The Walking Dead-Us
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.
That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.
“What do you do when the mission’s over?”
Moments of joy in The Walking Dead are few and far between, but when they arrive they’re quite sweet. That’s really the only way you can describe Glenn’s reaction to seeing one of Maggie’s messages. The news gave him a newfound belief in optimism, as the semi-confirmation reinvigorated his quest to find her. Despite the emotional adrenaline boost, there has to be an adage in the new world that goes something along the lines of “don’t enter dark tunnels with moans.” Still though, Glenn is as persistent in his quest to find Maggie as she is to find him, which made their reunion that much more impactful.
Their relationship started like just about any other new one in The Walking Dead, but it quickly escalated into something greater. The thing is, their relationship is one of the few bright spots in the world they live in now. It’s not very often that anything in the show endures very long, so the fact that they’re still together and madly in love is a testament to the strength of their bonds. What’s even better for the others around them is that the devotion on display is something of an inspirational beacon for those around them. Bob and Sasha for instance showed a renewed interest in helping Glenn, mainly because of his love for Maggie. Eugene wants to help them mainly out of practical reasons (fuel and ammo), but something in his mind inspired him to turn back and wait for Glenn. Characters like that really help the show work, as it provides some levity of sorts in the otherwise bleak world of The Walking Dead.
Daryl’s new band of merry men isn’t exactly friendly or nice, but they are rather effective at surviving and following the rules. There’s a comfort in knowing someone’s got your back, even if those who do aren’t exactly the most savory companions. They’re really big on claiming things as a manner of maintaining some civility, which is somewhat ironic considering their presumably rough status before the apocalypse. Harley’s rationalization of their newfound rules is justifying them by making them out to be the good guys in a way. He presents his encounter with Rick to Daryl as if Rick was in the wrong for killing one of their own and leaving him behind as a walker. Neither Harley nor Daryl know it was Rick who was in the house with them, but the one who saw Rick under the bed remembers his face and that will inevitably come up again.
Eugene is definitely something of a piece of work. He’s quickly becoming a very interesting character, primarily because he doesn’t’ really pull any punches. He’s brutally honest; partly because it’s likely he doesn’t care, but also likely because he’s really that intelligent (or at least, letting on that he is). He’s being presented as the key to saving the world and he still has some humanity in him, wanting to help Glenn in spite of the threat to his mission. It’s clear that he has some sway over the decision making of others around him (Abraham especially) and how that plays out should be intriguing.
For the past few episodes, the show has thrived on solidarity and seclusion. The final episode of the season seems to indicate that all the characters will reunite at Terminus, despite the lone woman named Mary there to greet Maggie, Glenn and the others. It looks like there are some storylines being hatched, the biggest of which would be Rick and Harley squaring off over the perceived slight. Other than though, there seems to be a happy ending brewing for the season, but since this is The Walking Dead, it’s readily apparent that won’t be happening. Terminus looks like it could be a new prison and is readily defensible; what isn’t apparent is what baggage the new residents will bring with them.
“Us” focused on primarily on Maggie and Glenn, but it was about much more than just them. It was about familiar faces finding one another and a possible safe haven in Terminus for all. The final episode of the season looks to be something of a turning point for the show, as it will affect the direction of the show going forward. True, every episode has that effect, but “Us” sets the stage for a pretty memorable finale when it’s all said and done. As it stands the episode was pretty powerful and served as the build-up to what will likely be a pretty big gut punch in the series finale.
Rating: 5 out of 5