We open to Maggie, who appears to be too lost in her grief to hear a walker approaching , until she stands up and puts it down. Sasha isn’t any better off, in fact the entire crew looks as if they want to give up. They have been without food and water for the last day and an half. Maggie wonders aloud how much time they have left – before their own ends come. The writers promised a darker, more gut wrenching second half. It’s too bad they actually delivered on that promise. No food, no water, no gas as they end up walking down a hot dusty road, followed by a small herd. Carol and Daryl head off into the woods to try to find something for the group to eat, noting that Judith is hungry. Fr. Gabriel explains the history of Hair Shirts to Maggie, who is in no mood for the lecture nor his attempt to help her overcome her grief at the loss of her father and sister, since he didn’t know them. She throws his history in his face, implying that he didn’t save his flock, he can’t save her.
They have 60 miles to go and have bigger problems than anyone’s grief. The herd is growing and Sasha wants to “take them.” Michonne warns her against it. Carol and Daryl talk about Beth saving both of their lives. She gives him Beth’s knife and reminds him that they’re not dead, the words he spoke to her, at the shelter. Fifteen minutes in and I’m wishing anti-depressants were sold over the counter. The scene is saved by her tenderness toward him and a moment that looked like a near hook up before she walks away. Back on the road, Rick sends Carl and Judith ahead while the group stands its ground to take on the walkers. Rather than waste the energy fighting, they shove the walkers down an embankment and under a bridge – until Sasha flips and begins knifing them. A battle begins and ends with no one dying, shocking! They head further down the road and find abandoned cars. Maggie nearly leaves a bound walker in the trunk of the car she searched. She thinks better of it and goes back to kill the walker, but can’t get the trunk open. Glenn takes care of it for her. Daryl finds a rotting deer and a dead walker nearby, but thinks better of bringing it back (the whole scene makes me think of Bob, again, as the Terminans ate his “tainted flesh”).
Eugene counters Tara’s comments of the group making things worse by drinking found alcohol by stating that he doesn’t think things could get any worse. Cue the karmic retribution of being attacked by a pack of wild dogs (still wearing their tags). Sasha shoots them all. She later gives Noah the dirty eye and he begins explaining that Tyrese died helping him and now he doesn’t think he will make it. Sasha responds, “then you won’t”. She tells him not to think, to simply eat. They have dog for dinner, prompting Fr. Gabriel to first burn his collar. GEEZ, who turned Lars Von Trier loose on The Walking Dead set? Melancholia had more warm fuzzy moments than this episode.
Maggie and Glenn talk about Beth. She doesn’t know if she wants to keep fighting. Glenn reminds her that they both have to keep fighting. Abraham tries to remind Sasha that she’s ok, she’s with friends, a sentiment she rejects, telling him they are not friends, and walks away. Daryl also walks away, to go “look at the water.” He ends up finding a small cabin near the water. The scenery behind him suggests that he is walker bait, but the damage comes from within. He burns his hand with the cigarette he’s smoking. Uncharacteristically, he cries, but it’s not clear why – for Beth? For himself? For the sorry state of the world? Merle? Tyrese? All of it?
Things get interesting. Bottles of fresh water are left in the road… “From a Friend” – a note left with the bottles, reads. They’re afraid to drink it in case it’s a trap. Eugene goes to drink a bottle test it, and as old habits die hard, Abraham smacks the drink from his hands to protect him. Suddenly it rains and they collect the water in every container they have. The others rejoice, Maggie, Sasha, and Daryl are stoic. Just then they realize the rain is bringing a huge storm with it and head for a barn to take refuge. Only one walker found, Maggie puts it down. Carol notes that the walker had a gun and Maggie seems annoyed that she didn’t kill herself with it. Carol reminds her that some people can’t give up. Rick watches Carl sleep, clinging to Judith. Carl has been holding her nearly the entire time. Sasha separates from the group and sleeps alone.
Rick talks about once feeling sorry for kids who grow up in this mess, but now thinks it may be possible that it’s easier for them, since it’s the world they know. He talks about asking his grandfather if he ever killed Germans during the war. His grandfather would rebuff him and ignore the question. One day he told Rick that every morning, during the war, he would say “rest in peace, now get up and go to war.” Years later he made it home. Rick says that’s the trick of it, they do what they have to do and then they live. He says no matter what they find in D.C., they’ll survive, it’s what they do. He says that they tell themselves that they are The Walking Dead. Daryl coldly responds that “we ain’t them.” Rick agrees, but Daryl walks away. It’s a good thing he did because he moves just in time to see a herd approaching the barn doors, which are protected by a small chain that somehow permits the doors to partially open. The group gets up, together, including Carl, who lays Judith on the ground. They hold the doors closed as the winds grow stronger… It is beautiful and terrifying at the same time, and then? Fade to black.
Was it a dream, or simply the morning after? Were the walkers blown away by the storm, possibly a tornado? Maggie wakes up next to Glenn as everyone sleeps, save Daryl, who stands watch facing the door. Maggie gets up and sits next to him. Looking at Sasha he says, “he was tough” (a reference to Tyrese), she agrees, “so was she” (a reference to Beth). He says that she didn’t know it, but she was. Daryl gives Maggie the music box he fixed and she thanks him. She then awakens Sasha and they go outside and pass the walkers, who have been blown into, and under, the fallen trees. They note that they should have been torn apart, but weren’t. They sit on a log and watch the sun rise. I finally realize that both Tyrese and Beth died saving Noah, though the two women don’t talk about that connection. Sasha shares Noah’s doubts about surviving. Maggie tells him that they’ll both make it, and that’s what hurts.
As they sit there, Aaron, who calls himself “a friend”, approaches the two women, to guns drawn. He jokes that he gets it, “stranger danger.” I’m suspicious at how clean the guy is. It’s like he just stepped out of a magazine. He knows Rick’s name, that he is the leader, and wants to talk to him. Just then, the music box that wouldn’t play when Maggie tried to share it with Sasha, earlier, begins playing. WOW! I wish that scene happened half way into the episode.
I’m an exasperated soap fan who keeps hanging on – waiting for the daytime I once loved to return to its former glory! Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a dream. I learned to love soaps thanks to my wonderful mother and grandmother. I’ll always have fond memories of daytime, most especially of ‘Another World’, my first stoap love. The ever great, but sadly defunct, daytime shows like Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, The Doctors, Loving, and many others keep a special place in my heart, as well.