|The Walking Dead episode|
The exhausted group slowly trudge forward in their journey to Washington, D.C.
|Directed by||Julius Ramsay|
|Written by||Heather Bellson|
|Original air date||February 15, 2015|
"Them" is the tenth episode of the fifth season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, which aired on AMC on February 15, 2015. The episode was written by Heather Bellson and directed by Julius Ramsay. In the episode, the group of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) are exhausted and dehydrated from their journey to Washington, D.C., while several members of the group continue to grieve over the group's recent losses and question their chances of survival.
The episode primarily centers on the characters of Maggie, Sasha, and Daryl dealing with the losses of Beth and Tyreese. It also focuses on Glenn's sinking depression and giving up hope, while Abraham becomes intensely reclusive and Michonne's struggles to keep holding onto hope. It also features the introduction of Ross Marquand as Aaron, a prominent character from the graphic novel the television series is based on.
The group continues to reel from the deaths of Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman), with Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) taking the losses the hardest. 60 miles away from Washington, D.C., the survivors' van runs out of gas, forcing them to travel on foot in the midst of a drought. With almost no water, they begin to question their chances of survival. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) attempts to console Maggie, but she chastises him for abandoning his flock when the outbreak occurred.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) orchestrates a plan to eliminate the threat of a pursuing herd of walkers, which will require minimal exertion from the exhausted group. However, Sasha breaks from the working plan with recklessness that leads to several group members' narrowly avoiding bites, and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) is wounded when Sasha cuts him unapologetically. Sasha is angrily rebuked by Michonne (Danai Gurira), who warns her not to end up like Sasha's brother, Tyreese.
Later, the group sit in a ditch by the road, all still hungry and without food when a pack of feral dogs, one a Doberman Pinscher still wearing a collar, appear across the road. Daryl pulls out his knife but flinches and looks away as Sasha dispatches the dogs with a silenced weapon before they can get any closer. Rick stands up and begins to collect branches to make a fire. In the next scene they are shown to be cooking meat on the fire and eating and, as the camera pans out, Noah is seen to be sitting on the ground with them and staring at a blue dog collar that is lying, discarded, in the dirt. As they eat, Father Gabriel throws his priest collar into the fire, signifying his lost faith.
Despite comfort from Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), a grieving Daryl begins to self-harm and when alone breaks down in tears. Dangerously dehydrated, the survivors find four jugs and ten bottles of water waiting for them in the middle of the road with a note reading, "from a friend". Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) volunteers to drink the water himself to see if it's safe but is stopped by Abraham amidst concerns it may be a trap.
That night, a heavy thunderstorm breaks out, allowing the survivors to replenish their water supplies before taking shelter in a nearby barn. There, Rick relates a story of his grandfather, who fought in World War II and only survived by convincing himself that he was already a dead man. Rick instructs the group that like his grandfather, they have to live with reality, to "do what they have to do", and tell themselves they "are the walking dead". Daryl angrily rejects Rick's notion, insisting that they aren't "them." A herd of walkers is then spotted approaching the barn; the group works together to fend them off by barricading the door.
The next morning, the survivors discover the storm itself has destroyed the walkers, throwing them onto broken branches and uprooting trees on top of them while narrowly sparing the barn. While watching the sunrise, Sasha tells Maggie that she doesn't know how to carry on. The two are then approached by a man named Aaron (Ross Marquand), who identifies himself as a "friend" and asks for Rick by name. They point their guns at him suspiciously.
Upon airing, the episode was watched by 12.27 million American viewers with an 18-49 rating of 6.2, a decrease in viewership from the previous episode which had 15.64 million viewers and an 18-49 rating of 8.0.
In Australia, the episode was watched by 70,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched broadcast on pay television that day. The UK broadcast was the third most-watched on the network that month, with 893,000 viewers.
The episode received generally positive reviews, with many praising aspects such as the theme of grief, the introduction of Aaron at the end and the sequences involving the barn and Sasha fuelling her rage on the zombies. Laura Prudom for Variety commented positively on the episode calling it "contemplative but emotionally satisfying." On his review for the episode, Ron Hogan for Den of Geek! commented positively on the episode's themes and felt that Sonequa Martin-Green delivered the best performance of the episode.
Rebecca Hawkes of The Daily Telegraph gave the episode 4 stars calling it "mystical". She felt that the episode "raised interesting questions about whether a life based on survival is little better than being dead", referring to the scene where Rick refers to the survivors as "the walking dead", referencing the title of the series. She further assessed that "while Gabriel may have rejected religion, it was in fact an episode filled with oddly religious, hope-inspiring moments, including the fortuitous arrival of a rain storm just when the group were struggling with their thirst. A sequence in which Daryl, Maggie and Sasha held a barn door close against an onslaught of walkers had a dreamlike, mystical quality." She praised the ending scene, calling it "refreshing" that the series "is returning to a more plot-driven formula."
Matt Fowler of IGN reacted positively to Rick's speech, the scene involving Sasha taking out her rage on the zombies and the introduction of Aaron from the comic book series. Although, he felt the episode covered old ground. Overall, he gave the episode a 7.6 out of 10. USA Today also enjoyed the scene involving Sasha, and called Aaron's scene an "exciting new development".
- Bibel, Sara (February 18, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Wins Night, NBA All-Star Game, 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Shameless' & More". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/02/18/sunday-cable-ratings-the-walking-dead-wins-night-nba-all-star-game-real-housewives-of-atlanta-shameless-more/363909/. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (February 10, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Tops Night + 'Better Call Saul', 'Talking Dead', 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' & More". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/02/10/sunday-cable-ratings-the-walking-dead-tops-night-better-call-saul-talking-dead-the-real-housewives-of-atlanta-more/361257/. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- Knox, David (February 17, 2015). "Monday 16 February 2015". TV Tonight. http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2015/02/monday-16-february-2015.html. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
- "Monthly Top 10". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. http://www.barb.co.uk/whats-new/monthly-top-10?. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
- Prudom, Laura (February 15, 2015). "‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Dog Days Are Over". Variety. https://variety.com/2015/tv/opinion/walking-dead-them-recap-episode-510-aaron-1201434622/. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Hogan, Ron (February 16, 2015). "The Walking Dead season 5 episode 10 review: Them". Den of Geek!. http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-walking-dead/34129/the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-10-review-them. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Hawkes, Rebecca (February 15, 2015). "The Walking Dead, review: 'mystical'". The Daily Telegraph. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/the-walking-dead/11415493/The-Walking-Dead-Season-5-episode-10.html. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Fowler, Matt (February 15, 2015). "The Walking Dead: "Them" Review". IGN. http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/02/16/the-walking-dead-them-review. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Berg, Ted (February 16, 2015). "5 things we learned from Sunday night's episode of 'The Walking Dead'". USA Today. http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/02/the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-10-recap-amc. Retrieved February 16, 2015.