Although Sasha has been a driving force in many of the show’s recent episodes, her storylines have always revolved around the men in her life, in particular how their hardships have affected her. In Forget, however, we begin to see what life is like for her as she grieves for her partner and brother, and ultimately her struggles to find an identity in a world that is evolving day by day.
It’s been made clear from the outset of this season that the focus has shifted from gore and violence to character development. While this has for the most part been a welcome change, it appears that the show may be struggling to find the balance between action and empathy. After being welcomed with not so open arms into Alexandria a few episodes ago, the gang of survivors is only growing bigger, meaning that the creators are having to pick and choose which characters are the most worthy of air time. For the most part, the choices they’ve made have been bang on: we’ve seen Rick’s nasty side growing stronger by the day; Carol’s cunning plan to lull her new neighbours into a false sense of security; and Daryl’s open struggle to fit into a new domesticated world that just doesn’t sit well with him. Sasha, on the other hand, seems somewhat misguided.
“People are people. The more scared they get, the stupider they get.”
In a manner similar to Rick after first finding their feet in Alexandria, Forget opens with Sasha’s battles with insomnia. There’s clearly something plaguing her mind, and we’re very much led to believe that she’s severely lacking in self worth. This notion is reiterated when we see her determinedly firing precious bullets at family photos in the hopes of attracting walkers that will savagely end her current torment. Obviously there’s a much deeper symbolic meaning to all of this; just as everyone else in the gang is beginning to prosper in the possibility of new family ties, Sasha is being forced to live a life where her only remaining family have been ripped from her grasps. But there are some minor mistakes in this sequence that make the overall impact majorly misguided. Firstly, there’s Sasha’s use of a silencer when trying to create as much noise as possible. She’s alone in a forest, with an armed weapon, apparently longing for death. Surely the smartest option would be to put herself out of her misery in a way that still gives her control?
Listen, we understand the depth the show is trying to create. There’s nothing wrong with digging deeper into the psyche of characters, especially strong female ones. It’s just difficult for such tactics to really sink in when it’s in relation to a character that we honestly haven’t had the opportunity, nor the capabilities, to get to know prior to this self-destruction.
Which bring us on nicely to Rick. It appeared that our leading man had finally come to terms with his possible new life (the shaving of the beard was somewhat of a ‘new year, new me’ moment) and he was welcoming a new era of domestic bliss with open arms. There’s even a possible new love interest in his life. But things may soon turn sour. During a strangely normal party at Deanna’s home, the flirtations between Rick and Erin echo a past that he may wish to forget. As someone who experienced first hand the damage that can be done by infidelity, seeing Rick move closer towards crossing the line between friendship and romance could mark disaster in the future of Alexandria’s peace-keeping.
“People are the real threat now.”
After a suspended period of turmoil that saw his refusal to shower and apparent emotional attachment to a dead possum, Daryl has arguably had the trickiest time adjusting to their new surroundings. While everyone else has found support in each other during this era of deep rooted change, our resident crossbow wielding-warrior has been determined to rely solely on himself. As we mentioned last week, this isolation from the rest of the group could put Daryl in a potentially vulnerable position. Forget sees him find an unlikely ally in Aaron, a friendship that culminates in not only the best bowl of spaghetti bolognese he’s ever chowed down on, but also a job that sees him reunited with his long lost love: choppers.
As ever, the gang finds themselves making plans to secure their safety in case shit begins to hit the fan. Guns are hoarded in the shack just outside the walls of Alexandria, a move that sees Carol threatening a young boy with horrific tales fresh from your nastiest nightmares. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A horse on the run reinforces the show’s extended metaphor that you can’t run away from the world forever. Side note: why are the deaths of animals so much more soul-destroying than actual human characters?
With only three more episodes left of the show’s fifth season, there’s sure to be a sudden and seriously savage threat looming in the distance (if the ‘w’ carved into a walker’s forehead is anything to go by). Kiss goodbye to your life of bliss. Things are about to get wild.
Words by Sophie Mace.