This week on The Walking Dead, we’re back in Alexandria — and for those who had issues with last week, we barely see Morgan. We don’t see Sasha, Abraham or Daryl, either – and while it seemed pretty apparent we wouldn’t see Glenn again, he comes up an awful lot in this episode. In conjunction with an absent RIP on The Talking Dead, Gimple’s ambiguous commentary and widespread internet conspiracy theories, we’ll continue to wait for him to show up along with the other three. Par for the course!
Surprisingly, Rick does show up! How he got out of the mess he was in, we do not know, but what difference does it make? He’s back, and needs someone to open the damn gate before he’s eaten.
Inside, the outside situation is way more than the Alexandrians can handle. Deanna looks like she’s about to board the crazy train to Looneyville, and the others milling around look like they’ve already been bitten and are waiting to turn. Come on! We just had to deal with the Wolves … and now this! WE QUIT! WE DON’T WANNA PLAY ANYMORE! Flip the board over and let the game pieces scatter.
Rick attempts some motivational speaking. So what if Alexandria is surrounded twenty deep by the dead? It could be forty! So what if you’re all scared because you’ve never had to deal with something of this magnitude? Carol saved your asses once, and she’ll gladly do it again! The walls will hold together! Can you all keep your s-t straight enough to do the same? Good question.
Rick says the others will return – Sasha, Abraham, Daryl, Glenn (?) and Nicholas (nope!) are gonna walk right back through the gate. Meanwhile, they need to sit tight and keep Alexandria “as quiet as a graveyard” to avoid provoking the walker problem. A cynical Alexandrian says, “This place is a graveyard.” Rick’s public doesn’t seem to buy into the pep talk. Guess they used up their pep ignoring the apocalypse.
Aaron pipes in, seeing little faith amongst his slack-jawed, dead-eyed companions. Attempting to validate Rick, he reveals that his own stupid move brought the Wolves to Alexandria. After spotting Del Arno, Daryl wanted to continue on, but Aaron wanted supplies. This led to him dropping his backpack (clean backpack question resolved) and almost getting both of them killed. Bottom line – Alexandrians screw up and will continue to screw up because they don’t know any better and they don’t listen.
Back in the pantry, poor Lydia is trying her best to justify rationing consumables. Those around her just whine about having to make a few sacrifices because of a bunch of walkers. Dammit! We ain’t gonna starve during our last few minutes of life! Step aside and hand over the celery soup, lady! They begin looting themselves … wow.
Spencer (I picture a giant “S” on his shirt) shows up to save the day. He tells them to stop – that the food is for everyone. This is met with snark from fellow-Alexandrian Bruce. “Why don’t you go make sure the gate’s closed, Spencer?” So I can steal food, even though I could probably live off my spare tire until long after the apocalypse. Spencer admits his error, but not without reminding Bruce he also made sure the semi didn’t get through the walls. What were you doing, Bruce? Game, set, match. Now shut up and unhand the goods. Spencer hits the nail on the head – stealing from their own stash will prove the first step toward their demise, no walkers necessary.
Aaron finds Maggie in the armory. She’s prepping to find Glenn, whose name has been written on the wall of the missing/dead. As she silently fills clips, Aaron recites her plan as if he’s devised it himself, then adds a caveat – what happens when she’s slowed by one and has to deal with all of them? No matter how stubborn one is in the zombie apocalypse, this is a damn pertinent question. Think, Maggie … you’ve gained a lot through loss … shove the emotions aside. Emotionally driven actions bring deadly consequences. Aware he can’t stop her, he offers help, instead.
“Prefer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim,” a quote from Ovid, means “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.” Deanna writes part of it on the map she rushes to complete during a moment of clarity. It’s a good quote and a good map, and for a moment, she looks like she might be good, too. Then a glass breaks.
In the kitchen, Spencer’s getting hammered on pantry booze. Why would he do such a thing after his tremendous display of self-sacrifice for the greater good? Well, because he’s just as freaked out and ill-prepared as those he castigated. After shooing them off, he absconded with some peanut butter, crackers and what looks like a jar of Milwaukee Dills (fantastic nab!). As he slams a glass of brown frown, he lays it all out. He’s having one last celebration … they’re all done for. So what if he stole some s-t from the pantry? If he’d allowed an actual free-for-all to go down, it would be the end … but he just said … OK, he’s drunk … not going to try to make sense of it. He is perfectly clear when he blames Deanna for everything, from Alexandria’s clueless sheltered idiots to the deaths of Aiden and Reg. Her dreams and nonsense have screwed them all. Venomous Alexandrian brats …
Speaking of. Ron sits in the grass playing with a knife. He needs a haircut. Carl (also in need of a haircut) sees him looking all kinds of pensive and pouty. “Are you OK?” Of course he’s not okay … he’s Ron, and he’s a teenager. Carl is concerned about the absent Enid. I’m not, and Ron doesn’t seem concerned either. Carl wants to look for her. Aw, hell.
Thankfully, Ron says, “I’ll tell your dad. He’ll go out there to find you and other people will, too … and then somebody’s going to die.” Sorry, Carl … no one likes a snitch, but it’s best to reel it in and take care of Judith. Just give Ron a shove because you’re mad that he’s making more sense than you, and go home. From the ground, Ron shouts, “You saved my life, and now I’m saving yours.” I kinda believe he means it, even if Carl did push him down.
