The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”

“Them”

In The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 10, “Them,” we, the viewers, along with our righteous gang, are finally getting that chance we’ve been waiting for, to slow down, take a long, ragged breath, and process, for a moment, everything that has happened, thus far, in the relatively short period of time since the prison community was struck down, first by a highly lethal virus, then, by a madman and his army…and so on.

Our gang has suffered so much loss in this brief space of time.  Maggie, at this point, has lost her entire family,  She, and Daryl, are reeling over Beth’s senseless murder at the hands of Dawn Lerner, after a hostage trade negotiation at Grady Memorial went horribly awry.

Sasha has lost, in rapid, horrifying succession, first, her sweet boyfriend, Bob, and most recently, her beloved brother, Tyreese.

Noah has just discovered that his mother, twin brothers, and entire community have been brutally murdered by an unknown enemy. He, too, has lost his entire family at this point.

Abraham, having lost his entire family, before, when they ran away from him in terror and were attacked by walkers, has suffered another blow: Eugene Porter’s confession that he had been lying, the whole time, about having the key to a cure for the walker epidemic. With Eugene’s confession came the crushing realization, for Abraham, Rosita, and many others of the group, that there may not be an end in sight to the horror and savagery that the world has become.

This hell that they are living, every day, may be all that there is.

Abraham had embraced Eugene’s lie readily, before, as it gave him a mission, and a reason to continue on. Now, Abraham seems to be grappling with the same doubts and uncertainties as everyone else.  In Episode 510, we see Abraham taking frequent pulls from a bottle of liquor he has found in a sweep of abandoned cars, and there is not much direct interaction between him and Rosita, at this point.

On top of everything else, poor Abraham may have lost the love of his hot, sexy girlfriend (I truly hope this is not the case, Abraham, my man, but if so, maybe she’s still up for a fwb scenario now and again on those cold postapocalyptic nights…here’s hoping, bud!).

Carol is sure to be feeling the loss of Tyreese keenly, as he, and she, shared, just between them, the terrible knowledge and grief of Lizzie’s downward spiral into insanity, and then, Mika and Lizzie’s tragic deaths back at the pecan grove.

And now, Carol is watching, and feeling, Daryl pull away from her, and the group.  While Carol seems to be keeping herself open and available for him, and reaching out, letting Daryl know she’s there, Carol also knows that she needs to keep giving him the time and space he needs, right now, to process the loss of Beth, and work through his grief.

I personally think it must suck for Carol, deep down inside, to see how hard Daryl is grieving for Beth, on some level, as it confirms that he had deep feelings for the beautiful young girl.

And, like I said, if Daryl and Beth had been together longer, just the two of them, well, we all probably agree that something would have happened, sooner than later.  

In my personal estimation, judging from how things were progressing, from the span of Season 4’s “After,” to “Still,” and then, finally, “Alone,” the making out would have happened more on the sooner scale.

Remember, in “Alone,” when Beth asked Daryl what made him change his mind about the goodness of people, and he fixed her with that sweet love look, at the kitchen table?

He was all like:

IMG_3909

And she was all like:

IMG_3914

(Sorry for the reflections, it was back before I knew how to do a screenshot.)

But, reflections aside, those archival shots from “Alone,” to me, are photographic proof of:

L-O-V-E. Young, wild, (kind of) forbidden, natural, blossoming LOVE.

Daryl is good at holding his cards close to his chest, but he’s not good at lying. Daryl doesn’t lie.  If he can’t be honest, he’ll keep silent. He won’t say it.

Daryl showed his love for Beth, clearly, in actions more than words, back in Season 4, and later, in the first part of Season 5, Daryl shows his love for Carol in actions, and in words (because that’s how the grown women do…you gotta show them in actions and in words, none of this “one or the other” business. Grown women need to see you got all the skills.)

In “Consumed,” Daryl clearly, and honestly, communicates his love, and his intention (“I’m trying”)  to Carol, and when we saw that episode, it showed us how far Daryl has come in owning and expressing his heartfelt emotions.

This is something he hasn’t been able to do before, and I find it very beautiful and endearing to see this sweetness blossoming in Daryl. It’s such a crazy-ass thing that it took an apocalypse, and the gathering of fine people who came into his life because of it, for Daryl to get to the point where he could open up and be who he really is.

And, I said, before, if I were Carol, and I saw how bad the object of my singular love and affection was pining for someone else, well, that personally would really suck for me. But, it’s honest, and that’s how Daryl does it, and to be with Daryl would mean that New Carol would have to roll with that.

New Carol, being the champion that she is, seems to know all that, and she seems to be able to not take it too personally, or too hard, when Daryl rebuffs her, pushes her away, and goes off, alone, which is often, in Episode 510.

