Director Ernest R. Dickerson does everything he can to make this episode of The Walking Dead work, but a weak script undermines the dramatic twist that I think just about everyone saw coming. If you don’t like spoilers, then stop reading now, because I’ve been sitting on this news since this new band of characters was introduced last season. I figured we’d get around to it eventually; I just didn’t expect it to be in the first episode that they spend on their own trying to get to D.C. But then again, if I had to sit through much more of that god-awful bus chat I was going to be hard pressed to keep paying attention. Luckily we get an ultra-dramatic, leaping into the air bus crash that had me laughing out loud. Then we get an ultra-dramatic flashback of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) beating someone to death with a can of soup. If there’s anyone out there who saw this clip in the preview last week and didn’t know it was going to be a flashback, you need to turn in your TV watching card. Anyway, in the flashbacks — the first time we get to actually see some of Abraham’s back story since he and the others were introduced — we are told the fairly predictable tale of Abe’s attempt to save some woman named Ellen (Andrea Moore) — we aren’t told who she or her kids are, but Dickerson does make sure to make Abe’s wedding ring a subtle focal point in future shots, so we can assume — who takes the kids and runs because Abe is big and scary. When he finds their dead and eaten bodies, he puts his gun in his mouth and is about to commit suicide when Eugene (Josh McDermitt) comes stumbling toward him with walkers on his tail. And when I say stumbling, I mean stumbling. Apparently Eugene can only run at the same annoyingly slow and steady pace as when he speaks. Honestly, I think things would have been better off for everybody if they’d both just died there. But instead Eugene tells Abe that he has a very important mission. Which brings us to this episode’s big reveal… Seriously. This is your last chance to stop reading if you don’t want to the story spoiled. Of course, if you’ve read the comics, you already know what’s coming. AND HAVE FOR A YEAR. That mission is bullshit. Always has been. Eugene just made up a good lie and found people desperate for hope to believe in it. Why? Not because he’s malicious or evil. He’s just a realistic coward who knew he wouldn’t be able to survive on his own. Just watching him try to run from three shambling zombies made it clear that he was probably right. He even tried to sabotage the bus so they’d have to go back to the church where he felt safe. I don’t know why broken glass in the gas tank would cause the bus to veer out of control, crash, and then burst into flames, but whatever. The rest of the episode is filled with filler that becomes extremely pointless after the big reveal. We get to watch, alongside Eugene, as Abe and Rosita (Christian Serratos) get it on. That was creepy. I appreciated the way Dickerson made the audience complicit with Eugene’s perviness. It was a nice touch. As far as Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) go, I’m still waiting for at least some acknowledgment that Maggie doesn’t know if HER SISTER Beth is alive or dead. She really doesn’t seem to care at all. That’s really the only over-arching narrative glitch that Gimple and Company seem to have let slip though this season. But it’s still something that needs addressing. So now Abraham has no endgame and beats the living shit out of Eugene for lying to them and sacrificing all the lives they’d lost up until then. Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) friendship with Eugene is going to be tested, but probably not much, really. It was her influence that helped motivate Eugene to tell the truth. That and fear again. They may be heading back to the church, but it’s not really clear what they intend to do now. Good news, though! Next week, we’re back on the hunt for Beth with Daryl and Carol. You know; the characters viewers care about. The Walking Dead 5.05 "Self Help"2.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 2 Responses The Walking Dead 5.10 "Them" - Psycho Drive-In February 17, 2015 […] was written by Heather Bellson — the writer responsible for the worst episode of the season, “Self-Help.” With this being only her fifth produced script since 2011, it definitely could have used a bit more […] Log in to Reply The Walking Dead 5.06 “Consumed” - Psycho Drive-In March 30, 2015 […] seasons. Sure, it still stumbles from time to time, but aside from “Claimed” and last week’s “Self Help” this has been the most consistent stretch of episodes of just about any show on television (maybe […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.