The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 11, “The Distance”

“The Distance”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”/FX’s “Archer” unless otherwise specified.)

When we left off with Rick and the gang last week, at the end of Episode 510, “Them,” many members of our favorite crew were catching the last few moments of a rare, long stretch of sleep in an abandoned barn, after riding out a harrowing night of violent storms, invading walker herds, and personality conflicts (not necessarily in that order, or order of importance).

As the sun rose on a new day, Daryl tried to settle down for a few moments of rest himself, after keeping night watch over the others (and good luck with that, Daryl Dixon), while Maggie and Sasha stepped out to catch the sunrise, and a few moments of soul-sister share time, before the others awoke.

Upon stepping out of the barn, Maggie and Sasha were met with an incredible sight…the raging storm of the night before had blown down many tall pine trees, which lay all around the barn, but somehow missed the barn completely.

While any one of the felled pines could have crushed the barn and killed the gang inside, the barn remained miraculously untouched, and unharmed, by the trees and the storm.

The felled pines did, however, serve to skewer and crush the reanimated, rotting walker horde that had charged the barn doors, the night before, as the storm raged. The gang was forced to rush the doors and work together, struggling mightily as they pushed back at the barn doors from the inside, keeping the walkers back, until the storm, and the trees, took care of the threat from the outside.

Seeing the trees, and the skewered, helpless walkers pinned underneath, seemed to awaken something deep within Maggie and Sasha...the realization, perhaps, that maybe there was hope, after all, even in these dark times. Maybe there was a benevolent force looking out for them, and maybe there really was something to believe in, to live for, in this crazy world.

As the young women sat, and watched the sunrise, sharing ruminations, resolve, and laughter, they were approached cautiously by a well-kempt, preppy stranger who greeted them, introducing himself as “Aaron.”  

Looking down the barrels of Sasha and Maggie’s guns, Aaron, with hands raised, tried to reassure the girls that he was “a friend” who bore tidings of “good news.” Aaron, inexplicably, seemed to know things about the group already, referring to Rick, “the leader,” by name, and asking to speak to him.

As the young women processed all this, holding Aaron at gunpoint, the broken music box suddenly sprang to life… and as its tinkly music played, and the tiny plastic ballerina twirled, we TWD fans, along with Maggie and Sasha, were all thinking our own versions of, “Just what in the walker apocalypse is going on here?”

In the opening shot of The Walking Dead’s Episode 11, “The Distance,” we see members of the gang, awake now, sitting on the barn floor. Some of the gang, like Carol, Abraham, and Daryl, are checking, cleaning their weapons, while others, like Rick, and Gabriel, are sitting quietly, alone in their thoughts.  Judith is playing quietly on the floor, while Carl is collecting boards, presumably to reinforce the barn, or make a bench, or something.

The barn door creaks open, and it’s Maggie. “Hey,” she calls to the others, as she pushes the door open a little wider, steps in, followed by…

hey everyone this is aaron

“Hey, everyone…”

hey everyone this is aaron 3

“…this is Aaron.”

The gang springs to life, drawing weapons as Daryl quickly goes to the barn door, peers out, then gives Aaron a rough patdown (lucky, Aaron!) as Maggie hurriedly explains, “We met him outside, he’s by himself…we took his weapons and his gear.”

gang ain't playin 1gang ain't playin 2gang ain't playin 3gang ain't playin 5gang ain't playin 6gang ain't playin 8

As the barn door is closed behind him, Aaron looks nervously, in thanks, towards Maggie, and then towards Rick and the group, who stand and face him silently, weapons drawn.

As the barn door is closed behind him, Aaron looks nervously, in quick thanks, towards Maggie, and then towards Rick and the group, who stand and face him silently, weapons drawn. “Hi,” he manages, and at the sound of a stranger’s voice, Judith begins to cry. Papi Grimes fixes Aaron with this withering look, before handing the baby over to Carl. Uh oh, Aaron, the baby doesn’t like you...and neither does Papi Grimes.  Not the most auspicious of beginnings for you so far, my friend.

Aaron nervously tries to step forward, towards Rick, with a “Nice to meet you,” only to be met, one step in, to the sound of weapons being cocked, and Daryl stepping up behind him. Aaron wisely stops in his tracks.

Rick, making no move to reply to Aaron's greeting, regards the stranger a moment more before asking, hoarsely,

Rick, making no move to reply to Aaron’s greeting, regards the stranger a moment more before asking Maggie, hoarsely, “You said he had a weapon?” As Aaron tries to not pee his pants (and I tried not to swoon over how hot Rick-In-Charge was being during this whole exchange), Maggie steps forward and hands Rick Aaron’s handgun.

rick sniffs gun, vibes aaron

Rick checks the chamber of Aaron’s gun, then sniffs the weapon, to see if it had been fired recently…then fixes Aaron with this look…

ricks like, yeah this is happening

…before putting Aaron’s gun in the back waistband of his pants, not breaking his gaze from Aaron’s face, like,Yeah, bitch, this is happening…I’m taking your gun…what are you gonna do about it?”

Aaron, of course, does, says nothing about Rick's taking his gun. Rick asks Aaron, softly,

Aaron, of course does, and says, nothing about Rick’s taking his gun. Rick asks Aaron, softly, “There somethin’ you need?”

(And at this point in the watching, I was getting all Cheryl Tunt and shit, like):

“Oooo, yeah, even that little bit’s enough to get the engine revved up!”

sasha sez he has a camp nearby and they are auditioning for membership

Sasha speaks up, saying that Aaron says he has a camp, nearby, and they want them, Rick and the gang, to “audition” for membership…

aaron audition moment

Aaron looks over at Sasha with some alarm, as this pronouncement is going over about as well as can be expected with this seasoned band of warriors...not very.

aaron explains audition term

Backpedaling like a motherfucker, Aaron quickly adds, “I – I wish there were another word…“audition” makes it sound like we’re a dance troupe…that’s only on Friday nights.”

aaron explains audition term 2

Aaron’s smile dies as his attempt at a joke falls flat…

The gang is not amused, Aaron, but I, for one, was laughing my ass off watching this scene.

The gang is not amused, Aaron. (But I, for one, was laughing my ass off, by this point, watching this scene…like, “Oh, no you DID NOT, Aaron.”)

Aaron’s voice is pretty shaky as he explains that it’s not a camp, it’s a community, and he, Aaron, thinks that our fine gang would make, “valuable additions.”  Aaron adds, quickly, that it’s not soley his “call,” that his job is to convince them to follow him back “home,” to his community…

As Rick glares at him, shifting his weight back and forth, one foot to the other, Aaron backpedals again…sounding like a rookie Alexandria Amway salesperson, Aaron tries the up-until-now-foolproof “Seeing Is Believing” selling technique:I know…if I were you, I wouldn’t go either…not until I knew exactly what I was getting into.

And with this, Aaron turns to Sasha, asking her, “Sasha, would you hand Rick my pack?” and earning himself this look from Sasha….

...and another peal of laughter on my part, watching this. Aaron, Aaron, Aaron, you dumbass...you've been listening to this gang for two weeks (and btw, creepy, much?) and this is the best presentation you could come up with? Two words: Weak. Sauce.

…and another peal of laughter on my part, watching this. Aaron, Aaron, Aaron, you dumbass…you’ve been listening to this gang for the last two weeks (and btw, creepy, much?) and this is the best presentation you could come up with? Two words: Weak. Sauce.

After a pregnant pause (ha ha, get it? Sonequa Martin-Green is pregnant at the filming of this episode), Sasha brings Rick Aaron’s backpack, and Aaron tells Rick to look in the front pocket.

As Rick pulls out an envelope, Aaron continues his “Seeing Is Believing” sales pitch, telling the group that while nothing he can say will convince them to follow him to his community, these (pictures) might…while Aaron apologizes for the poor picture quality, as they were taken with an old found camera, Daryl interjects, growling something to the effect of, “Words/Talk/Pictures/Cameras don’t mean/prove shit.” (Repeated playbacks yielded zero clarity on what exactly Daryl said, but it ended in something like “prove shit,” and he sure wasn’t sounding impressed with Aaron at this point.)

Aaron looks back at Daryl, nervously agrees that,

Aaron looks back at Daryl, nervously acknowledges that, “You’re absolutely, 100% right” (about whatever it was that you said.)

Rick looks at the first blurry picture, of tall walls, reinforced with diagonal supports bracing the walls from the inside, making a solid-looking barrier.

picture of walls

As Rick looks at the first picture, Aaron says, “That’s the first picture I wanted to show you, because nothing I say about our community will matter unless you know you’ll be safe. If you join us, you will be.”

Aaron bring his sales pitch home, extolling on the walls’ impressive stats and dimensions: “Each panel (of the wall) is a 15 ft. high, 12 ft. wide slab of solid steel, framed by cold-rolled steel beams, and square tubing.” 

Aaron continues, the emotion building in his voice as he gets swept up in his own fervor, “Nothing, alive or dead, gets through that without our say-so.”

As Daryl, and the rest of the gang, listen, Aaron continues his spiel,

As Daryl, and the rest of the gang, listen, Aaron continues his spiel, “Like I said, security is obviously important…”

…in fact, there’s only one resource more critical to our community’s survival:  the people.”

Together, we’re strong. You could make us even stronger.”

Aaron ends his sales pitch soliliquy with some big, velvet-painting puppy dog eyes. I mean, really, who doesn't want to believe him? But...doesn't this pitch seem a little, um, canned, practiced, like it's been used on other people? Does salvation really come in the form of...this guy?

Aaron ends his sales pitch soliloquy with some big, velvet-painting puppy-dog eyes. I mean, really, who doesn’t want to believe him? But…doesn’t this pitch seem a little, um, canned, practiced, like it’s been used on other people? Does salvation really come in the form of…this guy?

Ooooo...I think I see a familiar face...

OooooI think I see a familiar face…

Ummm...Rick Smash! don't think so.

Ummm, Aaron? Rick Smash! no likey your blurry pictures and your talky talk about big walls and impressive dimensions and all that shit…

Rick Smash! no likey.

It gives him a headache, and makes him see red and want to smash things…smash YOU.

And if Rick Smash! no likey, I no likey.

And, if Rick Smash! no likey, me no likey…

And I am, now and forever, riding in Rick Smash's! car...

