Wow, a great episode with the trademark rollercoaster ride!
I was ready for a blood bath with people dying everywhere, and nobody died. Wait a minute, lots of people died, just not the characters I cared about! And didn't they deserve to die since they were cannibals? I’m not always sure I like where this show takes me. But it always makes me think and question myself. That is an amazing feat for a television show that gets a lot of its appeal from blood and gore.
As always, this show takes me to questions of humanity and survival. Kill or be killed is what we once thought early humans were like. Warring tribes fighting for resources and dominance resulted in survival of the fittest. What anthropologists have now found is that, although we continue to fight wars, it was actually our social skills that helped us evolve. The best of humankind comes out when we work together and protect each other. It is our altruism that made and continues to make us human. The people of Terminus lost their humanity because of prolonged and constant brutalization. I think that is what Carol means when she tells Mary, "You're not here. Neither am I."
Of course, it isn't all that rosy. Even before the walkers, there were people who had lost their humanity. You can't be too altruistic or you will fall to those for whom brutality is a way of life. The theme of humans being the worst enemy of humans continued to play out through this episode. For a small moment I forgot about the walkers as a danger to our little group. For the most part, if it isn't a herd our group seems to have figured out how to deal with walkers, but they keep coming up against the different kind of walking dead. Eugene's "cure" won't help with them.
In terms of character development, this was Carol's episode. We don’t get many female superheroes but Carol sure looked like one walking into that compound. She went in and saved the group single-handed, and she was able to do it because she was ready to risk herself and to kill anyone in her path, human or walker. Does it take inhumanity to deal with inhumanity? Is losing that humanity an essential part of becoming a warrior? I hope not. Carol thinks she has given up her humanity to protect those she loves, which seems to me to be pretty human. The juxtaposition of Carol and Mary was perfect. They had both lost so much and were trying to protect those they loved in horrible ways. I expected Carol to be merciful but she wasn't. I wonder if she will ever be able to heal or if doing so would make her less valuable to the group. Like I said, I don't always like where this show takes me.
Martin was an interesting character. He illustrated how far the Terminus group had fallen into despair and inhumanity. He had once been a "good guy" but he didn’t think of the people at Terminus as friends and he had a very clear sense that being a good person was the fastest way to get killed. In his own way, he actually tried to save Tyreese. But the way he talked about Judith was very telling and echoed in the piles of teddy bears at Terminus. The group did not save children, they ate them. Children are symbols of hope and it was obvious that the Terminus group no longer had any. They were surviving just to survive. While the horror of what they were doing allowed us to justify their deaths, the line between them and our group is thin and becoming thinner. In the coming episodes I hope we don't have to watch the characters we have become attached to descend into the same kind of despair and brutality.
Bits and Pieces
Tyreese did not call Carol his friend. Will that change now that he has had to kill someone to protect those he loves?
When Martin sent Tyreese out to the walkers all I could think was, well, that was dumb, he obviously doesn’t know Tyreese, he can handle those.
That was a particularly cool shot of zombies walking into the propane.
My favourite reunion was Carol and Daryl. It was even better than Rick, Carl and Judith.
Things I could live without: Men lined up like pigs for slaughter and then the slaughtering. Zombie eating a man's face. Continued close-ups on the girl getting eaten.
I don't know if Eugene is lying or telling the truth, but I'm certainly enjoying the character.
Gareth: "We, we're trying to do something good. We were being human beings."
Other guy: "What are we now, Gareth?"
Martin: "Bitch looked like a weapon with a weapon."
Carol: "We're friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat."
Tyreese: "Carol, how you gonna do this?"
Carol: "I'm gonna kill people."
Martin: "I don’t have any friends. I mean, I know people. They're just assholes I stay alive with."
Martin: "Horrible shit just stacks up day after day. You get used to it."
Martin: "It's kind of like saving an anchor when your stuck without a boat in the middle of the ocean."
Martin: "I don’t wanna do this today."
Glenn: "We've got to let those people out. That's still who we are. It's got to be."
Eugene: "The best case scenario, we step out into a hellstorm of bullets, fire and walkers. I'm not fleet of foot. I sure as hell can't take a dead one down with sharp buttons and hella confidence."
Eugene: "I believe with a little tweaking on the terminals in DC, we can flip the script. Take out every last dead one of them. Fire with fire. All things being equal, it does sound pretty bad ass."
Tyreese: "I had to. So I did. I could."
Crazy guy: "We're the same. We're them. We're the same."