After last week’s mid-season return, now comes life after Tyreese (Chad Coleman). Having fallen victim to a young walker in the last episode, the burly Tyreese is no more. Not content with just wallowing in that particular death, Them also takes some time to reflect on the death of Beth (Emily Kinney). Oh, you mean the one and the same Beth with who sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan) barely mentioned for large chunks of Season 5 yet now weeps for? Yep, that one.
As ever with The Walking Dead, though, time for mourning and reflection is minimal. Despite the sadness, the show must go on. And by show, that means trapesing through back roads and woods in the search of supplies and possibly some sort of exit plan from the world gone to shit. Well at least there were some gnarly-looking dogs briefly on the scene (clearly somebody had been playing Resident Evil) to possibly stir up some real danger, although they were easily offed by the now-my-brother’s-dead-so-I’m-nails Sasha (Sonequa Martin). And there was some rain. Finally some rain. What was it that Garbage said about only being happy when it rains? Sure, there’s initial joy at the H2O stuff but then it gets a tad too moist for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his beard, and the rest of the gang and so they end up seeking solace and shelter, although it seems apparently the main reason for this is so that Rick can regale the group with tales of his granddad in the war and how it relates to the current hell-hole that they find themselves in the middle of. And so we get a metaphorical (and literal) fighting against the storm.
Not every episode of The Walking Dead can be filled with fast, frantic action and heavy-hitting deaths. Hell, most episodes tend to be a far slower pace than that, and Them is no different. To say that this is a sombre episode is as much of an understatement as saying that Kanye West is just a little bit of a dickhead. Amongst the bleakness, though, we get to see the struggles of characters as they deal with the inevitable death of those close to them. The dead could easily have been any one of them, it just so happens that the latest to fall were Beth and Tyreese, and each member of the group knows that it is seemingly just a matter of time before it could be their time to take their final breath. Then for the ones who do survive, how long will that be for and what sort of life will they have? Pulling straight from the comic books, we even get to hear Rick mutter, “We are the walking dead!”
Sure, Them wont shake the show’s foundations to their core, but it’s an episode that settles the audience back into the day-to-day mundane art of simply living and surviving, which is essentially the struggle that is always at the centre of The Walking Dead.
Just when you think all is bleak and depressing, up pops a stranger by the name of Aaron (Ross Marquand) who wants to speak to Rick. He looks clean, healthy, and ever so slightly chipper in his claim that he means the group no harm. For fans familiar with the comics, Aaron’s arrival certainly brings a lot of possibilities with it, but we’ll leave it there for fear of any potential spoilers.
In terms of downbeat episodes, The Walking Dead has had fewer more bleak outings than Them. In terms of pacing, this particular entry moves along about as rapidly as an OAP on a scooter with a knackered battery. Still, that Aaron chap, let’s see what tidings of joy he can bring to the immediate future of the show…
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