Walking Dead 5.5 – Self Help

[knowing, smug smirk]

[knowing, smug smirk]

 I’m not one to say I told you so. But if I was? You feel me. Yeah, yeah, comic book readers knew what we find out, but no one is passing out badges for being a comic book reader. (That would be pretty sweet, though.)

So last week, and now we pick up with Abraham’s rag tag bunch on the church bus. If I remember church bus trips, the cool couple should be in the back making out, and the nerd will be up front chatting with the bus driver.

Instead, Rosita is running her fingers through Abraham’s hair as he drives. Oh, so it’s the sexy girl who grew too fast hitting on the bus driver, we had that one summer, too. Tara hears Rosita offering to cut Abe’s hair and is all “HEY BEAVER FLAP, how about a trim and a jump to current fashion trends?”

Eugene makes a Samson reference to himself, and hoo boy will we be talking about Samson. And it’s because Samson ultimately was a sad, pitiable figure in the Old Testament. He started off as someone who was purported to have great importance, ahem, and yet through pride and sin, ultimately met his demise. His weakness was sexual in nature, and look at how this happens a lot this episode with Eugene being a creepy creeper who creeps? And indeed from the first moment we meet him he’s been a nasty mouth-breather around the ladies. More on that later.

Maggie is trying to make themselves believe Rick & Co are on their way, too, thinking positive because she and Glenn are glass half-full types. Huh. Their optimism is important, though.

Eugene’s all, “Enough of that. LET’S TALK NERDY, AKA, allow me to assert my importance in the group. Now that global warming is going to be stopped (yay good thing to come out of all of this?) I will have to remodel my calculations on weather patterns affecting the spread of a cure for lo, I am the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. of this apocalypse sitch-ee-ashun and will bring us the Win.”

Eugene says his hairdo is like that because his old boss thought it made him look like a “fun guy.” I think that was sarcasm you heard, Eugene. He’s basically a complaining, self-important gross dude, and I haven’t liked him from Day One, and ugh. Yuck.

They drive past some Walkers, loo loo loo, and then OUT OF NOWHERE SOMETHING BLOWS and then HOSHIT THERE GOES THE BUS, STRAIGHT TO FLIP CITY. Abraham officially sucks as a driver, wow. Turn INTO the skid, Abraham! Aaaaaand Walkers approach. Great.

Eh, some WD-40 and duct tape should get you right back on track.

Eh, some WD-40 and duct tape should get you right back on track.

I realized that the intro’s images are all ones of transition—moving down the road, walking in a field, camping equipment, a wheelchair or bike, even the cross, if you think about it. Death just leads to the next stage, unless the brain is destroyed. Nice. This season we’re constantly on the move, nowhere to light, huh? I like it. It’s amping up the stress levels not having a safe place to call home.

But we immediately cut to: someone getting their head beat in with a soup can. It’s Abraham wielding the can, and he’s beating someone in military garb. There are… a lot of bodies in the hall. Lots of bloody cans, too. He calls for “Ellen” before snapping awake on the bus, wrecked and on its side. Eugene (of course) is pinned under a loose bench.

Glenn and Abraham are going the clear the way out of the door by sheer force of will. Tara tells Eugene to grow a pair and get his hands dirty, while insisting she’s watching his 6. She does, and everyone dispatches the Walkers easily as Eugene has a minor freak out and does nothing because he is the End Times Tits on a Warthog. [Dibs on country Christian metal band name: End Times Tits on a Warthog!]

That is, he’s useless until Tara gets taken by surprise. He stabs it in the back, leaving Tara to finish it for him.

Well now Tara's going to want to fistbump you, Camaro Cut. And no, that's not a euphemism.

Well now Tara’s going to want to fistbump you, Camaro Cut. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Abraham insists Eugene gets triage even though he LITERALLY stood aside watching everyone else kick ass. Abraham, however, has a big cut on his hand covered in blood, but says it’s okay. Everything is going to be okay! Cue: the bus catching on fire. Well, great.