Carol knows Daryl pretty well by now, and she knows that this is what he needs to do, and how he needs to do it, and hopefully, when he is done, he will be ready and happy to come, fully and ready to party naked, back to Caryl.

And, with this, I am raising my coffee in a toast:  To Caryl!

Moving on, now, to other characters…

Tara has been remarkably resilient, and adaptable, since we first met her back in the middle of Season 4. Tara has also had to come to grips with the loss of her entire family: her sister, her niece, her father, and her new girlfriend, Alicia.  Tara, who fell prey to the Governor’s lies, has also had to come to grips with her own naivete, guilt, and self-doubt for playing a part in the destruction and massacre of the prison.

Tara has made her apologies, and her peace, with Maggie, and the others in the group, and, as she is funny, solid in a crisis, and a good friend, Tara seems like she may play a key role in helping the others heal their wounds and open back up to each other.

The gang is having a hard time finding the balance between nursing their private wounds and keeping open and communicative with the good folks around them, who are also hurting, exhausted, hungry, thirsty…demoralized.

And speaking of social retardation… Eugene Porter and Father Gabriel, the Oddball Outsiders, have lost a good degree of standing within the group with their respective revelations.

Eugene, of course, was forced to come clean and confess to lying about having the walker cure,and basically using Abraham, Rosita (and a number of fine men and women who died in the cause of getting Eugene to Washington, D.C.) as bodyguards, and protectors.

While the zeal of having a mission, and something to believe in, was certainly a positive thing for Abraham, and others, that geeky shoe was bound to drop sooner or later…and now, here we are, and it will be interesting to see how the story of Eugene Porter unfolds at this point in the TWD storyline, and what role he will ultimately end up playing in the group.

And Gabriel...well, Gabriel finally confessed his big sin to someone other than God, and tearfully unburdened himself to the gang, back at his cursed church, about how, in the beginning of the turn, he kept the church doors locked when his frightened parishioners came to the church, seeking refuge there, and did not let them into the church.

(Something about it being too late, or too early. Not a good time, apparently. Come back during business hours, which are posted on the door…yes, that door, the one you are pounding on.)

Despite his congregation’s desperate cries and pleas, Gabriel still refused to let them in, and so the helpless families were swarmed and savagely attacked by walkers, who were attracted to the noise of the families’ cries, pleas to be let inside the church.

And, as the poor men, women, and children of his congregation were torn apart by walkers, Gabriel cowered within the safety of the church’s walls, alone, listening to the horror and the savagery as it happened.

Gabriel, once a spiritual leader, is struggling mightily with his self-hatred, self-condemnation, and his loss of faith in God right about now, and this theme, losing faith in God, resounds with other characters, especially Maggie, in Episode 510.

Glenn, who has always been such a source of positivity, strength, and reason, for the others, has seemingly lost his faith, and his will, as well, after watching so many people he loved and cared for die tragically, needlessly, horribly.

His driving force, his love for Maggie and concern for the others in the group, spurs him onward, but as we saw in last week’s episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On,” Glenn is struggling within himself, wondering aloud to Rick if anything matters, anymore.

Each member of the gang is struggling with their own version of Glenn’s question: Does anything matter, anymore?  What can someone truly put his/her faith, intention, and energy into striving for, in this world, as it is now?   What is the point in trying to build anything good, or lasting, when it can all be torn away, brutally destroyed, in the blink of an eye?

Nowadays, even the very concept of having hope, or a dream, or faith in anything good seems to be ripped away before the hope, or the dream, can even materialize. The promise of building a lasting home at the prison was snuffed out by one man’s obsessive desire for vengeance.

The offered promise of a Sanctuary turned out to be a trap, and a place of unspeakable evil and brutality.  Eugene’s promise of a cure was nothing but a lie concocted by a weak, insecure young man (and his egregious mullet) to buy himself some time, protection, and a ride to D.C.

Carol and Tyreese’s hope of settling in at a quiet, cozy farm house nestled in a pecan grove, and enjoying a quiet respite, with Mika, Lizzie, and Judith, ended suddenly and tragically, with the deaths of the two young sisters.

The brief hope, and promise, of finding Beth, and getting her and Carol back, alive and safe, ended in Beth’s violent and senseless murder.

And most recently, the promise of a potential new home for the gang, in Noah’s family’s walled, secure neighborhood outside of Richmond, resulted in the gang’s discovery of the grisly aftermath of  the massacre of an entire peaceful community, including Noah’s mother and little twin brothers, and ending in the heartbreak of Tyreese’s painful, agonizing death.

Hershel. Lilly. Megan. Mika. Lizzie. Bob. Beth. Noah’s mother, and little brothers. And now, Tyreese. Not long ago, they were alive. They were loved. They were family.

And now, they are gone. All of them.  And our sweet gang, both as individuals and as a collective, must find a reason, deep within themselves, to carry on, despite carrying the heavy burden of so much grief, and so much loss.

