March 9, 2014

(Spoilers Below)

Last week's episode, "Still," focused on Daryl's and Beth's budding relationship and although short on action, I enjoyed it. However, I can't say the same for "Alone." The episode focuses on two groups this time: Daryl and Beth again, but also Sasha, Maggie and Bob. It's another long, drawn-out episode of character development that doesn't really move the needle all that much and only gives us one major change to the story arc. Character development is crucial to any great show, but it has to be done intelligently and with great care and not at the expense of moving the story along at a snail's pace. That's what happened Sunday.

I've really enjoyed Emily Kinney's acting lately as Beth and that's partly because the writers are finally giving her something to do other than singing songs, though I do like her voice. Beth has developed into a beautiful, caring woman through the chaos of the zombie apocalypse and it's rubbing off on Daryl. She's convinced there are still good people left in the world and to Daryl, Beth is the only good person left in the world. Finally, he's falling for her beautiful smile, prodding nature and hopeful spirit, but you know in zombieland that all good things don't last too long.

Their romance continues into this episode and it works well as it did last week. My question is what's taking Daryl so long to embrace her? Unfortunately for Beth, the people she comes to believe are good, turn around and kidnap her, leaving Daryl crumpled in the road and her hoisted away in a car.

The episode opens up with a flashback of Bob, drinking cold medicine to get by, surviving by himself, which isn't a pretty sight. Then he runs into Daryl and Glenn. He quickly joins up with them and heads to the prison.

Roll credits

Sasha, Maggie and Bob are killing zombies through a thick fog when Bob gets nipped on his shoulder, but his bandage protects him from the diseased teeth. When Sasha is relieved that he wasn't bitten, he kinda makes a pass at her which surprises her. Romance is in short supply in zombieland and I doubt anybody has looked at Sasha in quite that way for a long time.

Beth has Daryl's crossbow in her hands as he teaches her how to hunt and track. She recognizes walker tracks and creeps up on it for the kill. But instead, she steps in an animal trap, catching her foot so Daryl has to finish off the undead. How many '50s horror movies have you seen that featured the heroine falling down and twisting her ankle?

Beth is hobbling around so Daryl hoists her up and carries her on piggyback through a small cemetery from the 1800s as they approach a big house.

Maggie's compass is busted and she's worried they won't know where they are going.

Sasha, Maggie and Bob come upon some train tacks and find a sign posted telling them about the sanctuary called Terminus that is waiting for them. Sasha is hesitant because it reminds her of Woodbury, but agrees to head down that path.

Beth and Daryl enter a beautiful, big house that looks like somebody is still living there, but it's empty now. They find a few corpses in a coffin dressed up nice, like they were at their own wake. Then they discover a few more bodies in the same way and Beth thinks it's beautiful because whoever did it still cares about what these things were before they turned. Daryl just wants to bandage up her foot.

Maggie is out for firewood while Sasha makes a fire with Bob, whose wound is still bleeding. They only have six bullets left and Sasha, who believes Glenn is dead, just wants to settle down somewhere and survive.

Beth and Daryl find some good food in very clean cans (pigs' feet, anyone?) so they only take a little because this place is somebody else's habitat. Daryl locks the place down tight for the night in the usual way while Beth is singing and playing the piano. He comes in and jumps into the coffin, saying it's the best bed he's had in years and asks her to keep singing.

Sasha wakes up and sees Bob reading a note that Maggie has scribbled in the dirt.

Don't risk your lives 4 me. Good luck

Bob grabs the plastic sheets they sleep on and tells Sasha they can still catch up to her. Sasha hesitates, but then helps break down the camp with him.

Maggie is walking down the tracks by herself and finds another Terminus sign posted. She's confident that if Glenn has read one, he'd head there too because he "believes." She's about to scratch a message into it with her knife when a walker shows up so she guts it for the blood ink.

Sasha is wondering why Bob is grinning as they walk along the tracks. He tells her he's smiling because he's not alone. After his other two groups were destroyed, he ended up alone and he's happy he broke that streak now. Are you wondering why Bob survived two times and everybody else didn't? As they walk a little more, they come upon the gutted walker and read Maggie's blood sign. There are some uses still left for the dead-again folks.

Glenn, go to Terminus,

Daryl carries Beth into the kitchen so they can eat a somewhat proper meal when they hear the cans rattling outside. Daryl tells her to stay put and opens the front door and sees a scraggly, one-eyed dog staring at him. He reaches to pet it and it runs away. Beth comes out to look for it and Daryl asks her why she didn't stay back. She smiles and says:

"Yeah, but Daryl, you said there was a dog."

