AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 10: “Them”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Heather Bellson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Distance” – click here
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) continues to mourn her sister. Food’s getting scarce, so Daryl (Norman Reedus) digs for a few creepy crawlers to eat. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is also mourning a sibling, though tries to keep busy. She follows a trail of dead frogs and boot prints. They’re all trying to find anything to eat. The rest of the group back on the road haven’t found any food, either.
And the situation is getting dire, three weeks having passed since Atlanta.
The group’s latest vehicle breaks down. Not easy being hungry and having to hoof it everywhere. Behind them follows a pack of walkers. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) holds out hope while some of the others are getting pessimistic about the future. Carl (Chandler Riggs) found a music box, which he gives to Maggie, to remind her of Beth. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) talks about “hair shirts,” also known as a cilice, and this prompts Maggie to talk about he she “used to be” religious. The priest tries to extend his help to her, getting shamed by Maggie for what he did to his congregation.
“We fought to be here,
and we have to
keep on fighting.”
Carol (Melissa McBride) tells Daryl how Beth saved her life. She gives him a knife that belonged to her. She remembers what the girl said once: “We‘re not dead.” She doesn’t want Daryl to let this undo him, neither does she want him to bottle up his feelings deep inside. She wants him to grieve properly.
Zombies on the road need dealing with, so Rick, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Maggie, and Sasha lure the horde to the roadside and tumble them down over the bank, none of them with much energy, only enough to push a few walkers. Until Sasha goes straight into the dead and starts killing. She’s reckless, nearly stabbing Michonne, and slicing Abraham’s arm.
On the road, Maggie and the others search cars. She discovers a woman, zombified, tied in a trunk. The horrors of the world are many. It’s impossible not to face them in this post-zombie apocalypse existence. Maggie walks away from the trunk, closing it, but decides to go back to put the woman out of her misery. She can’t get it open and is about to shoot off the lock when Glenn stops her. They get it open, allowing the woman to die instead of being stuck in walker limbo for eternity.
Later, the group gets fed when a few wild dogs are about to attack and Sasha shoots them down. Not a meal they’d have chosen otherwise. Still food. “Don‘t think, just eat,” Sasha tells Noah (Tyler James Williams) when he’s reluctant to eat man’s best friend. There’s a look in everybody’s eyes that speaks to a shame they all feel, having to resort to eating dogs to survive. Gabriel takes his collar off and tosses it onto the fire.
“You’re not dead”
Daryl’s punishing himself needlessly, feeling guilt for what happened to Beth. He won’t drink any of the water from the group, and he heads off alone to try finding more. He stops for a smoke, using his lit cigarette to burn his hand and cauterise the pain he’s feeling inside. He breaks down anyway.
Back on the road, the group have found a note from A FRIEND and water left with it. Everybody’s sceptical, yet Eugene (Josh McDermitt) rushes to drink a bottle and gets it smacked out of his hands by Abraham. No one’s willing to take a risk, in case whoever left it also put something in the water. At that moment the sky opens up and starts to pour, like manna from heaven. They collect what they can, and Gabriel asks for forgiveness from the Lord for doubting.
Then they have to find shelter for the night as a storm keeps rolling in overhead. Daryl found a barn, so they head there. After clearing the place, they settle in. Rick talks about “growing up” in this new world, how it is for Carl and other kids, though Michonne reminds him this isn’t the real world anymore. They all have to adjust in their own ways, from kids to adults. Rick mentions being a kid and asking his grandfather if he ever “killed any Germans in the war,” never receiving an answer. So he asked grandpa if the Germans ever tried killing him. The old man accepted death each time he went into enemy territory: “Rest in peace, now get up and go to war.” He takes this is as a method of survival— to do what needs doing, then getting back to living later.
In the middle of the night, Daryl goes to shut the barn doors tighter and notices a horde of walkers coming straight for them. He and Sasha hold fast at the doors, but it takes more of them to keep the dead out— every last one of them. Somehow, they manage to do it, and eventually the morning comes.
“We tell ourselves that we
are the walking dead.”
Maggie and Sasha go outside, witnessing the natural destruction of the storm that tore the zombies to bits. It’s a miracle they weren’t crushed in the barn. Both women seem to realise that, taking it as a way to keep moving forward. They sit together watching the last of the sunrise. Maggie reassures Sasha they can keep going, it’s possible after all they’ve lost. She opens the music box, winds it up, and nothing happens.
Suddenly, a man called Aaron (Ross Marquand) turns up acting friendly. “I‘m a friend,” he says. He wants to talk to Rick, whose name he already knows. He’s got good news, supposedly. And, with perfect timing, the music box begins to play.
That ending is so pitch perfect! Unbelievable. Love to see Maggie and Sasha together, too. They’re both incredibly tough people. Also, Aaron’s arrival signals a new bend in the road for our survivors and The Walking Dead as a whole.
“The Distance” is next time.