In last week’s episode, we got a good sense of the chaos and bewilderment that the scattered survivors were experiencing after the prison battle with The Governor. So what will this week bring? Well, the cliffhanger from ‘Inmates’ gave us three new players to our zombie universe:
- Abraham (big dude with the mustache)
- Rosita (insanely hot girl with a gun on either hip)
- Eugene (mullet).
How will their introduction to the show affect things…and will it be good?
Ass Kicking with a Smile
The episode begins with Tara and a passed out Glenn (who has spent an inordinate amount of time this season being incapacitated) on the road with the new trio.
During a stop to clear some cars off the road, Abraham joyfully and masterfully dispatches a group of zombies. Tara watches in disbelief, stating that she’s “never seen that before.” Just like the rest of the audience, Abraham looks at her like she’s an idiot and questions how she could possibly have never seen someone take down a zombie.
“No… you smiled,” she replied in one of the cheesiest line sets up EVER.
Despite this little script misstep, however, the point is clear: Abraham is focused, unafraid, and won’t be doing a fraction of the amount of hand-wringing that seems to plague members of the Grimes family.
Seriously… just shut up, Carl
Rick’s life has been made infinitely better by the arrival of Michonne, who is talking with Carl while he gets some badly needed rest. Not only is she able to keep an eye on the kid, but she even manages to engage him in human-sounding conversation… right before Carl mentions something about Judith and completely kills the mood. But despite that moment of awkwardness, the ability to get Carl to laugh and smile like a kid again (if only for a little bit) is a pretty good indicator of Michonne’s dormant maternal instincts coming back to her.
Later, Michonne takes Carl out on a supply run while Rick rests and continues to recover from his injuries (and the rigors of fatherhood).
Party at Rick’s place
Free of Carl’s moodiness, Rick lays down in one of the house’s upstairs bedroom with a copy of Selected Short Stories by Jack London. He must have not liked it much, because minutes later, Rick is fast asleep…
…only to be awakened by a group of people (who resemble the type of folks you see in Waffle House at 3:30 AM) making a ruckus inside the house. Rick dives under the bed as one of the men comes upstairs to check the room. Fortunately for him, the man has absolutely no peripheral vision and a strong aversion to checking under furniture. He doing one of the worst jobs of scanning a room imaginable, he plops down on the bed to take a nap, leaving Rick in the incredibly uncomfortable position of not being able to move or fart.
Meanwhile, Carl and Michonne continue going from house to house on their supply run. Michonne manages to find a can of spray cheese (which is somehow still good over a year after the world went to hell), but is unable to find Carl’s sense of humor despite her repeated attempts at slapstick comedy. When she mentions how she was able to make her toddler laugh, Carl begins to ask her questions about him.
Their back and forth not only further strengthens the bond between the two, but also serves as yet another display of Michonne’s softer, much more human side. Unfortunately, that vulnerable part of her psyche is dealt a severe wound when she comes across a suicide room inside one of the houses. The sight of children’s corpses (along with the corpse of the parent that pulled the trigger), contrasted against the childish décor of the room, snaps Michonne back into reality.
Escape from the Waffle House crew
Back at the temporary residence, Rick is still hiding under the bed. While the man above him sleeps, another one comes in (once again not noticing anyone under the bed) and proceeds to kick the crap out of the other guy for calling dibs on somewhere to sleep.
After killing (?) his friend, Douchebag #2 proceeds to take a nap of his own while Rick scoots away to another room. While he looks for an exit, another one of the Hell’s Angels enters, sending Rick scurrying into a space that is either a huge closet or the worst designed alcove in the history of home construction. The man walks over, throws a tennis ball against the wall… and ONCE AGAIN doesn’t check the obvious area where Rick is hiding. You have to wonder how a group that is so collectively stupid and willing to kill each other over mattress space has managed to survive this long.
After Tennis Ball man walks away, Rick darts into the bathroom, where he comes face to face with another man who is sitting on the toilet (and apparently able to poop with his pants still on). Rick (somewhat) quietly kills him and gets outside just in time to warn Michonne and Carl that they need to find a new place to crash.
As the trio heads down the road, they follow the signs/converging plot points to the promised safety of a town named ‘Terminus.’
Glenn (once again) wakes up
Waking up without any idea what the hell is going on should be normal for Glenn by this point, but he’s surprised to find himself in the back of a moving truck with Tara.
He demands that the group stop, which they do only after he nearly shatters the back window. Abraham then explains that the mullet dude they have with them (Eugene) is a scientist who knows what started the plague and how to stop it. They were on their way to Washington D.C. so that he can get that information to the right people (because the people in D.C. could always be counted on to get things done BEFORE the dead start rising).
Abraham goes on to say that Maggie isn’t worth finding since she’s probably gone, helping with their mission to get Eugene to Washington D.C. is more important, and Rosita is probably a little bit hotter…okay, he didn’t say that last part. But he might as well have, because Glenn responds like the loyal husband he is by socking Abraham in the face.
This results in a predictable beat down by Abraham, who doesn’t notice the herd of walkers sneaking up on them while teaching Glenn a very harsh lesson about picking fights with large, mustached men. Unfortunately, Eugene does. I say “unfortunately” because he has worse aim and gun management skills than an Imperial Storm Trooper.
Eugene manages to hit the truck with enough automatic gunfire to make it undriveable while the rest of the group briefly comes together to dispatch the zombies. Once they’re done, Glenn continues on in his heroic quest to find Maggie. Tara and Rosita, who are clearly smitten with such a romantic gesture, decide to follow him. Eugene suggests to Abraham that they do the same.
One thing you have to appreciate about Abraham is his single-minded determination. This season has shown us a lot of questioning on the part of the show’s characters. They’ve struggle not only with immediate decisions about their own safety/survival, but also with larger concepts such as why it’s still worth trying to survive at all. Abraham’s simple, laser-like focus on getting Eugene to Washington D.C., however, feels like a welcome breath of fresh air.
As far as the story line about getting to D.C. itself is concerned, the potential drama is a bit ruined for me due to reading the comics (unless things go in a WILDLY different direction). That being said, the group’s dynamic, along with the future repercussions of their actions along the way, should be a lot of fun to watch unfold.
On the Rick/Carl/Michonne side of things, it’s pretty much the same as before:
- Michonne provides the best lens through which the audience can see how the zombie apocalypse can truly change a person.
- Rick is beaten, broken, and tired of having to do things he normally wouldn’t even think about doing to survive.
- Carl sucks… although he’s much more tolerable with Michonne around to bring out the less bratty side of his demeanor.
It’s also worth noting that the people invading the house weren’t needed to remind us of the whole “humans can be the real monsters” aspect of the show… we’ve had that point driven home about every way imaginable in the last two seasons.
This wasn’t a mind blowing episode by any stretch, but still a very solid entry in what has turned out to be an excellent season. With the introduction of Abraham and his crew (along with a Daryl-centric episode next week), it looks to be getting even better and we get closer to the end.