The Gospel According to The Walking Dead—Season 4, Episode 10

Walking-Dead-prisonYes, I’m a huge fan of this show, and the writing is usually way above par—one of the more creative and thought provoking shows on TV. That being said, it seemed as if this episode and the next had quite a few, “Really?” moments.

Allow me to rant about a few elements:

  • This week’s episode, titled Inmates, began with Beth’s voice-over, an apparent diary entry from way back when. I thought it a creative way to introduce the episode, but… they never did anything with it? We see a casual glimpse of it in her back pocket, and that’s it. Did they intend to return to that creative plot element, creating nice bookends to the story, perhaps ending the episode with her making another entry and tossing the diary in her bag? I guess the screenplay writer forgot.
  • This week we experienced some really encouraging reveals. For those of us who watched this season live, beginning in the Fall of 2013, we all experienced a long break after the huge prison battle. Now it’s 2014, and we’re only in week two since the break, and last week we only saw three of our beloved characters. So at this point, fans didn’t really even know who’s alive and not. So it was nice to see Daryl and Beth together, and had this been shown in a theatre, audiences probably would have cheered or at least sighed in relief when we found baby Judith safe with Tyreese and the two irritating young girls (who I have personally nicknamed Psycho and Whiney). Carol is back in the picture, and Maggie searches for Glenn with Sasha and Bob. And finally we discover Glenn, passed out at the prison, only to grab some gear, rescue Tara (more emotionally than physically) and begin their search for the rest of the group. This all begs the question: wasn’t our group smart enough to have come up with a “rally point” if things went bad? (Mental note, in case you ever find yourself surviving with a group, set a rally point. Something to consider.)
  • And what’s with Glenn? He’s still sick, yet he somehow linebackers through a mob of zombies (as opposed to juking around them), only to pass out moments later on the road. Sick or not, I just think Glenn is probably smarter than that. I don’t think he was that eager to test the strength of his SWAT gear. “Hey walkers! I’m going to run right in the middle of you and see if you can chew through my helmet and pads!”

But those questionable elements aside, I still found the episode intriguing. I loved the Tarantino-esque time overlaps from Beth and Daryl to Tyreese and the girls. And I really thought the scene between Glenn and Tara was well done, particularly when Glenn heard that Hershel had been killed. Actor Steven Yeun was especially convincing, not over-acting Glenn’s grief, but effectively revealing his surprise and pain.

It’s at the end of this episode that these two share some good moments. First, when Glenn encounters Tara at the prison:

Glenn: Are you just gonna stay here? Huh? You just gonna die?

Tara: I was part of this.

Glenn: I know.

Tara: Then what are you doing?

Glenn: I need your help.

Later Tara confesses:

Tara: …that man told us you were bad people. I know it’s not true. I can see it’s not, so what we did… what I did… I’m a piece of sh*t. Why would you want my help?

Glenn: I don’t want it. I need it.

The dialogue seemed very authentic in this scene. Tara is experience an insane amount of guilt, and Glenn is showing grace, mixed with the simple need to survive, and he knows his chances are better with Tara then on his own.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my lifetime and I’ve felt some pretty intense guilt. I’ve begged for forgiveness before. I’ve felt like… well… what Tara said.

How about you?

SEASON 4, EPISODE 10 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. Why do you think Tara wasn’t making any effort to rescue herself at the prison?

2. Do you think Glenn truly forgave her for being part of the Governor’s group?

3. Is Tara right to feel the guilt she feels?

4. Should Glenn and the others forgive her? Is “I’m sorry” enough?

Read the following passage of scripture:

23 So if you are presenting a gift at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your gift there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24, NLT)

5. What is so important to the person in these verses, that he must leave his gift at the altar?

6. Why is it so important that we reconcile with someone before worshipping?

7. Why is forgiveness so important to God?

8. Does Glenn need to forgive Tara? Explain.

9. Tara was pretty hard on herself. Does she need to forgive herself? Explain.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Author Lewis Smedes said this:

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Let’s be silent and pray for a moment. As you are silent, think about your relationships, and especially if you are a prisoner that needs to be set free tonight. If you are holding a grudge against anyone, then now is the time to make that right. Pray and ask God to give you the strength to forgive.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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