(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead unless otherwise specified.)
Well, well, well, my TWD obsessed darlings, it seems there’s a new constable in the walled, sustainable town of Alexandria, and he’s bringing the clean-shaven manliness along with the muscle and the menace…the beard is gone, but the wildness lurks beneath the chiseled surface.
And that’s the way we like it.
There are those who mourn the beard, yes. I do understand. But remember, darlings, the man makes the beard. The beard does not make the man.
Just think of all those urban scenesters rocking hipster beards across the world at this very moment. They look pretty cool drinking their PBR’s and shit, but many of them couldn’t change a tire if their life depended on it…maybe with some time, a few more PBR’s, and much discussion, bickering, and cigarette breaks, a group of three or four of them could put their combined brains and brawn together and figure it out.
Of course, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about our favorite Deputy of Id, Rick Smash! Has the primal manbeast that we have all grown to love so well gone down the drain with the lather and the whiskers?
Oh, hell no.
The beard may be gone, yes, but Rick Smash! remains. Don’t worry, darlings. He’s still there.
Rick Smash! has merely gone under the radar, gone rogue. He is showing the outside world his more socially adept manifestation, Rick-In-Charge (aka. Constable Grimes) but smoldering and simmering under the clean lines of his demigod jawline, Rick Smash! is crouched and waiting. He needs to be, and he knows it.
Shit’s coming, and if my hunches (and many others’) are correct, Alexandria’s impressive walls will not be able to protect them much longer from what lurks on the outside.
In The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 12, “Remember,” there’s a game of seven card stud being played by two powerful leaders of two very different communities for the highest of stakes: the survival and continuance of their respective tribes, their chosen “families.”
In theory, the two tribes, one led by Rick Grimes, and the other led by Deanna Monroe, leader of Alexandria (played by Tovah Feldshuh, wielding her usual mastery and grace), can combine and continue, stronger than ever.
It’s a good theory, but there are many variables to consider, and there are many, many questions that have yet to be answered. Until all the cards in each player’s respective hands are revealed, we do not yet know what each player’s motives, intentions, and ultimate goals really are with this arrangement, of Alexandria taking in Rick and his gang.
We know what Rick and his gang need from Alexandria: food, shelter, a safe and secure place for Rick’s children to live, and hopefully, grow up.
But, we still don’t quite know what Deanna Monroe’s true motives in taking Rick’s group in really are, at this point. We can only guess.
As Deanna tells Rick, in their initial interview, it has been a long while since Alexandria took in anybody new to their sheltered, sustainable community, which has served, thus far, to be one of the more powerful barriers we have seen yet in TWD.
Since the walker epidemic’s inception, Alexandria, with its impressive walls, has pretty effectively shut out the horrors of the outside world and encased its inhabitants in a protective bubble.
These days, the citizens of Alexandria seem to be suffering more from boredom and restlessness than anything else.
But, as this month’s full moon in Virgo reminds us, change is inevitable, and the reality bomb seems like it’s about to drop on Alexandria.
Nobody stays safe for too long these days, especially when they most surely have some pretty choice digs for the taking.
Deanna Monroe seems to know this all too well, and she has sent Aaron and Eric out, at real risk to their lives, to act as the Fabulously Gay Ambassadors of Alexandria.
Aaron and Eric’s mission: To scour the surrounding area for potential future citizens, survivors who know how to negotiate the savagery of the world outside the walls, but who still embody the ideals of community and humanity that Alexandria has been able to maintain, at least at a surface level, up to this point.
It is a tall order, and if Aaron and Eric actually do find such a group, they are then charged with the task of approaching the group, selling the group the idea of coming back to the community of Alexandria and “auditioning” for membership, and then transporting the group back to the walled community for taped interview with Deanna and tryouts.
It is a big risk, a big gamble, a bold play made by a woman who, by her own admission, would have been a professional poker player had she not become a congresswoman. It’s a risk big enough to be viewed, perhaps, as a last ditch effort, an act of sheer desperation.
Why else would Deanna Monroe make such a play, to let strangers who are well versed in the ways of the savagery of the world outside, into the heart, and underbelly, of her community, at potential risk, and harm, to her and her people? The risk is huge, so the stakes must be very high, indeed.
I have my guesses, as do many. What do you think is coming?
In the first dealing of seven card stud, it’s two cards down and one card up…we see the initial upcard only, at first, its ranking displayed openly. We can only guess at the cards facing down, and how each player’s hand will unfold as the game progresses.
