Recap: The Walking Dead Episode 5.05, Self Help

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The short bus crew (Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Tara, Maggie, and Glenn) only make it about 15 miles before something on the bus blows out. Abraham swerves wildly, but the bus ends up airborne before landing on its side. And wouldn’t you know, a small herd of walkers just happens to be strolling by. Tara is tasked with keeping an eye on Eugene while everyone else gets to zombie killing. When a zombie breaks the rear glass of the bus, they realize they are no longer safe. Tara gives Eugene a knife (which he doesn’t know how to use) and they head out. Eugene kind of stumbles around, but when he sees a walker going for Tara, he grabs it off her, saving her life. With everything dead, they are about to check on the bus – but it catches fire. Eugene wants to head back to the church, but Abraham flat-out refuses. They soldier on.

Abraham’s team sets up shop in a bookstore for the night. After Rosita stitches up Abraham’s bleeding hand (which has never been able to heal), the two have sex. Eugene watches from the “self-help” section; Abraham tells Rosita not to worry. “He’s harmless.” Tara sits with Eugene, mostly to take his attention away from the f*cking. He explains why he feels it is a victimless crime, and she is not there to judge him. “The bus crashed because of me,” Eugene blurts out. He put crushed glass in the fuel line, but it was just supposed to prevent the bus from traveling – not nearly blow them up. He explains that, as they get closer to D.C., he becomes fearful. He doesn’t have any value if he can’t save the world, and they wouldn’t protect him otherwise. Tara insists they are friends and he doesnÂ’t have to worry about that. As long as he doesn’t pull another stunt like that, she won’t tell anyone. Eugene isn’t sure why he told Tara his dirty little secret. “Welcome to the human race, *sshole,” she chides.

In the morning, Rosita suggests they hunker down in the bookstore for a day or two. The town doesn’t seem too picked over, they can sweep for supplies and rest up a bit. Abraham refuses. They argue, but as soon as Maggie comes in and makes the same suggestion, Rosita is on Abraham’s side. Besides, he found a vehicle for them. Parked across the street is a fire truck.

They race to the truck and start it up. It rolls about two feet before grinding to a halt. The fire truck had clearly been used as a battering ram, and it seems the air filter is filled with rotting bits of zombie flesh. He sets about cleaning it out, and Rosita informs him that he was cleaning the wrong vent. The one he wants is on top of the truck. I thought this was going to turn into more – a bigger fight, embarrassment, realization that Abraham isn’t as all-powerful as he believes he is – but it is never referred to again.

The truck had been keeping a door closed, so when it rolled, the door opened. Out rolls a tire and soon walkers spill out. Eugene, now emboldened, takes the firehose and starts spraying down the walkers. Bits of flesh and dangling limbs fly about. I guess Eugene managed to crush the zombies’ heads with the hose, because once they are down, they are down for good. Abraham climbs atop the truck and laughs at the absurdity of the situation – especially when he sees “Sick inside. Let them die” written on the pavement.

They get the fire truck moving again, but it stops on another country road. I think it is out of gas, because they continue their journey on foot. They are heading into a heinous stench, but must keep going. Up ahead, there is a mass of walkers, as far as the eye can see. It’s like Woodstock for zombies. Abraham still wants to charge through but no one–not even Rosita–can get behind him on this one. When Rosita tells him no, he grabs Eugene roughly and starts pushing him the way they came. Glenn tries to free Eugene, and fighting breaks out among all the humans.

It is Eugene who stops this. “I’m not a scientist!” he screams. Dead silence. He admits he is not a scientist, but knew that he couldn’t make it on his own. He thought he had the best chance of survival in D.C. and figured it would be advantageous to those who helped him get there. As they drew closer to D.C., he became frightened, and took it upon himself to “slow their roll.” Abraham reels back and punches him a few times. After the third punch lands, Eugene falls heavily to the ground. Abraham is ready to finish the job, but Rosita steps between the two men, hand on her gun. Abraham stumbles a few feet away. While the others try to rouse Eugene, Abraham cries.

Throughout the episode, we see flashbacks from Abraham, and see why he was pushing so hard to protect Eugene. Before he met Eugene, he was barricaded in a store with another group of people, which included his wife and two kids. But after his family was raped by the group they were with, Abraham lost it and killed everyone. He then went to his wife to assure her she was safe, but she and the kids are now terrified of their bloody, violent father and husband. When Abraham wakes in the morning, he finds his family had left. He goes looking for them, and finds them – their bloody, mutilated corpses are right outside the store. He is about to kill himself when he hears shouts and cries of help. Eugene is being “chased” by a trio of zombies. All are moving rather slow to allow for Eugene’s clumsy escape. Abraham immediately goes into soldier mode, kills the walkers easily, then goes back to his family to finish himself off. Eugene begs him not to leave him. “I have a very important mission!”

All in all, this was a rather slow episode. The “big reveal” about Eugene being a liar, wasn’t much of a reveal. I understand that this is what happens in the comic books, but I haven’t read those (or at least, not that far in). But anyone who has watched more than 48 seconds of Eugene has to know that he was lying. I never for a second believed he would be a savior. So while I am glad that it is finally out in the open, that one reveal did not justify the entire, dull endeavor. The argument could also be made that the point of this episode was to show why it was so important for Abraham to save Eugene, but even that felt painfully obvious. Abraham was a soldier without a mission. With Eugene, he had a mission.

What I would have liked to see more of was the zombie Woodstock. I am fascinated by the idea of a massive stretch of land that is just lousy with zombies. Do they all congregate together? Was it just a sh*t load of people who died in the same area and never found their way out? That’s just something we haven’t really seen.