Season 6 Episode 3 “Thank You”

The Episode

I have actually kind of dreaded talking about this episode. Re-watching is hard enough but writing about it is even harder. This episode ripped my heart out when it aired. It was so devastating for me that I can recall every feeling I had at the time. After the episode was over I watched a good half hour of the show after with tears running down my face. I had to tell myself to pull it together….out loud! So with that being said, let’s begin.

small town empty road

Our friends face a harrowing journey back to Alexandria. Herds of walkers are everywhere. When you think about the level of chaos happening, its immense. This day started out with what was supposed to be a dry run of a hefty undertaking and it went to shit in every way imaginable. Rick goes off on his own to get an RV, leaving Michonne and Glenn to lead the supporting players back to Alexandria until he can catch up with them. Through no fault of their own, Glenn and Michonne lose the majority of the group pretty quickly. One guy runs off after shooting another in the leg by accident. Another guy who thought he knew better than everyone got bit. Three of the folks still alive are injured, one bit, one twisted ankle and one shot in the leg. Problems are stacking up. Everything happening in this episode is just torturous to watch. When you want them to move quickly, they seem to take their time talking about their problems. When you want things to go right they just get worse. There is no point in this episode where you get to collect yourself.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Heath and Michonne. Heath is upset after overhearing Rick tell Glenn and Michonne to save themselves above everyone else. Heath gets pretty passive aggressive about this with Michonne while they were holed up in the pet store (which Rick did specifically tell them not to do). But Michonne’s not gonna let Heath get away with that. She really puts him in his place with her speech about how he’s clueless. How he’s never been covered in so much blood that he can’t tell if it’s his own or walkers or his friends. That last bit really comes full circle as Heath catches a reflection of himself later on when they are close to Alexandria and he actually is covered in blood. That message really sinks in right then. If this episode just ended with Michonne making it back to Alexandria with just two people out of the entire group that went out was the end of this episode, it would have still been pretty heavy. But it’s not.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Glenn dies. Not really but I certainly thought he was dead. Were you surprised? I sure was. I had always assumed Glenn was going to go like he did in the comics and then just out of nowhere, they kill him before they even get to introducing Negan. I know a lot of fans were suspect of this dumpster death, but I wholeheartedly believed the show had just killed off Glenn without any warning. And I was crushed. To be honest, it was a really stunning way to go and I almost wish it had been true. If you think about the tragedy of Glenn dying because he couldn’t stop trying to save Nicholas from himself would have actually been really beautiful. I loved how they interspersed moments of Nicholas slipping away to some other place in his mind throughout the episode. They did it in previous episodes too, but we should have known something was going to happen with him when it kept happening over and over again. His repeated zoning out was a sign that he could not handle what was happening. Would I go as far as to say Glenn should have known better? Yeah, actually I might. Nicholas was barely beginning to show he was changing. I think it was a real mistake for Glenn to rush him into relying on him so much. But I mean, it’s not like they had a lot of options.

And then to top it all off, it’s not even the end of the episode. We had to sit there watching in shock and teary eyes for the rest of the episode, which wasn’t even remotely calm. At one point, Rick really hurts his hand on a knife stuck in a walker. That would probably be insignificant to most but I’ve had this wish that Rick would lose his hand at some point. He loses it in the comics back during The Governor days. So it’s been a special wish of mine that they’d cut it off. So every time Rick has ever hurt his hand on the show, I think “this is it”. And they kind of played it up too this time with a lot of scenes of him holding it. Big letdown for me.  Rick also has to take on the Wolves that Morgan let live. At one point I said to the television, “Stop I can’t take anymore!” We’re left wondering if Rick is even gonna get out of the broken RV as walkers start surrounding it.

black and white upshot of a bare tree

This episode really messed with me. I was far from ready to deal with Glenn dying. The danger is coming from every direction, and quite literally all heading towards Alexandria. As exciting as it is as a story, as a person I don’t appreciate leaving us hanging like this! And I want Glenn back! Next week is another great episode and also one I have been waiting to talk about for some time. It will be good.

Best of the Episode

Glenn’s dumpster death. Of course this makes the best of the episode. It was a beautiful death. Not many people get to die twice on a show, but Glenn’s special. When Nicholas can’t take it anymore and sees no way out of them trapped on that dumpster, he politely tells Glenn, “Thank You”, and then blows his brains out all over Glenn. That choice of last words is brilliant. Nicholas knows what he is and knows Glenn did more to help him than anyone even though he didn’t deserve it. He knows he was letting Glenn down one last time in a really big way. That thank you said a lot. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that he also almost really got Glenn killed! The music playing over the scene with no sounds, just watching Glenn crash to the cement and then thinking we were watching our beloved Glenn have his guts eaten out of him is just crushing. Absolutely crushing. It still upsets me. P.S.-Why did they not get in the dumpster and close it?

Michonne’s close call. To escape the herd, the few remaining group members have to climb a fence. Two get over and Michonne and the guy who got bit are being pulled down by walker hands. It’s not looking good. But even though Heath had ran his mouth and could have easily left Michonne on that fence, he didn’t. He stays and shoots at the walkers so Michonne can get over. The bitten guy pretty much sacrifices himself which is cool cuz he was dead anyway. But it’s sad to me that the note he wrote for his wife gets left behind. Earlier in the episode, Michonne had written “You’re getting home” on her arm for the bitten guy to read. But it becomes much more than that when she looks at her arm later on and it seems much more like she wrote it to remind herself that she was going to get home. Heavy.

