Do you know what was wrong with the penultimate episode of season four of The Walking Dead? It's that nothing really went wrong. In fact, it had a happy ending, which I think we all realize means next week's actual season finale is going to destroy us.
The episode, which was titled "Us" but should really have been called "Glenn Makes a Dozen Staggeringly Stupid Decisions Without Facing Any Consequences," checks in on several groups, although after a quick check-in with Rick, Carl and Michonne (wherein we learn Carl is no longer angry or depressed), it mostly cuts back and forth between Glenn and Tara and then Daryl and his new "friends."
Let's begin with Glenn and Tara, who you might recall met Abraham, Rosita and Eugene, the mulleted man who purportedly knows the secret of how the zombie outbreak started and thus can somehow save the world, even though knowing the start and knowing a cure are two extremely different things. This group doesn't have as much character advancing conversations going on as the past few episodes have, mainly because Glenn is too busy making several incredible bad choices. As soon as he sees one of Maggie's messages about heading to Terminus, he's off and running down the tracks.
This is the least stupid decision he will make in this episode. When Abraham finds a secure location in a tower, Glenn is completely ready to go off on his own. When Tara hurts her ankle, can barely walk and still demands to go with Glenn, he's fine with that. When Abraham demands they stay, Glenn trades his riot gear to Eugene for them all to keep walking until sundown.
They don't, though, because eventually they all come to a long, dark railroad tunnel that clearly — clearly — has zombies in it. Abraham refuses to let Eugene go in (since protecting Eugene is his mission after all), but Glenn refuses to spend a day going around the dark, zombie-infested tunnel. Thankfully, Abraham is nice enough to give him a flashlight before they take off looking for cars, but Glenn is still an idiot for going in there, and an asshole for not preventing the still limping Tara from going with him.
Although I said there aren't many character-building moments, we do get to know more about one character, though, and he's business in the front, party in the back, and entirely awesome in the middle. He's also mild autistic, I guess? Anyways, the episode begins with him theorizing that maybe the dinosaurs were killed off by a similar zombie virus, and how amazing it would be to see undead dinosaurs running around. This is a guy I want to spend the post-apocalypse with. After Abraham finds them a working van, Eugene also manages to "navigate" them to the opposite side of the tunnel, at about the time he estimates Glenn and Tara should come out.
Instead, Maggie, Sasha and Bob pop out, and they all head back in the tunnel to get Glenn, which is good because he and Tara are almost instantly surrounded by a shit-ton of zombies and Tara gets her foot wedged in something and of course Maggie and the others arrive at the very last second before Glenn and Tara get eaten. It's pretty ridiculous, even for Walking Dead, but Maggie and Glenn's reunion is so heartfelt I had to forgive the show. While Glenn and Maggie tongue wrestle, Sasha and Bob gets the news that Eugene knows why the outbreak occurred, despite the fact he looks like he took third place in a Kenny Powers lookalike contest. Abraham is all set to start heading towards DC again, but Eugene remarks that there's no way they'll make it in the van, so since Terminus is a day's walk away they might as well see if they have anything that'll help.
Meanwhile, Daryl is with his new group of assholes, and guess what? They're assholes. They call everything by yelling "claim," which infuriates one of the bigger assholes because he and Daryl both shoot a rabbit at the same time, although Daryl didn't yell "claim." Joe the leader cuts the rabbit in two like a violent redneck Solomon, but the asshole later hides his half of the rabbit in Daryl's pack and accuses him of stealing it, although Joe saw him do it and then orders the assholes to kick the other asshole to death.
The episode goes out of the way to show Daryl slowly falling back into his asshole ways, from changing his mind from covering the dead asshole's corpse at the last minute, so doing some day-drinking with Joe. Joe even says, upon saying Terminus would never let men like them in, "There's nothing sadder than an outdoor cat that thinks it's an indoor cat," in case the subtlety was lost on you. Really, the only big news we get is learning why the assholes are heading down the tracks to Terminus — they're chasing after Rick for killing their fellow asshole in the house a few episodes ago, although Joe and Daryl don't know it's Rick, obviously.
The episode ends with Glenn, Maggie and the rest entering Terminus, where the gates are mysteriously unlocked and people seem to be mysteriously absent, except for one woman cooking at a grill named Mary, who welcomes them warmly but also a bit sinisterly? Enh, there are lots of gardens in Terminus, so maybe it'll be okay?
HAHAHAHA no it isn't, obviously. I don't know what fucked up things are happening in Terminus that will spell complete disaster for the group, but I sincerely doubt the first team entered this "sanctuary" in the last minute of the second-to-last episode of the season just so everything could be hunky-dory during the season finale. Also, the "next week on" shows Rick looking just a tiny bit upset, so I'm guessing this was just the calm before the new shit-storm our group will find themselves in. Since everybody is either in Terminus or heading Terminus (except maybe Beth, because who the hell knows where she got taken to) at least they'll get to face it together. You know, except for whoever's going to die.
• One possibility for next week's episode: Glenn dies. I say this because it was be exactly the right sort of awful The Walking Dead would pull to kill him so soon after reuniting with Maggie. Also, the portentous way Maggie said he'll never need another photo of her makes me think he won't need it because he's going to die.
• The effect of the zombie tearing its cheek apart by trying to walk through barbed wire was spectacularly gruesome.
• I would love to know how that zombie got in that tower.
• I'm no structural engineer, but I suspect Maggie's firing her gun into the tunnel ceiling, creating a cave-in which incapacitated all the zombies nearby, didn't injury her or anyone alive, and allowed the climb over said zombies and then continue on through the tunnel to be a bit unlikely. Also, where the fuck did all those other zombies in the tunnel come from if Maggie and the rest were able to leave the tunnel without incident?
• For the record, last night's episode of CBS's drama The Good Wife was more brutal than The Walking Dead, and that disturbs me more than anything.
• Seriously, Eugene is the best. I don't even care if he's lying about knowing what caused the outbreak. I just want to hear him talk about videogames and undead dinosaurs.