This week’s episode of The Walking Dead finally brought us back to two characters that we haven’t seen since “No Tomorrow Yet,” which, by my calculations, was approximately 266 days ago: Tara and Heath, and boy have they missed a lot. Denise was killed, Abraham was killed, Glenn was killed, Daryl was taken, and Rick was “dethroned” from his position of power. But they aren’t the only characters with news to learn; Tara has an ample amount of news to share herself…she hasn’t just been sitting on the sidelines.
“Swear” begins with a change of scenery and Tara quite literally washing up on the shores of a new community. Gone are the idyllic streets of Alexandria or the walled community of The Hilltop. In its place are the seashore, a multitude of new characters, and a community composed solely of women and children. Oceanside is a breath of fresh air that is very well hidden in the brush of the woods, something that Tara discovers after secretly following Cyndie back. And if Rachel was any indication of how this community treats outsiders (the little girl was ready to kill Tara just as quickly as she had killed another walker on the beach), it comes as no surprise that Tara isn’t a welcome presence.
She had been interviewed once by Deanna when the group had stumbled upon the Alexandria Safe Zone, and Tara finds herself being interviewed again after Cyndie manages to convince the community’s leader, Natania, not to kill her. Tara informs them that she is from Atlanta, but she neglects to mention Alexandria or the rest of the group. Instead, she fabricates a lie. She tells Natania that she has been traveling alone with Heath for years, just scavenging, but that she was separated from him on the bridge when she fell off and washed up on shore. She offers to leave if she is pointed in the right direction, but there’s a problem: this new community usually kills strangers on the spot, and allowing Tara to leave puts them in danger. Her fate rests entirely in their hands.
At dinner that night, Natania confesses that she sees potential in Tara, and she wants to convince her to stay. She even extends the offer to Heath once he is found. But there is one small problem that Tara notes: there are no other men in Oceanside. It turns out that they were attacked and all of the men were killed, and in an effort to save themselves, the women and children got up one night and resettled. Tara reveals the truth about Alexandria and the Saviors and suggests that their two communities work together. Cyndie likes the idea, and Natania agrees to send a guide out with Tara to help find Heath and then continue to Alexandria.
It turns out that Natania’s plan is all a just ruse to get Tara killed. She sends Cathy and Beatrice with Tara, and after they start shooting at her and Tara gets into a brief scuffle with Beatrice, it is revealed that the group they had run into were the Saviors and they had tried fighting back, too. The Saviors killed every man and boy over 10, and so the women and children got up and left. They don’t want to be under their control anymore. Cyndie saves Tara at the last minute, and she leads her back to the bridge and helps her get to the other side, making her swear that she won’t tell anyone about Oceanside, and when Tara finally makes it back to Alexandria, the truth of what happened is revealed to her.
Bottle episodes are either a hit or miss, you either love them or you hate them, but Alanna Masterson held her own in “Swear.” She carried the episode with ease, and the introduction of a new community made the episode even more amazing. Oceanside is unlike anything that we’ve ever seen before on The Walking Dead, and it’s sticking with the ongoing theme of the season that women are much stronger than one may initially think. And whereas the season started out on such a grim note, the addition of another community and the expansion of the TWD world is giving us hope. The Saviors may not have the numbers, and if the time comes where these communities rally together against them, Negan may very well see the end of his reign.
And on a final note, Heath, we may not know where you are, but you left tire marks for Tara. You made it. Godspeed, Heath. May we meet again sometime soon.
- Little Rachel is amazing. Is this potentially what Judith could be in a few years?
- So there’s a community. It is completely composed of badass women and children. Where do I sign up, because I am totally down for more stories like this!
- Alert! Alert! There is a new name for walkers. Bobbers!
- Tara grabbing the doctor bobble head crushed my heart into a million little pieces. Just give her a girlfriend that doesn’t die, please!
- Fist bumps! Tara’s still giving out fist bumps!
- Does anyone have any idea what that cryptic “PPP” means?
- Tara rocked those sunglasses.
- I certainly hope that that wasn’t the last that we’ll see of Oceanside. It’s an extremely interesting community with a fascinating story.