Dehydrated, desperate yet dogged in their journey to Washington, the group once again find themselves on a long, winding round through rural America. Ten minutes in and already you can feel the sighs from much of the show’s viewership as we get set for another one of those aftermath episodes that takes it’s time checking in with various members of the group. In many ways it was one of the more conversational, slow paced and drawn out editions of the show but that doesn’t mean to say it wasn’t without it’s moments.
One point the series was trying to get across was that there is far more to fear in this world than the undead. As with the viral infection back at the prison, unseen dangers are just as likely to kill as the ones that stagger down the highway at you. ‘Them’ used a lack of water as a simple yet realistic threat against the survivors that prayed on them until the clouds eventually gave out.
Daryl foraging for worms felt a little extreme at the start but who can argue with him when he’s been tormented so much in recent times. Likewise with just about anyone in the group, at this point they are battered both emotionally and physically with the realities of the world they now inhabit.
Beth & Tyreese’s deaths have ripped apart a team of survivors that were starting to look strong. Maggie’s heartbreak is clearly the worst of it, more so after the vicious torment of finding out her sister was alive before loosing her without even having the chance at being reunited. This comes not too long after watching her father being decapitated back at the prison and the original losses back at the farm – all of which would have been even more poignant at the sight of another barn.
Sasha made a real dog’s dinner of the bridge tactic and could have gotten the group into serious trouble had the small horde been any bigger. This sequence was a little unusual tactically for the survivors which is good to see as they continue to think of more ways to out fox their predators.
The real stand out moment came with Rick’s barn-storming ‘walking dead’ speech and the ensuing hands-to-the-door barricade during the torrential tempest. For the climactic moment in this mostly calm episode, the direction needed to be spot on to give us that sense of immediate danger and despair. Thankfully it was as the flashes of lightning that highlighted the advancing walkers were perfectly timed and edited together. Having the group notice one-by-one also added intensity to this sequence, especially when Carl left baby Judith on the floor, for a moment the thought of a sneaky walker crawling in through the back crossed most of our minds.
With the storm now passed and most of the Walkers left trampled by timber and bludgeoned by branches (I’m still not quite sure how one managed to get itself impaled about 15ft above the ground) Rick and the others are now free to continue on their journey.
That is until the bump into a new ‘friend’ in the shape of Aaron, what will he have to offer the group? Will they take him in or is he set to play a trickery with them? Who can say, it’s a dog eat dog world out there.