Rick vs. Wolves. This episode really breaks the bank when they put three of the biggest characters on the show in danger in one episode. We think Glenn’s dead, Michonne has barely made it back to Alexandria and now we have to deal with Rick up against a pack of Wolves on his own. Geez Louise! Before Rick even gets to fighting them I really like the speech he gives on the radio to whoever is listening (pretty much just Daryl at this point).  Rick talks about how they must continue on with the mission and how they have to trust that everything is going to work out back in Alexandria. But then the Wolves attack and he finds a jar of baby food in one of their pockets. Now he knows his family is in trouble and you can tell Rick is thinking about forgetting everything he just said. Not quite the same when it’s your own family is it Rick? I also enjoy how Rick shoots up the RV from the inside to take out Wolves on the outside. And then of course the RV won’t start. Uh duh Rick, you just shot up the place. You could have snuck up on them from the outside and then maybe your ride would still work. Come on dude.


Grand Plans

Season 6 Episode 1 “First Time Again”

The Episode

brownie wrapped in string with a lit candle on top

I’m super excited to be talking about this episode today. I absolutely love all the stuff that happens. Season 6 has perhaps one of the biggest premier episodes in the series. In size alone, we cover a lot of ground. But they also take some big cinematic moves as well. And well, the cast is just always top notch.

The overall concept of the episode is part catching us up with what happened after Reg and Pete die and part current day where a dry run for a huge mission turns into reality. To separate the two, the flashbacks are all in black and white. I love that they do this because it feels very much like a nod to the comics. It’s important to do that now and then. I also enjoy it because they really pick out the important pieces and don’t spend a lot of air time carrying on everything in slow-mo. That’s kind of what it felt like when our group first arrived in Alexandria. Everything was a long conversation and it took forever to get to the point. But they really just give us the highlight reel and that’s refreshing.

The big takeaways from the flashbacks were around Rick and Morgan’s relationship, Abraham, Sasha and Glenn and Nicholas. Oh, plus our one episode friend Carter played by Ethan Embry!  I’m gonna start with that last one first because who was expecting that?!?!? Carter is unfortunately picking up right where Pete left off and making a fuss about everything Rick wants to do. Not for nothing, but people really need to stop getting in Rick’s way. It’s one thing to question him but Carter tries to stage a darn mutiny in the armory and threatens Eugene with a gun. But Carter’s just a tool for us to see how far Rick is going to take things. When Rick catches Carter threatening Eugene, he very easily overpowers him and could kill him for this treachery. But he doesn’t. What Rick says about this little situation later should remind some of a previous talk with Lori. Rick says he just wanted it to be over with Carter. Carter was getting in his way and making trouble and Rick says it would just be easier if he wasn’t around. Rick also said something similar about Shane. He was tired of Shane always questioning him and he just wanted it all to stop. It would seem Rick has a major problem with long-standing annoyances.

The journey Rick and Morgan take this episode is also noteworthy. These two started this show together, but time-wise they really have not spent as much time together as it would seem. People seem to bond much quicker in these turbulent apocalyptic times. But the fact remains they don’t really know each other. Now that they both have found Alexandria, that seems to be changing. The beautiful thing about these two is the respect they have for each other. They don’t agree on everything, but they are honest with each other. There’s several moments to choose from but I like when the two of them are off in the woods to bury Pete and also when Morgan calls bullshit on Rick not taking chances. Rick just wanted to throw Pete away in the woods, but Morgan pushes him to bury him. And Morgan again tries to bring out the best in Rick after Rick lets some walkers go after Alexandrians and tries to save themselves even though they clearly can’t. Morgan presses him on his statement about “not taking chances.” Rick really just meant he doesn’t take chances with his group. He is still willing to sacrifice those he doesn’t see fitting in. They are supporting each other even though they may want to handle things differently. It’s really exciting to watch these two damaged men lean on each other and work through things.

Abraham does some interesting stuff this episode. We see the beginnings of something stirring up in him. He stares really hard at Reg’s wedding ring. What’s he thinking? And in the car with Sasha he hops out to get a few walkers back on the path. He looks like a crazy man and rambling on about getting Reg’s brains in his ear. Gross. Is he being gross on purpose? I want to know what’s going on in that big red head of his. Sasha seems to be tolerating it but doesn’t approve. Sasha seems to be doing better after her breakdown. I like how Abraham asks her if she’s doing the car trip because she wants to die. She smiles and says no. It’s good to hear her say that.

And then there’s Glenn and Nicholas. Nicholas actually steps up for once. Glenn still doesn’t trust him when they go together to kill walkers in a building. But Nicholas does good by vouching for Glenn in front of new guy Heath who doesn’t know Glenn very well. Nicholas gives Glenn the respect he deserves. And then Nicholas does good a second time by stepping in and killing a walker even though Glenn told him to stay back. Glenn gives him a nod of approval to kill another one. I had absolutely no faith in Nicholas turning over a new leaf but as always, Glenn has more faith than the rest of us.

So let’s talk about the quarry. I mean it wouldn’t be a zombie show if we didn’t get a massive injection of zombies once in awhile. But this may be too much. Rick and Morgan stumble upon a giant quarry that walkers have been falling into since the beginning. At first sight, this is an outrageous amount of walkers that should scare everyone away. Letting them out would be the last thing on our minds, but that’s just what Rick wants to do. His logic for wanting to do it is solid but it still seems unbelievable. And then you add in the fact that the day we are following them is just supposed to be a rehearsal for the next day, now you are adding an extra layer. Last minute checklist items are now too late, it’s go time.

autumn country road

An amazing premier episode wouldn’t be as amazing without a surprise ending. Watching this plan go off without a hitch was enthralling. I was into it. It’s a longer episode too and there was no lack of suspense and anxiety of what might go wrong the entire time. But really the only thing that goes wrong is Carter gets bit in the face. Well, that is until the very last minute of the episode when a horn starts blaring out of nowhere. Oh that horn. The sound is everywhere and no amount of distraction can keep the walkers from heading towards it. And it just keeps blaring. I’m jumping out of my seat going “What is that!?!?! Where is it coming from?!?!?” And it keeps blaring as the camera pans out and flies over the walkers now heading right towards Alexandria. The scene goes black and the horn is still going. Oh man do I love that ending. Leaving us on the edge of our seats with so many questions and so much to worry about for all our friends.

