With only three episodes remaining this season, The Walking Dead has amped up the tension. Never knowing which story lines will be lifted directly from the original source material, versus being merely inspired by it, has begun to make my head spin. Every time I think that I have a handle on what’s going on, I find five more reasons not to trust what I am seeing. Frustration of this level can lead some people to stop watching a series; Not me. The more frustrated I become, the more I want to high five all of the show’s writers.
First things first, you need to make sure that you are caught up before we proceed. Click Here for a spoiler-filled recap of last night’s episode. All set? Let’s discuss!
There are a few characters that I want to focus on: Sasha, Carol, Michonne, Daryl and Rick.
Let’s start with Sasha. For a character created for TWD television universe, Sasha has become a solid fan favorite. And, Sonequa Martin-Green’s performance in this episode was one of her best. For those of you who have not read the comics, Andrea was the character who became the group’s sharpshooter/sniper. Andrea worked as a lookout in the Alexandria bell tower. Andrea also became Rick’s other half, if you know what I mean. With Andrea having been removed from the TV series, save for the romantic link to Rick, Sasha has successfully filled that void.
I loved the exploration of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in this episode. I don’t think that I would call Rick’s trip to crazy-town PTSD after Lori died, rather, I think he was just in shock/remorse and whatnot. Sasha, as indicated by the many flashes of memory we saw, has been affected profoundly by all that she has been through in the last month. They’ve lost Bob, Beth, her brother Tyreese, not to mention the various tragedies and hardships since the prison fell. Sasha has used her physical strength as a coping mechanism. She is an emotionally wounded soldier and all she knows to do is fight. Assimilation into Alexandria will be difficult for all of the group, but for Sasha (and Daryl) it will be harder to stay still. As she lay on the floor staring into the framed faces of the people who probably lived in that home before them, you could see her discomfort. Sasha uses their photos for target practice, effectively putting to rest the ghosts of those who passed before her. But, at the same time, she uses the noise of her exercise to try and draw out walkers. Is she just itching for a good fight, the way Rick and Carl were in the last episode? Or, is she hoping to be taken out in a blaze of glory? With each photo she shoots, we can hear the sounds of walkers. Is this indicative of the knowledge that each person in those photos ended up as a walker? Is this Sasha putting them down?
Sasha seemed just as surprised as the viewers that no walkers came rambling up. “Come and get me,” she whispers to the ghosts inside her head. What wasn’t a surprise, though, was Sasha’s outburst at that ridiculous party. Damn, what a surreal episode! These people are debating the quality of fresh tea, when just days ago, Sasha fed her group on feral dogs. Are these people that oblivious to the outside world? More on that later.
Final thought on Sasha… If she is indeed the new Andrea, Sasha needs to watch her back where Spencer is concerned. I love that they gender swapped Alexandria’s leaders Douglas and Regina to Deanna and Reg (Spencer’s parents). But, again, keep an eye on this guy, Sasha. Bad news.
Which brings me to Carol. With her unassuming ways and skilled “invisibility” this woman knows the true meaning of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. I already fear for Olivia, who swore to die with the knowledge of Carol’s secret cookie ingredient. Oh, honey. You will. You’ll confront Carol for that second missing piece of chocolate and she will finish you. Actually, while many see taking that extra piece of chocolate as the thing that will undo Carol’s plan, I saw it as a genius move. If anyone questions what she was doing there, she can procure said chocolate and ‘confess’ apologetically to stealing more. It would be an understandable behavior for someone who has been living “out there” for so long; how can she resist the temptation? Chocolate. And, if that wasn’t enough, Melissa McBride’s solid delivery of the Tommy Boy boat speech floored me. Oh, Carol, how I worship you.
Next up, Michonne. I feel for her. She hung up the sword. Remember the last time she was without it? Post-Terminus, Michonne admitted that she didn’t miss the sword. It represented so many things, a part of life that she wanted no part of. Eventually, the sword made its way back into her bloodied hands. It is her cross to bear. Michonne wants to feel safe in Alexandria, she wants stability. But, she also knows first hand what a facade ‘civilized’ people can create (Woodbury, Terminus) and though she is playing nice, Michonne still keeps a watchful eye. However, I do think that hanging up the sword was premature. I love that she corsetted the back of the police jacket!
I want to discuss the exchange between Michonne and Abraham. Maybe I’m just romanticizing things, but I saw a little something-something between these two during the party. Keep in mind, I’m also pulling from possible story arcs in the comics. Now, if things had gone the way they were in the comics, then back at the prison Tyreese and Carol would have been a couple. Michonne would have broken that up (damn, girl). Carol would have killed herself. Ty would have met the fate that we saw TV Governor deliver to Hershel. Basically, Michonne wasn’t above getting involved with a ‘taken’ man. Okay, then there’s Abraham. In the comics, Abraham meets Holly at Alexandria. They become a thing, in spite of his ‘relationship’ with Rosita. Is it at all fathomable that Abraham and Michonne would have a quick hookup, in place of a long-term coupling that he had with comics Holly? Perhaps it was Abraham’s encouragement to “Try again” that led Michonne to realize that it would take more than donning a dress at at cocktail party for her to adjust, and causing her to hang up the sword? I’m keeping an eye on these two for the next week or so. Regardless, keep a close eye on Abraham. If the series follows the comics at all his story in Alexandria, things will get dark soon.