It’s a test of each player’s skill, and will, as the first bets are placed, and then the bluffing, reading, mind-messing, and maneuvering begins. Ultimately, the game becomes a “two down, four up, one down,” ending in a “showdown,” where each player makes the best five-card poker hand out of the seven cards he/she has been dealt.
Until the time comes for the final “showdown,“ when all will be revealed, this game of poker being played between Rick Grimes and Deanna Monroe is a taut back-and-forth between two leaders, and their chosen families, who are, in some ways very different, and in some ways, very much alike…the biggest similarity, of course, is that all of these people, sheltered or savage, are fighting for survival in a brutal, post-apocalyptic world.
In TWD’s Episode 512, director Greg Nicotero and the rest of Kirkman’s Army deal us viewers another expertly crafted, game-changing episode that delivers the thrills, chills, surrealism, and iconic images that have become the norm in Season 5, searing themselves upon our collective psyches, social media, and upon pop-culture in general as now-classic TWD moments.
And eye candy. There was lots of eye candy served up in this episode. Thank you, Andrew Lincoln and Greg Nicotero. Me, and my married lady friends, thank you very, very much.
#RickPorn ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Anyhow, regarding Deanna Monroe’s true motives for taking in Rick and the gang, if the many clues, Easter Eggs, and speculations are correct, Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero, and the rest of Kirkman’s Army are about to get majorly TWD Comic Series on our asses
As I have said before, TWD’s Season 5 is all about bringing it. It’s time to sac up or pack up, people, because Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero have been waiting a long time for this moment to arrive.
Four and a half seasons, to be exact.
They have been candy-assing us for long enough. They. Are. Done. With. That.
The time for tough love is now, and now is the time for tough love. We must prepare ourselves, my WDO darlings.
Remember the drill we have discussed in previous posts. Plan, and implement, your coping methodology. Stock the fridge, replenish your personal pharmacopeia, secure your Daryl Partner.
(For more on Daryl Partners, refer to my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens After?” in the archives.)
Start your own grass-roots Walking Dead support group. Take long walks, outside, and listen to the sounds of the world around you. Hug your children, your partner, your friends, your pets, a lot. Keep lots of chocolate on hand for when you need a serotonin boost.
Listen to music. Do your yoga. Take time for yourself if you need to go have a good cry. You must take good care of yourself and your #TWDFamily around you, because I really feel like we are about to get our asses kicked.
Seriously, people, I am not fucking around here. Kirkman loves nothing more than to slap us up like the little bitches we are, and I think he and his army are about to get jiggy with it…just saying.
If I’m correct, Kirkman’s Army is about to throw down The Iron Maiden on our asses.
And, maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe I’m Chicken Fucking Little and the sky isn’t really about to fall on our heads. Anybody who actually reads this tweaker-ass blog knows that I am prone to wild imaginings and am constantly casting out completely wrong theories.
At this point, it’s practically my trademark.
But, as Abraham Ford said, to Tara, one night as they sat against a tree: I’m right, and I’m wrong.
Sometimes it goes one way, and sometimes it goes the other.
All I’m saying is, if the shit goes down, and the sky does fall on all our heads, and you find yourself shuffling around work, or home, or school, with a haunted, vacant look in your eyes from too little sleep, too many nightmares, and the latest TWD storyline mayhem and can’t-shake-them images (courtesy of Nicotero & Co.) seared into your broken heart and tormented brain, keep telling yourself, darlings, as real as it feels to us TWD fans, and as much as we love our sweet gang, it’s only a show.
Say it with me. It’s only a show. It isn’t real. It’s only a show.
And, if a beloved character does die, or have some other tragedy befall them on the show, remember that the actors who play them are alive, well, and will remain rich off royalties, guest appearances, and all the fantastic future opportunities that await them.
Playing a major character in a standalone pop culture phenomenon like The Walking Dead pretty much guarantees that any actor who has “suddenly” become available for other projects will be a hot ticket, indeed.
Life will indeed go on, and it really is all good, my TWD obsessed darlings.
Of course, for all my brave talk, I am going to be freaking out just like everyone else if serious shit goes down. But, I will stick to my personal coping methodology.
I will breathe. I will watch Talking Dead and take comfort in Chris Hardwick’s calming manner and funny jokes. I will watch the actors who play the departed, beloved characters laugh and joke and talk about their upcoming projects as they sit on the TD couch.
