TWD S4E15, “Us” by Dusty

What I’m drinking: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine.  Alltech has been playing around with their bourbon barrel ale for a couple years now.  These small batches normally sell out pretty quickly, so you have to get your hands on them when you can.  This one has the sweetness of the standard bourbon barrel ale, with a hint of fruit and a nice bitter bite at the end.  I don’t think I like this better than the regular bourbon barrel ale, but it’s still really good.  If you can find it, definitely check it out.

Five things that annoyed me:

1. Glenn, running towards Terminus at the sight of Maggie’s blood-scrawled note.  He’s excited to see her.  I get it.  But just be smart about it.  The chances of a single person getting to Terminus is minimal at best.  Why run off on your own?  Riot gear doesn’t work if you’re not wearing a helmet and you run into a brain-hungry zombie.  In that instance, they will happily chomp away and ask for more paramedics.

2.  Glenn and Tara walking through the tunnel.  If that weren’t enough, they wouldn’t shut up.  A tunnel full of the undead is not the time to talk about your past experiences.  Get through and talk about it later.
Rosita talked about Tara’s guilt driving her to do whatever Glenn asked of her.  He had no right dragging her into that tunnel.  His quest of finding Maggie blinded him to the safety of his traveling companions.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching sports, it’s that the outcome is less important than the scheme.  A good outcome doesn’t mean it was a good plan, or even that it was executed well.  Chances are, it will come back to bite you the next time around.  Glenn and Tara survived by sheer luck and nothing else.
To reiterate: it’s a miracle anyone is still alive.  No one seems to learn from the mistakes of others, or even apply a layer of common sense to their actions.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I call this the Simple Plan method, where the tension is completely reliant on characters making the worst possible decision at the worst possible time.  It’s a lazy way to drive drama and tension.

3.  Eugene.  That guy is the worst.  He’s obviously lying about how much he knows, and how smart he is.  Beyond that, both Abraham and Rosita are very smart, and seem to be keen observers of personality.  And yet, they fail to pick up on the nonsense he is obviously spewing.  Maybe they just want to believe Eugene has the answer, and they let that cloud their judgment.  Or they ignore the obvious red flags on the off chance he actually knows what he’s talking about.  It’s always good to have hope, I suppose.
But, in this world, you have to be smart with where you put your hope, and who you put your trust in.  I feel like Abraham and Rosita are more than capable of doing that, but they’re not doing that here.

4.  Maggie burning Glenn’s picture.  That’s cold, man.  What if you get separated again?  You didn’t plan to be separated this time, so what’s to stop it from happening again?  Let the man keep his picture of you.

5.  Terminus – the zombie-free sanctuary – leaves its gates unlocked.  If I wasn’t already wary of these people, I would be now.
As if the name “Terminus” wasn’t ominous enough, it was referred to as “the end of the line” this week.  I hope they make it a little more obvious in the next episode.  “Oh look, they’re serving ribs at DEATH STATION.”

Seven things I liked:

1.  Carl and Michonne, finding ways to have fun while walking on the railroad tracks.  It’s the post-apocalyptic version of road-trip games.  “There’s a car, there’s a car, there’s a car, there’s a…oops…truck.”

2.  Joe (“Rack”, in my prior posts) referring to his gang as “a merry band”.  I used that same term in my write-up of “Alone”.  Well-played, Jeff Kober.
For all of the insanity in his group, he thinks through things logically. He’s a sociopath, but he’s smart, and I can respect that.  You frame a man for stealing half a rabbit, you get beaten with a sock of quarters and get an arrow in your eye, Kersey style.

3.  Abraham, for generally being awesome and using logic and common sense to survive and lead.  He was one of my favorite characters in the comics, and he’s one of my favorite characters in this show.  Big, big fan of that guy.
Also a big fan of Rosita.  She doesn’t have much of a character yet, but she’s observant, smart and not afraid to speak her mind.  I love the both of them.  Their group has an openness that you don’t always see with Rick & Co.

4.  Zombie falling from a tower and exploding on impact.  I laughed, rewound, and watched it again.

5.  The railroad tracks.  They’re pretty much a character at this point.  Besides the random marker (bloody sign, candy bar wrapper, etc.), I have no frame of reference for how far apart each group is, but I know they’re all on the tracks, and I like that.  I like knowing that they could run into each other at any given moment.

6.  Zombie wall!  Zombie wall in the tunnel was dope.

7.  Bub showing up in the zombie tunnel, and Denise Crosby showing up in Terminus.  I’m always excited to see horror references and actors/actresses known for horror to pop up in shows like this.  Keeps it fun.

Final thoughts:

Not a bad episode.  It jumped around between groups and characters quite a bit, so it didn’t really get bogged down too much.  I’m glad the Glenn and Maggie storyline is resolved, because I was getting a little tired of them putting themselves and others in danger in their reckless quest to find each other.
I have no idea what’s in store for the finale, which is exciting.  It doesn’t look like we’re gearing up for any kind of huge fight scene (a showdown with Daryl’s new gang seems likely, though), so I’m left to assume it’s building towards the rest of the group getting to Terminus (and us finding out what happened to Beth) then some big, sinister reveal coming as the episode ends.  Perhaps Mary is cooking up a bit of zombie jerky on the grill.  It takes all kind of critters to make Farmer Mary’s fritters.  She probably never even thinks about the karmic implications of her actions.

What I listened to while writing this: S. Carey – Range of Light.  Dark, lush songs you can absolutely get lost in.  I liked his first album – All We Grow – but this album is a major step up.  Lots of intricate percussion and beautiful atmosphere.  This seems like an album that will get better with each listen.  Seeing as how I already love it, that’s a great sign.  With this album, he is further cementing his name as something other than “the drummer in Bon Iver.”  I can’t recommend this record high enough.