By Matt Vella
February 16, 2015

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Camus were alive today and he plagiarized The Road? “Them,” episode ten of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, more or less provides an answer.

Life on the road to Washington, D.C. is not going particularly well for the group. Everybody is tired, thirsty and sad. There is crying. There is self-doubt. There is forlorn looking off camera. There is hurting one’s self to feel something, anything. “How much longer we got?” Maggie asks early on. How much longer, indeed.

The show does what it usually does when it has some time to kill: it pairs off the main characters for a few meaningful interactions. Carol tells Daryl to suffer through. Michonne tries to impart some anger management technique to Sasha. Rick tries to get Daryl to open up about Beth’s death. The priest prevaricates; Noah blubbers. And Carl gives Maggie a broken music box, which symbolizes…something.

In one pivotal scene, the group is dragging itself down a long, country road when it becomes apparent a gaggle of shuffling walkers is not far behind it. The obvious question is, which group is more bedraggled? Later on, things brighten slightly when everybody gets to eat some roasted dog, courtesy of Sasha’s angry trigger finger.

Still Maggie says, “I don’t know if I want to fight it anymore.” To which Glenn responds, “We fought to get here, and we have to keep fighting.” Nobody seems terribly convinced this is the case. The episode is soaked in ambivalence.

Eventually, a rain storm delivers the group from its thirst (as well as having to decide whether or not a stack of bottled water left in the road with a note reading “from a friend” is a trap or not). Taking shelter in a nearby barn, things get really deep. Rick, in a sepulchral version of the “Peace by Inches” speech, concludes, “We do what we need to do and then we live. We tell ourselves we are the walking dead.”

During the night, the increasingly powerful storm threatens to blown apart the barn doors and let in a hoard of hungry walkers. The group, faces illuminated by flashes of lightning, presses back against the doors to keep the danger at bay. In the morning, surveying the damage, it’s clear that they have, like Noah, survived the flood (or tornado as it were) thanks to Providence.

Just before the credits roll, we meet a new character—Aaron—who promises some “good news.” Hopefully he means some plot of some kind in next week’s episode.

Zombie Kill Report
1 knife point to the head by Maggie; 5 knife blows to the head by Sasha; 2 machete strikes to the skull by Rick; 2 katana chops to the frontal lobe by Michonne; 1 knife point to the head by Daryl; 1 knife to the skull by Abraham; 1 knife to the skill by Glenn; 5 “tricked ya!” falls into an open ravineen by multiple (it counts); 1 knife to the brain by Maggie.
Estimated total: 19

Episode 10 Curse
Is this a curse of this part of every season, this sort of meandering plotlessness? Maybe I’m being too demeaning, but this episode seemed a bit of a waste of time. Do you agree? Is this a perennial problem at this point in most seasons?

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