Best of the Episode

The little moments. These are my favorites at this point in the series. Things like Gabriel saying he wants to help and Rick shutting him down without even a second’s hesitation. Just no Gabriel, we’re all sick of your shit. Also Rick when he says over the radio that the noise they heard was Carter screaming because he got “bit right in the face.” The way Rick says it is like he’s almost annoyed that that’s how Carter got bit. And p.s.- Rick trying to muffle Carter’s screams and telling him to be quiet after he gets bit in the face, so cold and so Rick. Morgan gets a good one in when he asks Michonne if she took one of his protein bars way way back in the episode Clear. She definitely did but says no and Morgan says he could have sworn he had another peanut butter and Michonne completes the exchange with “that’s always how it goes, you think there’s one more peanut butter.” Eugene compliments Heath’s “hair game”. Abraham and Sasha share their first peace sign with each other.

Daryl rides again. Daryl doesn’t have to do much at this point to make us swoon. All he does this episode is ride his motorcycle. But he does have a few hundred or so walkers following him. And that makes it pretty damn sexy.

Surprises All Around

Season 5 Episode 16 “Conquer”

The Episode

This is one of the most jam-packed season finales of the series. There are more surprises than I can handle. Breakdowns, fights, great quotes. I don’t even know how I can address it all but I’m going to try.

First of all, we are blessed with the return of Morgan. And it seems like he’s going to stick around for more than just a cameo this time. His opening scene at the start of the episode is one of my favorite interactions between two characters ever. As excited as I am to see Morgan, it’s enhanced by who he meets out in the woods alone. We are introduced to the leader of The Wolves. The man behind the Ws we’ve been seeing. As the wolf and Morgan talk, we get some insight into what they are all about. The Wolves want everything. They want to kill. They want to take. They want to destroy. The persona of the lead wolf is so creepy. He’s calm and even says he’s enjoying talking to Morgan before he kills him. That to me is a real sign of someone who has lost touch with reality. When you can simultaneously want to kill someone but also take pleasure from having a conversation with them, something is not right. But just encountering Morgan again is not the total surprise. He seems to have picked up some real ninja turtle style skills. He’s got a staff and he knows how to use it. He’s definitely been up to some major training since the last we saw of him.

I love that Morgan has been turned into a badass. But not just a badass. He’s got a new moral code. He doesn’t want to kill, he just doesn’t want to be killed. As evidenced by what he does with the two Wolves who attack him. Instead of killing them, he takes their unconscious bodies and puts them in a car so not even walkers can get them. When we actually get to the journey of how it happened it’s even better. His evolution is one of the more amazing on the show.

dew dropped flower lying on wood

Morgan and Carol definitely have the most major changes of anyone. Speaking of Carol, she’s really throwing her weight around this episode. She takes a big risk in threatening Pete. She pulls a knife on him and points it at his throat and basically tells him no one will believe he didn’t try to attack her if she kills him. Her words to him when she’s calling him names and such feel a lot like they are something she wanted to say to Ed but didn’t get the chance to. I love that Carol is now able to confront an abuser even if it’s not her own.

The Wolves are such a unique group in the show. As time goes by in the series, the bad guys get weirder and weirder. That seems very much like what would really happen. As people get separated from civilization and following rules of order, you see more and more animalistic behavior come out. These people are bad news and pose a real threat to Alexandria.

But right now, Rick poses a threat to Alexandria. This episode he spends his time trying to figure out what he’s doing here and how to make it work. Unfortunately he’s got people on both sides trying to manipulate him. Carol wants to keep playing games and I think if Rick kept listening to her, she would have been there end. Sorry, as much as I love Carol, playing this game of secrets is not a good idea. Luckily he has Michonne and Carl on the other side to balance it out. He also figures some of it out on his own. His run in with a walker really puts things in perspective for him. But I do have a problem with Deanna telling Rick to kill Pete. Her husband was dying in her arms and she was already grief stricken and under stress. This was not the time to be listening to her. She told Rick the day before “we don’t kill.” Well, that always ends up being untrue because there’s always going to be an exception. Deanna drew the line at her husband. Seems a bit selfish to me that her rules should change when it comes to her family. Not the sign of a great leader in my opinion.

Let’s talk about other surprises that happen. Daryl and Aaron run into major issues at a canned food facility. Instead of finding trucks full of canned goods, they find walkers. They get overtaken quickly and have to hide in a car. I really truly thought this was Daryl’s final moments. I was so prepared to mourn. He lights a cigarette like it’s going to be his last and prepares for the worse.  I thought it felt a lot like he was sacrificing himself but it’s hard to get into Daryl’s head. Maybe he actually thought he’d make it out alive somehow. I was so relieved though when Morgan shows up and rescues them. Another surprise!!! What a small world it is that Morgan could run into someone that can lead him right to the person he’s looking for.

