The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode #5: "Self Help" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and Daniel Benson
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Written by Heather Bellson and Seth Hoffman
2014, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on November 9th, 2014
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
“I could have condensed that episode into about seven minutes.”
Warning! This discussion may contain spoilers!
Steve: Each Sunday, both my sister and I watch The Walking Dead. However, she generally watches it as it airs and I catch it the hour after so I can speed through commercials. Usually I get a feel for what I’m going to be in for by the texts she sends me following her viewing. She’s a great guideline, as her and I are on the same page with the show (although shockingly enough to some of the readers of these recaps, she’s a bit tougher on it than myself). So when I saw her text, the one quoted above, I knew I was in for a disappointing episode and I wasn’t….disappointed. I’m not going to cry the sky is falling just yet, but if the lameness of “Self Help" follows the historical pattern of the show, it’s going to be downhill from here on out until the end of the season, with maybe two or three great episodes spread throughout a sea of mediocrity. Now I know how you felt last week.
Dan: Honestly I have no idea how you could possibly think this episode was worse than last week’s Bethisode. That was an entire show dedicated to one character I couldn’t give a shit about, and a bunch of others I’ve never seen before (so also don’t give a shit about). At least this week we got to catch up with core characters that we have background on, and in the case of Abraham we got to see a little of his back story.
Steve: Do you mean the backstory that made no sense at all? Can you tell me what the point of it was other than a feeble attempt at making you feel sorry for him? All I know is he killed someone post-apocalypse and his wife got scared and took the kids and they all died. Oh, and he likes to hum all of a sudden for some unknown reason. Meh.
Steve: I will say, though, that you I see your point on not understanding why I liked last week’s more than than this one. I can hopefully shed some light for you (wait for it)...I could actually see what was going on in the Bethisode. Who in the hell thought filming in a dark library with no source of light was a good idea?
Dan: The DP for this episode needs firing, stat. Not only was it impossible to see what was going on, half the dialogue was in a mumbled whisper that made deciphering it almost impossible.
Abraham’s was at least a backstory about how he met Eugene, yeah there wasn’t a great deal to it, but we got to see his loss. We also got a big revelation about Eugene that will be no surprise to readers of the comic book, and we had a decent number of confrontations to keep the action quota up.
Steve: There is little good to be found in this episode, but Eugene is certainly a reason I liked it at all. He’s a new favorite character of mine. The guy is absolutely hilarious, and the fact that he’s been lying the whole time makes him that much more terrific. While you may like Abraham’s weak ass, melodramatic, attempt-to-pull-the-heart-strings tale of woe, Eugene’s simple declaration nullified anything that came before it. That and the fact that the dude is a Peeping Tom makes him a more rounded character than anyone else on this particular episode.
Dan: I loved seeing Eugene’s head peeking through the bookcase, and then when challenged, he just told Tara that yeah, he was watching, because he likes naked women. I laughed out loud at that point.
I think the big question now will be, with there being no point in pressing on to DC, what will the group do? They’re only 15 miles from the church, so reuniting the whole team is a strong possibility. I’m very interested to see New Rick’s reaction to Eugene’s deception though.
Steve: I thought the exact thing as I was watching the show. I mentioned in our discussion of “Four Walls and a Roof” that I figured we wouldn’t see these cats again and they’d be the spinoff series, but I was clearly wrong. I can’t see them not going back. They have to. What’s the point of going to DC now, with so few of them. Maybe we'll get another drawn-out episode next week that fills us in. Yay.
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