True story: The only readers who e-mailed or tweeted at me during my vacation were people who wanted to know where the grumble thread was. That’s exactly how Michelle planned Hot Air eight years ago, you know. As a zombie fan blog.

This is the only TV show I watch where I have trouble remembering what happened five minutes after the show’s over. My memories are all impressionistic. The new girl was stuck in the tunnel with Glenn; Daryl was chatting sullenly with the redneck-in-chief; then Maggie was there and it was time for the weekly “where should we go now?” conversation. And then, finally, they were at Terminus. The cannibal theory has to be right, no? The dark double meaning of the final line — “we’ll make you a plate” — was lost on me at first but I think the Daily Beast’s got it right. Now the name “Terminus” makes sense; it’s the end of the line, literally and figuratively. All that’s missing is Mary the caretaker walking around with a copy of “To Serve Man” under her arm. (It’s … it’s a cookbook.) A cannibalism subplot does, at least, have the virtue of realism within the parameters of the show: After many months of civilization breaking down, a hungry population would be faced with some hard choices. My prediction for the hair-raising revelation in next week’s season finale (a la Sophia emerging from the barn as a zombie in season two) is that the main course served to the new arrivals at Terminus will consist of the now-missing Beth. Then, inevitably, there’ll be a big shootout between Rick’s gang and the rednecks in which Daryl’s loyalty will be tested before he heroically sides with his old crew. We’re also long overdue for a major character to be bumped off. My money’s on either Glenn or Maggie — or both, since the writers seem infatuated with this boring love story — but Rick is my sleeper pick in the Elite Eight. Between Daryl, Tyrese, and Abraham Ford, the show doesn’t need him as the strong male lead anymore. Cut the cord.

As for last week’s episode, in which the bad seed Lizzie showed us just how bad she was, a buddy sent me this the next day:

I liked the basic story, and Carol has long been my favorite member of the show. Unlike Rick’s perpetual Hamlet schtick, Carol has changed. And last night was interesting because they have set these girls up as akin to Sophia, and Carol still killed the older girl. Finally, some character development.

Still, the execution was just terrible. The older girl won’t kill zombies, but she’ll slit the throat of her younger sister? Makes no sense. And Carol and Tyrese (who, in the comic btw, were an item) are out talking languidly about staying forever while leaving those two girls to watch over themselves and Judith? Come on. Status quo ante holds: the survivors of the Zombiepocalypse remain hopelessly stoooopid.

Yeah, if you knew Lizzie was nuts, why would you leave her to supervise the younger children? I didn’t like the “Of Mice and Men” knock-off ending either. It would have been more haunting for Carol and Tyrese to sneak away, leaving Lizzie behind to meet her fate playing tag with the zombies whom she’s convinced are her friends. Also, while I’m glad the writers are thinking about what the zompocalypse would do to an impressionable mind in its formative years, it’s a cop out to put that off on a tangential character. They’ve got Carl, someone whom the audience cares about. If you want to hit your viewers where they live, make him the budding psychopath whom the group somehow has to manage or kill. If nothing else, it’d make for some awesome angsty Rick monologues. “He’s just a boy, damn it. He hasn’t even learned about Stuff yet. Or Things.”