Self Help was the episode that fans of the Walking Dead comic book series have been waiting for since season 4—the moment when Eugene, who claimed to be a government scientist with a top-secret cure for the walker virus, would be exposed as a fraud. And the episode, although it did have its downsides, did not fail to deliver in terms of character development, tension and surprises. The following are two significant things that Self Help definitely did right!
It managed to inject some humor back into the show
It’s obvious that a show like The Walking Dead isn’t going to be a barrel of laughs; the storyline is often just too dark to allow for more frequent comedic moments in the same way that other dramas, such as Mad Men or even Breaking Bad, can. Self Help, however, found just the right moments for comedy that didn’t seem out of place or ridiculously forced. In the bus scene, for example, the good-natured ribbing about Eugene’s mullet (or, as he called it, his Tennessee Tophat) brought some light banter that was a perfect foil to the darker aspects of the episode. Another great example is the group’s reaction when Eugene takes out a group of walkers with a high-pressure firehouse—Abraham’s laughter and Glenn’s face were nothing but priceless.
It took the time to explore the characters without dragging the plot
The Walking Dead often excels at moments where the plot is put on the sidelines for character development or explanation. Unfortunately, the show also has the tendency for these moments—which in some cases span entire episodes—to drag on for far too long. But despite the fact that not too much actually happened in the span of Self Help, the episode never felt slow paced and the nuances we got to see developing in the group’s roles—such as Tara’s speech to Eugene and Glenn’s moment with Abraham or even Abraham and Rosita’s intimate embrace —fell right into place.
We also learned more about the past of the ‘leader’ of this sectioned group, Abraham; not only did we get to see the moment that Eugene first told the big lie that sent him packing towards Washington D.C., we also got to see a much less righteous side of Abraham that was a shocking contrast to his normally orderly, almost professional behavior.
Were you surprised by the reveals from “Self Help” or were you un-phased because you’ve ready the comic books? Either way, this t-shirt is for the zombie lovers in your life.