How would you do, suddenly thrust back into society after struggling to survive outside in the zombie apocalypse? In this episode, they'll talk about it a lot.
Rick's group, with Aaron and the limping Eric, slowly enter Alexandria's gates. They are all wary, skittish. Darryl's got a dead possum, carrying it by the tail, "dinner." As the shields close over the gates, Rick tells Sasha to take out an approaching walker. She's a great shot and nails the thing at distance. As the Alexandrian gate guard watches, agog, Rick mutters, "Good thing we're here."
Aaron takes them to meet Deanna, the de facto leader of Alexandria. She's a former Congresswoman and very good at reading people. She sits down with each (or most) of the group one on one, filming the sessions for future reference. Rick goes in to see her first. He looks so sketchy, feral even. He leaves a rancid handprint on a wall as he roams the room. She tells him that her people have been hunkered down here basically since the zombie apocalypse started. It's got a solar grid, cisterns, gardens and orchards, very nice houses tucked behind solid walls. Rick is all, you need to keep your gates shut because people on the outside will come in and take what you've got. He wants to know what Deanna wants from him and his people. She wants them to help her community survive and thrive.
The group has to turn in their weapons if they're going to stay. Taking their cue from Rick, they unload, Carol fumbling sheepishly with getting the strap from her huge rifle over her head. Then Aaron takes them to two big houses, side by side, and tells them that they can stay in either or both. These places are spotless, furnished in country-chic Restoration Hardware. Because they are suspicious, they all hunker down in one, making beds in the living room. They take hot showers (nearly ecstatic at being able to do so) and Rick shaves off his nasty-ass beard. There's a knock on the door and it's a friendly neighbor lady, Jessie. She works at the pantry and has brought food and supplies. She also used to be a beautician before the zombie apocalypse and she offers to cut Rick's hair. He acquiesces, but as she chats innocuously with him, he struggles with trying to accept gracious help from a perfect stranger, with trying to remember how civilized people behave. "It's okay if you're not okay with all of this yet," she tells him.
Darryl's interview with Deanna: He walks around her living room, still carrying that damn possum. She asks him if he wants to be here and he replies, "The boy and the baby - they deserve a roof, I guess." He won't sit down and is clearly uncomfortable being inside. Afterwards,
Darryl sits on the porch, cleaning his possum (not a euphemism), and when he's done, he doesn't bother to wipe up the blood and guts. He is clearly NOT HAVING ANY OF THIS. It took him so long to build relationships with the people in his group, to cast off his past and carve out his place, to earn their respect. Being back in civilization puts him off balance - even if the Alexandrians are on the level. Perhaps especially if the Alexandrians are on the level.
Deanna stops by their house that evening to check on the newcomers. It looks so weird to see them all sitting in a living room with electric lights. Rick says that he heard she gave them all jobs. She says yes, and she's got something in mind for him and Michonne, and she's closing in on something for Sasha, and she's "just trying to figure Mr. Dixon out." She bids them goodnight and leaves. That night, unsurprisingly, Rick can't sleep.
Michonne's interview: Michonne says that if this [place] is what [Deanna] says it is, then it's what they've been looking for. "We're ready for this." Deanna asks, "All of you?" Michonne pauses for a moment, then answers, "All of us."
The next day, some of the group goes exploring. Rick loses sight of Carl and Judith for a moment and panics. Jessie finds him and calms him and takes him to some older neighbors who are thrilled to see a baby again. Then Carl goes to meet Jessie's son Ron and two other teenagers, Mikey and Enid. Enid is pretty defensive: she just came in "from outside" recently too and doesn't seem to trust anyone yet. Ron and Mikey ask Carl if he wants to play video games, or go to Mikey's house to play pool. Carl is taken aback a bit at all this normal teenager stuff. The other boys are sensitive to it, seeing his discomfiture; Enid just snarls, "Pull it together, sport." Carl pulls it together and says, yeah, let's play some video games.
Carl and Judith's interview: He remarks that this is the kind of place his mom would have liked. When Deanna probes, he tells her that not only did his mom die but he was the one who had to kill her afterwards. "It had to be me."
Later, when Rick asks his son how Ron's was, Carl asks him what he thinks of Alexandria. They agree that it seems like it's a nice place. Carl likes the people too, but thinks "they're weak. And I don't want us to get weak too." That night, neither Rick nor Michonne can sleep. She tells him that she is willing to sign on to whatever Deanna's got for them. Rick seems to be leaning in that direction but hasn't made a final decision. He goes out for a walk. The streets are quiet in the middle of the night but there's a man smoking on a front porch. The man speaks, "You're Rick." Rick stops, nods. The man, not introducing himself or coming into the light, says, "My wife cut your hair." Rick nods again. The man, with a bitter twist to his voice, "Welcome to Alexandria." Rick keeps walking.
