Entertainment Television

‘The Walking Dead’ recap: ‘Swear’ episode brings back fan-favourite Tara

By Steve Tilley, Special to Postmedia Network

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler on "The Walking Dead."

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler on "The Walking Dead."

When it comes to a series of unfortunate events, Lemony Snicket can’t hold a candle to the characters on The Walking Dead.

This week’s episode of AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama focuses on the escapades of the missing-in-action Tara (Alanna Masterson), who we haven’t seen since she and her pal Heath (Corey Hawkins) left to go on a two-week hunt for supplies, late last season.

Turns out the pair got separated during a massive zombie attack on a bridge, with Tara plunging into the water and washing up on a beach near a colony inhabited almost exclusively by women. Very suspicious and heavily armed women.

These post-apocalyptic Amazons don’t take kindly to Tara’s presence, but the shrewd survivor ultimately manages to escape by the skin of her teeth and make her way back to Alexandria, where she learns about all the badness that’s befallen the group in her absence. Here’s the best of the best from Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, titled Swear.

BEST MOMENT — GIVING A LITTLE GIRL THE FINGER

We’d forgotten how funny and self-reliant Tara could be, in part because Masterson’s real-life pregnancy kept her out of the spotlight for a good chunk of last season. In this week’s episode, though, we see Tara dodging bullets, leaping from car roof to car roof and trying to fast-talk her way out of several sticky situations. She’s back, baby.

But the most Tara-esque moment of them all might be when she leaves the seaside colony with an armed escort and flips the bird at murderous tyke Rachel (Mimi Kirkland) as a farewell. Who gives the finger to a little girl? Tara does, when the kid would just have soon as stuck a spear through Tara’s skull or shot her in the face.

BEST CHARACTER — TARA

While the women of the beach colony are a fascinating bunch – particularly the grandmotherly Natania (Deborah May) and the good-hearted Cyndie (Sydney Park), who saves Tara’s life three or four times – this episode is entirely about bringing the long-absent Tara back into the fold.

With Abraham’s sass and Glenn’s heart now missing from the Walking Dead equation, it will be good to see Tara in the mix again, especially given how reluctant she was to follow Rick’s plan to pre-emptively attack the Saviors. Now that Rick is a broken man, where will Tara fall in the civil war that seems to be brewing among the Alexandrians?

BEST ZOMBIE KILL — STUCK-IN-A-TREE WALKER

The zombies who enjoy an idyllic life by the ocean (or Chesapeake Bay, if our best guess at the geography is correct) seem to have been dried out by the sun and salt breeze, as they’re a uniform shade of sandy, crusty brown. One such walker is trapped in a tree as Tara is being escorted back to the bridge, and she offers to finish it off with a knife.

But the savvy Tara knows that her escorts have likely been ordered to kill her to keep the secrets of their colony safe, so she bolts past the zombie and makes a run for it. When her entourage opens fire on Tara, the poor, trapped walker bites the dust in a hail of bullets.

BEST LINE — “I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND I WANT TO GET BACK TO”

While we love it when Tara echoes Glenn’s sentiments on scavenging from back in Season 5 – “There’s nothing left in this world that isn't hidden,” she tells Heath – we’ve almost forgotten that Tara is unaware of all the awfulness that’s happened in the weeks she’d been away, including her sweetheart Denise being shot dead by Savior lieutenant Dwight. When she tells the beach colony women why she needs to return to Alexandria, it feels like a stab to the heart. Or a crossbow bolt to the head.

BEST SURPRISE — NEGAN IS EVERYWHERE

Maybe it shouldn’t come as such a shock that the Saviors have encountered the beach colony before, but we do learn of another astonishing example of Negan’s savagery: he and his followers have killed every man and boy over the age of 10 in the settlement as a way of keeping its people in line. It’s not like we needed any more reasons to want Negan to meet a painful demise, but geez.

It also seems a little surprising that Tara would keep her promise not to reveal the existence of the beach colony to her fellow survivors in Alexandria. But she did swear not to tell, and Tara is a woman of her word.

Twitter: @stevetilley

STilley@postmedia.com