Watching ‘The Walking Dead’ With a Zombie 5×5: Self-Help

WD
Ed, no!!! (Gene Page/AMC)

Every Sunday, I watch the new episode of The Walking Dead with Ed, the guy who sleeps on my couch. It’s a real pain in my ass, because Ed never pays attention and needs everything explained to him. Also, he’s a zombie.

Ed: Grrrr, argh?

Me: Seriously? I mean, I know we had a hiatus while we caught up on Beth, but still. It was only two weeks ago. You don’t remember the whole thing with the bus?

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: OK, OK. So Abraham, that’s the military dude with the red flattop, has a crazy hard-on to get to D.C. Everyone wants to get to D.C., because getting Eugene there could mean the end of the whole zombie thing, but Abraham is like super intense about it. So he couldn’t wait even an extra day at the church to see if Carol and Daryl were going to make it back, he needed to leave right away. In order to stop him and Rick from killing each other over who got the church’s bus, Tara, Glenn and Maggie agreed to go with them. Rick and the others are supposed to follow as soon as they can.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: That’s just Eugene showing off his big ol’ brain yet again. Tara makes a Samson reference, and he goes into some detail about the exploits of the biblical hero, far beyond just the long hair = strong dude equation that everyone knows. Seems Eugene’s areas of expertise extend well beyond the Human Genome Project.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Abraham left Rick a map showing the precise route they’d take to D.C. so they could try to catch up with them. At this point it seems like that was as much for Glenn and Maggie’s sake as for anyone else’s, to give them hope they’ll eventually be reunited with their people.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Nope, those do not appear to be walkers Abraham is killing in this flashback, but living people. Looks like they’re in a supermarket, so maybe they’re fighting over food? He definitely just killed that one guy with a tin can, so that suggests some food-related battle. Or maybe Abraham was just a psycho before all this.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: That may very well have been the first walker that Eugene ever killed. To this point, he has been the very definition of a coward. He’s only still alive because at least one other person has made it his life’s mission to keep him that way.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Yeah, gotta love Glenn. He’s always been the most clear-eyed of any of them, always doing what needed to be done. And now that has made him into the peacemaker, levelheadedly cooling everyone else’s jets and moving the mission forward.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: They are in some kind of bookstore. Hence all the book burning. Pretty ironic, in an episode all about specialized knowledge, Eugene’s genome training, that they’re just burning printed pages for fuel.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: I honestly have no idea why Tara would keep Eugene’s bus sabotage a secret. He never even explained to her why he did it, just deflected her questions with more weird Aspergers-y shit. I guess she just thinks of him as a weird mentally challenged guy, and figures his actions don’t need any more explanation than that, as long as he doesn’t do it again? Doesn’t really make any sense: he’s clearly a danger to them.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Seriously. Don’t these people know they’re in a horror story? They have to stop saying things like “About time things started going our way!” Because you just know terrible shit is going to come right after that. This whole episode, really, has been full of people talking about the future, about what will come after they heal the world, and it has to make a viewer super nervous about how just big the other shoe will be when it drops.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Well, this is the logical conclusion of the Samson thing. You can’t go up against Maggie when it comes to Bible knowledge. And she asks the right question. Samson’s riddle wasn’t really ever meant to be solved, was it? Except by Samson himself, of course. Because the truth is just a story in his own head. Eugene seems to be taking this lesson to heart. Amazing how the writers have managed to make his haircut thematically relevant.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Well, as far as I can tell, Abraham’s backstory is as follows: He was surviving with his wife and two kids when they were attacked by a bunch of people in a supermarket. Abraham went apeshit on their attackers and killed them all dead, saving his family. But they saw him angrily murdering a bunch of dudes and are now terrified of him, so they leave in the middle of the night, abandoning him. Despondent and with nothing left to live for, he decides to off himself. But just at that moment, Eugene appears, running from zombies, and gives him a new sense of purpose. It became his only mission, and let to his single-minded craziness. But now that that mission has turned out to be a total fiction, who knows what Abraham will do. Kill Eugene, probably, assuming he’s still alive.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Yeah, I really liked this episode too. It had a sort of simple and grim logic. Like the Lizzie episode, only less devastating. And after the beginning of this season, full of allusion to deeper themes, with churches and cannibals and the redemption of the soul, it was great to finally get an episode that was mostly just about itself and the inexorable twist of its plot. Watching ‘The Walking Dead’ With a Zombie 5×5: Self-Help