The opening shot of Episode 510, “Them,” shows a pair of eyes, closed, crying…the shot pans out, and we see, of course, that it is Maggie, sitting against a tree, crying quietly.

Her eyes and face are swollen, as if she has been crying, on and off, for a long time.

maggie cry 1 maggie cry 2 maggie cry 3

maggie faces tuib walker1

Maggie’s much needed cry is then rudely interrupted by Tangled Up In Blue Walker, who comes hissing and pawing at her, but gets entangled, and stuck, in the hanging vines of the tree. Maggie gets up, annoyed, like, “Can’t a girl have a moment to herself?” 

maggie stabs tuib walker

Maggie easily rekills Tangled Up In Blue Walker with one quick thrust of her knife into its decaying skull…

maggie resumes her cry

…and then sinks miserably back down against the tree to resume her cry, with the dead walker’s body draped, unnoticed, in the vines behind her.

Meanwhile…

daryl digs

We see a tanned, muscled arm digging deep in the mud...for water, it seems.

daryls worm

…no water, but we see the digging has yielded a tasty morsel…

eat the worm 1

Eat the worm, Daryl Dixon!

daryl ate the worm

Daryl eats the wriggling earthworm so matter-of-factly, without registering any distaste or disgust while doing so, that it seems like something he’s done many times before, and that somehow makes him even hotter, and even more beautiful, and endearing, if that is even possible…

daryl worm picnic

…especially when the shot pans out, and he’s sitting like a little boy, having his own little worm picnic. I have thought about Daryl as a boy so many times (the boy whose mom died drunk, and passed out, in the house fire, leaving him to be raised by a drunk dad and a sadistic older brother) and it makes the mom in me, and the woman in me, feel so much love and hurt in my heart for him.

Sasha, meanwhile, walks along a creek bed, which has run dry.  She crouches, and digs a moment, but there is no water to be had, here.

sasha crouches at creek 1

creek dry frogs

Sasha sees the bodies of many frogs, belly up, along the dried creek bed. Would frogs just lie back, and give up the ghost, as a creek dried up, or would they hop away? I don’t know much about frogs, but it’s not the first time I have wondered if all this decay and pestilence in the post-apocalyptic world is poisoning the water, air, soil, food supply.

sasha kicks at creek dry frog

Alarmed, Sasha angrily kicks the dirt, partially burying the frog.

Looking up, Sasha sees Daryl and Maggie approach, look down at her from the top of the bank.  Sasha wordlessly shakes her head. No water here.

daryl and maggie turn away

Daryl turns away, crossbow over his shoulder, while Maggie looks down at Sasha, standing in the dried creek bed littered with dead frogs, a moment more. No words are exchanged between any of them. Maggie then turns away, and follows Daryl. After a moment, Sasha heads up the bank, after them.

maggie sasha daryl head back

As they head back to the group, who sits, waiting, in the road, Sasha signs, “Oh, shit.” Not one of the three found any water to bring back.

daryl sunspots

The sun beats down on them…

how much longer we got

…as they trudge back to the group, empty water bottles hanging from their bags, belts. “How much longer we got?” Maggie asks. “About 60 miles,” replies Sasha. Maggie gives a small shake of her head, says grimly, “I wasn’t talking about that.”

After the opening credits, we see a brief shot of the front end of a truck, stopping. We hear Abraham’s voice saying that the truck’s run dry, like the other one.  Rick’s reply is immediate, “So, we walk.”  We see legs, boots coming out of the truck, and the rays of the hot sun beating down.

boots coming out of trucksun spots

daryl rick judith

As they walk, Daryl turns back to look at a small group of walkers that are shuffling slowly behind their group, maybe 50 yards back.

daryl looks back

Rick, holding Judith, turns to regard the potential threat. “We’re not at our strongest,” he says. “We’ll get them when it’s best, high ground, something like that.”

Turning back around, Rick adds, “They’re not going anywhere.”

Rick turns to Daryl.

Rick turns to Daryl. “It’s been three weeks since Atlanta…I know you lost something back there.” (Besides feeling the exquisite pain of this moment, I just need say that, in my opinion, there cannot be too many scenes like this one, of beautiful men holding babies and talking about feelings.)

Daryl does not reply. Judith give a little whimper, and Daryl looks down at her. “She’s hungry,” he says.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him. “She’s ok,”  he says, looking forward. His voice falters just a moment as he asserts, “She’s gonna be ok.” (Exquisite pain, watching this…exquisite pain.)

“We gotta find water, food,” Daryl says.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds, forming, and says that it's gonna rain, sooner or later.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds forming, and says that it’s gonna rain, sooner or later.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he's going to take a run.  Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men's earlier exchange.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he’s going to take a run. Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men’s earlier exchange.