…because I am, now and forever, riding in Rick Smash’s! car.

go rick smash go

🙂 ❤

rick went smash and we likey

As the others run toward Aaron’s unconscious form, Rick Smash! shakes out his fist, and looks down at Aaron, like, “STOP. FUCKING. TALKING.

ricksmash one last look

I love this last look he gives Aaron before walking off. TLA Rick Smash!

A few thoughts, before we move on.  Back at this early point in the watching, and even now, I remain utterly unclear about Aaron’s, and Alexandria’s, motives.  While I do not get an initial hit that they’re totally bad, I don’t think they’re totally good, or harmless, either. Something stinks. This “audition” shit.  And this sales pitch-style presentation. What’s up with that?

Rick and the gang didn’t need a whole presentation when they interviewed prospective candidates for the prison community. They just asked the three questions.

Simple. Straight up.  No Friday night song and dance routine, with blurry pictures and talk of walls and dimensions.

(And, speaking of the three questions, Aaron majorly fails the three questions when Michonne puts them to him in the back of Glenn’s Walker Massacremobile. And, sometimes, the Bear McCreary music gets really dark and twisty when the focus is on Aaron. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that shit.)

Aaron’s spiel feels really contrived to me, like something is being misrepresented, or not presented, like there’s some catch, some important, major detail about the agreement that’s hidden somewhere in the fine print of the whole Alexandria contract, and you only find out what it is once the gates close, and lock, behind you.  And by then, it’s too late. You’re in there.

As Aaron said, himself, “Nothing, alive or dead, gets through (those walls) without our say-so.”

Sounds to me like that shit goes both ways, that once you’re in those walls, you are not exactly free to come and go as you please. (Not like the beautiful prison days, when all were free to do as they wished, within reason, of course, and after their chores and culling-the-walkers-at-the-fence shift was done for the day.)

And what’s with the spying?  For two weeks?  How the fuck did Aaron and his gay boyfriend manage that, to track the gang and spy on them, for two weeks?  And what would a community’s motivation be, to put that much effort into screening potential future citizens, in such sneaky and invasive fashion, for such a long period of time?

My only guesses at this point are: 1) they need to recruit soldiers, as they are in a war, conflict, or standoff with someone, some other established community, nearby; or, 2) they want to procreate and populate, and they just happened to find our smoking hot band of love warriors, and they want to get on that shit.

Either way, they have a major agenda, and while Aaron seems likeable enough (when he isn’t being shady), it seems pretty obvious he isn’t telling the whole story.

We all know, at this point, that something is amiss with Alexandria. There is never an offer of any kind of shelter, or respite, without its asking price, and what Alexandria’s asking price is, exactly, remains to be seen.

But, whatever the case, or the price, may be, it looks like Friday Night Dance Troupe just got a lot more interesting!

And, dorky and shady as Aaron may be, he does have some serious pros to put on the negotiation table…

First off, Friday Night Dance Troupe. I mean, obviously, right? If you remember, Aaron mentions the dance troupe right away, even before talking about the tall steel fences…that was no accident, people!

All I gotta say is, if Daryl and Carol had a Dirty Dancing moment at Friday Night Dance Troupe, I would like, die of happiness.

Next:  Aaron’s appearance. He is obviously clean, manicured, well-fed, well-cared for. He’s rocking the sporty outerwear that’s lined on the inside.

Chris Hardwick joked on Talking Dead that Aaron looked like a “Land’s End” model…ha!

Not only does Aaron look like a sheltered, suburban preppy, he acts like one. Aaron is not exhausted, bereft, starving, stressed-out. He hasn’t been for a long time, so long, actually, that he seems to have forgotten what all that was like, back in the day, before he became Fabulously Gay Ambassador of Alexandria.

Aaron is so yuppified, living the vanilla dream behind Alexandria’s steel walls, that he even attempts a little joke about Friday Night Dance Troupe in an attempt to disarm the gang, to get in with them.

When his attempt is met with vacant looks, and glares, instead of laughter, smiles, or nods, Aaron gives a little shake of his head… it was like he was either really surprised that they didn’t like (or get) his joke, or he was honestly in a place so far removed from where the gang was at, in that moment, that he had to quickly rethink his approach.

Aaron lives in his own house, for God’s sakes, and his backpack is filled with more canned goods than the gang has seen in a long time.  Our gang is starving, literally. They are physically and emotionally exhausted. They are having to shoot, kill, and eat wild dogs for survival and sustenance. Poor Daryl is eating worms, and Aaron balks at having to take a spoonful of applesauce. What a baby.

By all appearances, Aaron seems to be living like a pampered housecat within the steel confines of Alexandria…that is, when he’s not being sent off for weeks at a time to spy on promising nomadic groups, assess their potential value to the community, approach them, try to sell them on Alexandria, and bring them back there to “audition” for membership to the community.

Anyway, speaking of babies, we come to our next huge trump card in Aaron’s hand: Baby Judith. 

Having Baby Judith in the gang changes the stakes, because the longer that baby is out in the open, without shelter or proper nourishment, the greater the risk is that she will not survive these coming days, despite her father’s, and the gang’s, best efforts.

Alexandria, trap or not, seems to offer the best hope for Baby Judith’s, and the rest of the gang’s, immediate survival.

Alexandria is a big question, and a big risk, but the gang is fast running out of time, and out of options, these dire days, and offers like Aaron’s are rare indeed.

Rick Smash! may have beaten Aaron unconscious, for a moment, but the offer, with all its questions, remains…should the gang go with Aaron?

Is the promise of shelter, and protection, that Alexandria offers, with all its red flags and unknowns, worth the risk?

Many in the gang are thinking yes, and after Aaron’s burly beatdown, Rick Smash! finds himself outnumbered by those who are of the opinion that Aaron may really be a good guy, after all, and maybe Rick Smash! shouldn’t have punched him.

I, of course, was still fanning myself from all the hotness of the Rick Smash! beatdown moment, but I could definitely relate to Michonne and the rest of the gang’s collective thought, that they are tired and hungry and sick of all this shit, out here, and maybe they do want to go see what Alexandria is all about.

Michonne is definitely in this latter category. As Carl and Judith’s Newmom, she has the children to think about.  So, as Aaron lay unconscious on the barn floor, Michonne whisper-hisses to Rick, “So we’re clear, that look wasn’t a ‘let’s attack that man’ look, it was a ‘he seems like an ok guy to me’ look.”

michonne talks to rick 1

Ha ha, great early Richonne girlfriend-schools-the-new-boyfriend-on-the-communication-works moment. Those are bound to happen, especially when your new future boyfriend is prone to hulking out and becoming Rick Smash!

Rick basically looks at Michonne, unremorseful, and says, “We gotta secure,” before ordering Carl to dump Aaron’s pack, saying, “Let’s see who this guy really is.”

Michonne, who is no ordinary woman, and who can hulk out pretty ferociously, herself, will not be deterred. She tries again, saying Rick’s name, but he is now in full Rick In Charge/Deputy On The Edge mode, striding around, ordering everyone to be on the alert. ” Everyone else, eyes and ears open. They’re coming for us…we might not know how, or when, but they are.”

Maggie, kneeling beside Aaron's unconscious form, turns and gently tries to chime in the voice of reason.

As Carol and Daryl bind Aaron’s hands behind his unconscious form, Maggie, kneeling, turns to Rick and gently tries to chime in, back up Michonne, be a voice of reason, “Me and Sasha, we didn’t see him…if he wanted to hurt us, he could have.”

Rick-In-Charge does not respond to this, as he has a barn to secure.  He loudly asks if anyone sees anything. Glenn peers out through the slats of the barn, reports, “Just a lot of places to hide.”

“Keep looking,”  barks Rick In Charge, and Glenn turns (a trifle wearily) back to his post.

Rick strides over to Carl, who has emptied the contents of Aaron’s backpack, and asks him what he found.  Carl hands Rick an orange flare gun.

“I’ve never seen a gun like that before,” Carl says to Rick. Rick takes the gun, looks in the chamber, then up at Aaron, begins to stride over to him.

Aaron is beginning to come to, realizing where he is, and what is happening. He looks up at Maggie, who is trying to blot his bloody left ear, and then gives a small laugh, remembering. “That’s a hell of a right cross, there, Rick,” he says, loudly.

Wow, maybe Aaron isn't such a wuss, after all. Maybe he teaches the cardio kickboxing class at Alexandria on Thursday nights.

Wow, maybe Aaron isn’t such a wuss, after all. Maybe he teaches the cardio kickboxing class at Alexandria on Thursday nights.

“Sit him up,” Rick orders. Maggie begins to suggest that maybe that’s not the best idea, but Aaron assures her he’s fine. Rick, who doesn’t care either way, says, “He’ll be fine, sit him up.” Michonne’s sitting there, thinking, “I am so annoyed with him right now…but this alpha male thing he’s got going is totally turning my crank right now…damn him!”

Michonne and Maggie help sit Aaron up, who begins to say, “You’re being cautious…I completely understand – …” when Rick interrupts him, asking, “How many of your people are out there?” 

When Aaron looks questioningly at Rick, not answering, Rick holds up the orange flare gun. “You have a flare gun, you have it to signal your people…how many of them are there?

aaron asks does it matter

For the first time since coming into the barn, Aaron’s demeanor closes down to something less than his open, easygoing manner of before. Aaron looks worried, seems to be stalling. “Does it matter?” he asks Rick.

rick says it does matter

Rick’s manner, on the other hand, is pure Interrogation Room. “Yes,” he whispers, in answer to Aaron’s question….

yes it does

“…yes, it does.”

Aaron backpedals, conceding that, “Of course, it matters how many people are actually out there, but does it matter how many people I tell you are out there?”

aaron as aaron talks3 rick as aaron talks

Aaron continues,Because, I’m pretty sure that no matter how many people I tell you are out there…”

“…8…”

“…32…444…”

“…zero... No matter what I say, you’re not going to trust me.”

Rick looks down at Aaron, retorts,

Rick looks down at Aaron, retorts, “It’s hard to trust anyone who smiles after getting punched in the face.” Oooo, burn, Aaron!

Aaron, however, retorts in kind,

Aaron, however, retorts in kind, “How about a guy who leaves bottles of water for you in the road?”

Rick looks at Daryl, who turns to look at the bottles of water on the table, which are indeed the same brand as the bottled water on the road. Daryl whirls back on Aaron, steps towards him. “How long you people been followin’ us?” Daryl growls down at him.

