Maggie and Sasha bring Aaron back to the barn where everyone is immediately suspicious. Especially Rick, who wastes no time punching him in the face for mostly no reason. I mean, sure, the group has been duped and nearly destroyed in the past by seemingly friendly people - they should be wary of strangers. But right from the get-go, Aaron, clean, well-fed Aaron, is nothing but polite, sincere and even a little bit funny. His job, he says, is to convince the group to follow him back home, to his community. He's brought photos of the walled community, and food, and slowly, group members drop their guard, just a little. Well, not Rick with the face-punching.
There's really a lot of talking here in the barn. When Rick finds a flare gun in Aaron's pack, the group gets tense, wondering how many others are out there in the woods, waiting to attack them. Aaron continues to be earnest and calm, gently trying to persuade them. He says that there is only one other guy out there, which Rick doesn't believe. Aaron suggests that they all drive back to the community together - they can be there by lunchtime - his vehicles are parked just a couple miles away. "You can trust me," says Aaron. Michonne is beginning to do just that: she says to Rick that she wants to go check out the vehicles (Maggie does too). Rick's like, going out there is dangerous. Michonne rebuts that with "Not finding a safe place for all of us to live is dangerous."
In the end, Michonne, Glen, Maggie, Abraham and Rosita head out to try to confirm Aaron's story - while out in a field, unseen, a man watches them. The rest of them break up into groups of two and disperse into the woods around the barn to keep an eye out for ambush; Rick, Judith and a tied-up Aaron remain in the barn. When a hungry Judith starts crying, refusing the mashed up acorns Rick tries to feed her, Aaron says that there's a jar of applesauce in his pack. Rick, increasingly paranoid, makes Aaron eat some of the applesauce first (over Aaron's protestations that he hates applesauce, that his mom used to force him to eat it when he was growing up). Out on the road, the gang finds an RV and a beater. They hear a rustling in the bushes and everyone tenses up, raising their guns and snarling, "Come out with your hands up, asshole!" When it's only a zombie that lurches out of the shrubbery, they all relax (which is kind of hilarious) and Abraham and Rosita take it down.
The road crew drives the two vehicles back to the barn. They unload all the food - more than the group has seen in a long time - and Rick tells Aaron that they're keeping all of it, even if they don't go with him to his community. Carl's like, why wouldn't we go? Michonne, taking a leadership role in Rick's increasing fragmentation, speaks up: "If he was lying, or trying to hurt us. But he isn't ... we need this. So we're going. All of us. Somebody speak up if they feel differently." Darryl, to Rick: "I dunno, man, this barn smells like horseshit." Rick: "Yeah. We're going." But when they ask Aaron where his community is, he waffles, saying that he's happy to drive them but he doesn't want to tell them. Michonne is all, you're not driving. Aaron hesitates and then tells them what route to take. But Rick is not down with that, saying they'll take another road and leave after dark. Aaron protests, saying the route he mentioned has been cleared. But Rick has laid down the rules and the group is willing to go along with them. Later, Michonne asks Rick if he really means to join Aaron's community. He says he's not sure but he's at least going to go take a look.
Rick, Glen, Michonne and Aaron drive the beater car and the rest of them take the RV. As they drive, Michonne looks at Aaron's photographs and wonders why there aren't any people in them. "I took a picture of the whole group but didn't get the exposure right." Immediately, Michonne asks him the Questions. How many walkers have you killed? I don't know, a lot. How many people? Two. Why? Because they tried to kill me. Just as things start to get tense in the car, however, they come upon a huge zombie herd. Huge. The car plows through them, blood and guts and limbs flying. ("Zombie car wash" is the term flying around the internet.) Finally, the car stalls out, the engine clotted with too many body parts. Glen can't get it started. The RV is nowhere to be found and everyone hopes that they turned around before getting in the middle of the herd. While Michonne pulls arms and other parts out of the engine block, Aaron starts to panic. Then they see a flare exploding into the car. Aaron knocks Michonne aside and runs off into the woods. Rick is not inclined to give chase but Michonne points out that their people will have seen that flare and assumed it is them. She and Rick and Glen abandon the car and run into the dark woods after Aaron.
They are soon surrounded by walkers and Glen gets separated. He almost gets bitten but doesn't, and then he finds Aaron, hands still tied behind his back, desperately kicking at a ravening zombie. Glen kills the zombie and then cuts Aaron free. Meanwhile, Rick and Michonne are running out of ammo so Rick fires a flare into an approaching walker's face. That's pretty excellent. Glen and Aaron come up behind them and take out the rest of the zombie menace. They make their way to a road and follow it towards where the flare went up. Conveniently, they find the RV and the rest of their group safely holed up in an old garage. Aaron starts shouting, "Eric? Eric!" A voice calls, "I'm in here," and Aaron rushes inside. Eric is lying down, his ankle broken but otherwise unharmed, and the two men embrace. When Rick approaches them from out of the shadows, Eric smiles and introduces himself easily. Rick seems almost feral when he grunts out his own name in response.
Aaron goes out to the rest of the group and thanks them for saving Eric, saying that he is grateful and he will repay the debt to each of them when they get to his community, Alexandria. They decide to hunker down for the remainder of the night. Rick wants to keep Aaron and Eric separate and Aaron stands up to him, saying that the only way that happens is if Rick shoots him. Rick seems inclined to do that until Glen steps in, saying that he wants to be safe too but he believes that those two men are on the up-and-up. Rick backs down. He seems soooooo sketchy anymore.
In the morning, they all drive towards Alexandria in the RV. They have to pause to change out a battery at one point, which is a lovely little call-back to the first (?) season when Dale taught Glen RV repair, which gives Rick the opportunity to sneak away and hide one of his guns in the yard of an abandoned house. Just in case. When they get to the walls surrounding Alexandria, they get out and stand there for a moment, listening: they can hear children's voices inside the walls, laughing and playing. Carol pauses next to Rick, saying quietly, "Even though you were wrong, you're still right." Rick chuckles mirthlessly and they all turn towards the gates.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
12 hours ago