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently,

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently, “Don’t be too long.” Seems that Daryl takes a lot of opportunities to dip out, these days, going off for long stretches of time. Carol speaks up. “I’ll go with you.” Daryl replies, “Nah, hey, I got it.” Ouch, my heart for you, Carol! 😦

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, starts after him.

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, and starts after him. “You gonna stop me?” she asks, wryly. Daryl turns to her, pauses, waits for her. Not so fast, Daryl Dixon!

carl hands maggie music box 1

Carl catches up to Maggie and gives her a gift, a music box he found while looking for water. He tells her it doesn’t work, but he thought she would like it.

magglie music box 2

As Maggie opens the box, it is easy to imagine that the little blond ballerina inside would remind her of Beth. This sweet gesture brings a small, rare smile to Maggie’s face…

maggie thanks carl 1

…and she turns and thanks Carl.

maggie thanks carl

Some of my WDO buddies still hate on Carl, but I really love him. He is becoming such a sweetie, and has really had to roll with some hard times. Can’t hate the little man for having his tween tool moments back in the day (and ps, he really didn’t mean to kill Dale. That shit was a total accident).

gabriel chafes at the collar

As Carl walks ahead, Maggie turns to see Gabriel, behind her, pulling at his priest’s collar. Seeing her look, Gabriel jokes that he used to call the collars the modern-day incarnations of the hot, itchy “hair shirts” that priests, in times before, were forced to wear as an act of atonement. Besides the unspoken sentiment that there wouldn’t be a shirt hairy enough for Gabriel to wear to “atone” for his horrible betrayal of his own parishioners…

gabriel hair shirts maggie 1

…Maggie tells Gabriel, without looking at him, that she knows what hair shirts are, that her “daddy” was religious.

gabriel hair shirts maggie 2 PNG

Staring ahead, Maggie adds, “I used to be.”

Gabriel begins to offer to Maggie his services as a spiritual counselor, if she ever wants to talk about her father, or Beth, and Maggie interrupts him, with as much politeness as she can manage, “Please stop.”

Gabriel continues, in his automatic priest-mode, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.”

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies,

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies, “You never even met them.” Gabriel replies, “I know you’re in pain.”

Maggie whirls on Gabriel.

Maggie whirls on Gabriel. “You don’t know shit,” she tells him. “You had a job…you were there to save your flock, right? But you didn’t…you hid. Don’t act like that didn’t happen.” And with that, Maggie stalks off.

Some ways down the road, the gang trudges along, while the walkers behind them have gained in number, and are gaining on them, only about 20 yards away, and their telltale hiss and slaver are audible in the background.

walkers getting closer

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne,

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne, “We can take them.” Michonne sides with her future bf and replies that, “Rick’s right…we barely have anything left. No use in spending it all now.”

Sasha, however, is not so easily deterred.  She’s in pain, she’s pissed, and she’s spoiling for a fight. “I can take them,” she insists.

Michonne knows too well what is going on, here.

Michonne knows all too well what is going on, here. “Your brother was pissed too, after what he lost, “ she tells Sasha. “It made him stupid.” Sasha whirls on Michonne.  “We are not the same,” Sasha says. “We never were.”

Michonne looks at Sasha, not unkindly. “But, it’s still the same,” she says to the young woman.  “It just is.” Sasha has no reply to this, just turns and walks away from Michonne.

Meanwhile, out on another water run, Carol asks Daryl if he’s found anything…he says everything’s too dry.  Carol suggests they start heading back, and Daryl is quick to suggest that Carol go on, without him.

Carol looks at Daryl.

Carol looks at Daryl. “I think she saved my life,” she says, referring, of course, to Beth. “She saved your life too, right?”

Daryl does not reply.  Carol walks over and hands him a knife, sheathed in a blond leather casing.

carol hands daryl beth's knife

“It’s hers,” Carol says simply. Daryl takes the knife, looks at it a moment, still says nothing.

“You’re not dead,” says Carol, softly, mirroring Daryl’s words to her, some time ago, back to him. “I know you…you have to let yourself feel it.

carol smooths daryls hair

Carol reaches out and gently, tenderly smooths Daryl’s hair back…

carol kisses daryl on head

…then kisses him on the forehead, stand back, looking at him. “You will,” she says, laying a gentle hand on Daryl’s shoulder.

carol looks at daryl

Some TWD fans posted disappointment at this motherly, rather than loverly, show of love on Carol’s part, but I think it’s exactly what Daryl needed in the moment…pure, supportive, unconditional love, to take the time he needs to grieve Beth’s death. Super awesomeness, New Carol-style.

