Last week, we lost a really good character (and Aidan). We also discovered that Gabriel is a terrible person, Sasha is (still) losing it, and Pete is abusing his wife and child. This week, the fallout from all of that starts to take shape. Is it good?
The episode opens with Deanna and the rest of her family sitting in a darkened living room, mourning the loss of their son. In his honor, they put on a Nine Inch Nails song that he liked (not one of my favorites, but whatever). Their grieving is interrupted by a knock at the door. Deanna opens it to find that Carol has baked her a casserole along with a card expressing the new group’s sympathy for her loss.
Deanna responds to this act of delicious kindness by leaving the casserole on the front door, taking the card, and burning it.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Aaron are out on a scouting run (?) when they spot the light from another settlement off in the distance.
Gabriel’s got competition
Remember Nicholas—the dude who abandoned Aidan, caused Noah’s death, and tried to bail on Glenn? Well try not to be too shocked by this, but his account of what happened on their run is the exact opposite of that. Deanna doesn’t reveal what she thinks, but the whole note burning thing doesn’t bode well for the truth.
Glenn, on the other hand, tells Rick (but not Deanna) what really did happen, including the parts where Nicholas and Aiden acted like gigantic tools and got people hurt/killed. Rick responds by saying that they need to start taking over. Surprisingly, Glenn seems to disagree with this, stating that he wants to make things in Alexandria work.
He also has to go tell Deanna what really happened to her son at some point, right? He wouldn’t just leave it to Nicholas to give a full accounting to the town’s leader. Did I miss that part already? Oh well…let’s move on for now…
Rick goes to see Carol, who has heard even more evidence from Sam about how severe the abuse is inside their home…and it’s bad. Like, bad enough that Jesse’s life is most definitely in danger.
Later, Rick is standing outside when Pete walks over to say hello. Rick grips his gun, stares at a red balloon (?), and growls at Pete to walk away.
Waste of bullets
Michonne awakens in her room the next morning. She stares at her sheriff’s uniform, debating whether or not to put it on. Rosita interrupts her moment of introspection to tell her that Tara is stable (and thankfully not in this episode). She also reveals that Sasha has gone full bush warrior and is camped out in the sniper tower.
Rosita and Michonne (sans sword) head out to talk some sense into her. They eventually find Sasha out in the woods taking out walkers…which doesn’t seem too bad as far as hobbies go. Michonne tries to tell her they should leave, then begins flashing back to some of her own zombie kills from the past. As a horde of walkers close in, she and Rosita help Sasha take the rest of the pack out.
Once the threat is gone, Sasha begins breaking down. Not only is she upset about Bob and Tyrese, but she had told Noah earlier that he wouldn’t make it. It all feels a
little forced — like an excuse for an action scene more than anything.
Seriously, Nicholas really sucks
Glenn goes to confront Nicholas, who has the audacity to try and stand up for himself. Glenn responds by saying the deaths from yesterday were on his head, people like him shouldn’t even be alive, and that he was no longer allowed to leave the community.
Nicholas lowers his head and nods in solemn agreement, shame and humility washing over him as he realizes that Glenn is right…just kidding! After defiantly rejecting his responsibility for yesterday’s deaths, he heads out to an undisclosed location and starts digging up a gun that looks suspiciously like the one Rick buried (and lost) outside Alexandria.
Rick visits Deanna to express his condolences for her loss…and to talk about the Pete situation. Turns out she knew he about it all along, but had let it slide because:
– Pete was a really good surgeon
– She hoped it would stop eventually.
Oh Deanna…we were just starting to really like you.
Like the viewers, Rick is shocked and slightly enraged. He demands that the situation be dealt with via Pete getting put permanently out of business. Deanna counters by saying that they don’t kill, but she would consider exiling him from the group. Rick isn’t pleased with that option for a number of reasons (ex: obsessive/violent people don’t tend to take a hint or respect boundaries). She also hints that if Rick tries to handle this his way, he may get exiled, himself.
Carl Papa Spits Game
Speaking of obsessive, Carl is still stalking Enid through the woods. After he can’t find her, she calls out to him, reveals herself, and finally speaks. Surprisingly, her first words to Carl aren’t “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?”, but a little bit of teenage flirting.
Just when she’s about to reveal a little about her past, a horde of walkers (that Sasha hasn’t gotten to yet) shows up. The two hide in a tree and almost kiss.
Not Love, Actually
Rick goes to Jessie and tells her that she needs to leave Pete.
Fortunately for all of us, he does this without the help of poster boards.
She refuses, angrily lashing out at him for invading her personal life and implying that she knows he has feelings for her.
