'The Walking Dead' Recap: Season 4 'Alone'

By Chris Baggiano,

“Alone” was more of the same for The Walking Dead as the episode focused on more relationship building and character development between both Daryl and Beth and the group of Maggie, Bob, and Sasha as both groups continue their survivalist trek.

“Alone” felt like a much more cohesive and more entertaining episode than last week’s “Still," most likely resulting from the inclusion of another group. While it is clear that the season is building up to the characters arriving at Terminus, the supposed sanctuary for all survivors that is much publicized, it would certainly be nice to get there sooner rather than later.

The episode began with somewhat of a Bob origin story as he wandered, building shelter, sleeping on top of delivery trucks and drinking lots of cough syrup. He is finally stumbled upon by Daryl and Glenn who, after asking him the required admittance questions, allow Bob to come back to the prison with them. This short origin helps give you context into why Bob maintains his rather optimistic episode since the prison being destroyed. Although it also highlights the fact that The Walking Dead continues to poorly plot seasons of the show since this is the first time we’ve been given anything from Bob’s past.

After a foggy zombie slaying, Maggie, Bob, and Sasha set out on the road again with Maggie still dead set on finding Glenn and Sasha believing the three should find a town and hold up there. The three come across one of the many Terminus maps and messages along the railroad tracks, which Maggie immediately believes is the answer to finding Glenn. Soon thereafter Maggie leaves Bob and Sasha behind to go search for Terminus leaving messages in zombie blood next to Terminus maps telling Glenn to go to Terminus. Much of the rest of the episode is centered around Bob trying to get Sasha to find Maggie with him while also admitting to her fears about Tyreese and Terminus. This was a much more organic way to build characters and relationships than last week’s “Still” had been and didn’t suffer from the episode’s total focus on this relationship.

Eventually Bob and Sasha come across a town where the two decide to split. As Bob disappears down the train tracks, Sasha investigates one of the buildings in the town where she immediately sees Maggie lying amongst zombies. This causes Sasha to push the windowpane from the second story window and shatter, which brings lots of unwanted zombie attention. Maggie pops up and one of the cooler fights of the season ensues as Maggie uses a street sign, still on its post, to bash in and slice off heads of walkers. After that is taken care of Maggie admits to Sasha that she actually can ask Bob and Sasha to risk their lives to help her find Glenn and Sasha admits that she is afraid. Immediate bonding between the two. They soon catch up to Bob and everyone seems happy to be together again, regardless of the brevity of their separation.

The events of “Still” have clearly had an impact on Daryl and Beth’s relationship, however. Beth’s “civilizing” of Daryl continues as her generally positive and optimistic attitude is rubbing off on Daryl. They find a very well kept funeral parlor complete with both a large stock of food and dead walkers being made up to look like they had never turned. Daryl goes so far as to suggest that if the tenants do come back to the home that Daryl and Beth should try and make it work with the people who are living there, showing how Beth has softened Daryl’s view on trusting strangers.

Just in the nick of time Daryl opens up the front door after hearing the stray dog return only to find a horde of zombies. He tells Beth to get out of the house while he dispatches of a dozen zombies in the basement. Once he leaves the house to meet Beth he sees her bag lying on the road and a car peel out into the night. Daryl gives chase on foot until he finds a fork in the road the next morning where he just gives up. Later, he is come upon by a group of fairly rough and tumble guys who are led by Joe who’s motto is “why hurt yourself when you can hurt others?” Daryl then goes off with them and it seems like all of Beth’s work will go for naught.

Long gone are the days where running into other humans is rare. While it was clear things were becoming stale in the Daryl and Beth storyline the kidnapping subplot seems completely random. Who knows when we will see Beth again? But it is clear that Daryl being happened upon by a like minded group of rednecks could be very interesting. There’s no way Daryl stops the search for Beth but seeing Daryl in a new dynamic does offer a little extra life to a show that has been more closely related to its namesake than it would like.

“Alone” kept things moving along fairly well. It wasn’t a groundbreaking episode by any stretch but it did introduce a completely new plot line for Daryl to follow. The most interesting moment of the season was probably when Glenn and Tara were found by Abraham and his crew so Daryl joining a new group, for at least a little time, injects some excitement.

However, the show can’t have Daryl disappear like they did Glenn and Tara or else all the excitement will have subsided by the time he returns. Likewise, the Glenn and Tara storyline has become extremely disappointing since their Army truck was ruined and Glenn finding a map to Terminus at the end of “Alone” is only a reminder of that disappointment. It would be folly to have everyone reunite at Terminus and Abraham’s mission was a brief glimmer of hope for something completely new that could drive the show.

image courtesy of AMC

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