I will lean on my Daryl Partner, and I will support her when she needs to lean on me. I will attend TWD support group, and I will talk about my feelings, and I will listen as others talk about theirs. We will laugh, we will cry. We will drink the coffee provided, and we will eat the donuts. And we will take comfort in our friends and family, in our #TWDFamily. ❤
And we will keep telling ourselves, It’s only a show. It isn’t real. It’s only a show.
And maybe, maybe one day, we will actually believe it.
The Walking Dead’s Episode 512 opens as the gang, along with Aaron and Eric, emerge from their vehicles and approach the gates of Alexandria. Aaron supports Eric as he limps gamely on his injured ankle, while Rick, holding Baby Judith, and the others cautiously approach the gate, which slowly, noisily begins to roll open for them.
As they approach, Carl looks back at one of the houses which stand outside the gates, and is surprised to see a figure in one of the windows, a girl, looking out at him.
Michonne passes, obscuring the window a moment, then when Carl does a double take, once he can see the window again, the figure of the girl is gone.
A loud, clattering noise from the side startles the gang, and they whirl in unison, pointing weapons, and we hear the hiss of Daryl’s arrow spearing the offender, a possum who most likely toppled a metal trash can in search of a meal.
The gatekeeper, a young man, stands watching in silent disbelief as Daryl picks up the possum by the tail, then turns and announces, deadpan, “We brought dinner.”
Aaron quickly assures the gatekeeper that it’s ok, and bids the gang to come inside. The gang watches as the gates roll closed, and lock behind them.
The gatekeeper/guard immediately says, “Before we take this any further, I need you all to turn over your weapons.” At the gang’s looks, he continues, “If you stay, you hand them over.”
Rick steps forward and says, none too friendly, “We don’t know if we wanna stay.”
Aaron turns to Nicholas, the gatekeeper, and quietly assures him that it’s ok. Papi Grimes chimes in, informs Nicholas, Aaron, and anybody else in Alexandria who is listening:
Aaron tells Nicholas to let them talk to Deanna. “Who’s Deanna?” demands Abraham, loudly (and thus, one of Chris Hardwick’s favorite TWD lines was uttered).
Aaron replies that Deanna is the one who can tell them anything they want to know about this place. Aaron turns to Rick, suggests, “Rick? Why don’t you go first?“
In response, Rick turns back towards his people, and seeing something beyond the gate’s bars, prompts, “Sasha.”
After the opening credits, we see a shot of Rick, looking around an airy, spacious office with high ceilings and art on the walls. Sunlight pours through the tall windows, which are framed with fine white curtains.
There are many bookshelves in the office, filled with books, and the mantlepiece holds candles, knicknacks, pictures, and other items of interest. There is even a flat screen tv mounted to the wall.
It looks warm, and inviting, and very well used, like an actual, working office of some esteemed, titled individual from days past.
As Rick takes this in, a woman comes quietly into the office behind him, regards him for the briefest of seconds before grinning and introducing herself.
Deanna proves herself a worthy match to this tactic by asking Rick, in the next breath, “You mind if I film this?” This gets Rick’s attention, and he quickly turns back to face her.
Rick, who has recovered himself quickly, says, indifferently, “Go ahead.” He turns back to the window as Deanna walks over to turn on the camera. Rick peers out the window, at the tall walls and the white steeple of a church. “Why film this?” he asks.
“We’re all about transparency here,” Deanna replies easily. She motions with her head, invites Rick to sit down, “Please.”
The next shot is aimed at the vantage point of the chair, which Rick has not yet sat down in. We see his legs, his worn black pants, and we hear Deanna’s voice, a trifle tinny…we know that we are seeing through the lens of her camera, and hearing her voice through the recording microphone. After a moment’s hesitation, Rick sits down, a trifle awkwardly, into the soft living-room style chair.
“How long have you been out there?” Deanna begins the interview. “Since the beginning,” Rick replies.
“How did you all find each other?” Deanna continues. “Did you all know each other be-…” Rick cuts her off, “We didn’t know each other before.” His voice has a touch of annoyance, as does his manner, as he eases himself slowly, hesitantly, into the chair.
At this point in the watching, I wondered two things…I wondered, first, if this scene was crafted by Nicotero to be reminiscent of one of my fave movies of all time, Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
The way Deanna asks Rick if he minds if she films the interview immediately reminded me of how the James Spader character asked in S, L and V, and the shots through the vantage point of the camera hearken back to some of the most riveting imagery of that incredible film.
If so, bravo, Greg Nicotero. It makes me love you, and TWD, even more. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is one of the great ones, and enough homage cannot be paid to that visionary, sexy, disturbing, timeless film.
