Fans of The Walking Dead have had a unique experience so far this season. After the heart-wrenching start that had many swearing they would stop watching the show, the season has been pretty tame. Some are saying its best days are past and that TWD seems to have lost its way. Last week, we got a show that has some of those people saying that, at its heart, it still has all the things that made it such a hit. “Swear” was an episode that took us back to a character we had not seen for a long time; Tara. She found herself in an all-female community called Oceanside, where she made a new friend, Cindy. So what does all this mean? And where might it take us?
The latest episode of The Walking Dead opened with a shot of a beach and two people we’ve never seen before – a woman, Cindy, and a girl, Rachel. They discover Tara unconscious on the beach, and the woman brushes her hair off her face before the two continue walking. Eventually, she wakes and follows the women to their community, Oceanside. As Movie Pilot noted, the community also appears in the Walking Dead comics, but it’s introduced much further into the story than we are right now on the AMC show.
A major difference between Oceanside in the comics and on the TV show is that in the comics, its residents include men, women, and children while on TV, there are no men. The story told to Tara was that they are a group that broke off from Negan’s sanctuary, and some of the Saviors killed their men. Also in the comics, the community provides fish to Alexandria and the Hilltop. Apparently this is going to be a major deviation from the Walking Dead source material. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
This episode was a nice break from what we’ve seen previously on this season of The Walking Dead, largely because there was so much about the people at Oceanside that was a refreshing change from anyone we’ve seen on the show for a long time. They aren’t warriors. They chose to leave Negan instead of fighting him. The connection between Tara and Cindy was nice too. Despite the fact that they typically shoot strangers on sight, Cindy spared her life and even helped her escape at the end. And her sneaking water to her in the beginning was a nice change of attitude from what we’ve become used to seeing on TWD.
We also were given a couple of new mysteries this week, mysteries that Walking Dead fans are sure to develop theories for in coming weeks. The first happens when Tara is lying on the beach, and we see a tattoo on one of her arms. It’s a list of roman numerals – XXVI (26), XIII (13), XXII (22), and IX (9). There is another number, but it’s partially hidden by her shirt sleeve. One theory that has already popped up is that these are Biblical references. TWD has done this often before so it isn’t a reach to believe they’re doing it here. The theory says that the numbers are referring to a couple of verses in Proverbs.
Proverbs 26:13 says “A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” This could easily mean either Negan or Shiva.
Proverbs 22:9 says, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” This could foreshadow Oceanside providing food to Alexandria and the Hilltop in the future.
The second mystery is at the end when Tara finds a keycard with “PPP” written on it. She says, “… maybe that was you. I hope that was you.” This seems to indicate that she thinks it’s from Heath. Two theories have already emerged on this one. One is that the letters are meant to guide her to Heath’s prison cell at the Sanctuary. The second is that it’s a reference to Point-to-Point Protocol, a data link used to establish a direct connection between two nodes, which could also make the card a communication from Heath.
Oceanside also gives us one more mystery, that Vox discussed. There’s something that doesn’t feel quite right about it. Well, a couple of things actually. Why did they not kill Tara? Why did it matter to Cindy? Why was she able to argue the group out of killing her? And the community’s backstory doesn’t quite make sense. Why would the Saviors kill only the men and then leave the women alone? And leave them with their guns? Something doesn’t quite add up here.
The return of Tara brought with it a refreshing change and opened up lots of possibilities for future storylines, as well as giving us some unknowns to ponder.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
[Featured Image by AMC]