The Walking Dead: Them   Show Only 
February 15, 2015 7:19 PM - Season 5, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Turns out mid-summer is not the greatest time to walk from Atlanta to Washington.

Somehow never uttered:
"Who wants hot dogs?"
"Thank god for those ten seconds of rain, and for our salamander-like ability to absorb moisture through our skin!"
"I can't believe I forgot until just now that my superpower is making barns appear whenever I say, 'There's a barn!'"
"Hey, that's the name of the show!"
"Wait-- You mean there's a possibility we might not make it? That thought had never crossed my mind at any point in the last several years that we've been in constant mortal peril. Yikes, I'm a bit concerned now myself!""
posted by Sys Rq (64 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
They should have titled this episode Plants vs. Zombies.
posted by oulipian at 7:23 PM on February 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


Darryl saw the barn when he went for his smoke and his cry..
posted by pearlybob at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


You forgot:
"Thanks for this broken musicbox, Coral. Lugging this around through the apocalypse will totally make up for my dead sister, and won't be annoying at all."
posted by gatorae at 7:40 PM on February 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Darryl saw the barn when he went for his smoke and his cry..

Oh. I guess he conjures them up by self-harming? In any case, that is one convenient barn.

(Also: I know it goes against the whole light-through-wood-slats zombie setpiece, but wouldn't a barn usually have a farmhouse nearby, or at least some other, better kind of outbuilding?)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't tune in for a post-zombie-apocalypse My Dinner with Andre. But I feel like that's what I got.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:05 PM on February 15, 2015


Although it was pretty awesome when the ents showed up and kicked some ass. Too bad they didn't show it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:08 PM on February 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


"I don't think this door is gonna hold up."

"Look, I might be misquoting him but didn't Donald Rumsfeld once say something like 'You go to war with the barn you have, not the corrugated steel quonset hut you want?'"

"You're not a very good priest, are you?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:16 PM on February 15, 2015


That was pretty shitty and pretty boring. Plus Rick's TWD line was uttered back when they discovered everyone was infected; kinda loses its oomph after a few seasons. Judith is one well-fed, pink, and chubby baby. Post-apocalyptic agrees with her.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 10:04 PM on February 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I cannot sufficiently express the magnitude of how little I care about the priest. If they start some weird subtheme about religion (a Bible in a barn--so subtle) I'm calling a shark jump.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 10:09 PM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hated that there was some apocalyptic storms shit raging outside and aside from the doors flapping, the barn didn't do anything. No moan of wood under stress, no sound of wind whistling through the many crevices, no leaking roof.

And just why were the zombie swarm trying to break in? If it were a better show, we could wonder if maybe the zombies have motivation, like basic need for shelter.

Also, let mother fucking Eugene drink the water! He's done nothing to endear himself to the group or redeem himself. Official food/water taster seems like a great role.

Honestly, when Darrel was smoking, sitting in the dry pine needles, I though this was going to be a "oh shit, we're really not able to cope with a forest fire" episode.

Sasha's zombie killin' rage shouldn't had disrupted their "toss zombies down a steep hill plan." It's not as if suddenly the zombies were going to figure out the trap and change tactics.

On TWD, the show I love to hate.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:18 PM on February 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


I also kind of felt they weren't trying to hard to find water. So many green trees. Moist stream bed. Dig a bit!!!!

(At first I thought the dead frogs were suggesting poisoned surroundings. When I realized they weren't, I really was sad they didn't do more.)

Dog would probably really handy in this universe. Not those dogs; catching them unaware. But seeing them made me realize they were missing a great opportunity. Dogs don't seem to be affected, can be used for defense, for hunting, for tracking, and guarding. Tell me Darrel hasn't trained his share of hunting dawgs.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:28 PM on February 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Digestion takes water, right? Wouldn't eating those dogs make it worse?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:12 PM on February 15, 2015


I didn't really understand why our heroes were starving/dying of thirst anyway. Even if the drought killed all local fauna, like to the point where people were eating worms, which I don't think seems that likely but let's go with it, finding food and water has tended to be easy. And they know about how far it is to DC and could estimate how long it would take to get there. Why would you set out for DC without first making sure you had adequate provisions? And remember, they just left a town. It should not have been difficult to stock up.