Rick walks outside, his head buzzing with a mix of anger and dejection. He sees the red balloon again, which keeps popping up in the episode like it’s some sort of French art house film). This time, however, it makes a little more sense. All around him are the sounds of normal, everyday life from before the zombie apocalypse. Like a balloon, it floats above the fray…not permanently, but at least for now. It’s also in constant danger of popping, much like Rick’s mind. This isn’t his world anymore. These people aren’t acting like they should be (in his opinion, at least). They should be on guard, on edge, and be primarily concerned with survival—just like him.
Rick storms back inside Jesse’s home and tells her that Sam asked for a gun to protect himself and his mother from Pete. She asks Rick if he would be doing this for anyone else. He admits that he wouldn’t. The two start to close in on a kiss…then Pete drunkenly wanders into the room and begins asking what the hell is going on. Jesse finally stands up to Pete and asks him to leave. Rick backs her up. Pete gets pissed.
As you might expect, alpha male shouting and fisticuffs ensue.
The Wolves are Near
While out on patrol again (and still somehow nowhere near the source of light they saw a few nights ago), Aaron and Daryl find a dead body tied up to a tree. It’s a fresh kill with W carved into its forehead.
Rick and Pete go crashing through the window and continue throwing down in the middle of the street. From her sniper tower, Sasha sees folks running and scopes the area. Turns out everyone in town is just heading over watch the fight (hopefully a few of them brought popcorn).
There are walkers outside the wall, though…many of which also have W’s carved into their heads. As Sasha takes them out, Rick and Pete nearly kill each other. Jesse tries to pull Pete away and gets smacked in the face. Carl (wasn’t he just in the woods with Enid?) tries to pull Rick away and is unsuccessful.
Rick eventually gets the upper hand, choking Pete while staring at the red balloon (oh brother). Deanna steps in and halts the fight before he can kill him. With blood pouring down his face and his eyes wild with rage, Rick decides right then and there to attempt a coup. He pulls out his gun and yells at Deanna that her way of doing things won’t work. Just when he’s about to make his final ultimatum, Michonne steps in (wearing her sheriff’s uniform) and knocks Rick out cold.
Is it Good?
The fact that Michonne was wearing her uniform during that last part was important. Along with her decision to side against Rick, it showed that she had bought into Alexandria completely. It also helped make the scene with her, Sasha, and Rosita seem a lot less worthless.
Don’t get me wrong—watching three incredibly attractive women take down a pack of zombies is cool, but it didn’t do much to advance the story. We already knew that Sasha was losing it. We also already knew that Michonne was starting to think of Alexandria as home. All that scene did was give us a little more contrast between the how she used to be and her current state.
The whole episode was like this—something really cool/interesting followed by something incredibly stupid—like the part where Enid whispered ‘This is their world now.’ Seriously? And what about Carl stalking her through the woods made her go from not wanting to look at him to holding hands. (Also, my wife wants to know where she got fake eye lashes after the zombie apocalypse).
There were also a ton of lingering questions that appear to have been answered by the casting budget rather than the story. Don’t you think Maggie (who didn’t appear in this episode) would have said something to Rick or Glenn (the husband who she keeps getting separated from) about Gabriel’s betrayal? Wouldn’t Eugene (who also didn’t appear in this episode) have joined Glenn in explaining to Deanna what actually happened to her son? Nicholas sure as hell gave his side of the story.
The episode’s award for supreme stupidity, however, goes to Mr. Rick Grimes. For starters, if he’s really such a cunning survivalist, then it probably wasn’t a good idea to tip his hand to Pete with that whole “walk away” moment. Sure it looked cool and menacing, but it also put Pete on high alert.
Then he meets with Deanna and instantly jumps to the ‘We should kill him!’ option. I’m not saying killing Pete isn’t a good idea, but that probably wasn’t the best way to approach things, especially with someone who just lost their son as soon as the new people arrived.
And then there was the attempted coup. Rick had to be aware that whether by coincidence or not, a lot of really bad stuff has happened in Alexandria since they arrived. Diplomacy might have been a hard road, but at least Deanna was still willing to listen. Instead, he decided to try and take control without warning the rest of his group (who could have at least helped him) while standing the middle of the street and waving a gun. That made him look like a mad man—even to his own people.
Perhaps if he’d talked things over with Michonne…or gotten intel about Gabriel’s meeting from Maggie…or heard from Daryl about the nearby settlement…or let Glenn and Eugene tell Deanna what really happened…things could have gone differently. Instead, he got his lights punched out.
I will say, however, that the moment he stepped outside of Jesse’s house and began reacting to the ‘normalcy’ around him, the episode was pretty top notch. It was also cool to see Glenn take charge like he did against Nicholas. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode felt a little too static. Let’s hope that the big plot threads (Wolves/Nearby Settlement and Prisoner Rick) lead to an explosive season finale next week.