Sasha and Bob can't sleep so they listen to the night noises of cicadas, owls and zombies. Bob tries to go back to sleep, but zombie echoes keep them both up. He wonders why she thinks Tyreese is dead and then begins to flirt again.

Up until now I thought you were the toughest person I ever met, which is kind of weird because you're the sweetest too. Just saying.

Beth decides to leave a thank you note to the people that usually stay there, in case they come back. I have this bad feeling that the psycho marauders who invaded Rick's house will be the ones that occupy this fine place and are about to show up.

Daryl asks her if they should stick here around for a while instead of leaving.

So you do still think there are good people around? What changed your mind?

He looks at her deeply and she says, oh. Love is in the air.

The cans rattle a little louder this time outside and Daryl grabs a can of pigs feet for the dog, but when he opens the door there are a slew of walkers pounding at the door. He screams and tells Beth to pry open a window, grab her shit and run. He's leading them away from her and tells her he'll meet her up the road. He barricades himself with the corpse on the stretcher against a wall and starts hacking away at the hungry walkers. He makes it out of the house and finds Beth's bag on the ground. He turns and sees a car screeching away with Beth. He screams out her name and runs after it. Whoever it was that sent those walkers to lure Beth out in the open are not good people.

Bob and Sasha find another one of Maggie's blood signs for Glenn.

Daryl comes to a railroad crossing, out of breath and exhausted as he's trying to catch up to the car. He's a great tracker, but it looks like there are too many possibilities for him to pinpoint where to go.

As they are walking on the tracks after Maggie, Sasha sees a three story red brick building and tells Bob that that would be a great place to live. He tells her he's not stopping because Maggie is alone.

Bob: "When I got to the prison, I thought to myself, how long. The clock's ticking, how long until everyone is dead and I'm on my own. Bad things happen cause I was scared. They didn't need to. I didn't need to be afraid.

You don't need to be afraid."

Sasha: "I'm not afraid!"

But Sasha is very afraid. Bob takes a risk and kisses her deeply, then walks down the track, alone.

Sasha tried to lure him to stay with her with the kiss, but goes to the red brick building and checks it out. She walks up to a deserted floor and gently weeps for a moment. Then she walks over to a window and sees something familiar. It's Maggie sleeping on the ground with some dead walkers. She tries to open the window to call out to her, but it falls out of its casing and smashes onto the ground. The noise brings a walker out towards Maggie so she runs out of the building to help her. The shattered window has also brought out a nest of walkers to greet her. She jumps onto a car hood and begins mashing them to silly putty while Maggie comes from behind them to join the attack. After the walkers are dead, Maggie asks where Bob is.

"Out looking for you."

She tells Sasha that before she left, she heard her talking about giving up and believing Glenn is dead, but she's wrong.

Sasha: "So why are you here?"

Maggie: "'Cause I was waiting for you. I'm not giving up, but I need your help."

Sasha: "So let's get Bob and let's get there."

Daryl is sitting in the road, depressed at losing Beth when six men walk up on him.

"Well, lookit here."

They are the crazy marauders Rick ran away from. Daryl knocks the leader over and has an arrow lined up at his head as the others draw on him. The leader laughs because he knows Daryl is a keeper and asks him to join his group.

"You pull that trigger, these boys are gonna drop you several times over. That what you want? Come on fella, suicide is stupid. Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people? Name's Joe."


Bob is walking down the tracks alone when Maggie and Sasha find him and they hug. They are not alone now

Another man comes upon a Terminus sign for Sanctuary and the episode fades out with Glenn staring at it.

Grade: C+

* I do love the Daryl/Beth relationship story arc, but to take the whole episode so that Maggie, Bob and Sasha will all agree to head toward Terminus was borrrrrring.

* I found Bob's character a bit off and it's not because of his addiction to alcohol. His actions lead to a death and I'm sure he's responsible for many more.

* Will Daryl continue to look for Beth with his new friends or will he turn back into the old Daryl because of her loss?

* When will Glenn meet up with Maggie, Bob and Sashi?

* Will we ever see Rick, Carl and Michonne again?

* I have to give props to Jeff Kober, who's playing the leader of the marauders named Joe. I mentioned him in episode 11, "Claimed"

To Buffy fans, he played Rack in season six as the magic dealer that gets Willow hooked on the dark magics, but his best part was that of Zachary Kralik, in season 3, episode 6: Helpess. He plays a mad serial killer turned into a vampire, complete with migraine headaches, who Buffy must face without her slayer powers.

As her birthday approaches, Buffy loses her slayer powers and must do battle with a vampire who is not only extremely powerful but also quite mad.

He was a memorable villain, to say the least, and I expect he'll be quite good in the zombie apocalypse too.

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