Next up, Daryl. “The longer they’re out there, the more they become what they really are.” Was Daryl just talking about the horse, Buttons, or his people? Aaron’s guilt over the loss of Buttons led him to comment that the horse “always ran” to which Daryl responded, “You were trying to help him.” Okay, now we are definitely talking about Daryl. Since day one on this show, whenever anyone tried to help or get through to Daryl he either pushed them away or did his own version of ‘running’ away. Rick has a slight hold on him; a brotherly understanding. He and Carol have an unspoken connection unrivaled by any other. And for a brief moment, Beth found a way to crack his armor. This is the first time that someone has shown faith in Daryl’s character and he is accepting of it. I think this is because until now, anyone that attempted to show Daryl his worth has been someone within their group. It’s sort of how I accept compliments from strangers over compliments from family/close friends; they’re my inner circle, thus they have to like me. Aaron and Eric are not part of Daryl’s inner circle, yet they have shown him faith. I want this for Daryl. But I don’t want him to end up burned by it down the line. Not that I distrust Aaron or Eric, rather, I’m more afraid that something will happen to someone like Carol or Sasha and Daryl will blame himself for not being there for them in the capacity ‘old’ Daryl would have been.
Which brings me to Rick. Oh, Rick. What the hell happened to you? I have a request for the writers of the show: Please bring Jon Bernthal on board for hallucination purposes the way you did for Tyreese with David Morrissey. Please. Pretty please? Rick’s descent into everything that he despised and distrusted about Shane is physically killing me. At some point, his guilt needs to get the best of him. Rick needs to recognize the similarities, then start having ‘visits’ from his best friend, Shane. Then, Shane can laugh at him, mock him, criticize him, and eventually motivate Rick to get off his ass and do what needs to be done. Seriously, making a move on a married woman? At least Shane waited until he honestly assumed Rick was a goner. Fact: This officially makes Rick scummier than Shane ever was. I did love the little pissing contest between her husband and Rick. It played out exactly the way things used to at camp between Shane and Rick. Single guy smiles at wife. Wife smiles back. Husband puts a hand on wife to guide her away whilst simultaneously showing the world that by his hand she has been “claimed”. Single guy instinctively puts a hand on his gun as if to say ‘not for long’ to the husband. Somewhere the ghosts of Shane and Lori are shaking their heads at Officer Gettin-Too-Friendly.
I did love the final scene where Rick–who is strolling down MORGAN STREET, by the way–hears a banging noise at the wall and runs to investigate. We don’t hear the noise because we are listening to the sounds of the Bee Gees. Anyhow, Rick realizes that he is safe on the inside of the wall as the walker remains on the outside. Unlike the prison, he won’t have to stand there clearing the fence line all day. Does this make Rick feel relieved? Or does it make him feel trapped? The last time Rick was within rusted walls like that, marked with a letter A, he was about to be killed in Terminus. Later, the Termites trapped them at Gabriel’s church and marked the building with the same train car letter to let them know that those in Car A would still be doomed. Terminus is long gone, but are they symbolically still members of train Car A?
In the comics, Abraham learns that the Alexandrians assign jobs outside the wall–repairing it on a construction crew–to those they deem dispensable, dumber. This storyline may have been borrowed against when they wrote about the cops at Grady Memorial for the TV series, killing the strong and keeping/controlling those deemed weak, only in reverse. Maybe the events in Atlanta are meant to be a warning, with the letter A symbolizing a remembrance of who they were before (Remember/Forget) they left Atlanta? Or maybe it’s just a Scarlett Letter marking Rick as a soon-to-be adulterer.
Final random thoughts:
Rick said that the folks in Alexandria were “lucky” to have them there. Really? It seems like they’ve been doing just fine for 2+ years now, don’t you think? What I want to know is this: How is it that the residents are so oblivious to what goes on beyond the walls? It took Reg a lot of time (and help) to build the wall securing the town. I want to know what went on during that time. Yes, Deanna said most of that area was evacuated early on, supposedly leaving very few walkers behind. But come on! DC metro is a very, very crowded area and the outskirts are a very poor area. Your politico families may have been evacuated or secured, but after all of this time, walkers will have built up just like they did in Atlanta, or at the veterinary college, or on that farm beyond the firetruck. How is it that they can make all this noise with guns just outside the walls and have so few walkers?
What did the Alexandrians experience and how did they convert so easily into Stepford people? Their immunity to the rest of the world makes me very uneasy. I trust nothing about Alexandria.
Deanna said they’ve never had anyone in the tower, no security watch was ever needed. What? How is that even possible? I’ll tell you how. *coughcoughNegancoughcough* Someone is keeping things cleared out for them. Did you ever see the movie A Bug’s Life? The locusts are coming. Or Wolves. Or Saviors. Pick a name, they’re coming.
It’s like Sasha said, “This isn’t real.”
P.S. What if the “wolves” and all of the walkers carved with the letter W are just a red herring? [maniacal laugh]
Until next time….