With just a few episodes left this season, the events of “Alone” finally give our characters the emotional push they need to move the story forward.
The episode opens with what is possibly one of the most terrifying sequences in the show. It opens with Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), prior to joining the group, completely alone a world ravaged by the undead. This isn’t the ‘I Am Legend’ movie version of aloneness. There’s no nice house with a generator. This is the sleeping on top of a bus while zombies growl on the road below you kind of alone. This is being a millimeter away from death every second of the day. This is freaking terrifying.
Bob doesn’t stay alone forever. Glenn and Daryl find him on the road and take him back to the prison. Daryl asks him the three questions, but Bob isn’t interested in knowing anything about the two of them. To him, it doesn’t matter who they are – at least with them, he won’t be alone.
We’ve seen time and again how being a member of a group is integral to survival. We see that here as Bob, Maggie and Sasha fight zombies in heavy fog. This scene is brilliantly creepy and the fog gives us a scenario we’ve not seen before on this show.
The scene is also a reminder that while there’s safety in numbers, there’s not safety in wandering around the woods without shelter. For Sasha, the fog walkers were too close of a call and she wants to set up camp somewhere safe. She knows that Maggie is laser focused on finding Glenn, so she wants Bob’s help in convincing Maggie to abandon the search.
Bob recognizes that Sasha’s fight or flight response is kicking in. She wants to hide. She wants to find the illusion of safety. Her decision to stop looking for Glenn is driven out of fear, not tactical thought. This is when this show does what it does best: use the ZA as a platform to explore our inner demons.
Bob tells Sasha
“Bad things happened because I was scared and I didn’t need to be. I didn’t need to be afraid.”
Bob’s history is deep and there’s no doubt he’s not talking about fearing walkers here. It’s the emotional fears that are the hardest to face, but he doesn’t have any success helping Sasha to cope with hers.
Maggie, who has taken off on her own after hearing the two talking, is the one to get through to Sasha when they cross paths a short while later. With the group reunited, they continue down the train tracks to look for Glenn – and presumably Beth, the sister Maggie’s forgotten she has.
We don’t spend the entire episode with this trio. Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) also get some screen time. Daryl is teaching her how to hunt and track. I think that speaks volumes about Beth. She doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress.
They spot a funeral home and decide to scavenge for food. The place is spotless. It’s clearly lived in and clearly has IT’S A TRAP written all over it, but who cares because there’s peanut butter and pigs’ feet in the pantry!
The two of them play house until a horde of zombies attacks the funeral home and they are separated. Daryl narrowly escapes, but Beth was not so lucky. He runs out of the house just in time to see a car drive away carrying a kidnapped Beth.
He tries to track the car, but to no avail. He does run into a group of men exactly like the ones he grew up with. These are not good people and they are upfront about it, as they ask Daryl,
“Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people?”
The show ends with us wondering what Daryl will do now that he is confronted with his past? Will he join them temporarily for survival or will he revert to his old ways and become a follower and not the hero we’ve come to know?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.