So are we there, yet? Are we there yet? ... Terminus, I mean.
Yes, I'm getting a little impatient — like a little kid stuck in the back of a station wagon, on a road trip (Before the advent of smart phones and PlayStation). So where is this so-called “Sanctuary,” anyway? And will it have cable TV?
In the second half of its fourth season, “The Walking Dead” has been taking its sweet time (“Lollygagging,” you might say), slowing things down and concentrating on no more than a handful of characters per episode. Sunday's installment of “Alone” continued the trend, although there were a couple of major developments that got touched upon in a cursory manner:
– Beth was kidnapped. By who, we don't know. But she was apparently whisked away in a car, which a frantic Daryl failed to track down. The perp may or may not have been the owner of a funeral home.
– Daryl also met up with the dirtbags who were earlier seen invading the home that Rick occupied briefly. But we still don't know much about these guys. A few of our commentators earlier guessed that their scruffy leader might be Negan, one of the more terrifying — and deranged — villains from the comic books. But tonight, he introduced himself to Daryl simply as “Joe.” (Is that his real name?) — someone who has much respect for a “bow man.”
Other than that, there was more slow going and meandering side trips. The episode split its time between Beth and Daryl, who found themselves hanging out (and growing closer) at the funeral home before the abduction, and Maggie, Bob and Sasha, who did more arguing over whether to set down roots, or head to Terminus.
And basically, that's it. The general theme of “Alone” was one this show has touched upon, in various ways, time and again: Whether it's preferable to hang together in a zombie apocalypse, or to blaze your own trail.
Can we all now just agree that, for the most part, two heads (or three, or four) are better than one? Bob, who had endured some rough patches on his own out in the wilderness, already knew this. But it took Maggie and Sasha an entire episode to figure that out. Now, they're on their way — together — to Terminus, hoping to get by with a little help from their friends.
Meanwhile, we haven't dropped in on Rick, Carl and Michonne in ages (Are you missing them?), and I can hardly recall what Tyreese, Carol and that bunch even look like. Shoot, long time, no see. Does Judith have her driver's license yet?
Some other random thoughts as we follow the railroad tracks through the woods:
- Scenes in funeral homes always creep me out, especially when a living dude (in this case, Daryl) decides to take a nap in a casket, or when someone (Daryl again) rubs a corpse's face only to discover that it's basically like a glob of PlayDough. Yuck.
- When a TV show is based on a book, or books, I'm always torn over whether I want to delve into the source material or not. In the case of “The Walking Dead,” I read only Robert Kirkman's first comic offering, so I know nothing about what awaits our survivors in Terminus. And, as a TV viewer, I think I prefer to be in the dark. (Non-readers, for example, surely had a very different — and more gut-wrenching — reaction to the famous “Red Wedding” scene in “Game of Thrones.”)That doesn't mean, however, that we non-readers can't develop our own theories, and I think I echo the feelings of many when I say that the “sanctuary” known as Terminus sounds too good to be true — and that our survivors are likely in for a rude awakening. Or maybe this show has just conditioned us to expect the worst.
- I'm developing a soft spot for Bob. But when is he going to realize that Sasha just ain't interested? Maybe that kiss — and her cold-fish reaction to it — was the sign he needed.
- Poor Beth. She really wants to believe that there are still good people around in the zombie apocalypse. Now, she's been abducted and may be in very real danger. So much for that faith and innocence.
- Love how Maggie found a new use for vanquished walkers. When you can't text someone, send your message in zombie blood.
- The way “The Walking Dead” lately has chosen to divide its focus on a weekly basis reminds me, in some ways, of how “Lost” used to handle its large ensemble cast. At times, it can make for rewarding TV, like when “The Walking Dead” gave us “Clear,” an excellent “road trip” episode that focused mainly on Rick, Carl and Michonne. And this approach is also beneficial in the way that it can help us learn more about — and care more about — previously marginal characters like Beth and Bob.
On the other hand, this approach can be frustrating because it basically results in a collection of interludes that don't always propel the story forward. At least when “Lost” did these kinds of episodes — especially in the early years — they would reveal surprising (sometimes shocking) bits of back story. And they can be frustrating if you're spending too much time away from the characters who most interest you.
So, with all that said, how are you feeling about the show right now? Have you enjoyed these “interludes”? Or are you ready to jab the the gas pedal and get on with it?