The first half of Season 5 of The Walking Dead saw our favorite characters go through a lot of changes and toil through even more hardship. From escaping the trough at Terminus, to the show down at the hospital, the group has been faced with the lack of humanity in all the survivors they’ve encountered. While being reunited may have given certain characters more faith in the world, what they survived at Terminus stole what little faith others had left.
In case you missed any episodes from 5A or you just need a refresher, here’s where our favorite people left off:
Each season we watch Rick struggle with the man he used to be and the man he’s been forced to become. And season 5 has been no exception. It did seem that the fight to get out of Terminus gave him new life. Even so, there is only a glimmer of humanity left. Gone is the man who wanted to save others. Coda left us with what may only be a shell of the man we once knew. Rick did the right thing, and lead a party to help save one of their own, but he had no qualms about killing those who got in his way, and when the mission failed, the devastation seemed to faze him less. Rick is a man who keeps powering forward, but he almost seems to not even know why anymore.
Carl has become the voice of reason and compassion his father once was. He has become the man in the group his dad always taught him to be. When we last saw him, he was part of the optimistic group that was to meet up with everyone in Atlanta and move forward. We don’t know a whole lot about how the loss of Beth has impacted Carl yet, but he will most assuredly be shaken by it. Although I think her loss will have the opposite effect on him that it seems to have on Rick, I think Carl will see this tragedy and try to be a force of positive energy for his friends and family.
Daryl has faced loss time and time again, and my god has he come a long way from the angry hillbilly he once was. In season 5, we’ve learned that Daryl truly values the people he’s with, and while Carol wants to pull away from the group, he’s trying to help her face her demons and stay. Not only does he believe she needs companionship, but he knows he needs her, too. And he no longer seems afraid to express how much he needs others. We also learned that Daryl is a child of an abusive home, and that he is still trying to overcome that trauma. But possibly the most important thing of all is that Daryl is now having to face the loss of one his most loved people in the current world. He loved Beth, to what capacity we may never fully know, but he loved her and he felt tasked with protecting her. He went to great means to save her and bring her back, and just when he thought he had her, she was brutally torn away from him right in front of his eyes. Daryl is a broken man. The question is will he overcome this or will it take him backwards?
Carol is a warrior. She went from being a fragile battered wife to a bad-ass mother-fucker in just a few short years. All it took was a zombie apocalypse, the death of her daughter (and a few others), and the ability to kill a few hundred people. I kid, but in all sincerity Carol has become something of a cold-hearted machine. She was taken down by the cops at the hospital (totally on purpose in my opinion) and she even fought her way back from that near death experience. She has leanings towards human compassion, but overall these days she is closed off to the world and the needless affection for most people in it. She loves, very deeply, but she has to keep the strong front together to accomplish what needs to be done.
Glenn has almost disappeared from the series at this point. He no longer has any strong storylines of his own, he just kind of goes where the others take him. That is not to say his is boring, mostly just that as long as he has Maggie by his side he has a purpose and it is to be with her, and for lack of a better term, keep on trucking. Chances are he’ll go with the flow and not make a whole lot of waves in the second half of the season. After all, with the loss of her sister, Maggie will need him more than ever now.
Maggie has stayed positive and determined, even after the loss of her father (still not over the loss of Hershel myself), but now with the loss of Beth I think she may break. Goodness persevered with Maggie in season 4; she lost her dad, but she made it to Terminus and found Glenn. Honestly, how she was not shaken by Hershel’s death and Beth’s disappearance was a little odd. Not to mention how quickly she forgave Tara for being part of the raid on the prison that ultimately ruined everyone’s lives at the time. Maggie has tried to live by her father’s positive example, but I think having to face the crushing loss of thinking she had Beth back only to lose her again will take its toll.
Michonne has become so human, and very motherly to Carl. I think without even knowing it she filled a void that both Carl and Rick had. She is a friend to Carl, and she cares for him and guides him the way a mother would. And she has become a good friend to Rick. He listens to her, and she helps balance him. She is a bad-ass who will slice your head clean off, but she has compassion and patience with human survivors, a quality Rick seems to lack these days. Michonne is a vital part of the group and may be the strongest of all of them because she’s faced her ultimate loss and come back from it. I think she will be the backbone of the group for the rest of the season. She is still raw enough to feel the loss, but numb enough to march on.
We learned a lot about Abraham in the beginning of season 5. We learned how he found Eugene, and that he was a broken man without a purpose. We found out that his original purpose, protecting his wife and children was his downfall and that his need to see them survive only made them fear the man he’d become. He lost his mission when they tried to leave him and ended up dying. But having Eugene gave Abraham purpose once again. But upon learning that Dr. Porter was no more than a coward and con artist, Abraham lost what he was fighting for yet again. And the cherry on that shit sundae is that this whole time he’s been living a lie without knowing it and allowing the lives of others to be expendable in the face of protecting Eugene. He is disillusioned, but hopefully still determined. I’m really hoping to see Abraham become a bigger part of the show from here on out. Not that I want Daryl to be replaced, but it would be great to see him pick up the reigns and be a right hand man to Rick. Maybe together they can drive each other and give each other a reason to fight and believe again.
