Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walking Dead - Self Help Recap

So guys, this was pretty much a snoozefest of an episode.  Sure, we had the big ‘reveal’ at the end, but if you’re a fan of the comics, or just someone who saw through Eugene’s mullet to his constant line of BS, the most shocking part of this episode was the birth of the term ‘dolphin smooth’. 

In flashbacks interspersed throughout the episode we learned about Abe’s past.  The Basics - He brutally murdered four men who had attacked his family.  By smashing their heads in with canned goods. Um, yeah, Abe is a badass.  His family, however, is not so impressed.  They are truly wigged out by his actions and the next morning he finds them gone.  His wife left a note saying simply, “Don’t try to find us”.  WTF lady?!  In the zombie apocalypse, Abe is the one you WANT to find!  Not the one you want to get away from!  Remember, it’s a whole new world (...cue Aladdin theme song in your head….) and survival is paramount.  Abe is despondent upon finding his family chomped to smithereens just around the corner (they didn’t get far without Abe, duh), and he responds to this horror by putting a loaded gun in his mouth.  Cue Eugene.  But we’ll get to that at the end.

In present time, the church bus travels down the road with Abe at the helm.  Rosita strokes Abe’s hair and they banter about her giving him a trim.  In an effort to be suave, he says, “maybe I’ll let you shave me down all over.  Dolphin smooth.”  Ew. In the back of the bus, where the cool kids sit, Tara ribs Eugene about his own trademark coif.  “The party’s getting a little long in the back.  Or is it your source of power?”  Eugene shrugs off these comments, saying he’s thinking about what Gabriel did.  Ok Eugene, weird thing to be thinking about, but whatever, you’re a weird guy. 

(Side note – By the end of the episode, we all know why Eugene is thinking about Gabriel.  This is a new side of WD, introduction of spineless characters who rely on their wits to survive.  Eugene, Gabriel, and Doc Steve from Slabtown are all men who rarely/never actually get their hands dirty and are basically just surviving by throwing themselves on the mercy of others.  It will be interesting to see how many of these men survive the season.)

A bit further down the road, the bus encounters a few stopped cars in the road.  Abe expertly slaloms around the first car, but then slams into a second car.  The bus flies into the air and lands squarely on its side. First the school bus of deathly ill people at the prison, and now the church bus flips its lid.  Nothing good happens in busses on the Walking Dead. Moral of the story: Stay away from busses in the apocalypse, people.

As the group recovers from the crash, Glenn quickly formulates an exit plan. As the two couples clear a path, Tara will cover Eugene.  Glaggie and Abrosita (Rosabraham?  Their couple name isn’t as clear-cut as Glaggie…) execute the walkers with an almost ballet-like precision.

Tara and Eugene evacuate the bus and Tara takes on a few walkers while Eugene cringes like a brat in the background.  Seriously, Eugene?  Scientist or no scientist, nut up dude.  And he kind of does.  Just as a walker starts to grab Tara from behind, he stabs it in the neck.  Not enough to kill it, but he does buy Tara enough time to take care of it herself.   

Abe barks at the crew, telling them to check Eugene, even though Eugene claims he’s fine.  Abe’s a testy old bulldog in this episode, growling and barking his way to D.C.  They’ve gotta scavenge him up some anti-depressants or something.  Just as Maggie mentions that the First Aid kit is on the bus, it bursts into flames. Womp womp. 

Eugene suggests that they head back to the church because it’s only 15 miles away. Sounds like a good idea, but crazy Abe has other plans.  He’s going forward, at all costs.  Surprisingly, everyone is pretty ok with this.  Maggie even makes a joke.  LOL Mags, life’s totally a blast, especially when pseudo-cops are sexually assaulting your sister; it’s a regular old laugh riot.