And just why were the zombie swarm trying to break in? If it were a better show, we could wonder if maybe the zombies have motivation, like basic need for shelter.

I'm pretty sure Maggie dreamed the invasion.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why would you set out for DC without first making sure you had adequate provisions? And remember, they just left a town. It should not have been difficult to stock up.

Clearly, Tyreese was not only the moral center of the group, but the brains of the operation as well.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Maggie dreamed the invasion.

I thought it was implied that God "saved" them by impaling all of the zombies with trees. I mean, that doesn't make sense either, but it was my takeaway. The more I think about the Ents/God killing all those zombies, the more convinced I am that the second half of this season is going to be a big Bible-thumper so that Gabriel and Maggie can re-discover their faith. Zzzzz.
posted by gatorae at 9:20 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Maggie dreamed the invasion.

Yeah, that was my read on it too.

But even with the cliché "it was all a dream" sudden cut to her waking up, I'm still not totally sure. For the "it was all a dream" thing to really work, we need some indication that the dream wasn't real life--like, instead of just showing the baby in peril, have a zombie chomp 'er, then have Maggie wake up to a very alive baby crying. But there wasn't any of that; even the timeline totally checks out. The only indication it's not literal is that all those zombies are so far away from the barn in the morning, which others upthread and elsewhere have chalked up to sloppy continuity or deus ex machina, which is, unfortunately, a very real possibility.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly, when Darrel was smoking, sitting in the dry pine needles, I though this was going to be a "oh shit, we're really not able to cope with a forest fire" episode.

I thought the same thing! And also when they were cooking the dogs. Why build a fire on the side of the road, surrounded by leaves and brush (and it was implied that it hadn't rained in a while so everything is extra dry), instead of in the middle of the concrete road, where the leaves and brush can be easily removed?
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honestly, when Darrel was smoking, sitting in the dry pine needles, I though this was going to be a "oh shit, we're really not able to cope with a forest fire" episode.

Heh.

So I narrate a lot of the non-verbal visual stuff for Mr. Conspiracy, who's blind. Shit like this drives me up the wall because I have to make in-the-moment judgement calls on whether I describe it as "O.k., so now Darryl's sitting back against a tree, looking at barn or something in the distance. He's pulled some mashed-up cigarettes out of his pocket. He's lit one...d'oh, now he's butting it out against his hand. Ok, now he dropped it, and tears are welling up in his eyes."

BUT - do I mention "Well, he's dropped it the cigarette, but it's still kind of smoldering. He sitting on a bed of dry pine needles"

...on the off chance that when Rick's group is fleeing a raging forest fire I may have to do retroactive description like "O.k., remember when I said Darryl was butting the smoke out on his hand? O.k., after he did that he dropped it, still smoldering, onto a bed of really dry pine needles," but do it during a high-action sequence. Decisions, decisions...
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Rats. I thought maybe for a second I was going to get Sasha to enroll in Michonne's School of Fine Ass-Kicking courses. But no, she had to be all bratty.
posted by cashman at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well this was desultory.

Gabriel: explains what a hair shirt is
Me: I know what a goddam hair shirt is
Maggie: I know what a hair shirt is

Glad we're all on the same page there.
posted by bobobox at 11:16 AM on February 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm so glad that it looks like the pace is going to pick up a little next week. I turned to Mrs. Example during this episode and said "Okay, they're tortured. I get it. Can something HAPPEN now?".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2015


>That was pretty shitty and pretty boring.

That's what I imagine it's like most of the time in a post apocalyptic world.

>...I'm calling a shark jump.

