Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Slabtown,” was a bit of a disappointment. Still better than many installments of previous seasons, it’s by far the biggest misstep in the last ten or eleven episodes dating back to the middle of last season. Hopefully season 5 of AMC’s hit zombie drama will get back on track this week with “Self Help,” and this new promo from New Zealand gives you an idea of what to expect.
Since returning from its midseason hiatus last year, The Walking Dead has taken a different narrative approach than it had before. The core group was broken up into factions, which allowed the writers to spend entire episodes with these various splinters, really digging into each story arc and providing room for much more character development. It also adds a layer of tension, just as the characters don’t know what is happening with everyone else, even if they’re alive, neither do you. It is an effective way to drive story forward and create a stronger connection between viewer and show. And it looks like that’s a strategy they’re employing again.
“Slabtown” was Beth’s (Emily Kinney) episode. She was the only regular cast member until the very end. And though thus far season 5 has seen the main group mostly reunited, it’s breaking apart one more time, with Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) breaking off and heading for Washington DC, where the mullet wearing scientist may be able to help end the zombie epidemic.
“Self Help” has the potential to be an especially important episode because from what we’ve seen, and see in this promo, the story belongs to these characters, none of whom have had much to work with so far this season. Glenn and Maggie have been around for a long time, but they’ve been relegated to a secondary role in season 5, barely figuring into the action at all, so it will be nice to spend some time with them and see where they’re at.
And even though Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene showed up in the middle of season 4, they’ve had little or nothing to do since. They all play big roles in the future arc of the comics (which the series has and will continue to follow closely), but we don’t really know them when it comes to the show. Especially Rosita, who has had maybe half a dozen lines so far in the new episodes. We keep forgetting she’s even there, that’s how minor her presence is, which sucks since he’s a great character in the source material, and it’s a damn shame to waste that on TV.
The possibility that we’ll get to watch these characters develop for what is realistically the first time, should be an enticing enough prospect to get you to tune into The Walking Dead this Sunday, even if this promo does say Monday (it must air on Mondays down under).