Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 10: Them

This week we see Team Rick at their absolute lowest, as their food, water and especially their will to survive run out. Hopefully this is the last hurrah for these kinds of hopeless, nihilistic episodes, coming right before the writers make a major change to the series.


The Plot:
Well, there really isn't a plot per se in this episode, as we pretty much just follow the group as they search for supplies for forty five minutes.

As the episode opens we see Maggie slumped against a tree, barely able to summon the energy to kill a walker stumbling toward her. Daryl's digging up worms to eat, and Sasha finds a dried up creek full of dead frogs. I think the writers are trying to tell us things are dire.

As they trudge down a suspiciously deserted two lane road toward Washington D.C., they're followed by a horde of walkers. They're too tired to attack them, so they wait till they come to bridge and then just shove the walkers over the side, or hilariously, step out of the way as they lunge at them. That is until Sasha stupidly decides to revenge-attack the walkers for killing Tyreese, which endangers everyone's lives.

Just as they're about to die of thirst, they find a stash of water bottles in the middle of the road, complete with a note that says, "From A Friend." They're rightly suspicious of this, apparently thinking some nearby frat boys are trying to roofie them. It's a moot point though, as right then it starts raining and they fill their empty water bottles.

The storm intensifies, so the group takes shelter in a nearby barn that Daryl finds. Once inside, Rick finds the strength to deliver another speech about the world and how they can't give up, and actually says, "We are the Walking Dead!" This causes fans to either squeal with delight or roll their eyes so hard they sprain them.

God apparently doesn't like it when characters work the title of their show into their dialog, so the storm intensifies. Another horde of walkers begins trying to break down the barn doors. Daryl tries to hold them back in vain. Eventually the others notice what's happening and the whole team pushes against the doors, trying to hold back the breaking waves of undead.

Cut to the next morning, when Maggie and Sasha exit the barn and see that a tornado decimated the walker horde and miraculously left the barn untouched. They're then approached by an unbelievably clean and well-fed man named Aaron, who says he's a friend and wants to talk to their leader Rick, which means we're following the comic again.

• Maggie finally remembers Beth was her sister and grieves for her in this episode. It's about damned time.

• As the group is trudging along, Carl sidles up to Maggie and gives her a music box. He says he thought she'd like to have it, but sheepishly admitting it's broken.

First of all, was Carl hitting on Maggie? It kind of seemed like it to me. Did he forget she's married to Glenn? 

Secondly, they're traveling sixty miles on foot, they have no food and water, and everyone's loaded down with their own personal arsenal. So it's only natural that Carl would pick up a bulky piece of broken garbage and burden someone else with it.

• The shot of Team Rick stumbling down the road with a horde of walkers shambling behind them was very well done. At this point there appeared to be very little difference between the two groups.

• During the walker battle on the bridge, Rick comes thisssss close to getting bitten on the arm. Yikes! And all due to Sasha's bone-headedness.

• Maggie opens the trunk of an abandoned car and finds a bound and gagged walker inside. It looked like she'd been tied up before she turned. So what was the significance of that? Was it a kidnapping gone wrong? Some sort of mob hit? A husband who finally had enough of his wife's nagging?

Maggie shuts the trunk lid, then thinks better of it and tries to open it again to "put the walker out of its misery." Why's she suddenly so concerned with this undead woman's well being, when earlier she could barely summon the strength to kill a walker that was about to attack her?

• The group is almost attacked by a pack of feral dogs, but is saved in the nick of time by Sasha's quick thinking. 

This scene reminded me that we very rarely see any animals on this show. I remember way back in the first season Daryl shot a deer, and he killed an ate an owl once. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've ever seen dogs on the show though. Have the walkers decimated the animal population as well?

Oh, and mmmm, dog meat!

• Father Gabriel's sermons and platitudes are really starting to annoy me. Maybe now that he's burned his collar— literally as well as symbolically— he'll be less insufferable.

• Daryl heads off into the woods to have a smoke. To demonstrate just how empty he is at this point, he puts his cigarette out on his own hand, just to feel something. He then has himself a good cry for Beth.

When he's done he drops the still-lit cig in a pile of dry pine needles, which seems like a bad idea. I guess Smokey The Bear was probably killed by walkers long ago.

• I could definitely do with less of the "human condition" speeches on this show. It's becoming a definite pattern. Trudge, trudge, trudge, kill walkers, trudge, kill walkers, "We do what they have to do," kill, trudge, kill, kill, trudge, "We kill to live another day," trudge, trudge, kill.

• Houston, we have a title! Whether you thought Rick's "We are the Walking Dead!" comment was corny or awesome, there is a precedent for it. Rick said the exact same thing in issue 24 of the comic, way back in 2005. 

• I'm not quite sure, but when the entire group is rammed up against the barn door literally trying to push back the dead, I may have detected just a slight bit of symbolism.

• At the end of the episode, Maggie and Sasha encounter Aaron. It's about time! I don't want to get too spoilery right now, but this means things are about to get better for Team Rick. Before they inevitably get much, much worse again, of course. It also means the show's most likely going to change quite a bit.

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