Episode Title: Self Help
Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Slabtown, was a very intriguing one, focusing mostly on the return to the show of Beth (Emily Kinney) who found herself waking up in an Atlanta hospital ward. The people in charge had apparently saved her from death and nursed her back to health, and in return required her to help them with the work they did in the hospital. Nursing other found survivors back to health, cleaning, and all the other things that came with the territory. Beth agreed, but soon saw a sinister underbelly to the new community she found herself in, and thus attempted to escape, only to be captured and thrown back into the ward, slapped hard in the face by the overseer, of sorts, Officer Dawn (Christine Woods). The episode ended with Carol (Melissa McBride) being stretchered, unconscious, into the hospital, and Beth’s facial reaction to seeing her bringing the episode to a fade to black end.
This week we don’t go back to where last week ended, but rather fall back into the storyline involving the group that are heading to Washington, consisting of Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Tara, Maggie and Glenn. Before joining back with them we see the first flashback of the episode involving Abraham and his past. We see him bludgeoning someone to death with a can, his hands covered with blood. We then catch up with the group as they are traveling on the bus they repaired at the church. Fairly quickly the bus spins out of control due to an engine problem, and flips onto its side. The group escape the wreckage before the bus explodes, killing a large quantity of walkers who have gathered around it. Making a group decision to carry on to Washington, with Eugene being the only one to dispute it, they find refuge in a nearby Library. We witness another flashback during this time showing Abraham’s wife and children fleeing from him in the night, leaving a message for him not to try to find them. Maggie expresses guilt over her and Glenn’s decision to leave the other half of the group and Eugene confesses to Tara that he rigged the bus to malfunction because he was afraid that if they got to Washington they would no longer need him. Tara tells Eugene that she will keep his secret because they are friends. The group find a fire truck and, after Eugene sprays a horde of zombies to pieces with the hose, fix it up and continue on their journey. They reach a long road and begin to smell something foul, only to see that there main route is blocked by a vast amount of Walkers. The group argue, with all except for Abraham wanting to detour and avoid the obviously perilous road they are on. When the row begins to spiral out of control, Eugene makes a blockbuster admittance that he is not a scientist and doesn’t have any way of stopping the current situation, but rather wanted to go to Washington and have allies, because he felt like it was the best place to find a solution. Abraham flips out at this bombshell and repeatedly punches Eugene in the face, knocking him out. We don’t find out whether he survived the attack or not. The episode comes to an end with a final flashback sequence showing Abraham finding his family dead, and about to kill himself. As he puts a gun in his mouth he hears screaming for help, and this is where we see him originally meeting Eugene, saving him from a walker attack. Eugene then tells Abraham that he is part of an important mission as we face to black for another week.
Another episode in which a lot happened and new story developments occurred, this was one of those slower moving episodes where we witness lots of development of the characters, here being mostly for Abraham and Eugene. The big announcement from Eugene that he isn’t a scientist and has no known way of solving the epidemic opens up a big door for the future of the season. Until now, it seemed that all the characters were eventually heading to Washington, but now with this news it begs the question: will they still go there? Eugene took a beating at the end of the episode too, is he still alive, or did he get punched to death by the angry and lost Abraham? We will probably jump back into the story of the group at the church, or possibly to the hospital with Beth and Carol, next week, so more answers will likely be given, and more questions asked. A lot has happened in this season so far, and just when you think something is going to happen, it spins around and takes an entirely surprising direction. I love that about this show, you just never know where they’re going to go from one week to the next.
I liked the backstory given to Abraham here using the flashback scenes in which we saw Abraham’s brutality causing his family to leave him, and when he found them dead he lost all hope and was about to kill himself. With the new information that Eugene has been lying to him all along, will we see Abraham put the gun back in his mouth, or will he fight on, possibly even sticking to the plan to go to Washington? It’s an interesting road we’re on, and one I am very excited to keep following. With Maggie and Glenn obviously second-guessing their decision to join Abraham’s group, will they head back to the church and join back up with Rick and company, or will they stick it out in the conflict of their current gang?
I’m hoping that we get an episode, next week, in which we join up with Beth in the hospital, as well as the group at the church, because they will obviously need to join the stories again soon, with us still waiting to find out who Michonne discovered alongside Daryl in the bushes outside the church a couple of episodes ago. Still, wherever it takes us next, I have faith that it will be entertaining and compelling, like every episode, in my view, has been so far this season. Storytelling on television doesn’t get much better than this, and with the new characters introduced at the hospital, and the priest at the church, there are plenty of unanswered questions that are going to be very interesting to watch play out.
Until next week. Don’t go near the barn, Carl.