The Walking Dead – Self Help, Consumed, and Crossed (S05E05-07)

The Walking Dead.If someone can tell me where the last month went, I’d appreciate it. I have no excuse for my lapse in reviewing, movie watching, and yelling at my TV (I tend to do this during my shows!) other than I need to get my act together.

I also need to be forthcoming in that I put off watching episodes 5 and 6 (“Self Help” and “Consumed”) of AMC’s The Walking Dead because I was being a little bitch baby. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya. Apparently, in my own exhaustion-rattled mind, I assumed the writers, directors, and maybe even Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese), and Melissa McBride (Carol) would actually listen to my thoughts and views. When it became painfully clear they were not, I put off watching.

Okay, that’s really only partly true. The main reason I put it off is that “Self Help” was all about Abraham and Eugene. And truth be told, both characters annoy the crap out of me. Eugene runs like… well, I don’t know… maybe like a raptor with two broken arms? And Abraham, with his Hair Club for Men red hair and his stereotypical Alpha Man demeanor, simply hasn’t given me a reason to give a damn about him.

So, when The Husband reminded me that I was slacking in my duties, we sat down to watch “Self Help” and “Consumed.” And then followed it up with episode 7, “Crossed.”

Note: There are potential spoilers throughout this review, so you may want to stop here and return after watching the episodes.

First, we have “Self Help.”

The Walking Dead.“Is that a flash forward episode?” Our 10 year old, Htown, whined. “Cause I don’t like those! Where is Michonne?”

Htown, in his own way, was right in that this episode was heavy on the flashbacks. And though I suppose Abraham’s story was supposed to make me care why he is so intent on getting Eugene the scientist to DC, the person that actually made me care about this little band of misfits was… wait for it… Tara (played by Alanna Masterson).

See, I can’t say I cared that Abraham lost his family. In this situation, I’m a firm believer in survival of the fittest. If his wife couldn’t see that he did what he had to do (The Husband and I guessed that the men Abraham killed in the grocery store were bad guys in some way.) and then risks the lives of her children to get away from him, thinking she could fare better on her own with two small children, well the only people I felt sorry for were the children. Furthermore, why didn’t Abraham know his wife was so fragile? And just when Abraham was deciding to end his own life (after he discovered the bodies of his wife and children), Eugene the raptor comes running up asking for help. When he tells Abraham he is a scientist and can end all this, we see our large red-headed leprechaun grasp at anything to live. He saw Eugene as his hope, and though he isn’t my favorite character, I can’t fault him for grasping that lifeline.

The Walking Dead.And yet, I knew Eugene was fishy. No genius runs like that! I could even buy the reasoning behind the mullet (someone told him it made him look fun). But that run… nope. And… I was right. Eugene isn’t a scientist, he’s just a guy that used the only weapon for survival at his disposal – his brain. And that’s why Tara has endeared herself to me. She got it, right off the bat. Eugene can’t fight. He’s afraid to kill (though he finally did to save Tara). The only thing he is good at is being smart, and he used that to his advantage. Abraham was the one that blindly believed him – so much so that he persuaded others to join in the cause. And I was glad that Eugene finally fessed up, before they ventured into the field/farm/whatever that was full of walkers. In the end, this episode did little for me other than confirm my suspicions that Eugene was full of shit and showed me that he and Abraham were both using each other – Eugene uses Abraham because he is strong, while Abraham uses Eugene’s lie as a reason to go on. This episode doesn’t necessarily move the story forward for me, unless you count the fact that DC is no longer on the table, and this gives our core group a reason to get back together – where I like them. With that said we can’t forget those pressure-washed walkers. Wow!

The Walking Dead.Episode 6, “Consumed,” on the other hand was VERY effective for me. I could have done without the flashbacks on Carol’s time in exile (“More flash forwards, Mommy? Why? And where is Michonne?” Htown apparently could have done without them too!). Instead I would rather see her life with her husband and daughter, Sophia. We didn’t get to see her life back then, but this episode spoke volumes about it!