Glenn gets a big surprise when Nicholas shoots him in the woods. I mean how many of our friends are they gonna make us think are about to die this episode? The drama between Glenn and Nicholas continues as they fight out their issues in what seems to be a battle to the death. Of course I’m really hoping Glenn kills Nicholas but that ain’t Glenn’s way. Glenn passes on the chance to kill him and they go back to Alexandria together. In my head I’m hoping that something really great is going to come out of this turmoil between them. Are they going to become best friends? Maybe Nicholas will save Glenn some day? I’m really hoping they’ve hit rock bottom and it gets better.

And the saddest surprise of the evening is Pete killing Reg. Pete takes Michonne’s sword and shows up at the town meeting in a fit of anger. That should really calm everyone down, right? When Reg tries to stop him, Pete pushes him away but ends up slicing Reg’s throat. Was it an accident or on purpose? I’m sure Pete has never used a katana in his life so it’s very possible that he was just holding it wrong. But I also don’t think he cared who he killed at this point. He’s lost so much control that lashing out is all he’s got. So I think it would not have mattered one bit who was in front of him, he would have hurt them regardless. In this case it just happened to be poor Reg.

purple and yellow lights through window

Father Gabriel is as annoying as ever. But he does give me a good chuckle when he goes for a walk and decides to committ suicide by walker and he chickens out. And then miracle of miracles, kills the walker and doesnt get a drop of blood on his all white shirt. I think he would attribute that to god’s protection but to me it’s just irritating. He does really lose his shit this episode though and it really irks me that he ends up taking it out on poor Sasha. Sasha who has spent her day lying in a mass grave of walkers. Gabriel is not in the right mindset to help her and she almost kills him because of it. But in the midst of this seriousness I can still find some humor. Sasha thinks Father Gabriel is trying some sort of reverse psychology on her by being mean. It’s sad and its funny all at the same time. But it really does suck that Sasha can’t get the help she needs right now. Screw Gabriel though.

The cowards we’ve talked about previously all seem to come to a resolution of sorts. Nicholas gets his millionth shot at redeeming himself. Only time will tell. Gabriel as well gets another chance with the help of Maggie. But Pete loses his shot. It’s interesting to look at the differences between these three. Gabriel gets another chance because Maggie stops Sasha from pulling the trigger. Nicholas gets another chance because Glenn is the good guy through and through. But Pete doesn’t get another chance because no one really wants to stop Rick, in fact he’s got someone telling him to do it. And Rick is not that good guy that Glenn is. He’s the guy to end things.  I don’t know if any particular way is correct or better. Down the road we see what Glenn’s compassion gets him into. We also see what Rick’s way gets them into. But here we are, one less coward to deal with.

As much as the action was all around this episode, so was the dialogue. Great conversations all around. I can’t even talk about all the great lines without this being ridiculously long and unreadable. But here are some of my favorites. Morgan gives us “Everything gets a return” and “All life is precious”. He’s really gotten very spiritual it seems. I love the “all life is precious” line though. I don’t exactly live it but I use it in real life at times. Abraham says, “There is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about. Rick knows every fine grain of said shit and then some.” Very poetic use of the word shit. Michonne tells Rick, “Something’s gonna happen, just don’t make something happen.” Good advice. And they all should have kept this in mind down the road before they….well, we’ll get to that later. Rick gives a great self-assessment when he says, “I was thinking how many of you do i have to kill to save your lives.” Wow, that’s a head turner. Rick blew my mind at this line. He’s so right. That’s exactly what he was doing. And Reg gives us one final word of wisdom when he tells Maggie, “Civilization starts when we stop running.” Thanks Reg.

Alright let’s wrap this up nice and pretty before we move on to Season 6 next week. Rick has just murdered Pete at Deanna’s request but he’s also declared he’s going to help everyone become stronger. Ok Rick. Morgan has returned with a new found respect for life but just witnessed the friend he was searching for murder someone. Morgan’s gonna have his work cut out for him. Deanna has lost her husband and son and now letting people murder each other. Government at its finest. The Wolves are out there and it would seem Alexandria is far from safe thanks to Aaron losing his stupid backpack. Things are going great!

Best of the Episode

Daryl whips it good. Daryl can literally do anything. When him and Aaron have to fight a massive amount of walkers, he finds a chain and uses it on three walkers in a row to knock their heads off. He is so amazing.

Carol’s still got manners. Even though she threatens Pete’s life, she brings food! And makes it very clear she expects to get her dish back clean. Carol is awesome.

Rick pops off. When he finds the gate left open by Father Gabriel (oy!) he knows a walker got in and he chases it down. He fights it but they fall to the ground and the only weapon Rick has is his hands. He squeezes the head of the walker until it pops. Blood and brains shower down on him. It’s disgusting and brilliant. And then he takes it a step further by bringing it to the town meeting and throwing it down in front of everyone. Rick knows how to get everyone’s attention.


Season 5 Episode 15 “Try”

The Episode

I can’t help but see a lot of reminders from the past coming up in this episode. Some of the characters experience them as well. It seems no matter who we are watching on screen, these echoes of the past are everywhere.

tree trunk with heart carved in it

Carl and Enid realize they have a lot in common out in the woods. They both have dreams, or more likely nightmares, of the woods. Enid has lost both her parents and Carl has lost his mother. It’s tough for them to be around other kids their age because they’ve been through so much grief and pain. Enid worried me a bit here during this episode. At first it seems like she might be bad for Carl. She seems much more in pain than him and has some wacky views on walkers. There were a couple of times where I thought the show might turn her into Lydia, but we now know that didn’t happen. But the two seem to actually appreciate each other and I really wish they had had their first kiss in that tree!

