Before we jump into discussions about last night’s episode, I have a few more thoughts on episode 10 from last week. At the start of episode 10, we witness the conversation between Maggie and Sasha, “…that’s not what I meant.” Sasha was speaking in miles-to-go, but Maggie was speaking somewhat more existentially. At the end of the episode when the two women sneak out of the barn to watch the sunrise, they take in all of the damage done by the storm. Sasha comments that it “…should have torn us apart.”
Maggie, glancing at a walker pinned by a tree replies, “It didn’t.” I didn’t pay much attention to that line until the 4th time I watched the episode. It was a mirror of the conversation they’d had the day prior. Due to the seamless delivery of the line, we believe that she is talking about the tornado. Really, Maggie is making commentary on the entire ZA. This should have torn them apart; and in may ways it has ravaged them. But, it has brought them together. They always come out the other side stronger than before. It should have torn them apart…but, it didn’t.
My other after thought on episode 10 was when Rick gave the group the infamous “We are the walking dead” speech. The last time the ‘walking dead’ were holed up in a barn, things didn’t end so well. No wonder Daryl was unhappy with the connotation. He never did get over feeling responsible for Sophia. Let’s just stay away from barns, henceforth, shall we?
Okay. Need a refresher on episode 11? Click Here to read a spoiler-filled play-by-play. All caught up? Good. Let’s discuss!
This is probably one of, if not the best episodes of the 5th season. Morale has been low. Tensions were high. No one knew who to trust. There was potential danger from a human. There was absolute danger from the undead. And, for the first time in the back-8, no one in the group got killed!
We learn quickly that Aaron has been watching them for some time; listening and observing in order to decide if they are an asset or a liability to his community. Sidebar: I take issue with something said on The Talking Dead during the Inside the Dead segment. According to the show, they posted that the actor portraying Aaron claimed his character had been tracking them for “2-3 weeks.” I refuse to believe this is correct. At the start of episode 10, which takes place just a day or so before the current episode, Rick notes to Daryl that it had been exactly “3 weeks since Atlanta.” If Aaron had been tailing them for 3 weeks, that would mean that he and Eric–who both look extremely clean, well-fed and rested–had traveled all the way from VA to GA to recruit people. On their own. Barely armed. Returning to the VA area unscathed. Uh-uh. Nope. Not buying it. Surely this guy misspoke. At best, these two men have been tailing the group for 5-7 days. For them to be so unaffected by exposure to the elements, and entirely untouched by the storm the night before, they would have to be within a smaller radius of their community. At best, they are within a 50-75 mile radius of Alexandria. 100 miles, tops. They can’t risk going any farther than that without experiencing any of the dangers or loss that our large and capable group of survivors experienced. Now that I have that out of my system…let’s move on.
I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts on this episode. I truly loved it start to finish. Rick is right to exercise caution, but paranoia is unreasonable. It was great to see Michonne assert herself. We saw a taste of that in episode 9, but she really rose to the occasion in this episode. Numerous times this season, Rick had a plan–the right plan–and the group went against him with disastrous results. Not going back to finish off the Terminus people cost them Bob’s life. Well…his leg, anyhow. Dude was bit. Not attacking the hospital like ninjas cost them Beth’s life. Rick is frustrated because no one will listen to him, now that he wants to make the sort of calls Shane was famous for, and as a result they are dropping like flies. Between the last two episodes, people are starting to not listen to Rick and do things their own way; Daryl wandering off, Sasha breaking ranks on the bridge and again when she shot the dogs. And now, here we go again. Rick is trying to lay down the law and Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, Glenn, even Daryl (his only contribution being that the barn smells like horse shit; reason enough to leave without having to choose sides? Way to go, Switzerland) are all pushing back on him. In a comical moment of desperation (and probably fear of losing his precious Daryl) Rick turns to Abraham for assistance. The various glances exchanged in the barn had us all laughing while watching.
The thing is, though, for the first time, the group was right. Rick doesn’t want to see them get burned again or lose any more lives. The rest of them are finally ready to let go of the past, exercise caution but at the same time have faith. And, of course, they are right to do so. But, as Carol would later assure Rick, “Even though you were wrong, you were still right.” Even she appreciated his skepticism and defensive approach. They’ve come too far to make rookie mistakes. I found Carol’s statement to be hard-hitting. Especially when you consider the day Rick banished her. He was wrong in doing so, but he was right to try and protect his family. So nice of her to remind him of that. Salt in the wound? Maybe. But, he needed the reminder. Sometimes being wrong is okay.
