AMC‘s The Walking Dead Them TV Show Review. The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10: ‘Them,’ would have counted as a much needed break in the action, for taking stock & reconsidering stakes, had it not been so thoroughly exhausting. If you’re a full immersion fan, out to take in all the excruciating details that the series has to offer, then ‘Them’ was likely as good as TWD filler gets. If not, then the episode likely left you in a state comparable to its characters.
With a destination, but no wheels, no water, and no immediate prospects, Team Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was in a walking funk; one that left them just ahead of a similarly sized pack of Walkers. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) had elected to honor Tyreese’s memory by assuming his post-Karen role, as berserker, and had her rage fixated on the trailing Walkers. The agreed upon solution, to Team Rick’s Walker shadow, was an inspired bit of zombie aikido, meant to conserve the group’s waning strength. Sasha, however, had too much on boil to stick to plan; so the plan went to pot, and Sasha became as much a liability to the group, as she did to herself. She was only the most actively miserable of the lot, though, as most of the group had something to mull over, this episode.
This episode also brought us another wildlife check. As it stands: the virus still seems to only affect humans; so I’m going to continue with the assumption that Walkers have been the reason so few animals have been seen. It also means no Resident Evil split-faced dogs, and no face-hugger frogs (but thanks for checking, Sasha). A dried-up stream bed of dead frogs (I’d be surprised if frogs lasted that far into any such eco-disaster; but now I have to wonder why we haven’t been hearing any nocturnal noise) brought back the question of where are the fly swarms. As for dogs, a feral pack made an appearance; but wound up serving man, again, in the worst way – the shame of it being that I actually found myself wanting to know more about the pack’s back story.
Instead, the quick reversal left Noah (Tyler James Williams) thinking himself unfit for Walker World, and Sasha dismissively agreeing – so long as he bothers thinking about it. Or maybe she thought that thinking was a liability, in-and-of-itself. No thought went into her ‘participation’ in the Walker-fu plan; no thought went into her response to Ford’s (Michael Cudlitz) mention of friendship; no thought was given to what Michonne (Danai Gurira) had to say to her. It was all reaction.
There was plenty of acting out, to go around. Without a home to quest for, Noah faced his fear; Ford had booze (when a trained soldier resorts to alcohol, in the face of dehydration, it’s acting out); Michonne still wore her team boss whip; Rick was resorting to clichéd motivationals – or maybe his beard was. I think Rick’s beard has been running the group, since Terminus.
The only person who wasn’t acting out, noticeably enough, was Carol (Melissa McBride). Yes, Judith was well behaved, for having gone through the same ordeal; but c’mon. Having already emo’d her way through an exile, I imagine, she was free to focus on Daryl (Norman Reedus). Apparently, Daryl had been dealing in his own way (between the worm eating scene, and the cigarette burning scene, previous burns were noticeable on his hands); but all it took was some gentle encouragement, from Carol, for him to finally dehydrate himself further. That, and alone time. Lots of alone time. The man still had limits as to what opening up meant.
For the most part, however, ‘Them’ revolved around Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Having begrudgingly accepted her sister’s loss – after the prison – Maggie had focused on Glenn (Steven Yeun). The one-two punch – of first learning that she had survived, only to lose her almost immediately after – had left her a little on the nihilistic side, and it was rubbing off. The preacher’s daughter had lost her faith, and wasn’t about to put up with anything the runaway shepherd had to say. She did accept a busted music box from Carl (Chandler Riggs), though. For his part, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) seemed to agree with Maggie’s criticism; so God finally intervened, as only God can spite you with a blessing. Or does he? That blessing came with a pretty big backhand; but Daryl was able to turn his alone time to the team’s advantage.
With water (though wallowing in the rain seemed silly, just before Rick had to remind them to collect it), shelter, and a captive audience, Rick finally brought the team to the collective, titular truth of their situation. There was a reason they shared the road with Walkers, after all – even if Daryl needed to emphasize the difference between them. Morituri, all the same….
As this was Maggie’s time to take stock of Beth’s loss, the clear parallel, with Sasha, made for an inevitable bonding session. After the group’s blessing became a curse, Maggie was gifted by a fixed music box (Daryl the team player, again), then had something of an epiphany. The progression of events (and aftermath), to that epiphany, seemed too… illogical to have been anything but a dream; but assuming we were only privy to Maggie’s groggy awakening, it is entirely possible that she had dreamt a stylized version of actual events – one that underscored the episode’s message of team work. The Walkers they found outside could have been blown in from miles around; with Walkers plowed under for miles around, further. Take that, miracle.
For the sake of the Maggie-Sasha parallel, Maggie had to share her new outlook, and the wind Walker miracle wasn’t it. No, Maggie made do with a time honored classic in the sunrise. Thankfully, talking music box filled in for waxing over the dawn-after-the-storm spiel; and if even the still unresponsive music box conversation was too schmaltzy an ending, the cleansing rains had apparently brought one more thing, to our quenched quarrelers: a clean stranger.
Now, strangers walking up on gals with guns, having a moment, is generally a bad idea. On TWD, being the visage of civilization, and doing your best to be disarming, has been worse. The fact that this strangers might have been responsible for mystery water, left on the road ( just before God saved them from having to risk drinking it), he might as well have crept up on them offering candy.
Cue ironic music from music box kicking in.
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