A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”

So our main characters have had more than enough of living under the Saviors’ rule.  With the second half of the season underway, it’s time to rise up, gather resources, and prepare for war.  Let’s jump back in with “Rock in the Road.”

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The episode begins in Alexandria.  After flipping through his Bible, Gabriel abandons his post and visits the pantry.  We hear a crash and then see Gabriel loading up as many supplies and cans of food as possible.  He packs up, leaving his Bible behind in the process, gases up a car, and drives off…with someone in the passenger seat.

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Over at the Hilltop, Gregory declares his deal with Rick’s group null and void since they failed to eliminate the Saviors.  As such, they aren’t trade partners and never met. Hell, Gregory feels Rick owes him for taking in Sasha and Maggie…the same people who helped save the Hilltop while Gregory hid.

Rick insists that they can defeat the Saviors.  It’s a better alternative than living under the Saviors’ thumbs while people die.  Gregory would rather continue his arrangement with the Saviors, so Maggie steps in and asks how many people the Hilltop can spare.  Tara insists that people will step up and fight if given the chance, but Gregory doesn’t believe the Hilltop residents are untrained fighters.  They just grow things.

Even though Gregory agrees that life would be better without the Saviors, he’s unwilling to lend his assistance.  Hell, as far as he’s concerned, Rick and his group didn’t even visit the Hilltop today.

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Though Gregory’s bullshit is difficult to bear, it turns out that the survivors may not need him after all.  Enid has told a group of Hilltop residents all about Rick’s plan and if there’s a chance that they beat the Saviors, then they’re willing to fight.  It’s a start, but even if Rick’s group found more weapons, they still lack the numbers.  The distance and geography work against them since Negan has so many outposts.

More than that, the Saviors will no doubt come to Alexandria in order to find Daryl, so it’s imperative that the survivors return.  However, Jesus reveals that he has one of the Saviors’ long range two-way radios, so they can listen in on anything happening at the Sanctuary.  There’s no rush to get back to Alexandria.  Instead, Jesus says that it’s time he introduced the group to Ezekiel…King Ezekiel.

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So Jesus leads them to the outer edge of the Kingdom, where they meet Richard and Alvaro, played by Carlos Navarro.  Jesus tells Richard that he’d like an audience with Ezekiel. Richard is skeptical of these newcomers, despite Jesus’ insistence that they’re good people who want to make the world less dangerous.  Richard will allow the group entrance, but only if they surrender their guns.  All two of them.  No big deal.

Though Richard is glad that Jesus, and not Gregory, has a backbone and a brain to boot, he doesn’t believe these trades or protection pacts will matter until they start dealing with the Saviors.  In response, Jesus believes this is the day that Richard will finally smile.

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So the survivors are brought into the Kingdom, which does have adequate numbers. They reunite with Morgan, who updates Rick and Daryl on Carol’s situation after she left Alexandria.  She’s fine, but just wanted to get away from everything, so after getting patched up at the Kingdom, she left.

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So Jesus brings Rick’s group to Ezekiel and his tiger.  It’s not often you see a tiger, more so in the apocalypse.  Rick states his case- Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom all have one thing in common: they all serve the Saviors.  Alexandria fought them once and won, but taking out one outpost didn’t eliminate the entire threat.  So…can you really call that a win, Rick?

Okay, whatever.  Ezekiel is upset that Jesus told others about his deal with the Saviors.  And that only became known after Jesus told Ezekiel about the Hilltop’s travails with the Saviors.  This arrangement isn’t known to the public for a good reason.  In Jesus’ defense, he broke the Kingdom’s confidence so Ezekiel could hear Rick’s plan.

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Ezekiel is hesitant in joining Rick’s fight against the Saviors, but the group points out that they’ve lost good people to the Saviors.  It’s here that Morgan finds out the fates of Abraham, Glenn, Spencer, and Olivia, not to mention Eugene being taken hostage.  And though Daryl escaped, he’s still a target.  Jesus thought this arrangement with the Saviors was manageable, but that’s changed.

For all the strength of Rick’s group, they lack the numbers and weapons.  If they strike first, together, they can win.  Richard likes this idea, as he doesn’t want to wait for things to get worse.  The time to strike back is now.  Ezekiel asks Morgan for his input.  Morgan admits that a lot of people on both sides will die, so he wonders if there’s another way to do this, like capturing Negan.

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Rick then tells a tale that I think he’s been itching to share for weeks: there was this road to a kingdom, and there was a rock in the road.  People would avoid it, but horses would break their legs on it and die and wagon wheels would fall off.  As such, people would lose the goods they wanted to sell.  For example, this one little girl’s family had a cask of beer that fell off.  As her family had no money, this was their last chance to get food.

The girl cried and wondered why the rock was there to hurt others.  So she dig and dug so deep and hard that her hands bled, but she after hours, she managed to remove the rock. However, just as she was prepared to fill the hole, she saw a bag of gold in that hole. The king put that rock in the road because he knew the person who dug it out deserved a reward that would change their life forever.

A bit of a shitty king, but I suppose he had a point.  Anyway, after Rick’s monologue, Ezekiel invites everyone to stay until tomorrow, when he will deliver his decree.

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Out in the woods, Benjamin runs into Carol, who heard him from a mile away because Carol has super hearing.  He explains that he didn’t run because he’s training to be a better fighter.  Carol tells Benjamin not to wander around alone at dark, but he tells her that Ezekiel will keep checking on her to make sure she’s okay since he looks out for the people he cares for, after all.

Benjamin offers her some food and water- he carries extra in case he runs into someone who needs it.  After all, there’s not a lot of people left and you have to help each other.

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That night, Benjamin tells Ezekiel that he’s getting better with the stick, as he managed to take out two walkers.  During his unaccompanied trip, he ran into Carol and said that his reason for carrying food and water is the same reason the Kingdom should work with Rick.  These visitors are willing to risk everything.  If the Kingdom doesn’t help, then Rick’s group may not win.

But on the off-chance that they do, they will have saved everyone and the Kingdom would have done nothing to assist.  And Ezekiel did say that he wants Benjamin to be ready for anything.  With this in mind, Ezekiel thanks Benjamin for his sage counsel.  The king is pleased.

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The next day, Ezekiel tells Rick and company that life at the Kingdom came at a cost, as he sent people to battle the dead when he didn’t have to.  He wanted to expand and create more places like the Kingdom.  Rick counters that the dead don’t rule them.  The world beyond the Kingdom isn’t as good and some people don’t have it good at all. Understatement of the century, Rick.

Ezekiel has to worry about his people.  He’s trying to hold onto this uneasy peace with the Saviors.  He won’t offer aid now, but he does offer Daryl asylum for as long as necessary since the Saviors don’t enter the Kingdom.  Daryl, though, wonders how long that would even last.  The group leaves unsatisfied and empty handed.

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Sasha tells Rosita that saw this coming, but she’s still upset.  Rosita doesn’t see why Sasha is telling her this, though.  Just because they both had sex with Abraham doesn’t make them friends.  Okay, does Rosita have a bug in her ass or something?

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Morgan wants Rick so he can hopefully change Ezekiel’s mind.  Richard, though, is more on board with Rick’s plan.  It doesn’t help the communities are just making the Saviors stronger by giving them food and arms.  Also, Daryl won’t be leaving.  Rick wants him to stay at the Kingdom.  That way, he can hopefully convince Ezekiel or, even better, stare him into submission.  That’s actually not a bad idea, Rick.

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On the road, the group overhears Negan’s eulogy of Fat Joey- apparently without Fat Joey, Skinny Joey is just Joey- and soon arrives at a blockade of cars in the road.  With a base not too far, they figure that the Saviors want to make it hard for people to reach this outpost.  The plan is to move the cars around and move them back so the Saviors don’t know others entered this area.

As the group gets to work moving the cars, they notice some explosives and steel cables needed for dealing with a walker herd.  The group welcomes themselves to these explosives, but they need to disarm them first.  Backing up won’t make a difference if the explosives go off.  At the same time, the group hears on the radio that Negan has ordered a search party to go find Daryl.

So now the survivors need to get the explosives and get to Alexandria before the Saviors. Good thing Rosita is an expert at disarming bombs.  Do you remember when Rosita was a pro at this?  I don’t.  Anyway, they need to unwrap the secondary explosives and make sure the casings aren’t messed up.  The explosives still need to be triggered to be set off, though there’s one in particular that Rosita doesn’t like.  She’s particular like that.

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Then, in the distance, Carl spots some approaching walkers.  There’s still time to disarm them and get the cars back on the road.  Sure, the Saviors will know that their bombs are missing, but this herd needs to stay on the highway.  The group may need it later.

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Jesus and Sasha head back to the Hilltop on foot.  As the others move the cars, Rick and Michonne cut through the wires and try to get as many weapons and explosives as possible.  They soon head to and hotwire two cars connected by the wiring and, in a set piece I’m sure most of us loved, they mow down the herd as the wire cuts through as many walkers as possible.

I guess it’s a good thing there was no rock in the road.  Rick and Michonne soon rejoin the others and head out just as the walkers are engulfed by an explosion.  Nice going, Rosita. But hey, they made it.  As Michonne tells Rick, they’re the ones who live.

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They return to Alexandria in no time.  Rick tells Tobin that everyone needs to get ready, but there’s no time for that, as Simon and a group of Saviors have arrived not for a tribute, but to find Daryl.  And Simon isn’t dumb enough to believe that Rick doesn’t know about Daryl’s disappearance.  So Simon wants everyone to partner up and search for Daryl.  That way, they can all watch him die if he’s found.

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The Saviors go through every nook and cranny of Alexandria, leaving a mess in the process, but don’t find Daryl.  In the now empty pantry, Aaron tells Simon that  but no sign of Daryl.  In the now empty pantry, Aaron tells Simon that it’s getting harder to find things for their community when they spend so much time gathering for Negan.

Again, Simon isn’t here to collect, but that day is coming.  Simon thanks Rick for his cooperation and tells him that if Daryl shows up, there’s no statute of limitations.  Well, at least Simon acknowledges that there’s still a statute of limitations in the post-apocalyptic world.  Tobin and Aaron tell Rick that Gabriel has disappeared, the pantry has been cleared out, and he stole a car.

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Aside from Rosita, no one wants to believe that Gabriel would steal from them.  Not to mention that Gabriel left his Bible, and Rick finds that curious.  He then sees the word ‘Boat’ written in a notebook.  So how would Gabriel know that Aaron and Rick were out there?

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As Aaron packs up, Eric confesses his concern, as Aaron did get the shit kicked out of him.  Eric doesn’t want Aaron to go after Gabriel, but after everything the community has endured, Gabriel is one of them and has proven his worth.  Despite the fear of what could happen if the Saviors returned while Rick and the others were out, Aaron is still set on leaving.

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After Rick and Aaron lead the group to the lake, Rick spots some footprints.  The group follows them and ends up in a clearing where, all of a sudden, they find themselves surrounded by a group of armed men and women.  And through it all, Rick eventually smiles.

So we’re back for the second half of the season and off to a good start as the main survivors get to work building an army to take down the Saviors.  Sure, they don’t make much progress since both Gregory and Ezekiel aren’t on board with this plan, but it’s only a matter of time before Rick has his united coalition to combat Negan.

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Before, when he decided to go for one of the outposts, Rick thought his plan was foolproof.  Attack the Saviors before they made the first move.  And despite doing that and more, the Saviors struck back and hard, so Rick needs to dial back his overconfidence. Rather than do it alone, he’s hoping that the Hilltop and Kingdom are just as fed up with Negan’s reign as they are.

Rick and company have proven time and time again that, when committed, they can overtake any challenge.  Hell, upon first learning about Negan, Rick said that confrontation has never been something the group has had trouble with, and then he met Negan.

So brute strength and heart alone won’t do it.  There’s strength in numbers and like the girl who dug out that rock in the road, Rick has to overcome obstacles in order to get back to some semblance of peace.

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Not just with Negan as that obstacle, but also in convincing the other communities that this is a fight they can win.  At this point, Gregory’s opinion is irrelevant since people at the Hilltop trust Maggie’s leadership and are already willing to put their lives on the line if there’s even a one percent chance that the Saviors can be defeated.

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And Ezekiel has every reason to be concerned.  He’s already kept his arrangement with the Saviors a secret and he doesn’t want to send more people to their deaths.  Why take the risk when there’s no guarantee of victory?  He’s sympathetic to Rick’s plight, yes, but not at the cost of his people.

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While Richard and Benjamin are already on board with fighting, I wager it’s going to take a major incident to push Ezekiel into joining Rick.  As Daryl asked, how long will the Saviors agree to not enter the Kingdom?  Someone is going to get hurt, killed, or the Saviors will break the peace because they can.  And that will what be what convinces Ezekiel that the Saviors must be removed from the equation if there is to be true peace.

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Also, I’m glad we got to spend a bit of time with Morgan, not just to get his reaction to who has been killed, but to see that he’s still keeping Carol’s location a secret.  And he’s still grappling with his stance on killing.  He did it to protect Carol, but despite hearing what the Saviors have done, he’s still looking for alternatives rather than going to war.  But like when he saved Carol, he may have to kill again to protect those going into battle.

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And even though Carol wants to stay out of the conflict- for now- she’s still a skilled warrior, as seen when she tells Benjamin about how to stay stealthy.  I’m unsure if she’s going to remain on the sidelines, but I imagine all that’s happened to her friends will at least get a reaction out of her.  Enough to draw her back into combat?  No idea.

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I like that we don’t spend an entire episode’s worth of Rick and company trying to recruit. It would’ve been easy to spend half the episode at the Hilltop, the other half at the Kingdom, and just end it there.  But these people have to keep moving because despite needing the numbers, they still have to contend with the Saviors, more so now that Daryl is a fugitive.

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Not to mention the fact that they’re desperate for weapons, which made the sequence on the road more hectic…even though these characters have such thick plot armor that we know they were never in any real danger, despite Rick and Michonne being surrounded.

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Plus, The Walking Dead has good set pieces when it comes to eliminating batches of walkers, but cutting through them with wire and two cars?  That’s some inspired ingenuity right there.  A bit ridiculous, but fun as hell all the same.

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Onto some character bits.  I can do without Rosita being such a prat to Sasha.  Where’s this coming from, by the way?  They seemed to be on good terms, last I checked.  If anything, I would think they’d be drawn closer since they both loved Abraham.  But no, she brings up that shared connection as a way to be cold to Sasha, who only expressed her disappointment about the situation.

More than that, she’s quick to throw Gabriel under the bus when he was the one to tell her that she didn’t need to sacrifice herself if it meant killing Negan.

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If I had to guess, maybe Rosita’s just salty that she couldn’t kill Negan from a few feet away.

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But what is Gabriel doing, anyway?  I wonder if it has to do with this new community we see at the end of the episode.  And though Rosita has turned her back on Gabriel, I’m happy that the others, especially Rick, trust that Gabriel wouldn’t just betray them.

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As for this new community, just who the hell are they?  At a first, quick glance, it’s easy to think these were Oceanside residents, but we saw men among them, so that rules them out.  But judging from Rick’s smile, he sees some advantage in this group.  Potential cannon fodder-I mean, soldiers for the war against the Saviors?  Who knows?  Here’s hoping we find out next time.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 8: “Hearts Still Beating”

From bottle episodes to multiple plots, it’s time for The Walking Dead to end the first half of its seventh season, and if anything, it solidifies in Rick’s mind by episode’s end that things need to change and fast.  This is “Hearts Still Beating.”

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The episode begins at the Hilltop with Maggie sitting at Abraham and Glenn’s graves.  She later climbs the walls when Gregory tells her that people are saying nice things about her, Sasha, and how they saved the community.