They’ll just push on, Abraham insists. They will not retreat. “Every direction is a question. We don’t go back!” He’s straight up in soldier mode.

Glenn: Hey, we get it, we’re here, chill out, maybe?
Abraham: I’ll rub some dirt in it and walk it off.

Ahaha! Thank you for reminding me of the glory that is Amanda Bynes’ “She’s The Man.”

Tara: HEY REMEMBER BIKES, THE BEST TRANSPORT IN THE APOCALYPSE?
Everyone: NO. FOSSIL FUELS ALWAYS.

Eugene walks over to the Walker he stabbed and spits on her. Yeah, you tell ’em! Jackass…

We’re immediately back to Abe’s past, him calling for Ellen and walking through an industrial kitchen. A woman and a little boy turn around, and it IMMEDIATELY jumps to Current Abe kicking into a building to check for Walkers. Uh… I get the jarring nature of memory, and it’s arty and stuff, but you have to do something to make the viewer not think their DVR is on the fritz.

They set up in a bookstore, using the water out of the toilet tanks (smart) and barricade themselves in, duct taping covers over the windows to block the light. DOUBLE SMART.

Eugene burns a piece of paper. Hmm. They’re all tearing up paper and burning it in trash cans. What.

PROTIP: HOW TO MAKE PAPER LOGS. You will need lots of paper (newspaper is especially good for this) a bucket, a dowel or some other rollable stick (fluorescent lightbulb will work in a pinch), a bucket of water, and room to lay out wet paper to work. Soak the paper for about an hour, after separating it into smaller sections. Lay out the folded paper (the normal north south fold), layering a new, wet section on top in a staggered pattern like dallen dominoes. Using your dowel, roll up the paper as tightly as possible, pressing out the water as you go, then slipping the dowel out once you’ve made your “log.” Lay these in the sun, near a vent, or near a fire for a day or so to properly dry. They’re dense, yet light and can be carried in your bed roll under your backpack.

There are now hangers over the trash can with the fire going as an impromptu stove (nice) in order to sterilize some water. Some thread from an old book gets pulled out and cleaned, and we’re going to have some great stitches sown in by Rosita to fix Abe’s hand.

PROTIP: SUPER GLUE, FOLKS. Super glue. Find it, hoard it, use it. It was originally created as “liquid stitches.” Plus, it seals off the wound to help prevent new infection.

Abraham and Glenn have a heart to heart that leads to Abe musing that anyone still alive by this point has to be strong by now. (Eugene? Um.) He knows that you gotta be strong and help if they’ll help, or kill if they’ll kill you. But it’s not easy. Well… “That’s not the truth.” Mm hmm. Looked easy in that flashback… “It’s the easiest thing in the world now.” Ha. See? Abraham has a daaaark past.

He goes off to “get some ass, first,” and Glenn is me, “I didn’t need to know that, cool, but…”

CUT TO TWO BACKED BEAST GRUNTING, AND EUGENE IS WATCHING THEM AND THAT IS AWFUL AWFUL NO NO DO NOT LIKE GROSS. That gee dee flat top mullet is peering over the books, and Rosita tells Abraham she knows he’s watching, but they don’t stop, and Rosita says he’s, “right there in the self-help section.” AHAHAHA, masturbation jokes. Still.

Tara: [hits him] NASTY BRO.
Eugene: I BELIEVE THEY LIKE IT. AND I LIKE LADIES. And this is a victimless crime that provides both comfort and distraction.
Me: EW EW EW I HATE YOU EUGENE.
Tara: Let’s uh… change topics. Thanks for the save earlier?
Eugene: Sure. By they way, I sabotaged the bus with crushed glass in the fuel lines. Theoretically it shouldn’t have started. I guess I forgot to carry the one.
Tara: UH WE COULD HAVE DIED. WHY??
Eugene: [waves hand down length of his pasty, weak, boil-riddled and cholesterol-filled body] I cannot survive on my own. So. If I don’t have value, I won’t get to live. If I don’t cure the world, I’ll die.
Tara: UH WE AREN’T LIKE THAT? Wow. Bleak much? Um, so, anything else you’d like to confess?
Eugene: …no? So we’re friends now?
Tara: Yeah! Sure!
Eugene: [whispers behind her back] You’re my first friend… [reaches out to touch her like Buffalo Bill in his Night Vision goggles I JUST REALLY HATE EUGENE.]