Second, I also couldn’t help but wonder if Deanna Monroe, like the rest of us, was already crushing hard on Rick Grimes. I mean, man. Like seriously…literally. Man! ❤ ❤
Deanna tells Rick that she used to be a “congressperson,” before the turn. “Ohio, 15th District,” she tells him, with a small smile and a nod.
Deanna motions to Rick, with her head, her eyebrows lifted. “You?”
Rick replies, “I don’t think it matters anymore.” Deanna is quick to disagree. “Oh, I know it does,” she counters.
Rick ignores the question. “What is this place?” he asks. You can hear the smile behind Deanna’s voice. “It’s the ‘start of sustainability,’“ she replies. “That’s what the brochures we found say.”
Rick does not share her laugh, shifts a little in his chair and looks away, asking, “How did you end up here?” Deanna explains that as she and her family tried to get back to Ohio from D.C., so she could help her district manage the crisis, the Army stopped them on a back road and directed them here. The Army was supposed to come later. Deanna looks at Rick with a small shake of her head.
“They didn’t,” she says, softly.
But, Deanna continues, looking around the room, there were supplies here, and they made the best of it. “You put up the wall?” asks Rick. Deanna replies that there was a huge shopping mall in the process of being built nearby, and her husband, Reg, is a professor of architecture.
“And,” Deanna says, leaning forward, “who he was mattered, quite a bit.“ Reg, along with their sons, put up the first plates of the wall. After a time, more people arrived, they had help, and from there, they built a community.
Rick sits, taking this all in. He cocks his head at Deanna, asks, incredulously, “You’ve been behind these walls this entire time?”
As they face each other across the table, Deanna mirrors Rick’s posture by sitting forward on the couch, leaning forward, arms resting on the thighs. She tells Rick that they (Alexandria) need people who have been outside. She tells him that his group is the first group in a long time that they have even considered bringing inside their walls.
“You should keep your gates closed,” Rick tells Deanna bluntly, quietly.
“Why?” she whispers, mirroring his soft tone.
Rick continues, “People out there are always looking for an angle, looking to play on your weakness,”
Deanna interrupts him, asks:
When we hear Deanna’s voice again, it is through the camera, recording. “Aaron says I can trust you.”
Rick’s reply is immediate. “Aaron doesn’t know me. I’ve killed people…“ Rick looks down, shaking his head. “I don’t even know how many, by now.”
Sitting across from Rick, matching his posture, looking into his face, Deanna says:
Deanna continues, addressing Rick by name, telling him that northern Virginia was effectively evacuated, millions of people, gone. For a long time, there’s hardly been anyone here, living or dead, but still, “We’ve lost people,” Deanna says, simply.
She looks down, then at her hands. “And, uh, I’ve done things.”
Rick looks into her face, as they sit across from one another. “What have you done?” he asks her.
Deanna tells Rick that she exiled three people, who “didn’t work out…and we both know that’s as good as killing them.”
(Not so fast, there, Deanna Monroe…I have a sneaking feeling that at least one, if not all, of your exiles have managed to survive, and are planning a return visit, soon, if they haven’t called upon the hallowed steel gates of Alexandria already…and if that isn’t the reason for your sending Aaron and Eric out to scour the surrounding countryside for hardy and seasoned warriors who have managed, thus far, to survive the savagery of the outside world…you may need some muscle, some soldiers for hire, to give yourself and your community a fighting chance at surviving the war that may be coming for you, sooner than later.)
At this, Rick stands, walks over to the window, hands on hips, looking out. “What do you want from us?” he asks.
Deanna stands, walks over to the window, faces Rick.
Deanna takes a step toward Rick. “What do I want? I want you to help us survive. I know you can help us do that.”
“How?” asks Rick, hoarsely. “I am exceptionally good at reading people,” replies Deanna. “If I didn’t win re-election, I was going to become a professional poker player.”
Rick looks away, laughs. “I’m not kidding,” Deanna tells him, in a loud whisper.
Deanna looks down at her watch. “Rick,” she says, “it’s 3:37pm. You’re skeptical...you have a right to be. But it’s time to decide…if you’re the one doing the deciding.”
(Man, she’s good! She’s def not kidding around about being a master poker player. I am thinking, in the brains division, Deanna Monroe would be a major contender in Top Mama Tapout.)
With this, Deanna Monroe steps back, interlaces her fingers behind her back, and waits. Rick says nothing, looks down and sets his watch to the correct time.
