‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5 Comic-TV Comparisons: ‘Coda’ Through ‘The Distance’
The Walking Dead Season 5 shambled out its 11th entry with Sunday’s latest “The Distance” but how did it hold up to the comic book continuity? Rick’s group ventured off the beaten comic path for awhile with Beth’s rescue, so let’s find out how close does the source material stuck through Season 5B, with Alexandria on the horizon!
As AMC’s incarnation weaves in and out of storylines from the books and adds its own original characters and developments, we’ve compiled an in-depth guide for fans of the comics as well as AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ to enjoy! Check all the comparisons we found in on The Walking Dead Season 5 episodes “Coda” through “The Distance”
The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 8, “Coda”
We Can’t Go Back, Bob
AMC: Rather than risk Lamson getting away, Rick nonchalantly runs down the fleeing police officer, crippling him before taking a moment to chat, and ultimately ending the man’s life. Rick even inadvertently echoes Gareth’s earlier words, “We can’t go back, Bob.”
THE COMICS: This grisly end was adapted from Rick’s killing Woodbury survivor Martinez, using Dale’s RV. Rick realized upon escaping from the Governor that Martinez had quickly snuck off to alert Woodbury to the prison’s whereabouts, for which Rick caught up to and killed the man. Shades of the incident were also seen when the AMC Governor sought to run down a fleeing Andrea, and later killed Martinez by his new group’s RV.
Maggie Becomes the Sole Surviving Greene
AMC: However ill-thought the moment proved to be, Beth mucks up the trade with Grady Hospital leader Dawn by stabbing her with surgical scissors, for which the surprised Dawn fires a round through Beth’s skull, and is subsequently herself killed. Maggie learns her sister’s fate moments after arriving to the hospital, seeing Daryl carry Beth’s body.
THE COMICS: Beth has no direct comic counterpart, though comic Maggie’s last remaining sibling Billy was killed in the final battle against Woodbury, after which Hershel subsequently welcomed death from the Governor. Maggie didn’t learn about her family’s fate until sometime after, learning from Rick once the group reunited at the Greene farm.
The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 9, “What Happened and What’s Going On”
Wiltshire, Shirewilt, Whatever
AMC: Somewhere outside of Richmond, Virginia, the group visits Noah’s old home at the neighborhood of Shirewilt Estates, only to find it mysteriously devoid of life and largely burned to the ground. It isn’t entirely clear what became of the place, given the fires burned from within each house, while a number of walker bodies were found very specifically mutilated.
THE COMICS: The name “Shirewilt” seems like an obvious play on “Wiltshire,” the first location Rick’s group ever visited outside the Atlanta campsite, which was quickly revealed to be overrun with the dead. Curiously, series creator Robert Kirkman has maintained that the housing community Shane and Andrea visit in Season 2 was intended to be Wiltshire Estates, making the present connection unclear.
AMC: Tyreese sustains a surprise bite from Noah’s zombified younger brother, along with a second chomp after a bout of blood-loss hallucination. Following a series of hallucinations, Rick eventually manages to sever the arm, though Tyreese passes away in the car during the return trip.
THE COMICS: In the books, Tyreese only lasted as far as the prison’s fall, getting captured by the Governor, and beheaded outside the fence as a warning to Rick’s people within. Almost note-for-note, that fate was given to Hershel in AMC’s rendition.
Mr. Grimes Goes to Washington
AMC: Seeing the desolate Shirewilt Estates, Michonne loses her composure and suggests to Rick that they press on toward somewhere they might settle beyond mere survival. Acknowledging that Eugene misled them about the cure, she presses that he was at least right about Washington representing their safest option, subsequently convincing Rick to continue their quest. Later after Aaron’s arrival, Michonne would also insist the group investigate the possibility of Alexandria.
THE COMICS: Sans any Grady Hospital arc or detour to Terminus, Rick’s band went straight from regrouping at Hershel’s farm post-prison to following Abraham, Rosita and Eugene on the road to Washington. Somewhere closer to their destination, Rick exposed Eugene’s lie by accidentally knocking open the radio’s empty battery compartment, but it wasn’t long after that Aaron showed up with his mysterious offer, of which Michonne was the loudest proponent. More on that later…
The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”
Maggie Hangs On
AMC: Horribly depressed in the wake of her sister’s death, Maggie appears to take less and less interest in her own survival, declining water, questioning the future, and hesitating to kill walkers in her path. Following the storm and a conversation with Daryl, Maggie appears to emerge from her depression, and share a sunnier outlook on life with Sasha before Aaron’s arrival.
