In "Them," the act of survival begins to weigh heavily on Maggie, Sasha and Noah

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated February 15, 2015 10:00 PM
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Credit: AMC

Death happens not just to you, but to the people you leave behind.

That never became more clear on The Walking Dead than in “Them,” when survival became a burden for Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Noah (Tyler James Williams), who were still reeling over the losses of Tyreese (Chad L.Coleman) and Beth (Emily Kinney).

Meanwhile, Daryl (Norman Reedus) had trouble even accessing his grief and the group at large appeared more desperate than ever just before a beacon of hope arrived in the form of a man named Aaron.

Maggie and Sasha Are Not Doing Well

As Daryl resorted to digging worms out of the ground for food as the group at large began to fade from hunger and thirst, Maggie couldn’t even have a moment alone in her grief without a walker coming for her or without the reality of their situation intruding at every turn.

On a hunt for water, Sasha found a bunch of dead frogs lying belly-up in the dirt. She hastily buried one of them, making it clear that Tyreese’s recent burial was not far from her mind, either.

When Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), clerical collar itching in the heat, tried to comfort Maggie in her grief, she went for the throat: “You don’t know s—. You had a job. You were there to save your flock, right? But you didn’t. You hid. Don’t act like that didn’t happen.”

As the group walked, listlessly, a group of walkers trailed behind them without any real purpose – just a reminder, really, of Team Rick’s constant, overwhelming burden.

“We’re Not Dead”

In an attempt to find anything at all to eat, Daryl retreated into the woods with Carol (Melissa McBride), who knew that he needed to deal with his grief. “She saved my life,” Carol said, referring to Beth. “She saved your life too, right?” Handing Beth’s knife over to a silent Daryl, she continued, “We’re not dead. That’s what you said. You’re not dead. … I know you. You have to let yourself feel it.” Brushing his hair away from his face, she kissed his forehea, and told him, “You will.” As Carol walked off, Daryl stared silently into the distance.

Suddenly cornered by the walkers who were tailing them, the group decided to deal with them by leading them off a bridge until Sasha decided to start getting aggressive, stabbing heads. Michonne (Danai Gurira), knowing that Sasha was just taking out her grief, told her that she needed to stop and to get out. As in last week’s episode, Michonne knew that her comrades were starting to lose themselves, and she knew better than anyone how important it would be to keep that from happening.

Abraham Finds Booze, Wild Dogs Appear

In their search for food or water, the only thing that turned up was a bottle of booze, which Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) was happy enough to drink despite the fact it would only make his situation worse. “He’s a grown man. I truly do not know if things can get worse,” Eugene (Josh McDermitt) pointed out. “They can,” added Rosita (Christian Serratos).

Indeed, they could – at that moment, a pack of snarling, wild dogs came barreling out of the woods and straight for our exhausted heroes. Sasha, however, was not deterred and shot precious bullets into each of their heads.

Grabbing sticks for a fire, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) set to work. Some were more thrilled to chew on dog meat than others; Noah especially didn’t seem to be managing to eat at all. He told Sasha, “He tried to help me. I don’t know if I’m gonna make it.” She replied, “Then you won’t.”

Gabriel, too, was as despondent as Noah. With his top shirt button undone under his clerical collar, he was sitting next to Maggie and staring listlessly into the fire when he threw his clerical collar right into it.

“I Don’t Know If I Wanna Fight It Anymore”

As they continued on their journey, Maggie confided in Glenn (Steven Yeun) that she wasn’t even sure whether she wanted to go on surviving. “You do,” Glenn insisted. “That’s who you are. Maybe it’s a curse nowadays, but I don’t think so. You fought to be here. We have to keep fighting.” In response, Maggie took the tiniest sip of water from their small stores at his behest. She would keep fighting for now.

Meanwhile, Abraham offered Sasha a sip of his booze, but she declined, telling him it would only make things worse. “The way you’re going, you’re always gonna make things worse,” he responded.

Daryl, on his own suicidal mission, wouldn’t take Glenn’s water. Continuing his optimist streak, Glenn told Daryl: “We can make it together. But we can only make it together.”

At that, Daryl took off into the woods to have a sneaky smoke as he stared into the near distance at a barn. Halfway through his cigarette, he began to push it into his hand. As it burned into his skin, his expression didn’t change for a little while, and then it happened all at once: He began to cry – over Beth, over his wound, possibly over both and over everything.

When Daryl came back, there were jugs of water in the road. “From a friend,” read the sign left by them. Eugene was the only one to grab a bottle as the rest were too wary to drink it. Abraham knocked it out of his mouth, perhaps as a reflex from spending so long trying to protect him. He seemed surprised by his own reaction.

Then it began to rain. As everyone smiled about their tiny bit of good fortune, only Sasha, Maggie and Daryl continued to be solemn. Gabriel cried, telling the sky, “I’m sorry, my Lord.”

Of course, the rain had to attack them, too – in seconds, a thunderstorm began to roll in. Daryl remembered the barn, and off they went.

“Every Day He Woke Up He Told Himself, ‘Rest in Peace, Now Get Up and Go to War’ ”

In the barn, Maggie found a walker who had a gun near her. “She had a gun, she could’ve shot herself,” she told Carol, who replied, “Some people can’t give up. Like us.” Maggie took a deep, sobering breath.

Around the fire, Rick told the group about his grandfather, who fought in World War II. As a child, he asked his grandfather whether he had ever killed any Germans, but he wouldn’t respond. When asked if any Germans had ever tried to kill him, Rick’s grandfather “got real quiet, and said he was dead the minute he stepped into enemy territory.”

“Every day he woke up he told himself, ‘Rest in peace, now get up and go to war.’ And then, after a few years of pretending he was dead, he made it out alive. And that’s the trick of it, I think. We do what we need to do and then we get to live.”

“But no matter what we find in D.C., I know we’ll be okay. Because this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.”

Title drop! The walkers aren’t the Walking Dead in question, after all.

Aaron Comes to Visit

During the night, walkers began to pound at the doors. Everyone helped to keep the doors shut, their boots sliding in the mud, and when Maggie opened her eyes the next morning it seemed as if it may have all been a dream.

However, as she walked out into the sunshine with Sasha, there were walkers and fallen trees littered everywhere. “It should’ve torn us apart,” said Maggie of the storm (and the walkers, too).

As they watched the sun rise, Sasha admitted that she, like Noah, wasn’t sure if she’d be able to make it. “You’re gonna make it. Both of us. We will,” said Maggie. “That’s the hard part.”

Then, a man (Ross Marquand) walked up, introducing himself as Aaron, “a friend,” asking to speak to Rick specifically. “Why?” the women asked, guns drawn. “I have good news,” he promised.