Sasha does a good job of reminding Michonne about her past. As Sasha shoots and slashes an onslaught of walkers, Michonne is reminded of her early days of doing the same. Nothing to do but kill. I think it hurts Michonne a bit when Sasha doesn’t want her help and thinks Michonne’s “made it” in some way. Michonne went through hell and didn’t have much of anyone to lean on until Andrea came along. It took Michonne a heck of a lot longer to recover then maybe Sasha is even aware of. But right now Sasha seems blind to anyone’s feelings except her own.

I’m sure Deanna is hearing the words of Father Gabriel in her head right now. Her son has just been killed and because of Nicholas she doesn’t know who to believe or blame right now with that. Without knowing it, Nicholas even gives Deanna the same advice and says she should make them leave. Now she witnesses Rick lose his mind and try to kill Pete after she just told him not to.  

Side note- Deanna doesn’t display the kindest judgement when she tells Rick she knew about Pete abusing Jessie. She basically says she turned a blind eye to it because Pete’s a surgeon. What the heck Deanna? I don’t like to think that’s what passes for acceptable around Alexandria. Jessie has to sacrifice her body and possibly her life because Pete’s skills are valuable? That is one of those details about this world that make my skin crawl.

I’m sure Rick’s little speech about doing things his way now isn’t sitting well with Deanna either. All this basically right after Gabriel tells her she made a bad decision letting them in. I would have to agree at this moment in time. In fact, I kind of still agree. As much as I hate to say it, Rick doesn’t exactly do Alexandria much good in the beginning. Things definitely get worse before they get better because of him. And it doesn’t turn out too well for anyone in Deanna’s family. Maybe she really should have listened to Father Gabriel.

Rick Grimes is perhaps our biggest offender this episode as we’ve just begun to recognize. We see a little bit of The Governor and Shane come out in his words and actions. When he talks to Deanna about taking care of Pete, his words sound very familiar. He tells her she has to decide what to do or it will be decided for her. Sounds an awful lot like The Governor’s, “You kill or you die, or you die and you kill.” And if Rick’s little crazy speech at the end didn’t spark memories of Shane nothing will. Rambling on about how they all sit around trying to make decisions when action is needed. It’s almost identical to one of Shane’s major frustrations with Rick back in Season 2. It makes me really wonder if this is how it has to be. Shane said it and we didn’t want to believe it had to be that way. But here we are again in Season 5 and now Rick is saying it. Was Shane right all along? Is killing people who get in your way or pose a danger the only way to deal with things now?

Thankfully we have Glenn and Michonne trying to point Rick in the right direction. Carol is basically the devil on his shoulder right now. She knows riling Rick up with stories from Sam about what’s going on behind closed doors is going to  convince Rick to do something about it. Glenn continues to be the good guy as always. Trying to help people and always willing to give them a chance. Even that stupid dummy Nicholas. And Michonne is out there trying to save Sasha from herself and also handling Rick as he loses his shit in front of everyone.

Best of the Episode

forest of trees

Daryl and Aaron recruiting mission. They don’t find any living people yet but they sure do come across some interesting dead ones. They continue to find more bodies with Ws on their foreheads. In fact, several people did this episode. But one really cranks up the creep value when Daryl and Aaron find a dead woman tied to a tree. We really get a good look at her as they evaluate the scene. Someone tied a woman to a tree and let walkers eat what they could reach of her. It’s pretty gross and the two are alarmed by it. We need a little gross now and then to wake us up. What makes it even more interesting when they see the W on her forehead. At this point, we can’t help but wonder what it stands for and who is doing it. Walkers? Winning? Wolves? One crazy person or a bunch of crazy people? Something is coming and we have no idea what. I love the suspense of it all.

Jessie makes a choice. At first Jessie pushes Rick’s help away. But when Rick comes back into her house and he lays it out for her, she asks him a question I find really interesting. She asks him if he would do this for anyone. She likes his answer which is no but I don’t particularly think that’s the right answer. No is what Jessie wants to hear because it says to her that Rick thinks she’s special and he cares about her. But really Rick should be willing to protect everyone in Alexandria like this, not just someone he’s attracted to. I love this scene anyway though because Rick has such trouble with even admitting his feelings and Jessie is so reluctant to accept his help that it’s kind of a sweet falling in love moment. Even though it’s not cool at all what they are doing. Love is complicated right?

Rick vs. Pete (round 1). This is an epic fight that rolls into a great Crazy Rick speech. Rick decides he’s going to be a better husband for Jessie than Pete and basically gets Jessie’s go ahead. Pete unsurprisingly doesn’t take the news well and starts a fight with Rick. I love that Rick is not the greatest fighter as witnessed in previous tussells, but he sure can take a punch and keep on going. I love that moment when Rick tosses Pete out his front window and they take the fight to the street. Nobody can break this fight apart as the two are bent on finishing each other. But Rick shows mercy at the end and releases Pete before he chokes him to death.  But Rick ain’t done yet. He releases his inner Shane on the crowd as he flails a gun around like a crazy person. It looks like the Ricktatorship might be back until Michonne comes out of nowhere with a punch to the face that puts him out. I love that punch! I was so wrapped up in Rick’s crazy talk that I wasn’t even thinking about how this is gonna end and then she gives him one big ass punch in the face and it’s just perfect.

Settling In

Season 5 Episode 13 “Forget”

The Episode

It’s a pretty quiet episode as far as action. While last week was about remembering how to be a person again, this week it seems many are dealing with how to forget about the outside.