Aaron answers immediately, with an incredulous laugh,

Aaron answers immediately, with an incredulous laugh, “Long enough to see that you practically ignore a pack of roamers on your trail…long enough to see that despite a lack of food, and water, you never turned on each other.”

Aaron looks around at the group, as if marveling at them. “You’re survivors, and you’re people… Like I said, and I hope you won’t punch me for saying this, again, but that is the most important resource in the world.”

This statement is true enough, and the gang exchanges looks, registering the import of these words. Rick steps towards Aaron and asks again, softly but menacingly, “How many others are out there?”

Aaron knows the stalling time is over. “One,” he answers. No reply, excepting a small shake of Rick’s head. Aaron continues, “I knew you wouldn’t believe me…if it’s not words, if it’s not pictures, what would it take to convince you that this is for real?”

Still no reply from the gang. Aaron has a thought,

Still no reply from the gang. Aaron has a thought, “What if I drove you to the community? All of you? If we leave now, we’d get there by lunch.”

Rick replies that he’s not sure how the 15 of them would all fit in the car that he, Aaron, and his one friend drove down here in. Aaron is quick to reply that they took separate cars, that they wanted to be able to bring an entire group back “home” if they found one.

“There is enough room for all of us,” Aaron tells them.

New Carol asks, skeptically,

New Carol asks, skeptically, “And you parked just a couple of miles away, right?

Aaron’s reply is immediate, “East on Ridge Road, just after Route 16…we wanted to get them closer, but then the storm came, blocked the road…we couldn’t clear it.” It does sound like Aaron is telling the truth about all this, as there is no hesitation in what he says, no guile in how he says it.

Rick, however, is not convinced. “Yeah, you really thought this through…”

“Rick,” Aaron protests, “If I wanted to ambush you, I would do it here…light the barn on fire, pick you off as you ran out the only exit…” Another good point by Aaron.

As Rick and Aaron regard each other, Aaron says, earnestly, looking into Rick's face,

As Rick and Aaron regard each other, Aaron says, earnestly, looking into Rick’s face, “You can trust me.”

can they trust him.

The gang stands around, looking down at Aaron. Of course they want to believe him, want to trust him…but can they?

michonne volunteers

Michonne turns to Rick, volunteers to go check out the cars.

“There aren’t any cars,” Rick replies. Michonne counters, voice soft, “There’s only one way to find out.”

“We don’t need to find out,” replies Rick.

Michonne counters,

Michonne counters, “We do. You know what you know…you’re sure of it. I’m not.” Rick regards Michonne, has no ready reply. (Watching this, I was thinking, “Man, she is so good for him!” ) Michonne is strong enough to stand up to Rick, but she’s cool enough to do it respectfully, and not make him feel like a dick for just wanting to protect his people. Richonne is some mad sexy when they butt heads! I kept wanting them to take it to the barn floor, and wrestle it out.

Maggie interrupts the sexual tension by siding with Michonne.

Maggie interrupts the sexual tension by siding with Michonne. “Me neither,” she says, simply, giving Rick a small, “I’m sorry, I love you, but I gotta go see for myself,” smile, with the barest shake of her head.

The days of the Ricktatorship are long gone...Rick looks down, knows he must give in.

The days of the Ricktatorship are long gone… Rick looks down, and deep down, he knows he must give in. Still, so unwilling to risk any of his people, Rick tries to talk Michonne out of it…

...he says, hoarsely,

…he says, hoarsely, “Your way’s dangerous, mine isn’t.” Michonne responds, “Passing up a place where we can live? Where Judith can live?

That’s pretty dangerous.”

Michonne's face softens.

Michonne’s face softens. “We need to find out what this is,” she says, softly, looking into Rick’s face. Her voice is reassuring, “We can handle ourselves.”

Michonne's face, and manner, become firm, no-nonsense.

Michonne’s face, and manner become firm again. Her voice is no-nonsense. “So that’s what we’re gonna do.”  It is settled. Rick, and everyone else, knows it.  (OMG, I am loving Michonne so hard right now.)

Rick is bested, and he knows it. Top Mama has spoken. He shakes his head, then turns and calls to Abraham.

“Yeah,” Abraham agrees. “I’ll walk with them.” He draws up his rifle and walks over to the others.

“Rosita,” Rick calls next. Rosita nods, looks down a moment, then says, “Ok.”

Rick asks Glenn if they have enough firepower if there’s trouble. Glenn replies, “We got what we got.” As Daryl pulls Aaron up and leads him towards the back of the room, Rick tells Michonne and the other volunteers that the “walkies” are out of juice, so if they’re not back in 60 minutes, they will come after them.  Michonne nods, looks at Rick a moment.

Michonne has got her game face on, looking like a total badass.

Michonne has got her game face on, looking like a total badass.

Rick says, as she’s about to go, “This might be just what they want…”

Mmmm, can’t help but get that last word, last dig in, huh, Rick?

Michonne's reaction to Rick's baiting comment is awesome...she narrows her eyes, says nothing, turns and walks out the door.

Michonne’s reaction to Rick’s baiting comment is awesome…she narrows her eyes, says nothing, turns and walks out the door. Gotta believe in your woman, Rick Grimes.

After the volunteer troupe leaves, Rick turns to the others, says that if they're all in the barn, they're a target. He orders them outside, in groups of twos, within eyeshot. Daryl tells him he's got the area covered. They file out, leaving Rick, Aaron, and Judith in the barn.

After the volunteer troupe leaves, Rick turns to the others, says that if they’re all in the barn, they’re a target. He orders them outside, in groups of twos, within eyeshot. Daryl tells him he’s got the area covered. They file out, leaving Rick, Aaron, and Judith in the barn.

As Rick peers out through a crack in the barn door, Aaron tells him that before the turn, he, Aaron, worked for an NGO, delivering food and medical supplies around Nigeria. Aaron says that he had guns pointed in his face by

As Rick peers out through a crack in the barn door, Aaron tells him that before the turn, he, Aaron, worked for an NGO, delivering food and medical supplies around the Niger River delta. Aaron says that he had guns pointed in his face by “bad people” every other week.

“You’re not bad people,” Aaron says to Rick. “You’re not going to kill us, and we are definitely not going to kill you.”

Still peering out, Rick replies,

Still peering out, Rick replies, “Just because we’re good people doesn’t mean we won’t kill you.”

Rick then turns, looks down at Aaron.

Rick then turns, looks down at Aaron. “If the five of them aren’t back in an hour, I’ll put a knife in the base of your skull.”

Meanwhile, Glenn-In-Charge is trying on the hardline approach, you know, just to see if it fits. “Eyes open, everybody. Weapons up. If you see anybody coming at us, you fire.

Abraham agrees, “Copy that,” while Maggie looks away. She makes it look like she’s scanning the horizon, but I feel like she’s more trying not to look embarrassed for her boyfriend right now, while letting him have his moment.

Michonne turns to look at Glenn, studies his face a moment before looking ahead once more, and asking, “So, if we see someone, we just shoot them?

Looking away, Maggie agrees,

Looking out to the side horizon, Maggie chimes in, “That’s a good question.”

“What if it’s someone like us?” Michonne asks Glenn.What if Aaron’s telling the truth? What if it’s someone who has nothing to do with this?”

“We’re five people walking with guns,” replies Glenn. “Nobody’s coming up to say hello.”

“But, that’s exactly what happened,” Michonne points out, reasonably.

“If it’s someone like us,” Glenn replies, “Then we should be afraid of them.”  Ha!

Glenn continues, wondering aloud, if Aaron and his person/people were really watching them, then they saw what they did, yesterday. (What, eating the dogs? Killing the walkers? What was so bad about that? What the hell else were they supposed to do?)

Glenn continues, after seeing what they, the gang, are capable of doing, why would Aaron’s people want them, the gang, to come live with them in their community? (I am thinking back to my “soldiers for hire” theory in answer to this question, but of course, “hot babymaking potential” is still on the table of possibilities.)

Michonne muses, “People like us saved a priest…saved a girl who rolled up on the prison with the Governor.” Michonne smiles, shaking her head, adds, “Saved a crazy lady with a sword. He saw that.”

Glenn replies, grimly, “I don’t know what he saw.”

The shot pans out, until we see the open field, and the gang of volunteers are now far away.  And we see, crouching behind a stilled tractor…

Someone's watching.

Someone’s watching…

Meanwhile, Baby Judith is hungry, and crying, as Rick tries to crush some acorns in a bowl, presumably to feed to her.

Yuck. I have read that while acorns are certainly edible, and can be crushed to make a meal, or a flour, that they are extremely bitter, and must be soaked in water for a long, long time to leach the bitterness out.

Yuck. I have read that while acorns are certainly edible, and can be crushed to make a meal, or a flour, that they are extremely bitter, and must be soaked in water for a long, long time to leach the bitterness out. Good luck feeding those to that baby, Rick Grimes. You will hear some real crying then.

Aaron looks nervously towards the barn door, then towards Rick, who is on one knee, holding the wailing baby, trying to crush the acorns in a bowl. “You did see the jar of applesauce in my bag, right?” Rick looks at him, says nothing, goes back to trying to crush acorns with one hand, while holding his crying baby daughter in the other.

Aaron says, “This isn’t a trick…this isn’t about trying to get you to like me.  This is about self-preservation, because if the roamers hear her and come this way, I know I’ll be first to go.”  Rick looks up, shifts his daughter to his other arm, and stands, goes to the table, where a sealed mason jar of applesauce sits.

Rick looks at Aaron a moment before turning his attention back to the task of opening the jar (one handed, parents learn to do everything one-handed when there’s baby-holding and baby-carrying going on), spooning up some applesauce, and walking over to where Aaron is sitting, on the barn floor, hands bound behind him, around a support beam.  Rick wordlessly holds the spoonful of applesauce to Aaron. You first.

Aaron looks up at Rick, horrified.

Aaron looks up at Rick, horrified. “Do you think that I’m trying to poison your baby daughter?”

Aaron protests,

Aaron protests, “I’m tied up, and you’ve already expressed a desire to kill me by sticking a knife in my head, so how would cruelly killing your daughter help the situation?” Rick counters, a little crazily, that maybe she doesn’t die, maybe she just gets sick, and Aaron’s the only one who can save her, and then he, Rick, loses. Awww, you are a little crazy right now, Rick, and I can’t tell if your beard is real or fake, but I still love you, crazy-ass imaginings, fake-ass looking beard, and all.

