64. The Barn Scene
Episode 510, “Them”
Original Airdate: 2/15/2015
Submitted By: Charlotte Anne
“Them” may not be the most eventful episode in the Walking Dead, but it is a very important, beautifully-written transition episode. It comes at a time when the group is demoralized and weakened after losing three of its members – Bob, Beth, and Tyreese. Maggie, Sasha and Daryl are having a particularly hard time dealing with their grief.
The entire episode is haunted by Rick’s famous sentence: “We are the walking dead”. The pivotal moment takes place in a barn during an epic thunderstorm, as the group is trying to sleep and walkers start banging at the door.
Until that point, the group seemed disheartened, disunited and without a purpose. Rick’s famous sentence only rang too true: the characters seemed numb and just trying to move forward, just like the pathetic female walker Maggie put down when she entered the barn. “Some people can’t give up, like us”, Carol commented, after Maggie pointed out that this woman could have shot herself with her gun instead of letting herself turn.
This feeling is made worse by the dramatic irony of the group being inside a barn – the place where Hershel used to keep walkers on his farm… Have the living truly turned into the “walking dead”?
The answer comes in the next scene: when walkers start banging at the door, the whole group comes together in a very powerful, cathartic moment. Fighting together against the undead reminds them all that they are still alive: they may need to behave like “walking dead” men and women to get through all the horrors of the apocalypse, but as Daryl insisted, they are not dead (“We ain’t them”).
Daryl is the first to block the door, which makes sense symbolically, as he was the one who reacted most strongly against Rick’s statement. He was also one of the three characters who were crippled by grief, and is quickly followed by the other two: first Maggie, then Sasha. Soon the entire group joins them in a very powerful display of unity and of their determination to live.
This shared moment allows them to remember why they are together and why they are still alive, and makes healing possible. In the morning, the walkers have been decimated by the storm, and as the sun rises, the group is ready to face a new day.