I called it last week!
posted by Catblack at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2015


To be generous, this episode succeeded smashingly at getting the viewer to sympathize with the character's questioning of why bother continuing on with the show.
posted by porpoise at 2:13 PM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Daryl's self harm aside (that's a common spot to butt out and heals faster than burns on the forearm), I'm curious as to the show's characterization of cigarettes.

Every gas station and convenience store would have a pretty hefty stock and intact packs should have a really stable shelf life. They'll taste like butt, but they should still be good cigarettes for years. However, they'd be one of the more scavenged/hoarded commodities especially early on, but you'd probably find some of the scavenged cartons in hoarder's stashes.

How common would cigarettes be in the show's scenario?

If they were scarce, I'd have assumed that Daryl would take much better care of them. Hard case. Waterproofed. Those loose cigarettes in his pocket would disintegrate after an hour tramping through the woods.
posted by porpoise at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think what's killing me is the endless exposition. We get that these are the Last Good People or at least The Only Good Ones We Can See in the post-apocalyptic world.

Given that we, the audience, have WATCHED THE SHOW, we're aware that they all have done and/or seen really horrid shit, and they're not a band of psychopaths, but hey, some of them are on the edge. Who wouldn't be by now? See? We can get there on our own.

Are they going to meet other good people? Bad people? Both? IS SOMETHING HAPPENING?

Get on with the meeting then. Cannibals who only eat babies? Gentle hippies running a sanctuary that turns out to be the real deal and NOT a creepy charnel house? Whatever! We KNOW what their internal struggles are or might be. WE WANT TO SEE THEM DEAL WITH A NEW CHALLENGE OR SOMETHING. ANYTHING.

Gawd.

And don't get me started on the loose cigarettes thing. There's NO WAY they'd be that intact after being in his pocket since he picked them up (during the hospital infiltration bit, so quite some time ago).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:29 PM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


during the hospital infiltration bit

Three weeks previous according to Rick
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:17 PM on February 16, 2015


A loose cigarette will not survive three weeks in the pocket of a vest you've been wearing continuously through sleep, other daily activities and hand-to-hand combat. A couple of days, max.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:47 PM on February 16, 2015


Not that this show is often subtle, but the extremely obvious symbolism this week was especially annoying.

I'm losing my faith! Guess I should burn this clerical collar.
I am losing hope of living! Might as well have a cigarette! And I feel really bad inside but can't express it, so I'll give myself a cigarette burn!
Glen just told Daryl that we can old get through this together, and then it took all of us together to hold the barn doors closed!
Here's this music box, but it doesn't work! Our old lives are gone forever!
Wait! This clean-well groomed person says he has good news! And now the music box works again!

I rolled my eyes so hard I think I injured myself.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:13 PM on February 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


So a healthy, clean, chipper stranger wants to help? The only way this possibly makes any narrative sense at this point is if he really is nice, and he really does want to help. If his group actually has a Dark Secret(TM), even the most forgiving of viewers is going to lose patience, right?
posted by skewed at 8:49 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gah, when is this show going to learn that its character beats are only effective if there's actually some plot happening at the same time?
posted by whir at 9:01 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are some of you guys watching the series for the first time? I ask because it's been like this since THE VERY FIRST EPISODE.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have to get drunk to watch this show now and I still find it obnoxious.

But I can't stop.

Last time I felt this way, I ended up spending the night after the BSG finale alternately sleeping on the bathroom floor and vomiting into the toilet.

