"Self Help" is the fifth episode of the fifth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the fifty-sixth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 9, 2014 at 9/8c on AMC, and on November 10, 2014 at 9pm on Fox. It was written by Heather Bellson and Seth Hoffman, and directed by Ernest Dickerson.
A new set of issues confront our group while on a mission. Will they be able to push through and survive these challenges? Or better yet, each other?
The episode starts with Abraham driving down the road in the church bus. Rosita is teasing Abraham about his hair getting long; Abraham is relaxed and joking, and says that he’s thinking about becoming a plumber. He further states that the successful end of his mission is in sight. Rosita says she’ll cut Abraham’s hair later that night.
Tara tells Eugene that his hair is getting a little long in the back, and suggests he gets it cut. Then, she jokes, "Or is it your source of power?" Eugene responds, "I ain’t slaying a lion anytime soon, and I wouldn't be putting any wagers on me dispatching 1,000 philistines with the jawbone of an ass." Tara asks Eugene what’s up, and he says he's thinking about what that preacher did.
Maggie tells Glenn that maybe Daryl and Carol came back, and the rest of them are right behind. She turns around, and asks Eugene how long it will take once he gets on the terminal and does what he needs to do. Eugene says it depends on the density of the infected around target sites worldwide. After Eugene rattles off some more scientific jargon, Glenn asks Eugene, "Why the hair?" Eugene says because he likes it, and he adds no one is taking scissor or clipper to it anytime soon. Eugene says that the smartest man he ever knew, his old boss T. Brooks Ellis (the director of the human genome project) loved his hair.
As the bus passes by a group of walkers, a tire suddenly blows out. Abraham loses control and the bus swerves, hits another vehicle, and flips over on its side. Walkers start to approach the motionless bus.
In a flashback, someone is beating an unknown person to death with a can. The camera pans out and it’s Abraham doing the beating. Abraham stands up and steps on the throat of the beaten man, killing him. The camera pans out again to reveal that they are in a grocery store, and there are several other bodies on the floor. Abraham turns around and calls out the name "Ellen".
Back in the flipped-over bus, Abraham is calling out for Eugene as everyone on the bus is starting to regain their composure from the crash. Because the engine is on fire, Abraham, Glenn, Maggie, and Rosita bust out the back door of the bus to fight off the walkers. Tara stays on the bus to protect Eugene. When a walker tries to get in through a bus window, Tara stabs it and tells Eugene it’s time to be brave. Tara gives Eugene a knife, and they both leave the bus to help. At first, Eugene just stands around petrified. However, when he sees a walker coming up behind Tara, he rushes over to stab it, saving her.
After all the walkers have been dispatched, Abraham barks out an order to check Eugene to see if he’s hurt. Eugene says he’s fine, but he notices blood on Abraham’s hand and asks if it's his blood. Abraham says yes and that his cut just reopened again. Before they can head into the bus to retrieve their supplies, the bus bursts into flames.
Eugene suggests that they head back to the church, but Abraham insists that they have to continue on the mission. Abraham says if they retreat, that means they lose. Glenn offers reassurance, and confirms that he and Maggie will continue on, no matter what. Glenn further acknowledges that Abraham is calling the shots, but says he needs to know that Abraham is good. Abraham says he took a pretty good hit in the crash, but as long as they are rolling on, he’s good. Glenn says, “We’re rolling on.” Tara suggests that maybe they can find some bikes, because bikes don't burn. Eugene goes and looks at the walker he stabbed, and spits on it. The group continues their journey on foot.
In another flashback scene, Abraham is in the grocery store and continues yelling out for someone named Ellen. He stumbles through the aisles until he finds a woman (Ellen) and two kids crouched down behind a counter.
Back in the present, Abraham and the group break into a book store. Once inside, they start setting up shop, by getting water from the toilet, building a barricade with bookshelves, and tearing out book pages to use in a fire. Rosita uses some string from a book spine to sew up the gash in Abraham’s hand.
After Rosita finishes patching him up, Abraham says that he’s going to take a sweep. Glenn finds Abraham watching walkers outside the window. Abraham thanks Glenn for coming with him. Glenn asks Abraham if he’s going to wrap up his hand, but Abraham says he’s going to let it get some air, as he cut it pretty badly back at the church.
