Last week, Rick’s group began their uneasy transition to a seemingly ‘normal’ suburban life in the Alexandria Safe Zone. This week, we get to see how things are going. Is it good?

Sad and Surly Sasha

She’s lost her brother and her boyfriend recently. Add in the everyday dangers of the post zombie apocalypse world, and it’s easy to see why Sasha isn’t very friendly to the girl showing her where the guns are.

She’s also suffering from PTSD, as evidenced by the phantom zombie sounds she hears while shooting framed stocked photographs.

We Need More Blender Guns

While Sasha works/shoots through her pain, Rick, Carol, and Daryl have a secret meeting outside Alexandria. They want guns, but not to hurt anybody with them… yet. The weapons will be just in case things go south—like they always do when finding a new group of people.

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After Carol volunteers for the mission, Daryl discovers that one of the fallen zombies near them has a W carved in its head like the ones they found in Noah’s neighborhood. Either George W. Bush has some massive support from the undead or the ‘wolves’ are getting close.

Back in town, Deanna welcomes our heroes back with an invitation to a cocktail party.

Hunting Wabbits and Symbolism

While on a solitary hunting trip, Daryl comes across Aaron, who is searching for a horse (that he named Buttons) that has been eluding him (and walkers, apparently) for a very long time. And guess what—they find the beautiful creature and almost capture it. Unfortunately, Buttons (which, once again, has somehow avoided walkers for on its own for FOR YEARS) is cornered and gets savagely ripped apart.

This scene was terrible for a number of reasons:

1.) No one likes seeing animals get killed, especially when it’s a pretty horse named Buttons (and we have to hear its cries of pain while getting torn apart).

2.) Seriously, I really want to know how the hell that horse survived in the wild for so long. It’s almost like seeing Daryl and Aaron convinced it to die for the sake of some ham-fisted symbolism…

3.) …which is exactly what happened. The horse is supposed to represent Daryl, wild and free (and with a gorgeous mane), but becoming vulnerable after letting others get close to him. Ugh.
The one good thing to come out of this sequence was watching Aaron and Daryl bond a bit over their shared status as outsider.

‘A’ is for Awkward

Later that day, (almost) everyone heads over to Deanna’s party…which is surprisingly normal. Rick and Jesse flirt some more before her husband, Pete, shows up. Unlike their last meeting, however, he seems pretty friendly.

After he leaves, however, the flirting continues. Rick impresses Jesse by joking around with her son, Sam. The young boy tells Rick that he needs a stamp for the town. Rick agrees, allowing Sam to place a red herring red ‘A’ on his hand.

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AMC’s story sync was quick to point out ‘ZOMG GUYS REMEMBER WHEN THEY WERE IN THE TRAILER IN TERMINUS? IT HAD AN A ON IT, TOO!’

Yeah, don’t read too much into that besides a possible narrative connection…although it could also be a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, since Rick clearly wants to commit some adultery with Jesse. Not only is there clear chemistry between the two, but he even gives her a kiss on the cheek! Scandalous! (But seriously, Rick, way to start pulling a Shane on another dude’s wife).

Scary Poppins

Okay, remember how terrible the horse scene was? Well this one totally makes up for it.

It’s decided that during the cocktail party, Carol (who is still undercover in her Stepford wife disguise) will be the one to go steal the guns. Unfortunately, Sam followed her and caught her in the act.

At first she’s sweet about it, making him promise not to tell in exchange for cookies. But then Carol goes into full Sarah Conner mode, calmly promising to kidnap the child and tie him to a tree outside where zombies will get him. Not content to leave things there, she then goes on to describe how awful it would feel to be eaten alive, traumatizing the poor kid while still promising to provide him with cookies in exchange for his silence.

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Look at the cookies, Sam. Look at the cookies…

Shut It Down

Back the party, Sasha is busy trying to fend off advances from Deanna’s douchebag son, Spencer. She then gets roped into a conversation with neighbor who wants to cook for her, but is worried she might make something Sasha doesn’t like.

This would be a terrible social situation even before the zombie apocalypse. But combining it the current times, her PTSD, and the fake normalcy of it all causes Sasha to boil over and explode. She screams at everyone, which kind of puts a damper on things…

…but not for Abraham, who is enjoying that state of alcohol-induced inebriation for the first time in forever. He then goes outside and has a somewhat flirtatious talk with Michonne…at least it looked flirtatious to me. Maybe it’s just because Michonne is smiling a lot more these days.

Recruiting the Recruiter

Aaron invites Daryl over to have dinner with him and Eric. They offer him a heaping plate of spaghetti, which he devours, along with what appears to be a budding friendship.

Aaron then takes him into the garage, where parts of a motorcycle lay strewn across the floor. He says he knows Daryl can put it back together (because of his redneck pheromones, I guess) and claims he’ll need it to be Alexandria’s next recruiter.

A job where he gets to ride a hog on the open road by himself? Of course Daryl gladly accepts.

Getting comfortable

Rick, Daryl, and Carol meet back up to get their guns. Surprisingly, Daryl thinks they might be overreacting. He’s actually starting to like this place.

Meanwhile, Michonne finally parts ways with her katana blade, hanging it over her fireplace like that annoying couple you know who always talks about how much they travel.

As Rick walks through town, Sam says hi and he waves back, both of them flashing their red ‘A’s. He then goes to the wall and listens as a zombie futily pounds away from the outside, unable to get in. Maybe this time, finally, they’ve found a place to call home.

Is It Good?

As much as I hated the horse scene, the rest of the episode was pretty good. I’m not sure how many more of these action-light ones we can do, but for now it’s pretty interesting to watch how each group member integrates back into something approximating society.

It was also nice to see badass Carol again, even if it was for the sake of scaring the crap out of a little kid. You know the show has effectively shifted your focus when undead monsters aren’t nearly as chilling or intimidating as the threats from a small middle-aged woman. She also seems to be the only one in full control of her personality. The rest of the group appears to be evolving in completely different ways. While Daryl becomes less of a loner and Abraham’s rough edges are smoothed, Sasha is (understandably) losing it a bit.

I especially like how we’re seeing Michonne open up a bit more. Much like the katana now decorating her home, the violent side of her is still there if its needed, but in the background. Of course, knowing this show (and based on the preview for next week), it’s going to be needed fairly soon.

The Walking Dead: Season 5, Episode 13 "Forget" Review
Great to see how varied all the characters' reactions are to the being in a 'normal' place again.The transformations of Daryl and Michonnes are especially poignant.In case you were worried she was losing her edge, Carol is still fully capable of being scary.
Seriously, that horse scene was just stupid.Hey Rick, can we please wait and see if Jesse's husband is a bad guy before you pull a Shane on his wife?
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