Is there a 12 step group I can join for shows I can't quit?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:46 PM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can only imagine that the new people are going to be genuinely Good People who want to help. But our plucky heroes are so damaged that they insist on seeing only bad, evil, over-the-top villains and end up getting them all killed. Then finally our heroes are the official bad guys.
posted by tracicle at 3:48 AM on February 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


This episode looked to lampshade lots of things that have been criticized in the past:
  • people doing stupid things, despair
  • people doing stupid things, hunger
  • people doing stupid things, anger
  • people doing stupid things, weakness
  • Maggie not seeming to care about Beth being missing (assumed dead--what can you do?)
Maybe this is setting the stage for interesting stuff in the future, but it seemed like a ham-handed (what else would you expect from TWD?) ret-con, particularly since everyone in the group seemed to suddenly hit the wall at the same time in a situation that on the whole was considerably less bleak than some of the shit they have had to deal with in the past.
posted by cardboard at 6:07 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


They should have just shot the guy as soon as he offered help. It's pretty obvious what to do in this situation now, right?
posted by jewzilla at 11:31 AM on February 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Judith is one well-fed, pink, and chubby baby.

Yes -- very much cleaner than anyone else in the cast. Are they not allowed to put grubby makeup on babies?

Rick's Sasquatch beard is becoming increasingly distracting.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2015


Sasha's zombie killin' rage shouldn't had disrupted their "toss zombies down a steep hill plan."

It looked more like "push zombies down a shallow embankment" to me. Also: are zombies now placid and pushable until they're attacked, at which point they become aggressively bitey?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2015


Let's be honest, at that point everyone was pretty much done with The Walking Dead, even the zombies. "Another trudge along a paved road in the middle of [whatever season we're in] in this Southern climate? Ugh, fine, but I won't be lively."

Ik ben afgesneden: Rick's TWD line was uttered back when they discovered everyone was infected; kinda loses its oomph after a few seasons.

Well, that was a time of plenty, when there was still plenty of canned food to find, and you could probably get some water from a tap if you were lucky. But also at that point, they realized death is no respite from the threat of (becoming one of the) zombies, unless you get "brained." Now, they are walking dead are simply because they have been physically and emotionally tested for so long that to keep walking is a chore, and long-term survival is less and less likely.

This is the first time that a group of living people have seen so similar to the zombies following them, and their mode of survival is so similar to the zombies: eat whatever you find whenever you can, but keep going.

And I was wondering why they didn't start eating the green leaves from all the lush trees around them. Of course, mefites answered this question before (in short: they're not easily digested).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


They don't need to eat the leaves, they can solar still that shit. Even I know that!
I liked the echoing of them shuffling along, indistinguishable from the walkers.
That's about all I liked. Mr. L. L. Bean saying "I bring you good news" ties in very much to the whole biblical theme in this ep. All the "next on walking dead" sequences seem the exact damned same very week.
posted by Iteki at 12:35 PM on February 17, 2015


Also goddamn but that dog meat looked delish and tender.
posted by Iteki at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I actually liked this episode. I thought it was much stronger than the last one.

Pater Aletheias, you missed one bit of symbolism: the group of walkers following them down the road in the first act. Literally, death nipping at their heels. They're exhausted, hungry, dehydrated, in the throes of grief—they're in some of the worst shape we've seen them in. Those walkers are there to underscore that if one of them falls down, they might not get back up this time. Considering how unsubtle this show can be, it was relatively understated and (I thought) actually worked pretty well.

Yes, Gabriel's collar-burning was heavy-handed, but then everything about Gabriel is as subtle as a sledgehammer. I hope this is the beginning of some actual goddamn character development for him. Thus far, he's been drawn so one-dimensionally that it destroys my suspension of disbelief every time he's on the screen.

Eugene had better stop being useless soon, too.

The guy they met at the end? Smells very much like yet another Too-Good-to-be-True Community with a Dark Secret and a Sociopathic Leader. I hope I'm wrong, because that device is really wearing thin.

Coud the "Good News" he mentioned mean that he's part of some religious community? They've made nods toward religious themes throughout this season, especially with Gabriel in this episode. It's all fallen completely flat for me, so I hope the Mormon-lookin' dude isn't part of some post-apocalyptic sect/cult that wants to convert The Group to their faith.

Really, though! I did like this episode! I hope they make it to DC; a change of scenery could do a lot of good.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:47 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Iteki: Mr. L. L. Bean saying "I bring you good news" ties in very much to the whole biblical theme in this ep.

