SPOILER ALERT: This recap for the "Inmates" episode of "The Walking Dead" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Even if you've already watched "Inmates," you may want to watch it again — or another couple of times. Because the episode was so packed with character reunions, plot reveals, answers to cliffhangers from earlier in the season, and new riddles that it's a safe bet additional viewings will help you spot something you didn't see the first time around.
In sum, we got answers to three major questions from the first half of the season, and all members of the core group of survivors are accounted for now. And we meet a trio of new characters who promise to shake things up as the prison survivors try to find their way back to each other …
Yes, Judith is alive! Yes, Carol is alive, and is reunited with Lizzie and Mika! And that strange voice Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and Tyreese heard on the car radio in "Isolation"? The voice said the word "terminus," which we learn in "Inmates" is the name of a gathering spot that offers "sanctuary for all, community for all … those who arrive, survive," according to a sign along the railroad tracks several prison group members were traveling upon.
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Daryl and Beth
We saw them flee the prison together after the Governor's attack, and they're on the run together now. In a voiceover of what she wrote in her diary when Rick and company first landed at the prison, Beth says she's desperately trying to hold on to hope. "This morning, Daddy said something. 'If you don't have hope, what's the point of living?'" Beth had written. "We can live here. We can live here for the rest of our lives."
Daryl is mostly mum, clearly dejected about the fallout of the prison war, but he makes a thoughtless comment about Hershel's death when Beth tells him he should have more faith that others survived the prison attack, too. When she and Daryl find a pack of walkers feasting on other humans near a set of railroad tracks, Beth breaks down. Her diary voiceover says, "We're not gonna die. None of us. I believe now. I believe for Daddy. If this doesn't work, I don't know how I can keep going," but she's now burning the diary pages to keep warm.
Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and … Judith and Carol
Tyreese took off from the prison with Lizzie and Mika … and baby Judith! She's alive, but her constant crying has Tyreese and the girls worried she's going to attract walkers. While making their way through the woods, Tyreese hears a scream and tells the girls to watch Judith while he finds out if others from the prison need his help. He finds strangers slaying walkers near some railroad tracks outside the woods, while walkers approach the girls in the woods … will Tyreese make it back in time to save them?
Nah, no need … Carol has returned! She, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith walk towards Tyreese, who is shocked to see Carol. How'd she make it out of the prison, he asks. She wasn't there, she tells him, though she doesn't reveal the real reason she was away. The dying man Tyreese tried to help urges Tyreese's group to "stay on the tracks … there's a place up the tracks. It's safe … trust me."
Maggie, Bob, and Sasha
This trio escaped to a wooded area where Sasha is tending to Bob's shoulder injury. Maggie saw Glenn get on the school bus of people that fled the prison, so she heads out on the highway to find him, with Bob and Sasha on her trail.
Maggie finds the bus, and it's full of people from the prison … who've been attacked and have zombified. Maggie won't leave until she confirms Glenn is on the bus, so she, Sasha, and Bob let the walkers off, one-by-one, killing them after she checks their faces. When she doesn't see Glenn, she enters the near-empty bus — which looks like it's been used as a mobile butcher shop — and has to stab a dark-haired man who approaches her. She crumbles into a seat and cries … did she just kill zombie Glenn?
Glenn and Tara
Next scene: no, Glenn lives! At the prison. He got off the bus to help people — unbeknownst to Maggie — and he passed out sometime during the battle with the Governor. He wakes up and heads inside the prison, where he gathers supplies, weaponry, the photo he took of sleeping Maggie, and the pocket watch Hershel gave him. He also outfits himself with a riot gear suit, and makes his way outside. After fighting his way through a throng of walkers, he spots another human inside a small alcove. It's Tara, and she's paralyzed with grief over her role in the Governor/Brian's attack on the prison.
Glenn convinces her to leave with him, and he uses a bottle of liquor and a lighter to make a bomb that distracts the walkers. He and Tara make it to the highway outside the prison, where she reveals her sister and Hershel are dead. She continues beating herself up about her role in the attack, but Glenn tells her he needs her help to find Maggie. Just then, walkers approach them, and though they fend them off, Glenn passes out and Tara is left fighting off one last menace on her own. And then she realizes an Army truck has just pulled up in front of her.
"I hope you enjoyed the show, a--holes," she yells at them.
"You got a damn mouth on you, you know that? What else you got?" says Abraham Ford, as he and his friends Eugene and Rosita get out of the truck.
* Just as last week's episode featured bookends on the theme of father and son relationships, "Inmates" opened with Beth's nod to her father as the source of her will to remain hopeful and ended with Glenn's own reliance on Hershel's words of wisdom. When Glenn learns Hershel was murdered by the Governor, and Tara asks why he's looking for Maggie when he isn't even sure she made it out of the prison alive, he tells her, "Hershel was a great man. He told me all I have to do is believe, and that's what I'm going to do. Neither of us should be alive right now. She got out, so you're gonna help me find her. Things aren't over."
* New evidence: When Beth and Daryl are in the wooded area where Tyreese and the girls had been, we see a tree trunk that's filled with bloody animal carcasses. Did you notice the cute little bunnies that were playing there when Lizzie sat down on the tree earlier? Before she pulled out her knife and appeared to be using it on something? Is she the one who left the dissected carcass back at the prison? And maybe the rats? Has she been using the animals as a way to practice the self-defense skills Carol taught the children? Or is Lizzie far, far more disturbed than anyone has guessed?
* Is Terminus where everyone will meet up by the end of Season 4? And is it truly a safe place, or will it turn out to be another Woodbury, led by another madman?
* That moment in the woods, when Lizzie and Mika were alone with crying Judith, and Lizzie covered Judith's mouth with her hand … we were all thinking about the "M*A*S*H" series finale, right? How heartbreaking was it when Judith's little hand tried to pull Lizzie's hand away?
Now, share your feelings with the group, Deadheads … how excited are you about Abraham and friends meeting up with Glenn and Tara? Where do you think Carol has been in the brief time between when Rick kicked her out of the prison and when she met up with Tyreese and the girls? And are you getting the feeling Lizzie may pose almost as much danger to other humans as the walkers do?
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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