In week three of Glenngate, we catch up with the other herd wranglers as they attempt to get back to Alexandria. It seems like a simple-enough task, given how the Sarge and Sasha drive a jalopy and Daryl’s on his hog, but as always, there are no easy days in Walkerworld. By the end of the hour, we learn that apocalyptic horniness is spreading, it’s still a bad idea to trust strangers, and there’s yet another band of survivors out there with guns and bad attitudes.
At first, it looks like the plan to lead half of the zombie parade away from the safe zone was a success. However, any presumed victory is a guarantee that trouble is right around the corner. (In this case, it’s literally around the corner.) As the group hangs a left to head home, an ambush of gunfire leads Daryl to wipe out and wreck Sasha’s ride. Luckily, their attackers are really bad shots — how do you miss a guy on a motorcycle when you’ve got an assault rifle? — and the trio separates in the chaos. Daryl rides off into the woods while Sasha and Sarge take cover nearby.
It’s no surprise that Daryl gets the most interesting story line in this episode, though honestly, I groaned at the thought of meeting more randos who look like unwashed American Apparel models. Soon enough, a bloodied and exhausted Daryl finds himself in a strange patch of burnt-out woods, along with a crispy corpse with a motorcycle helmet melted to its face. After being on the wrong side of a one-punch knockout, Daryl finds himself held captive by two sisters and a bro who believe he’s after them.
This is the crew that torched the woods; they set off an explosion that took out plenty of walkers. (And a few humans.) They also escaped from a nasty posse of folks that Bro sums up as “a truly unique shitshow.” Hmm. More unique than a town run by a one-eyed sociopath, with zombie heads in an aquarium, and his undead daughter chained up in a closet? Or a community of cannibals? Or a filthy pack of butchers with Ws on their foreheads? How many psychos could still be out there?
Though these knuckleheads threatened to kill Daryl, he realizes the younger sister, Tina, is a diabetic in need of insulin. (Under that gruff exterior, he can be such a good guy.) Daryl returns her meds, then helps the trio escape after their old pals appear in a large truck with a lot of guns. Their leader is a tough-talking cat named Wade, who has a strange set of rules: He wants the insulin they presumably took from him, and he wants reimbursement for gas and time spent on the road. Wade isn’t just a stickler for accounting; he’s also dangerous. When his flunky gets bitten, he casually chops the guy’s arm off and calls it a “boo boo.” At least he’s decent enough — or thrifty enough? — to save the wristwatch before he tosses the arm away.
Despite all of Daryl’s help, though, Tina isn’t long for this world. When she finds the charred corpses of her two friends, she decides to lay flowers on their bodies. Here’s where Daryl should probably say, “Might want to stay clear of them bodies till we know they’re dead for good.” He doesn’t, so of course, they animate and chow down on her. (Sorry, Tina, but you will not be missed. I was sadder to see Daryl’s leather jacket die.) That should probably be Daryl’s cue to ditch the dopes and make a run for it. Instead, he invites Bro and the other woman to join the Alexandrians. They thank him by stealing his bike and his ‘bow at gunpoint.
Here’s the thing: During the Rick Test, the Bro told Daryl that he’s never killed a human. Why didn’t Daryl call his bluff and refuse to hand over the gear? I don’t know, but I expect that wood carving he took from them to somehow come in handy. And while he may not have his chopper anymore, at least he has a good comeback after the woman says she’s sorry for robbing him: “You’re gonna be.”
Meanwhile, very little happens with the Sarge-n-Sasha story line: Sarge finds a spiffy new military jacket, an impaled solider with a sweet RPG launcher on his back, and a box of cigars. After a screaming freak-out and an ill-advised attempt to grab the weapon, Sarge sits back, lights a stogie, and watches the zombie wriggle itself free, leaving the RPG for the taking. The lesson? There’s always an easier way. Duh.
There’s a bit of a back-and-forth between the Sarge and Sasha about who’s more emotionally unstable. She used to hold the title, but now Sarge seems especially unhinged. After some cringe-worthy dialogue about jumping from airplanes and playing chicken with the ground, Sarge has an epiphany: He’s been livin’ like each day is his last. He vows to slow down, take advantage of life in the safe zone, and stop worrying about how “loose ends make my ass itch.” (We feel you, Sarge.)
Aside from the zombie in Sasha’s office, the biggest surprise of the night is Sarge’s bold pickup line: “I like the way you call bullshit, Sasha. I believe I would like to get to know you a whole lot better.” Despite his más macho declaration about how “a man can tell” when a woman’s interested, I hadn’t seen any hint of sexual chemistry between them. Sasha’s not about to start sneaking around behind Rosita’s back, but Sarge seems like he’s ready to break off their relationship. Rosita was last seen getting friendly with Deanna’s son. Maybe she’s ready to move on too?
As the episode winds down, Daryl finds a fuel truck, then heads back to pick up his pals for the ride to A-town — but there’s one last wrinkle. He hears an unknown person on the walkie, asking for help. Should the gang delay their return to the safe zone to investigate? Is this a trap set up by Wade’s crew? And if Daryl does drive straight back to Alexandria, how will they even get through the wall of walkers?
None of those questions are as pressing as the one that’s cast a long shadow across the season, though: Is Glenn friggin’ alive or dead? Yet again, Steven Yeun wasn’t in the opening credits; I doubt we’ll get any answers before the mid-season finale in two weeks. At this point, it’s hard to imagine how Glenn’s story line will feel satisfying, no matter how it’s resolved. If he’s dead, it will have been a long tease for a tragic ending that was too obvious. If he’s alive — and it’s almost a lock that he is — the show is toying with with the audience just to stir up buzz. That’s a risky move, and if it backfires, Glenngate may be remembered as the moment when The Walking Dead jumped the shark.