Gregory doesn’t want it going to her head, but Maggie wonders if this bothers Gregory, who is about to eat an apple.  Then another Hilltop member, Eduardo, mentions that Maggie is pregnant, so goodbye Gregory’s apple and hello Maggie’s apple.

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We then cut to Alexandria, where Negan puts the finishing touches on a clean shave while Carl and Judith watch.  He then gets to work cooking up a storm.

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Outside, Tara gives Olivia some lemonade that’s intended for Negan.  Tara offers to take over, but Olivia refuses since she promised Rick that she would watch Judith.  She tells Tara to leave.

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Over at the Sanctuary, Daryl makes his escape from his cell.

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Meanwhile, Aaron and Rick find a boat riddled with bullet holes.  Rick wants Aaron to stay back, but Aaron refuses, saying that he’s seeing this through. Instead, he gets some wood to use as paddles and the two then set out on the water.

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As Carl sets the dinner table, Negan tells him to get another setting, but he soon gets tired of waiting for Rick.  Lucille, though, is hungry, so Negan orders Carl to pass the rolls.  At least he said please.  Lucille doesn’t have a pussy, but she apparently has a mouth.

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As Eugene enters the Safe Zone, the Saviors make good of Spencer’s supplies and are glad that he got messy for them.  One of the Saviors, Laura, played by Lindsley Register, tells Spencer that if he plays his cards right, they may show him where she lives.  Laura then tells an eavesdropping Eugene to fuck off and mind his own business.

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Back by the Kingdom, Carol reads from a book when she spots a package from Morgan on her doorstep.  Carol calls out to Morgan and tells him that the package of fresh food is unnecessary because Ezekiel is keeping her well-stocked.  Morgan promises to leave Carol alone, but she did call him over in the first place to ask how he’s doing.

Morgan is good, so now he can go.  He tells Carol that she may be going soft.  Morgan won’t be going anywhere, as he and Carol receive an unexpected visit from Richard, who wants to talk to the two about something important.

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On the water, Rick and Aaron continue their trek and take out as many walkers that are drawing close to their boat, which is taking on water.  They manage to reach another boat, but a walker has already made it her territory.  And then another walker grabs Aaron and drags him into the water.  After a bit of time passes, he resurfaces unharmed.  Sorry, Bob.

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However, Aaron and Rick come up short, as they find food and tons of guns, but no ammunition. Just a less-than-pleasant note from the owner.

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Back at the Sanctuary, Daryl sneaks into another room where he feasts on peanut butter and changes into a new set of clothes.

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As the two pack, Rick tells Aaron that he didn’t mean to imply that Aaron couldn’t help out.  It’s just that people don’t agree with Rick scavenging for the Saviors, so Rick wouldn’t blame Aaron if he backed out.  Aaron reminds Rick that he was with him on the road.  What they’re doing is going to keep people alive.  It doesn’t matter what happens to them, even if Michonne doesn’t see this as living.

After Alexandria lived free, it’s hard to give up what you have, but either your heart’s beating or it isn’t.  Same for your loved ones.  You take what’s given to you so you can live.

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Michonne is still on the road with Isabelle, who is continuing her drive presumably towards the Sanctuary.  Michonne asks how long she’s been with Negan and why she was out there alone, but gets no response.  Whether Isabelle believes that talking won’t change how this ends for her remains to be seen, but for now, Michonne won’t kill Negan today. She just wants to find a way to win and change how this ends for her.

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Back at the Hilltop, Sasha and Maggie get an apple pie as a gift for their work in saving the Hilltop.  Enid asks if Maggie is President yet, but she isn’t.  Also, Jesus hasn’t returned yet.  Enid knows that Sasha is lying to Maggie about Jesus, given that he left yesterday, not today, as Sasha said.  Sasha says this is for Maggie’s own good.  Enid knows that Sasha wants to kill Negan.

If Sasha had help, she wouldn’t have to keep this from Maggie.  But Sasha doesn’t want Enid helping or talking, even though this effort to take down Negan goes well beyond Sasha.

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Richard speaks with Carol and Morgan about communities that once banded together, but are now gone.  He lost hope in people until he found the Kingdom and met Ezekiel.  But now the Kingdom is under threat by the Saviors.  A few months back, some Saviors met Ezekiel and, recognizing his capabilities, cut a deal.  In exchange for food and supplies, , the Saviors wouldn’t hurt anyone or enter the Kingdom.

And since Ezekiel both trusts Morgan and likes Carol, Richard needs them to help convince Ezekiel to fight the Saviors.  There’s peace with the Saviors now, but Richard fears that something will go wrong or the Saviors will just stop honoring the deal.  Once that happens, the Kingdom will fall.  Richard lost his family to this world and he’s afraid that if nothing happens now, more will die.

He knows what the Saviors can do and does not trust them.  In essence, Richard wants Morgan and Carol to convince Ezekiel to launch a preemptive strike against the Saviors.

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Over at Alexandria’s church, Rosita admires her handcrafted bullet when Gabriel asks if it’s for her or Negan.  She’s not worried about dying so long as Negan is killed in the process.  Gabriel agrees, but he doesn’t see why does Rosita has to die.  And there’s no need to lie if this is their last conversation.

Rosita believes that Abraham was still alive, they could fight.  If Glenn lived, Maggie’s child would have a father.  Michonne and Carl have Rick, Aaron has Eric, Eugene knows things, and Daryl is strong.  Gabriel mentions Sasha as well and tells Rosita that it shouldn’t have been her or anyone else.

He is convinced that they will win, but they need to wait for or create the right moment together.  Rosita is a part of that, so she shouldn’t do this because everyone needs her.

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Richard knows that the Saviors outnumber the Kingdom, so they need to attack first while they have the advantage and, hopefully, the element of surprise.  Though a capable fighter, Carol wants no part of this and would still prefer to be left alone.

Morgan knows people will die, and he only killed to save Carol.  In Richard’s mind, there’s no difference between that and killing other Saviors to protect everyone else.  Richard tells While Morgan would rather build on the peace that exists now, Richard tells him that he’ll have to choose to kill one day because things aren’t going to get easier. He should choose now before losing someone close to him.

But Richard knows that there’s no reasoning with the Saviors.  He believes that the Saviors will turn on the Kingdom, and when blood is shed, it will be on Morgan and Carol’s hands.  With that, he leaves.  Carol tells Morgan that she doesn’t want anyone else knowing where she is, but he never meant for anyone to see her.

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Spencer enters his home and finds it turned upside down, but it’s soon cleaned up as he gets himself nice and ready for a confrontation.

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Back in the woods, Richard enters a hidden home and collapses to the floor as he eyes his supplies.

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Rosita then asks Spencer if he’s on for a date, but he just wants to get close to Negan, as he figures that he’s got good momentum with the Saviors.  Spencer asks why Rosita ended or even started what the two of them had, given that he felt they had something good.

Truth is that Rosita was trying not to think about shit. finds Spencer sweet, sure, but she admits that she just used him.  At the very least, she does agree to dinner with Spencer, no strings attached.

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Daryl again manages to find a motorcycle when he’s confronted by Fat Joseph, who surrenders and offers to let Daryl leave right now.  He tells Daryl that he’s just trying to get by, but Daryl just beats him to death just as Jesus finds him.  Daryl retorts that it’s not about getting by, but getting it all.  Before the two leave, Jesus pockets one of the walkie-talkies.

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After being refused entry by Arat, Spencer is eventually allowed to pass and officially introduces himself to Negan.

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Michonne and Isabelle companion are still on the road when they come to a stop. Isabelle tells Michonne that Negan is up ahead.   You know, because they’re all Negan. She says that whatever Michonne is planning won’t work, but she still has some choices. As her final move, Isabelle informs Michonne that there’s a silencer in the glove compartment…

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Meanwhile, Rick and Aaron return to Alexandria, when they learn that Negan is waiting for Rick.  The Saviors then check the truck for supplies, among them the note that Rick and Aaron found on the boat.  Why the hell do they still have that?  Anyway, the Saviors think that the disparaging note is meant for them, so they start beating the shit out of Aaron and stop Rick from interfering.

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Negan is overjoyed about Spencer’s housewarming gift, but the only thing missing is a pool table.  Luckily, the house across the street has one, but Negan has a better idea.

With the pool table set, Spencer tells Negan that he understands what Negan is trying to build with this network.  It makes sense, but Rick has a history of not working well with others.  More than that, Rick wasn’t the original leader and wasn’t as good as Deanna.  Negan finds that a sad story, but lucky for him, Rick isn’t in charge.  Even still, Spencer knows that Rick’s out-of-control ego will lead to him trying to screw things up.

With the Alexandria residents now gathered at the pool table, Negan asks what Spencer is proposing, and Spencer offers to be the leader that Negan needs.

But Negan has been thinking about how Rick, despite hating him, is out gathering things to make sure no one else is hurt.  He’s swallowing his hate to get shit done, and that takes guts.  Then there’s Spencer, who waited for Rick to leave so he could get Negan to do his dirty work.  After all, if Spencer really wants to be in charge, why doesn’t he just kill Rick himself?

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Negan says it’s because Spencer has no guts.  And with that, he plunges a knife straight into Spencer’s stomach and guts spill out everywhere.  Negan is beyond embarrassed, as Spencer did have guts after all- they were inside him all along.  The residents are left shocked, but Negan orders someone to get this mess cleaned.  He asks if anyone wants to finish the pool game, but no takers.  Rosita pulls out her gun and fires.

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The other Saviors finally let up on beating Aaron and Rick is allowed to help him.  They hear a gunshot ring out and it turns out that Lucille ended up taking a hit from Rosita’s bullet.  Negan demands to know about the bullet that he correctly guesses is homemade.

Since Lucille’s beautiful surface won’t look the same, Negan figures that Rosita’s shouldn’t either…unless she tells him who made the bullet.  Arat then places a blade to Rosita’s face.

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Rosita says that she made it, but Negan figures that she’s lying.  Negan orders Arat to kill someone, so with fucking perfect aim, she turns around and kills Olivia.  And this is where Rick and Aaron arrive just in time for Negan to ask for a thank you.  Even though this relationship started off tense, he just showed how reasonable how he was.  After all, Carl gunned down two Saviors, but Negan brought him home and fed him.

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Not to mention Spencer plotting behind Rick’s back, but now he’s dead.  Again, thanks to Negan.  And Rosita shot Lucille, so now there’s one less mouth to feed in Olivia’s death.  Negan wouldn’t have killed her- that’s all Arat’s doing.  Rick tells Negan that his shit is waiting for him at the gate, so he can leave.  However, Negan still wants to know who made the bullet.

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Eugene admits that he was the one who made the bullet, and Negan believes him.  Negan orders Lucille to give him strength and Negan will now relieve Rick of Eugene.  Whatever Rick scavenged is no good because after today, he’s in deep shit. Also, Negan loves Rick’s kitchen.  With that, the Saviors depart.  Spencer soon reanimates just as Rick puts him down.

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He later sits in the cell that Morgan built as he looks over a note when Michonne joins him.  The two embrace because, let’s face it, they’ve had one hell of a day.  Michonne confirms that she found what she was looking for, as she had to go her way instead of joining Rick and Aaron.  But when she found it, she realized that she didn’t want it to be her way, but theirs.

There are more Saviors than anticipated, but that doesn’t change how Michonne how feels or how things are.  There’s so much that they’ve lived through when they should have died and they will keep standing, so now they’re left wondering how they make that mean something.  After all, Rick once said that they’re the ones who live.  That’s why they have to fight: not for themselves, but for everyone.  They can find a way to beat the Saviors.

And Rick now knows that.

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Back at the Hilltop, Maggie again climbs the walls when she calls out to Sasha and Enid.  Turns out that Rick, Michonne, Tara, Carl, and Rosita have arrived at the Hilltop.  Rick tells Maggie that she was right from the beginning, as they need to get ready to fight.  Rick couldn’t have listened back then, but now he can.

Oh, also, Daryl and Jesus are at the Hilltop and he returns Rick’s colt.  Now reunited, the group heads towards the mansion as the first half of The Walking Dead’s seventh season comes to a close.

But wait, there’s more!  In a stinger at the end, Gabriel takes his post atop the Alexandria walls while the same individual who spied on Rick and Aaron watches him from a distance.

Well, that’s it for the first half of Season Seven and the wheels are in motion with the communities heading towards taking on Negan and the Saviors.  “Hearts Still Beating” is a very good episode and finisher for the first half that balances different storylines and communities very well.  It was all well-paced.  We’re at Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Sanctuary, or the Kingdom long enough to get the gist of what’s going happening.

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While I haven’t had a big issue with the episodes dealing with one community, it makes sense, given the situation, that things are ramping up, so of course we’d head back to multiple plots and catch up not just on how the communities are doing, but how they’re planning on dealing with Negan.

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And a big part of that has to do with being unified, as Michonne concludes when on the road and as she tells Rick in a very good speech about working together.  Making the most of this situation with the Saviors doesn’t work if everyone isn’t banded together.  Hell, even Gabriel tells Rosita that creating the right moment comes from working as one as opposed to going at it alone.  Hopefully Sasha and Jesus have let Maggie in on their plan.

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But a team won’t function as well without its leader, and it looks as if Rick has finally come around to fighting back as opposed to biding his time.  And that’s through a combination of the people who have either suffered or been killed up through this point, watching Aaron be beaten, Michonne’s speech to him, and how his own son went right to Negan’s stronghold, killed a few Saviors, and could’ve gotten himself killed.  Again.

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Rick had been brought down, but he’s not out.  And while Maggie instantly wanted to fight, it took him more time to come around.  Now that he’s ready for war and has reunited with the others at the Hilltop, now it’s just a matter of formulating a successful attack that won’t lead to more deaths, impossible as that sounds.  Instead of just taking the fight to Negan ahead of time, he needs a better strategy.

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He also needs to be more trusting of his new allies, as it was unnecessary for him to suggest that Aaron sit out the boat mission, even though he didn’t mean it.  Despite the tense, first encounter, Aaron has proven himself loyal and willing to help when necessary.  He was there when Glenn and Abraham died, so he knows the cost, but damn the consequences, he’s proving to Rick why he’s a vital member of this coalition.

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Over at the Kingdom, Richard is falling into the same trap that Rick did with his plan of a preemptive strike against the Saviors.  He knows that the Saviors can’t be trusted and he wants to take the fight to them ahead of time, but if he was aware of what happened with Rick, chances are he would be more cautious about wanting to get a potential early advantage against the Saviors.

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By the way, what’s going on with Carol?  Seems like she’s still in her funk about not wanting to kill or be involved with this conflict at all.  That’s fine, but for her to say that she doesn’t want anyone to know where she is and that she’d rather be left alone isn’t helpful at this point.  I doubt this is long term.  Maybe once she learns what happened to the others, she’ll go back to killer Mama Bear Carol.

At the very least, the seed has been planted in Morgan and Carol’s minds about the Kingdom playing a part in an offensive against Negan.  And as Richard said, Morgan will have to kill again eventually to protect the people in his life.  Once Rick arrives at the Kingdom, I wager he’ll do a better job of persuading the community to fight than either Carol or Morgan.

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Now let’s get to Spencer’s death, another comic moment come to life in a beautiful, bloody way.  The moment played out, note-for-note, like you remember it from the comics and it really showed what Negan sees in Rick.  For all his hatred for Negan, Rick, as far as Negan knows, isn’t a schemer.  He’s swallowing his pride and working for Negan in order to protect Alexandria.

