The Walking Dead

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Sunday 9:00 PM on AMC Premiered Oct 31, 2010 In Season

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AJMeredith

 

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  • "We are The Walking Dead"

    10
    "We can make it. But we can only make it This small gleam of hope is spoken by one of the most beloved characters of the series, Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), in an episode where nearly all hope is lost. As an avid fan of AMC's post-apocalyptic fiction TV series The Walking Dead since the very beginning, I can tell you that episodes such as "Them" are what make the show what fans truly love. This episode alone will give you the insight needed into why the fandom for this show is as passionate as it is. It has all the elements that make The Walking Dead the highest rated show on television. Every quality that fans love viewers can find in this episode: its uniqueness, how dynamic it can be, and the depth of not only its characters but the plot as well. Through the inhumane but necessary decisions the characters make to survive, you see them try to cling onto their humanity and basic values. This milestone episode shows how weak we can be but also how strong we are all within the same moment, when we would do anything for the ones that we love.

    I'm sure by now you have heard of The Walking Dead in one place or another, even if you don't habitually tune in on Sunday evenings like the rest of us crazy fans. You've probably heard about this show by word-of-mouth, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, news articles or any of the other millions of types of social media we have. The fandom for this show is out of this world. It started as a comic book series and has only gotten bigger from there: expanding into a TV series, video games, books and even has its own spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead, is the number one show on television with ratings reaching over 17.3 million viewers on its fifth season debut (Carter, . The TV series is quickly approaching its 100th episode in its 7th season. The Walking Dead puts it viewers through a range of emotions; during a season, from episode to episode, and sometimes even within one episode itself. Episode 10 of season five, titled "Them," is one of those episodes and in my opinion the series' best up to this point.

    "Them" takes place on a desolate road that stretches for miles, in the summer heat with no end in sight. With no food, no water, and no car, the group of survivors has set out on foot in search of the smallest glimpse of hope. The group has hit one of their lowest points in the running of the show. They have lost just about everything; some characters have lost everyone, and almost all of them are seeing their wills to push on any further disappear. The characters are divided and morale is nonexistent. We can tell they are struggling throughout this episode as they walk down the road silently. Their heads are hung low, they are covered in dirt and sweat, barely dragging their feet as they strive to keep going with a huge group of "Walkers" (zombies) on their heels. The producers paint us a perfect picture here of what it's like to really struggle. You can see the struggle on the actors' faces and in their body language by the dragging of their feet and their sunken shoulders, and the discontent written across each actors' face. You can hear it in their silence and you can feel it as you watch "The Walkers" get within spitting distance.

    There have been many times through this series when we see characters question their humanity, but in this episode those scenarios arise time and time again. First, watching Maggie (Lauren Cohan) kill a Walker and then question why said Walker didn't just kill herself before she turned in a monster. Second, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) kills a pack of dogs that undoubtedly would have killed the group. The survivors then proceed to eat the dogs like it's their last meal which it very well could be. Finally, as you watch the very stoic and seemingly unbreakable Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) break, as he puts a cigarette out on the top of his hand and starts to cry. All these things make you question your humanity in one form or another. We hear it in Maggie's question and we watch it in the confusion on every character's face as they eat the dogs without so much as a second thought. We feel it in the tears that fall from Daryl's eyes, not in the pain of the burn, but from the pain of a loss of a person close to him. It shows just how truly dynamic these characters have become.

    How is it possible to be weak but strong at the same time? One minute and thirty seconds is all it takes in this episode to prove you can be both weak and strong. The producers put you on an emotional roller coaster once again and they've caught you in a perfect moment of both strength and weakness. A hellish storm has caught all our 16 characters off guard and has forced them into an abandoned barn. Together they are the only people they have left in the world. A raging storm and a sea of walkers have the survivors trapped. At this point, the show has you questioning a million and one things, which happens to be yet another great quality of this episode. One minute and thirty seconds is all it takes to have you panicking, cheering, and reluctant all at the same time. Daryl at the last second notices the group of walkers that are now headed straight for the people he loves. In a last-ditch effort, he holds the door to the barn closed with all his might but he can't do it on his own. Not long after Daryl starts to struggle Maggie rushes to the door, closely followed by Sasha.

    One by one the rest of the group sees what's happening and joins in the fight. This is my favorite scene. This small, one minute and thirty second scene does an extraordinary job of rounding out the episode. I love the symbolism of the most broken characters, the ones who have seemed to given up completely, be the first ones to the barn door fighting for everyone else. They're in a fight to prove that all hope isn't lost, a fight to prove how you can be weak and strong at the same time, a fight to prove that you will do anything for the ones you love despite what it may cost you. After coming full circle, I feel it's appropriate to end with a quote I believe is not only symbolic to this episode, but symbolic for the series. Maggie and Sasha step out of the barn into complete destruction: fallen trees, dead and alive walkers everywhere, most impaled or torn apart. Both actors are astounded at the devastation. Sasha states, "It should have torn us apart," to which Maggie replies, "It