In the next sequence, it’s outside, and Deanna is explaining the procedure of turning over the weapons to Rick’s group.
The following sequence is hilarious, played perfectly by Melissa McBride…
As the cart girl backs away, pulling her fully loaded cart with her, she jokes, “Shoulda brought another bin.”
Once the girl is gone, the smile is too, and Rick steps forward, his face reflecting what they all seem to be feeling right about now…
Aaron takes Rick to see their new digs, which are pretty damn impressive.
Aaron, who is sporting a pretty damn impressive bruise on the lower corner of his mouth and chin, courtesy of Rick Smash!, tells them that Deanna asked the other residents of the community to hang back and give Rick and his gang some space to get used to their new digs and settle in.
“If you need anything, call me,” Aaron tells them. At their confused looks, Aaron looks down and laughs at himself, explains awkwardly that of course he doesn’t have a phone… “I’m four houses down,” he tells Rick and Carl, pointing the way towards his residence.
Rick and Carl approach the door to one of the houses, and cautiously step in, in the “clearing” manner they have become so accustomed to. The house has no walkers, of course, but it does have plenty of space, and furniture, some decorations on the walls, empty picture frames stacked up. There are even throw pillows on the couch.
Carl goes to the kitchen, stands in front of the sink a moment before turning it on…
And speaking of running water, and things that are pretty damn impressive…
Once the shower part of the program is done, we get to Act II…The Shave Sequence.
By this time in the watching, I, and many of my married lady friends, went a little “Mental AWOL” on our marriage vows. But, the #RickPorn was just beginning, because then this happens…
Meanwhile, in Deanna’s office…
Later, Daryl continues his acting out against Alexandria: Vanilla Dream by cleaning his possum right on the porch of one of their assigned houses, tossing the guts right onto the treated wood slats.
Rick, holding Baby Judith, and Carl are wandering around the porch. Carol comes out and joins them. Nobody gives Daryl and the possum a second glance…that’s not what’s unnerving them about their current surroundings. It’s probably the closest thing to normal for them, now. Carl wants to go check out the house next door, and Rick tells him it’s ok, just make sure to keep it quick
Carl sets off, and Rick and Carol exchange a look.
The look Rick and Carol exchange says it all. They both feel it…something’s weird. There’s something going on that isn’t being said, for all the comforts and hospitality being offered by Deanna Monroe and her community.
Carol leaves the porch and follows Carl to the house next door. As Carl looks around the downstairs, he marvels, “These are like mansions.” Carol goes over to a window, peers out the horizontal blinds.
After a moment, Carol turns to go. She asks Carl if he’s coming, and he tells her he will catch up with her in a little bit. Carol goes outside, and she meets up with Rick, and Daryl, who are walking in the narrow yard space between the two houses.
Porch Council reconvenes…
Meanwhile, in the other house, Carl is poking around downstairs when he hears a creaking noise, above. He makes his way cautiously up the stairs, then draws his knife as he approaches a closed door. Slowly, knife drawn, Carl reaches out and opens the door…
Later, the gang is getting ready to bed down for the night. They are all camping out downstairs, in the living room, and it becomes apparent that some in this gang are really trying to figure out what to do with themselves in all this quiet..
Michonne, however, has no problem knowing what to do with herself. Coming into the room, smiling, girly, so fresh and so clean-clean, she laughs and asks the others how long she was in there. Rick guesses, (probably after checking his watch), “Twenty minutes.”
In reply, Rick, rubbing his face, mumbles something about his thinking the exact same thing, before, and after, the epic shave, as he starts to walk past her. He was looking all shaven and beautiful, but I kind of didn’t like the way he was acting to Michonne in the moment, so I didn’t take a picture of it.
I swear, if Rick hooks up with that dumb Jessie girl and hurts Michonne’s feelings, I am going to be pissed. It would be tragically disappointing, and it may negatively affect my crush on him, if even for just a little while.
It would suck, like when one of your favorite guy friends, or favorite guys, in general, hooks up with some dumb girl you can’t stand. Ugh, please, just say no to that shit, Rick Grimes. The haircut wasn’t that great. Michonne could do a way better job, and she’d probably be really good at shaving, too.
I don’t hate Jessie, and I would never begrudge a young woman (raising two sons in the post-apocalypse with an asshole, possibly abusive husband) her hot, unexpected crush and a mild flirtation with her son’s friend’s dad…but…
Bitch needs to recognize that Richonne don’t got any part of “Jessie” in it.