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By contrast, Spencer would take the coward’s way out and, like Gregory, suck up to the opposition in order to get in their good graces.  Problem is that Negan gets off on and likes when people fight against him.  What Spencer’s doing requires very little thought because there’s no guarantee that Negan would accept him with open arms.  As broken as Rick has been this season, Negan at least knows that he has a spine.

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Oh, but Spencer’s not the only one making stupid decisions.  Rosita took a prime opportunity to kill Negan and had a perfect shot, and not only did she almost get herself killed- and she seemed ready to die- but she got Olivia killed in the process.  Why now?

Daryl punched Negan in the face, which led to Glenn getting killed. Rosita took a shot and missed, but despite that, her actions got someone killed.  Clearly Rosita never watched The Wire or she would have remembered Omar’s words: you come at the king, you best not miss.

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Perhaps it was impulsive thinking, but what made her believe she could pull off what amounts to a suicide mission?  She didn’t even land her target, and now not only is Olivia dead, but Eugene has been taken captive.

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That’s another thing: why does Negan decide to take Eugene?  Aside from the knowledge of how to make bullets, what could Negan get from him?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to take Rosita?  He took Daryl hostage and said that he had guts.  Take the woman who almost killed you instead of the guy whose skill is making bullets.  Or, hell, just take them both.  Rick wasn’t about to stop Negan.

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Credit where it’s due, that was a fantastic shot on Arat’s part.  The woman didn’t even give it much of a thought- she just spun around and killed Olivia on the first try.  It’s more impressive given how far away Olivia was when Arat could have just killed anyone in the crowd around her.  By the way, I love Arat.  Or rather, the intensity of Elizabeth Ludlow’s performance.  Like Daryl, she’s not a comic character, but is enjoyable all the same.

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The reunion at the end felt very earned, especially seeing Rick and Daryl reunite after Negan refused to let the two so much as talk or look at each other.  I would assume that Daryl and Maggie are on good terms as well.  Our group is down, but they’re not out.

And with most of our survivors back together, the time has come for the communities to combine their resources and slowly build a strong coalition capable of taking on their common enemy in Negan and the Saviors.  Will everyone answer the call? Will there be any holdouts?  And who the hell is spying on Alexandria?

“Hearts Still Beating” was a very strong outing for the first half of the season.  It balanced multiple communities very well and was both fun- mostly through Negan’s actions- and suspenseful to watch at the same time.  As we head towards war, I am very excited to see how things go in the second half of Season Seven.  See you then.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5 Finale: “Conquer”

But not divide and “Conquer,” here we are at the end of The Walking Dead’s fifth season.  There’s been a lot of buildup to this as Rick and pals slowly assimilate to life in the Alexandria Safe Zone without letting it change them.

Conquer- Morgan held up by a member of The Wolves

The episode begins with Morgan awakening in a car, in a moment that I’m positive could double for a car commercial.  As he eats his breakfast, he’s confronted by a man, played by Benedict Samuel with a gun and a W on his forehead.  After a bit of history on wolves, the man is quite cordial to Morgan.  After all, he doesn’t get to meet people that often- maybe one person every two weeks at that.  And his group would normally just raid camps, but here, he has the opportunity to speak with someone as an equal.

But enough pleasantries.  The man has come for all of Morgan’s stuff, including Morgan’s body.  Morgan offers all of his items to the man, letting him know that this situation doesn’t need to get ugly.  As Morgan reaches for his gun, the man warns him against that and simply tells him to be very still.

Conquer- Morgan fights two Wolves' members

Luckily, Morgan is smarter than that and senses the ambush from another man.  Morgan overtakes the two and places them in the car before heading off.

Conquer- Bandaged-up Rick wakes up before Michonne

After a brief look at the ongoing adventures of Daryl and Aaron, we cut to a patched-up Rick awakening with Michonne at his side.  Rick laughs, prompting Michonne to ask him what’s so funny.  The whole situation reminds Rick of the train car at Terminus.  After all that, he’s still here now.  As for why Rick is in this location, Deanna wanted him put there.  Rosita was nice enough to patch him up.  Pete, for the time being, has been placed in another home.  Rick would have filled Michonne in, but between losing Noah and everything else, he couldn’t tell her about the gun.

Conquer- Glenn, Carol, and Abraham speak with Rick

Now, Michonne is still convinced that they need to stop living like they’re outside Alexandria’s walls, but Rick isn’t on board with that.  Glenn, Carol, and Abraham soon enter and Rick explains that he only took a gun from the armory just in case.  Deanna is planning to have a meeting to discuss what happened last night and what to do with Rick.  Maggie is currently with Deanna now to figure out what’s going on.  Carol advises Rick to just say he was worried about what Pete was doing to Jessie.  Say what they want to hear- same as what Carol has been doing.  Why?  Because these people are children and children like stories.

But if the nice words won’t work, they still have knives since the armory is being guarded.  If things go south, Rick will whistle.  Carol will then take Deanna, Rick takes Spencer, Michonne grabs Reg, and Glenn and Abraham will watch the crowd.  If they can’t get through, they’ll just slit their throats.  You know, like at Terminus.  Just hand over the armory and it’s done.  Rick didn’t want this, but he hit his limit.

Conquer- Maggie speaks to Reg and Deanna about Rick

Maggie tries to appeal to Reg and Deanna on tonight’s meeting.  Sending Rick out won’t work.  Deanna still made the choice to let everyone in, but now she’s putting a decision on a group of frightened people who may not have the full story.  That, Maggie says, isn’t leadership.  Even still, Deanna insists that tonight is just a forum for people to say their piece.  After that, she’ll keep making the decisions as she’s been doing.

Even still, Maggie insists that Rick just wasn’t thinking straight.  He was frustrated and has lost so much.  Sure, he took a gun and pointed it at people, but he didn’t pull the trigger.  That’s kind of a bullshit argument, Maggie.  Reg spits some history at Maggie: the cavemen were all nomads before they died.  Then people evolved into this and lived.  Civilization starts when people stop running, stop sending people away from the world, and they start living together.  That’s what he’s going to tell everyone tonight.

Conquer- Sasha sleeps with the walkers

Sasha takes a walker to a pit of other walkers that I assume she killed.  After dumping a body in, she rests in the pit herself.  There has to be a better way to sleep like the dead.

Conquer- Aaron tells Daryl about three exiled Alexandria members

Daryl and Aaron continue on and we learn about the people exiled from Alexandria: two men and a woman.  Davidson was their leader.  Aaron thought they’d work out, but they didn’t.  Since he brought them in, he, with the help of Aiden and Nicholas, had to drive them out and leave them with a day’s worth of food and water.  Though Aaron had their guns, he can’t afford to make that kind of mistake again.

Conquer- Carol speaks with Rick about tonight's meeting and their plan

Carol wakes Rick up and lets him know that he did a good thing last night.  They have more cover and everyone thinks that Rick has been found out.  And despite Michonne knocking Rick out- even though he deserved it- Carol is convinced that she’s still on their side, same as Glenn.  Rick didn’t tell them about the guns just in case.  He’s done lying.  So he doesn’t want to lie, but also doesn’t want to try and take over Alexandria?  Oh sunshine, you don’t get to have both.  Carol should say ‘sunshine’ more often.

Conquer- Maggie tells Glenn that she's talking to other residents about Rick

As Rick finally walks outside for the first time since the incident, Maggie tells Glenn that she’s making her way around to talk with as many people as possible to solve this issue.

Conquer- Gabriel leaves Alexandria to go for a walk

Gabriel, meanwhile, decides to take a walk outside of Alexandria’s walls for awhile.  He won’t take a gun, though.  The word of God is all that he’ll need.

Conquer- Rick tells Carl not to attend tonight's meeting

Rick tells Carl not to attend tonight’s meeting, but to stay home.  Home, that’s what Alexandria looks to be right now.  Carl still believes that these people will die without them, but Rick knows he may have to threaten someone.  He may have spoken his mind last night, but Carl tells him to say it so they can hear him, though Rick doesn’t know if they can hear him.  Okay, why does everyone keep saying last night?  It was broad daylight during Rick’s rant.

Conquer- Aaron and Daryl arrive at the Del Arno Foods facility

Anyway, Daryl and Aaron have arrived at the Del Arno Foods facility with a lot of food trucks waiting to be pillaged, but lost sight of the man in the red poncho.  Sometimes it happens, but you don’t get an opportunity like this every day.  If they head back, it means they’re giving up and home is 50 miles back.  There are bad people out there, but they need to keep looking for the good ones.  And when they find them, Daryl and Aaron will need to feed them.

Conquer- Daryl mows down walkers with a chain

The two enter and Aaron’s joy at finding a license plate is instantly killed when Daryl opens one of the trucks and springs a trap.  Walkers emerge from every direction.  The two cut down as many- Daryl makes effective use of a chain- as they can until they enter a nearby car.  The glass may hold for awhile, but for now, they need to find something that can block their view.  Also, inside the car, Aaron finds a note warning him that bad people are coming.  Don’t stay.

Conquer- Carol delivers a dish to Pete

Now Carol gets her moment to be a badass.  She heads to Pete with a dish and asks- nay, tells him to check on Tara since, you know, he’s a surgeon.  Pete wants her gone, but Carol is quick and to the point: she could kill him right now.  She would kill him, and who would believe she did it because she didn’t like him?  No one.  They’d think that he tried to hurt her.  He is small and insignificant.  In this world, he’s even weaker.  If Pete plays his cards right, he won’t have to die.  Oh, and though Carol wants her dish back, Pete destroys it anyway.  He didn’t even try it.

Conquer- Nicholas shoots Glenn

Glenn follows a trail of walker bodies and someone fleeing from Alexandria, but he’s soon shot by Nicholas.  You know, if Nicholas was a smarter man, he’d just finish Glenn off right there.  But no, let’s drag this out.

Conquer- Rick visits Jessie

Jessie gets a visit from Rick while she tries to repair her window.  She advises Rick against talking since people probably wouldn’t like seeing the two having a conversation.  Rick isn’t sorry about what he did, though, no matter what happens.

Conquer- Daryl smokes before he and Aaron prepare to take on the walkers

Back in the car that the walkers didn’t forget, Daryl and Aaron talk.  Daryl admits that he came out here so he wouldn’t feel all closed up at the Safe Zone.  Being out here is much more suited to him than being back in those houses in Alexandria.  Even still, Aaron still has faith in Daryl.  After all, he saw Daryl lead the rest of the group to the barn for safety during that storm.  That was the point when Aaron knew that he had to bring them back.

Eventually, Daryl decides to head out, while Aaron makes a break for the fence, and that’s not a request.  Aaron isn’t having that, though.  They fought all this way together and they’ll go out together, if need be.

Conquer- Morgan rescues Aaron and Daryl

Luckily, they won’t have to do that, because they’re saved by the arrival of Morgan, who draws enough walkers away for Aaron and Daryl to escape the car safely.  The three head back outside the gate and seal it shut.  After some introductions, Daryl wants to know why Morgan saved them.  Well, all life is precious, Daryl.  Aaron informs Morgan about the community in Alexandria, but Morgan politely turns the offer down.

He’s already on his way somewhere, but he’s lost, so he could use some directions.  He then shows Daryl a map- the same map that Abraham gave to Rick.

Conquer- Gabriel strangles a walker

Father Gabriel continues his battle against the elements when he happens upon a walker in the middle of a meal.  He’s ready to face the walker, but rather than submit, Gabriel strangles the walker with the noose around its neck.  He then crushes it and another walker’s head with a rock.

Conquer- Abraham visits Tara and Eugene

Abraham pays Tara a visit. Eugene is asleep at her side while Rosita just watches.  Abraham tries to sit without waking up Eugene, so Rosita promptly knocks something over to fix that.  Eugene and Abraham…sort of make amends.  Eugene admits that Tara saved his life and cracked open his gourd in regards to considering implications he hadn’t.  Abraham got them there, but Eugene just crafted a top shelf lie to which a person with strength and heroism could apply their talents.  Eugene figures that Abraham needed that.  That isn’t really the best way to justify a lie, Eugene.  Abraham also apologizes for almost killing Eugene, even if he did have it coming.

Conquer- Gabriel returns to the Safe Zone

Gabriel returns to the gate and agrees to speak with Spencer later.  He also doesn’t close the gate upon returning.  He also doesn’t close the gate upon returning!  How do you actually do that?

Conquer- Glenn and Nicholas fight

Glenn catches up to Nicholas and their fight continues.  Nicholas manages to overpower Glenn, but leaves him for the incoming walkers…

Conquer- Michonne tells Rick to get ready

Rick admits to Michonne about the plan that he, Daryl, and Carol crafted.  They only lied because they weren’t sure how Michonne would take it.  Rick thought she’d try to stop him.  I mean, she did hit him over the head.  But that was for the others, not him.  They can find a way to make this work, and if not, Michonne is still with them.  Something may happen, but that doesn’t mean Rick has to make something happen.

Conquer- Rick notices the gate left wide open

But as Rick leaves, he finds the gate to Alexandria open and a trail of blood.  Whoops.

Conquer- Town meeting

Anyway, time for that meeting to begin, with or without Rick and Glenn.  Deanna begins.  They’ve assembled to talk about Constable Rick Grimes, how he stole a pistol from the armory and waved it at people, and what he said.

Conquer- Gabriel finds Sasha at the church

Meanwhile, Sasha pays a visit to Gabriel, as she feels that she’s losing her head, but Gabriel says that he can’t help her.  She feels like she wants to die, and Gabriel wonders why wouldn’t she want to die?  She doesn’t deserve to be in Alexandria.  What she did cannot be undone.  The dead don’t choose their lot in life, but the living must face the choices they make.  Bob was mutilated and consumed.  Tyreese deserved to be there, but not her.

Rick continues to search the area for intruders and happens upon a walker.

Conquer- Carol speaks in defense of Rick

Back at the meeting, members of Rick’s group speak on his behalf.  He wants everyone to live.  That’s who he is and who everyone else in Alexandria will be, if they’re lucky.  After all, he’s saved so many lives already.  Abraham goes a step further.  There’s an ocean of shit out there that these people don’t know shit about.  Rick Grimes, however, knows every fine grain of said shit.  Abraham really could have picked a better metaphor.

It’s Maggie’s turn.  Rick has a good heart and he really does feel the weight of his decisions.  All the group members who were together before Alexandria are still a family, and you shouldn’t try to break up family.  Wait, hasn’t Maggie lost both her father and, most recently, her sister?  You know, her blood relatives?

Deanna then addresses Gabriel’s comments from awhile back about how these newcomers would put themselves before the community, and now Rick’s behavior has demonstrated that behavior.  Though we know Gabriel said this, he’s not present, so Deanna is just going off of someone else’s word.

Conquer- Glenn puts a gun to Nicholas' head

Oh, Nicholas and Glenn fight some more, but Glenn doesn’t kill Nicholas.

Conquer- Man in red poncho is about to be killed

And our friend in the red poncho is killed by the two men from earlier, who manage to corral the walkers back into the trucks.

Conquer- Sasha considers shooting Gabriel

Having had enough of Gabriel giving her guilt, Sasha takes her gun and prepares to put him out of his misery, but Maggie enters and stops her.

Conquer- Rick delivers a walker to the town

Rick delivers a fresh walker’s body at the meeting space and berates the people for not having a guard at the open gate.  Hey, Spencer did tell Gabriel to close it, but this is exactly what Rick has been talking about.  He didn’t bring the walker in- it got in on its own.  The dead and the living will always try to get in because some of the living are inside the walls.    They’ll be hunted, used, and others may try to kill them, but the living can kill them first.

