With The Governor presumably dealt with last year, it’s time for Rick and company to find some new trouble to keep them up at night beyond the constant threat of walkers this season.
And with the reunited gang all caught in a storage bin at Terminus, it seemed fairly safe to guess that a significant amount of time would be spent on ‘The escape from Terminus.’ Or maybe Rick’s words in last season’s finale would prove prophetic and that Terminus has screwed with the wrong people?
We start with a flashback with the vague timeframe of ‘Then.’ We see Gareth and other Terminus residents locked in a bin similar to the one they had Rick’s crew in. Through screams on the outside, Gareth and the gang promise to get free and that this can never happen again.
Rick and crew are fashioning weapons using belts and woods and whatever else is not nailed down securely. They’ve already got an escape plan – when the guards hit the door, go for their eyes and throat. Rick is not waffling, seeing ghosts or moonlighting as a farmer. He is back in charge and tails are all set to be lined up to get kicked.
Rick’s got a great plan, but Terminus’ guards have a better one – tear gas through the roof. Rick awakens to barely make out a guy being carved up and is lined up with seven other guys – four strangers and Daryl, Glenn and Bob – in front of a feeding pan. Two Terminus goons start swatting heads with a bat and slicing necks. These guys clearly need to check out The Governor’s pit fighting for less messy recreational games.
Just as Glen is next in line for batting practice, Gareth enters asking about the bag Rick buried before they came in to Terminus. Rick runs down the weapons list and mentions he’ll be using the machete to kill Gareth. Pretty big talk from a guy who was gagged and bound. Just as goon #2 goes to swing on Glenn again, gunfire breaks out followed by an explosion.
Cut to Carol and Tyrese (and Judith). When a walker approaches, Tyrese has performance anxiety. Carol has no such issue, but a walker herd prompts them to hide. The walkers get distracted by gunfire and it reminds me how it’s just a bit ridiculous that Judith never cries around the walkers. They come to a cabin and encounter Alex, a guy loading fireworks in a bag and talking on a CB about the chick with the sword and the kid and how he wants to bleed them. This is …. awkward. Carol is buying .00001 of Alex’s lies about them attacking Terminus so she goes undercover using walker guts as a disguise.
Alex tries to get in Tyrese’s head and tells him the only way Tyrese and Judith will make it out alive is if they take the car and go. Mind you, Alex is bound, but Tyrese has given him too much control of the situation.
Carol lumbers to Terminus’ gate and spies Rick and the guys being led off. The Carol/Tyrese earlier scene occurred just as Rick, Daryl, Carl and Michone were shooting through Terminus. She aims one of the rockets at the fuel tank creating that earlier explosion. Carol’s getting close to Daryl now in the show’s resident bad-a$$ territory now.
Gareth heads out to find the walkers have invaded Terminus. Our prerequisite gross-out zombie scene for the week has a burning zombie gnawing on a victim’s face. As the batter and his friend debate going to help, Rick frees himself and stabs them — just enough to incapacitate them and let them turn into walkers and go after their former Terminus pals. Rick = not screwing around this season.
Carol helps the effort by randomly taking out Terminus guards before she enters a room with Daryl’s crossbow and watch, then walks into the creepy Terminus candlelit room. Mary aka Momma Terminus is here and she’s not happy with the new status quo. Carol quickly subdues her and questions why Terminus lied to everyone. Mary explains that Terminus truly was a safe haven until people came and raped, killed and tortured them, but they finally got out and fought back.
“You’re either the butcher or the cattle” says Mary (and sometimes you eat the cattle), but she’s not spilling where Rick and the others are held. Carol has effective interrogation techniques as she goes for the leg. Cobra Kai would approve. She opens the door for the walkers.
Rick’s group sees The Terminus meal plan and tells his crew to kill anyone they see. Decisive Rick is back! We’re not done with Rick trying to out-Daryl Daryl as he waits for a Terminus assault squad to walk by in their walker purge, takes out the straggler and shoot up his pals. Carol and Rick are turning into the show’s all new Killer Elite Squad. What are Michone and Daryl gonna do?
Tyrese still watching just long enough for Alex to get free and threaten Judith. Alex tells Tyrese to go outside to the nest of walkers beating on the door outside. While Alex tries to raise Cynthia on his CB, the walkers have become decidedly quieter and Tyrese tackles him and beats him to death. Looks like Alex’s pep talks worked out for Tyrese.
Back at Terminus, the bin crew are still working on their weapons. Sasha questions Eugene about the walker cure and he says he was part of a 10-man task force that worked on numerous viruses and he’s sure he can flip the switch to program something to kill the walkers. It was a brief scene, but Eugene had all of the film’s best laugh-worthy moments. Rick frees the others and this rescue mission is underway. Rick’s crew has become so efficient at walker killing it almost seems unfair.
Just before he escapes, Rick shoots Gareth, but it’s not a kill shot. Wonder if that will come back to bite him? Terminus is now ablaze. Rick’s crew goes back to their weapons. Carol wanders to them and fittingly Daryl sees her first. Rick hugs her with an “all is forgiven” embrace. Carol doesn’t spoil the big surprise and leads them back to the cabin and Rick and Sasha are overwhelmed to see Judith and Tyrese still alive.
Abraham and Rosita are discussing something that he says he’ll reveal to the others later. That sounds ominous.
Back to “Then.” Mary is thrown back into the bin and it appears that Rosita (?!?) is dragged out of the bin. Gareth promises Mary they’ll take Terminus back before uttering the sanctuary’s new creed — You’re either the butcher or the cattle.
On one hand, I was relieved Terminus wasn’t dragged out all-season, but it almost seemed to wrap up too quickly. And with Rick’s crew so huge now, we’re clearly due for another Herschel’s farm/prison assault to clear out some of the dead weight as the season progresses. One thing for sure is no one could accuse this season with getting off to a slow start.