This week, The Walking Dead stepped back into a quieter mode, which makes perfect sense given the action of the previous two episodes. Both the characters and the audience probably deserved a little bit of a respite. While there have been some that complained that this week’s episode was boring, it was actually a nice way to drive home a few points. First off, this apocalypse has been wearing on for some time by now, and it’s nice to see that supplies are starting to wear thin. No, we don’t really want to see anyone dying of starvation or dehydration, but it’s nice to be reminded of those looming threats present in this world. Secondly, with the long distances that our group has traveled, coupled with the lack of supplies, this episode did a great job of drawing the connection between the survivors, and those who have succumbed to undeath.
For our purposes here, the episode moved at a slower pace, albeit with some random seemingly divine intervention (because of course there had to be, as a counterpoint to Father Gabriel’s moments of questioning). Thankfully, that slower pace didn’t yield any fewer moments of outright head-scratching regarding the choices made by the survivors. And yes, Rick FINALLY made the title drop commentary, but it actually worked in this context. There was also the honestly this-is-way-creepier-when-you-think-about-it scene with the trunk zombie. So let’s take a little look at Them.
Alright, Abraham. You aren’t getting faulted for violently smacking the surprise gift water out of Eugene’s hands. That actually made a lot of sense. After all, nobody in the group knows where the water came from, you haven’t had a lot of luck with “friends”, and, as pissed as you are at Eugene, he’s still a part of the group and can be useful. Keeping him from potentially drinking poisoned water, especially after the experiences of Terminus, was pretty smart. What wasn’t smart, though? While you and everyone else in your group suffers from dehydration and hunger, you decide that you’ll just go ahead and drink up that bottle of hard liquor you found. Yes, it’s been a miserable few days (at least), but deciding to take the edge off with booze? I do not envy the hangover you seemed intent on getting.
You’re all starving, and don’t really have enough water to be comfortable anymore, rationing out what little you have left. You’re set upon by angry dogs, which get dispatched pretty quickly by your weary companions. Sensing an opportunity, a fire is started and the animals get butchered, because, hey, eating dog is better than not eating at all (although there’s still some curiosity why Sasha didn’t try to gather any of the dead frogs she saw for a quick bite). But Noah, who’s in full-on self-loathing and wondering if he really wants to keep going, seems to be eschewing the meat. Seriously? First, you can get some moisture into your body from the meat (assuming that nobody cooks them extremely well-done). Secondly, you’re all running on empty, and the nutrients will help you make it to the next step. Sure, maybe Noah had a bite off-camera, but, given how freely they showed everyone else chowing down, it seems unlikely. Hungry and limping is no way to go through the zombie apocalypse, not even if you’re questioning your continued place in it.
Oh, hello there, new character and potential savior for our rag-tag band of misfits! How nice of you to join us, with your extremely clean clothes and shaved face and regular haircut. You’ve been watching the Ricktocracy, you say? You and your people are responsible for the water that you had to notice they didn’t actually drink? You know that they, at the very least, just survived a harrowing night dealing with a severe storm (maybe he knows about the barn and all the dismembered walkers, maybe not)? Yes, I do think it’s a perfectly wise idea to approach a couple of them that have clearly been a little on-edge recently, while they’re armed, and interrupt their sunrise watching. Even better, you should totally make it clear that you know things about the group that will not make them paranoid at all. Oh, wait. You shouldn’t do any of those things. This is a group of survivors who have gotten here by not allowing themselves to easily trust, so you’d better have some fast talking in the next episode to make them even want to hear what you’re offering.
Daryl is having a rough go of things. Clearly, Beth’s death is affecting him more than he wants to let any of the rest of the group show. He could choose to mourn quietly at night, but there’s clearly a risk that someone keeping watch might notice that our gruff redneck actually has feelings. So instead, he keeps wandering off on his own, in unfamiliar territory, so that he can find a quiet place to smoke and burn himself. Daryl seems very ingrained into the idea that “boys don’t cry”, so he allows himself to grieve in solitude, but returns to his tough demeanor around the others. Hell, he even found the barn, which proved critical for the group’s survival, but seemed content to let that be his “special place” until the storm threatened them all. It also certainly appeared that Daryl was going to make an attempt to keep a horde of walkers from bashing down the barn door with the sheer power of ruggedness, needlessly throwing himself in the direct path of danger with no real indication that he’d receive back-up. To be fair, though, it was kind of nice to see our trio of most-depressed-survivors being the first ones to band together to try to save everyone.
If Daryl’s having a rough go of things, then Sasha has it way worse. I mean, Daryl clearly had some unspoken feelings for Beth, but Sasha lost Bob not that far back. Also, both characters lost a brother, but Sasha’s was much more recent, and, well, Tyreese never actively tried to attack and hurt her. So yeah, Sasha is dealing with a whole boatload of garbage right now, and she’s clearly close to snapping. As the group is plodding up the road, they realize that they’re being followed by a group of walkers. Sasha immediately suggests taking them out. When she is overruled, she then suggests that she alone stay behind to take them out. Nobody’s in any condition to engage in any sort of combat right now, and Michonne rightfully puts Sasha in her place, all while telling her not to make the same mistakes that her brother did. Everything looks like it’s going perfectly according to plan, and the group actually concocts a pretty clever way to conserve energy and eliminate walkers all at the same time. That is, of course, until someone goes loose cannon, as Sasha decides that, hey, maybe engaging in a very physical confrontation right now is the best way to channel my rage, all while suffering from hunger and thirst. Her move almost costs the group in their number, and certainly costs them in energy they can’t be wasting needlessly. Clearly, she needs a Snickers bar, because she’s just not smart when she’s hungry.