?”

“Because they had stuff that I wanted.  Between you and me, things have even got a little rapey here and there, if you know what I’m saying.”

Anyway, PTSD Bob admits to having one mercy killing under his belt which isn’t a deal breaker, so they decide to let him tag along back to the prison.  Even though I really feel like Daryl and Glenn should have taken the machete away from the total stranger, they do get some survival points back for making PTSD Bob ride in the back of the truck so he can’t run it off the road or anything.  They drive off into the sunset and PTSD Bob has friends!  Friends that he technically doesn’t know are alive in the current plotline, but we’ll just ignore that for now…

Back in our current timeline: fog.  An effing lot of fog.  Seriously, how is it that fog has never been a problem before and now these characters have apparently found all of the water vapor in Georgia?  We can’t see much, but we can hear that a herd of walkers is nearby and there are a lot of pan shots of Maggie, Sasha, and happy Bob.  The walkers hit hard and Sasha really steps up to the plate in this fighter-biter showdown.  Sasha saves both of our other heroes, who have knives, and she does it mostly with just a pointy stick.

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I really feel like Sasha got the short end of the stick on this one.  Ba-dum ching!

Bob actually does get bitten, but somehow the walker bit him in the only protected place on Bob’s entire body, so it’s only dramatic for about fifteen seconds.  Sasha is so relieved that she literally throws herself at Bob who makes a joke about her putting pressure where he’s had two life threatening injuries in a week.  Everyone laughs and laughs and Maggie pretends that she wouldn’t be bummed out about watching a budding romance develop while she’s looking for her husband who’s most likely dead.

The trio discusses what the plan is for the day.  Isn’t their plan mostly just walk?  Maggie realizes that her compass didn’t survive the last scuffle and gets all huffy.  But again, unless Maggie and Glenn previously established the North Pole as their meet up point should they get separated (which, hey, a meeting point might have been a good idea), the compass is useless anyway.  Even if they’re walking toward each other, Maggie and Glenn could still easily miss one another by less than a quarter mile.  Obviously, that is not where this plotline is headed.  The writers are too committed to our star-crossed lovers, for better or for worse.

Over in the well lit, fog free woods, Daryl is giving Beth some less abusive lessons about tracking and using the crossbow.  Beth finds the walker that she has been looking for and slowly approaches to shoot him and take the gun that he has in the back of his pants.  Things go awry for Beth pretty much through no fault of her own when she steps in a bear trap, prompting Daryl to go into rescue mode.  Luckily, Beth has the most jack diesel cowboy boots ever, so the injury is minimal.

Beth is having trouble walking as she and Daryl come to a cemetery.  Daryl assumes the position and offers Beth a piggyback ride.  You guys, he gives her a “SERIOUS PIGGYBACK.”  Daryl has made significant strides in repairing my love for him as my TV boyfriend this week.  They see a funeral home on the other side of the cemetery.  Predictably, Daryl is dubious about anyone who might be left inside, while Beth remains doggedly optimistic about the fact that there are still good people left in the world.  Oh, you two.  As different as can be.

Our trio of fighters has made it out of the foggy hell that was their first couple of scenes (for them and me, trying to figure out what the hell was going on).  They find the railroad tracks which, of course, have an invitation to the sanctuary that everyone is headed towards.  I don’t think it occurred to me up to this point, but apparently this place has a name.  The sign says that this place is named Terminus, which seems like an odd choice.  Clearly, they are going for an “end of the line” feel; but that can either mean that you don’t have to wander anymore because you’re safe here, or because you’re dead.  If they had named it Camp Unicorn or something, it would have been much less ambiguous.  Maggie and Bob decide that if Glenn had seen one of these signs, he would have gone and checked it out.  Sasha is still 100% sure that Glenn is dead, but realizes that she’s outnumbered.  Bob offers to take a vote, but it’s kind of just condescending when there are only three people in the group and two people are openly trying to convince the third.

Daryl and Beth make it to the funeral house, which they both notice that somebody has been maintaining.  After whistling once and not getting an answer, Daryl decides the house is probably clear and lets down his guard enough to check out some decaying walkers that somebody has been preparing for funerals.  Daryl thinks the idea is a weird perversion of playing dress up.  But Beth, of course, thinks that it’s a beautiful way of remembering that walkers were actually people once upon a time.  I’m with Beth on this one.  Everyone handles grief in their own way.  So if you’re a mortician who has spent a career showing respect for the lifeless bodies of people you’ve never met, then it would make sense that you wouldn’t just see walkers as monsters.  You would see them as people who deserve a goodbye just like anyone else.

