Us (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Greg Nicotero|
|Written by||Nichole Beattie
|Featured music||"Be Not So Fearful" by A. C. Newman|
|Original air date||March 23, 2014|
"Us" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season and 50th episode overall of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, which aired on AMC on March 23, 2014. The episode was written by Nichole Beattie and Seth Hoffman, and directed by Greg Nicotero.
Glenn Rhee and Tara Chambler depart ways from Abraham, Rosita and Eugene to go to Terminus, instead of going to Washington, D.C., in hopes of a cure. Glenn and Tara struggle on the way to Terminus, with their main objective to find Glenn's wife, Maggie Greene. Meanwhile, after Beth's mysterious disappearance, Daryl Dixon now has joined the group of Claimers led by Joe (Jeff Kober) but is at odds with some of its members.
The episode received very positive reviews, with many praising its simplicity and lighter tone, compared to the previous episode. It was also praised for its ending, which features the first appearance of Terminus, as well as the reunion between Glenn and Maggie.
As Glenn (Steven Yeun), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Sgt. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Dr. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) walk down the railroad tracks, Glenn comes across the message about Terminus that Maggie had previously left for him. Realizing Maggie is still alive, Glenn sprints forward down the tracks. Meanwhile, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are on another part of the railroad tracks; Carl and Michonne continue to bond over a candy bar as they make their journey to Terminus.
Elsewhere, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Len (Marcus Hester) are hunting when Daryl kills a rabbit. Len then "claims" the rabbit and argues with Daryl, before Joe (Jeff Kober) interrupts them. Joe explains to Daryl that the group has a few rules, one of them being that if they want something, saying "claimed" entitles them to what they lay claim to. Joe then cuts the rabbit in half for Len and Daryl, since the latter was not aware of the rule. While walking on the tracks, Joe encourages Daryl to stay with them, although he informs Daryl that whoever lies to or steals from the group will take a severe beating.
Glenn's group eventually comes across a tower where a walker is about to fall from the roof on top of Eugene, whom Abraham saves by shoving Eugene out of the way, but causes Tara to fall and injure her leg in the process. Abraham wants to rest, but Glenn wants to push forward. He offers to give Eugene his riot gear for protection if Abraham's group goes with him to Terminus. Abraham accepts and the group moves on.
After Joe's group spends the night in a railroad platform, Daryl awakens to Len accusing him of stealing his half of the rabbit. Joe checks Daryl's bag, which contains Len's missing half. While Daryl angrily insists that he was set up, Joe punches Len and sics the group on him, and reveals that he witnessed Len put the rabbit in Daryl's bag. Upon leaving camp with the group, Daryl sees Len's beaten body with an arrow in his head. Joe informs Daryl that they are tracking a man who had killed one of their own and is possibly headed to Terminus. Later, Joe, Daryl, and the marauders walk past the wrapper from Carl's candy bar on the tracks.
Glenn's group approaches a tunnel and sees another sign from Maggie, urging Glenn to proceed. Abraham decides walking through the dark tunnel, which they can hear from the sounds inside is long and contains multiple walkers, is too dangerous. He leaves Glenn and Tara with two cans of food and a flashlight, and tells them to backtrack to the last road if they have trouble getting through. Inside the tunnel, Tara tells Glenn how badly she feels about her involvement with "Brian" (David Morrissey)'s attack on the prison and expresses how badly she felt about the death of Hershel (Scott Wilson) and that she is willing to make it up to Glenn. They are then overwhelmed by walkers, and Tara gets her foot caught on a rockfall. Things become dire, but the pair is rescued by Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), alongside Abraham's group (after Eugene navigates Rosita to drive towards the far side of the tunnel while Abraham sleeps). Maggie and Tara are properly introduced. Maggie warmly welcomes Tara when she learns of Tara's help in finding Maggie, but Tara is noticeably guilt ridden for her involvement in her father's death. Eugene manages to convince Abraham to go to Terminus with the others, as the place can be a "home base" for them, and they might be able to recruit others at Terminus to come to Washington which Sasha agrees on as Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) could be there.