Meanwhile…

rick looks down the drop

Rick looks down at the steep drop from the bridge…here is the gang’s opportunity to take care of the walker herd that’s been tailing them all day. The gang is in formation, lined up on either side of the bridge.

rick looks to others

Rick wordlessly nods to Abraham, the others, as he walks towards the walker herd.

gang in bridge formation

Abraham nods back. They are ready.

rick faces the herd

Rick and the gang face the herd of walkers.

rick pitches one down

As the first walker approaches Rick, Rick sidesteps, stumbling a moment, then sends the walker flying down the steep embankment of the bridge, using the walker’s forward momentum to propel it downward, without using too much of his own energy, aikido-style.

abraham pitches two down

Using this same technique, Abraham sends two more flying down the steep drop.

glenn pitches one down

Glenn and Michonne both use the technique successfully. It seems to be working…

sasha knifes hes and breaks formation

…until Sasha breaks formation, striding up to her walker and spearing it in the head with her knife.

rick says flank her, machetes walker

Rick assesses the situation immediately, tells the gang to stay in line, and flank Sasha. They must fight now, as the walkers are coming more quickly and aggressively, responding to Sasha’s escalation. Abraham grumbles that the plan is “dicked” as he and Maggie unsheath their knives and prepare to go to battle.

michonne grabs sasha's arm

Michonne grabs Sasha’s arm, tells her to stop, to go, as Sasha is not thinking clearly, and is a danger to herself and others.

rick must battle

Rick and the others, so weak already, must go to battle with the oncoming walkers.

rick almost gets bit

Rick narrowly escapes getting bitten by a walker…thankfully, Daryl is there to pull the walker off.

gang must fightsasha being all crazy and shit

michonne tells sasha i told u so

Michonne pushes Sasha away and quickly beheads the last of the attacking walkers, then points down at Sasha. “I told you to STOP,” Michonne tells her angrily.

sasha feeling dumb

Winded, Sasha seems to grasp how nearly she cost herself, and the others, their lives with her anger and recklessness. She stands, however, and faces Michonne with a look of pure attitude, before stalking off, sheathing her knife.

Later, down the road, Carl sees some abandoned looking cars in the distance.  As the gang approaches the vehicles, Maggie looks in the windows of one car, checks inside, finds nothing useful, but sees the keys in the ignition. Maggie takes the keys and goes around to the trunk, opens it, and makes a horrible discovery…

maggie finds kidnapped walker

…inside the trunk of the car, a woman walker is gagged, with hands and feet bound. As with so many walkers we encounter on TWD, we will never know the full story of Hostage Walker, but we know it is another violent and horrible end to a person’s life. On Talking Dead, later, guests Lauren Cohan, Seth Gilliam, and Robin Lord Taylor speculated on how Hostage Walker may have reminded Maggie of Beth, as Beth was abducted in a car, as well.

maggie looks down at kidnapped walker

Maggie regards Hostage Walker for a moment, before closing the trunk on the whole situation, without bothering to rekill the walker.

maggie remorse

As she turns to go, Maggie hears the walker moving inside the car trunk, thumping against the confines of the closed, dark space. Maggie returns to the trunk, but cannot get it open. The keys are stuck. Maggie pulls out her pistol, ready to blast the lock of the trunk.

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie and stops her from shooting the lock.  When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head.  He then turns to Maggie, and gently says,

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie, and stops her from shooting the lock. When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head. He then turns to Maggie, and gently says, “Let’s go.”

Daryl, of course, has taken this opportunity to once again go off by himself and “take a sweep” of the woods, but has found nothing but a ravaged deer carcass and a dead body against a tree.  When he comes back, the gang is sitting at the roadside, resting. No food, no water to be had, but Abraham did find a bottle of liquor, which he cracks open and starts taking pulls from.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink. “It’s not going to help,” Tara remarks to the others. “He knows that,” Rosita replies. Eugene adds that Abraham is a grown man, but he, Eugene, cannot imagine how things could get any worse. Eugene, Eugene, Eugene, haven’t you watched enough movies in your once-sedentary life to know that whenever you say something like that, something terrible happens?

wild dogs

Like, I don’t know…wild dogs, for instance?

sasha goes sniper on the dogs

Luckily, Sasha is there to take the dogs out, sniper-style.

wild dog for dinner

Wordlessly, Rick takes a long stick, breaks it over his thigh...looks like tonight’s dinner entree is…

...wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn't know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style?  Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy...hey, whatever it takes, you know?)

…wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn’t know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style. Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy…hey, at this point, whatever it takes, you know?)

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog's collars, which reads,

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog’s collars, which reads, “Duke.”

Sasha steps up with some more wood for the fire, and Noah tells her that her brother, Tyreese, tried to help him. Sasha looks down at Noah, who then looks up at her, says, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”

Sasha looks grimly down at the young man. “Then you won’t, she says, her face immovable.  Noah looks down at these harsh words.