Sasha and Bob are sitting around in their temporary camp, which has the same hubcap security system that Beth and Daryl already used last week.  Apparently, that’s like a thing in Zombieland.  Bob starts to prod Sasha about why she really doesn’t want to try and make it to Terminus.  She says that it’s because she prefers being alive to the alternative.  But Bob pulls the classic BS move of smugly telling Sasha that she doesn’t really know why she wants to stop.  Bitch, don’t tell her how she feels!  They don’t have supplies, ammunition, and, oh yeah, Bob is being all judgey while he’s sitting there tending to his still bleeding bullet wound.  Sasha is well within her right to be afraid of dying.  Except we’re riding out the Maggie-Glenn undying love plotline, so Sasha’s logic and reason are shot down immediately.

With her new and improved wrapped ankle, Beth joins Daryl in raiding the kitchen for any leftover supplies that the walker mortician may have collected.  They hit the jackpot and find an impressively stocked pantry.  Daryl is especially excited out the PB&J, diet soda, and pig’s feet since now he can throw himself a little “white trash brunch.”  He made a little joke!  I missed you so much fun Daryl.  Daryl realizes that there isn’t any dust at all on the food and decides that they should take some and leave the rest in case the walker mortician comes back for his stash.  Beth is impressed with his unprompted empathy for others and gives him a little side smile.

Daryl locks up the house and sets up the hubcap security system for the front door.  When he comes inside, he finds Beth surrounded by candles and singing one of her less creepy songs.  Oh wait.  No, Daryl decided to rest in a coffin.  The singing is creepy again.  Beth stops singing because Daryl has said in the past that it annoys him.  Daryl retracts his past dismissal and tells her to keep playing.  I know that we’re supposed to be having a bonding moment here, but is it really a great idea to be calling attention to the house?  They don’t know if there are any walkers around.  I feel like, at least at night, you should pretty much just be content to sit quietly in the dark.  I do appreciate though, that they didn’t make Beth be some sort of musical prodigy.  She is exactly as proficient as a teenage girl who hadn’t touched a piano in two years would be.  The Walking Dead does periodically step up with the little touches of realism.

413 coffin

Sorry, am I watching The Walking Dead or American Horror Story?

Out in the woods, Sasha wakes up to Bob crouched over a message in the dirt from Maggie that says “DONT RISK YOUR LIVES 4 ME GOOD LUCK”.  That is exactly what it says; spelling and all.  Why, pray tell, did Maggie think that she had time to spell out every word, except the word “for?”  Is this just the writers not understanding how the kids these days are using the texting words?  At least if they had changed “your” to “ur” it would have been closer to believable.  I also take issue with the fact that if Maggie left when she was supposed to be lookout for Bob and Sasha while they slept, then she already risked their lives.  Unfazed by the message, Bob immediately starts packing up camp and instantly assumes that he and Sasha can catch up with her.  Sasha is less gung ho, because apparently the working title for this episode was “Sasha is temporarily an uncharacteristically whiney bitch,” but helps him anyway.

Farther down the road, Maggie finds another sign for Terminus.  She goes to carve something into the side of the electrical control panel where the sign is hanging, but hears a walker behind her.  Maggie gets a real creepy look on her face and looks a little too happy to see a zombie.  She takes out the walker like she would any other and everything is pretty par for the course.  Until Maggie disembowels flannel walker lady.  It’s gross.  Even by The Walking Dead standards.

Bob and Sasha are on the rails chit chatting and meandering at a pretty leisurely pace.  I know they don’t want to exert themselves too much right off the bat, but I don’t see how they realistically think they can catch up to Maggie moseying like this.  Sasha asks Bob why he smiles all the time and why, if he’s so happy to be alive, does he want to risk his life again immediately.  Bob says that it’s not a matter of being alive; so much as it is a matter of not being alone.  Bob adds that since he ended up by himself after he lost his first two groups, having any buddies is a huge improvement.  This conversation plus the sad PTSD Bob montage at the beginning of the episode do explain his motivation for wanting to go after Maggie despite her telling them not to.  He knows what it’s like to be alone, and he doesn’t want that for her.

Bob and Sasha catch up to where Maggie went all serial killer on the flannel walker and find out what she was up to.  Apparently Maggie decided that the walker could double as a giant paint can and used her blood to write a message to Glenn to meet her in Terminus.  Maggie gets points for creativity, and I’m sure that the writers loved the idea of a message being written in blood.  But shouldn’t it be even a little bit of a concern that it would wash away the first time it rains?  Come to think of it, Maggie’s message to Bob and Sasha written in the dirt was a stiff breeze away from becoming illegible.  Somebody should really get this girl some stationary for her next birthday.

In the funeral home, Daryl has set out a nutritious breakfast of Cola and processed canned goods.  They’re giggling off screen when all of a sudden, Daryl bursts through the door carrying Beth.  Like a bride.  Over a threshold.  Does anyone else feel a lot of feelings coming on?  Because I feel a lot of feelings coming on.