The merged group finally reach Terminus and enter with ease. A woman named Mary (Denise Crosby) welcomes them and offers them some meat.
"Us" was co-written by supervising producer Nichole Beattie and co-executive producer Seth Hoffman; for each, it is their third writing credit for the season and their second shared writing credit, after co-writing the earlier season episode "Claimed". "Us" was directed by executive producer and special effects makeup artist Greg Nicotero, his third directing credit for the season. It was initially reported in July 2013 that David S. Goyer would be directing this episode; however, scheduling conflicts arose.
Upon airing, the episode was watched by 13.47 million American viewers, and received an 18-49 rating of 6.7. This marks a rise in total viewers and ratings from the previous episode, which received an 18-49 rating of 6.4 and 12.87 million viewers.
The episode received generally positive reviews from critics. Roth Cornet of IGN gave the episode an 8 out of 10, saying "The Walking Dead took a moment to remind us that there is – figuratively and literally – a light at the end of the tunnel after last week’s grim events. The intention seems to be to present us with the notion that there is, perhaps, such a thing as a happy ending just as we head into the season closer. The bright and shiny Stepford Wives feel of Terminus may be bit manufactured, but we won’t really know if this was the set up for a sucker-punch until we see the events of next week’s “A” play out."
Erik Kain of Forbes also gave the episode a positive review, noting mainly the episode's bringing the characters together, saying: "Rather than focus on just one group, Sunday night’s episode gives us a glimpse at almost every survivor we’ve tracked this season. While we only get a brief glimpse at Rick, Michonne, and Carl, we at least see them making their way—in high spirits—toward their goal. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but it’s a much happier episode than the death of two girls—once again closely tied to Carol—we were served last week."
Some critics commented on the episode's simplicity compared to the previous episode. Margaret Ely of the Washington Post commented on the episode's simplicity and even storytelling, saying: "Since we’re all still processing last week’s emotionally draining episode, it was nice of 'The Walking Dead' to give us a relatively easy-to-digest 60 minutes of television on Sunday. From a romantic reunion to entertainingly awkward comments from the eccentric Dr. Eugene Porter, it had a little bit of everything." Patrick Kevin Day of the Los Angeles Times said: "After last week's heart-rending episode, the producers of 'The Walking Dead' took things easy on the audience with the episode 'Us.' No major plot twists this week, no shocking revelations and the only recurring character death was no one we'll mourn. Essentially, this was a breather before the season finale next week."
Andrew Conrad of the Baltimore Sun gave the episode a more mixed review, saying: "My bold prediction after last week's controversial episode of 'The Walking Dead' was that this week's would slow things way down in preparation for the grand Season 4 finale next Sunday evening. Well, this week's episode, titled 'Us,' was not exactly slow, but I doubt it will draw the crowds to the water cooler this morning either. There was plenty to keep our attention, but not quite enough to demand it."
Melissa Leon for The Daily Beast commented: "There were enormous slabs of meat on the grill behind Mary in last night's episode and her choice of words when making the group feel at home doesn't help her case either: "We'll make you a plate." It's possible that the Hunters are running Terminus and luring travelers in, then killing and eating them—but the Hunters of the graphic novel series were lurkers and not strong enough to overcome even Rick's small band of fighters. Not that the show's writers are opposed to reinterpreting the comic books—after all, it's a gruesome theory that would play out amazingly on TV."
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- Cornet, Roth (March 23, 2014). "The Walking Dead: "Us" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Kain, Erik (March 24, 2014). "'The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 15 Review: Family Reunion". Forbes. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Ely, Margaret (March 24, 2014). "'The Walking Dead' recap: Terminus, finally". Washington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Kevin Day, Patrick (March 24, 2014). "'Walking Dead' recap: A tunnel full of zombies... and love". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Conrad, Andrew (March 23, 2014). "'The Walking Dead' recap, 'Us'". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2014.