Aaron replies that he is the only one who can help her, as he has the applesauce, and so they all win. Rick, undeterred, holds the spoonful of applesauce out to Aaron: Eat.

“I hate applesauce,” Aaron whispers miserably. He tells Rick his mom used to make him eat foods he disliked to make him more “manly.” That actually really sucks, and I do feel real bad for Aaron about that, but I can’t help but think, “You wanna try a real manly treat, Aaron? Try eating dog. Now, eat the fucking applesauce, and be done with it, so poor Baby Judith can eat her lunch!”

Aaron balks a moment more, until Rick reminds him that he, Aaron, will be first to go if Judith’s crying attracts “roamers.” Aaron opens up, and the applesauce goes in.  Rick can’t resist tasting the spoon, after.

It made me think, when was the last time Rick, or any of them, tasted the sweetness of fruit, or had an apple? Probably a long time, like back at the prison. And here Aaron is, balking at taking a spoonful of applesauce.

As Rick turns away to begin feeding Judith, Aaron tries to tell him that at the community, they can find a place for Rick and his children to live that would be so big, that nobody would be able to hear her cry outside the walls. Rick looks at Aaron a moment, then says,

As Rick turns away to begin feeding Judith, Aaron tries to tell him that at the community, they can find a place for Rick and his children to live that would be so big, that nobody would be able to hear her cry outside the walls. Rick looks at Aaron a moment, then says, “You have 43 minutes.” Aaron’s like, “Gulp.”

Meanwhile, the volunteers have found something…

Michonne looks over at Glenn and Maggie.

Michonne looks over at Glenn and Maggie. “He was telling the truth,” she says.

rv and car

Well, he was telling the truth about that, anyway…

The volunteers hear a noise in the woods, and they draw their weapons. Glenn barks at whomever it is to put their hands in the air, come out where they can see them. After a moment’s more rustling, we see:

Mr. and Mrs. Walker.

Mr. and Mrs. Walker. “Honey, look, our brunch guests have arrived! Welcome to our woods…you’re just in time…I was just telling the wife, ‘Sure am getting hungry!’

Abraham says, “I got it,” and from behind, Rosita says, We got it.” They stride forward to take care of Mr. and Mrs. Walker.

Hi, I’m the missus! Boy howdy, you’re a big one...and aren’t you  a real sight for sore eyes…and sore face…and sore everything else. I could just eat you up! In fact, I think I will…if you just hold still a sec…”

woods walker say hey

Hey, that’s my arm! Was my arm…you’re not exactly friendly, you know that?”

woods walker say hey no fair

Rosita finishes Mrs. Walker off with a bash to the head…

mr walker gets a spear to the head

…before going to town on Mr. Walker.

mr walker go bye bye

Um, I think I’ll just lie down here and take a little nap before brunch.”

Abraham turns towards Rosita.

Abraham turns towards Rosita. “Thanks,” he says, simply.

Abraham sneaks a look at her face, but Rosita does not turn to look at him. After a moment, she walks away.

Abraham sneaks a look at her face, but Rosita does not turn to look at him. After a moment, she walks away.

abraham and rostia clear the rv

Abraham and Rosita clear the RV, negotiating the the close space and the awkwardness between them.

abraham exclaims and pulls a can from cupboard

Then, Abraham pulls a can out of the cupboard, exclaims softly, “Gracious Ignacious.”

getti rings

S’Getti Rings … were those the kind the Gov dumped out the window?

Abraham gives a little laugh, “Oh-ho, it has been a while.” Rosita, smiling, remembers, “I think I saw Rex eat three cans one night.”

“Four,” Abraham remembers. “Sonuvabitch knew if he didn’t toss ’em back, I’d a come for ’em.”

abraham looks down at the can remembering

Abraham looks down at the can, remembering Rex…

rosita is sad remembering

…and the happy memories turn into sad ones, as they think of Rex, and times past, and all the things, people they have lost.

Abraham approaches Rosita, asks her back at the fire truck, after Eugene…did she think he was going to hurt her?

“No.” Rosita’s reply is immediate.

“It’s not you,” she says. They both look away for a moment. (Well, that’s a little promising, right? Like maybe there’s a chance for reconciliation, or maybe a slow dance at Friday Night Dance Troupe?) I really like these two together!

Later, back at the barn…

back at the barn

You’re lucky you were telling the truth, Aaron.

ricks like if only we had a can opener

These cans of food are seriously bringing up some emotional memories for the gang.

Rick turns and informs Aaron that the cans of food, “These are ours now.” Aaron wearily concedes that there is more than enough. This recruitment run has been way tougher than Aaron bargained for…here he is, sitting on a barn floor with his hands tied behind his back, tethered to a barn pole. He probably really needs to pee.

Usually,at this point, Aaron’s probably basking in the thanks and adulation of the rescued survivors, driving the latest imports back to Alexandria, and regaling his captive, adoring audience with amusing tidbits about the latest Alexandria antics (real or fake, remains to be seen) while the survivors nod and exclaim and over-laugh at Aaron’s jokes, chowing down cold canned foods and chugging applesauce in the back seats.

Rick adds that the canned foods are theirs, the group’s, whether or not they decide to go back with Aaron…at this point, Carl interjects, asks his father incredulously, “What do you mean, why wouldn’t we go?

NewMom Michonne chimes in, backing Carl up, answering his question while addressing the group, “If he were lying, or wanted to hurt us, but he isn’t...and he doesn’t. We need this. So, we’re going, all of us. Somebody say something if they feel differently.”

rick has nothing to say

Nobody says anything. Rick doesn’t say anything.

daryl says this barn smells like horseshit

Addressing Rick, from the floor, Daryl says,I dunno, man…this barn smells like horseshit.”

michonne waits for rick's response

Michonne looks over, awaiting Rick’s response.

rick says yeah, were going

Yeah. We’re going,” Rick relents.

michonne is pleased

Michonne looks up like a satisfied queen. She is pleased.

Rick turns to Aaron and asks him where the camp is.  Aaron, reading into the question, stammers that usually, when he brings recruits back, he is the one driving.  Aaron assures the gang that he while he thinks they’re good people, in fact, he’d bet his life on it, he’s not willing to bet his friends’ lives…

Michonne steps forward, in a role reversal with Rick, who hangs back, and interrupts Aaron.

Michonne steps forward, in a role reversal with Rick, who now hangs back, and interrupts Aaron. “You’re not driving, she says. “So, if you wanna get home, you have to tell us how.” Top Mama Michonne is kicking ass and taking names!

Aaron looks over at Rick, who is crouched down with pen and paper, ready to take notes...on directions to the camp, and on how hot his boss lady gf is when she's taking charge and getting it done!

Aaron looks over at Rick, who is crouched down with pen and paper, ready to take notes...on directions to the camp, and on how hot his boss lady gf is when she’s taking charge and getting it done!

Aaron nods, conceding, says to take Route 16 North, and then he’ll tell them more when they get there. Rick counters that they will take Route 23 North.  (On Talking Dead, later that night, guest Paul Feig and Chris Hardwick poked some gentle fun at Rick Grimes for insisting on taking another route, but I do see where there could be ambush points set up along a preplanned route.)

Aaron protests that while Route 16 is cleared, Route 23 is not. Rick insists that they will take Route 23, and they will leave at sundown.

Sasha asks, in disbelief, “We’re doing this at night? Rick replies that he knows it’s dangerous, but they can’t come rolling up to the gates during the day…if it turns out not to be safe, they need to get gone before anybody knows they are there.

Aaron insists that nobody is going to hurt them. “You’re trying to protect your group, but you’re putting them in danger.”

Rick crouches down, looks right at Aaron.

Rick crouches down, looks right at Aaron. “Tell us where your camp is…we’ll leave right now.” Aaron looks around, then sadly shakes his head. He can’t.

Rick looks to the others, stands, tells them to eat up, as it’s gonna be a long night. Rest up.  He walks out of the barn, and after a moment, Michonne follows him.

michonne out by car 1

Rick is crouched at the car, talking who-rides-with-whom logistics, then looks up, asks Michonne if she’s ok. (He really is scoring some major bf points in this episode.)

did you mean were going for real

Michonne asks Rick if back there, when he said they were going, was that for real, or was that just to find out where Aaron’s camp was?

rick stands says were going

Rick stands, tells Michonne they are going. For real.

rick asks michonne what did she hear

Rick then asks Michonne that back at the prison fence, when she first approached, what did she hear?

michonne answers that she heard nothing

Michonne replies that she heard nothing. “Terminus?” asks Rick. Again, Michonne answers, “Nothing.”

rick says he will need to decide

Rick nods. “Some time tonight, we’ll be outside his camp’s walls, and without seeing inside, I’m gonna have to decide whether to bring my family in. He (Aaron) asked me before what it would take for me to believe it was real. Truth is, I’m not sure anything could convince me to go in there. But, I’m gonna see.” Rick turns away, towards the car, and gives Michonne one last, sweet look. “I wanna see,” he says to her. ❤

Later…

It's a tailights caravan on Rt 23 N.

It’s a tailights caravan on Rt 23 N.

Aaron looks like he's about to suggest a game of

Aaron looks like he’s about to suggest a game of “I Spy.”

...when Rick finds Aaron's license plate collection in the glove compartment. At Rick's questioning look towards Glenn, Aaron leans forward from the back seat.

…when Rick finds Aaron’s license plate collection in the glove compartment. At Rick’s questioning look towards Glenn, Aaron leans forward from the back seat. “Oh,” he explains, “I’m trying to collect all 50 states…”

“…and put them on a wall in my house.”

“You have your own house?”

Aaron looks over at Michonne, nods, gestures towards the envelope of photographs on his pack, invites her to “see for yourself.”

Michonne reaches for the envelope, looks at the pictures of a charming wrap-around porch that boasts a fabulous view of the wall and bracings.

Michonne reaches for the envelope, looks at the pictures of a charming wrap-around porch, which overlooks an enviable view of Alexandria’s walls and bracings…

Aaron allows himself a smile, looking on as Michonne flips through the pictures. Houses, buidlings, the wall...but something key is missing from all the pictures...

Aaron allows himself a smile, looking on as Michonne flips through the pictures. Houses, buildings, the wall…but a key element is missing from all the pictures…

Michonne, alarmed, looks up, asks Aaron why he doesn't have any pictures of his people?

