What can I say about tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead? Sure, it was pretty slow and a little tedious, but I think that “Them” has set a proper tone for the rest of the season, especially in regards to character development and overall plot progression. (spoilers ahead!)
It’s been quite some time since Tyrese has died, and the rest of the group is now searching for a new safe haven. The entire group is running on fumes with little water and food. For once, I think I actually buy that these people look like they’re in the zombie apocalypse. Up until this point, I’ve always joked about how everyone manages to stay so clean-looking and trimmed despite the lack of access to showers and soap. In this episode, they look like they’re going through Hell. Maggie and Sasha in particular have seen better days, and I’m waiting for the day that Rick’s beard consumes his whole body. It’s the little things that set the perfect ambience for the entire show.
Everyone has a brief moment of attention in this episode, even Father Gabriel who has been pretty quiet for a while. However, the three main players in “Them” are Sasha, Maggie, and Daryl. Each of these characters are dealing with major impacts on their lives brought upon by the deaths of loved ones. What’s interesting is how they all channel their grief and acceptance in different manners.
First, we have Sasha. In the last episode, her own brother Tyrese bit the dust. After Bob died, Sasha was understandably upset. Now that her brother is gone, she doesn’t look too perturbed. If anything, it’s like she’s trying to distract herself from the pain by going full Rambo on the walkers. She starts getting a little reckless and drags the crew into unnecessary battles until Michonne tells her to chill. Sasha’s aggression actually benefits the group at one point when a pack of dogs show up and almost attacks them until she puts a bunch of bullets in their heads, killing them and providing the characters with a much-needed meal.
Next, we have Maggie. Beth’s death was the most shocking event of this season (even more shocking than Carol’s bad-ass assault on Terminus). This death hit Maggie hard, and you realize just how much pain she’s in due to the fact that her entire family is dead. It’s just her and Glenn. Lauren Cohan did so well this episode as she portrayed a broken woman. Every subtle movement, every single word, every tiny gesture gave evidence to Maggie’s demolished spirit. She took the opposite route of Sasha; she’s not as aggressive when dealing with walkers. She’s actually very hesitant. More than once, I thought Maggie was going to just drop her weapon and let the walkers take her. Thankfully, she came to terms with her grief and, after a brief bonding session with Sasha, came back to her old self (at least, that’s how it looks for now; the next episode could prove me wrong).
Finally, there’s Daryl Dixon: the resident bad boy of the gang. I think Daryl’s grief over Beth’s death is stronger than Maggie’s. Remember: Daryl was the one who was so adamant about saving Beth, while Maggie was a bit distracted by God-knows-what. Daryl broke down after Merle’s death, but even after his own brother died, he knew how to collect himself. Now that Beth is gone, things have changed. He holds his composure for most of this episode, only to break down and start sobbing later on when he’s alone.
As a tornado approaches, the group seeks refuge in an abandoned barn. There’s a sequence where a herd of walkers attempts to break into the barn, so the group barricades the doors. Cut to the next morning and everyone is fast asleep. At first, I thought the walker attack was a nightmare that Maggie was having, but once she and Sasha step outside, you find out that it was all real. Trees are uprooted and thrown around, and there are dismembered walkers all over the place.
Sasha and Maggie sit down to have a chat when they’re approached by a man named Aaron. Not only does this guy know that the women belong to a larger group, but he also knows Rick’s name! For now, we have no idea if Aaron is as friendly as he seems, or if he’s up to no good. Either way, the group will have to keep their guard up. After what happened at Terminus, they have every reason to be paranoid about potential safe-zones.
Final Grade: B –
+ Lauren Cohan killed it with her performance, as did Sonequa Martin-Green and Norman Reedus.
+ I liked how ever single character had a brief moment to shine in the episode. You saw almost every character contribute.
+ I’m glad the group encountered Aaron; this means that we’re in for another huge story arc that could shake things up for our protagonists.
– The episode dragged on quite a bit in the beginning.
– I wish there was more time for Father Gabriel in this episode; his characterization seemed rushed.
– Eugene was knocked out by Abraham a few episodes ago, yet he seems to be doing fine. I’m not a doctor, but I think if he was knocked out for that long, he may have a concussion.
– Last episode, we saw how a group of savages raided Noah’s home town, dismembering walkers and carving W’s into their heads. Is it possible that Aaron has something to do with it?
– Don’t forget that Morgan is still out there, following Rick’s group. What if he encountered Aaron and mentioned Rick’s name? Will Morgan and Rick be reunited by next week?
Did you enjoy tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead? What do you think about Aaron? Should he be trusted? Leave a comment or send us your thoughts on Twitter!