Daryl in ‘Us’ episode 15

Visionary Greg Nicotero directed the penultimate episode of “The Walking Dead’s” fourth season, ‘Us.’ Nicotero also directed mid-season four premier, “After.” Nicotero also creates “TWD” terrifying walkers and macabre special effects.

After a week of holding our breath, we are still hesitant to exhale. All that viewers knew going into tonight’s episode was 1) Kirkman shared a major character will not survive the season (2) our survivors would need hope to endure brutality.

Fans have feared Daryl (Norman Reedus) may die, especially after Kirkman wrote that no character is safe, “suck it Reedus” during his Reddit AMA. The episode sneak peek, too, alluded to trouble between Daryl and Joe’s band of thugs.

Hope began with an “actionable offense” and Len gets jumped for framing Daryl. Daryl’s triumph is followed by a tear-jerking reunion between Glenn and Maggie. Maggie and Abraham’s crews save Glenn and Tara when they were trapped in the tunnel. Thinks were looking up for our survivors.

“Be not so sorry for what you’ve done” strums in the background as our group FINALLY enters Terminus and new character, Mary, offers the eight survivors food.

Previews that suggested brutality fell short. There was an array of gruesome walker deaths- the stomach turning scene of a walker dragging his face across barbed wire was the most disgusting. That will likely change in the finale now that we know Joe is hunting Rick.

In a previous episode, Rick strangled a member of Joe’s group and left his victim to turn and attack Joe’s group.

Next week’s season finale, ‘A,’ is described simply, “”Many paths collide; Rick faces sheer brutality; the group struggles to survive.” It is clear that the collision involves Rick and Joe.

What does this mean for Rick? Will Rick compromise what’s left of his humanity? Will Rick lose his arm like his comic book counterpart?

What do you think? You can share your predictions in the comment section.