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Recap / The Walking Dead S 05 E 10 Them

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Season 5, Episode 10

Them

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Maggie, Sasha and Daryl struggle with their recent losses as the demoralized, starving group pushes on across the desert to find sanctuary.
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The group's spirit is at an all-time low, as they grieve their recent losses. Worse still, they are out of food, water, and fuel, and now forced to walk on foot, they are now fatigued, dehydrated, and more downtrodden than ever. In this drought, Sasha fails to find water, Daryl only finds a worm to eat, and Maggie is near catatonic. Carl gives Maggie a broken music box as a tribute to Beth, and Gabriel tries to console Maggie. The preacher is harshly rejected by Maggie, citing him letting his congregation die to save himself.

The group slowly trudges forward, tailed by a growing number of walkers. Rick refuses to engage them in their fatigued state, opting to wait until the terrain can be used against the walkers. Sasha is eager to take on the herd, and Michonne's attempts to warn her to not become impulsive like Tyreese was after Karen's death fall on deaf ears.

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Once they reach a bridge, Rick has a few of the group push the walkers over the bridge's steep hill to get rid of them, rather than waste further ammo or energy. Sasha, eager to take out her frustration the walkers, breaks ranks and forces the group to engage the walkers in close-quarters combat. Sasha actually slashes Abraham with her knife in a frenzy, and Rick is nearly bitten before Daryl and Carol save him. Michonne scolds Sasha for her rashness, and Abraham later tells Sasha that she'll only cause more problems if she doesn't get her act together.

Abraham starts drinking some booze, and though it's pointed out he'll only worsen his dehydration and state, Eugene says he has no idea how things could get worse. Right on cue, a pack of wild dogs confronts the startled group, but Sasha quickly guns them down. The group ends up eating the dogs, though when Noah refuses to eat, Sasha tells Noah he won't survive. A broken Gabriel tosses his cleric's collar into the fire as Maggie looks on.

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Glenn asks Maggie to talk to him, and finally, Maggie opens up to her husband about her trauma: after Hershel died, it broke her so badly that she believed Beth was dead as well. Learning she was alive and then that she wasn't in the same day hurt her, and she admits that she used to think they were living in "the bad part", but now isn't sure if she wants to go on. Glenn assures her that she does, and finally gets her to take a drink.

Daryl breaks off from the group to try to hunt, and comes across an abandoned barn. He starts smoking a cigarette, but when he burns his own hand with it, despairs over how he can't feel anything — and finally, after weeks, breaks down and cries it out. When he returns to the group, he finds them spooked, as they've found a bunch of water bottles with a note saying they're "from a friend". After all they've been through, the group refuses to drink the water, presuming it to be a trap, and move on. Miraculously, it begins raining, to the group's joy, and Gabriel apologizes to God for doubting Him. Unfortunately, the rain storm quickly develops into a thunderstorm, and Daryl leads the group into the barn he found.

After settling in for the night, Rick tells a story of his grandfather, a World War II veteran who told himself every morning he was already dead, and eventually, this mentality paid off, and he made it home safe and sound. Rick tells the group that they have to do the same if they want to live, and tell themselves that they are the walking dead. The speech works in a different way for Daryl, who refuses the notion that they're dead, and restores some of the fight in him.

Not long after, Daryl looks outside the barn into the stormy night to see a large herd of walkers heading their way. Daryl desperately tries to hold the door, and is joined by Sasha and Maggie. The rest of the group sees this scene, and every member, great and small, throws their weight against the door together as the storm intensifies and the walkers push harder...

The next morning, Maggie wakes up to find that Daryl has repaired the music box. The two reflect on Tyreese, noting that he was tough - and Daryl notes that so was Beth. Maggie wakes up Sasha and asks her to come with her outside. They find the aftermath of the storm - revealed to be tornadic in nature - is a great mess of uprooted trees and impaled or killed walkers.

The two watch the sunrise. Sasha admits that she feels like she could be dead soon, but Maggie assures her that they'll make it. Maggie then tries to play the music box to no effect. Suddenly, they are interrupted by the arrival of a clean, well-dressed man, who identifies himself as Aaron and asks to speak with Rick. As they draw their guns and look at him in shock, the music box suddenly begins to play...

Tropes:

  • The Aloner: Daryl slips back into this, much like after Sophia's death and the fall of the prison.
  • Antagonist Title: It refers to the titular walkers after Daryl countered Rick's series Title Drop below by Title Dropping this episode.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Carol kisses Daryl's forehead (for the second time) after their talk in the woods.
  • Being Watched: The group has been watched by Aaron for clearly some time, as he knows Rick's name and leaves them a bunch of water.
  • Birds of a Feather: A non-romantic example. Maggie and Sasha bond due to their losses.
  • Breather Episode: After two episodes featuring consecutive major character deaths and before the advance to the next major story arc, this episode is a quiet, solemn episode featuring the cast grieving their losses and slowly trudging onward.
  • Broken Bird: Maggie after losing her father and Beth, and Sasha from losing Bob and Tyreese.
  • Brutal Honesty: Abraham flatly tells Sasha that her recklessness will only cause more and more problems.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Low on energy from starvation and thirst, the group elects to simply lure a herd of walkers close to a bridge, then trick them over the ledge.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Maggie mentions the loss of her father.
    • Maggie and Sasha's hostile reaction to the well-dressed, friendly Aaron likely has just a little bit to do with the memory of Terminus and the last time they were welcomed by such a man.
    • Carol kisses Daryl's head, like she did at the start of their friendship in season 2.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Several. The group is starving? Here's some random feral dogs to eat. Group is near dying of thirst? Here's some rain. Massive Walker horde has them trapped in a barn? Here's a tornado.
  • Darkest Hour: The group is not only void of resources, but they just lost three consecutive members of their group. This is specifically the case for both Maggie and Sasha more so, as said lost members were related to them.
  • Death Glare: Sasha gives one to Noah, likely blaming him for her brother's death. Abraham also has a steely one for Eugene when he tries to test the mysterious cache of water left for them.
  • Divided We Fall: After an episode of bickering, moping, and struggling, the entire group, from Memetic Badass' like Carol and Daryl to Non-Action Guy's like Gabriel and Eugene, manages to survive the barn attack by all slamming themselves against the door together.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Abraham drinks from the bottle of booze to satisfy his thirst, but it's plainly clear he's using it for comfort as well.
  • Gray Rain of Depression/Happy Rain: It managed to be both. It's happy because the rain quenched the group's thirst and game them refreshment. The depression comes from the fact on how desperate the situation is, and the fact it's heralding a brutal thunderstorm.
  • The Heart: Glenn is able to get through to his broken, grieving wife.
  • Kick the Dog: Brutally honest as he is, Abraham was genuinely trying to comfort Sasha by reminding her she's among friends. Sasha snaps that he's not her friend.
  • Manly Tears: Daryl when smoking by a barn.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The group's reaction when they realize the rain they're so happy about is just the forefront of a brutal thunderstorm.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Twice in the episode, the group is saved by natural causes — when they're out of water and don't trust the care package in the road, it starts raining. The horde of Walkers that has them under siege is wiped out by a thunderstorm — while leaving the barn the group is in untouched. In the former case, Father Gabriel explicitly apologizes to God for doubting, in the latter case, Sasha and Maggie note they should have been crushed by the storm. Then, right after Aaron arrives, the music box that hadn't worked a few moments ago spontaneously starts up. It's left to the viewer to decide whether this is all happy coincidence, or something else.
  • The Migration: This episode depicts the group's trek to Washington.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In most other situations, a torrential downpour would be a bad thing. Here, it gives the group some much needed water and refreshment. Subverted since the storm immediately turns violent, forcing them to flee.
  • Mundanger: The threat that spooks the group the most in this episode isn't a group of walkers or people, it's a small pack of feral dogs.
  • Properly Paranoid: The group's reaction to a load of water being delivered "from a friend" and then to Aaron appearing out of nowhere is wholly justified given what they've gone through with Terminus, among other people.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Maggie blasts Gabriel for his cowardice that got his people killed, refusing to accept his offer of religious comfort.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The music box begins to play just as Aaron arrives and promises good news.
    • When the herd is first seen at the barn, it's Daryl, Maggie, and Sasha- the three dealing with the most pain over lost group members- who hold the doors shut. They are quickly joined by everyone else, showing that no matter what they have to endure, they'll endure it all together.
    • Seth Gilliam's word is that Gabriel tearing off his priest collar as they eat the dogs represents his losing faith in an outside force looking out for him.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Like Abraham, Eugene and Rosita a year prior, Aaron makes his debut in the second episode of the second half of the season.
  • Shoot the Dog: Sasha literally does this to a pack of wild dogs that were menacing the group, but it does give them their first solid meal in who knows how long.
  • Shout-Out: The dehydrated, starving group's slow, desperate march in the heat bears a resemblance to a similar scene in Fantasia and Dinosaur.
  • Tempting Fate: "He's a grown man, and I do not know if things could possibly get worse." "They can." Cue wild dogs.
  • Title Drop: Rick says the series name, Daryl in turn counters with the episode title.
    Rick: This is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.
    Daryl: We ain't them. We ain't them!
  • True Companions: The group joining together to keep the barn doors shut during the storm shows just how much they have become this.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Rick's speech to the group at the barn.
    Rick: When I was a kid, I asked my grandpa once if he ever killed any Germans in the war. He wouldn't answer. He said that was grown up stuff, so… so I asked if the Germans ever tried to kill him, but he got real quiet. He said he was dead the minute he steeped into enemy territory. Every day he woke up he told himself, ‘rest in peace—now get up and go to war.’ And then after a few years of pretending he was dead, he made it out alive. And that’s the trick of it, I think. We do what we need to do, and then we get to live. But no matter what we find in DC I know we’ll be okay, because this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Maggie makes it perfectly clear how badly she's been hurt by learning Beth was alive then losing her in the same day.

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