We finally get to see how Sasha is doing and rather expectedly she’s not doing well. She can’t sleep and is spending her days shooting pictures of happy people and waiting for walkers to attack her. She’s on the edge of a cliff ready to jump. My favorite moment of Sasha this episode is during the party Deanna throws for the newbies. A woman politely offers to cook Sasha her favorite meal and says she would be “worried she makes something she hates.” Sasha freaks out and yells at her, “that’s what you’re worried about!” This may sound weird but I often watch the show as though I am one of “them”, our friends. I rarely take the perspective of anyone else they meet. Which is why I’m all about Sasha yelling at this lady. I mean it’s not nice but I get it. Sasha and everyone else is basically freshly going through some major or minor PTSD. This small talk this lady is trying to do ain’t helping. Sasha’s worried about monsters coming to get them, coping with the recent loss of several loved ones and just generally ready for something to go wrong at any minute. Sasha was literally starving to death just days ago and now some lady wants to give her options?

Pale face covered by black hair

I’d like to give a shout out to Aaron for giving Daryl’s self-esteem a boost. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship. When Aaron runs into Daryl in the woods, they end up chasing after a horse that Aaron has been trying to catch named Buttons. I think Buttons represents Daryl just a little bit but the symbolism doesn’t exactly end well. The horse runs every time Aaron tries to get close. Daryl seems to have some insight on that by stating, “the longer they’re out here the more they become what they really are.” That sounds a lot like how Daryl feels about himself. And he also tends to run when people try to get close. In the end, Buttons ends up being overpowered by walkers and torn apart. But Daryl gets a better ending, at least for this episode. Aaron offers Daryl a job over dinner and has a motorcycle waiting for him in the garage. I love that Aaron is just full of compliments for Daryl. He’s one of the few people who seems to really see the potential in Daryl and can tell that he’s a fantastic person. You can see in Daryl’s face in the garage that he feels special for a moment. Daryl tends to glare a lot, but he stops glaring when Aaron gives him this job. He stops being defensive and really looks like he feels appreciated. This job offer Aaron gives him even changes his point of view when he meets with Rick and Carol the next day. He refuses to take a stolen gun and declares he’s going to try. Aaron has restored some of Daryl’s confidence and I am so thankful for that.

Speaking of Rick and Carol. I’m declaring these two officially devious. They are planning for something to go wrong but not even aware that they might be the one’s creating that something to go wrong. Rick is getting a little cocky in his new home. It’s interesting to hear him sound resentful that the Alexandrians have been “lucky” so far. He thinks because they’ve been through hell and back that him and his group are better than the rest. Sure, if we’re basing people’s value on their survival skills now I guess he’d be right. But sorry Rick, that ain’t how it works. Rick even lets himself get carried away at the party and kisses Jessie. That escalated quickly! She didn’t look like she hated it either. One of my favorite moments of this episode is that split second after he says hi to Jessie and Pete walking down the street when he reaches behind him to touch the stolen gun he has. Oh snap, Rick’s gonna kill someone. It’s just a second but him reaching for that gun expresses so much of where Rick’s head is at.

And then there’s Carol with her own shocking moment this episode. Carol gets caught in the armory stealing guns by Jessie’s youngest son Sam. He’s just a boy and really innocent but she absolutely terrifies him with a story about being tied to a tree and screaming and being eaten by walkers if he tells his mom about what he saw. Jesus Christ Carol! If there was any doubt that Carol has changed, you can wipe that thought from your mind right quick. Never in a million years did I expect to see Carol terrifying a child in this way. I do love though that she is getting involved with another child. It doesn’t ever go well and she knows that by now. But poor Sam doesn’t.

Our friends are slowly adjusting to Alexandria. Or are they? Some seem to be trying while others seem to not be able to let go of their past and accept their new home. What I love about Alexandria is how it really is up to them to make this work this time. For now, they aren’t being attacked or in danger. They have a real chance to help build this community into something even better. It’s really all on them to make this work. Watching them try to do that is just as good as any bad guy drama.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s table manners. I don’t think Daryl has sat down for many family dinners in his life. Even using a fork seems to be a stretch for him. Aaron and Eric stare at him with clenched smiles as he shovels forkfuls of spaghetti into his mouth. I love how he first uses his sleeve to wipe his face but then decides to use the napkin and aggressively wipes his mouth. He doesn’t even try to chat and seems ready to get up and leave without even having a conversation. Gotta love our Daryl.

Michonne hangs up her sword. If anyone has really been trying to make Alexandria work it’s Michonne. When everyone else is suspicious, she is optimistic. I think that’s why she decides to hang up her sword. She’s ready to move on and help Alexandria for real. She doesn’t need her sword to do that. However, I think it also says that she’s not ready to forget. The sword is a reminder of the days she spent getting to this point. Paying respect to the journey and reminding herself of what it took to get here.

tiny flowers with yellow sunburst

The Bee Gees. Not a huge Bee Gees fan but their song “Spicks and Specks” is really memorable in this episode. It starts playing after Rick momentarily considers using his gun on Pete to steal his wife. A dark thought which is completely the opposite of what this song sounds like. It’s an upbeat tune and it really enhances the contradiction between the beautiful setting of Alexandria and Rick’s evil thoughts.

First Impressions

Season 5 Episode 12 “Remember”

The Episode

There’s a million little moments in this episode that are pure gold. Today’s the first day of the rest of their lives. Our group has a new home. It could be a real home if they learn to live like people again. That’s what this episode is all about. Our group tries to remember what it’s like living as people and not just survivors.

I think I’ll start with Daryl and his anti-social behavior. Daryl could not be more uninterested in living in what we now know as Alexandria. He’s here only for the others and doesn’t seem shy about letting people know that. One of his finest moments is at the beginning of the episode where he kills a possum and announces to the gatekeeper, “We brought dinner”. I love that. Not because it’s funny which is great, but it also clearly defines the difference between our friends and Alexandria. It says, “we’re used to killing for our supper while you sit in your houses and eat cooked meals around a table.” And I love it even more that Daryl carries the possum around during his interview with Deanna and also guts it on his new front porch. He’s really going all out as far as creating the worst possible impression of himself. I will point out though that his muscles look extremely beautiful at this point in the show. Like… impeccable.

