Last week the group arrived at the Alexandria Safe-Zone. This week, we get to see what it’s like for Rick and his squad inside the sanctuary. Is it good?
Politicians + Transparency = ???
As tense pleasantries are exchanged, a nearby possum causes the group to raise their weapons. Daryl kills the creature and claim it as ‘dinner.’
Later, Rick meets with Alexndria’s leader, a former Ohio Congresswoman named Deanna. When she asks if their meeting can be filmed for transparency’s sake, it’s a bit odd (but understandable… kind of). What’s even more fascinating, however, is watching Rick converse with another born leader. Deanna comes off a little smarmy at times (you know, like a politician), but she’s also self-assured, smart, assertive, and completely focused on survival. She’s basically Rick if he was still integrated into a semblance of modern society.
Maybe that’s why despite Rick’s obvious mistrust of her, she says that she wants him to stay and help her people.
NOT THE BEARD!!!
The group is asked to give up their guns, which they do so with a few sideways glances… except for Carol, who smiles and clumsily takes off her automatic weapon like she’s never held one before. Hmmm… that’s kind of weird.
Rick and his group are then offered two glorious looking McMansions, each fully furnished and featuring running water. After taking the first shower he’s had in forever, Rick decides to shave off his glorious beard. Later, the freshly shaven (and shirtless) Mr. Grimes gets a visit from a woman named Jesse, which results in a meet-cute along with her giving him (but not Carl) a much needed haircut.
If you’ve read the comics, then perhaps you can join me in hoping that Jesse ends up being a stand-in for Andrea. I know that’s not exactly cannon, but seriously… Andrea from the show was terrible. Maybe it’s just the blond hair, but I could totally see Jesse (and the actress who plays her, Alexandra Breckinridge) as the much better (and alive) version of Andrea we can still read about every month.
Survivalist Slumber Party
Despite getting their pick of homes, Rick and Co. decide to all sleep in the living room under one roof. Deanna comes by to visit, once again giving off a warm yet slightly manipulative vibe. She also claims to have jobs for Rick and Michonne, but that she wasn’t quite ready to reveal them yet (see my previous statement about her ‘slightly manipulative vibe’).
Meet-Cute Part 2
Remember how Rick used to always yell “CAAAARLL” in Seasons 1-2? Well the next morning, he has little flashback to that after losing track of his son and Judith.
Fortunately, Jesse comes to the rescue (after he knocks over her owl sculpture) and takes him to the house of some elderly neighbors. Sure enough, Carl and Judith are safe (and probably eating Werther’s Originals).
The two flirt for a bit, then set up a playdate for Carl and her kid, Ron. The hangout (which features lots of awkward talking and video games) also includes Ron’s friend, Mikey, and super-detached/emo girl named Enid, who Carl instantly falls for.
Okay, I’m probably going to give Carl and Rick a lot of crap about them both crushing on girls at the same time, but it is interesting to watch them both open up to infatuation, something that neither has felt in a very long time. Later that night, however, Carl confesses to his father that he thinks the people here are ‘weak.’ (But you know what’s not weak? The thirst Carl’s feeling for Enid, am I right?).
Even later that night, Rick goes on a walk and comes across Pete, Jesse’s husband. If you’ve read the comics, then, well… yeah… let’s just keep moving, shall we?
Carl sees Enid sneaking into the woods, so he puts on his hat (?) and follows her… because when a girl doesn’t want to talk to you, following her into the woods is a SUREFIRE way to change her mind.
Rick is out there, too, looking for the gun he stashed in a blender at the end of the last episode… which is now gone. This revelation is followed by Carl and Rick running into each other and enjoying some father son bonding time as they kill a pack of walkers.
The Confession Room
Throughout the episode, Deanna interviews Rick’s crew on camera. It’s interesting watching them interact with a leader other than Rick.
– Daryl’s kind of a jackass, refusing to say much (or shower) while still carrying his dead possum around. He later goes full redneck and guts it on the front porch.
– Michonne is optimistic, but cautious.
– Carol says she misses her ex-husband (?) and seems way too kind and open. Once again, very weird…
The Mayor’s Kid is Always a Jerk
Tara, Glenn, and Noah (that bum leg healed fast) head out with Deanna’s son, Aidan, on a patrol.
Right off the bat he admits to being a douchebag, then proves it by almost getting Tara killed…which okay, wouldn’t have been so bad. But seriously, the guy was keeping a zombie tied up in the woods to ‘punish’ it for killing his friend? That type of stupidity is pretty hard to fathom after this long in a post zombie apocalypse world.
When the group gets back, Glenn and Aidan exchange words, then fists. Rick & Co. immediately swoop in and turn it into a full scale beat down. You’d think this might tick Deanna off, but on the contrary, it inspires her to officially offer Rick and Michonne the head law enforcement positions for their town. She also thanks Glenn for knocking some sense into her idiot son, which wins her a few more points with everyone.
That night, clean shaven Rick is looking all spiffy in his new sheriff uniform. He speaks with Carol and Daryl about the town, finally admitting that he thinks they can make things work here (YAY!)…and if it doesn’t work out, they can just take the town by force (oh.).
Is It Good?
I think that last line was more for effect than anything else. We already know that Rick and his people will do whatever is needed to survive.
What I found really interesting in this episode was how the various characters reacted to their new surroundings. Daryl’s like a wild animal that’s suddenly been locked in a cage. Carol is clearly playing dumb/nice while scouting things out. I mean, did you see that GAP outfit she was wearing while going off to cook? Or the way she could barely handle her machine? OR HOW SHE SAID SHE MISSED HER ABUSIVE EX-HUSBAND? She’s playing possum (no pun intended).
Carl and Rick, on the other hand, are rediscovering what it’s like to be human again. Michonne was already on that path, but this is the first time we’ve really seen Rick bring down his defenses at all. And as much as I hate him losing that glorious beard, it does make him look a lot more vulnerable and open to the world.
Meanwhile, we’ve still got a whole group of people who I think would be much more interesting to watch. Sasha and Maggie are both at their breaking points due to their recent losses. Eugene couldn’t interact well with people before the zombie apocalypse. Gabriel might think he can take up preaching again. These are some stories I’d really like to see play out.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There are plenty of good threads being started to keep things interesting, especially with regards to Rick and Jesse. We all know Alexandria can’t/won’t be perfect, but it just might be the closest thing to normal our group has seen in a while…which might not be as good a thing for them as it should be.