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah,

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah, “Don’t think, just eat.

gabriel takes off collar

Meanwhile, as the gang sits around, eating, Gabriel pulls his ragged priest’s collar off his shirt…

gabriel throws collar into fire

…and throws it into the fire. Without watching the collar burn, Gabriel takes another bite of meat, stares off, chewing. Maggie watches this, taking it in.

Later, Glenn is trying to get Maggie to take a drink of water. She refuses.  “Ok,” Glenn relents, on the water, anyway. “Why don’t you just talk to me?”

(Later, my WD buddy and I talked about how we were glad that Glenn was making himself available to offer support, counsel, and comfort to Maggie, even though he was going through his own doubts, and darkness.)

Maggie tells Glenn that she never thought Beth was alive, that after seeing their father, Hershel, get killed, she just…didn’t, or couldn’t, think about Beth being alive. Learning that Beth was alive, and then thinking she was going to see Beth, be reunited with her sister, and then seeing Beth, dead, in Daryl’s arms, the same day…Maggie confesses to Glenn that she doesn’t know if she can fight the darkness, any more.

Glenn tells her she can, that they must keep fighting it, that that’s who she is, who they are.  He urges Maggie to drink, and she does, taking a tiny sip from the water bottle.

Abraham walks alongside Sasha, offers her a drink from his bottle.  She refuses, saying that it’s gonna make things worse.

“The way you’re going, you’re what’s gonna make things worse,” retorts Abraham.  Sasha looks down, digesting this.  “Hey,” says Abraham. Sasha looks back up at him. “You’re among friends,” he says to her.

Sasha shoots him one of her looks. “We’re not friends,” she snaps, and walks ahead. Abraham thinks a moment, then shrugs, unconcerned, and takes another pull from the bottle.

Glenn, meanwhile, tries to offer his water bottle to Daryl, who refuses it, even at Glenn’s insistence.

“We can make it,” Glenn reminds Daryl. “But we can only make it together.”

Daryl hangs back, tells Abraham to tell the others he went looking for water.  Abraham says nothing, takes another pull from his bottle.

daryl sees the barn

In the woods, Daryl sees a barn in the distance.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up. Poor guy’s eyes are swollen, and he looks like he’s really in a bad way.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand, burning himself.

daryl burns hand

It’s the type of thing you could imagine Daryl doing to himself at a young age, ritualistic cutting or burning, a behavior which most often starts in the tween or teen years.

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release...

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release…

...as Daryl's tears finally start to flow.  Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break.

…as Daryl’s tears finally start to flow. Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break. It is a recurring theme in classical poetry, and prose, that tears, and rain, symbolize rebirth, and renewal.

When Daryl gets back to the gang, Rick hands him a note that was left for them, along with an offering of many bottles of water, in the road…

from a friend

“From A Friend”

water bottles

As thirsty as they are, it would be so tempting to take the risk and drink the offered water, but Rick tells the group that they can’t risk it, as they do not know who the water is from, or what their intentions are.

Eugene steps forward and grabs a bottle, saying he’ll be “quality assurance,” and is about to drink, when:

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene's hand, sending the water flying.  Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can't take the risk.

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene’s hand, sending the water flying. Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can’t take the risk.

In that moment, the group begins to feel drops of water falling on them…it’s raining!

gabriel rain

Gabriel tearfully looks to the heavens and apologizes to the Lord, presumably for his loss of faith, burning the collar.

rain 1 rain 2 glenn rain maggie rain sasha rain daryl rainrick sees storm coming

At a loud clap of thunder, Rick stands and looks to the horizon, sees…

bad storm coming

A dark storm cloud is coming. Daryl shouts to Rick that there’s a barn nearby, and the gang all runs to take shelter there.

gang clears the barn

The gang goes through the ritual of “clearing” the barn of any walkers, or living foes…

maggie sees bible

Maggie sees a bible on top of a stack of books…

i died in a barn walker

…before opening a door to a side room and discovering the reanimated, cobwebby remains of I Died In A Barn Walker.

some people can't give up

It is unclear exactly how I Died In A Barn Walker originally died…hunger, lack of water, illness, exposure, walker bite? Maggie rekills the walker with a single spear of her knife to the walker’s skull, then remarks to Carol that the woman had a gun, which is shown, leaning up against the wall of the room.  “She could have shot herself,” Maggie wonders aloud.  Carol muses that, “Some people can’t give up,” and looking sideways at Maggie, adding, significantly, “Like us,” before walking away, leaving the young woman to process this.

Later, the gang tries to get some much-needed rest in the barn, with the sound of the rain pouring outside.

gang tries to sleep

he's gonna be ok

Huddled around a small fire, Rick looks over at this sleeping son. “He’s gonna be ok,” Carol assures him, adding that Carl, being young, will be able to bounce back sooner than any of the adults will.