THE COMICS: Sometime along the road to D.C., Maggie let the grief of losing family overwhelm her, attempting to hang herself in the woods one night. Glenn manages to find her and sever the rope, though Abraham’s blunt insistence on finishing off the body ends when Maggie regains consciousness, gasping for air. Maggie initially declined to talk about the incident, but eventually admitted to finding reasons to live on.
We Are the Walking Dead
AMC: Before the storm hits its worst patch, Rick relays a story about his grandfather refusing to talk about his experiences in World War 2, saying only that he’d felt dead the moment he stepped into enemy territory. Rick likens the sentiment to the group’s current struggle, suggesting that “we do what we have to do, and then we get to live,” and that regardless of what they find in Washington, “this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.”
THE COMICS: The Rick of the book delivered this speech at the prison, upon waking from a brutal fight with Tyreese. There, the speech was more about embracing their role as savages, needing to kill to survive, as they’d all been living on “borrowed time” from becoming walkers themselves.
AMC: As Sasha and Maggie regroup after the storm, a mysteriously friendly stranger named Aaron introduces himself, promising “good news” to be delivered to Rick, later inviting the group to “audition” for a walled sanctuary.
THE COMICS: A slightly older-seeming Aaron introduced himself with near of the exact same randomness, albeit to Abraham and Rick before anyone else. Rick’s immediate reaction, on the other hand…
The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 11, “The Distance”
Rick vs. Aaron
AMC: After hearing out Aaron’s claims for a few minutes, Rick rather abruptly punches the man out, tying him up in order to interrogate Aaron about his group, and possible threats. After sending off the team to investigate, Rick assures Aaron he’ll follow through on threats of killing him if the story doesn’t check out, later force-feeding the man applesauce to determine its safety for Judith.
Aaron agrees to accept a navigator role for the trip, also admitting that he’d listened in on the group from a distance. Aaron later panics as walkers overwhelm the car, ultimately fleeing at the sight of a nearby flare. Glenn catches up and saves Aaron’s life, after which the two shoot out a mass of roamers bearing down on Rick and Michonne.
THE COMICS: Rick knocked Aaron out within moments of his introduction, while in the books Abraham was the one to joke about Rick misreading his expression as a sign to attack the man. Aaron still dutifully answered all of Rick’s question about the offer (being somewhat more forthcoming than the AMC version), before a walker assault quickly broke up the meeting. Once the threat abated, Rick expressed annoyance with Glenn for having giving Aaron a gun in the chaos, particularly one so powerful. Additionally, it was Aaron’s partner who had the listening device, as revealed closer to D.C.
Eric Flares Up
AMC: Initially observed to be watching Michonne’s search party from a distance, Aaron’s search partner and boyfriend Eric is introduced after the initial flare with a broken ankle, having been found and tended to by the remainder of Rick’s group from the RV.
THE COMICS: Still working in tandem over a distance, the comics’ Eric was introduced a bit less dramatically, though Rick still didn’t appreciate the surprise. The flare actually belonged to Alexandria runners Heath and Scott, having run into trouble on a nearby supply run, during which Scott was the one to break his ankle. There, Rick and Abraham accompanied Aaron and Eric on an impromptu rescue mission, which was in turn joined by another Alexandria group
Welcome to Washington
AMC: Shortly before the RV has a breakdown, Rosita alerts Abraham to the still-standing horizon of Washington D.C., a roundabout way of completing their original mission with Eugene.
THE COMICS: We’d expect that The Walking Dead’s continued Georgia production would have made it difficult, but the books saw both Rick and Abraham venturing much closer to the D.C. landmarks in pursuit of rescuing Heath and Scott. Rick even noted along the way that he’d always wanted to come to the Capitol.
AMC: Though Aaron didn’t formally name his community until late into the episode, the exterior of Alexandria seems very much in line with its comic portrayal, including a gate, numerous available houses, and limited power options. In particular, the sound of children playing elicits a strong reaction from Rick
THE COMICS: Rick similarly experienced some surprise at the sound of happy children, though was quick to note a boy with a bruise over his eye. Once inside however, Aaron quickly ushered Rick into the next phase of integration, each survivor meeting their leader one by one.
There’s also the fact that AMC’s Rick stashed a gun outside of Alexandria, much as he did with Terminus, though that might have more to do with an upcoming comic moment we’ll save for next week…
Will The Walking Dead curve much closer to the comics, now that everyone has safely arrived at Alexandria? Whatever happened to Morgan, who was last seen hot on their trail? Did we miss anything else from the comics you might have caught?
Be sure to check back next week for our in-depth comic-to-TV comparison of The Walking Dead Season 5, episode 12, “Remember” on AMC!