Carol is another one who is going all out with her first impression as well. However, she is trying to go in the completely opposite direction. Carol puts on her previous role as helpless housewife. I love it when she struggles to take the gun strap off over her head and acts like its too heavy for her. Her interview with Deanna as well is what really gives away the act. She’s all smiles when she talks about how everyone takes care of her and she’s the den mother. And if that’s not enough, the icing on the cake is when she says she misses Ed. Yeah right! Carol is doing the total opposite of what Daryl is doing. While Daryl doesn’t want to get close to any of the Alexandrians, Carol wants to completely become immersed in them. She’s essentially a spy. She wants to know what they know and use that to her advantage.

One first impression we can’t overlook is what we all think and what our friends think about their new leader, Deanna. She’s a politician and definitely sounds like it with a sugar-coated explanation of everything. She’s very smiley much like Aaron was when we first met him and that’s really unsettling. We know that there isn’t much to be smiling about. But that may be exactly why they are smiling. They are more naïve and less experienced about what’s happening in the world. Ignorance is bliss and perhaps they are conveying that to us by smiling. Deanna has always come off to me as really into taking our groups side on matters. Even barely knowing them here, she twists what Rick says in his interview to mean something more positive. Rick says straight up to her that she shouldn’t be letting people in because they just want to take from you. And Deanna’s response is that he’s being protective of Alexandria already. What? No lady, I think he just warned you not to trust him! She takes Rick’s side again later on when Glenn punches her son Aidan in the face. She thanks Glenn and says he needed it. She is definitely too gracious after seeing her son get knocked out.

ivy on a brick wall

Alexandria also gives off its own first impression. It’s a clean and lovely community. We’ve never seen houses this nice on the show before. Electricity and running water. Beautiful furnished houses. It’s like paradise. We meet some new folks, some seem nice and some are questionable. Enid is a young girl about Carl’s age. She’s an outsider like them only arriving a few months before. She’s quiet and likes to sneak out over the fence alone. She seems to give Carl a bit of a hard time at first. But those two coming together is staring us all in the face. Jessie, the woman who cuts Rick’s hair, is also tiggling our spidey senses. It feels a bit like something going on between these two and they don’t even know it yet. Further signs to a future problem also come up when Rick meets the husband, Pete. Pete’s not so affectionately given the name Porch Dick for his first impression. Smoking a cigarette, in the dark, short on conversation. All signs point to an issue. So, we are left wondering if Alexandria is really going to live up to the hype. Are they really safe here? Can our friends trust such a nice looking place? Terminus had a beautiful first impression too. Woodbury as well. We think that there’s gotta be a catch. That’s what is different about Alexandria though. The catch is that there isn’t a catch.  There isn’t going to be a problem with Alexandria unless you think a community full of nice people surviving together is a problem. The only problem Alexandria is going to have is unfortunately a Rick Grimes problem.

With Daryl acting like a barbarian and Carol acting like homemaker of the year, Rick falls in the middle. He doesn’t put on a false show for Deanna, not at first anyways. He’s honest with her about who he is. He seems to be absorbing everything about Alexandria. He’s patient and observant. When a stranger, Jessie, asks if he wants a haircut he lets her even though you can tell he’s not used to someone touching him so gently. At the end of the episode, it feels a lot like Rick is back where he started. Deanna has given him the job of a sheriff again. He puts on a uniform. This time it’s different though. He’s not gonna be Officer Friendly. Rick reveals to Carol and Daryl that he’s going to pretend as much as they are. He’s going to play cop as long as everything stays cool, but if Alexandria won’t play his game then he’s just gonna take over. Deanna really should have listened to Rick’s warning in the beginning. He was absolutely telling her that people are going to use them and take what they need, including him.

This is a real turning point in the show. It feels as though we’ve just watched Rick become the bad guy. We’re left wondering a lot. Like is Rick really going to turn bad? Will everyone else still follow him? We don’t know how this is going to play out but I think one of the most exciting things in a show is watching a good guy become a bad guy.

faded roses

Best of the Episode

Glenn vs. Aidan. After Aidan takes Glenn, Tara and Noah out for a “training” session that ends badly, Glenn stands up to Aidan while a crowd starts to form. First it’s just verbal but then Aidan tries to pull one of those douchebag moves where he’s looking away and then throws a fist to surprise the other guy which is Glenn. But Glenn don’t play like that. He ducks the punch and then bops Aidan right in the beak! I saw the douchebag move coming but not Glenn’s awesome reaction. As much as we know Glenn is a superhero, he still very much seems like a high-school nerd about to get shoved in a locker. So it’s absolutely perfect when he ducks that punch and knocks Aidan out.

Carol and Daryl bicker. As if these two couldn’t get more precious. Carol nags Daryl like a wife to take a shower or she’s going to “hose him down in his sleep.” To which Daryl retorts she, “looks ridiculous” in her little cardigan and pants outfit.

Rick shaves. None of us have seen a clean-shaven Rick in a long ass time. Even Michonne remarks she’s never seen his face this way. But I really love it when Deanna shows up and also remarks on his shave. He looks absolutely so uncomfortable and annoyed by everyone talking about his shave.

Everyone under one roof. I told you there are a million moments in this show that are awesome. And I really appreciate this one taken from the comics. Instead of separating into the two houses they are given, they all pile into the living room of one house. They aren’t even using the bedroom they’ve got, they are all in that one room. It speaks volumes about how close they are. Deanna is right to be amazed by it and so should we.