They can survive and Rick can show them how.  How many people does he have to kill just to save their lives?  That’s what he planned on, but he won’t do that.  He’ll teach them how to survive.  He isn’t sorry for what he said, but that he didn’t say it earlier.  They have to be ready for anything that comes their way.

Conquer- Pete kills Reg

Pete hasn’t got time for that, though, so he rushes in, ranting about how Rick isn’t one of them.  He ends up cutting down Pete in the process, and Deanna gives Rick the go ahead to kill Pete, which he does.

Conquer- Morgan and Rick reunite

Oh, hi, Morgan.  Damn, you guys got back pretty fast.

Oh, look, we get some post-credits stuff.  Looks like Michonne will hold onto that after all.

There were a lot of moving pieces in “Conquer.”  Some worked better than others, but it was an entertaining episode.  I don’t personally feel this finale needed to be as long as it was, but I’ll get to that later on.

Conquer- Rick arrives at the town meeting

Again, there are two warring ideologies at work here: Deanna’s path towards civilization that involves everyone, good and bad, pulling their weight and contributing to a growing society, or Rick’s kill or be killed method.  At the end of the day, we don’t seem to have settled on one, but the people of Alexandria seem to be warming to Rick’s methods.

Conquer- Rick laughs

Optimism is not ideal for this world.  Rick recalled Bob’s words about living in a nightmare versus the real world, when the nightmare is the real world.  The same applies to the people of Alexandria.  They know that danger still persists beyond the walls of the Safe Zone, but they’ve become too comfortable to living without many cares in the world.  They know how to live, but they don’t know how to survive, which is what separates the two groups.  Luckily, Rick now looks to be willing to teach the Alexandria community how to live instead of trying to just take over the place.

Conquer- Alexandra residents listen to Rick

And this has a lot to do with people realizing that Rick may have a point.  You can’t just coast through life without a care. You need to prepare for something like walkers entering your safe zone or violent people already living in your community.  If you can’t combat that, your civilization falls apart and your efforts are all for naught.  Rick’s group knows that, and it looks as if the Alexandria folks now realize this, especially with Pete’s outburst.

Conquer- Maggie appeals to Deanna about Rick

Like it or not, as Maggie said, Deanna made the choice of letting these newcomers stay.  That means having to adapt to change, and I like how Maggie is a sort-of mediator.  She’s still siding with Rick, but she’s willing to meet with Deanna to smooth over any issues.

Now would Alexandria fall to pieces if Rick and company hadn’t arrived when they did?  There’s no way to know for sure since they seem to have gotten along so far, but Rick’s group did give then a jolt to hopefully spring them into action and shake them out of apathy.  I’m glad that Rick’s group did ultimately end up siding with him, though wish that it wasn’t as easy because it took away the possibility of there being any in-group tension.

Conquer- Michonne with Rick

The closest we got was Michonne knocking Rick out last week and being left in the dark about the armory plan.  At the end of the day, though, she stuck with Rick because, although she believes that Alexandria can work, she knows that dramatic action may be necessary.  She’s just not as willing to jump to that conclusion as Rick is.  After all, she’s not the one who punched out Aaron upon first sight.

Conquer- Glenn compares Rick's plan to Terminus

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the group just goes along with Rick’s decisions without questioning their humanity.  This used to be Dale’s role, but that has now fallen to Glenn.  When Rick talks about potentially slitting the throats of Deanna, Spencer, and Reg so the others would comply, Glenn immediately draws a comparison between that and what happened at Terminus.  Glenn knows how harsh the world can be, but he won’t allow it to consume him.

Conquer- Glenn can't bring himself to kill Nicholas

That’s probably why he wouldn’t bring himself to kill Nicholas, as much as he wanted to.  He had every reason to, as well.  Nicholas did shoot him and leave him to be consumed by walkers, so not like any of us would blame him.  By the way, I’m curious as to how Glenn even got out of that walker pile in the first place.  He’d already been shot and fought with Nicholas, so he wasn’t in the best of conditions.  All of a sudden, though, he’s on top of Nicholas again. What hell?

Conquer- Sasha gives Maggie her gun

Also what hell is Sasha.  We know the woman is losing herself.  Again, we already know this and she’s already had a chance to talk about this with Rosita and Michonne.  Having it here again felt a tad redundant because she’s already unhinged.  It only felt like it was here so it could be latched onto Gabriel’s subplot with him seemingly accepting the world for what it is.  Again, accepting the world for what it is, again.

Conquer- Gabriel crushes a walker's head

We saw him tear off his collar before, but now he’s willing to crush a walker’s skull.  I guess that’s an upgrade from the female walker he refused to kill before, but if Gabriel’s becoming more cynical, this isn’t exactly new for him.  The change is that he’s now willing to call out Sasha for the wrongs that she’s done and how she doesn’t belong in Alexandria.

That’s the whole theme of who survives and who dies that we’ve seen play out on this show a lot, particularly with the folks at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Who deserves to live and who should die?  Nicholas tells Glenn over and over again that he doesn’t belong outside the walls, while Gabriel believes that someone like Sasha does, but she got to live while good people like Bob and Tyreese died.  It’s interesting stuff, but I think these two storylines could have been saved for the next season so we could get more focus on the other plots.

Conquer- Daryl and Aaron stuck in the car

So let’s talk about Aaron and Daryl.  Again, I enjoy seeing the two work together and their walker killing adventures help balance out the normalcy we see in Alexandria right now.  Well, almost normalcy, anyway.  It was great to hear Daryl himself admit that he operates better outside of Alexandria’s walls, and we know he does.  Staying cooped up at those houses for so long would change him.

Conquer- Daryl and Aaron flee from walkers

The entire sequence at Del Arno Foods was one of my favorite moments of the episode because of how trapped the two were and the trap itself.  Using walkers as a trap isn’t new, but I can’t recall a trap as elaborate as the one set up by The Wolves.

Conquer- Morgan speaks with Aaron and Daryl

Luckily, though, Morgan arrived in the nick of time.  His rescue and takedown of the two Wolves’ members at the beginning showed how much he has changed since we first saw him in the pilot.  To survive on your own in this world is not easy, but he’s managed to pull it off and keep moving forward.  Now he’s at least back and reunited with Rick.

Conquer- Morgan sees Rick for the first time in awhile

That said, it’s pretty convenient for Morgan to arrive at the exact moment that Rick executed Pete.  Daryl and Aaron left the Alexandria Safe Zone at least two episodes ago and, according to Aaron, they were a good 50 miles away from home.  And yet, they got back to the zone in no time.

Conquer- Carol warns Pete

If we’re going to talk about badass characters, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Carol threatening Pete.  Carol Suzie Homemaker has managed to blend in very well, but underneath that calm exterior is a hardened killer who won’t hesitate to murder.  Hell, I think she’s probably been more assertive than Rick has as far as taking action against the Alexandria folks.  She never drops her guard, proving that when she says at the meeting how much Rick has saved her life, never mind how she saved them from certain death at Terminus.  That said, now she can’t get her dish back.

Conquer- Rick asks the Alexandria people how many of them he has to kill to save their lives

Then we have Rick, who remained resolute in his stance towards the people of Alexandria.  He refused to back down and I liked how he only apologized for not saying something sooner than he did.  Rick knows that his methods may be extreme, but in this harsh reality, they need to be.  One wrong move can lead to your death, so you have to be faster and kill before you wind up dead.

Conquer- Rick tells Michonne that they can and will talk to the Alexandria folks

It’s a philosophy that Rick has developed over time and made him into the leader that he is.  He would like a civil society, but knows that the walker outbreak is the society that they live in.  You have to fight to survive.  And if there were anyone qualified to lead these people to action, it would be Rick.  They’re going to need each other to survive, but they’ll also need to toughen up if they’re going to make it.

Conquer- Deanna gives Rick the go-ahead to execute Pete

Deanna giving Rick the go-ahead to execute Pete seemed to be the signal that the people of Alexandria are willing to accept what Rick is talking.  This doesn’t mean that they’re going to stop listening to Deanna, who learned the hard way about leadership, but the show is trying to compromise between the two leadership styles.  The question now is how Alexandria will look come next season.

If I had one complaint about this episode, it’s that I feel the separate storylines kept cutting back and forth between one another towards the end.  Again, the stuff with Sasha and Gabriel wasn’t really necessary and that could have devoted more time to Nicholas and Glenn or Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan.  I mean, the show literally jumped from one thread to the other, which made it a bit jarring to watch.

Conquer- Wolves Not Far

Overall, “Conquer” is a good ending to Season Five.  While the stakes don’t seem as high as they did in last year’s “A,” the status quo of the Alexandria Safe Zone is slowly shifting as the residents warm up to Rick’s ideals and leadership style.  Morgan’s return, particularly just as he witnessed Rick execute Pete, is a welcome addition and I’m interested to see how he’ll fit in Alexandria.  And let’s not forget those Wolves, who are apparently not far.  See you next season.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5, Episode 15: “Try”

Well, we didn’t get fireworks, but something close to it as the residents of Alexandria deal with the losses of Aiden and Noah this week, Rick confronts Pete and Jessie, Daryl and Aaron are still on the hunt, Carl pursues Enid because he has nothing else to do, and Michonne and Rosita find out if Sasha needs help with her target practice.  That and possibly saving her soul.  This is “Try.”

Try- Deanna, Reg, and Spencer listen to Nine Inch Nails' 'Somewhat Damaged' on a RunMix CD

The episode begins with a small montage: Deanna, Reg, and Spencer listening to Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged” on a RunMix CD.  Alexandria has CD players, apparently.

Try- Carol whips up a casserole

Carol cooks up a casserole and leaves a condolences note for Deanna.

Try- Sasha takes aim

Sasha channels Andrea’s marksmanship and takes out walkers with skill.

Try- Daryl and Aaron spot a light in the distance

And Daryl and Aaron spot a light in the distance.

Try- Nicholas tells his side of what happened to Aiden and Noah

We then see Nicholas and Glenn interviewed separately concerning the events of the previous episode.  Nicholas, the asshole that he is, claims that he tried to stay and help Aiden while the others wanted to leave.  He blames the others for this, yet Deanna points out that they all still returned together.

Nicholas’ interview appears to be the only one of the two that is recorded.  Deanna forbids the two from holding firearms or going outside until she can further review this matter.  Why no one bothers to get Eugene’s input on the situation, I don’t know.  Anyway, Deanna still sees great potential in them, even if Nicholas wants them gone.

Try- Glenn tells Rick what happened to Noah and Aiden

Glenn, however, relays his story to Rick- how he saw the grenades on the walker that Aiden shot, how he watched Noah die before his eyes, how he tried to save him, how much Noah believed in Alexandria, it tears him apart.

Rick is ready to take action.  After all, the people of Alexandria are still too relaxed in his eyes.  They haven’t caught up with the rest of society because they’ve been too complacent.  Glenn, however, believes that the people can be shown a better way, but not by force.

Try- Carol and Rick watch Jessie from afar

Sometime later, Carol catches up with Rick and the two watch Jessie and her kids on their porch.  Carol talked some more with Sam and learned that Jessie placed a bolt inside his door.  At times, she’ll tell him to lock himself inside.  He would hear the sounds of Pete yelling and once walked out to find his mother unconscious while his father just sat on the porch.

Rick asks why Carol even cares about this, but she responds that he already knows.  Though that’s not really an answer, she then turns it on Rick and asks why he cares, but she can figure that out.  After all, she’s seen the way that Rick talks to her.  If the walkers didn’t come in, Carol says, she wouldn’t be there right now.  Rick disagrees.

Try- Rick advises Pete to keep walking

Then Rick heads to the water, gun in hand.  His trigger finger is itchy and when Pete comes by, Rick warns him to keep walking.

Try- Rosita fills Michonne in on Tara's condition

The next day, Michonne prepares to get ready for the day when Rosita enters and informs her that Tara’s condition is stable.  Rosita is worried about Sasha, though, as she spent the night in the tower.  Rosita just saw her go out one day.

Try- Rosita and Michonne on their guard

So Rosita and Michonne take their first time outside of the Alexandria gates since they arrived and it already feels different, though the two are still on their guard.  Rosita thinks that’s a good thing.  After Eugene’s life, she’s felt screwed up since she lost something, but for Michonne, it’s because she found something.  Noah’s still dead, though, and it’d be simple to forget, but the two don’t plan on that.

Try- Rick visits Deanna to talk about Pete and Jessie

Deanna visits the graves when she receives a visit from Rick, who first apologizes, but also addresses the problem with Pete.  Deanna had hoped it would get better, indicating that she knew about the abuse all along.  Rick tells her that this situation won’t get any better and action must be taken, but Deanna needs Pete’s skills as a surgeon.  He has saved lives, after all.  True, but he’s still beating his wife.

While Deanna suggests separating the two, Rick is wary that Pete just won’t comply with that when he doesn’t have to.  So then why not just kill him, Rick then suggests.  Deanna shoots that down without a thought.  This is a civilization.  Even still, Rick says, you either stop this kind of stuff or someone dies.  If Pete was exiled, Deanna would make the community vulnerable since he could return.

Tired of this, Deanna puts her foot down- Rick will not execute Pete.  Grimes is visibly angry with this decision.  People are dying. These are times when you can decide when or life can decide for her.  Deanna already has, though, since she wouldn’t kill Rick.  Again, foot down- no execution.

Try- Michonne and Rosita find a walker executed by Sasha

Michonne and Rosita find numerous walkers that have been shot in the back of the head- she’s hunting the roamers.

Try- Enid knows Carl is following her

Because Carl needs something to do, he follows Enid some more.  Well, he’s not good at being stealthy because she can hear his every move.  People always die, she says, so why go back to Alexandria?  When Carl asks what she’s doing out there, she responds that it’s for the same reason as him.  With that, she breaks into a run.  But not just any run.  This run is in slow motion.

Try- Enid and Carl find a walker

The two happen upon a walker, but keep their distance.  Enid readies a timer and throws it to distract the walker.

Try- Glenn confronts Nicholas over what happened to Noah and Aiden

Glenn confronts Nicholas to tell him that not only are the four previous scouting members’ deaths on him, now he has to carry the burden of letting Noah die.  People like Nicholas are supposed to die, but he got in before the walls went up.  He now survives by not going outside.  Nicholas doesn’t take this sitting down, saying that he’s protected people for a long time, while Glenn and his group just got there.  He takes Glenn’s words as a threat, but they’re not.  Glenn says that he’s saving Nicholas’ life.

Try- Enid and Carl talk about their pasts

Carl and Enid rest on a log.  She likes being out and running because, in her mind, people are supposed to feel like this.  She doesn’t want to forget and running makes her feel better.  While Enid uses her mother’s knife to carve into a log, Carl asks what happened to her before she arrived in Alexandria.  Enid doesn’t think that matters, but Carl still wants to know since bad things have happened to him, too.

Try- Enid and Carl, standing in a tree, w-a-t-c-h-i-n-g walkers go by

At the sound of walkers, the two hide in a tree.  This could only be more cliché of the two started kissing.  They don’t, however, though Carl does brush Enid’s hand as the walkers pass them by.  Oh, and more walkers with W’s on their foreheads.

Try- Rosita, Sasha, and Michonne take out walkers

While Nicholas digs up a gun, Sasha continues to pick off walkers.  She’s soon joined by Michonne and Rosita, but Sasha rejects their help.  She’s tired of playing defense and continues taking out walker after walker.  As Michonne sees flashes of her former, loner self in Sasha, she continues helping.  In a bit of realism, though, Sasha actually runs out of ammunition.  She’s still got a knife, but a walker downs her and almost bites her before she’s saved.