Feeling pensive, Abraham says it’s kind of reached the point where everyone alive is strong now. He wants to say it’s never easy to kill someone, but that’s not the truth. In fact, it’s the easiest thing in the world now. Glenn tells Abraham that he should turn in and get some rest, as he has late watch. Abraham says he really needs some ass first. After Abraham leaves, Glenn says, “I didn't need to know that, but cool.”
As Abraham and Rosita are having sex, Rosita looks up and says Eugene is watching them, "again", from the self help section. Abraham laughs and says don’t worry that he’s harmless.
Tara comes up behind Eugene, and Eugene admits to watching Abraham and Rosita. Eugene says he enjoys the female form, and he considers it to be a victim-less crime which provides a distraction. Tara says that she was looking for Eugene to thank him for saving her life back at the bus. Eugene reveals that he sabotaged the bus to make it crash. Eugene says he put crushed glass in the fuel line back at the church and that the vehicle should have failed before it even got to the road. When Tara asks why he did that, Eugene says that he couldn't survive on his own. Eugene says that if he couldn't save the world that there is no way they would keep him around. Tara says they would because they're friends. Tara says that Eugene needs to keep secret what he did and not to do it again. Eugene goes, at Tara's urging and she takes a swift look at Rosita and Abe before she goes as well.
Glenn is sleeping next to Maggie. Maggie is staring up into space. Glenn asks if she’s thinking about them, and Maggie says she feels guilty. Glenn jokes around about having a vacation on a bookstore floor. Maggie says it’s just good having this because it’s not about what was, that it’s about what’s going to be.
In another flashback, Abraham tells Ellen and the kids that they are safe now that he stopped them. Ellen is shaking and the kids are hiding behind her; they're obviously terrified of him. Abraham tells them that it’s okay and then looks down at his blood covered hands.
Rosita is wrapping up Abraham’s hand in bandages. Rosita says she thinks that they should stay here today, but Abraham says they need to keep moving. Abraham says every minute they waste in getting Eugene to Washington people are dying. Maggie enters and says that this store was hardly touched and that they could spend one more day searching for supplies. Rosita publicly backs Abraham and says they will sweep as they go.
Abraham says they have a vehicle, and he looks out the window at a fire truck. He adds that the vehicle has 500 gallons of water on it. At first the fire truck won’t crank, but Abraham eventually gets it started. However, after they pull out, the fire truck chokes down. As Abraham starts to work on the fire truck, a tire goes rolling by them. Then, a decent sized group of walkers come out of a building, released after the fire truck moved forward and allowed the building's door to open. Abraham and the rest are overrun, but Eugene turns the fire hose on the walkers and takes them out. Abraham says he’s been to eight county fairs and one goat rodeo and he’s never seen anything like that. Glenn says there’s a Goodwill where there might be some supplies. But Abraham is against waiting, he climbs on the roof of the fire truck to clean out the intake for the engine. Abraham starts laughing when he sees written on the ground, “Sick inside let them die.”
In a flashback, Abraham wakes up on the floor of the grocery store from earlier. He looks around and Ellen and the kids are gone. There is a note that says, “Don’t try to find us.” He then leaves in desperation to look for them.
Abraham and his group are now a ways down the road in the fire truck. Evidently, Abraham got the truck running, but it’s stopped again. Eugene is reading the H.G. Well’s book "The Shape Of Things To Come" on the back of the fire truck. Maggie tells Eugene that she knows why he has the haircut. Eugene says that it’s because he likes it, but Maggie goes into a story about how it lets everyone know he’s not like everyone else. Maggie says a lot of people in his position would have given up. Glenn says he smells something. The others suddenly smell it too.