(Now, because this post is super duper late as fuck, I watched Episode 513 last night, as did pretty much all of you, and I now know that Rick Smash! has it bad for Jessie, giving her the hungry eyes at Deanna’s party, and fantasizing about killing her pud husband and shit. I knew it was in the works the moment that chick came to the door, so there, I know. We all know. There is no Richonne, at least in the romantic sense. I am resigned. Annoyed as hell, but resigned. I’ll get over it. Meh.)
Anyhow, Rick leans in, and Michonne quietly says to him that she understands why they are playing it safe, but…she has a good feeling about this place.
(Yeah, man, I would too, you know? It’s vanilla postapocalyptic suburbia, a glass castle, but it’s got a wall, and houses, and it’s stocked as anything. It’s like, hey, the whole setup is rife with bullshit, but I get to brush my teeth here, and take a shower, and eat food that isn’t possum and acorns, and sleep more than two hours at a time, and sit on the couch and read comic books. I have a really, really great feeling about this place...I fucking love this place!)
Man, there’s always a catch in this cruel, cockblocking zombie apocalypse. It’s exhausting, it truly is.
Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. The gang startles a bit, and Rick goes to the door, opens it, and it is Deanna Monroe, “checking in” on how everyone is doing. Deanna’s face, upon seeing Rick’s clean shaven one, registers her shock.
Deanna starts to apologize for interrupting, and then she sees the whole gang, together, camping in the living room. “Oh, my,” she says, with a smile in her voice.
Rick changes the subject, mentions to Deanna that he heard she gave everyone jobs. She agrees, saying that’s “part of this place,” then laughs, joking that it looks like “the communists won after all.”
Rick gives a small, polite laugh at this, then says:
Deanna turns for one last look at Rick. “You look good,” she says, before walking out the door.
That night, as the others lay sleeping across the living room floor, Rick lay awake with his eyes open. He gets up, covers Carl’s sleeping form, and makes his way to the kitchen. He silently opens the knife drawer and pulls out a large chopping knife. He looks at the knife a moment, tests the blade, before bringing it close to his side. It seems the knife will be beside him, in easy reach, when he goes to lie back down in the living room.
In the next scene, we see Michonne in the frame of Deanna’s recording camera. She has gone to the bookshelf and selected a volume, then seats herself in the interview chair.
“We’re ready for this,” asserts Michonne. We hear Deanna’s voice through the camera’s mic, “All of you?” Michonne looks away a moment, shifts in the chair, then composes herself back to stillness, facing the camera.
“All of us,” she asserts.
Jessie tells Rick that it’s been awhile since there’s been a baby in these parts, and that Judith is probably going to have to deal with some pinched cheeks. Rick is majorly rattled, and Jessie assures him that it’s ok, she gets it.
Before he turns to go, Jessie asks Rick if Carl can come over to their house, now, as Rowan really wants to meet him, to hang. Rick agrees, and so Carl goes over to Rowan’s house.
As Rowan brings Carl up to his room, he tells him that they are there almost every day after school, and invites Carl to come over, any time. Carl marvels that they have school, and Rowan explains to him that it’s just in a garage, and the little kids go in the mornings, while older kids go in the afternoons.
“Probably you too, right?” Rowan asks Carl. “Probably,” Carl agrees.
Carl pulls out the “Wolf Fight” comic from his pocket, asks Mikey and Rowan if it is theirs.
Rowan apologizes, says he didn’t know “they” got that house, and Mikey admits that they used to hang up in the attic room and listen to music. The comic is actually Enid’s, and she quickly snatches it from Carl’s hand and puts it next to her on the bed, then continues reading. Carl watches her a moment, fascinated, take this all in, then looks away.
In the next scene, Carl and Judith are in Deanna’s office, sitting in the interview chair, being recorded as Carl “talks” with Deanna.
Later, Carl is lying in his bed, and Rick comes into the room, asks how Rowan’s house was. Carl asks Rick, point blank, what he, Rick, thinks of this place.
Later, that night, Michonne awakes to see Rick standing at the window, looking out. After a moment, she stands up, goes over to the window.
It was hard for me go get exactly how their conversation went down, after repeated playbacks, but the general feeling I got from it was that, if all is as good and orderly and democratic around here as Deanna Monroe is saying, then why are the both of them up, unable to sleep, in that moment? Michonne doesn’t have a reply. Rick tells her he’s going to take a walk, puts his hand on her shoulder, and leaves her there, thinking.
Later, Rick lay sleeping…then:
In the next sequence, it’s back to the interview chair in Deanna Monroe’s office, where we all meet: Junior League Carol.