I was waiting for him to tell them "Rejoice, for you shall be reborn in the lord!"

Anyway, anyone who says "I know, stranger danger" might as well follow that up with "I can give you a ride back to town in my van. Don't freak out, it's a panel van, but I'm totally not a serial rapist and/or killer. By the way, would you like some candy? It's not laced with anything and/or full of sharp metal bits and/or a convenient way to gain your trust and lure you into my completely non-threatening panel van."

More reasons to not trust you: 1) you're the cleanest person they've seen in a while, 2) have been stalking the group well enough to know the group leader's name is Rick, and 3) you may have left jugs of water on the road with the (not at all) ominous sign "from a friend," instead of meeting them on the road and at least drinking some of the water yourself. The last semi-normal people the group met was Gabriel, who is a cowardly man who still has the gall to talk about God to Maggie. (Hey writers, that loss of faith on the road was a little too convenient - how can a man leave his congregation to be literally eaten alive outside the sanctuary of his church, then ruin that safe place by prying up the floor boards just so he could go out and see more of the ruins of the world, freak out about killing a zombie with a cross on a necklace, and still get accepted as a member of one of the last sane groups of survivors, only to go hungry for a while in the safety of his new-found pack, which apparently is now too much for the little white collar of his.)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like A happened, and then B, and then C, and then D, and then along comes E, which is like stubbing your toe, but at that point you've got nothing left and you freak out, and an onlooker says "Well, E wasn't that bad, why are you freaking out?"

As my sister once said, "I burned the toast, so I divorced him." It was the last straw, and it was really tiny, but it was the last straw.
posted by Mogur at 3:52 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I'll defend the show a bit more

Who knows what the backstory is with the girl in the trunk of the car and the lady in the barn, but this episode got me to think about that, when usually all I think about zombies is how the show manages to creatively kill them (napalm melted zombie, e.g.)

I liked the whole sequence with Maggie and the trunk zombie. Not only was there trunk zombie mystery, but the whole 'being so tired and out of it you're not sure why you're doing what you're doing' was conveyed there.

And all this nicely sets off the jolt caused by the pristine Congressional staffer or whomever they run into
posted by angrycat at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Anyway, anyone who says "I know, stranger danger" might as well follow that up with "I can give you a ride back to town in my van. Don't freak out, it's a panel van, but I'm totally not a serial rapist and/or killer. By the way, would you like some candy? It's not laced with anything and/or full of sharp metal bits and/or a convenient way to gain your trust and lure you into my completely non-threatening panel van."

Funny you should say that, because I thought the bound and gagged woman in the trunk of the car, not too far from the other woman holed up in a barn, seemed kinda serial-killer-victimish to me—like the zombie apocalypse interrupted some dude's spree. To be honest I thought that's who the creepy dead guy Daryl saw slumped against a tree might've been.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trunk woman and barn woman (and tree man) looked too fresh to date to the zompocalypse. Trunk woman in particular looked pretty well preserved and threateningly recent, possibly of a time with the deconstructed cadavers back at Noah's house.

Barn woman and tree guy looked like they were meant to illustrate Carol's point that some people (i.e. barn woman) wouldn't give up and kill themselves (like tree man did).

Alternate zombie names:
Betty Boot
Annie Croakley
More-gun Treeman
posted by cardboard at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


The woman in the trunk was deeply disturbing, on par with shooting Carol's daughter, Carl killing his mom and Carol killing the girl. The latter three, however, were pretty good plot turns that forced characters who had run out of options to make gut-wrenching decisions. I felt the woman in the trunk was just a horrible spectacle, a cheap stunt to frighten the audience. And not frighten in the right way, it wasn't "OMG what would I do in a zombie apocalypse!?!?" It was, "isn't it scary that women get abducted, raped and killed?".
posted by skewed at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good catch, angrycat. Trunk woman was a really interesting scene, and that even put normally stouthearted Maggie over the edge. Nice of the writers to give Glen a strong moment in their relationship.

