After last week’s explosive mid-season return, The Walking Dead brings us the fallout from Alexandria’s worst day yet (Except for Glenn; he’s not in this episode because his power of narrative invincibility needed to be recharged).
Domestic Bliss and Eye Patches
The episode opens with a seemingly gruntled Rick Grimes doing a little work around the house. (Yes, gruntled is a word and I’m making it a thing.) Michonne’s there, too, asking for toothpaste and helping take care of Judith. Then Carl shows up with a big ole bandage over his eye along with a chipper new attitude.
What the heck?
I guess we’re glossing over a few months of recovery and heartache…which to be honest isn’t so bad. Things had been even rougher than usual. And remember that new and better world Rick said he wanted to show Carl? We need to see that once in a while to know it’s actually possible. It’s also nice to see two of our favorite characters (sorry Carl) get to be happy for once.
Jesus Took the Wheels
Rick and Daryl go out on a supply run. Rick has terrible taste in music, but the scavenging duo has some excellent luck. They manage to find everything on their list, including sorghum for Eugene, soda for Denise to give to Tara, and a huge truck (that actually runs) to haul all their supplies.
Unfortunately, they also find Jesus. Not in the religious sense, but a man nicknamed Jesus, who tricks them and steals their new wheels. They eventually catch up to him on foot (?) when Jesus gets a flat tire (*eye roll*). After tying him up and heading out again, Jesus somehow gets free of his ropes and jumps on top of the truck. They stop in a field and get into a big fight/foot chase, which ends with the truck sinking to the bottom of the lake. Then Jesus takes off his shoes, walks out onto the surface of the water, and raises the truck from the depths like Yoda levitating an X-Wing.
I’m kidding about that last part.
But Jesus does save Daryl’s life from a walker, which makes Rick think they should give him a chance and take him back to Alexandria. Man, Rick is really going soft. I’m not sure Morgan would even be on board with this idea.
Shenanigans and Heart Break
Back in Alexandria, Maggie gives Enid a speech about trying to be happy because Lauren Cohen was contracted for this episode and had to do something. Enid decides takes this advice to heart and goes with Carl to hang out in the woods.
A walker appears.
Enid says they should kill it. Carl says they shouldn’t…which is kind of weird. When Enid tries to kill the walker anyway, Carl gets borderline violent in his insistence that the walker be left alone. I kept waiting for Enid to yell something along the lines of “Can’t you SEE that it’s not a person?” and Carl to get a sad/angry look on his face, but to no avail.
So why was Carl so determined not this one zombie?
Turns out that Spencer has been wandering the woods for a while now, searching for one walker in particular: Deanna. His mom.
Michonne follows him, learns of his plan, sees what Carl did, and helps Spencer say goodbye to her. It’s the old ‘Killing Your Undead Loved One’ zombie trope, but it works (mostly) because it was earned…and it helps Michonne to realize how much she should cherish the people in her life that she has.
Later that night, Rick and Daryl come home and tie up Jesus somewhere for safekeeping. Meanwhile, Michonne chastises Carl for not killing the walker-Deanna when he had the chance. But for once, Carl is wiser than the adult giving him advice. He’s been through this before with his own mother. He knew Spencer needed to do this on his own. He also told Michonne that he’d do it for her, too. It’s a very morbid yet touching way of saying that he loves and cares for Michonne. The two embrace, providing a touching moment and helping Carl continue his transformation into a much less annoying character.
Back inside the house, Rick and Michonne share their troubles from the day. They talk and laugh easily…then touch…then hold hands…then stare into each other’s eyes.
I’m not kidding this time. Richonne is now officially a thing! And just in case the make out scene wasn’t obvious, we get a shot of Michonne and Rick in bed together the next morning…right before Jesus walks in to wake the new couple up.
Let’s start with the obvious thing that everyone’s talking about—Rick and Michonne getting together.
Part of me wasn’t too sure about this at first. I always liked how in the comics, they were just close friends. Two badass leaders who can confide in each other about their struggles and weaknesses. That’s when it hit me that this actually makes a lot of sense. In a world of complete chaos, these two characters are by far the most consistent thing in each other’s lives. They’re both alphas (which will probably cause some issues down the road, but works for now) and they’ve been through all nine rings of hell together. Surrounded by pain, loss, and regret, the feelings they’ve developed for each other are a rare beacon of happiness.
They’re also both attractive people. And you’ve got to admit that after Lori and Jessie, Rick is due for a likable girlfriend who he can actually trust.
But Richonne isn’t the only great relationship on this very family-centered episode. I really enjoyed the Daryl/Rick dynamic, particularly the humorous aspects. It did go a little overboard sometimes—the chase scene in the field all but begged to have Yakety Sax accompany it in the background—but it’s definitely a team up I’d like to see again sooner than later.
Unfortunately, the episode was also plagued by narrative issues. Some were minor (How did Deanna get outside the house into the woods—didn’t they clear out all the walkers?) while others were much harder to ignore…like Rick taking Jesus into Alexandria. It was Rick who first pointed out that Jesus’ story about not being from another community didn’t add up. The guy also nearly (and single-handedly) kicked his and Daryl’s ass and stole their truck. I’m not sure that letting Daryl live during a second attempted theft warrants him being brought inside Alexandria’s walls, potentially putting the whole community in danger.
Also, I know the show’s budget is probably to blame, but not having Morgan and Carol in this one after what happened with the Wolf she killed was a bit of a let down. But at least we got to see Spencer do something significant that wasn’t also completely stupid. Instead, it was Rick who climbed over the metaphorical zip line into needless danger, taking the whole community with him. Let’s just hope the TV version of Jesus is as good a guy as the one from the comics.