We hear Deanna Monroe’s voice, through the camera, ask, (a trifle doubtfully, perhaps), “Where do you think you’ll fit in?”
Junior League Carol acts perplexed by this question, looks down, brow knitted, makes some hems, haws and even kind of squeaks a little, “Hmmm?!” before saying, brightly, “Well, I’d like to be involved in the community…do you have anything like a Junior League?“
Later, it gets even more surreal…
Carol explains that one of her duties with her newly assigned job is to make meals for those who cannot: elders, overwhelmed moms, those who can’t cook. “I get to meet a lot of our neighbors that way,” Carol adds. She’s a woman on a mission…she wants to figure these people out.
Daryl snorts a laugh, goes back to his crossbow. “Alright,” he replies, doubtfully.
Carol tells Daryl to take a shower, and she’ll wash his vest…they need to keep up appearances, even him. Daryl replies, “Hell, I ain’t startin’ now.”
As she marches off to her call of duty, Carol informs Daryl that she’s going to “hose you down in your sleep.”
Meanwhile, back at Deanna’s office:
“Why?” Deanna’s voice asks. Glenn pauses a moment, looks back at Deanna, the camera.
Meanwhile, Beardless Rick (as Kevin Smith referred to the clean shaven Rick Grimes on Talking Dead) seems to have checked out his weapons from Alexandria’s Gun Lending Library and is going on a walkabout outside the hallowed gates.
Carl, meanwhile, is inside the walls, and the house, trying to figure out what the hell to do with himself…a movement outside the window catches his eye, and he spies:
Meanwhile, speaking of bunk-ass shit…
Aidan initally appears nice enough, and cute enough, at first. He’s friendly, he guesses their names, introduces Nicholas (who was pulling “gate duty,” before).
Glenn asks him, “You’re Deanna’s son?”
Aidan answers this in the affirmative: “That’s right.”
Then, it’s time to get down to business. “I hear you have experience making supply runs.” Glenn remarks to Aidan that he’s seen their pantry, that they seem to do pretty well. This puffs Aidan up, and he’s very proud to announce that he had some training, “ROTC. Was nearing lieutenant when this shit blew in.”
Nicholas looks over at Aidan, with this statement, with the look of someone who’s heard this like a million times, before, but who knows better than to roll his eyes. Noah speaks up, says his dad was in ROTC. Aidan is perceptive enough to ask, “He didn’t make it?”
Noah looks down, shakes his head, “Nah.”
Aidan takes a moment more (a true politician’s son), and then gets back to business with a comment, “I’m sorry a lot these days,” and then, it’s chop, chop, kids, because Aidan and his second, Nicholas, are gonna “show them the ropes” and the “terrain” outside the walls. They are going to make a “dry run,” so Aidan and Nicholas can “see how you do.”
Aidan tries some “sac” comment on Tara, which she only mocks slightly, and when Glenn asks about weapons, Aidan says that they picked out “some sweet-ass biscuits for today.”
Glenn and Tara manage to keep straight faces as they follow Aidan and Nicholas, along with Noah, out beyond the walls.
Meanwhile, Enid, who could probably show Aidan a thing or two, is making her way through the woods…
Enid hears a clanging noise in the distance, and bolts through the woods. Carl tries to go after her, but loses her quickly.
Meanwhile, in another part of the woods, Rick sees a barn in the near distance, hears the clatter of something being crashed inside. Then, making his cameo appearance…
Rick decides that it’s not worth it, and he heads to the abandoned house where he stashed the gun in the plastic blender, but when Rick looks in the blender…
Meanwhile, in another part of the woods, Aidan is informing Glenn, Tara, and Noah that they have been increasing their radius outside the walls, mile by mile, when going on runs. Nicholas adds, proudly, that they’ve gotten up to 53 miles away from Alexandria at this point.
Aidan adds that they break up into two groups once they step outside the vehicle…if shit hits, the one group fires a flare, and the other group runs to join them.
“Good system,” Noah comments. “It is,” replies Aidan, who is now fully in Near Lieutenant mode. He goes on to inform them that they are “standing here” because they lost four people last month. Glenn asks what happened.
Aidan replies that they were on a run, “roamers” appeared, and the ones who were lost “didn’t follow the system.”
Nicholas adds that they were “good people,” and Aidan agrees…they were good people, they were just “scared.”
But, Aidan says, “Somebody needs to ‘call the ball’ around here, and that somebody is me. If you are a part of this crew, you do exactly as I say.”