The crew finds an abandoned bookstore and goes about making it camp for the evening.  Bonus Points to the whole crew for useful Survival Tips all around.  Tara grabs some water from a toilet tank and goes about boiling it over a small ‘stove’ made of wire hangers and a trash can.  Eugene fashions a lighter out of a small piece of tinfoil and a battery, and Maggie and Rosita remove small lengths of string from a book binding to serve as stitches for Abe’s hand.

Illuminated by a full moon, Abe stands watch.  As Glenn comes to chat with him, a walker smooshes up against the picture window like a toddler at an aquarium.  After the walker passes, the two men have a chat that may have well been a podcast because the scene is so dimly lit I can’t see a damn thing.  Abe shares his basic philosophy with Glenn.  Kill the individuals that threaten you.  And he’s kind of ok with that.  He says, “I want to say it’s never easy, but that’s not the truth.  It’s the easiest thing in the world now.”  Abe has gotten a little too far away from what is ‘acceptable’, even in this world.  In terms of the moral, emotional and societal repercussions of murder he’s definitely a bit further off the reservation than Rick, Michonne, or even Carol. 

Abe’s definitely a man of primal pleasures.  He ends his heart-to-heart with Glenn with a little TMI moment by saying, “I really need some ass.” 

Rosita and Abraham have some sexy fun times in the middle of the bookstore, and we get to see dolphin smooth in action.  Eugene’s mullet peeks out from the self-help section s he spies on them, sort of like a pervy Wilson from Home Improvement.  Rosita giggles as she spots his bobbing head.   The couple keeps at it though because, you know, apocalypse sex. 

Tara catches Eugene peeping, and quietly scolds him.  She thanks him for saving her life, and he responds by telling her that he put crushed glass in the bus’s fuel line because he’s afraid of what’s going to happen when they reach DC and he outlives his usefulness.  Tara is taken aback, but she assures Eugene that the group would protect him no matter what because they’re totally BFF’s now.  She’s actually very sweet and genuine with him during this exchange, and treats him almost like a little brother. 

(Side note – Whoever placed the ‘Romance’ section sign right at Tara’s shoulder during this scene, certainly has a sense of irony and humor.  I giggled a bit because Tara and Eugene have my vote for least romantic relationship on the show hands down.  Not only does Tara like the ladies, but that mullet is definitely a mood killer.)

Maggie and Glenn have a snuggle bunny sesh on the floor of the bookstore.  Maggie says it’s nice having a purpose, looking toward the future.  WHAT ABOUT YOUR SISTERS FUTURE?!?!  Seriously, Maggie, what is your deal?  (Truth time – I’m not even looking forward to their reunion because I know how little Maggie cares about Beth.  I am, however, looking forward to ‘The Adventures of Daryl and Carol’ as they attempt to bust Beth outta Slabtown next week.  That episode looks sick.  #CantWaitForNextWeek)

Thankfully dawn breaks, and everything becomes visible again.  Praise be to Daylight Savings Time!  Rosita and Abe talk, and she tries to convince him to stay for a day, rest and gather supplies.  Abe gives her a harsh and firm ‘no’.  Maggie wanders in and gently makes a suggestion that they stay to sweep the area, but Rosita echoes Abe’s sentiment and says no.  Tara chimes in, noting that they should really replenish their water supply at a nearby river, when Abe reveals that he has other plans.

The crew travels across the street to a fire station.  Tell us what they’ve won, Johnny!!!!!  A lifetime supply of water!!!!  On a gigantic fire truck!  Awesome, but, um, wouldn’t that thing be god awful on gas?  Abe doesn’t care.  He tries the starter and the thing sputters to life.  The truck rolls forward about 10 feet and then chokes to a stop.  As Abe starts to make some repairs, walkers start to stream out of the fire station.  Flesh eating monsters were not a part of the prize package, Johnny.  We demand another spin at the big wheel. 

Our crew starts to take the walkers down, but the unexpected glut of bodies starts to become overwhelming.  It seems hopeless until Eugene puts those big brains of his to work, using the fire hose (and that lifetime supply of water) to blast the walkers away, Wicked Witch of the West style.  They’re mellllting!  Melllting!!!!  