When it’s all said and done, though, Sasha still claims she didn’t need help.  They can’t do anything for her.  Things worked out for Michonne, but no one can help Sasha.  After all, she told Noah that he wouldn’t make it.  That’s true, Sasha, you did do that.

Try- Aaron and Daryl find a woman tied to a tree

Daryl and Aaron find more limbs and decapitated bodies.  As the two continue along, they find a woman tied to a tree and a W carved on her forehead.  She’s eliminated for good just as she begins to reanimate.

Try- Rick talks to Jessie about Pete

Rick visits Jessie, who offers her condolences about Noah.  And Tara, but her fate is up in the air.  Anyway, Rick confronts Jessie about Pete abusing her.  It has to stop, he says.  She says that it will, since it already has before.  She got Pete help.  Rick argues that he can fix this problem a lot better than her.  If things get worse, then Pete has already killed Jessie.  Rick won’t let that happen.  Despite Rick’s good intentions, Jessie rejects his help.  As a married woman, she can take care of this herself.

Try- Rick pleads Jessie to let him help her

After stepping outside for a bit, Rick returns and tells Jessie about Sam asking for a gun.  The life inside these walls is the same outside.  You don’t get to just live.  You can’t put off or wish away the inevitable.  You have to fight.  And if you don’t, you die.  Rick doesn’t want Jessie to die.  Just say yes and all will be well.  When Jessie asks if Rick would do this for someone else, he says no.  So Jessie’s answer is yes.

Try- Pete finds Rick talking with Jessie

But there’s Pete, who wants Rick out.  The brewing confrontation explodes as the words between Rick and Pete turn physical.

Try- Exterior shot before

Oh, we get a brief shot outside as we hear the fight take place in the house.  Why?

Try- Exterior shot after, the fight

That’s why.

Try- Pete versus Rick

So yeah, while Sasha picks off more walkers outside the walls, Rick and Pete’s fight spills into the street and attracts a crowd.  Jessie and Carl are knocked off when trying to break up the brawl.  Even Deanna is unable to calm the two men.

Try- Rick points his gun at Deanna and folks

Rick eventually draws his gun and waves it around.  The people of Alexandria just don’t get it.  They just sit around, hesitate, and pretend to know how to live.  Rick and company, though?  They know what needs to be done.  They’ve lived.  The way of life for the people of Alexandria is done.  It’s time to understand that they live in the real world.  That’s all very clear to Deanna right now.

But Rick’s not done.  He believes that Deanna’s way gets people killed.  Rick won’t let that happen.

Try- Michonne knocks out Rick

Okay, Michonne’s had enough.  Good night, Rick.

So we’re one episode away from the season finale and “Try” had a lot of setup.  For the longest time, the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone have lived in relative peace.  Not total peace, but it’s more than what Rick and company have had.

Try- And then Rick pulled out his gun

The problem, as Rick and others have pointed out, is that they’ve become too comfortable.  The newcomers feel that Alexandria’s residents hesitate and are cowards.  They just live as opposed to fighting for their lives.  That doesn’t apply to all of them, to be sure, but from what we’ve seen, it applies to a good number of them.  Life isn’t the way it was before the world went to hell, yes, but they act as if things are close to normal.  Beyond those walls, though, they aren’t.

Since the arrival of Rick and pals, we’ve seen them question the foundation of the society that Alexandria is trying to build.  We had Sasha’s outburst during the dinner party, Carl’s concern that the group will grow weak, and Rick flat out waving a gun around and calling out the ridiculousness of Deanna’s rules.  All he needed to do was call himself the law, but I’m guessing Michonne sensed that was coming next.

Try- Deanna listens to Rick rant

Because of Rick’s outburst, the folks of Alexandria now know what the newcomers think of them.  It remains to be seen whether there’s complete distrust or whether they now just question Rick’s motives since he is de-facto leader of the group.  With Gabriel’s admission to Deanna as well, the lines between Rick’s group and the Alexandria residents are deepening.  And, as expected, not everyone in Rick’s group shares the same frame of mind as Rick.

Try- Deanna with Rick at the graves

Deanna is very similar to Dawn: she knows that horrible things happen under her watch, but she allows certain people to stay because she values their skills and abilities.  Pete may hit his wife, but he’s also a surgeon that’s responsible for saving people’s lives, including working on Tara right now.  Deanna is focusing more on the future of the community.  If she allows Rick to execute Pete, it sets a bad precedent and shows that there is no law.

Try- Deanna watches Nicholas' confession

I do think Deanna has the best of intentions as the leader and we’ve yet to see everything that she’s capable of, but she’s in a difficult position.  She knows that actions should be taken against perpetrators and that the people of Alexandria are too relaxed, but she’s focusing on growing the community.  She lacks the real world experience that the others have been through, so she doesn’t see a need for the excessive violence that Rick advocates.

To her, there’s a better way.  Even if that means letting someone like Pete stay or exiling him when he could return and endanger the safe zone, Deanna won’t allow herself to cross a certain line, or she’d just become a part of the problem.  And yet, she told us that she sent others out before, so we know she has the potential to get rid of issues in the community.

Try- Deanna burns the sympathy note

For my money, I still think we have a lot to see from Deanna’s character.  We get to see her grieve Aiden’s loss, but we also know that she’s taken Gabriel’s words to heart when she burns Carol’s sympathy note.  Deanna isn’t looking for apologizes; she wants the truth.  Given her ability to read people, I have to wonder if she’s a few steps ahead of the others.  She knew that Pete was hitting Jessie and she thanked Glenn for knocking Aiden on his ass, so I’m curious whether she believes Nicholas’ version of the story or if she knows that he’s full of shit.

Try- Glenn isn't threatening Nicholas

Speaking of Nicholas and Glenn, I appreciate that the events of the previous episode weren’t just glossed over.  It’s clear that the deaths of Aiden and Noah have touched the community, but they hit Glenn hard because he had to watch Noah be killed, but could do nothing to help.  Glenn also had a real point.  Even if Nicholas was telling the truth about being a vital part of the community before, he and Aiden still abandoned other members to die and did the exact same thing that led to Noah’s death.

Try- Nicholas feels threatened by Glenn

For us, people like Nicholas would be expected to die because of his cowardice, but fate and Alexandria’s walls have spared him for the time being.  It doesn’t matter how much Nicholas has helped out because he now has five deaths on his hands.  That’s something he’ll never forget.

Try- Enid uses her mother's knife to carve into a log

In fact, this episode dealt a lot with characters struggling to either forget about the past or holding onto it.  The outbreak has claimed and changed many people’s lives.  As Jessie once told Rick, everyone has suffered the pain of loss, but that’s what also brought them together.  Enid and Carl, for example, don’t want to forget.  They can’t and, hell, probably never will forget.  I like the idea of Enid running outside just so she can feel something, but my hope is that she’s more cautious when fooling with walkers and throwing timers at them.  I’d expect that from Lizzie, but hopefully Enid is smarter than that.  However, she’s smart enough to know that it’s better to feel something than just be complacent and feel little.

Try- Carl and Enid on a log

We still don’t know much about Enid’s past before the outbreak, and I’m fine with that for now because it leaves her background shrouded in mystery.  It gives Carl a challenge as he tries to get someone else to open up, but at the same time, the two can relate to one another because, unlike some of the other kids, they don’t want to forget what it’s like to feel.

Try- Sasha doesn't want Michonne or Rosita's help

Same goes with Sasha, who is using walkers as target practice for some catharsis.  It’d be different if she just shot a bunch of walkers, but she’s both targeting and executing them like she’s on a mission.  She’s lost Bob, Tyreese, and now Noah after bluntly telling him that he wouldn’t make it in this world.  Sasha is in a dark place right now and is constantly on edge, which would explain why she holed herself in the tower.  Chances are she’d hurt someone if they attempted to get close, as she almost did when she almost struck Abraham and Michonne during “Them.”  Right now, she just needs to be by herself.

Try- Michonne sees shades of her former self in Sasha

The problem is she’s going down the same dark path that Michonne was just on and I liked the use of quick cuts to show the emptiness Michonne felt when she was on her own and just cut down walkers to survive.  Because of her being with the group, Michonne has regained her humanity and isn’t so distant.  Michonne doesn’t want the same darkness and solitude that defined her for so long to suddenly inhabit Sasha, and that could very well happen if Sasha doesn’t let people in.

Try- Rosita

I like the parallels between the two and this probably would have been a lot stronger if it had just been two of them so they could talk more, but I guess the show has to give Rosita something else to do.

Try- Daryl and Aaron find a woman

Let’s talk briefly about Aaron and Daryl, though.  It’s nice to see the two working together as a team and this puts Daryl back in his element.  He’s more suited to this than being in Alexandria.  The scenes are brief enough that we get the gist of what they’re doing, but we’re still left up in the air about the walkers with the Ws carved into their heads, not to mention the limbs.

Try- Rick tells Jessie that Sam wanted a gun

Meanwhile, Rick gets to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner.  It’s interesting that Deanna put him in this position, yet she now has issues with his rule.  I mean, she made him an officer again, so let him exercise some discipline, especially to shake these people out of apathy.  Rick has the best of intentions, even if one of those reasons is his feelings for Jessie.  That said, he did show genuine concern for her when he told her that Sam wanted a gun.  Maybe Carol should have just handled this since she knows what it’s like to be a battered housewife.

Try- Bloody Rick

I did enjoy Rick’s rant at the end and he has a good point.  Deanna’s methods have gotten people killed.  Granted, Rick must have short term memory loss since his route to Alexandria almost got him, Michonne, Aaron, and Glenn killed, though.  Rick has lost many people around him and had to make tough decisions as a leader.  He knows what it’s like to try and keep a group of people alive, but also how to make them stronger.  As Rick said to both Deanna and Jessie, without any sort of order or willing to kill to survive, the world within Alexandria’s walls is no different than outside.  That goes in hand with Enid’s line about this world belong to the walkers and humans just live in it.  It’s a hellish world, but you do what you must to survive.

For Alexandria, he feels that Deanna’s ways have made them weaker.  He vows not to let that happen, but he’s taking it to an extreme by waving his gun around at a bunch of people that still don’t know much about him.

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Comic book Rick rants to Douglas

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Michonne knocks down Rick

This may end up making the others in Rick’s group look bad by association, but that could be why Michonne, as she did in the comic, knocked him out, if only to show that not everyone is as rage-filled as him.  The final confrontation as a whole was a great page to screen translation of The Walking Dead #75.

Hell, Jessie getting hit during the fight I could see happening since Pete has that pattern of abuse, but for Rick to strike Carl shows he wasn’t thinking straight either.  He just wanted to hurt Pete.

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Rick goes to Pete and Jessie's place

Though, like his comic book counterpart, Rick did try to talk things out, but this was a lot more visceral, I think.

Try- Rick clashes with Deanna

Sure, Rick and his merry sidekicks may have unorthodox methods, but they’re the ones making a difference in Alexandria.  Rick takes it upon himself to stop Pete’s violent antics in a very brutal fight.  Hell, Pete may be a surgeon and an asshole, but he put up a good fight, I’ll give him that.  In the end, we didn’t even get a clear winner, so we’ll just call this one a draw.  The same applies to Rick and Deanna’s warring ideologies.  Right now, there’s no fine balance or middle ground, but because of Rick’s outburst, I wouldn’t be surprised if people sided with Deanna.

Try- Keep walking, Rick to Pete

All that said, that scene where Rick told Pete to keep walking and kept his cool while trying not to shoot him was damn effective and definitely a great moment.

“Try” was a strong episode and left enough threads up in the air as we head into the season finale.  Walkers are approaching the safe zone, but Sasha, even with her fractured, psyche, is able to pick them off for now.  Aaron and Daryl continue their search while making grim discoveries.  Rick, for all his power and respect, causes a scene and has most definitely earned some mistrust among the Alexandria community.  Plus, Nicholas did dig up a gun, so what’s that all about?  What happens from here?  We’ll find out in the season finale.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5, Episode 14: “Spend”

Everybody really did hate Chris in the end.  And Aiden.  And possibly Tara.  Pete and Gabriel may be next on the hate list, though.  Let’s jump into “Spend.”

Spend- Gabriel finds strawberries left in the church

The episode begins with Gabriel entering Alexandria’s church, or what passes off as a church.  As he flips through the Bible on the altar, he finds some strawberries nearby and a note attached.  He checks around, and then begins ripping out the pages of the Holy Book.

Spend- Noah and Reg talk about the future of Alexandria

As Daryl begins his new job as a recruiter with Aaron, Noah meets with Reg to talk about his place in the community.  More to the point, Noah wants to learn how to build and make sure that the walls stay up.  After all, there’s nothing keeping them from being knocked in.  It also wouldn’t hurt to maybe add some new buildings.  Seeing that Noah is in this for the long haul, Reg makes a note in his journal.  He then has Noah do the same.  After all, there’s going to be a lot to remember, so it’s best to record it all.

Spend- Eugene talks about installing shit

Aiden and Nicholas plan to lead Tara, Glenn, Noah, and Eugene to a facility to find some items necessary to help with the grid- a dozen, to be specific.  Eugene intends to install the shit out of the grid.  The travel van even has music.  It can’t get any better than that.  Oh, and Noah’s apparently been talking to some woman named Holly.  Hmm.

Spend- Rick and Jessie discuss the broken owl and the Broken Window theory

Elsewhere, Constable Rick Grimes is on the scene as he investigates a recent tragedy that has struck the community: someone knocked over Jessie’s owl display, which has never happened before.  Rick asks if Jessie either has any enemies or if someone out there just hates owls- both plausible scenarios.  He offers to look into it and promises that there will be consequences.  Rick refers to the Broken Window theory: if the windows are intact, society will be intact.

Spend- Scouting group prepares to enter the facility

Back with the traveling group, they arrive at the facility and Aiden is ready to rush right in since he knows all of the exits.  Glenn, however, advises that they should do a perimeter check since walkers can still pop out from anywhere.  After some debate on it, Aiden takes Glenn’s suggestion and the groups fan out- even Eugene, who still would rather be anywhere else.

He tells Tara just as much when the two head inside.  She tells him that, at some point, he’ll have to begin pulling his weight, but Eugene insists that he has.  After all, he got them to D.C., but, of course, he did no such thing.  True, he didn’t get them to the Safe Zone, but, in his defense, his very mission gave everyone the vision of a safe haven.  Yes, Eugene is as big of a coward as Tara makes him out to be, and he has no problem admitting that.

Spend- Glenn and Noah find a swarm of walkers

Glenn and Noah continue down their route and come across a swarm of walkers on the other side of a fence.  Looks like the perimeter check was a good idea after all.

Spend- Entering the facility

As the group enters the facility, Glenn makes a noise in order to draw out some walkers.  When nothing happens, everyone heads in, but stays on their guard, since the walkers could come from anywhere.  They do hear the sound of walkers, but don’t see any, which Glenn figures must mean that they’re stuck behind a certain spot.

Tara and Eugene find some devices that will be needed for the grid, but the walkers soon burst forth and attack.

Spend- Aiden shoots at protected walker

One walker in particular is actually wearing a uniform and a helmet.  Against Glenn’s judgment, Aiden continues to shoot at the approaching walker.  He manages to down it, but keeps on shooting, not noticing that it has explosives pinned to it.  Eventually, the damned walker explodes.  Okay, that was sort of funny and some Resident Evil 4 stuff right there.

Unfortunately, the explosion pinned Aiden to one of the walls as metal protrudes from his body.  Believing Aiden to be dead, the others plan to make their escape, but Tara took a nasty hit and is now knocked out.  Eugene hesitates to kill an approaching walker.  Glenn tells everyone to get to the nearby office.

