TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 10 “Them” (USA, 2015)

walking dead them

How longer can the group sustain themselves while on the road? And is there a point? With two big losses recently and a metaphorical storm surrounding them, that was the big question of “Them”. After the art-driven direction of last week’s excellent (and depressing) episode we were given something which very much resembles 2009 film The Road. There wasn’t much for them to do but traverse a long, winding road while admitting that they just don’t have the energy to survive as they are right now. Emotions are at a high, morale is at a low, and everyone’s starving to the point where all they can do to battle against walkers is dodge them.

Daryl is reeling from Beth’s dead, Sasha is reeling from Tyreese’s and Bob’s death, and Maggie is still dealing with the death of her father. It’s because of this that the emotions of these three characters was the focus here; particularly in Sasha’s case as she turns almost adversarial towards her ‘friends’ – even accidentally cutting Abraham and ruining a plan to take out walkers without expending energy. It seems obvious that Sasha needs to let go of her rage right now in order to survive, and that she needs to accept that the group has to live together or die alone [cheesy LOST reference, I know, sorry]. In case that message wasn’t hammered home you had the nice – though explicit – symbolism from the barn scene where the group, mostly one by one, have to work together to hold the door against a horde of hungry walkers whilst an insane storm is swirling around them.

Luckily the environment kills the walkers for them (foreshadowing a potential deus ex machina?). The extent of obligatory blood and guts this show continually seeks to one-up itself with.

Even if they feel like things can’t get worse – and things are pretty bad for them right now, they have to eat dogs to survive – the situation they are in isn’t anywhere close to how dire life in this world can be. This was them facing that and finding the will to keep on surviving when they don’t really see a point. Perhaps the introduction of the super strange Aaron – a character comic book readers will know well – will set our survivors on a path to shelter, because if they don’t find anything soon we can expect more episodes like this. While this episode wasn’t at all a bad move – it was even necessary for the story – more moments like this could wear a bit thin and cancel out the great work The Walking Dead have been doing this season (if you don’t count the dull cop arc).

From the preview, we can tell that next week will be packed full of action and may or may not feature another big death.

Review Score: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Hightlights:
– Accepting water at a time they needed it became a tough choice
– Dodging walkers became a necessity
– Sasha plays the wild card
– Aaron introduced

Lowlights:
– Rick’s ‘we are the walking’ dead speech a bit of a let down (it’s iconic in the comics)
– Group a bit too morose to be engaging to watch
– Members of the group are very vague with each other (eg, Daryl to Rick after his ‘we are the walking dead’ speech)

Episode MVP: Rick
Walker Kill of the Week: Mother Nature

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The Walking Dead screens on FX in Australia.