413 daryl cary beth

What bride wouldn’t want to be showered in gifts like sugary drinks and pig’s feet?

The interaction between Beth and Daryl has really only been a plot point since the mid-season premiere, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to develop it.  They, have however, had the most screen time of any of the sub-groups.  It wasn’t clear at first whether they were going to develop into a father-daughter dynamic or become more like siblings (which I thought would have made sense since they both have “lost” siblings because of zombies).  I really didn’t expect it to go romantic until this episode.  But finding the house, having sit down meals, and Beth singing Daryl to sleep make it look like that’s the direction they’re headed.  Before everyone emails “To Catch a Predator,” it’s worth noting that Beth’s character is technically 18 and Daryl’s character would probably be in his mid-thirties.  It’s not outrageous that with a dwindling population, age would become much less of a deterrent for relationships.

Daryl and Beth’s breakfast is interrupted by the security system going off out front.  It turns out it’s just a dog, which Daryl tries to get to come in, but it runs away.  The false alarm sets up a mess for later though, when the alarm goes off again during their dinner.  Daryl goes to the door to see if the dog wants to join their happy family.  Then he opens the door without even peaking out the window, and a mob of walkers bust through the door.  A group that huge of walkers and he didn’t hear a damn thing?  OH OK.  Daryl lures the walkers away so that Beth can get out of the window and get a head start.  Once Daryl gets outside, he finds Beth’s backpack in the middle of a dirt road and looks up just in time to see a car peel out.

Ok, now you can email “To Catch a Predator.”  This scene is really bummin’ me out in more than just a “television plot development” kind of way.  For the most part, The Walking Dead hasn’t broached the subject of looters and gangs, and they’ve only very tangentially addressed sexual assault.  Unfortunately, we know from real life that crime and assault rates skyrocket following tragedies or events that effect infrastructure.  I am so afraid that The Walking Dead has decided that they can’t put it off anymore.  I have a feeling there is some tough subject matter coming up.

Bob and Sasha are back on the tracks, doing basically the same thing they’ve been doing all episode: Sasha says she wants to put down roots, Bob says no, and they disagree over whether Sasha is afraid that Tyreese is dead.  The only thing that’s different this time is that they’ve come to a little town that could actually work for shelter.  Sasha says that she’s staying here and Bob says that he’s not.  Both plead with the other to change their mind (Bob even tries planting a wet one on Sasha), but it’s a deadlock and they go their separate ways.

I’m so sick of this plotline and how everyone involved has behaved.  First of all, Maggie turning herself into a marauder plays into one of my biggest television pet peeves.  I absolutely hate when characters make decisions for other people because they think they know what’s best for them.  If Bob wants to help you, then Bob is a big boy that can make up his own mind.

Sasha has driven me nuts this entire episode.  The other two people in your group have made it absolutely clear what their plan is.  You are not going to change their minds, so either get on board or accept that you’re going to be alone.  And if Sasha does want to claim that she’s just looking to survive, then I really feel like on the road with other people is still safer than in a camp by yourself.

As far as Bob goes, at least he’s been consistent in what he wanted all along.  Except what he wanted was for nobody to end up alone, and now everyone is.  So leaving someone alone so that you can go off by yourself to find someone else who’s alone is kind of a weird leap of faith to make.

Sasha heads into an old factory and scopes out the digs while stifling tears.  She looks out the window and sees Maggie taking a nap with some walker corpses.  Unfortunately, Sasha knocks the window down from its third story home and wakes up Maggie and a whole gang of walkers who had been happily ignoring her.  Sasha rushes down and the two women channel their inner Xena to take out the herd.  Maggie admits that she overheard Sasha talking about Glenn being dead and how they should give up and settle down.  Maggie finally admits that she needs both and Sasha and Bob’s help to find Glenn.  For some reason, this wins Sasha over so they go find Bob and take off toward Terminus.

Over on a different road, we find Daryl who has run through the night and is looking worse for the wear.  He’s collapsed at a fork in the road with no idea which way to go to find Beth.  Daryl is approached by a well armed group of tough guys.  Daryl instantly goes into fighter mode and punches the leader in the face.  Rather than getting shot to the point of resembling swiss cheese, Daryl introduces himself and looks like he plans to make nice.  I predict that this is just Daryl’s way of trying to find Beth.  Even if these aren’t the bad guys who took her, they may know the ones who did.

That just leaves us the cliffhanger of the week.  We get to look at yet another sign for Terminus for a second, but a slow pan shot reveals that Glenn is actually the one who has found this sign.  Jeezum crow, how many of these signs did they put out there?  Terminus has created the greatest gorilla marketing campaign of all time.  So does Glenn buy into the idea of sanctuary, or did Maggie get herself all covered in blood for nothing?

Only three more episodes this season!

Until next time friends!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

S04 E12: Still