The group walks down the road where they spy a horde of walkers, and large farms equally infested at both sides. Glenn tells everyone they have to turn around and head back. Abraham says that he’s not giving up the ship, that they can get through the herd and that they're not going around or turning back. Rosita tells Abraham no and that the others are right only for him to grab Eugene and start walking back to the fire truck. Everyone else tries to stop Abraham, but then Eugene starts screaming, "I’m not a scientist". Eugene reveals that he lied about being a scientist, and knowing how to stop the walkers. Everyone is standing around staring at him, and Rosita insists that he is a scientist. Eugene says that he just knows things and is a good liar. He explains that he just wanted to get to DC because he believes that the locale holds the strongest possibility for survival. He just wanted to trick some people into taking him there. Rosita reminds him that people died trying to get him to DC. Eugene admits that and even recites a list of some on the spot - Stephanie, Warren, Pam, Rex, Roger, Jesaiah/Josiah, Dirk, Josephine and most recently Bob. Eugene says that as the reality of getting to DC came closer, he tried to slow their path. He also reveals that he lied about T. Brooks Ellis liking his hair, as he never met him. When Eugene comments that he is smarter than them, Abraham loses his temper and punches Eugene twice, forcing him into the fire truck. Abraham gives one more punch and slams Eugene's head into the windshield wiper and knocks him out. As Abraham goes at Eugene again, Rosita steps in front of him and puts her hand on her gun. Maggie rolls Eugene over and she, along with Glenn and Rosita, try to rouse him. Abraham walks away and falls to his knees on the roadway with tears in his eyes.
In a flashback, Abraham is looking at the bodies of Ellen and the kids. He’s about to commit suicide by bullet, when he hears someone screaming for help. It’s Eugene being chased by three walkers. Abraham kills the three walkers, then starts to walk away. Eugene calls out to him to stop, saying that he can’t leave. Abraham asks why, and Eugene says he has a very important mission, giving him a new reason to live.
- 4 unnamed survivors (Flashback)
- Ellen Ford (Flashback)
- A.J. Ford (Flashback)
- Becca Ford (Flashback)
- Warren (Confirmed fate)
- Dirk (Confirmed fate)
- Stephanie (Confirmed fate)
- Josephine (Confirmed fate)
- Rex (Confirmed fate)
- Pam (Confirmed fate)
- Josiah (Confirmed fate)
- Roger (Confirmed fate)
- This episode was originally titled "The Choice", but it was changed for unknown reasons.
- The title of this episode refers to Eugene peeking on Rosita and Abraham having sex at the Self Help section.
- Also, Eugene reveals that he has been lying to everybody about the cure in order to get other people to ensure his survival, so he has been helping himself.
- According to Michael Cudiltz, this episode was almost banned completely, due to unknown reasons.
- The song featured in this episode is "May the Work I've Done Speak For Me" by The Consolers.
- In the scene where Tara and Eugene talk behind the bookcase, the books on the shelf are titled "We All Fall Down" which is a nod to the classic British nursery "Ring a Ring a Roses" which is thought to make reference to the bubonic plague which swept through 15th Century England and again in the 17th Century.
- Some significant plot points of this episode reflect the plot of Issue 67 of the Comic Series.
- When the bus flips over, Tara protects Eugene from a walker that tries to get in through the bus' window by stabbing it in the back of the head. The kill is done with CGI effects, so the stab wound is still visible in the kill scene, but after Tara gives Eugene a knife and they both leave the bus to help the rest of the group, the stab wound behind the walker's head isn't there anymore.
- Also, an error on the special effects occurred when a walker almost bit Eugene from his back, Tara is seen visually stabbing the walker, despite the knife went above the walker's head.
- When Eugene assisted Tara by stabbing a walker in the back, while Tara dealt the fatal stab to the head. Eugene then removes his knife which is now covered in blood. As he walks towards Abraham, you can see the blood digitally fading off the knife.
- The scene where Eugene uses the powerful water monitor on top of the fire-truck is unrealistic, as all water pumps inside a fire-truck can only work with a working and running engine.
- Maggie pulls the ladder from the rear of the firetruck, but in previous shots the only ladder on the firetruck is hung on the passenger side.
- During the flashback when Abraham first met Eugene the sky behind Eugene is fairly clear but when Abraham goes to kill the walkers there are dark clouds in the sky, once he is finished killing them, the sky is clear again.
- In the scene where Eugene kills the walkers with the hose, they all appear to die, but in the next shot, two corpses appear to be moving.