Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: Aaron Arrives at End of Stormy Road in “Them”
*Warning: The Walking Dead comic book SPOILERS referenced throughout!*
Is this the end of the road for The Walking Dead? Serious question. Season 5, Episode 10, "Them" may have shown our group going to the dogs as the walking dead for the last time.
The amazing February 15 episode ended with the promise of hope in the form of a beautiful new dawn and a friendly stranger, whom comic book readers recognized as Aaron (Ross Marquand), a recruiter for the Alexandria Safe-Zone in Alexandria, Virginia. Next week’s Episode 11, "The Distance," should show Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) treating this guy the way you’d expect a veteran of Woodbury, the prison, Terminus and Grady to treat any stranger. Because the good guys are hard to tell from the bad ones — and if we hadn’t been following this particular group the whole time, we might wonder about some of them. (Sasha, turn away from the dark side!) But Aaron is one of the good ones — a true “friend” — and we should be headed to a place TWD may stay on television for years. Literally, years. Other communities (Hilltop, The Kingdom) may be introduced in later seasons, but the Safe-Zone is home base, and we’re on the path to hit it soon.
So this may have been the last time our group just wandered the road — and Episode 10 showed why that’s a very, very good thing. It’s not like they can just go next door for pudding anymore. Back in Season 3, they got so desperate they ate dog food. Now they seem to be eating the dogs. And worms. They need food, water, and shelter in a way we’ve never seen before. Plus we saw weather in a way we haven’t seen in the past five seasons. And Rick said an iconic line he never said back in the comic-to-TV timeline. This was the perfect time, though, to illustrate to the group and the viewers that "the walking dead" refers to the human survivors, not the walkers. What a fantastic, very Walking Dead episode. So much happened that we had been waiting for. (Not so much shooting the dogs; we could go a lifetime without that.) And even though it's kind of an episode too late, Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) both finally shared some Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) death feelings. There were tears ... not that such dehydrated characters could really afford to shed them.
The road to D.C.-Alexandria intro is covered in the comic book volume “Life Among Them,” and with Episode 10 titled “Them” it feels like we are moving into a more comic-faithful zone. ("Them" was also referenced in Sasha saying she could take them - meaning the walkers behind them - and Daryl repeating, "We ain't them.")
TWD has always followed the comic, but with remixes like The Hunters as Terminus, Wiltshire Estates as Shirewilt at Richmond, and wholesale new stuff like the Grady Hospital storyline. But Aaron appears to be Aaron with an intro that looked straight out of the book. “Them” showed the horrors of the road, but that’s also part of what makes TWD so compelling. How would you or I survive? It’s easier to imagine living in a community than living on the road, so it’ll be interesting to see Rick’s group back in a place that will inevitably remind them of pre-apocalypse life, but also the farm, the prison and Woodbury. Bob couldn’t go back (except for last week) but can Rick?
The first image is a closeup of Maggie’s eyes as she’s crying. She’s in the woods, walker approaching, but it’s like she doesn’t care. She’s spent. But she does get up to deal with the walker, who is caught in tree limbs. She falls back down and sobs.
A hand digs in the dirt, finds a worm. It’s Daryl. He eats it. They are that desperate.
Sasha in the woods, looking at the ground. She too digs in the mud, with a water bottle in hand. They need water. She sees a lot of dead frogs. The locusts will be next! She buries a frog in dirt with her shoe. Maggie and Daryl watch from above. Sasha shakes her head. No words so far.
BACK ON THE ROAD
The three of them trudge along. It’s been a day and a half, Maggie says. Since food and water? “How much longer we got,” Maggie asks Sasha. Sixty miles. “I wasn’t talkin’ bout that.” Will someone die of starvation/dehydration? Opening credits.
Their car is out of gas, so they walk the road. They have walkers behind them, but Rick said they’re not at their strongest so they’ll wait. It’s been three weeks since Atlanta. Rick tells Daryl he knows he lost something back there. Daryl says Judith is hungry. Rick says she’ll be OK. Daryl points out that they need to find water and food. Rick is being optimistic, saying they’ll find some and it’ll rain sooner or later. Daryl says he’ll head out. Carol volunteers to go with him but he says he’s got it. Carol: “You gonna stop me?” Can’t stop the queen! Carl gives Maggie some kind of music box. Father Gabriel tugs at his collar. Talks about the origins of them, born from hairshirts. Maggie knows what a hairshirt is, her daddy was religious and she use to be. Father G offers to be there, in case she wants to talk about her father or Beth. He never even met them. Maggie lashes out at him. He wasn’t there for his flock.
SASHA & MICHONNE
Sneak peek scene. Sasha tells Michonne she can take the walkers but Michonne says Rick is right, no sense spending energy on them. Sasha says she can do it. Michonne says Tyreese was pissed too, about what he lost, and it made him stupid. (Harsh!) Sasha says they aren’t the same, they never were. Also harsh. Michonne says it’s still the same.
CAROL & DARYL
Carol says she thinks she saved her life, meaning Beth. (Wondered if she would know.) She saved your life too? Carol gives Daryl Beth’s knife. We’re not dead. It’s what you said. You’re not dead. Carol tells Daryl he has to let himself feel it. She knows him. She pats his hair and kisses his forehead. Aww. You will.
They let walkers basically go by them, pushing them off the bridge. But Sasha insists on going full throttle with her knife, taking them on, accidentally slashing Abraham with her knife. Michonne tries to stop her and pushes her out of the way. I told you to stop.