Maybe the Wicked Witch was just a zombie with a penchant for sparkly footwear?
Once the truck is fixed, the crew heads back on the road, but is quickly stopped once again as the truck breaks down.  Damn truck is a lemon.   Eugene does a little light reading, and Maggie comes over to make friends.  She says, “You’re not the person people think you are.”  Oh, Mags, you don’t know the half of it.

As Abe struggles to fix the truck, Glenn catches a whiff of something nasty in the air.  Glennnnn, you know the rule.  You smelt it, so you are probably responsible for the gross smell.  That’s how that saying goes, right?  But Glenn’s off the hook because it’s actually a gigantic swarming horde of walkers a mile or so in the distance. 

Glenn turns back, whispering, “we gotta go, we gotta go.”  The rest of the crew is with him, and they all start back until they see a muttering Abe staring into the distance.  Abe refuses to give up.  He screams at all of them, bouncing their criticisms off one by one with his faulty, crazed logic.  (Side note – Abe was probably a pretty awful soldier.  He doesn’t really listen to reason, and he’s also really super visible with that blinding red hair.)

Abe marches back and roughly grabs Eugene’s arm.  Tara tries to stop him, and Glenn and Rosita join in trying to slow the big guy down.  As the melee continues, Eugene starts to freak out.  He screams, “I’M NOT A SCIENTIST!!!” 

Boom.  Yes, Eugene you are totally full of shit.

Everyone stops, horrified looks on their faces.  Eugene goes on to explain himself in full detail.  “I know I’m smarter than most people.  I know I’m a very good liar and I knew I needed to get to DC.”  Rosita breathlessly reminds Eugene of all the people that died for him, and Eugene immediately rattles off all the names.  He seems genuinely upset about these losses, and it’s probably why he relates to Gabriel (and would likely also relate to Doc Steve).  Eugene is a coward whose only survival skills are manipulation and deceit.    

Eugene then turns to Abe and says, “I am smarter than you” which seems to prove that he’s definitely not that smart, because, well, dumb move.  You don’t poke the beast, Eugene.  Abe wails on Eugene’s face, slamming him unconscious against the side of the fire truck.  Eugene face plants onto the concrete, and Rosita steps in, blocking Abe, and he takes a beat.  His face crumples in despair, and he wanders away from the group, sinking to the ground on his knees, staring blankly at the sky.

A final flashback scene shows us the moment that Eugene’s secret was born.  Just as Abe puts the gun to his mouth, Eugene stumbles toward him, pursued by three walkers.  Eugene screams, “Help me!!”  Abe makes quick work of the walkers, but then turns and marches away.  Eugene asks him to stop, saying, “You can’t leave!  I have a very important mission.”

Ok, so, Eugene did save Abe’s life.  There’s that.  But Abe and the rest of the group no longer have a purpose.  Will they continue on to DC despite having no solid reason to travel there?  Especially when they’re probably only 30 or so miles away from the church?  We probably won’t get the answer to this for another few weeks as next week is the Carol and Daryl Show (YESSSSS!!!!) but it’s fun to speculate.  I, for one, think they will continue on to D.C.  Also, I think Eugene is alive, because how could you kill the best hairstyle on the show?

Some final thoughts:

- Best line of the week: ‘Ive been to eight county fairs, and one goat rodeo, and I’ve never seen anything like that.”  Um, what’s a goat rodeo?

This in no way explains what a Goat Rodeo is, but I happen to think that it's awesome..
- Eugene spits on a walker. Gross.  Lame.  

- Judging by the cuts on his left hand, and the continued use of this hand despite the fact that it’s broken open like a bloody piñata, Abe appears to be a leftie.  I know this is pretty useless information but give me a break, it was a slow episode.  Did I say I can’t wait for next week???

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