Michonne, alarmed, looks up, asks Aaron why he doesn’t have any pictures of his people?

Aaron's self-satisfied smile of before quickly disappears, and he begins to stammer out some bullshit about how he tried to take a group picture, but the exposure, and then problems with the developing...he's clearly lying. But why? My first three guesses, right off the top of my head: 1) They were all shut inside the factory warehouse, mass-producing some product that Alexandria makes and sells to other outside communities, like...license plates, and they only get two 15-minute breaks every 12 hours; 2) Everyone in Alexandria is bound and gagged in their respective gimp closets, except for the dominants who keep watch over them; 3) Alexandria is actually a leprosy colony, and the inhabitants, while still techinically living, are losing flesh and limbs at a rate that rivals the decomposition of the walkers. What's your guess?

Aaron’s self-satisfied smile of before quickly disappears, and he begins to stammer out some bullshit about how he tried to take a group picture, but the exposure, and then problems with the developing…he’s clearly lying. But why? My first three guesses, right off the top of my head: 1) The people were all shut inside the factory warehouse, mass-producing some product that Alexandria makes and sells to other outside communities, like…license plates, and they only get two 15-minute breaks every 12 hours; 2) Everyone in Alexandria is bound and gagged in their respective gimp closets, except for the dominants who keep watch over them; 3) Alexandria is actually a leper colony, and the inhabitants, while still technically living, are losing flesh and limbs at a rate that rivals the decomposition of the walkers. What’s your guess?

Michonne knows immediately that Aaron is lying, and looks to the front seat, asks Rick,

Michonne knows immediately that Aaron is lying, and looks to the front seat, asks Rick, “Did you ask him the three questions?”

Everyone looks at Rick, who seems to be, like,

Everyone looks at Rick, who seems to be, like, Um, no, I did not…shit was going on, and I did kind of forget to ask the three questions…and, btw, there are 15 of us, and why is it always my job to ask the three questions? You motherfuckers know the three questions, and aside from Baby Judith, who can’t talk, maybe one of you could have thought of that shit, and asked...I was all sleuthing the flare gun and shitdoes it always have to be me, asking the three questions?

Rick does not give voice to his internal monologue, simply answers, “No.”

So, Michonne turns to Aaron, and asks the first of the three questions, “How many walkers have you killed?”

how many walkers have you killed

Aaron feigns ignorance, or confusion, at the direct question. “I’m sorry, what? Michonne repeats the question. “How many?”

aaron plays dumb

As Glenn listens, and waits, for Aaron to answer...

As Glenn listens, and waits, for Aaron to answer…

Rick, looking ahead at the road, awaits Aaron's answer...he hems and haws before answering, a trifle defensively,

Rick, looking ahead at the road, listens, and waits for, Aaron’s answer, as well. Aaron gapes at Michonne, indignant, hems and haws before answering, a trifle defensively, I don’t know…a lot.”

Michonne continues to the second question: “How many people?”

This time, Aaron's reply is more immediate.

This time, Aaron’s reply is more immediate. “Two,” he answers. “Why?” MIchonne asks the third question, looking at Aaron. Without missing a beat, Aaron replies, “Because they tried to kill me.”

Look what Rick's found...

Look what Rick’s found…“Hey, Aaron, are you starting a collection of parabolic microphones from all 50 states as well?”

Glenn, who is driving, looks back at Aaron, shocked.  “You were listening to us?”

Aaron actually manages to sound a little testy at being asked this question, says something like, Yes, yes, I told you I was watching you…listening is a part of watching, duh…what part of, ‘I was spying on you’ do you people not understand?”

Rick says, quickly, that the others in Aaron’s group probably have mic’s like these, and they probably heard the gang’s plans. “This isn’t safe,” cries Rick, and then those words ring especially true, as Rick and Glenn brace themselves for the oncoming threat in the road…

rick and glenn brace

Look out…!

night hiker walkers

…for the horde of NightHiker Walkers!

walker guts on the windshield

As Glenn plows through the rotting walkers, their blood and guts smear the windshield, making it impossible to see out…

rick in shotgun walker slime

Rick’s first thought is of the RV behind them, but Glenn tells him to stay in the car, that the RV would have seen what was happening and are either behind them, or they were able to get away…

aaron and michonne freaking

In the back seat, Aaron is freaking while Michonne braces herself…

glenn plowing some walkers

Have I mentioned how much Glenn rules in this episode?

the massacremobile

Aaron’s classic old car has become a Walker Massacremobile.

The car finally clears a space from the walkers, and skids to a stop.  Rick jumps out, and sees no sign of the RV.  It seems they must have turned around, and Rick tells Glenn they will double back and meet the RV back up the road.

Glenn quickly tries to wipe the windshield clean before jumping back in the car...

Glenn quickly tries to wipe the windshield clean before jumping back in the car…

...and of course, the car won't start.

…and of course, the car won’t start.

And, here come the walkers.

And, here come the walkers.

Aaron is freaking the fuck out, of course. Michonne volunteers to go out and see what she can see, and goes out to the front hood, pulling walker guts and limbs from out of the hood and grille.

michonne pulls walker parts out of the car's hood

As the walkers near, Aaron, panicked, cries out that they are closing in. Rick turns to him and grinds out that they know that. Glenn frantically keeps trying to start the car, to no avail, of course…and then, Glenn sees something light up the sky. “Look!”

Someone has shot a flare up, obviously to signal Aaron. But, who?

Someone has shot a flare up, obviously to signal Aaron. But, who?

Aaron, upon seeing the flare go up, really starts to freak out.  He keeps saying, “This is over, I’ve gotta get out of here.

Rick turns and watches Aaron freaking out.

Rick turns and watches Aaron freaking out. “What’s going on?” he demands, but Aaron is in full bail mode. With hands still tied behind his back, Aaron kicks open the back door of the car, sending Michonne flying, and charges out into the night. Holy crap, dude.

Michonne starts to go after Aaron, and when Rick tries to call her back, she replies that the way to find the others is to go after Aaron.  They abandon the car and run into the woods, in the direction that Aaron went, and must engage in some serious walker slaughter.  As Michonne slices and dices with her katana, Rick fires upon the walkers, calling to Glenn to clear the way for them (I think that’s what he said).

night walkers glenn tries to clear a path out

Good shot, Glenn.

Good shot, Glenn.

Oh, no, Glenn, look out behind you!

Oh, no, Glenn, look out behind you!

Glenn narrowly avoids getting bitten.

Glenn narrowly avoids getting bitten.

Glenn smashes Look Out Behind You's undead brains in against a rock.

Glenn smashes Look Out Behind You Walker’s undead brains in against a rock.

Glenn hears a struggle nearby, finds…

Aaron, hands still tied behind his back, braced against a tree trunk, kicking at a walker.

Aaron, hands still tied behind his back, braced against a tree trunk, kicking at a walker.

Glenn thinks about it a minute, then, with a shake of his head, he goes to help Aaron, rekilling the walker and cutting Aaron’s hands free.  “Run if you want, “ Glenn tells Aaron, “I’ve got other things to worry about.” As Glenn turns to leave, Aaron quotes Glenn’s words to Daryl, the day before, back to him:

We can make it, but we can only make it together.”

“You said that,”  Aaron tells Glenn. “I was listening.” Creepy! What the hell is the deal with these people?

Meanwhile, Richonne is calling for Glenn, and fighting off some mad walkers in their neck of the woods. Rick’s gun runs out of bullets, and the walkers keep coming, so he pulls out the flare gun and aims it for one walker’s head, creating my new walker obsession, affectionately named on Talking Dead as Rick’s Little Bit of Flare Walker:

rick fires at the walker flare walker 1 flare walker 2 flare walker 3flare walker 4

How I love him. <3

How I love him.

Now officially out of firepower, Richonne must do The Dance of the Double Katana on the oncoming walkers…

richonne's dance of the double katana

Then, a hail of bullets comes from behind the walker horde, felling them in their shuffling tracks.  Rick and Michonne see, once the smoke clears…

Glenn and Aaron have come to save the day. Aaron holds up his hands, offers for Rick to tie him up again, if he needs to, but please hurry...methinks Aaron secretly is beginning to enjoy this!

Glenn and Aaron have come to save the day. Aaron holds up his hands, offers for Rick to tie him up again, if he needs to, but please hurry…methinks Aaron secretly is beginning to enjoy this getting tied up business!

Rick Grimes says,

Rick Grimes says, “Pass.”

As they emerge onto the open road, Rick turns to Aaron and asks where their people are. Aaron replies that he doesn’t know.  Rick tells Aaron that if this all is a trick to get their gang where Aaron’s people wants them, “Your people are gonna die tonight.” (Whew, another Cheryl Tunt shiver just went through me…so delicious, Deputy Smash!)

They reach an abandoned looking industrial park...Rick whistles his singsong whistle, and Daryl, who has been outside, keeping watch, waves to them and pounds on the door, signaling the others, inside.

They reach an abandoned looking industrial park. Rick whistles his singsong whistle, and Daryl, who has been outside, keeping watch, waves to them and pounds on the door, signaling the others, inside.

The gang reunites... Yay!

The gang reunites…Yay!

Aaron begins calling for Eric. He rushes inside, and when he hears a voice, he runs into a room, and finds…

eric

His totes adorbs bf, Eric.

eric says he likes maggie

Poor Eric’s ankle is injured. He likens it to a Volleyball injury. Maggie thinks it might be brokenI like her,” Eric tells Aaron. (Lucky, Maggie…you found a fabulous gay bestie, which I keep asking Santa for,  for Christmas, and have yet to get…I am lime green jelly!)

eric tells aaron it's not a big deal

Aaron is so upset seeing his love’s injury...Eric playfully chides Aaron, saying it’s “your fault” he got injured, as he loves Aaron so much that it makes him worry about him and do stupid things, like getting a tractor tire rolled over his ankle.

man make out sesh

Aaron rushes to Eric and pastes one on him, which made me cheer out loud. Man make-out sesh on prime time television…thank you, TWD!

eric found another license plate

Eric pulls out a gift for Aaron…a license plate from a state he does not yet have.  Aaron cannot bring himself to tell Eric the truth, but Eric figures it out. “You lost the license plates,” he guesses.  Aaron deadpans, “I lost the car.”

rick interrupts the mens giggle

Their giggle is interrupted by Rick, who has come in the room and is watching their interaction. “Hi, I’m Eric!” says Eric brightly. Aaron excuses himself and goes outside with Rick.

