– by Anthony Esteves

“Some people are evil, Cyndie…”

The sun shines and the ocean beats steadily against the beach as we hear the voices of two unknown female characters having a conversation. We see a walker on the ground trying to move until one of the unknown characters, a young girl, possibly pre-teen or early-teens, stabs it through the head with her spear. She spots another one and is about to do the same until her accomplice, a woman appearing to be in her mid to late twenties, stops her. She tells her the subject isn’t a bobber but a living person and that she wants to help the person. The young girl is angered and disagrees, but leaves the woman to drag the living being off the beach.

The living being this woman is dragging is Tara.

We flashback to inside the truck, where Tara is educating Heath on the rules of scavenging. They have been on the road for two weeks and Heath is starting to feel like there is no hope in what they are doing. Heath is feeling guilty over what they and the other Survivors did at the satellite station back in season six. Heath feels that everyone is simply in it for themselves and that after this last day, they are to head back to Alexandria. The episode jumps back to the present, where Tara is left inside a makeshift hut. The woman who dragged her off the beach leaves her two bottles of water, a fish and walks away. Moments later, Tara comes to and begins following the woman, eventually following her into a small village in the woods. After quietly scoping out the camp, Tara is discovered. With bullets flying ever so close, Tara attempts to run away, until she is stopped by the young girl from the beach, who has a handgun pointed directly at her head. Tara is surrounded. Trapped with nowhere to go.

As much as i love the episodes that feature the show’s legendary favorites like Rick, Daryl and Maggie, I have a great appreciation of the episodes that focus on the supporting cast. Whereas other existing shows on television limit the supporting cast, The Walking Dead does a great job of giving supporting characters a chance to shine in their own personal journeys. Personally, I find Tara to be a very likable character and was excited to see an angle focusing on her.

While captive, the people of the village are trying to decide what to with Tara. She explains that she lost contact with Heath and that she doesn’t want any trouble. Although technically their prisoner, she is invited to a dinner with leaders of the camp, all female, including Cyndie, the woman from the beach. They explain to her the horrors that had happened to them, how they kill anyone who stumbles across their village and that they want her to stay with them. Tara explains that she comes from a community, that they did what they had to do to survive as well (satellite station) and that they’re respective communities should work together. The leaders decide to allow two of their own, Beatrice and Kathy, to hep Tara find Heath and head back with them to Alexandria to verify that it is safe. As Tara walks with the two of them through the forest, sensing that they are going to kill her, Tara makes a break for it.

Tara is able to avoid Kathy but is eventually held at gunpoint by Beatrice. It is here where Tara learns from Beatrice that this community once tried to fight the Saviors. The Saviors killed every male over the age of ten and forced the women to work for them. These women eventually ran away and formed their own village, killing anyone who found them in order to avoid being discovered by the Saviors. With another timely save from Cyndie and a promise to her that she will not tell anyone about their village, Tara is able to escape and continue to scavenge and search for Heath.

Tara is the more light-hearted character of the show. She makes jokes, can be sarcastic, and in the end, looks for the bright side of things. She is a balance to the horrors and dreary tone that everyone else lives in. She has this youthful spirit that is able to survive in a time when that innocence and joy will get you killed. However, upon returning to Alexandria, Tara’s positive spirit is put to the test when she learns of what happened while she was away. It will be interesting to see where this news takes Tara mentally and emotionally from here on out.