The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”
Sunday, February 15, 2015, 9 pm (EST), AMC
Loss is a constant threat on The Walking Dead. Rick’s group has had their fair share of losses, but the deaths of Beth and Tyreese back-to-back have shaken the group to their core, especially Maggie, Daryl and Sasha. “Them” begins to scratch the surface to show us how they’re dealing with it.
Maggie spends most of the episode in a trance-like state. It seems as though she hasn’t had sufficient time to grieve since Beth’s death. Considering they’ve been on the road for a few weeks, it’s easy to see why. The beginning of the episode shows her crying as a walker gets stuck trying to get her. She wants to be shut out from the rest of the world, but realistically can’t without risking her life. Even Gabriel’s offer to provide comfort falls on deaf ears. If anything, his presence makes things worse, as he reminds her of Hershel, in terms of the religious aspect. Later on in the episode when talking to Glenn, he reminds her that life is still worth fighting for. Maggie doesn’t appear suicidal, but she has lost everyone in her family over the last year or so, which wouldn’t be easy to deal with under normal circumstances. We’ve seen strong characters deal with death in interesting and disturbing ways (i.e. Rick talking to Lori on the telephone), but it’s quite the turnaround for Maggie since she’s been shown as one of the stronger female characters for some time.
Sasha appears to be looking for reasons to get herself killed. She wants to take on the walkers despite Rick saying they need to conserve their energy. When they do finally take a stand by the bridge, Sasha breaks rank and take out her frustrations on the walkers, which almost gets the group in serious trouble. Michonne’s words fall on deaf ears to Sasha; she doesn’t want to hear that she’s the same as Tyreese and that they both were in pain after losing loved ones.
Gabriel experiences a loss too, though his is more faith-based. After unsuccessfully trying to talk to Maggie about Beth and telling her he’s there when she wants to talk, Maggie retorts about his flock and how he let them die while he stayed safe in the church. He seems further disturbed after Sasha kills the dogs and they eat them, going so far as to throw his clerical collar into the fire and loosening his shirt. His character has been riddled with guilt lately from multiple angles. He knows he screwed up, but he can never seem to find a way to atone. It will be interesting to see where they take the character going forward, especially with how he was in the comics.
Nature ends up playing a more dangerous factor throughout the episode than the walkers. The lack of water and food, along with heat, dehydration and exhaustion causes the group to search for desperate ways to survive. Daryl resorts to eating worms to get both food and water. The group blends in perfectly with the walkers stalking them, suggesting they’re one and the same after all when things are at their worst. Despite desperately needing water, when they come to a stash in the middle of the road, no one trusts it can’t be poisoned or tampered with. Fortunately, the skies open up and the rain comes down, much to everyone’s delight; Maggie, Sasha and Daryl still have no emotion regarding this blessing they’ve received. Even Gabriel breaks down, apologizing to God for not believing. As quickly as their joy starts, they quickly realize this storm is going to be bad. After seeking shelter, they wait out the storm. In what originally seemed to be a nightmare Maggie was having, the entire group slowly wakes up to find a large group of walkers trying to break down the barn door during the storm. It’s no coincidence that Daryl, Maggie and Sasha are the first ones aware of what’s going on and try to barricade the doors first. In the morning, Maggie wakes up to tell Daryl to sleep as she and Sasha walk out to see utter destruction around them. Trees have fallen everywhere, taking out or pinning the walkers that tried to get in. The barn was left untouched. Is it divine intervention? Did Gabriel’s apologies to God somehow trigger this event? That much is left unknown.
As Sasha and Maggie marvel at the sunrise, they’re interrupted by an individual who identifies himself as Aaron. Guns trained on him, they ask Aaron what he wants. Shockingly, he seems to know a lot about them, and that Rick is their leader. Naturally, this will lead to mistrust on Rick’s part, considering what happened with Woodbury and Terminus. Fans of the comic know who this character is, but we’ll have to wait and see what the writers have in store for this character.
- While it’s unclear how long they’ve gone without water, I would think Judith would be the first to start having issues from lack of nutrition.
- Maggie finding that kidnap victim in the trunk was especially creepy. It makes you wonder how long the walker had been lying in the trunk.
- Was the sign at Noah’s camp stating “Wolves not far” referring to the pack of dogs the group encountered? It seems to make sense, unless the name was for the people that attacked the neighborhood.
- Rick’s “We are the walking dead” speech may not have resonated with the group, but it was a necessary thing to say, considering everything they’ve been through.
Mother Nature proved to be a formidable adversary than the walkers in this episode. Maggie, Daryl and Sasha try to work through their recent losses as the group continues onto Washington D.C. The arrival of Aaron will undoubtedly lead to more questions, but perhaps a place the group can finally rest easily.