Everyone knows Eugene’s secret and once he starts talking again chances are he’ll be a nervous wreck. Now he’s expendable, and he has zero survival skills. In case you missed it, Dr. Eugene Porter does not have a cure for the zombie apocalypse, as there isn’t one. He does not have connections in D.C., and there was no mission. He is a coward who was too scared to be left to his own devices so he lied and apparently just hoped no one would ever find out. He may be kind of a scumbag, but he’s likable, and kind of weird in an endearing way, and I feel bad for him. He’ll most likely be treated poorly by the group for a while until he does something to redeem himself in their eyes, and then he’ll probably die so everyone will have to be sad about losing someone again.
This is a hard one because Rosita has had no screen time on her own so far. Ultimately at this point, we don’t know enough about her. She and Abraham have a romantic agreement of sorts, and she fancies herself a pretty tough chick. Other than that, I got nothing.
In the beginning of season 5, Tyreese was faced with losing or choosing his humanity to save baby Judith. He chose humanity and spared the life of the Termite that was threatening to kill Judith. He wanted to kill that man, and frankly I can’t believe the Termite survived that beating, but in the end, Tyreese spared his life whether intentionally or subconsciously. He carried the burden of releasing Bob from the fate of a walker for Sasha, and he’s stuck by Carol despite everything she’s had to do in the name of survival. Tyreese continues to stay strong and be a rare paradigm of what is good. However, those guys don’t last too long, and neither do beloved characters. I hope Tyreese is able to stick around, but the role he plays for the group is not a safe one. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’m wrong.
Sasha has reached an all-time low. It took so long for her to finally open up and let someone in because she knew that in this life you lose the ones you love. But she finally gave in and gave her heart to Bob. And he was taken from her, in the most horrendous way yet. Not only was be bitten by a walker, but before he succumbed to his injury HE WAS EATEN ALIVE by the Terminus survivors. Well, just his leg was eaten, but still. Sasha stayed by his side until the end, but when it came time to kill his brain, she let her brother carry that burden. And now she is angry, and while she’s grateful to Tyreese, she resents him. She resents everyone. She tried to give another person the benefit of the doubt and she was tricked by one of the cops from the hospital. Basically, Sasha has had a rough run and chances are she will spend the rest of season 5 being cold, angry, and disconnected.
Tara does a fine job of being moral support and staying out of the way. It was sweet of her to defend Eugene and to convince him that they were his friends and protectors. She is loyal to Glenn and the group and I think she will be an ally for Eugene in the tough weeks to come. After all, she knows better than anyone that people make mistakes. I think she’ll continue to try and keep the group moving and together. She needs that kind of a support system, and she’ll forever feel indebted to the people who forgave her in spite of her association with The Governor. However, Tara has a downside. She’s likable and she’s been around long enough that we’re attached, but not so long that it’ll break hearts if she dies. She may be on the chomping block. (you see what I did there?)
There is still a lot of mystery around Father Gabriel. He’s a coward, and he hates himself every day for it. He locked up his church and hid while his parishioners begged him for solace and mercy. He hid and watched while the people that looked to him for divine grace were torn to shreds by walkers. He hid from what the world has become for long enough that he has no idea what to do or how to survive. But at least he’s decided he wants to try, so he hit the road with the group. I don’t see a whole lot of sinister intentions from him coming out in the rest of season 5, nor do I really see his backstory coming up a whole lot more. The continuation of this season will very much be about moving forward, and I think Father Gabriel will stick around for now without being a showstopper.
Noah is a stranger among friends, and in many ways his life was worth Beth giving hers. For two people who really didn’t know each other that well, they truly put their lives on the line for one another. Beth gave her life for Noah’s freedom in a way, and in another way she just died because Dawn was a psycho bitch. Because of the bond Noah and Beth had, I think keeping him around will be a way of honoring Beth’s memory for the group. He mentioned he was with a group in Richmond so chances are he’ll lead the group that way. But I fear we shouldn’t get too attached to dear Noah, I’ve used my amazing powers of observation to note that he’s been cast as a lead in a Criminal Minds spinoff, which may not bode well for a long character run on TWD…
Judith will continue to be a baby that pulls at our heartstrings and makes us hold our breath week after week, waiting for the inevitable. Although, after she survived the season 4 mid-season finale when we all thought she was dead, I think she may be here to stay. I mean, can you really kill a baby twice and expect people to stand for it?
Morgan is still wandering, seemingly following the groups trail or whatever. We last saw him when he found the map with “the new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes” scrawled on it. I can only hope his sanity is somewhat intact, and that we’ll get a lot more information as season 5 goes on. Who knows? He may even join the group. Or try to kill them. It’s 50/50 at this point.
I’m not sure if you noticed a pattern here, but I think I wrote about having “lost it all” with nearly every single character. Bottom line, everyone has suffered, and everyone has lost, but Beth’s death may have a bigger impact than we could have imagined.
Season 5B returns THIS Sunday, February 8th, on AMC. Check your local listings.
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