The Walking Dead Review: “Them” (Season 5, Episode 10)

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Maggie isn’t alone in her grief, though. Sasha, in reacting to Tyreese’s death, is getting reckless, eager to get in a zombie fight even though she and the other members of the group are near exhaustion. Encountering some walkers on a bridge, the nearly light-hearted sequence of Rick and the others tricking the zombies into lunging at them and going off the bridge into a ravine comes to a end when Sasha would rather let her knife do the talking. Understandable, but it would be nice, for once, to not see someone stupidly engage their grief-stricken anger by provoking a zombie fight. If you had a friend die from a shark bite, would you go right out and start killing sharks?

It was Daryl that had the most poignant reaction to the recent loses. He keeps trying to go off on his own, but Carol won’t let him. She tells Daryl that he has to let himself feel Beth’s loss, and Norman Reedus was at his most understated in showing Daryl struggling with his desire to “feel it,” but just not in front of the others. When we see Daryl start to cry alone, after barely flinching when he burned himself with a cigarette, it seemed an earned moment of despair for the character, or at least the most earned out of all the grief-stricken characters.

The Walking Dead also veered into the metaphysical this week. Just as our heroes are at their lowest, only really able to carry on because at this point they really don’t know what else to do, they get a miracle. A couple of miracles, actually. The sky opens up and it starts to rain, granting the group some much needed water. When a full blown storm comes up, they’re able to find shelter in a nearby barn. After three brutal weeks on the road, it almost seems as if some higher power is giving them a break.

That higher power, if that’s what it was, delivers again when walkers descended on the barn, in force, in the middle of the night, with the entire group pushing against the doors, barely able to hold back the onslaught. It’s easily the most intense scene in the episode, as you wonder just how the heck the group is going to get out of this mess. Especially sticky is the fact that the walkers seemed to sneak up on them in such numbers, even in the middle of a storm. When the scene cuts to the next morning, and everyone is quietly sleeping, you might be forgiven if you think the whole thing was a dream sequence. But The Walking Dead doesn’t do dream sequences. It does, however, seem to do miracles. A tornado tore through the zombie horde, but left the barn standing. How’s that for faith, Gabriel? Perhaps a bit too soon to be burning your collar, huh?

A miracle can’t be questioned, but mysterious bottles of water showing up in the middle of the road with a note “From a Friend,” can be. That’s was a little weird, and dropped into the story quite suddenly. I haven’t kept up much with the spoilers of what’s coming up, so I had no idea what the bottled water meant, but a hint is given at episode’s end with the appearance of Aaron (played by new recurring actor Ross Marquand), who asks Maggie and Sasha for Rick by name. As my immediate wiki-ing of Aaron’s name has taught me, he’s a character from the comic that’s a type of recruiter for a safe community of survivors in Alexandria.

Now the big question: is Alexandria going to be another Terminus? Not being familiar with the source material, I have no idea, but it would be a nice follow-up if along with the apparent hand of God in The Walking Dead that there’s some sign of human goodness left in the world, too.

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