Rick says that he used to feel sorry for kids who have to grow up in these times, as they will never get to experience what it feels like to have a protected, happy, carefree childhood. But, Rick says now, he wonders if he got it wrong.

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as “growing up is getting used to the world.” Daryl listens to this, in the darkness. Even before the turn, as a child, Daryl had a hellish world that he had to grow up in, to “get used to.”

Michonne speaks up.

Michonne speaks up. “This isn’t the world,” she says, simply. “This isn’t it.” Glenn looks back, into the other room, where Maggie is lying down. “It might be,” he says, quietly.

Michonne counters, “That’s giving up.” Glenn counters that that’s just being realistic. Rick says that until they see otherwise, this, what they are living, is the world they must survive in.

rick says this is what they need to live withrick talks about his grandfather

Rick then tells the group that when he was a kid, and he asked his grandfather if he ever killed any Germans in the war, his grandfather wouldn’t answer, telling young Rick that such topics were “grown-up stuff.”

When young Rick then asked his grandfather if any Germans ever tried to kill him, his grandfather got real quiet, then told his grandson that he was already “dead, as soon as he stepped into enemy territory.”

Rick’s grandfather told him that every morning, when he awoke, and had to prepare himself to go back into battle, he would tell himself, “Rest In Peace, now get up and go to war.”  

Years later, after pretending he was dead, every day of his tour in the war, Rick’s grandfather made it back home, alive.

“That’s the trick of it, I think,” Rick tells the others. “We do what we need to do, and then, we get to live.”

Rick continues, saying that no matter what they find in D.C., they will be ok, because “This is how we survive. We tell ourselves that ‘We are the walking dead.'”

Daryl and Glenn exchange looks, then Daryl asserts, softly, “We ain’t them.”

Rick tries to echo his agreement, that they are not them, the walkers… (Dude, it was a metaphor! I was just getting a little caught up in the moment…awww, c’mon dude, that’s not what I meant! Come back!)

Daryl, however, has had enough of this conversation, and he stands up, collects his things, and turns to leave, but not before turning back to Rick and the others, and saying, once more, “We ain’t them,” before walking out of the room.

Poor Rick, but hey, buddy, you tried…and I (among many others in the TWD family, I am sure) was cheering this epic speech as it was being delivered.

Personally, it made me think of all those years ago, back in 2004, when I bought the first two issues of The Walking Dead comic series (which had just come out, and was sending shockwaves, and geekgasms, throughout the entire comic book community).

The clerk at the comic book store told me, “And the name, ‘The Walking Dead,’ you don’t know if it applies to the zombies or the living human survivors.”  

Ah, memories! 🙂

Meanwhile, Daryl stalks off into another room, sees the chain barring a main set of doors has come a little loose, and the winds from the storm are blowing the doors open and closed against the chain, giving little glimpses of the raging storm outside.

Daryl puts down his crossbow and goes over to fix the chain, and sees, outside, coming fast towards the swinging doors of the barn:

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

daryl bars the door

Daryl cries out in alarm, hurriedly tightens the chain, and then presses his back against the doors, and the press of hissing, snarling walkers trying to push through.

daryl and maggie bar the door

Maggie sees Daryl, runs to help…

all the gang bars the door 2

And one by one, all the gang runs to help hold the doors steady against the crush of walkers. It is a terrifying, amazing scene, capturing the mayhem of another life and death moment in WD.

rick bars door

As the gang works together, despite their individual pain, beliefs, differences with each other, to do whatever it takes, in this moment, to survive together, Rick and Daryl exchange a long, significant look as they push against the walkers with all their might. I like to think they were like, “Dude, I’m sorry for the weirdness back there…I didn’t mean it! I love you, man!”

all the gang bars the door

The next shot, it’s morning…

maggie awake

As Maggie opens her eyes, it seems she may be thinking (along with the viewers), “Was that all a dream, last night?”

Maggie looks into Baby Judith's sweet face.  The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer...Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie looks into Baby Judith’s sweet face. The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer…Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie stands up, looks around at the others, sleeping in the barn.  She then sees Daryl, who is sitting awake, against the far wall.  It seems like he has stayed up, keeping watch as the others slept.

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl.  She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him,

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl. She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him, “You can rest now.”

They look over towards Sasha’s sleeping form, and Daryl says, of Tyreese, “He was tough.”

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds,

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds, “She was tough, too. She didn’t know it, but she was.” This brings a smile to Maggie’s face, and they share a moment, remembering Beth.

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply,

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply, “The gear box had some grit in it.” It is easy to imagine Daryl, keeping watch, cleaning and fixing the music box while the others slept. How we love thee, Daryl Dixon!

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha.

