The Walking Dead Awards: “Welcome to the human race”

Season 5, Episode 5: Dolphin smooth
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Photograph courtesy AMC

(Spoilers ahead)

Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: the new Planeteers, Tennessee top hats, and maybe don’t let the younglings watch this one.

Season 5, Episode 5: “Self-Help”

Most eco-friendly episode: This week taught us more about the planet than any NBC Green Week ever did. Eugene, overtaking Captain Planet as the most eco-conscious man with a mullet, made us feel bad about our carbon footprint, Tara suggested we should take bikes instead of driving, and that farm the group almost drove through was using all-natural, organic, free-range, decaying compost to fertilize its crops. We’re gonna take pollution down to zero!

Biggest waste of space: No, not Eugene, but rather those giant “You may lose The Walking Dead” banners AMC ran to DirecTV customers. When they appeared onscreen, these ads blocked the entire width of the top and bottom of the frame. This image from The Walking Dead subreddit shows the extent of the damage.  It’s not like we were trying to watch the show, right?

Worst survival tactics: Not leaving a note for Rick after the bus fire. Like Maggie said, what if the other half of the group was coming up the road and they found the charred husk of the bus? Well, they might write-off Team Washington faster than Maggie forgot about Beth.

Worst person to pick vehicles: Abraham. We know the group doesn’t exactly have time to hunt down a Prius or a Tesla, but that fire truck is going to get at best about seven miles to the gallon. Psh, typical Houstonian. You know what, forget that eco-friendly episode award.

Biggest twist that wasn’t: When that lone tire rolled slowly out of the building, we thought The Walking Dead was about to have a crossover with Rubber, but sadly “Robert” made no appearance here–just hungry, hungry walkers.

Best term for a mullet: “Tennessee top hat”

Most clearly not Texas: I’m sorry, but as your resident Texas expatriate, I must say that you cannot slap a “Texas BBQ” restaurant in the background of Senoia, Newnan, or wherever and pass it off as Texas. Next time, CGI in a Whataburger instead. ­­—Matt Walljasper

Best kill: Eugene sabotaging the bus. Sure, it was just to cover up lies on lies on lies, but at least we got a nice (and well-timed) explosion out of this updated sugar-in-the-gas-tank ploy.

Best line: The smartest man I ever met happened to love my hair. My old boss, T. Brooks Ellis, the director of the human genome project. He said my hair made me look like, and I quote, “a fun guy.” Which I am. —Eugene

Most disturbing image: Eugene not even trying to hide while creepily watching Abraham and Rosita’s, um, intimate moment. Even worse, he was in the self-help section . . . we’ll leave it at that.

Best couple: Glenn and Maggie, for being courteous to others and NOT having sex (loudly) in the bookstore where everyone’s trying to sleep.

Episode MVP: Eugene, for admitting that he wasn’t a scientist right when the group really needed a reason not to go bumbling into the farm where apparently walkers are grown. (Though if they did, we can only imagine Abraham would’ve swapped the fire truck for a combine harvester.) Still, Eugene loses points for concluding, “I am smarter than you,” which, as one would imagine, was met with a punch in the face.

And sadly, yet again, Rick was absent from this episode, so we can’t pinpoint him on the Rick calm/crazy scale. And since next week’s episode looks to continue the trend, we want to run away faster than Abraham’s family. Can we please get the band back together?

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