"bleuuuuuAHHHHHhehlaaaargh!"

“bleuuuuuAHHHHHhehlaaaargh!”

Glenn and Maggie are curled up, and Maggie can’t sleep because she’s feeling guilty about leaving the group. And not one mention of Beth. IT IS YOUR SISTER. I mean, I love Maggie and Glenn like nobody’s business, but come on, Mags. By which I mean, come on, writers! Family was everything to the Greenes.

Abraham’s remembering Ellen again, and we’re right to where that harsh jump cut was earlier: a woman, afraid, two kids clinging to her. They’re terrified. He says “I stopped them. You don’t have to be scared anymore.” And he looks and sees his hands covered in blood, saying “It’s okay…”

AGAIN, A HARSH CUT TO NOW (like, the music just shuts off, and it’s odd. Again, I’m a fan of jump cuts, but you have to let us know it’s not a GLITCH). Rosita’s checking Abe’s hand. She wants to stay another day, but he wants to keep going and is a real dick about it. Maggie wants to make the book store a base camp, but Rosita knows Abe, knows they’ll just push on, scavenging as they go. (I’m on Maggie’s side here. Shore up a fallback position, get supplies loaded up, rest, then push on.)

They’re going to take a fire truck, one which happens to have 500 gallons of water on it already. Yeah, but how much gas? Still, noice. I assume Abe has a Class C driver’s license—the engine starts up! And then knocks off. A fire engine is a great option, though, because firefighters keep their engines tip top.  The problem is all the brain matter in the air intake filters. Bleurgh. Fortunately Rosita knows her engines, but before they can get to it, Walkers pour out of the fire station. Like, LOTS.

And then JESUS CHRIST, EUGENE, he’s up on top of the truck blasting off Walkers’ heads with the hose (I guess they’re rotten enough), and THAT IS A WASTE, YOU ARE OUT OF WATER. Can’t you clothesline them with the hose and take them out as they turtle on their backs? It’s pretty cool watching them disintegrate, though.

Look at this wasteful summbitch.

Look at this wasteful summbitch.

Abraham is tickled by this—sees a sign painted on the ground: sick inside, let them die. Ahaha. Ha. Ha? Life’s shit, then you die, loo loo loo! Let’s get on the road, kiddos!

Flashback: Abraham curled up in his bloody regs, sees that Ellen and the kids are gone, have left a note “Don’t try to find us.” He of course goes running.

Now, though, he’s using his glorious arms to tinker with the engine again (I have a long-standing crush on Michael Cudlitz’s arms. See: every Southland recap and mention of Capt. Bull Randleman on this site), but this time they’re out on the road in the middle of nowhere. The fire truck doesn’t look so hot. You know, there should be some armed tanks at a police station somewhere.

Eugene is reading H. G. Wells’ THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, a book about the world of the future (now) descending into chaos, a plague wiping out a significant portion of humanity, and ultimately becoming a world run by polymaths, which Eugene CLEARLY believes himself to be. I see what you did there, Show. And I like it. Hubris of mankind, yes, indeed.

Maggie says she knows why he has the haircut. And it’s because the mullet is a statement of personality. It made him a “rockstar” in the lab. So this whole ep is about making Eugene feel good about himself? BOR-ING.

“You’re not like Samson,” she says. “He was a mess.” She then breaks down the Samson riddle “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet,” and says what I always thought growing up: how the hell are people supposed to guess the damn riddle, Samson, when no one saw what you saw with the lion and the bees and the hive? This is a case of someone thinking they were far more clever than they were. AHEM.

Fun Fact! SAMSON was a judge meant to save the Israelites from the Philistines (another word for uneducated boobs in this day and age) and ultimately was undone by his pride (he thought he was super clever and got his bride and father-in-law killed, bragged about his strength to Delilah and got his eyes popped out for it) and finally tore down the very foundation of the Philistines (Abraham?) in the end. OHO.