I dunno, I feel that trunk lady was an abductee during the initial troubles. Being locked up in a trunk and immobilized would have protected her from the elements and herself. If she hadn't turned zombie, it would have been a terrible mess in that climate (at least until year 3-5).

The "don't drink the water" followed immediately by the rainstorm scene made me want to throw my mouse through my screen, though. Ditto Sasha's "lets be stupid and stab some zombies" scene. Ditto barn bible (although that might be related to the LDS missionary arc).

Carol/Daryl was nice. Go Melissa McBride!
posted by porpoise at 6:08 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


... I was half expecting that Maggie's mistake under prolonged stress would end up with someone dead, causing her more guilt-driven distress, causing more death, more guilt, and spiraling into the deaths of everyone.

Except baby asskicker, who grows up like Remus and Romulus only with zombies instead of wolves and founds a great Empire.
posted by porpoise at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I liked the whole sequence with Maggie and the trunk zombie. Not only was there trunk zombie mystery, but the whole 'being so tired and out of it you're not sure why you're doing what you're doing' was conveyed there.

Agreed. And what a brilliant performance by Lauren Cohan. IMHO, the abducted walker reminded Maggie of Beth. That's why Maggie suddenly had to close the trunk, then thought better of it. The scene captured her mourning and her ambivalence and her hopelessness so beautifully.

Amazing scene also between Carol and Daryl, in the forest clearing, complete with a sweet, chaste forehead kiss. She gave him sound advice indeed.

Sasha also had a very compelling episode here. Her risk-preferring, grief-triggered behaviors called to mind the classic zombie genre trope of the greatest danger sometimes being a lack of cooperation/communication between the living. We have Daryl eating an earthworm, and the whole group desperately searching for water, when Sasha happens upon a dry-ish stream bed with several possibly-edible dead frogs, and she is understandably so consumed with her sense of loss that she fails to mention any this to the rest of the group, and literally "buries" it with dirt and her foot. Then that crazy moment when it looked like she was about to fight Michonne - damn! Wow, just a really great, believable depiction.

When the music box suddenly started working again just after Aaron suddenly appeared; and when they awoke from inside the barn to find Mother Nature having incapacitated the herd of walkers, I dunno why, but I liked the random, magical aspects to it all.

Basically I thought this episode really worked. Bonus points for the cool fact that that was apparently a real, perfectly-timed rainstorm captured on film, and the crew did not have to bust out the rain machine at all.
posted by hush at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


i think the big question is whether the phrase "stranger danger" is folksy or nerdy. If folksy, he's evil (cf Terminus, governor). If he's nerdy he may be good (cf Milton and mullet guy) and maybe Rick and co. are going to fuck up somehow and the Wolves will be involved and Rick will be inadvertently responsible for the loss of humanity's last hope. Yeah.
posted by angrycat at 7:04 AM on February 18, 2015


Knowing how this show works, I have a hard time believing that Mormon guy's group will be "good guys".

Anything in this show that seems too good to be true, inevitably is. The guy leaves them a gift of precious water, "from a friend"; he claims to have "good news" for them; judging from his clean-cut appearance, he's going to introduce them to a well-fed, well-protected community.

All of those things portend unutterable horror in the world of TWD.

Anyway, aside from our protagonists, there aren't other groups of good people in this show. Good people exist only as individuals, trapped in (or deceived by) groups of bad people—until the protagonists come along to destroy the bad people and absorb the few good survivors.

I would love to be wrong—the show could really stand to mix up its well-worn formula. Maybe Mormon guy's group are decent folks, and they help nurse Rick and company back to health. But they're in conflict with a second group—the Wolves—who aren't so decent. In gratitude and solidarity, Rick and company establish a temporary alliance with Mormon guy's group, and help them resist/counter the threat from the Wolves. They succeed, and the two groups part ways a few episodes later—maybe with each group absorbing a member or two from the other.

