Season 4 is almost over, and tonight's episode, Us, aims to build the hype for the finale. The second half of this season has been character-driven, revolving around each group of survivors and offering us the most detailed look yet at some of them. This, however, this has taken a bit of toll on the overall narrative. Well, Us changes that and gets all of the pieces moving forward again while also delivering more than a few humanizing scenes.
This episode juggles Glenn's group and Daryl's group. That said, Rick, Michonne, and Carl do appear for just one scene. While it may feel like a totally random way to remind us that Carl and Michonne are bonding (as well as changing), it'll all make sense in the end and absolutely builds interest in the finale.
I'll be blunt: prior to this episode, I haven't had an emotional connection to Tara. Yes, she's been through some atrocious things, but the way her situation is being presented felt a bit dull to me, especially compared to the handling of some of the other characters. Us finally changes my impression of her and it's all thanks to one honestly touching moment. Without blatantly spoiling anything, I'll say this scene also gives at least two other actors a chance to reel us in with some strong displays of emotion. What happens right before that is totally predictable but it still manages to become a strong scene and that's all thanks to the performances.
Abraham already had an episode to show off who he is and what he's like, but Eugene and Rosita were pretty much cast aside; only having a few remarks here and there. Us grants Eugene a much better opportunity to display his personality and it offers a few smirk-inducing lines. Rosita gets a little more screen time, but truthfully, there's nothing here that'll make you truly connect or care for her. With so many characters being developed, it's understandable that not everyone will get a chance to shine... at least not yet.
I have to take a second to praise the practical effects in this episode. There were some solid opportunities to show us how legitimately creepy these zombies are and the kills/gore were never over-the-top yet still remained awesome.The barbed wire along the cheek? Man, brutal stuff right there and very well executed.
What happened with Tara after that tower zombie appeared was frustrating, but given the fact Abraham is trying to keep Eugene safe at all costs, it's not that big of a deal to me. However, the frustrating moment of the week goes to Glenn's handling of the tunnel scene. Don't get me wrong, I get his logic behind it, but there's at least two or three different options I could come up with right when they saw that challenge. The one he went forward with never even crossed my mind, because... well, doesn't he need that flashlight for the rest of the tunnel? Who knows how much farther he needs to go and what obstacles he'd face?
I'm left feeling pretty mixed on Daryl's side of the story. It's engaging enough, but they're going overboard with spelling out the very obvious message. We all know the conflict Daryl's facing -- who he was vs. who he is, how people view him, etc. -- but it feels like they're trying to remind us of that with basically every other sentence.
Okay, spoilers time. Who else thinks Terminus is the TV series' equivalent of the Hunters? Lure the people to them, give them a false sense of security, then get them when their guard is down. I mean, I couldn't be the only one thinking that when we saw the place was seemingly empty and she was cooking... something, right?
This week's episode races many characters towards Terminus and does so in a pretty entertaining fashion. Us is able to highlight several characters and build some serious intrigue for what's to come. Here's hoping the finale can successfully focus on each of the big developments and give a proper amount of attention to the key survivors. It would be a shame if it doesn't because they've definitely made a big push to make us care about quite a few of them.