The Walking Dead 5.10: “This is how we survive”

February 17, 2015 13:11:58 Posted at February 17, 2015 13:11:58
Sarah Posted by Sarah
Courtesy AMC

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 10 recap.

Oh for Christ’s sake, they invoked the name of the show. I groaned out loud when Rick declared, “We’re the walking dead.” What a ham-fisted handling of Rick & Co.’s shifting emotional state. Of course, this entire episode was like getting bludgeoned in the face with the feelings bat, so I guess it’s fitting that the writers chose now to stop pretending like they’ve heard the word “subtlety”.

The Walking Dead is only sixteen episodes per season, but this is consistently too much. The show would be better served with no more than thirteen-episode seasons because we inevitably end up with episodes like this one—total filler. Nothing of note happens in the entire episode, everyone wanders around and says exactly what we already know they’re thinking, and then the plot advances in some way right at the end. With less episodes in the season, we could’ve skipped all the pointless introspection and just started with the arrival of the mysterious Aaron. But let’s break down what happens anyway.

Everyone is sad. No one has water. Everyone is losing hope. Maggie looks about ready to die. Sasha looks like she’s contemplating it, too. They trick zombies into falling off a bridge because the writers have run out of ways to kill zombies. Rick is at his most leader-y and inspirational. Carl, mercifully, doesn’t speak. Then there’s a storm which both gives them water at a crucial moment and ends up wiping out all the zombies that threaten them over night. The day is saved! We’ll be all right after all! Cheer up everyone!

And that’s pretty much it. No one says anything of merit—every opinion and feeling expressed is one we’ve either already heard or have deduced for ourselves. Rick & Co. being in dire straits only to get a reprieve at the last second has happened before. The arrival of a seemingly-friendly stranger has also occurred many times before. We are treading water throughout this entire episode, and because The Walking Dead maintains pretensions of being top-tier TV, we have to do it while drowning in self-importance and slow tracking shots of nature. But The Walking Dead is not Terrence Malick, it’s the TV equivalent of a B-movie. Justified understands what it is—pulp—and revels in those elements. The Walking Dead has never fully embraced its B-movie roots, so we keep getting pretentious episode like this and last week’s.

The only relevant thing that happens in this episode is that a new guy shows up right at the end. His name is Aaron, he’s clean and well dressed and apparently has access to water, and he seems nice enough. If you’ve read the comics, you recognize him, if not, you probably assume he’s a cannibalistic serial killer who will entrap, murder, and eat at least one lesser member of Rick & Co. The arrival of Aaron means one thing—we’re approaching the Alexandria Safe Zone. And whether you read the comics or not, you should know enough by now to wary of any place declared “safe”.

Status Check:
Rick – Starting to look like post-apocalyptic Abraham Lincoln.
Daryl – Time for the triannual torrential sob.
Sasha – Get a grip before you get everyone killed.
Abraham Ford – Still won’t let Eugene die.
Glenn – The new/old moral compass of the show. Most concerning.

Worst thing seen/heard this week: Eh, light week, so we’ll go with Sasha’s dog-murder.

Zombie kill of the week: Again, lean pickings, so it’ll have to be the standby—Michonne to the head with a katana.

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