But my money is still on the "too good to be true" scenario. Given the religious themes they've been batting around, I suspect some kind of post-apocalyptic, quasi-Christian cult. Gabriel will struggle with whether to embrace or reject their gospel—on the one hand, he's always been a man of God; but on the other hand, he's having a crisis of faith; on the third hand, there are some pretty clear signs that the cult group isn't your usual folksy congregation of potlucks and singalongs. One or two of the other protagonists, desperate from living on the ragged edge, will break character (since none of them have shown any religious inclinations so far) and drink about half a cup of the cult's Kool-Aid. But they'll eventually be pulled back from the brink when the cult shows its true, grisly colors, escalating things to a violent Final Confrontation.

That would be the dopiest possible way to explore the religious themes, which means it's probably exactly what they'll do. I'm calling it right here.

(Seriously though, I've never simultaneously loved and hated a show the way I do Season 5 of this one. It's weird.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:38 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would love to be wrong—the show could really stand to mix up its well-worn formula. Maybe Mormon guy's group are decent folks, and they help nurse Rick and company back to health. But they're in conflict with a second group—the Wolves—who aren't so decent. In gratitude and solidarity, Rick and company establish a temporary alliance with Mormon guy's group, and help them resist/counter the threat from the Wolves. They succeed, and the two groups part ways a few episodes later—maybe with each group absorbing a member or two from the other.
Sounds like the Road Warrior.

But you're probably right.
posted by cardboard at 8:09 AM on February 18, 2015


Well, Z Nation has been renewed for a second season. Not saying it's a better show, just if there's no water to drink, there's always alcohol.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:45 AM on February 18, 2015


Anything in this show that seems too good to be true, inevitably is. The guy leaves them a gift of precious water, "from a friend"; he claims to have "good news" for them; judging from his clean-cut appearance, he's going to introduce them to a well-fed, well-protected community.

All of those things portend unutterable horror in the world of TWD.


We've seen what the protagonists have seen, from the moment Rick woke up in hospital. To them, every new person is a threat, because they've only seen the worst that can happen when the wrong people have power. The question is whether the show is setting this up as a purposeful journey where we all assume the worst, only to finally have it all turned upside-down by a group of genuinely good people.

I'd like that to be true, because anything else at this point is going to be formulaic.

I'd also like Rick's beard to scour my roasting pan.
posted by tracicle at 10:48 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually liked the woman in the trunk, too. It seemed to me that she had been there since the beginning of the outbreak: maybe abducted in a crime of opportunity in the initial chaos, then left to starve to death and become a walker after her abductor was killed (or realized just how bad things had become).

It didn't seem like a gratuitious shock tactic to me—more like, it was intended to show what a wreck Maggie is right now. Ordinarily, she'll knife a walker in the skull without even bothering to look at it—she's a tough cookie. But she's been through too much lately; she's starting to unravel.

My first thought was that the woman in the trunk reminded Maggie of Beth. And, perhaps, of being held captive in Woodbury. And, in general, just how much she's lost, and how fucked-up the world is now.

Because the woman wasn't a threat, and because she had plainly been in a vulnerable situation when she died, it got us to think about the human she had once been, not the monster she had become. All of the walkers, which our protagonists unthinkingly hack apart every day, were once people. Trunk-woman represented the loss of the civilized life that the survivors had once taken for granted—which is now gone forever, replaced with eating rodents and toilet water, and watching your loved ones die in brutal and senseless ways, and bludgeoning your way through stumbling mobs of putrefying corpses just to get through each day.

This was underscored when Maggie decided that trunk-woman didn't deserve to keep clawing helplessly at the roof of her prison; she deserved mercy. None of the characters have shown that sort of concern for walkers since Season 1: they're hardened and desensitized. But Maggie's emotions are raw; she no longer has the strength to maintain the psychological defenses that shield her from the full horror of this new world. She's seeing things through unfiltered eyes for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak—and what she sees fills her with loss and despair.