Carol's interview: Carol sits, smiling sweetly at Deanna. "I did laundry, gardened, always had dinner on the table for Ed every night when he came home. [pause] I miss that stupid, wonderful man every day." OMIGOD CAROL IS SUCH A BAD ASS - SHE DOESN'T TRUST THIS PLACE AT ALL. She goes on to say that she really hasn't had much to offer her group - they've just been nice enough to protect her. HAHAHAHAHA. When Deanna asks her where she thinks she'll fit in, she chirps, "Do you have anything like Junior League? I'm a real people person!" Oh dear god I love Carol.
Afterwards, Carol comes out of their house, dressed in tan pants, an oxford shirt and a periwinkle blue cardigan. She grins at Darryl, off to her new job making food for the older folks. Her goals is to meet as many folks as possible. His look of disbelief is fantastic. She stares at him, "Have you taken a shower yet?" He very clearly has not. Carol: "Take a shower. We need to keep up appearances, even you." As she walks off down the sidewalk, he calls after her, "You look ridiculous!"
Glen's interview: "We need to make this work ... because we were almost out there too long."
Rick leaves Alexandria, walking around its walls, checking them out. Back inside, Carl catches a glimpse of Enid climbing over the walls. Intrigued, he follows her but she disappears into the woods and he loses her. Good job, Carl. Rick has found his way back to the derelict house where he hid that pistol. He runs into a couple of walkers but doesn't really care ... until he discovers that someone has taken the gun he hid. Someone was watching. The walkers close in and Rick pulls out a knife. Carl joins him and they turn to face the threat calmly. They put down the zombies one by one, helping each other, using whatever is handy for stabbing the creatures in the head. They are professional and efficient. They are determined not to become weak.
Meanwhile, Glen, Tara and Noah have been recruited by Deanna's son Aidan as a potential supply run crew. Those four, plus the gate guard Nicholas, head outside the gates on a trial run. Aidan is a self-proclaimed douchebag, handing out handguns and insisting that the crew follows his instructions precisely. However, Aidan and Nicholas have tied up a zombie that killed four of their people last month and are torturing it, picking away at it for revenge, a "pre-game ritual" to remind them what they're up against. Glenn: WTF? But the zombie has gotten loose and the two douchebags are upset about it. They whistle and call for it, drawing it closer, but tell Glen et als. not to kill it: they want to chain it back up. While Glen and Noah watch in disbelief, the zombie breaks away from Aidan and Nicholas, lurching at Tara. She grapples with it, its skin PEELING OFF IN HER HANDS OH YUCK, but unable to either get away from it or kill it. Glen charges in, burying his knife in its head. Aidan is pissed that he lost his plaything. Tara, having nearly been bitten, is more pissed (rightfully so).
When they get back inside Alexandria's walls, Aidan gets in Glen's face, saying that the three of them will have to get new jobs as they clearly aren't cut out to do runs. What an asshole. Glen does his utmost best to stay calm and keep the situation from escalating. As they argue and push each other, our group members and Alexandrians draw near, including Deanna. Aidan snipes to his mom, "Why'd you let these people in?" Glen can't help himself: "Because we actually know what we're doing out there." Aidan takes a swing, which Glen easily ducks; then Glen drops him with one punch. Nicholas charges in and Darryl grabs him, dropping him. Rick races up and pulls Darryl off the other guy before he can hurt him - which is probably good timing because Darryl looks like he's a little pent up. Aidan climbs to his feet and Michonne gets in his face: "You want to end up on your ass again?" Heh. Deanna stares angrily at her son. "Rick and his people are part of this community now. In all ways. As equals." She orders Aidan and Nicholas to come talk to her after they turn in their weapons. As the crowd disperses, Deanna asks Rick and Michonne to be Alexandria's constables. They accept. Darryl sniffs loudly and stalks off. Then Deanna thanks Glen for knocking Aidan on his ass.
That night, Rick slowly walks in front of his group wearing a sheriff's uniform. They all stare. Darryl is outside smoking and Rick asks if they're good. Darryl says yeah. Carol, in her cardigan, comes out on the porch and asks if they're staying. Rick says yes, and they can probably all start sleeping in their own beds. Carol is concerned that if they stay they'll get weak. Rick nods, saying that Carl said the same thing. But, he says, "We won't get weak. That's not in us anymore. We'll make it work. And if they can't make it, then we'll just take this place." He smiles a little, and Carol and Darryl exchange an ambivalent look behind his back.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
6 hours ago