That was a depressing episode. Our group hasn’t been able to find food or water in days. Their car is out of gas and they are forced to travel the remaining 60 miles to D.C. on foot. The whole group is mourning the loss of Beth and Tyreese. Spirits are low, energy is low. In other words, things are bad. There is not much going on in terms of action: it is mostly depression, self-loathing, and nearly giving up. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a bad episode. A lot of people probably found it boring – because nothing of substance happened (until the end). But more than that, the depression and the hopelessness just drain the energy of you, the viewer.
Maggie is despondent. She had accepted that Beth was probably dead, but to find out that she was alive, then find out she was dead in the same day was too much of an emotional roller coaster. She is tapped. On the other hand, Sasha has this anger over Tyreese that is bubbling beneath the surface. She is looking for a fight, despite the fact that the rest of the group is too weak to fight zombies, and Michonne warns her multiple times not to fight walkers unnecessarily. A big herd of walkers is following them down the road, but rather than attack them, the group lines up on either side of a bridge, then throws the zombies over (or lets them fall over, lemmings-style). Sasha decides to start stabbing, which upsets the group, forcing them to waste precious energy.
Sasha does get to shed a little blood. As Eugene wonders how things could possibly get worse, things get worse: a pack of feral dogs attacks them, and Sasha lays them out with a silencer-equipped gun. The group at least gets to eat that night. But that is one of two cheesy-ish parts of tonight’s episode. The second comes towards the end of the episode. Rick relates a story his grandfather told him about fighting in WWII, how he pretended every day that he was dead; that was what got him out into the war field every day. “We do what we need to do,” Rick insists. “We tell ourselves we are the walking dead.” Maybe it’s just me, but that line makes me think of the episode of “Family Guy” where Peter gets all excited when they say the title of the movie in the movie he is watching.
Religion edges in on this episode as well. Gabriel is still wearing his preacher collar, and making a big deal about how uncomfortable it is. He tries to play the preacher card and offer to talk with Maggie about losing her sister, but Maggie is having none of it, telling him that she is no longer religious and doesn’t believe him to be worthy of religion after he abandoned his flock. Gabriel seems ready to abandon his faith when he finally burns his collar after polishing off a chunk of German shepherd. However, when a much needed storm moves in, he takes it as a sign and apologizes to his God. When the storm gets out of control, the group hides out in a rickety barn. Inside, Maggie comes across a bible, and we are supposed to believe that she re-found her faith. But she didn’t; she knocks it aside to get to a door. I appreciate that. Gabriel seems to be easy with his religion, almost lazy. Maggie seems to have really thought it through and won’t be easily swayed because they have a bit of luck.
The storm demolishes half the forest, while zombies are trying to press their way into the barn. The group works together to keep them out. Maggie wakes up and while she no longer has any blood relatives, this is her new family. She takes Sasha outside and they notice the dozens of zombies toppled beneath trees. They take along a jewelry box Carl found for her. The box is the kind with a little ballerina that dances inside. It was broken, but Daryl fixed it. Anyway, the girls go outside and watch the sunrise together. Sasha doesn’t think she is going to make it, but Maggie assures her they will. She opens up the jewelry box, and both girls laugh when it doesn’t work. Man pops out of the bushes, scaring the hell out of them. This man introduces himself as Aaron; he is clean, well-fed, and unarmed. He promises he is a friend (he left the group a stack of bottled water earlier in the episode, which everyone believed was a trap). The girls don’t trust him, and that trust plummets when he asks to be taken to the person in charge. “Rick, right?” How does he know who Rick is? Aaron says he has good news. Suddenly, the music box starts working.
A couple of things. Aaron sounds like a religious zealot, proselytizing about “the good news.” Surely, this Aaron fellow comes across as suspicious. But if he follows with his comic book counterpart, he will be quite benevolent. Rick, no doubt, will have trouble trusting Aaron, and he may slip into the “bad guy” role again, and be deemed the villain by Aaron and his Safe Zone crew.
You can check out a clip from next week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” in the player below.