I’ve always been a little hesitant about Tara Chambler. There was just something about her that didn’t click with me. Maybe it was her introduction, she first hit the scene with the Governor against Rick & Co. Or maybe it was the fact that she always came off as the sidekick, the woman/character that could die at any second, to fill a specific death quota needed by The Walking Dead.
Either way, I never invested in Tara Chambler, so I never cared.
After The Walking Dead‘s “Swear” I can’t help but care. A lot. “Swear” felt like seeing a new side of the woman I’ve known for seasons and recognizing that a huge part of myself is just like her; hopeful, frightened, determined, and hella awkward in the face of this world and all it’s dangers.
When she first stumbled across the Amazonians at Oceanside, because that’s what I’m going to call them, she displayed mercy and control. Tara didn’t have to kill and the residents of Oceanside were thoroughly confused by her awkward, mouthy, nature. Tara wasn’t afraid or threatening. She was a surprise among all the death and trauma they’ve experienced since the apocalypse began.
There was no way Oceanside could kill something like that. Tara was an anomaly.
It’s easy to say that Tara channelled her inner Carol and lured them into a false sense of comfort when chained to the radiator, eating dinner with them, or when she convinced them to come with her to Alexandria. But this was all Tara. She’s smarter than people give her credit for and knows what it takes to survive. Sure that awkwardness is probably 100% Tara inside, but she wielded in a way that no one could see past her sarcasm and lame jokes.
She’s also genuine. Tara could’ve told Rosita about the community that she came across. But Tara kept her word because she promised. Cyndie, played by the lovely Sydney Park, showed her kindness and saved her multiple times. There was no way she was going to repay that by opening the flood gates to a possible Alexandrian visit/invasion. They people of Oceanside have suffered and she doesn’t want to bring them anymore pain, despite them trying to kill her.
Tara Chambler borders a very precarious line. In shows like this, the hopeful people die. They reach a point of enlightenment and are crushed or snuffed out to show how cruel the world really is. But Tara isn’t like that. She still has faith that there are good people out there, like Cyndie, but understands that true evil exists, like Negan. It lives and breaths in tandem with the good and she’ll do what she must to survive it, even kill the unsuspecting.
That’s why Tara won’t die anytime soon.
Her resilience is exactly what Rick & Co. need during the reign of Negan. They need people who still believes that the world is and can be inherently good but will do what it takes to assure it stays that way. She’ll ground Rosita, who is ready to tear down Negan at her first opportunity, and guide Eugene out of the devastation he feels. She’ll be a unexpected guiding light.
My hope is that we see Tara work through her grief at losing Dennis and her best friend Glenn. (He gave her a chance when no one else would and gave her a family. That’s best friend material right there.) These aren’t the first people she’s lost and they certainly won’t be the last. But I don’t want a spiral, a blow out, or revenge plot born of pain and hate. I want to see a woman mourning the possibility of having something more in her life, losing it, and deciding to move on in a different way where she doesn’t self destruct.
I’m seeing Tara in a new light at every turn and I won’t let anyone stop me!
With Tara, I think The Walking Dead can explore something new when it comes to grief and surviving a destroyed world, because of how different she is from the rest of the survivors. Maybe she’ll find a love again or maybe she’ll go down a different path where she turns into an awkward but deadly force that the Saviors should fear. Just please don’t give up on her as soon as I’ve found out how much I have in common with her. Instead use those bricks thrown at her to build a solid foundation to something better. Something bigger.
I’m invested in Tara Chambler. And there’s no going back.
P.S. Special shout out to Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara Chambler. She did all her stunts like a boss with her baby on set. Who says moms can’t be multitasking bamfs?!
Favorite Tara Chambler Moment from “Swear”
Tara doesn’t care who you are, if you disrespect her she’ll flip you the bird. First Rick, now Rachel. And if we’re being honest, Rachel deserved it despite being a kid.
Loved it? Hated it? Tell us what you thought of The Walking Dead‘s “Swear” in the comments below!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.