Aaron thanks the group for saving Eric.  He tells them he is indebted to them, and he will make sure he repays his debt to them when they get to their new community, Alexandria. Aaron tries to excuse himself to go back and be with his partner, but Rick tries to put the kibosh on that, telling Aaron he is going to sleep out there, with them, where Rick can keep an eye on him.

Aaron looks Rick square in the eye and tells him the only way he, Rick, his going to keep him, Aaron, away from Eric is to shoot him.  Glenn intervenes, and pulls Rick aside, telling Rick that Aaron told them where his camp was, that he was telling the truth about there being only one other person with him (Eric), and that both men are unarmed, one with a broken ankle.

“I want us to be safe too…I can’t give up everything else. I know what I said, but, it does matter.” Maggie, listening to this, is probably falling in love with Glenn all over again, in this moment.

Rick nods.  “All right,” he says. The voice of reason has spoken.

And so, the next morning, the gang is Hauling Ass To Alexandria (Isn't that the name of the country western song?).

And so, the next morning, the gang is Hauling Ass To Alexandria (Isn’t that the name of the country western song?).

In the back of the RV, while Eric sleeps, Aaron watches over him. Noah comes in with a bottle of water and a bottle of pills. Aaron says he wants to let Eric sleep, but Noah says the pills are for Aaron, as he knows that his hands must be hurting.

In the back of the RV, while Eric sleeps, Aaron watches over him. Noah comes in with a bottle of water and a bottle of pills. Aaron says he wants to let Eric sleep, but Noah says the pills are for Aaron, as he knows that his hands must be hurting.

As Noah turns to leave, Aaron asks him about his leg. Noah tells Aaron that he hurt it in a car accident with his dad, and he did get medical attention, so he feels lucky he can walk at all. Aaron tells Noah that they have a surgeon, Pete, who is gifted and who Aaron has seen

As Noah turns to leave, Aaron asks him about his leg. Noah tells Aaron that he hurt it in a car accident with his dad, and he did get medical attention, so he feels lucky he can walk at all. Aaron tells Noah that they have a surgeon, Pete, who is gifted and who Aaron has seen “do wonders” with others. Noah takes this in, asks, “Yeah?” Aaron nods, and Noah walks away, hopeful for the first time in a long time.

In the front of the RV, Eugene is teaching the rules to Seven Card Stud. Tara, I think, asks him a

In the front of the RV, Eugene is teaching the rules to Seven Card Stud. Tara, I think, asks “Seriously?” to one of the finer points of the game, and Eugene replies, “Serious as two copulatin’ dogs.” Ha!

Rosita, riding shotgun, points out the Washington Monument, which is visible in the horizon.

Rosita, riding shotgun, points out the Washington Monument, which is visible in the horizon. Abraham, look!”

Abraham, who is driving this RV, looks over and takes in the sight of something he has been striving to see, firsthand, for so long...

Abraham, who is driving this RV, looks over and takes in the sight of something he has been striving to see, firsthand, for so long…

He looks over at Rosita, who jokes,

He looks over at Rosita, who jokes, “Eyes on the road!”

Rosita is happy, though, you can tell.

Rosita is happy, though, you can tell.

Abraham looks down at the console. The battery light is on.  He asks Rosita how long they’ve got, and she says they are halfway there.  Abraham smiles, says they are going to make it…

A ways down the road, however...broken down again.

A ways down the road, however…broken down again.

Abraham's bummed (

Abraham’s bummed (“Might as well paint it red and put a ladder on it”), but Glenn says all it needs is another battery. Abraham asks him where they’re supposed to get one of those. Glenn brings him around to the other side of the RV, and shows him…

...a backup battery. Abraham asks Glenn how he knew it was there, and Glenn smiles in a silent homage to Dale. <3

…a backup battery. Abraham asks Glenn how he knew it was there, and Glenn smiles in a silent homage to Dale.

Meanwhile, sitting on the hood of the back car, Michonne looks over at Rick, tells him the fight's over...it's time to let it go. Michonne, Michonne, Michonne, the fight is never over, or there wouldn't be a show...but maybe everyone can get some rest, and some food, and a chance to party naked for a while.

Meanwhile, sitting on the hood of the back car, Michonne looks over at Rick, tells him the fight’s over…it’s time to let it go. Michonne, Michonne, Michonne, the fight is never over, or there wouldn’t be a show, would there?  But, maybe everyone can get some rest, and some food, and a chance for some consenting adults to party naked, for a little while, anyway.

“I know it’s hard, after it’s kept you warm, and alive, and fed…but the fight, it turns on you. You gotta let it go.” Michonne speaks from a place of knowing, and Rick listens to her, looking tortured, and hot, and majorly hairy.

I think, judging from the recent pictures of Andrew Lincoln, and the recent interviews, that a clean shave is in Rick Grimes' not-too-distant-future...and if it's Michonne who does the shaving, well, I would pretty much die of happiness at that scene, as well.

I think, judging from the recent pictures of Andrew Lincoln, and the recent interviews, that a clean shave is in Rick Grimes’ not-too-distant-future…and if it’s Michonne who does the shaving, well, I would pretty much die of happiness at that scene, as well, especially if she uses her katana’s blade.

Rick tells Michonne that Bob was telling him the same thing, when to give up the fight, and let the world and others in again.  Rick tells Michonne he needs a moment, then goes off and, from what I gathered, stashes Aaron’s handgun in a plastic blender...just in case.

And then, they arrive at the gates of Alexandria.

they pull up to the gates

Rick looks at the gate.

Rick looks at the gate.

at the gate 4 children playing

Then Rick hears the one sound that could convince him to enter those gates...the sound of children playing inside the gates.

at the gate 5 rick looks at michonne

As the happy sounds wash over them, Michonne gives Rick a sweet smile. When is the last time anybody heard that beautiful noise, the sound of children playing? Too long.

at the gate 6 hand on hand

Michonne puts her hand on Rick’s a moment, then turns to him, asks him if he’s ready. After a moment, Rick tells her he is. He takes his hands off the steering wheel, puts the car in park, and gets out of the car to get Judith from the back seat.

at the gate 7 at the gate 8 baby and rick lock eyes at the gate 8 get that baby

at the gate 10 rick and judith love look

The only thing hotter to me than Rick Smash! is Papi Grimes, loving on his children with infinite love and tenderness.

at the gate 11

Well, darlings, of course this week’s Deadie goes to Andrew Lincoln, and Rick Grimes, for being such a beautiful badass, a loving father to his children, his new gf, and his chosen family, and for choosing to believe…and for stashing that handgun in the plastic blender…just in case.

Live long and prosper, my WD darlings. <3 Spock forever!

Live long and prosper, my WD darlings. ❤

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

Cake, “The Distance”

Mudhoney, “Halloween”

Plague Vendor, “Black Sap Scriptures”

The Knife, “Heartbeats” (for Abraham and Rosita

Love Battery, “Float”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Runaway”

Land of Talk, “Yuppy Flu”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof”

“Four Walls and a Roof”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Well, my WDO darlings, we have much to talk about with The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof,” do we not?  While many questions were answered within this episode, we WD fans were left with a couple of lingering questions, and a few new ones, by the episode’s end…as Alice in Wonderland said, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

“Four Walls and a Roof’ opens with a grisly montage, layering close-up images of Terminal Mouths biting into, tearing, and chewing greasy chunks of meat from Bob’s leg, as a group of walkers watch them through a window, hissing and pawing at the glass.

terminans eating bob

On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick referred to the Terminans as “Hungry, Hungry Hipsters.” Ha!

hungry window walkers

Hey, give us some!

terminans eating bob 2

As we watch this gross series of images, intertwined with Bear McCreary’s sinister background music, we hear Gareth’s voice, speculating, “It’s probably pretty stupid to be here…dangerous…I don’t know, maybe not…you can see the threat…that’s something. Looking at them (the walkers) makes me feel better about things. My mom used to say, every day above ground was a win…doesn’t really apply any more, but…you can still get some perspective.”

While Gareth speaks, Bob sits against a metal pole, looking towards the window, at the pawing walkers on the other side of the glass. Around him, Terminans (including Shitty Martin) are intent on chewing their ill-gotten meat, which, watching them eat, looks like it’s really chewy.  Gross.  The walkers appear to be inside a brick building, like a school, while the Terminans are camped outside in an area surrounded by tall, chain-link fencing.

Gareth goes over to the window, puts his hand up on the glass, watches the walkers for a moment. “The glass is gonna break,” he says, “Sooner or later…Nothing lasts too long anymore.”

Gareth then turns to the group… he seems a little nostalgic, whimsical, talking mainly to Bob. Gareth says that he and the others in his group “marked” their way there so they could find their way back, after… Gareth shakes his head at this. “So stupid, right…I mean, back to what?”

Gareth moves closer to where Bob sits, crouches down beside him.  “It wasn’t just a trap, it was going to be a choice, ‘ You join us, or feed us.’

join us or feed us

Gareth continues on this, saying that, in the wild, if a bear is starving, they will eat their cubs…if the bear starves, the cub will die anyway, but if the bear lives, they can always have another cub.  Gareth looks away for a moment, then down towards the ground, purses his lips.  “That was part of the pitch,” he admits.

Gareth continues, saying that Greg and Mike came “this close” to catching the “grey-haired queen bitch” who killed his mother, Mary. (That’s New Carol, to you, Gareth, you peevish little people-eating bitch, and btw, Mary deserved it.)

Gareth continues, conspiratorially, “She drove away with the archerGreg saw them pull away.” Gareth looks off into the distance, muses, “I can’t wait to try her.” He then goes on to tell Bob that he likes (eating) women better, and that his brother, Alex (whom Gareth adds, is “also, currently dead, because of Rick”) had a theory that women tasted better because they have an extra layer of fat, for childbearing.

Pretending to ignore Bob’s pained look, Gareth continues that even the skinny women have that extra layer…like that pretty one…what was her name? Sasha?

bob looks at gareth

Gareth goes on to tell Bob that “pretty people taste better.”

(Hearing all this, I must say that it must have majorly sucked living at Terminus. Aside from all the horrible shit that any Terminan Citizen had to do to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, it seems that all the people who lived there were total social misfits.  If any of the Creepy Comrades had any redeeming qualities at one point in their former lives, the brutality of the Terminal Code, “join us or feed us,” would have obliterated any last vestiges of humanity, or any capacity to feel love, joy, hope, compassion…take those things away from a person, and what do you have left?

