Season 5, episode 14, “Spend,” gives the initial impression that things are looking hopeful in The Walking Dead. Daryl has a new motorcycle, Alexandria is recruiting again, Noah is going to learn about architecture from Reg, Glenn and Aiden seem to have patched things up, Sam hasn’t blown it for Carol, and Rick hasn’t killed anyone lately. Despite the portrayal of this bright shiny future, however, cracks, which turn into gaping holes, begin to appear in the world of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead has a large cast that is ever-changing as characters die, new survivors come into the fold, and we learn about new bands of people that have managed to live on. Last week’s episode, “Slabtown,” introduced a new group of survivors at Grady Hospital where Beth is being held captive. The Walking Dead writers do a good job of getting us quickly invested and interested in the storylines involving new characters. This week’s episode, “Self-Help,” provides a chance to better know Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene, who television viewers were introduced to in Season Four. Readers of the comic book are more familiar with these three characters and their mission to get to DC. “Self-Help” gives television viewers a chance to catch up a bit. Though we weren’t looking forward to this storyline, seeing it as a distraction from the story of Rick and the other characters we are more familiar with, we found it quite compelling.