Something wicked this way comes on the wind, but they’re moving towards it, because there’s no other choice. And Abe’s hand is bleeding through his bandage. (Out, out, damn spot!) They crest a hill, the smell is awful, and they’re faced with a small herd of Walkers and… is it a feed lot full of dead animals? GAH. No, it is a feed lot full of WALKERS, good hell.

Abraham: I will not lie down. I will not abase. I will not give up the ship.
Everyone: UH. You do have eyes, right? And a nose? COME ON, BRO. BRO. Bro.
Abraham: They can’t hear us and they can’t see us, not from here. Let’s go!
Me: YOU ARE BEING BULL HEADED, RANDLEMAN. (haha. I just love Band of Brothers, okay?)

Rosita isn’t going to agree this time. They have to detour, and he’s being really weird about it. He won’t detour ever again, okay?? He grabs Eugene roughly by the arm, and Glenn and Rosita try to stop him, but he freaks the hell out, it looks really close to a shoot out between Abe and everyone, and Eugene screams, “I’m not a scientist! I’m not a scientist! I lied!”

I FUCKING KNEW IT. Guys? Y’all need to trust Mama Stone’s instincts, okay? I WILL SEE YOU THROUGH THE HARD TIMES. I have yet to be wrong on picking out the good and the bad.

Eugene: I don’t know how to stop it. I’m not a scientist.
Me: You dirty, shady mothertrucker. Yeah, he can get Mozambiqued.
Everyone: UH………………………….. [internal horror]
Eugene: Oopsie? I’m like really good at knowing shit? But I’m mostly a very good liar. And I think DC is the best place to survive.
Me: PLEASE SHOOT HIM IN THE BRAIN MATTER.
Everyone: PEOPLE DIED TRYING TO GET YOU HERE.
Eugene: [rattles off everyone] I’m what you’d call a “coward?” So I tried to sabotage the bus, and now I’m just realizing what a monster dick I am. And no one ever liked my hair. But here’s what’s important: I am smarter than you, but–
Abraham: [COLD COCKS THE SUMMBITCH]

Oh, hell

Oh, hell

YES

YES! [tiny R2D2 conk noise]

no no, you did good, Sarge!

No no, you did good, Sarge!

He totally face plants onto the cement as Abraham sees the blood pouring off his fist, and Rosita looks at him nervously. Flashback city to his bloody soup can hand.

Maggie turns Eugene over, and it looks like it might be lights out for Camaro Cut. Abraham falls to his knees and has a massive freak out, remembering finding Ellen and the kids’ eaten and ravaged bodies outside their previous stronghold. In the flashback he tears off his dog tags and puts his pistol in his mouth when EUGENE shows up screaming for help with three Walkers on his ass. OHO.

They’re in Texas, maybe Killeen? Abe quickly dispatches them and walks past Eugene, who tries to entice him to stay.

Dr. Mullet: Don’t leave!
Abraham: Why?
Reddit Mudflap: I… have a very important mission?

You dirty mother…

So there goes Abraham’s reason to live. Right?

You know, the whole repetition of the bloody hand had me thinking of Lady Macbeth and “a little water clears us of this deed.” And in fact, when they all get doused from Eugene’s assistance, he laughs and feels good about their prospects, just like a certain Royal Scotswoman. And then his hand continues bleeding, everything starts falling apart, he’s haunted by his past deeds, and it’s awesome how he’s struggling with his two sides: the father who wanted to protect his family at war with his bloodthirsty determination to achieve a goal at any cost. (Just like Lady Macbeth.) Out, out, damn spot, by which I mean Eugene.

Life’s but a walking shadow, eh?

And let’s not forget that Samson killed everyone he was with in the end. IT IS TIME TO LEAVE ALABAMA WATERFALL FOR THE WALKERS. Right?

NEXT WEEK: CAROL AND DARYL: CLICK. Do it. TRUST ME.