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha. “C’mon,” she whispers, and Sasha gets up to follow Maggie, as Daryl prepares to get some sleep.

walkers in the tree

As Maggie and Sasha step outside, they are greeted by an incredible sight. All around the barn, tall pines are felled by the fearsome storm of the night before, spearing and pinning the walker herd helpless, but miraculously missing the barn, which would have been crushed under the huge old trees.

god saved the gang

As the girls look around in wonderment, it seems that Maggie may be rethinking her faith in God…the recent events certainly make a strong case for some benevolent, divine intervention.

the dawn of a new day

It’s the dawn of a new day.

sasha and maggie sunrise

Sasha and Maggie sit down, take in the beauty of the sunrise. “Why are we here?” asks Sasha. “For this,” Maggie replies. It sounds like the answer her father, Hershel, would have given.

the psoams

Sasha and Maggie, the PSOAM’s (Post Apocalyptic Sisters On A Mission), look out at the sunrise. Sasha begins talking, says that Noah had told her that he didn’t think we could make it. “That’s how I feel,” Sasha confesses to Maggie. Maggie tells her that she, Sasha, is going to make it. “We both will,” says Maggie. “That’s the hard part.”

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box.

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box. “Daryl fixed it,” she tells Sasha, but when Maggie tries to wind it up…nothing. The music box stays silent, the tiny ballerina doesn’t move.

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans,

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans, “You gotta be kidding me.” The PSOAM’s share a laugh at the absurdity of it all…

...as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment.

…as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment. “Um, hello, excuse me…”

psoams aint playing

The PSOAM’s ain’t playing. They immediately leap up to their feet, weapons drawn. The stranger cautiously approaches, hands up, introduces himself as “Aaron,” says he is a “friend.” Aaron tells the girls that he would like to talk to the leader of the group…Rick, right?

aaron comes on the scene 2

Maggie starts to ask, “How-?” and Sasha cuts in, asks, “Why?” Aaron smiles, says he has some “good news.”

aaron says he has good news

Who the hell is this guy? And how does he know Rick’s name?

music box working now

And suddenly, the music box kicks on, starting to play its bright, tinkly music as the tiny ballerina twirls around and around.

Well, darlings, if God is indeed having a hand in all this, one thing is clear…God has a really crazy sense of humor!

Deadies this week go to our three walking wounded soldiers: Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green).

Playlist:

Lightning Bolt, “Ride The Sky”

Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ In The Wind”

Phantogram, “Turning Into Stone”

City and Colour, “Sleeping Sickness”

Georgiana Starlington, “Dry As A Bone” (currently not available on Spotify, but great track if you can find it…I’ll keep checking in to get it directly to readers if and when I can…perfect for this episode)

Tori Amos, “God”

Aaliyah ft. Missy Elliot, “Best Friend” ( for the PSOAM‘s, Maggie and Sasha)

8 thoughts on “The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”

  1. What an ending, eh? He’s so clean, well-dressed, nice clothes–DON’T TRUST HIM! lol

    I think I’ve used the work “epic” before to describe your WD updates, so I don’t want to overuse it. But yes, it was epic! lol I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Daryl. He’s slowly loosing it. That cigarette to the hand made me cringe. And I’m also not sure what’s happening with Rick. More and more he’s looking like Santa! I’m hoping it’s just a phase and he’ll shave it off or at least trim it!

    Again, great update, Katie! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jack, and you are right as always! I am working on my post for “The Distance” and while I do not trust him, either, his offer, along with his clean, well-cared for, well-fed appearance, makes quite the compelling argument for the gang to see what Alexandria’s all about …and judging from recent, clean-shaven Andrew Lincoln pics & interviews, seems like a shave is in Rick Grimes’ future! ❤️

    • Thank you, Sheldon. I do understand that readers may have some posts that they like better than others…I really appreciate your reaching out, and I hope you keep reading! Thanks for taking the time to post a comment 🙂

  3. Hola! Podrias compartir cual es el servivio con la que trabajas?
    Estoy considerando efectuar mi propio Webblog dentro de poco, pero me esta llevando abundante
    gasto de tiempo de trabajo decidirme entre BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution/Blogger
    y Drupal. El por que hago la pregunta es porque tu formato de diseño
    me da la impresion de ser singular que la gran parte de Webblogs y yo
    estoy rastreando para idear algo absolutamente exclusivo.
    P.D Mis disculpas estar fuera de hilo pero tenia la necesidad
    de hacer la pregunta!

    • Hi! I am using WordPress for barnfullawalkers an am very happy with it. I do admire Tumblr, but have heard different things about being able to take your content with you if you decide to go elsewhere with your work. I am glad to read that you are inspired to start a project of your own…please keep in touch, and send me a link to your blog or site when it’s up. Cheers and thanks for reaching out! 😊

    • Thank you for reading and for reaching out, Jodi! I had a little trouble translating your message to me, but I think you are giving props, and I love those…if you were giving me the biz, well, I love that too! Cheers to you, Jodi!

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