Comics/Graphic Novels

Recap: The Walking Dead 5×10 – Them

Welcome to the official Panels The Walking Dead weekly recap! I did these recaps occasionally for iFanboy back in the day, and I am thrilled to be bringing them here to Panels. In the discussion, please be mindful of spoilers from the comics, let’s let everyone get their reveals the old-fashioned way.

Maggie finally gets her moment of mourning. It’s interrupted by a walker she barely seems to care about dispatching before resuming sobbing. Daryl digs for worms, and not so he can go fishing. Canned food would have to run out in the apocalypse eventually. Sasha finds a dried creek bed scattered with dead frogs. Looks like the other groups were similarly unlucky. Things are desperate on the road to DC, an obvious metaphor for political campaigns.

After the credits a vehicle sputters to a stop, the gang will be walking from here on. Daryl wants to try hunting again, Carol insists on joining. Carl gives Maggie a music box he found, but it doesn’t work. Then it’s probably a waste of valuable energy to carry it around, Carl, but Maggie has to because it was a gift. I hate it when that happens. Gabriel futzes with his clerical collar (a term I had to look up) and decides to tell Maggie about hair shirts, which she’s already well aware thanks to her religious father. Gabriel offers to talk about her losses but Maggie won’t hear it, throwing his failure to protect his own flock back at him and walking away. The sounds of approaching walkers almost seem to come from the shambling group. The blistering sun and sounds of cicadas go a long way to emphasize the Southern heat. The background sounds of insect on this show are often spot on, a touch I really appreciate that’s missing from other Southern shows (looking at you Justified).

Daryl and Carol don’t find much, but Carol does successfully comfort Daryl about Beth. She tells him to let himself feel it and that eventually he’ll feel alive again, ending with a matronly kiss on the forehead.

Shoving walkers off the edge

It’s finally time to deal with the approaching walkers. The gang finds a choke point at the beginning of a bridge where they lure the walkers close then knock them into a ravine until Sasha goes off script because she really needs to do some stabbing after losing Tyreese. Rick almost gets bit right before Daryl manfully scalps the walker with his barehands.

Sasha abandons the plan

Further down the road, the gang comes upon a group of cars. Daryl wants the group to wait in the woods, but they all sort of seem to ignore him and start scavenging. Maggie finds a bound and gagged walker in the trunk. She shuts the trunk and almost leaves but then goes back to find the keys jammed. She has a freakout and is ready to shoot her revolver into the car before Glen shows up and helps her out.

Maggie finds a walker

THEY SHOWED A CICADA SHELL ON THE TREE. Insect details, people. They matter.

Daryl finds a mostly eaten deer and a dead walker. They may not have found any water, but Abraham found some booze. He’s a bit like the Ron Swanson of this show. Right after Eugene says he doesn’t think things can get worse a pack of feral dogs arrive. They still have collars on so I’ll be curious to see if these are trained and sent out from another group or if they are truly wild. They also appear to be wearing prosthetic canines making them look like vampire dogs or those fanged deer from Asia. Tension mounts as the dogs do the dog version of villain monologuing (barking) but Sasha shoots them before they actually attack. Without a word Rick starts gathering branches and it’s time to eat. Noah doesn’t look pleased by the meal, but everyone else chows down without concern. During the meal Noah admits to Sasha that he doesn’t think he’s going to make it. “Then you won’t,” she coldly replies. “Don’t think, just eat.” So basically just act like a walker? Not great advice. Gabriel tosses his clerical collar in the fire before taking another bite of dog.

Noah and Sasha

Maggie and Glen finally talk about Beth. Maggie seems ready to give up on life, but Glen gets her to keep fighting. Everyone keeps telling Abraham that drinking alcohol will make the dehydration worse, but he’s more worried about Sasha losing her shit at increasingly regular intervals. Glen is apparently the group’s water boy and keeps offering everyone sips from a half full bottle, but Daryl needs to keep his voice as gravely as possible and stalks off into the woods. He finds a cabin then sits against a tree to smoke part of a cigarette then purposefully burn himself with it. He looks almost blissful at the pain, then finally breaks down and has a good cry over Beth.

Abraham found some whiskey

When Daryl returns to the group he gets handed a sign saying “From a Friend” left next to several gallons of water. A trap, or a hint that Morgan is still following the group and somehow able to carry or find that much water when they cannot? Eugene tries to grab a bottle and drink it to test for poison as guinea pig, but Abraham smacks it out of his hand. One bottle wasted. Thunder rumbles and it finally starts to rain. The group takes a moment to rejoice then gets to work filling whatever they can. The storm goes from joyful to ominous, so Daryl takes the group to the barn he found earlier to wait out the rain. Maggie yet again finds an old lady walker but takes her out herself this time.

It finally rains

Around a meager fire, the group discusses the merits of growing up before or after the apocalypse. And is this just how the world is now? Rick tells a story about his grandpa during WWII, building up to the reveal that “We… are the walking dead.” Daryl isn’t happy to hear that and steps away to see through the slightly ajar barn doors a big horde of walkers approaching. In spurts the group realizes what’s going on and they all rush to help push against the bulging wood. The music and wind swell to Interstellar levels and then we cut to a dry morning with Maggie waking up to see Judith and sunlight.

Did the walkers eventually give up and leave? Maggie offers to relieve Daryl from the watch so he can get some sleep but first they talk about Beth, a conversation this whole episode seemed to be building to. Daryl also took the time to fix the music box. Maggie wakes up Sasha and tells her to follow her outside. Looks like the walkers were taken out by falling trees that all missed the barn. Divine providence? They console each other for a moment then crank up the music box which breaks again immediately. Suddenly, a way too clean guy walks out from behind a tree, hands already up. His name is Aaron and he claims to be the friend that left the water and wants to know if he can speak to Rick, a name he shouldn’t know. He further claims to have good news and then the music box kicks on, ending the episode. WHAT AN ENDING!

I enjoyed this episode even though it felt like nothing much really happened. I’m glad characters got their moments to move past the recent deaths, especially given what appears to be coming up next. The preview for next week makes it look like Aaron’s group turns on Rick and the gang almost immediately, which is a weird twist to give away since most of the tension should come with them figuring out how much they can or cannot trust Aaron and his group. Regardless, I’m now pumped for the next episode! Are you? Lets chat it up in the comments.


Comics in your inbox? With our newsletter The Stack, you can receive a roundup of the best and brightest posts on Panels every week. Subscribe now!

The Stack