They see abandoned cars and Maggie looks in one. She uses keys to open the trunk. There’s a walker inside, someone tied up and left in the trunk?! How horrific. Maggie just closes the trunk. That poor person. Then Maggie goes back and almost shoots the trunk to get it open but Glenn stops her. He gets the keys to work, opens it and puts down the woman inside. What’s her story?
DARYL GOES SOLO
He wanted some alone time and he sits in the woods, looking at corpses. Then he comes back out and sees the group just sitting by the side of the road. Abraham whips out the booze they found, which will just make dehydration worse. Eugene doesn’t know if things can get worse, but Rosita knows they can. On that note…
A bunch of wild dogs come out and Sasha shoots them all. Maybe that’s not worse, though, since they build a fire and apparently have food now. Noah looks at the dog collar; he’s sitting with his back to the rest of the group. Noah wants to talk to Sasha about Tyreese. Ty tried to help him. Noah doesn’t know if he’s going to make it. Sasha: “Then you won’t.” Well, that’s one way to put it. “Don’t think. Just eat.” At least it’s not Bob’s leg. Speaking of collars, Gabriel throws his into the fire as Maggie watches.
Glenn wants Maggie to drink water. She won’t. So Glenn wants her to talk. She finally talks about Beth. Feels a bit late for all of this Beth talk, but… Maggie said she never thought she was alive. When Daryl said Beth was alive she hoped she was out there. Maggie is ready to stop fighting but Glenn says they have to keep fighting. They want to be there. Drink.
SASHA AND ABRAHAM
Sasha says his booze will make things worse. Abraham says, the way she’s going, she’ll make things worse. Hey, you’re with friends. Sasha says they’re not friends. Come on, Sash! They are your friends.
Glenn tries to get Daryl to drink water. Daryl refuses. Glenn is the official water boy. “We can make it together, but we can only make it together.” Daryl goes off again, says he’s looking for water. He goes to sit under a tree and has a smoke. At least they aren’t out of cigarettes. Daryl puts the cigarette out on his hand. Looks at the scab. Looks at the sky. Cries. Sobs, really. He has to get it out. Feel it.
Rick gives a note they found to Daryl. “From a Friend.” There are water bottles and jugs on the ground. Eugene says if it’s a trap they’re already in it. Carol notes that they could’ve put something in it. Eugene wants to test it. Abraham swats the bottle away. We can’t.
It rains! Good timing, Mother Nature. Everyone seems happy except Maggie, Sasha, Daryl and Gabriel. Gabriel cries and says, “I’m sorry, my Lord.” Rick gets them to work to capture water. Judith cries. It’s not just rain, it’s a full thunderstorm. Daryl mentions there’s a barn.
They go into the barn and make sure it’s clear. Maggie finds a Bible and looks behind a door. There’s a walker in there. All the walkers are so sad this episode. Not scary, just pitiful and sad. Carol says she (the walker) had a gun, she could’ve shot herself. “Some people can’t give up,” Carol tells Maggie. “Like us.”
RICK’S BARNSTORMIN’ SPEECH
Abraham is still drinking. Carl takes a nap as Rick watches. Carol says he’s going to be OK. He bounces back more than any of us do. Rick says he used to feel sorry for kids growing up in this but he got it wrong. It’s easier for them to get used to the world. Michonne says this isn’t the world. This isn’t it. Maggie is sleeping away from everyone. Rick says this is what they have to live with. He gives a speech. When he was a kid he asked his grandpa once if he ever killed any Germans in the war. He wouldn’t answer. He said that was grown-up stuff. He asked if the Germans ever tried to kill him, but G-pa got real quiet. He said he was dead the minute he stepped 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 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 D.C. I know we’ll be OK. Because this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.” Chills! Daryl says “We ain’t them.” Both titles in one minute!
Daryl is pacing during the storm, thunder and lightning. The doors keep opening and a huge group of walkers is approaching. He pushes to keep the doors closed. Maggie comes over to help. Sasha gets up to help. They all push at the door. Everyone else comes over to help keep the walkers out. Sheesh. Nowhere is safe even for a night! Carl puts baby Judith down on the ground to join the group pushing at the bursting barn walls. They want to live, you have to give them that. They have to fight so hard just for this.
MAGGIE WAKES UP
Judith is OK! Phew. Thank heaven. They had us worried this week. Everyone seems OK. The storm has passed. Maggie and Daryl talk. Daryl should get some sleep. Maggie says he was tough, meaning Tyreese. Daryl tells Maggie she was tough too, meaning Beth. She didn’t know it, but she was. Maggie takes her music box - Daryl fixed it - and goes outside with Sasha. The storm felled a lot of trees and helped to crush walkers. Mother Nature is Team TWD Family!
It’s a beautiful new dawn. Maggie wanted to show it to Sasha. They watch the sun rise. Noah. The kid. He said he didn’t know if he can make it. That’s how Sasha feels. Maggie says she’s gonna make it. “Both of us, we will. That’s the hard part.” They play the music box. Or try to.
Aaron arrives! He looks clean, healthy and like there's no zombie apocalypse at all. "I’d like to talk to the person in charge. Rick, right?" He says he's a "friend." The friend with water, we assume. "I have good news." The music box plays at that moment. Good timing, box!
Aaron interrogation and ... are "they" coming for Rick's group or is he being paranoid? Is there another group that attacks or is Rick just wary of Aaron's people? Here are more details/spoilers on what’s coming next in Episode 11.