Daryl and Carol (LOVE IT!) are after Beth. They saw the car with the white cross on it, and they go after it. This takes them back into the ATL, which is looking rough by the way. (Are they EVER leaving Georgia?!) When it becomes obvious that they need a place to hole up, Carol states that she “knows a place.” And we find out it was a women’s shelter. Without saying a whole lot, we know that Carol is familiar with this place, and based on the fact that she knows her way around, Daryl picks up on that too. When they get there, it’s dark, almost ominous, and while the two are searching for a room, we hear banging. The next scene is heartbreaking. A female walker is banging on the window, hungry, but it is the tiny form next to her that breaks everyone’s heart. (Yes, I said everyone! Cause if you watched that and weren’t moved, I’d check for a pulse.) Carol pauses, and just before she can go in to dispatch of them, Daryl tells her she doesn’t have to.

The Walking Dead.Daryl and Carol find a room, and argue about who will take watch. Daryl insists that they are safe and should both get some sleep. Carol says she doesn’t mind taking first watch. And I got the impression that the memories were making it hard for her to rest. Finally, she does, and when morning rolls around, we see our brave archer burning something – two guesses what it is. The visual of Daryl carrying that tiny corpse covered by a sheet was heart-wrenching, and I had to mentally high five him for giving a mother and her child a death with some dignity.

When Dar-ol (Daryl and Carol) leave the shelter and spot a van with the cross on it, things once again get hairy. The van is on a bridge in a precarious position, and they can’t get a good look at it. So, they go to a building closer, and guess who they run into? Yep, Noah (Tyler James Williams) who ends up ambushing Dar-ol. Sloppy, sloppy! Anyway, he corners them in a covered walkway where a number of people had holed up in tents and sleeping bags. Noah takes Daryl’s crossbow (HOW DARE HE!) and Carol’s gun, and as a parting gift he decides to rip open the tent that had a few walkers flailing around in it.

Not knowing what else to do, our two heroes make their way to the van, balancing on the bridge. Daryl decides to head on in, nevermind that the front end is hanging over the edge, and when they, without weapons, get surrounded by walkers, they choose the only escape route… they buckle in and ride it on down off the bridge. But no worries, it miraculously lands right-side up, and takes a few walkers with them. Unfortunately, Carol is pretty banged up, and so it’s slow going for the two, until they run into guess who? Yep, Noah! Again!

The Walking Dead.They figure out that he knows Beth and wants to save her. When Noah finds out that Daryl and Carol want the same thing, they decide to team up. That is after Daryl tackles Noah, a bookshelf falls on him, Daryl saves him from a walker that almost eats his face, and lifts the bookshelf off of him. Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned. Noah tells them that the bad guys will have heard the gunshot (Daryl shot the walker trying to munch on Noah’s face.), and they needed to go. Noah explains that there is a basement in the next office building, and they will be safe there. Daryl encourages Carol to run, and when she does, she is hit by one of the white cross cars. Noah has to hold Daryl back, saying that Dawn and her band of rapists (You know they are!) will at least help Carol. Noah makes it clear that they need to regroup because Dawn has people and guns.

“So do we,” Daryl fires out as a parting shot.

The Walking Dead.I got more of what I like in episode 7, “Crossed,” in that we saw a little bit of everyone. It was clear exactly who Daryl brought to the church at the end of episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof,” though we never did see Noah amble out of the woods. And I was happy that my initial prediction in my earlier review was right. And though I didn’t like it, this little rescue mission was going to see our group once again separated – Rick took Tyreese, Sasha, Noah, and Daryl to ATL to rescue Beth and Carol, while Michonne held down the church with Carl, Baby Judith, and Father Annoying (I mean Gabriel), and then of course we have Abraham and his group sitting by the side of the road pondering their next move. But, because this was the episode before the mid-season finale, we did get some forward movement.