Glenn, Noah, and Tara say nothing in response to this, then Tara says, simply, “I’m sorry you lost your people.”
Aidan says, “Yeah, but we got ours.” He and Nicholas exchange knowing looks, smiles. Nicholas explains that they managed to “snag one of the deadheads” who got their people, and they strung it up.
Glenn asks, horrified, “What? Why?”
Nicholas explains that now, they have a little “pregame ritual, to remind us what we’re up against.”
But, when they get to the spot where, supposedly, they had a walker strung up, all they find is this:
Aidan starts freaking out, “Son of a bitch! Help me find it.” Nicholas observes that the blood is still fresh, so it hasn’t been too long since the roamer got free. Great sleuthing, dude.
As Bugs Bunny would say, “Whatta coupla maroons!”
Nicholas whistles loudly, again, and this time, Houdini Walker comes to the sound of the dinner bell…
Houdini Walker proves itself wiley, snappy, and slippery, figuring out to whirl around and come close to chomping Aidan in the face (that would have been awesome), and Tara is good enough to come to Aidan’s rescue.
Houdini Walker’s rotting skin tears away from its back as Tara tries to grab it back, away from Aidan, and the walker comes dangerously close to chomping her face, when Glenn sinks his knife into the walker’s skull, rekilling it for good.
“What the hell?!” yells Aidan. (In France, they would call him a “douche baguette.”)
“Yeah, what the hell??” counters Tara.
Glenn is apeshit. “You almost got her killed!”
The next shot shows them walking through the gates, Glenn walking ahead, furious.
Aidan calls out from behind, “You three need new gigs…you’re not ready for runs yet.” Glenn replies, “Pretty sure you have that backwards.“
Aidan steps back, says, with a laugh, that he’s not having this conversation. When they are out on runs, they do everything Aidan says. Glenn replies that’s great, then they’ll be as screwed as Aidan’s last group…oooo, burn, Aidan!
Glenn doesn’t, and Tara tries to tell Aidan to back off. Instead, Aidan shoves Glenn.
Noah chimes in, tries to tell them each to step back. Instead, Aidan shoves Glenn again.
“What is going on?” demands Deanna.
Aidan replies that “this guy has a problem with the way we do things here.” He turns to his mother. “Why’d you let these people in?”
Aidan jumps up, ready for more, and Michonne immediately steps up to him.
Unfortunately, Aidan backs off, and Deanna announces, loudly, that she wants everyone to hear this…Rick and his people are now a part of this community, as equals. She turns to her shitty son.
Deanna orders everyone to turn in their weapons, turns to Aidan and Nicholas and tells them that she wants to talk to the both of them in her office. She then turns to Rick, tells him she has her job for him...she wants him to be the town’s constable.
Deanna then turns to Michonne. “You too,” she says to her. She looks at Rick and Michonne. “Do you accept?” Rick says he will.
Deanna turns and quietly thanks Glenn. “For what?“ asks Glenn. “For knocking him on his ass,” replies Deanna. Glenn nods, and walks away, and Maggie smiles at Deanna before following him.
In the final sequence, we see the footage of Rick’s initial interview with Deanna Monroe. We hear his voice, which becomes a voice over for the next images, when we get our first glimpse of Constable Grimes in his new uniform:
Rick: You should keep your gates closed.
Rick: Because it’s all about survival, now. At any cost. People are always looking for an angle, looking to play on your weakness…they measure you by what they can take from you, by how they can use you to live.
When Rick comes out to the porch, Daryl is there. Rick asks Daryl if they’re ok, and Daryl says they are.
Daryl jokes, “You’re a cop again?” and Rick replies that he’s trying it out. Carol steps outside, and the Porch Council has convened, again.
Hey, Deanna, he can’t say he didn’t warn you!
Sorry so late, darlings…mommy/wifey thing called in some major time and attention these past couple of weeks. Getting to work on Episode 513, “Forget,” which of course will probably be another 11,000 or so words…we have lots to talk about with that one!
Enjoy the playlist, darlings. Next post up asap. ❤
Heart, “Barracuda” (for Deanna Monroe…I think I do see some sharp barracuda teeth gleaming in that lovely smile of yours, Deanna)
Band of Horses, “Our Swords”
Courtney Barnett, “Avant Gardner” (for Junior League Carol)
Flume & Chet Faker, “Drop The Game”
Ariel Pink, “Not Enough Violence”
The Dig, “I Already Forgot Everything You Said”