Give a Little Bit

Season 5 Episode 11 “The Distance”

The Episode

At the heart of this episode is the struggle to know when to trust others. Meeting Aaron gives our group a really big test in that area. As well as they must know when to trust each other and when to push back.

Aaron’s introduction is a rocky one. While Rick may make us laugh at his craziness when he knocks out Aaron mid-sentence, it’s really not okay for Aaron to have to take that kind of treatment. It’s understandable that our friends find trusting strangers difficult at this point. They have just gone through loss after loss inflicted upon them by strangers. But caution and outright violence are two different things. I don’t think I would have taken that kind of treatment if I was him. I would have walked away at that point. Aaron is so positive through all of this introduction, even after getting punched, that it actually is a little unsettling. He is definitely too upbeat for our group. It’s interesting how the setting of an apocalypse can flip our standards of trust. In our world, dirty clothes and unwashed people are the ones who are seen as dangerous or untrustworthy. Whereas Aaron with his nice L.L. Bean outfit and baby fresh face are respectable and honest. In the apocalypse, Aaron stands out like a sore thumb. He looks like life has just handed him one gift after another and we all think, “How can that be? Something must be up with him.”

closeup of an apple on tree

There’re a few moments that Aaron doesn’t do his cause any justice. Like fussing over eating the applesauce. Aaron doesn’t mind chattering on about his community and such but his issues with applesauce are really flimsy. It really bugs me how he won’t just immediately taste test the applesauce so Rick can trust it and Judith will stop crying. Mommy issues don’t really cut it in the zombie apocalypse, tough it out and eat the damn applesauce! Aaron also puts up a stink about the location of his community. This also annoys me because he is right on the verge of convincing them all to go there, his main goal, and he won’t give up the coordinates. I guess it’s a sign that he also fully doesn’t trust our friends, but if that’s the case then why would he bring them to his community at all.

But on a more positive note, Aaron does also point out some great qualities in our friends. Aaron didn’t make his decision to approach them lightly. He’d been watching and even listening for a while. He talks to them about the things they do for each other. How they never turned on each other on the road even though they were hungry. That they are the kind of people to take care of babies and priests. I think they needed reminding of that. Our friends are a very small group and have been alone together for quite some time. It’s easy to forget the good things you can do and the good people you actually are inside when you face nothing but danger all the time. It’s like living inside your own head for too long. You gotta get out once in awhile to take a look around and get some fresh insight.

Convincing Rick to trust Aaron is the hardest task of all. As some people like to point out, Rick doesn’t always come out the winner when everyone follows him. Personally, I think that’s more so about how life goes then actually anything that’s Rick’s fault. But what I like about this episode is that it demonstrates how the group is now capable of telling Rick when he’s wrong or being too much of a hard-ass. Rick is ready to kill Aaron from the moment he meets him, and he tells Aaron so. But through gentle prodding by Michonne and Glenn, Rick gives in. He gives in because he trusts that Michonne and Glenn can see something that maybe he can’t. That’s real trust. It’s a beautiful thing that they share.

metal wall with cutout to see brick wall

There’s a conversation that Rick has with Michonne during the episode that is very purposeful when it comes to the end of the episode. Rick asks Michonne what she heard when she approached the various communities, she’s come to for the first time. She responds to all that she heard nothing. This is important to Rick because he knows when they get to this new place, that he’s going to have to decide to bring his family in or not. And when he says ‘family’, I don’t think he’s just talking about Carl and Judith, I think he’s talking about all of them. How do you decide to join some place when all you can see is a big wall or a fence? It’s all about that trust again. It’s a surprise to Rick though that this time when they approach that big gate that he can hear children playing. That’s different. And I think it means things are going to be different this time.  I might add that it is also fortunate that they didn’t show up in the middle of the night like Rick had planned. If they had, this magical moment would have been missed and just maybe would have changed things.

A little trust can go a long way. Without any trust, we’d probably stay in this barn for who knows how long. And as Daryl points out, it stinks like horses. Michonne does a really effective job this episode and making Rick realize he needs to still have some. She sees much farther ahead than Rick can. Rick sees going to a new community as a threat to Judith but Michonne can see that not taking a chance is even more dangerous to her survival and everyone’s. But it’s going to take a lot more than trust in Alexandria.

Best of the Episode

Spooky forest. Things go bad on the road when they run full force into a herd of walkers. I really appreciate the disgusting moments when both Glenn and Michonne use their bare hands to wipe guts off the windshield and pull body parts out of the hood of the car. Then Glenn gives a super spooky moment when he gets separated from the others. He’s shooting and running backwards, not a good multi-task. As he shoots and the gun lights up the area around him, we can see one walker slowly approaching from behind. Fingernails curled at our mouths, we watch as it surprises Glenn. But no worries, he’s fine.

Flare walker. Elsewhere in the spooky forest, Rick runs out of bullets and all he has left is the flare gun. He flares a walker in the face, which is awesome on its own as it sparks and burns in the walker’s eye. But the show takes it that extra step by making this an even bigger opportunity that this walker downed by a flare is now a night light making it so they can see the other walkers coming for them. I love these moments of pure genius.

RV stuff. There’s gonna be a lot of memories in this here RV. Some good, some bad. But we start off with a subtle nod to Dale. When the RV breaks down because of a dead battery, Glenn knows exactly where the spare is. Abraham asks him how he knew it was there and Glenn just smiles. We know Glenn, you don’t have to say his name. Also, Abe and Rosita share a moment in the front of the RV as they drive around a hill and see Washington D.C. They made it! Not the circumstances they were expecting but nonetheless, they made it!