Even Shitty Martin called his fellow Terminans, “assholes that I survive with.” There they sit, chewing and chewing and chewing meat from Bob’s leg, staring off into their own twisted thoughts, not talking.  What is there to talk about, aside from making evil, shitty jokes speculating, or remarking, on how someone tastes? I call gross, and lame, and totally unsexy. They probably had the worst parties, ever.)

Anyway, it seems that the only thrill to be had for Gareth at this point is to be cruel, and he works that angle for all its worth.  He pauses, letting the dig about Sasha marinate for a moment, tearing a piece of meat with his teeth, and thoughtfully chewing for a moment, before informing Bob that he, Gareth, and his people are “going to get all of them,” but for now, Bob will do them just fine.

As Gareth continues to give himself and his people props for the “good job” they did on Bob’s leg, Bob starts to make sounds like he is sobbing, Gareth, testy at being interrupted, rebukes Bob for this outburst, telling Bob that he was being a human being, talking to Bob, and that Bob should get some “perspective”, being that he is “above ground” and in a better place than “them” (a.k.a. the walkers pawing at the window).

Bob is not sobbing…he is laughing, laughing more and more, causing the Terminans to rise up from their seats and move in.  Seems like they have seen this before, a victim becoming unravelled, and unpredictable  One guy says, “He’s lost it,” while the woman comrade snidely remarks that he “lasted longer” than she thought he would.  Bob continues to laugh, calling them “idiots”

...then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder.

…then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder. “I”ve been bitten, you stupid pricks…I’m tainted meat!

On Talking Dead, Andrew J. West, who plays Gareth, wondered about what the ramifications of the Terminans eating Bob’s infected flesh would really be, as everyone is already infected. “Can you get more infected?” he wondered.

Who knows, but  it is pretty damn satisfying to see the Hungry, Hungry Hipsters jump up at this, dropping their meat in alarm and revulsion. Terminal Bitch starts pulling the chewed up bits of meat, still in her mouth, off her tongue, while Terminal Albert starts hurling.

You tell ’em, Nelson…

As the Creepy Comrades start freaking the fuck out and playing the blame game with each other (“We may as well be eating one of them!” “Why didn’t you check him?” “What’s gonna happen…are we going to turn?” “No, we cooked him!”), Bob cackles and taunts the Tainted Scenesters with the cry, “tainted meat!” until Gareth kicks him unconscious.

I must give mad props to the forward-thinkers who sleuthed the possibility of Bob being bitten, mirroring the comic series story line of Dale getting bitten, going off away from the group to die, and getting captured by The Hunters (the comic series version of the Terminans), and eventually taunting them as they feast on his infected flesh.

Once I read the online speculation, after Episode 2, “Strangers,” aired, I watched the episode again, but did not come away with any conclusive evidence that Bob had been bitten, save his drunken crying jag, slumped against a tree, before being clocked, and dropped, by a Terminal Hood (probably Shitty Martin, who was wearing a black hoodie like the perp’s). I thought Bob maybe just had been through a lot, and had had too much to drink, and just needed to take a moment and let it all out.

Now we know, and wow.  Bob, I’m so sorry man, but even though you were taken down by Halloween Store Skeleton Walker (who only got you because it had the elements of surprise, and murky water, on its side), and then captured, hacked into, and eaten, while being mocked, by Gareth and the Terminans,  (who had the elements of surprise, and dark night, going on their side) you definitely got the Last Laugh on those cannibal a-holes.

Poor Sahsa, meanwhile, is out looking for Bob, whisper-calling for him, armed with rifle and night scope.  She looks so worried, stops and takes a couple of deep, cleansing breaths, before turning and spying the mark on the tree, the one we saw when Bob was taken…

.sasha looks for bob sasha sees the mark

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope...

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope…

...and then, she sees...

…and then, she sees…

...Night Scope Walker! Agh!

…Night Scope Walker! Agh!

Sasha smashes Night Scope Walker’s undead brains into the ground, then must shoot another walker who is coming for her, before Tyrese clamps his hand over her mouth from behind, just for a second, before releasing her. telling her, “It’s me.” Rick is there as well, shining a flashlight into the woods as Sasha tells them that someone was just there, watching them.

“Someone was watching us!” Terminan, or Morgan?

Sasha wants to go in the woods after them, as Bob is missing, but Tyrese holds her back, saying that if they try to go in those woods, now, someone isn’t coming back. As he scans the woods, Rick adds that Bob isn’t the only one missing…Daryl and Carol are missing as well.

Inside the candlelit church, Maggie is sitting in one of the pews, regarding a stack of hymnals doubtfully before moving them aside. Carl sits forward, thinking in the flickering darkness, before the creak of the door alerts them, and Rick, Tyrese, and Sasha come in.  Sasha walks up the aisle, toward the front altar, where Gabriel stands. She faces him, as Rick and Tyrese flank her from behind.

“Stop,” Sasha orders Gabriel, who pauses, surprised and fearful at the menace in Sasha’s stance, and voice. Sasha continues, somewhere between a whisper and a growl, “What are you doing? What…are…you doing? This is all connected…you show up, someone is watching us, and now, three of us are gone!”

Gabriel looks around fearfully, protests that he doesn’t know what Sasha is talking about, that he has nothing to do with any of this. Sasha has no time, or patience, to play around, and she unsheaths her machete, advancing on Gabriel, demanding, “Where are our people? Where are our people??!” Gabriel is majorly freaked, but insists that he has nothing to do with all this.

Rick steps forward for the Tag-Team Interrogation, looking majorly Sexy Detective as he peppers Gabriel with questions. Why did he bring them there? Is he working with someone?  When Gabriel insists that he’s alone, he’s always been alone, Rick brings up the woman walker at the food bank….“What did you do to her, Gabriel? ‘You will burn?’ Why will you burn, Gabriel? What did you do?” 

In classic interrogation room-style, Rick grabs Gabriel’s shirt and shoves him up against the altar, before releasing the shaken priest abruptly.

Gabriel breaks,

Gabriel breaks, “I locked the doors…at night. I always locked the doors at night…I always locked the doors…at night.”

Gabriel tells them that after the turn, after Atlanta was bombed, terrified parishioners, and their families, came to the church for refuge…but. they came, in the early hours of the morning, and instead of opening the doors to let them in, Gabriel stayed where he was, keeping the doors locked…and the parishioners outside.  As the people cried out to him, the noise attracted walkers, who attacked the vulnerable parishioners. Locked inside the church, Gabriel heard the agonizing screams and cries as men, women, and children got torn apart. He heard the dying people to beg him for mercy, then curse him, and damn him to Hell.

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel's confession..

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel’s confession. “It was my choice (to keep the doors locked).”

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation...

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation, sobbing…”The Lord says you’re here to finally punish me.  I’m danned…I was damned before…I always locked he doors...I always locked the doors.”

Mad props to Seth Gilliam (from The Wire), who plays Father Gabriel, for an amazing performance, all around, but especially for this heartbreaking, harrowing scene…when a tortured man of the cloth confesses how he abandoned his people, in a moment of weakness and cowardice, when they needed him most…when their very lives depended on him doing right by them, opening the doors of the church, and letting them take refuge within the safety of its walls.

A noise outside…Glenn sees someone outside, lying in the grass…the gang runs outside, and finds…

Bob!

Bob!

Sasha, crying, gets Tara to help her carry Bob inside, while the others rekill the walkers that are approaching.  Rick hears a gunshot, which misses Rick, dropping the walker next to him instead. Rick fires back in the direction it came, from the woods, while ordering everyone inside. As he follows suit, we see the Terminans have marked the outside of the church…

“A” for train car A, the holding car for Rick and the gang…some mind-messing mental warfare going on here, Terminal Style.

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy turned to me and said, “This is the scariest story line, ever.”  We agreed, too, that so far, in many ways, Season 5 is the best WD season yet.

Kudos to Dad, NewDad, Crazy Uncle Greg, and the entire WD cast and crew, for bringing the thrills, chills, and blood spills like none other, yet again.

Back in the church, Bob has come to, and is sharing the details of his harrowing ordeal at the hands of the Terminans…he was in the graveyard, and somebody knocked him out…he woke up at some place that looked like a school.  Bob tells the gang, “It was that guy, Gareth,” and we see a shot of Rick, and we know what he’s thinking…

bob tells sad tale

i knew we should have killed gareth

“I knew we should have stayed and killed them!”

Bob continues, saying that it was Gareth, “and five other ones…they were eating my leg, right in front of me, like it was nothin’…all proud, like they had it all figured out.” (Ugh, it is so awful, sounds so awful, to say it…poor Bob, and the poor gang, poor Sasha, who must listen to this awful tale, and process that this happened to one of their own, just in the past hours, when all seemed so right, everyone all together again, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while. And, now this…O how I hate thee, Terminal Buzzkills!)

Rick asks Bob gently, softly, if they had Daryl and Carol.  Bob thinks a moment, says that Gareth said they drove off.  The gang exchanges quick looks, like, what? Then, they turn their attention back to Bob.  He seems like he’s in real pain, and Sasha asks if they have anything for him. Rosita does, but Bob stops her, to Sasha’s confusion…and Bob knows that now is the time he must tell her.

:(

😦

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder.

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder. He looks at Sasha, tells her, “It happened at the food bank.”

Poor Sasha!

Poor Sasha! She does manage a brave smile for Bob, after a long moment of shock…

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick...

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick…

...as the gang must face losing another beloved member...

…as the gang must face losing another beloved member…

...of their chosen family.

…of their chosen family.

Gabriel steos up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office...

Gabriel steps up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office…

...and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him for, the kind and compassionate offer.

…and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him, for the kind and compassionate offer.

As Tyrese carries Bob to the office, Rick asks Gabriel if he know where the school is, the one Bob was talking about.  After some hesitation, and prodding from Rick, Gabriel says that there is an elementary school close by, about a 10-minute walk through the woods.  You can see the wheels in Rick’s head turning.

Baby Judith starts to cry, and Carl takes her to the back.  Rick asks Maggie if Bob has the fever…Maggie says he’s just warm.  Glenn adds that Jim lasted two days before they left him.  Our gang is doing what they do, putting all the information out there, so they can make a decision about how to proceed, armed with all the facts and factors.

