Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
I was pleasantly surprised with last night's episode of The Walking Dead. For one, giving Beth her own stand alone/coming of age episode and for showing us what life is like for the rest of the world not hanging out with Rick Grimes. What we learned is that Rick's group truly has it pretty good.
Despite the ugly things they have had to do, they are a tight knit group that are able to continue on, regardless of what is put in front of them. Yet, only Beth from the group was the focus last night and when Dawn grabbed her arm and pointed out the scars from her attempted suicide, I realized there is an underlying theme to all of Season Five that was revealed in that moment...hope.
Now Beth's attempted suicide gave her a unique focus on the world and she found her own drive to go on but in the bigger picture, the last couple of years on the show have been loaded with a greater meaning or purpose for the characters as a whole. Last year it was all about maintaining the core of your humanity while doing what must be done while this year is quickly shaping up to be all about hope and what it does for us. Think about it for a moment. We have in these first few episodes, seen nothing but other pockets of survivors. Terminus, Father Gabriel, Officer Dawn and the Police Squad of Crazy and each of them have had a harrowing back story.
The cannibals at Terminus started out with the best intentions until that band of marauders turned their world upside down. They were striving for a better place, a chance to start over. Seeing that perhaps a better place no longer mattered in the world...they changed. Father Gabriel firmly believed his actions would bring punishment upon him from the Lord above and well, Dawn and her gang have seen atrocities up close and personal and the idea of rescue is one to just keep them going. Dawn clearly knows its not coming since she was willing to wail on Beth with a glass framed photograph.
Either way, all three of these groups thus far have been without a key thing in their lives, hope. They see the desolation, the fear and of course the dead and move on in their lives, taking chances they have never taken before, simply to see the sun rise. There's no hope of rescue, salvation or a sense of goodwill, just getting through the day. Sure, it's surviving, but the difference between Rick's group and the rest is that the Grimes' Gang has a sense of purpose once again in Washington D.C. and well, it's a good idea to hold on to.
It's clear that others have survived for sure since we keep discovering others on the show, increasing the odds that there are others alive in what was once the nations capitol and now maybe, just maybe, they can find a way to start the world over when they get there. It's a surprisingly upbeat theme for a show about walking corpses, but I like it, and I like that the show is doing it and judging from the people we've met so far this season...it's essential, because clearly in this world, without hope, the end is a fate worse than death and living death.