TV Review: The Walking Dead Series 5 Episode 5: ‘Self Help’

A big reveal brings out new character depths for Eugene and Abraham in an outstanding episode of The Walking Dead. reviews

 

This review contains spoilers

The Walking Dead Episode 5

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Quote of the week:
Eugene: I don’t know why I told you.
Tara: I do – welcome to the human race, asshole.

This week we were given the big reveal that fans of the comic book series have been waiting for ever since the introduction of the DC group: Eugene doesn’t know the cure. With his constant refusal to directly say what he knows, always saying “it’s classified”, some viewers of the show may have seen this coming too. All that Eugene wanted to do was survive, and by convincing Abraham that he could save the world he did just that. Abraham was sold on the dream of getting him to Washington and it becomes evident at the end of the episode that this was the only thing that kept him alive. This episode did a fantastic job at giving Abraham and Eugene more of a full fleshed-out back story, creating a lot of room to feel sympathy towards both characters.

Throughout the episode there are continual insights into both characters’ origins and elements of their personalities, allowing the climactic scenes to be so emotionally charged and devastating. The most exciting of these is the flashbacks of Abraham’s life that are spread intermittently across the whole episode. They reveal how his violent nature led to his wife and children fleeing from him, even though he had to be violent to save them from some hostile situations. Then right after Eugene’s big reveal, the closing scene is a flashback to where Abraham finds his wife and children dead, and is just about to end his own life when he is interrupted by having to save Eugene from some walkers and hence finding out about his “very important mission”. Alongside this, throughout the episode Abraham becomes increasingly more manic about making progress on the journey to Washington, resulting in him putting the group into danger. It becomes very clear that this dream of getting Eugene to DC had been the only thing that had been keeping him alive, hence why this penultimate scene is so devastating. Now he must face the harsh reality that there is no cure for the living hell that he lives in and his reaction to this could be highly unpredictable. How is he supposed to survive when the only thing that kept him going is torn away from him?

Similarly, how will Eugene manage to survive without the protection of Abraham? He is the first to admit that he isn’t built for this world in the same way that the others are and hence that is why he needed to convince strong people that he was valuable enough to protect. Yet, there is the fantastic scene where he clears out the group of walkers with the fire engine hose, showing that he could use his brains to survive and he doesn’t necessarily need to have the same brawn as Abraham. In fact, the two could really complement each other. But how are Abraham and the rest of the group going to be able to trust him again? Why should they even keep him alive? Well, in his conversation with Tara earlier in the episode, where he reveals that he sabotaged the truck just to prolong his necessity, she said that they were friends and that they’d look out for each other no matter what, because that’s what friends do. He doesn’t have be something ‘special’. But will she still hold up this philosophy now that he’s exposed himself? How will the rest of the group feel? Well, they didn’t let Abraham kill him, so that’s something. You have got to feel sorry for Eugene in at least some ways. He was just desperate and wanted to survive like everyone else.

This episode is up there alongside the premiere as one of my favourite episodes of this series so far, and for a completely different reason. Where the first episode was tense and exciting because of all of the action and violence, this episode created the same effects by developing a great plot and providing us with some thrilling development of Abraham and Eugene’s characters. I am excited to see what happens next.

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