Spend- Carol finds Sam in the cupboard

Carol Suzie Homemaker heads down the stairs and finds Harry Potter in the crawl space beneath the stairs-I mean, she finds Sam in the cupboard.  Why?  He wants more cookies.  Plus, there’s no electricity in his house, but Carol doesn’t give a shit about any of Sam’s problems since she doesn’t consider them actual problems.  Fair enough.  Sam asks Carol to teach him how to bake cookies.  That way, he wouldn’t have to bother her anymore and could do it himself.  To do that, though, Sam will have to steal the chocolate from Olivia and bring her a chocolate bar.

Spend- Group plans an escape, Eugene stays with Tara

Back at the facility, Tara’s head trauma has caused her to lose a lot of blood.  However, the escape plan hits a snag when the others see that Aiden is still alive and now trapped.  Eugene stays with Tara while Nicholas, Glenn, and Noah make their way to Aiden.  Nicholas distracts the swarm by firing his flare gun.

Spend- Abraham and construction workers fire at walkers

So what’s Abraham’s job in Alexandria?  He’s working at the construction site under Tobin, played by Jason Douglas.  Things go well enough until walkers come out from the woods to play.  The workers fire at the approaching roamers, but one bullet hits one of the bulldozer’s wires.  This knocks over Francine, played by Dahlia Legault, and the others retreat.  All except for Abraham.  Sorry, but Francine falling over by accident is the second unintentionally funny moment in this episode for me.

The two manage to take out all of the walkers, with Abraham making effective use of a chain, but the rest of the workers don’t bother lending a hand.  Not that they’d be effective, though.

Spend- Pete pays Rick a visit

Pete pays Rick a visit with some drinks, but Rick is still on duty, so no drinking for him.  The two talk about their troubles, the owl statue, Rick losing his wife…yeah, Pete went there, but it doesn’t appear to be out of spite.  He tells Rick that, even though his group can’t see it, the people of Alexandria have lost things and are now trying to hold onto others.  All Pete wants to do is be friends with Rick.

This kind of situation can only end with brute force.

Spend- Eugene carries Tara and her ass out of the office

Back at the facility, Eugene carries Tara out of the office and fires at the approaching walkers.  Tara’s ass gets a fair amount of screen time when Eugene carries her out.  Just thought that was worth mentioning.

Spend- Aiden wants Glenn to leave him

The others manage to pull some of the metal out of Aiden’s body, but they aren’t able to remove it all before the walkers get close.  Realizing it’s a futile attempt to try and save him, Nicholas gives up the attempt.  Glenn continues trying, but Aiden tells Glenn of the last supply group that died- Aiden and Nicholas abandoned them.  Alas, with the walkers approaching, Glenn can do nothing to help Aiden.  He, Nicholas, and Noah leave, while the walkers feast on Aiden.

Spend- Abraham and Francine confront Tobin

Back at the construction site, Francine gives Tobin a good punch for abandoning her.  He deserves much more than that, really, but Abraham uses this opportunity to take charge and gives orders to the rest of the crew.  I mean, he’d have a better system that doesn’t involve leaving people to die.

Spend- Tobin tells Deanna, Reg, and Maggie that he wants Abraham to lead the construction crew

Later, Tobin tells Deanna, Reg, and Maggie that Abraham should take over as leader of the construction crew.  He sees great potential in him.  After all, if everyone had followed Tobin’s orders, Francine would be dead.  Though Deanna appears to be against the idea, she tells Tobin that she’ll talk to Abraham.

Deanna isn’t entirely pleased with this, as she’s putting yet another new person in a position of leadership in a short amount of time.  The power dynamic is shifting, but as Maggie points out, these newcomers know what the hell they’re doing out there.  After all, Deanna did say that she wanted a future for this community.  Hell, that’s the whole reason that Daryl is out there scouting with Aaron right now.  The new folks can help provide that.

Spend- Sam got chocolate for Carol

Sam somehow managed to swipe chocolate.  Against her own wishes, Carol agrees to teach him how to cook, but she won’t help him again.  She’s also not in the mood for conversation, as Sam asks her questions like whether she was a good cook or if she liked doing it.  Sam gets that he and Carol won’t be friends, but it doesn’t have to be quiet.  Fair point.  Carol concedes that cooking made her forget when she was angry.

When Sam gets angry, he breaks stuff.  When Carol asks if Sam broke the owl statue, Sam fesses up to it, but then turns it back on her and asks why she stole the guns.  She says that sometimes guns are necessary to protect yourself.  Sam then tells Carol that he wants a gun but it’s not for him.  When Carol asks for who, then, Sam flees.

Spend- Glenn, Noah, and Nicholas stuck in the revolving door

At the facility, Nicholas got himself stuck in the revolving door while trying to escape.  When Glenn and Noah also wind up in the door, Nicholas suggests shooting through the door, but only he has the ammunition.  Glenn tries breaking the glass with the butt of his gun, but this almost allows the walkers to reach Nicholas.

Spend- Eugene draws roamers away with the van

Suddenly, Eugene arrives to the rescue with the van.  The blaring music draws away some of the walkers, but not all of them.  Nicholas tries to push through the doors so he can escape, but this also slowly provides an opening for the walkers to grab Glenn or Noah.

Spend- Noah bitten by walkers

Nicholas escapes, but Noah is grabbed by the roamers.  Still stuck in the revolving door, Glenn can only watch in horror and is unable to do anything as the walkers rip Noah to pieces.

Spend- Nicholas is ready to leave, Eugene stays

Nicholas catches up to Eugene and wants to get the hell out, but Eugene won’t do so without the others.  When Nicholas tries to take the van for himself, Glenn shows up and punches the shit out of him.  Then he tells Eugene to help him into the back of the van.  This is the third unintentionally funny moment for me, but then, I’m a sick bastard.

Spend- Carol confronts Pete

Carol shows up at Pete’s doorstep and asks if he’s doing okay.  He is, but he won’t allow Carol to talk with Jessie.  It’s not a good time.

Spend- Gabriel talks to Deanna about Rick's group being devils disguised as the angels of light

Gabriel shows up to speak privately with Deanna.  He has come bearing a message: Satan often disguises him as the Angel of Light.  There is now a false light within Alexandria’s walls.  Gabriel is grateful for this paradise, but it was wrong to let in Rick and the others.  They’re not good people and can’t be trusted.  More than that, they’ve done unspeakable things.  Deanna counters that they did so to survive.  That’s what makes them assets.

But Gabriel still contends that a day will come when the newcomers put their lives ahead of everyone else’s and destroy the community.  So why tell this now?  They don’t deserve paradise.  Gabriel just hopes that he’s not too late.

Spend- Maggie overhears Gabriel talk about the group

Oh, and Maggie’s been listening.  I sort of hope she gives Gabriel a swift ass-kicking.  Hell, she already clashed with him once.

Spend- Carol tells Rick about Pete

Carol reports to Rick about Jessie and Sam’s lives being in danger because of Pete.  She sees this ending only one way: Rick has to kill Pete.

Taking it a bit extreme there, aren’t you Carol?

“Spend” was a fantastic episode that gave just enough time to its separate storylines when it mattered.  It had a good amount of both conversation and action with the well-executed revolving door sequence, something we haven’t seen done on The Walking Dead yet.  That entire scene was a good example of being confined with literally no way out.

Spend- Glenn holds on as the walkers take Noah

In fact, let’s stick with the supply run group since we’re already here.  First off, Tyler James Williams gave a great performance in his final moments.  Noah’s death was one of the more recent gruesome deaths we’ve seen.  Consider, Tyreese only took a bite, while Beth and Dawn got bullets through their heads.

Spend- Noah's face ripped apart by walkers

Here, Glenn is forced to watch as Noah dies right before him.  His death was painful to watch with the walkers ripping his face apart and making an absolute meal out of him.  It looked like there could be a chance of Noah, Glenn, and Nicholas all getting out alive, but no.  Someone had to go.

Spend- Glenn watches Noah killed before his eyes

Both Williams and Steven Yeun were great here and you could see the shock in Glenn’s face as he was powerless to help Noah.  Sure, Noah wasn’t with the group very long and there wasn’t much that made him stick out as a character, but, like Bob, he was optimistic about the future and saw Alexandria being something great.

Spend- Noah's final moments

Oh, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of the ending theme to any episode of Everybody Hates Chris as Noah was ripped apart.  The internet works fast.

Spend- Reg and Noah meet in the morning

It was a bit telling, but the opening scene with Reg kind of foreshadowed his death.  Whenever we have an optimistic character on The Walking Dead, something bad may come their way, and that’s just what happened.  I feel bad for Noah, though.  He spent all this time trying to escape from Grady Memorial Hospital, finally got out with Beth’s help, watched Beth and Dawn die before his eyes, finds his family killed, reaches a safe haven, and is now dead.  It’s unfortunate because his backstory did help flesh him out as a character.  There was plenty of room to do more with him, but as of now, we’re short another character.

Spend- Aiden eaten by walkers

Two, in fact, with Aiden’s death.  He was an asshole from the start, but at least he took Glenn’s advice on doing a perimeter check.  He wasn’t the most careful with shooting the explosive walker and revealing that the last group died because he and Nicholas were cowards, but this adds to a growing problem that we’re seeing with the safe zone.

Spend- Abraham and Francine, played by Dahlia Legault

With a few exceptions like Francine, many of the people in Alexandria are cowards.  They’ve become conditioned to safety and security, which is what made Sasha’s outburst last week all the more surprising to them and, quite frankly, necessary to snap them out of their complacency.  I must wonder how they managed to go on as long as they did without the brute force that Rick’s group brings.

Spend- Maggie talks to Deanna about the usefulness of Rick's group

So it does make sense for them to end up taking key positions because, like Maggie says, they know what they’re doing.  They aren’t doing it because they have plans to take over- well, Rick and Carol might- but because they know how to survive.

Spend- Abraham takes charge

This is what makes Abraham such an ideal candidate to lead the construction crew.  He seemed on edge for most of the episode, but once the workers abandoned Francine to the walkers, he got to take charge because he knows how to lead.

Spend- Comic book Holly and Abraham argue with Tobin about the system

Another comic side-note, Francine looks to be taking the role of Holly from the comic, though Holly was also mentioned by name.  Just something I noticed.

Spend- Tara and Eugene

Eugene’s cowardice isn’t anything new, but I’m glad that he got to do something more when he took Tara out of the facility and later rescued the others.  Hell, even if Eugene admits to being a coward, even he wouldn’t dare leave his friends behind.  His trigger finger may not always be the best, but he at least tried.  Now Tara’s fate is left up in the air but, like Noah, she’s not all that essential, I think, so if she died, no real loss.

Spend- Carol and Sam

Carol and Sam.  I like this duo a lot and enjoyed enjoy how Carol was just not taking any of Sam’s shit this week.  I honestly hope these two have more scenes together.  He had seemingly innocent intentions, but she wouldn’t give him the time of day.  She has good reason since she doesn’t want to blow her cover, though I’m glad she eventually had a conversation.  Whether she was honest or just adding more layers to her cover story is another thing.

Spend- Carol tells Rick that he'll have to kill Pete

Her suggestion to Rick seemed a bit extreme and a bit fast, though.  After all, Shane didn’t kill Ed after he witnessed him beating Carol, but Carol has pieced enough together to figure out what’s going on with Pete, Sam, and Jessie.

Spend- Rick and Pete

And Rick can already sense the tension going on home just based on his conversation with Pete.  Of course, we already got that sense from his introduction, but Pete is now just asking for an ass-kicking.

Spend- Gabriel and Deanna

As is Gabriel, who is showing his cowardice again by turning on Rick and the others.  Yes, they’ve done horrible things to survive and aren’t really good people, but, as Deanna said, they’re survivors.  Gabriel has known all of these things, but picked a strange moment to discuss the group with Deanna.  Maggie listening in won’t help him, either.  I don’t get why he’d do this, though.  They saved his life and gave him added protection.  He owes them a little bit since he’s yet to carry his own weight.  This is just setting him up for a nasty confrontation with the others.

Actually, there’s a lot of bubbling tension in Alexandria.  Deanna isn’t keen with so many new folks being in charge, Rick is preparing for the possibility of confronting Pete, Gabriel has gone turncoat, and now Alexandria as a whole must now contend with two deaths that have struck their community.  Now we just wait for the fireworks.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5, Episode 13: “Forget”

The people of Alexandria have it pretty lucky now that Rick and company have come to town, but that doesn’t mean that things will go smoothly going forward.  “Forget” had our characters adjusting to their roles in the Alexandria Safe Zone, but others still searching for theirs.  Also, when Carol tells you to keep a secret, you better damn well keep it.

Forget- Sasha checks out a gun, Olivia asks her about bringing back a boar's leg

The episode begins with Sasha making questionable use of bullets.  As she receives a gun from the armory, Olivia, played by Ann Mahoney- who we briefly saw last time- asks if Sasha can bring her a boar’s leg if she comes across one.  You know, because boars are plentiful at this time of year.

Forget- Sasha takes aim at family photos

Instead, Sasha sets up some family photos she’d seen in her new home and uses them for target practice.  You know, she could have just thrown them.  She rests and, as if daring life to throw something her way, simply says “Come and get me.”

Rick, Carol, and Daryl meet at the abandoned home where Rick buried the gun.  They’re discussing a plan to break into the armory to snag a few guns, but they’ll need to enter when the armory is empty.  Before that, though, they’ll need a way to break in.  Whatever the case, they need to do so sooner rather than later since, as they acknowledge, the people of Alexandria aren’t worried about these newcomers.

Forget- Carol shoots a walker

They’re lucky, but even luckier since Rick and pals showed up.  To be fair, they are right.  This plan also needs to stay between the three of them, as everyone else is trying to make Alexandria work.  Carol shoots a nearby walker not due to force of habit, but because it’d look suspicious if she returned from outside the walls and had a full clip.  Very smart, this Carol.

Before leaving, though, Daryl notices a walker with a W carved onto its forehead.  Not the first time we’ve seen this.

Forget- Michonne in her constable uniform

Michonne’s trying on her constable uniform as Rick walks in.  They’re still skeptical.  After all, they’re newcomers.  Why hand over power and authority to strangers?  Could this all be a play?  After all, with these uniforms, Rick and Michonne will become recognizable to everyone in the community, which could be exactly what Deanna wants.

Forget- Daryl spots Aaron

Daryl goes about his loner business when he picks up on Aaron nearby.  Aaron, however, isn’t following him- he’s just hunting wabbits.  He soon ends up following Daryl.

Forget- Deanna speaks with Rick, Michonne, and Maggie

Deanna speaks with Rick, Michonne, and Maggie about their roles.  Rick and Michonne will serve, watch the wall, and solve any problems they encounter.  An officer who lived there once had some jackets, so now they belong to Rick and Michonne.

Deanna has a bright vision for the future.  She sees a government being here someday, which is why she’s roped in Maggie to help her.  Deanna easily reads the skepticism on everyone’s faces, but they’re willing to give it a shot.  Rick’s suggestion is to do a detailed search on the wall for any damage or signs that anyone could have scaled over.  Deanna still refuses to arm everyone, but if things go according to plan, she may not have to.

Sasha arrives and volunteers herself to be the permanent lookout in the watchtower, as there currently isn’t one.  The others all believe someone should be stationed there 24/7.  The current watch is Spencer, but Deanna will consider giving Sasha a chance.  She then invites everyone to her place tonight for a welcome party.

Forget- Carol blends in with the other women

Carol, Agent Suzie Homemaker that she is, talks up food with some women in the community when Rick comes by.  She’s also been told about the party, so the two plan to make their move for the armory tonight.