On her way home, Jessie does away with an overlooked walker (Alexandrian). Others observe with dismay, but Jessie schools them. She didn’t want to see anything either. She didn’t want to digest any of it. But pretending is over. See it, get it, fight it — or die. Denise is amongst the onlookers and Jessie’s speech inspires her. Earlier, we saw Denise reading Gray’s Anatomy, trying to figure out how to fix Scott’s infected leg. She runs back, finds the chapter about sucking pus out of a wound and uses a syringe to save him! Note to self … get a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, give Denise a break.
Inside the walls, Aaron leads Maggie to a sewer hole. He thinks they can go underground and pop up past the walkers. After they’re in, Maggie explains that if Glenn is alive, she has to help him – if he didn’t need help, he would have signaled. She is talking more to herself than to Aaron, who she continuously urges to go back. A fallen ladder blocks their way and while moving it, they stir up some super soggy walkers … so soggy, that in an effort to fend one off, Maggie only manages to shove her hands up under its skin. A good 9 on the repulsive meter. Aaron saves her, so she’s stuck with him.
Atop the wall, Rick tries to walkie Daryl’s group. He’s interrupted by young Ron, who rats on Carl and casually mentions Enid’s bad habit of sneaking out. But she can probably take care of herself. Though concerned, Rick’s more worried about his own kids. Ron assures him that both are at home on the porch. I’m still skeptical, but part of me wants to trust him … probably the same part that wants to trust my dog not to chew up my shoes. My shoes look like s-t.
Anyway, since he’s there, Ron finally expresses interest in learning some self-preservation skills. Rick unloads his gun (whew!) and hands it over. He tells Ron to aim at the zillion walkers pawing at the wall. Betcha dollars to donuts he’d hit one if he had bullets!
Back in the sewer, Aaron and Maggie have made it to the grate leading out. There are walkers, but only a smattering. Aaron, ready to go, begins to pull at the grate. Unexpectedly, Maggie shouts, “No! We can’t … It’s over!”
Walkers flock to the grate, and now they’re stuck. Why the sudden change of heart? Maggie’s pregnant!? OK, we knew that, but now it’s official. She said it. She burned Glenn’s last picture, certain they’d never be apart again. Now she just hopes to see his face again (ditto). She doesn’t get to know what happened, what will happen, what she did right or wrong – but she has to live with it. Same applies to Aaron. When they get back, they set to wiping the names of Glenn and Nicholas (oops) from the wall.
While returning Spencer’s pilfered pickles, Deanna is attacked by a sneaky walker Wolf. She drops her wares and repeatedly gouges it with a broken bottle — everywhere but in the head. I holler at the TV, “No! In the head! The head! Not the chest! Up higher! The head! My GOD! Stab it in the HEAD!” Rick shows up, stabs it in the head, saves Deanna and stops me from crawling through the screen.
Afterward, a gore-covered Deanna looks to Rick for something. He tells her she needs to lead her people, but she knows (like we do) that that’s BS. Rick needs to lead them. She wants to live and keep Alexandria standing. It may stay standing, but not as a freakish utopia.
Spencer takes Carol’s place relieving Rosita from wall duty. Crap, is she watching Judith? She gives him kudos for keeping the semi out of Alexandria. He brushes it off as luck. Good work or good luck, Rosita tells him to keep doing what he’s doing (minus the pantry raid). As she leaves, he pulls out some stashed crackers and shoves one in his mouth.
Leaving Deanna with some hope, Rick finds Jessie in her garage. It looks like she’s getting rid of Pete’s stuff. Earlier in the episode, as she began to dig holes for the pile of ripening Wolves, Rick stopped her. Killers don’t belong inside the walls. Now he wants to explain and I interpret his explanation to be this: Glenn and the others aren’t back yet, even though they should be. Might need the room for … um … vigilantes (that works). He wants to wait and it might be a while. If that’s the case, I sure hope they burn the maggot incubators. One virus is enough.
In a weak attempt to console her, Rick says, “This is what life looks like now.” Unsatisfied, Jessie insists there has to be more. There has to be a future. Then — either to shut her up because he doesn’t know how to respond, or because he’s been dying to do it since he first arrived – he puts her in a lip-lock. Finally.
As the episode closes, Deanna walks past the gate, but not before punching it a few times. Take that, walkers! She continues on as a single drop of walker ooze makes its way through a bullet hole and down the inside of the wall. Gotta love artsy foreshadowing!
Okay! Pressing questions with which I am left – please provide answers in the comments. Thanks all!
- Is Ron getting his s-t together, or is he just looking to gain enough trust before going postal on the Grimes family?
- Did Carl hand Judith off to someone else (Carol) to sneak out after that little trollop, Enid?
- Is it just me, or does it appear Rick’s hand is all better?
- Once Sasha, Daryl and Abraham get the walkers out twenty miles, then what? Is there a part of the plan(s) I missed? They have to return somehow – even if they speed off, won’t they still point the remaining herd back toward home?
- Where is Glenn?
Let’s talk about it.
New episodes of The Walking Dead premiere Sundays at 9/8CT on AMC.