That was how I saw that scene, anyway. The abduction scenario certainly alluded to the possibility of rape, but I don't understand the (oft-expressed) notion that fiction should never acknowledge or mention rape. It can definitely be done poorly—and TWD doesn't have a perfect track record with it—but with all the other horrific things in this show, I don't think that the mere suggestion that a rape may have occurred is particularly shocking or gratuitous.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:01 PM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


One alternate scenario for the walker in the trunk is that someone had a relative or friend who had turned, and - just like Hershel and the walkers in the barn - was hoping something could be done for this person, but meanwhile needed to neutralize them as a threat.

Although the darker possibility - abduction interrupted by the zombie apocalypse - seems more plausible.

Because the woman wasn't a threat, and because she had plainly been in a vulnerable situation when she died, it got us to think about the human she had once been, not the monster she had become.

Yeah, I really liked that about the scene.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: they had a rain machine set up, but didn't use it. The clouds hanging over the set dumped rain from the sky practically on cue. Once I learned that, I re-watched the rain scene and the surprise and relief on everyone's faces also has a tinge of amusement. Hooray for some apocalevity!

Z Nation handles apocalevity better than any other zombie show on TV, and I'm glad it got renewed as well. (One man's low-budget trash is another man's Friday night fun, I guess.)

I'd say more here about Aaron and Eugene -- specifically vis-a-vis their upcoming roles -- but this is a show-only discussion thread and I don't want to be "that guy."

Many fans have said they'd like an ep where we just watch the gang do survival mode shit, like scrounge water/food/shelter (myself included). Well, Them gave us what we wanted -- it was a nice, yet dour contrast to the scenes where we watched Carol survive alone after Rick banished her from the prison, followed by her buddy-cop adventures through bombed out Atlanta with Daryl. I guess it's a case of be careful what you wish for, Monkey's Paw, etc.

That said, Mormon Guy Aaron reminds me of the artificially cheerful teens I always find working behind the counter at Papa Murphy's, which we now refer to as "Up With Pizza."
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:53 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, I didn't even notice that his name is Aaron. Another Biblical name. Now I'm extra convinced of the religious-cult scenario.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


My guess is that, in a KRAZY MADCAP TWISTARINO, the Aaronites actually are good guys, but the battle-weary Rickinthians will doubt them, sowing division right as the Wolves pounce.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:47 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


For some reason all I can think about is what a total waste the whole hospital storyline was. The had the whole front end of the season to really build up to this level of despair and I kind of feel like we had hospitalhospitalhospitalbethdeadtyresedead and then... all hope is lost.

I agree with the others about the woman in the trunk. I thought it was devastating, and it was the first time I can remember thinking that for some reason she could still remember whatever horror she went through to end up there.

So, I started reading the books before there was even talk of a series, but I stopped reading at some point during S1 (that's either into he 60s or 80s issue-wise, I can't recall now) and I thought I was past anything book-related. Anyway, I was sort of ready to give up on TWD but Aaron rang a bell, so this might be interesting enough to keep watching weekly.

Another Biblical name.

I'm a little uncomfortable with all the Christian-centric characters. Maybe I was making biased assumptions, but I thought Herschel was originally Jewish?

Also, am I the only one who totally forgot Maggie and Glen are married?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:13 PM on February 22, 2015


Watched this last night but I can't for life of me remember who/what was the tree dead guy Daryl saw. Does anyone recall/have a screen cap?
posted by olya at 11:26 AM on February 23, 2015


Just some dude sitting against a tree with his head blowed off shotgun-wise.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gabriel: explains what a hair shirt is
Me: I know what a goddam hair shirt is
Maggie: I know what a hair shirt is

Glad we're all on the same page there.


But do you know what hair suit is?
posted by srboisvert at 3:14 PM on October 1, 2015


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