Forget- Aaron and Daryl spot Buttons

Aaron and Daryl spot a horse that Aaron has been trying to rope in for months.  The horse’s name is Buttons and always gets spooked whenever someone approaches.  Daryl takes the rope and gingerly approaches Buttons when some walkers attack.  The two dispatch of them, but Buttons rushes off.

Forget- Carol surveys the armory while others check out guns

As Olivia and Carol talk cookies, two men come in to make a withdrawal.  Carol, meanwhile, surveys the room all while telling the big, strong men about what she knows on guns.  Luckily, they offer to show her a few moves.  Meanwhile, the window latch is now unlocked…

Forget- Aaron and Daryl talk

So Aaron tries making small talk with Daryl, who preferred to ride bikes instead of horses.  Aaron gets Daryl- he feels like an outsider.  It’s a feeling that Aaron and Eric are all too familiar with, as even they haven’t been fully accepted by everyone yet.  That’s people.  The more afraid they are, the more stupid they become.  They fear the types like Daryl and Aaron.  Aaron, though, thinks that Daryl should let people get to know him, but Daryl has nothing to prove.

Forget- Rick meets Deanna's husband, Reg, played by Steve Coulter

Dinner party time!  Our ragtag killers slowly fill in, with Abraham and Rosita noting that this party at least has beer.  That’s important.  Rick meets Deanna’s husband, Reg, played by Steve Coulter, who knows all about Rick through videotapes.  He may have helped build the wall, but that’s just what it is: a wall.

Forget- Buttons attacked by walkers

Aaron and Daryl happen upon the horse, but some walkers slow them down.  The two save each other’s backs, but they’re too late, as Buttons is soon devoured by walkers.  Damn.  When Aaron and Daryl finish off the walkers, Aaron delivers the shot that puts the horse out of its misery.  It always ran but, as Daryl adds, at least Aaron tried to help it.

Forget- Glenn and Maggie speak with Noah

Back at the party, Noah sticks to himself and considers bailing out until Glenn and Maggie remind him that he is part of their group now.  I mean, he didn’t really get the best of introductions to the group, but okay, he’s in.

Outside, Daryl watches the festivities from afar and passes by Aaron’s place.  Aaron himself didn’t join the party because he wants to monitor Eric’s ankle.  If Daryl’s not in the party mood, however, Aaron offers him a spot at their table.

Forget- Jessie introduces Rick to her husband, Pete, played by Corey Brill

Rick and Carol see Olivia join the party, meaning the armory is open.  Time to put the plan into action.  As Carol slips out, Rick receives a proper introduction to Jessie’s husband, Pete, played by Corey Brill, who wants to look at Rick sometime next week…he’s a doctor.  As Pete heads off into the party, Rick and Jessie talk and you can already tell there’s a spark between the two.  As Rick looks at the partygoers, he sees normalcy.

Jessie says that it’s better being within the walls, but that doesn’t mean that everyone outside of Rick’s group hasn’t lost something or someone.  They’ve had their fair share of tragedy and been through a lot of bullshit, but a lot of it just disappeared.  Despite being from different places, these people are now in each other’s lives.  It’s not much and their previous lives may be lost, but at least they got something out of it.  It may not be enough, but it’s something.

Forget- Rick tells Sam, played by Major Dodson, that he knows the cookie maker

And then enters Sam, played by Major Dodson, who wants a cookie.  Luckily, Rick knows the cookie maker, so he’ll go get in touch with them.  Not before Rick receives his stamp, though.  Rick apparently knows the cookie maker.

Forget- Sasha meets Deanna's son, Spencer, played by Austin Nichols

Sasha finally joins the festivities and has a brief chat with Deanna’s son, Spencer, played by Austin Nichols.

Forget- Daryl eats spaghetti with Aaron and Eric

Over at Aaron’s, Daryl wolfs down some spaghetti.  Eric reminds Aaron of something that he was supposed to ask Daryl, so Aaron takes him further into their home.

Forget- Aaron shows Daryl the workshop

Daryl enters a workshop full of spare parts.  Aaron figures that Daryl would know best how to assemble a bike, if need be.  We also learn the reason why Deanna hadn’t assigned Daryl a job: Aaron asked her not to.  Why?

Aaron wants Daryl to be the other recruiter.  Not just because Aaron doesn’t want Eric to risk his life, but Daryl knows what it’s like to be on his own.  More than that, he knows the difference between good and bad people.  Daryl eventually says that he’s got nothing else to do.  That would be a yes.

Forget- Abraham talks with Michonne

An inebriated Abraham speaks with Michonne on the porch.  He says that she should get used to not having to use her sword anymore, and pray she never has to anymore.  He’s realized that things have finally worked out well for him.  For Michonne, though, she’s still figuring that out.  At the very least, she put on the dress.

Forget- Carol the cookie maker warns Sam what will happen to him if he disobeys her

Carol slips into the armory to retrieve some firearms, and she does, but not before Sam spots her.  Apparently he got tired of waiting for Rick and decided to find the cookie maker himself.  But, in reality, he just followed her.  And now Melissa McBride gives one of her best performances as she commands Sam to keep quiet about her being there.  He can never tell anyone, even though he tells his mother everything.  But why shouldn’t Sam tell?

Well, if he does, he may wake up, but he won’t be in his bed.  He’ll be outside the walls, tied to a tree.  He’ll try to scream for help, but no one will hear him.  Well, the living won’t hear him.  The dead, though, they’ll come for him, and he won’t be able to run away.  And after the dead are done with him, no one would ever know what happened to poor Sam.  Or he can keep his mouth shut and earn himself some cookies later on.

You know, Carol, most adults would just threaten kids with a spanking, but you’re more hardcore than that.

Rick and Jessie mingle a bit before she has to head off, though not before receiving a quick kiss from Rick.

Forget- Sasha's meltown

Deanna brings Sasha to speak with some other women at the party, all of whom are just talking about their lives without a care in the world.  The normalcy becomes too much for Sasha, who snaps and lashes out at the women for being concerned over something as minute as preparing the wrong dish.  I also wager that Sasha wasn’t popular at dinner parties.

Forget- Sasha meets Deanna at the gate

Next day, Sasha shows up at the gate to take her post.  She says that Alexandria isn’t real, but Deanna calls her bullshit on that.  Sasha takes her ammunition and gets to work.

Forget- Carol hands out guns, Daryl has second thoughts

On the other side, Carol disperses the guns she snatched, though Daryl isn’t so sure anymore whether they need the guns.  After all, they want to try and make this place work, right?  Carol responds that they may need the arms later, but Daryl is still on the fence.

Forget- Michonne hangs up her sword

Meanwhile, Michonne hangs up her sword.

As the three return, Rick heads to the wall and puts his head next to it while a walker bangs against it on the other side.

If “Remember” was about the group trying to grasp the idea of a normal life amidst so much carnage, “Forget” was about them being reminded that, right now, they live in a different world than the people of Alexandria.  One example would be Olivia asking Carol if she could bring back a boar’s leg, as if these people have no concept whatsoever of what is beyond these walls.

Forget- Rick and Carol talk about the armory

Much like how Rick and Carol are putting on acts for the sake of keeping up appearances, they wonder whether Alexandria itself is all just a façade.  The people there don’t seem to have a care in the world about the threat of walkers and act as if most, not all, of their troubles are gone.

They don’t seem to be ignorant about roamers, but they do act as if living in the Alexandria Safe Zone suddenly means that their lives going forward will be no problem.  I mean, asking for a boar’s leg?  Olivia would be surprised to find what’s really out there.

Forget- Rick talks with Deanna about the lookout

Part of me wonders whether Rick and company take pity on the people of Alexandria for being so carefree.  We’ve been with these people for five seasons and watched them travel from place to place.  The reality of the walker outbreak has hardened them, but also trained them on how to deal with walkers.  To the point, all they’ve known what to do is survive.  By contrast, the people in Alexandria have known loss, but also learned to relax and lower their defenses.

This is what makes Carol’s chilling warning to Sam all the more powerful.  She’s not just doing this to scare or warn him- she’s being completely honest about what she knows will happen to Sam if he doesn’t listen to her.

Forget- Abraham and Rosita at the party

The main group has always been content with moving from place to place, but what if they didn’t need to?  What if, for a second, they could just stop?  That’s challenging for them when they can’t ignore the world around them.

Forget- Jessie tells Rick about what others in Alexandria have lost

To Alexandria’s credit, not everyone is completely ignorant about the imminent dangers of roamers.  Jessie’s line to Rick speaks to that.  Everyone who has arrived in Alexandria has lost something or someone close to them.

Much like Rick’s group, they come from different backgrounds and have various histories, but they’ve managed to band together as a family.  Even though they’re relatively safe, some of them are trying to move on.  Others, like Jessie and Deanna, at least know what’s out there, but they are damn lucky to have a hardened group of people like Rick’s group showed up.

Forget- Deanna speaks about a future civilization in Alexandria

The problem for Rick’s group is that the people in Alexandria seem a bit too idealistic instead of realistic.  Deanna talks with optimism about setting up a government and a return to civilization, but she knows that Rick is skeptical for having a pie in the sky dream.

Not in a world this bleak.  But that doesn’t mean that Deanna can’t hope for a better world.  After all, Rick once thought he and the Governor could put their differences aside and live together at the prison.  We know how that turned out.

What separates the two groups is that Rick and company know what it’s like to suffer on a regular basis.  Alexandria’s residents seem to be putting on an act, as if they’d prefer to ignore what’s beyond their walls.  Now we have Rick’s group putting on their own act so they can blend in.

Forget- Sasha's 'what the fuck' face

This episode dealt a lot with the main characters trying to define themselves in this new community.  Sasha’s outburst during the dinner party and shooting the pictures showed just how detached she is from Alexandria.  It’s why she’d prefer to hole herself up in the lookout where she wouldn’t have to interact with many people, but at the same time, she’d make herself essential since she’s one of the best shots the group has.

She calls Alexandria bullshit because the people there don’t have any troubles, when all they have to do is step beyond the walls to encounter danger.  The incredulous look on her face showed how she couldn’t believe how carefree and naïve these people are.  Sasha has lost both Bob and Tyreese in a short amount of time.  She knows what this world can do to the people she loves and won’t let herself be softened by the idea of a normal life.

Forget- The Walking Dead #71- Rick suggests to Douglas that Andrea become the lookout

I never got the vibe that Sasha was a better shot than anyone else in the group, but she seems to have taken on Andrea’s role as the sniper, since that’s the role Andrea played at this point in the comic book.  But, of course, since Andrea isn’t around on the show anymore, that trait has fallen to Sasha.  I’m fine with it, but since we’ve seen most of the group function as competent shooters, it seems like most of them could have taken this role.  At the very least, it gives Sasha something to do.

Forget- The Walking Dead #72, Comic book Michonne rages

In fact, Sasha seems to be a blend of both Andrea and Michonne due to her being standoffish, as it was originally Michonne who had the outburst in the comic book about the normalcy in Alexandria.  Though, given how much Michonne wants Alexandria to work and because of who Sasha has lost, it makes sense for her to flip out.

Forget- Daryl with Aaron in the workshop

Not Daryl, though.  He gets a significant amount of time to spend with Aaron in order for Aaron to feel him out.  The two come from similar worlds.  I wish that Aaron hadn’t spelled it out as blatantly as he did, but this is Aaron’s approach: he approaches people like human beings and doesn’t try to hide who he is.  Daryl doesn’t feel a need to hide who he is, either, but he’s not as open as Aaron.

Forget- Aaron offers Daryl a recruiter position

However, Aaron knows that Daryl may be a brute, but he has good intentions and knows the difference between good and bad people.  He’s a good judge of character, which would make him a perfect recruiter.  He wouldn’t have to change anything about himself or get close with the people of Alexandria.

Forget- Aaron finishes off Buttons

I enjoyed seeing these two work together.  They saved each other’s backs and though they were unable to save Buttons, Daryl did acknowledge that Aaron at least tried to help it.  Poor Buttons, though.  That horse was just a few episodes away from retirement.

Forget- Carol scares the shit out of Sam

But damn it if Melissa McBride didn’t steal this episode with one of her most chilling performances.  Carol has probably the easiest time assimilating to Alexandria because she can make everyone think that she’s Suzie Homemaker, but she’s a Suzie Homemaker that knows quite a bit about firearms.  She’s so unassuming that no one would suspect she put the fear of death in Sam, who will probably never ask for cookies again.

Once again, I don’t think Carol did this to intentionally scare the shit out of Sam- she knows what this world is like.  We’ve already seen her make difficult decisions.  These choices have made her into the warrior that she is today.  Sam, however, has presumably grown up not dealing with walkers to the extent that Carol has.

Kids like him and possibly even Judith may grow up in a world much better than the one they’re in now, but for the moment, Carol has seen and done more terrible things than they have.  It’s safe to say that Sam may not be looking for the cookie maker anymore.

Forget- Rick kisses Jessie

Rick and Jessie.  If I didn’t already know where this may be headed because of the comics, I’d say Rick and Jessie could have a promising future, but you still have Pete, who we know little about.  Who knows?  Rick may try and claim Jessie for himself.

“Forget” shows the group still trying to find its place in Alexandria.  It added to Sasha and Daryl’s storylines, showed what makes Carol the badass that she is, and gave us more mysteries to consider, such as the return of walkers with “W” carved into their heads.

Plus, with Rick and Carol feeling the need to arm themselves, Sasha searching for her place, Daryl now wanting to give Alexandria a chance, and everyone else trying to fit in, there could be some group conflict as our ragtag group of walker killers consider their futures in the Alexandria Safe Zone.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5, Episode 12: “Remember”

As Rick and company arrive in Alexandria, they’ll have to abide by certain rules.  For so long, they’ve been welcoming others into their fold, but now they’re the outsiders.  Of course, tensions will be high, but let’s see how they adjust.  Oh, and it’s time to say hello to an old friend.

Remember- Nicholas instructs the group to turn over their weapons

The episode begins with Aaron leading the group into Alexandria.  Waiting at the gate is Nicholas, played by Michael Traynor.  It’s very quiet and there’s no one around.  They’ll need to go through an interview process with a woman named Deanna, and they’ll need to surrender their weapons as well.  None of them are keen on that.

Remember- Rick interviewed by Deanna Monroe, played by Tovah Feldshuh

Rick is the first to be interviewed by Deanna Monroe, played by Tovah Feldshuh, who records the interviews for transparency’s sake.  We learn that Deanna was once a Congresswoman for Ohio’s 15th District.  As far as Alexandria, it was once a planned community that started in the low 800,000.  Christ.  Who would be able to live here?

Deanna and her family were trying to get back to Ohio so she could manage the crisis in her district, but the army stopped them and directed them back here.  Deanna’s family was supposed to join her later, but they never did.  As for the wall, Deanna’s husband is a professor of architecture and got the first plates up with their sons.  Weeks later, more people arrived and a community had been established.

It turns out that Rick’s group is the first to be considered for a long time.  Alexandria needs people who have lived out there.  Rick, however, advises Deanna to keep the gates closed because it’s all about survival at any cost.  People out there are always looking for an angle or way to take advantage of you and your ability.  Though Aaron trusts Rick, he counters that Aaron barely knows him.  Rick has killed so many people that he’s lost count, but he did so his people, his family, could live and so he could be alive for them.

Deanna admits that she’s not so innocent, either.  When Northern Virginia was evacuated, they lost millions of people.  She once exiled three men who didn’t work out, which is just as good as killing them.  When Rick asks Deanna what she wants from them, she says that families, including his, should have a safe environment where they can grow up and raise their children.  She wants their group to help her people survive.  How?  Well, Deanna is good at reading people.  Rick has a right to be skeptical, but it’s time to decide if he’s the one doing the deciding.  Oh, by the way, it’s 3:37 pm.