  • Abraham’s Group – Abraham is still pissed, and after cold-cocking the crap out of Eugene (Seriously, we thought Eugene was dead when he hit the pavement.), Leprechaun has done little more than sit on the side of the road. Though when Rosita (whom he is having a relationship with) tells him he isn’t the only one to be disappointed, that he needs to get over his shit, he shoves her, and Maggie isn’t having that. She pulls a gun on Abraham, and in a voice steady as I ever heard tells him to check himself, or she will end him. I bought it. Once again, Tara puts things into perspective when she, Rosita, and Glenn go off to try to find something to eat, and they see some walkers trapped under a telephone pole. She tells them something to the effect of, “don’t get up, there’s nothing in Washington for them.” Glenn admonishes her saying that wasn’t funny. Tara points out that it wasn’t not funny and explains that it is what it is. They can dwell on it or let it go and move on. Wise words!
  • The Church Crew – Gabriel is so fishy… and you know when he goes off and says he just needs some rest, he is up to something. Oh wait, he’s ripping up the floorboards to escape! Where he thinks he is going to go, I don’t know.
  • The Walking Dead.The ATL – Rick wants to go into the hospital guns blazing. He’s confident his plan will work – if all goes exactly as he envisions. Tyreese counters by suggesting they capture two guards and exchange them for Carol and Beth. In his proposal, everybody wins; everybody goes home. Rick doesn’t like this idea, and Daryl ends up being the deciding vote. (Side Note: I have no problem with Tyreese being the voice of reason, so long as he starts stepping up.) The votes are in, and they are going to capture a few of Dawn’s henchmen.
  • The Hospital – Beth is just trying to keep Carol alive. One of the more disgusting guards, O’Donnell (played with a creepy intensity by Ricky Wayne), doesn’t want to waste resources on Carol. She hasn’t woken up yet, so why bother? Dawn agrees, and Beth intervenes asking how much of their resources are wasted on O’Donnell charging his DVD player. Dawn can’t back down – she wouldn’t want to appear weak. But later she gives Beth the key to the medicine cabinet, telling her to help Carol. Dawn’s motivation is lost on me up to this point. Is she a good guy? A bad guy? An idiot? What is her end game?

Unfortunately, in this episode, the groups never meet up, but regardless we see that they each have a purpose.

  • Abraham finally snaps out of his self-misery, and we can assume they are headed back to the church.
  • Carl tries desperately to get through to the priest before he throws his hissy fit and locks himself in his office. Carl just wants him to learn to defend himself, but Gabriel can’t do it. My only reasoning for this is that Gabriel sucks.
  • Beth just wants to keep her friend alive. She is determined to get out of the hospital, but she won’t leave Carol.
  • The Walking Dead.Rick and his band of merry men capture three cops, and after some gnarly shots of melting walkers (so gross!), we see one of the cops (his name is Bob too) talk his way into Sasha’s head. He saw a walker he knew and just wants to put his old friend out of his misery. MmHmm! Sasha offers to help and brings New Bob over to the window to show her, when he proceeds to knock her out and escape. Way to go, Sasha!

Some of my final thoughts before I wrap up what is surely the world’s longest review/recap:

  • Gabriel needs to be given a clear-cut role. Right now, he is about as interesting as a lump on a log. The character is sooo wishy-washy that he either needs to snap out of it or be put out of his misery. When he escapes the church and runs off, I assume he is seeking confirmation of Original Bob’s account of just how bad things are out there. I assume he just wants to see what the world is really like. And despite getting almost eaten, he still couldn’t kill a walker for the simple fact that she was wearing a cross. I suppose he can’t grasp that the woman was already dead.
  • I want the group back together. DC is off the table, and the church isn’t big enough for any sort of permanent base of operations, so let’s move forward. I very much enjoyed the idea of a place of permanence – the prison worked well for that. But hey, the Governor (Bastard!) is out of the picture, so go shore up Woodbury. Another prison, a gated community, a large hotel. Something! But our group needs to work toward something real… because wandering around Georgia is, dare I say it, getting monotonous.

What’s next for our group? Well, I’ll tell you, I already watched the mid-season finale, but so much happened there, that it needs its own review/recap.

About Xina

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Hello, fellow horror fans! I grew up watching horror, and my love for the genre is still going strong! Slasher films are sort of my secret-well, probably not so secret-obsession, but I'm up for anything-zombies, creature features, B movies, D movies-you name it, I'll give it a shot. Sometimes to the annoyance of my husband. I'm on twitter @Xina143, send me a tweet and tell me what I should watch next!"

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One comment

  1. Chewie

    Great recap – and welcome back! Missed you!

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