I appreciate the moments between Abraham and Rosita. The silent treatment has gone on too long. She can hold a grudge as good as any woman scorned. And, he needed time to recover from what went on just before Atlanta. Without missing a beat, she assisted in a walker kill that essentially saved him. He thanked her. She blew him off. Go sister! Upon inspection of the RV, Abraham asks her if she was afraid that he would/could hurt her back at the firetruck. She said no. This came as a surprise and a relief to Abraham. He never forgave himself for causing his family to fear him. He wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone. He just tends to “Hulk out” rather than deal with situations. Rosita is a strong enough person to understand that sometimes it’s the situation talking, not the actual person. They forgave one another without having to say another word. And, when she pointed out the Washington Monument to Abraham from the road, my heart swelled a little bit. In spite of everything going wrong and being nothing at all what they had planned, they still made it to D.C. and they made it there together.
I feel like Glenn was trying a little too hard early on in the episode. The day before, he was trying his level best to be a voice of reason, of counsel, of positivity for Maggie and the group. Today, he’s trying to step up and be all manly and fill Rick’s vacant shoes (like he did at the prison, until Hershel took him back down a notch). Thankfully, Michonne and Rosita pointed out Glenn’s shortcomings and put a lid on him for a little bit. And, just like a sign from above, Glenn had a Dale moment at the new RV while replacing the battery. He just needed a little reminding of who he was and where he’s been, and by the end of the episode, he was back to being the voice of reason to a still-grumpy Rick. Glenn even goes back and rescues Aaron, who was handcuffed and pinned to a tree by a walker. Back in Noah’s community, Glenn was expressing regret for trying to save strangers at Terminus. He nearly left Aaron to die. But, the true Glenn came through and saved the day. Come to think of it, this was before Dale’s divine intervention. Hmmm. You go, Glenn Coco.
Speaking of Glenn, the scene where he plows down the highway in the dark through a herd of walkers was awesome! The messier the windows got, the more tense I became. Save for a few choice moments this season, there were far too many instances where use of the dark didn’t play out well. That was not the case here at all. The light of the full moon coming into the blood stained car windows casting a red glow on the passengers inside was beautiful. It was like looking at a cell from a Noir comic book. The chase through the woods and crop fields that followed was nerve-wracking. We haven’t yelled at the television like that since the episode ‘Consumed’. It was really enjoyable.
The reunion of Aaron and Eric was sweet, tastefully executed and well-written. Their OTP should come as no surprise to anyone who has read the comics. I loved the way Tara grinned all over herself when she realized they were a couple. And, Maggie ended up all smiles as well. Every girl needs a bestie, am I right?
Speaking of Maggie, is her personality a direct representation of her wardrobe? She wore more white and neutral colors when she was the sweet farmer’s daughter. By season 4, she was dressed in head to toe black, very militant. She was a warrior princess. And, now that she’s gone through her emotional crisis of faith, Maggie is back in flowing white fabrics that present her as being softer, more feminine.
I’m curious to see how the group splits off with regards to their impending housing assignments. This could be an interesting social experiment to observe.
Will Glenn, Eugene, Noah and Carl ever reach puberty? As Michonne noted to Rick back at the prison, “your face is losing the war.” I wish my leg and armpit hair grew at the same rate as Glenns’ facial hair. I’d only have to shave every 6 months.
When Aaron is trying to get Rick to feed the applesauce to Judith, he tells Rick, “It’s a self-preservation” thing. The hearts of Love Actually fangirls simultaneously explode nation wide.
Why did Rick wander off and hide a handgun in a blender? Is this like when he hid a bag of weapons outside of Terminus, just in case? There’s no guarantee he’d ever find that house again. Did he sneak the blender back into one of the vehicles? What was even the point? And, the gun had the letter J marked into it. Whose gun was that? They did a closeup shot of the letter. Is there a significance to it? Did I miss something pertinent to the story? Trying to keep track of weapons on this show is like trying to keep track of wands in the final Harry Potter book.
Finally, Rick and Michonne discussed how as they approached both Woodbury and Terminus, it was silent. No sounds could be heard from behind their defensive walls. That should have been a red flag. And so, Rick released a major sigh of relief when they heard the sound of children laughing just outside of Alexandria. However, Aaron earlier promised Rick that once inside, Judith could cry all she wanted and no one would be able to hear it. I promise you, a baby’s scream is a hell of a lot louder than children laughing. If you can’t hear babies from outside, why could we hear children? And…if you look at the previews for next week, the town looks deserted when they walk in. Where are the kids? If we are to believe that their noise is audible from the location of Rick’s car, then the kids should be just on the other side of the gate playing wildly in the streets. Where are the children?
Until next time….(which will be a day late getting posted as I am going out of town)