Remember- Aaron shows Rick and Carl two homes

The group turns in their weapons- Carol having one of the biggest guns.  They’ll be allowed access to them only if they go beyond the walls.  Following this, Aaron shows Carl and Rick and they’re allowed their pick.  Aaron is just four houses down if they need anything.

Remember- Carl turns on the water inside one of the homes

They enter and everything appears normal and innocent.  The water and electricity even work.  Rick takes the first shower he’s had in God knows how long, and then…wait, he’s grabbing a razor.  Could it be?

Remember- Beard no more for Rick

Yep, so long to the beard as we welcome the return of the clean-shaven Rick Grimes from Season One.

Remember- Jessie Anderson, played by Alexandra Breckenridge, brings supplies to Rick

He receives a visit and supplies from…oh, boy.  The comic fan in me did a double take as we’re introduced to Jessie Anderson, played by Alexandra Breckenridge.  As she used to be a stylist, Jessie offers to cut Rick’s hair.  Even though Jessie doesn’t even know Rick, she’s confident that she can handle herself.  We learn that Jessie has two sons: Ron and Sam.

Remember- Carl, Daryl, Rick, and Carol at one of the homes

After Deanna’s less than successful interview with Daryl, Carol and Carl check the homes, with Carol being suspicious of the buildings just being given away.  The fact that everyone’s weapons have been taken and them being split up doesn’t’ make them any less skeptical, so Rick decides that they’ll all stay in the same house tonight.

Remember- Deanna checks in on Rick and company

That night, everyone does indeed end up lumping together in the same house.  But they’re still adjusting.  Michonne even brushed her teeth for a good 20 minutes.  She’s surprised by the sight of a clean Rick, as she’s never seen him shaved before.  Though Michonne is quicker at settling in than the others, she does understand the need to play it safe.  Even if she has a good feeling about this place, Rick just hopes that she’s right.

Deanna stops by to see how the group’s doing and isn’t surprised to see them all staying together.  She’s impressed that a group of people with different backgrounds and histories could end up banding together as long as they have.  Deanna is also handing out jobs.  She has one for Rick, but she just hasn’t told him what it is yet.  Same for Michonne.  Sasha’s job is in the works, and Daryl…that’ll take a bit more time.

That night, Rick arms himself with a knife.

Next day, Michonne is interviewed.  She tells Deanna that they’re all ready for this.

Remember- Group does some exploring

The group- sans Daryl- decides to do some exploring.  Rick takes a bit of time to reflect.  This is the kind of neighborhood that he and Lori would drive through, and here they are.  However, just as Rick begins exploring, he breaks into a run when he realizes that he’s lost sight of Carl and Judith.  He ends up running into Jessie’s sculpture in the process, but she shows him that the kids are all right.  They’re with Natalie and Bob Miller, an older couple that had five kids and 12 grandkids.  Judith will have to get used to pinched cheeks.  Jessie then asks Rick if Carl can visit her kids.

Remember- Carl meets Ron, played by Austin Abrams,  Mikey, played by Elijah Marcano, and Enid, played by Katelyn Nacon

So Carl pays a visit to Ron, played by Austin Abrams, Mikey, played by Elijah Marcano, and the very quiet Enid, played by Katelyn Nacon.  Enid just came in eight months ago.  Carl is given the offer of playing some video games or heading over to Mikey’s house since his father has a pool table.  After spending a bit of time coming to terms with the fact that he has options, Carl settles on video games.

Remember- Carl interviewed

Carl is next for the interview.  I mean, so is Judith, but she can’t talk- as far as we know- so she’s just there for the camera.  Carl admits not just that he lost his mother, but that he’s the one who killed her.

Remember- Carl and Rick talk about Alexandria

Rick checks up on his son and the two talk about what they think of Alexandria so far.  Carl likes the people and the two agree that the place seems nice, but Carl doesn’t want them to grow weak, as he feels these people are.

That evening, Rick keeps a watchful eye outside.  Michonne still hasn’t been assigned a job yet, though she does want one.  Neither feels afraid, but if that were the case, they wouldn’t both still be awake.  Rick decides to go for a walk.

Remember- Rick meets Jessie's husband

During such walk, he has a brief run-in with Jessie’s husband, who sits and smokes on his porch while welcoming Rick to Alexandria.  Not ominous at all, right?

Carol is next for the interview.  She talks about her past and how she misses her stupid husband every day.  Ever since then, she’s had little to offer the group and has become more of the den mother, but she would like to be involved with the community.  Very funny, Carol.

Remember- Carol tells Daryl to take a shower

Of course Carol is just putting on an act.  Even Daryl’s wise to that, but Daryl himself is still playing the lone wolf.  He won’t even shower.  Carol promises to hose him down in his sleep.

Glenn is next to meet the camera.  He just wants to make this all work since they’ve been out there for far too long.

Remember- Glenn, Tara, and Noah about to go scouting with Nicholas and Aiden, played by Daniel Bonjour

So what will the others be doing?  Well, for starters, Glenn, Tara, and Noah are going to be scouting with Nicholas and Aiden, played by Daniel Bonjour.  They’ll be doing a dry run outside the walls so they can see the terrain.

Carl, meanwhile, having spotted Enid scaling the walls, decides to follow her on the other side, but ends up losing sight of her.

Remember- Carl wants the final kill

He soon joins up with Rick, who went to pick up the gun he hid, but finds it missing.  Nonetheless, the two take part in some father-son bonding as they dispatch of a few walkers.  Rick even lets Carl get in the last kill.  Now that is effective parenting, even if a bit morbid.

Back to the scouting group, Nicholas and Aiden increase their radius mile by mile and have covered 53 miles so far.  If shit gets crazy, you fire a flare.  Glenn, Tara, and Noah are here because Nicholas and Aiden lost four month.  Why?  Apparently they didn’t follow the rules.  Aiden admits that he can be a hard-ass and a douchebag, but someone needs to call the shots.  If you’re on the team, do as he says.  Who smells a confrontation?  I smell a confrontation.

Remember- Dealing with the missing roamer

Anyway, Aiden strung up one of the roamers that killed the previous four scouting members.  However, it’s gone when they approach the tree.  They whistle to signal it, not realizing how bad of an idea that could be, and it eventually does come out.  Neither Aiden nor Nicholas want the others to kill it.  Rather, they want to secure it again.  The walker ends up overpowering them and Tara almost gets bitten in the process, but Glenn eventually does the sensible thing and stabs the damn roamer.  Not that we’d have lost anything if Tara had been bitten.

Remember that impending confrontation?  Well, Aiden, for some reason, isn’t happy.  He told them to listen to every damn thing he said!  Glenn isn’t impressed by Aiden’s macho bravado and a fight breaks out that’s eventually broken up by Rick and Deanna.

Remember- After fight

Deanna welcomes the newcomers to Alexandria as equals, not adversaries.  Everyone is to turn in their weapons.  Now it’s time for Rick to learn of his new job: constable.  That’s who he was and who he still is.  The same goes for Michonne.  I mean, she wasn’t a constable, but she’ll be in a position of authority.

Remember- Rick talks with Carol and Daryl about Alexandria

That night, Constable Rick talks with Carol and Daryl.  He’s ready to be the constable.  Even though most of the group is slowly settling in, they can’t let their guard down.  Alexandria could make them weak.  Rick, however, knows that they won’t get weak.  That’s not them anymore.  They can make this work.

And if not, they’ll just take the damn place.

Sounds like a plan.  “Remember” had the task of slowly getting everyone used to the idea of normalcy, a foreign concept to them at this point.  Rick’s line about survival is repeated throughout the episode and is representative of the lifestyle his people have lived versus what the people of Alexandria have become accustomed to.  Rick and company haven’t known comfort and relaxation for so long because they’ve had to fight to survive another day.

Remember- Rick talks with Deanna

But what happens when you don’t have to run anymore?  Can you really drop your guard just for a day and have some semblance of what was once your normal life?  Or, as Rick says, do you always keep in mind that people are always looking for an angle or a way to play on your weakness?  The group seems to be doing the latter.

I’m sure they want to accept Alexandria as a place to settle down and it has all the comforts and fixings of a neighborhood, but they’ve been conditioned to treat anyone and anything new as hostile.  It’s the whole reason they ask certain questions to new people.  Here, however, it’s the group that’s on the defensive as they’re the ones being questioned.  They now have to answer questions, surrender their weapons and deal with people who don’t know them.

Remember- Michonne and Rick on being cautious

Of course this won’t be an easy process for either side because they’ve existed in two different worlds for so long.  We’ve followed the exploits of Rick and pals for five seasons now and seen them gain and lose people close to them.  They’ve had many brushes with death and dealt with what this outbreak does to humanity, whether the likes of the Governor, The Hunters, and even loners like Michonne.

By contrast, the people of Alexandria have grown used to some semblance of peace because they haven’t had many hardships.  It’s not total peace by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the closest they’ve had to what their lives were before the apocalypse hit.  As such, it’s not a stretch to think that the folks of the Safe Zone have grown complacent and maybe even weak.  This doesn’t make them ineffective, but their world is…well, worlds apart from the newcomers.

Remember- Rick takes a shower

We as people often take our privileges and luxuries for granted.  I think about something that George Carlin once said during a special.  He said that if you wanted to throw humanity back to barbaric times, all you would have to do is completely eliminate electricity.  Here, things like running water, video games, and a shower all feel like foreign concepts, but we forget that the privileges that we abuse- and that others would give anything just to have a sample of- can be taken away from us in little to no time.

Think about the internet and how often we rely on technology.  I mean, take a mental note of how many people you see with their heads down while they text and tap-tap away at their phones or mobile devices.  We’ve grown used to having these conveniences because we can.  But if you take those luxuries away, what would you do?  This is something that Rick and pals don’t have to worry about because they haven’t had any luxuries to take for granted.  They’ve just had each other, and that’s what allowed them to grow as a group.  It’s also why Deanna found it so impressive that a group as diverse as theirs could still band together.

Rick’s group has a lot to lose because of the amount of people in the group, but they also have a lot to gain they see themselves as more competent than the people of Alexandria.  That could be cockiness, but we’ve had enough time to see how Rick’s group operates to know that they can take care of themselves.  They know how to deal with walkers and the precautions to take, but also how to avoid risks.

Remember- Aiden and Glenn argue

It’s what made Aiden’s move of keeping the walker around and trying to subdue instead of killing it all the more ridiculous.  If we’ve learned anything from Hershel or the Governor, it’s that keeping walkers is never a good or smart idea.  I have to wonder why Deanna gave Aiden this position, if not for nepotism’s sake.  I can’t believe someone who makes such odd decisions as Aiden does can end up in a position of authority or leadership.

The Distance- Rick makes Aaron taste the apple sauce

Wait, no, never mind.  I can believe it.

Remember- Michonne sees Rick without his beard

Everything in Alexandria feels overwhelming.  Like Terminus and Woodbury before it, Alexandria appears too good to be true.  Carl has difficulty grasping the fact that he can even play video games or play pool, Michonne spent 20 minutes brushing her teeth, and Rick never thought he’d come in contact with a shower or electricity again.  The simple things for the people of Alexandria are seen as treasures for the newcomers, but they won’t blindly accept this new world without caution.  They’re worn and tired, but still alert.

I like how the interviews are juxtaposed against what’s going on in the episode, as we get glimpses of what everyone has been thinking since they arrived.  Michonne and Glenn want to make this work, while Carol creates a cover story for herself.  Even if Alexandria could work, it doesn’t hurt to try and stay one step ahead of everyone else, especially when Deanna told Rick that she’s good at reading people.

Remember- Rick prepares to shave the beard

Sticking with Rick for a second, it’s imperative to talk about the beard.  I mean, the beard has become a staple of Rick from its humble beginnings to the bird nest it became.

Remember- Clean Cut Rick talks with Jessie

Now that it’s gone, however, Rick is back to his Season One look.  Coupled with the shower, Rick goes through a bit of transformation here.  He’s a killer, but with this cleaner look, he looks less like a creature and more like a cop.  When he looks at himself in the mirror after the haircut, it’s like he doesn’t recognize who he is.  However, by losing this beard, Rick also gives the people of Alexandria the impression that he’s a changed man.  Of course, by episode’s end, we know that’s not the case.  He’s still the protective man that we know him for and is ready to take Alexandria by force, if necessary.

Again, he has a lot to lose not just because of the group, but for his own children.  He flips out just because he lost sight of Carl and Judith, even though they were safe.  He keeps a knife with him as he sleeps.  He knows that the people of Alexandria need him more than the other way around.  When he says it’s a good thing that they’re there after Sasha shoots the walker outside the gates, we know they’re serious.  These are people you do not fuck with.

Remember- Jessie cuts Rick's hair

And yet, he still has time to reflect and briefly let his guard down.  He talks with fondness about how he and Lori looked through neighborhoods like this.  He wasn’t initially fine with Jessie cutting his hair since, as he stated, she didn’t know him.  And Rick is right.  Open kindness is going to be met with suspicion, as Aaron can attest.  Rarely has Rick been able to meet a person he didn’t trust or have lingering doubts because he doesn’t want to meet another Governor.

Remember- Rick adjusts his watch

I think one of my favorite scenes of the episode was when Rick adjusted his watch after Deanna told him the time.  It’s brief, but telling.  Rick and his group have only come to know day and night.  The time didn’t matter.  Either the sun or the moon was out.  They’ve been out of touch with reality.  To know the time- even if that’s the actual time- gave Rick a brief bit of normalcy and puts him back in touch with the world around him.

Remember- Carl has options

Same goes with Carl.  We saw him have a brief touch with reality when he explored during “After,” but here, he has options.  It’s almost impossible to believe that he can pick between playing video games or sneaking into someone’s house to play pool, but that’s just what he can do.  Like his father, though, he keeps up his guard and acknowledges that he doesn’t want to become weak.  Also, judging from how quickly Enid scaled the walls, it’s clear this isn’t the first time she’s done it.

Remember- Carl and Rick bond over killing

Rick and Carl get a little father-son bonding in with their dispatching of the roamers.  The scene didn’t really add anything and it could’ve just been the two meeting up after Rick found the gun was missing, but hey, at least Rick gave his son the final kill.  I really loved the little nod that Rick gave Carl when he killed the last walker.  As if to say, ‘You did good, son, but that was still supposed to be my kill.’

Remember- Daryl says that Carol looks ridiculous

In other lighter moments, Carol and Daryl had a little back and forth when Carol threatened to clean Daryl, who remarked that she looked ridiculous.  Apparently that line was improvised by Norman Reedus, but this furthers my belief that he and Melissa McBride have the strongest chemistry of any pair on the show.

Outside of Aiden and potentially Jessie’s husband, the people of Alexandria seem pretty welcoming.  Of course, it’s too early to come to any conclusions and they may be as upfront as Aaron is, but we shall see.

Remember- Comic Book Douglas

On a side-note, it’s interesting that we have a gender swap with Deanna Moore taking on the role assigned to Douglas in the comic.  It’s not an issue or anything, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Remember- Rick talks about taking Alexandria

Remember- Comic Book Rick talks to Andrea about taking Alexandria

So, as was the case in the comic, Rick and pals have decided to settle in Alexandria and cooperate for the time being.  Of course, they will still keep their eyes open to any and everything that seems off.  As far as they know, they have strength on their side, but we’ve yet to meet and get to know everyone in Alexandria right now.  So while we know our roamer killing crew won’t kill and can lead a rebellion when necessary, now we wait and see if it will ever come to that.