Abraham steps forward on this moment with a “reality check”…it’s time to pack up and leave for D.C., now, as there is a clear threat to Eugene, and they must “extract his ass” from said threat immediately, before things “get any uglier.” Rick replies that Daryl and Carol aren’t back yet, and they aren’t going anywhere until they return.

Abraham replies that he respects that, then tries a “so, if you aren’t coming with us, guess this is goodbye,” and turns with Rosita to leave, when Rick ups the ante on the “Just who is top dog around here anyway?” question, asking Abraham’s retreating back, “You going (to D.C.) on foot?” meaning, of course, “Hope you don’t think you’re taking that bus you found in the back, because that bus belongs to RICK GRIMES & CO., bitch.”

Oh, yes he did!  (And I like it.)

This clear challenge stops Abraham, and Rosita, mid-stride. Abraham turns, reminds Rick that they fixed that damn bus themselves, while Rick strides forward, saying, “There are a lot more of us,”  to which Abraham replies, “You wanna keep it that way? You should come!”  

Rick reminds Abraham that “Carol saved your life, we saved your life,” and Abraham yells, “And I’m trying to save yours!”  Rick and Abraham go back and forth, Rick saying they aren’t leaving without their people, and their people will be right back. Abraham yells, “To what? Picked over bones?”

Rick and Abraham begin to shove one another as their exchange escalates, until Glenn steps between them, yelling at them to, “Stop right now!”  Glenn asks Abraham to stay one more day, and Tara throws in another offer…if Abraham and Co. will stay and help, one more day, she will go with them to D.C,, no matter what. Abraham throws in that he wants Glenn and Maggie as well, to which Rick In Charge says, No way.

Abraham turns to leave, ordering Eugene to come along, like a dad…when Eugene refuses at first, “I don’t want to,” like a teenager, Abraham grinds out, “NOW.”

“Ok,” Eugene says softly, getting up and walking towards the door, without looking at anybody. (Holy dysfunctional relationship, Batman!)

As Abraham turns to leave with Eugene and Rosita, Rick says, again, “You’re not taking the bus.” Abraham turns halfway to Rick, says, “Stop me.” After a long moment, Rick begins to stride towards Abraham, who hands his gun to Rosita, preparing to exchange blows.  But Glenn once again gets between them, telling Abraham that if he stays, and helps them, then he and Maggie will go with them to D.C.

At this, Rick says, again, “No,” and Glenn turns to him, reminds Rick that, “It’s not your call.”  After that, Rick says nothing, and Glenn repeats the offer to Abraham, who gives Glenn half the next day. “Come high noon, we’re taillights,” says Abraham. “I’m not waiting for the other damn shoe to drop.” Maggie agrees, so Abraham agrees. He will give them 12 hours.

Meanwhile, in Gabriel’s office, Sasha is wiping Bob’s forehead down with a cool, wet cloth, while Bob is trying to revive their former game of Pros and Cons, Good and Bad. He tells Sasha the one good thing about getting kicked in the face was that it made him forget the pain in his leg.

“We’re not playing that game any more,” replies Sasha, wringing out the cloth and wiping Bob’s forehead. Bob smiles, replies that he thought at least she would try to humor him a little bit…but Sasha doesn’t. She can’t. She asks Bob why he didn’t tell her, when it happened, that he had gotten bit.

Bob tells her he knew once he told her, it would be “all about the end…and I really liked the middle.”  This, of course, makes Sasha turn away, and blink back her tears. She then lay her head gently on Bob’s shoulder.

So sweet and sad.

So sweet, and sad.

Meanwhile, Rick and the gang are talking strategy…Rick and Glenn agree that Gareth and the Terms aren’t going to expect them to attack first, that they won’t think that Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars will be thinking straight.

Rosita pipes up, “Are we?” and at Rick’s look, she says, simply, that it’s a pretty risky plan.  Nobody says anything.  Rick turns to Tyrese, asks him if he’s up for this, but before Tyrese (who is sitting, looking down at the floor, and not looking like he’s up for much of anything) can answer, Sasha comes into the room, tells the gang that she’s in. She wants to go.

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should stay back, stay with Bob. Sasha tells him no, she’s going. Tyrese follows her into the office.

sasha tyrese bob

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen's death.

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen’s death.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother. “You want me to forgive them? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Sasha continues, “You think we have a choice?” to which Tyrese replies, “Not all of us, just you.” Tyrese continues by saying that the only thing Bob will want to see, when he wakes up, is Sasha’s face.  In response, Sasha stands up, unsheaths her knife, and hands it to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

She says, Take it.

She says, Take it…

...and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple...that's what Bob would want.

…and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple…that’s what Bob would want.

Next, we see a shot of Rick and the Stealth Squad, leaving the church at night, Gabriel peers out after them a moment, before closing and locking the door.

rick and the gang leave the church

Rick, Michonne, Sasha, Glenn, Abraham and Maggie file out of the church….

Then, one of the coolest things I've seen on televsion...a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait...watch, wait...suspense builds...it's like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no...wait, watch...and we see...

Then, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on televsion…a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait…watch, wait…suspense builds…it’s like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no…wait, watch…and then, finally, we see, coming out of the bushes, once all is clear…

Terminans!

Terminans!

As they approach the church, Gareth silently hand-signals his group, and Shitty Martin steps forward, and easily jacks the lock of the church’s front door (if only he had been there, before becoming a Terminan, to let all those poor families into the church, on that early morning, so long ago!). 

One by one, the Terminans file into the church.

Carl, hearing the breach of the door, lifts his gun and holds it steady towards the door.

carl raises gun in gabriels office

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

The following scene was so damn scary to watch, my WD buddy and I were guzzling champagne, hard.  We finished the good bottle and moved on to the cheap one. Thank God for orange juice, makes it so you can’t tell the difference…until the next morning, that is…

Gareth, emerging from the darkness, announces, “Well, I guess you know we’re here…

“…and we know you’re here.” 

Gareth continues, as he and his fellow Terms step silently forward through the church, closer and closer to Gabriel’s office, where our gang is hiding.  Gareth informs them that they are armed, so there’s no point in hiding…when this fails to bring them forward, Gareth continues, saying, “We’ve been watching you.” He says that he knows who is there…there’s Bob, unless they went ahead and put him out of his misery, already…then, there’s Eugene, and Rosita, and “Martin’s good friend, Tyrese”…

tyrese eugene rosita bob

Gareth continues naming: “Carl, Judith.”  Gareth  then tells them that he knows Rick and the others left, with a lot of their guns…

As he talks, Gareth motions his people, all armed, forward, until they are at the two office doors.  A Terminal Goon tries the door of Gabriel’s office, finds it locked. Carl and Rosita hold their guns steady towards the door.

Gareth informs them that he knows they are behind one of those two doors, and that they have enough fire power to blast both doors down. “I don’t imagine that’s what you want,” he says.

One of the things I find so scary about Gareth is that he can sound so reasonable, calm. I could imagine how people would have thought he was a man that could be reasoned, or bargained with, but Gareth’s calm belies a ruthlessness, and probably comes from a deep lack of giving a shit about anything other than his personal agenda. Gareth can sound super calm, and reasonable...while he’s sawing off your leg, or roasting it over the fire, and eating it, right in front of you.

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling “the priest” that if he lets them in, he can take the baby and walk out the door, and leave unharmed.  Yeah, right.

At Judith’s cry, Gareth turns from the door he was in front of, the wrong door, and heads towards the other door, the right door, saying, “I don’t know, maybe we’ll keep the kid…I’m starting to like this girl.” Bastard!

Gareth gives them one more chance to come out…Shitty Martin turns to him, asks, “Are we done?” Gareth instructs them to aim for the door hinges, and just as they are about to do so, a silencer sounds two quiet shots, dropping two Terminal Goons, their blood splattering the church walls.

We hear a soft voice growl out from the back pews, “Put your guns on the floor.” And even though we can’t see him, yet, we know he’s looking hot, and sounding like the most badass cowboy this side of Clint EastwoodRick In Charge! Yes! He’s back to save the day…or, rather, the night.

Gareth starts talking fast, some shrill shit directed at Rick, pointing his left index and middle fingers like a gun at the office door, and we hear the silencer go off again. Gareth drops forward, and when he comes back up to standing, we see that Rick has shot the two fingers clean off at the mid knuckle.

gareth gets shot

Yes! Take that, Gareth!

Oh, Gareth. meet Rick In Charge...p.s. he's a sharpshooter.

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick In Charge…p.s. he’s a sharpshooter.

 Cue Nelson…

As Gareth tries not to cry, curled up on the floor, we see, emerging from the darkness…

Rick .In. Charge.

Rick. In. Charge.

Rick orders them to put their guns down…two goons do, but Shitty Martin does not. Still knifed over in pain on the floor, Gareth tells Martin to do as he says, that there’s no choice any more.  Shitty Martin disagrees.

“Oh, yeah there is.” It seems that this is Martin’s Last Stand.

Abraham would beg to differ, moving up from the side aisle, assault rifle aimed at Shitty Martin.  “You wanna bet?”  Martin puts his gun down, gets on his knees.

Gareth, meanwhile, is trying to compose himself, despite the searing pain he is in. #karma

Managing to straighten up enough to look Rick in the face, Gareth asks, lightly, “Guess there’s no point in begging, right?”

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word.

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word. “No.”

Gareth asks Rick why they didn’t kill them right away, before, and Rick replies, “We didn’t want to waste the bullets.”

Ah, remember the good old days of shot count, Gareth?

Gareth is not very good at being on the other side of all this, and besides, his hand really hurts.  He tries at first to appeal to Rick’s sympathies, telling him that they used to help people, at Sanctuary, before they were taken advantage of, and brutalized. When this fails, Gareth tries the ol’, “I can tell you’ve been out there, but you don’t know what it’s like to be hungry!”

Rick In Charge just cocks his head at this, observing Gareth like a bird of prey would regard a future morsel, not saying anything.  Gareth then tries to bargain with Rick, saying that he, Rick, can just “let them go” and their paths would never cross again.

Rick cocks his head to the other side, points out that Gareth would cross paths with someone else…right?  And they would do this (i.e., capturing and eating a person) to anyone, right? Rick is quoting Gareth’s jibes to Bob back to him now.

“Besides,” Rick tells Gareth, “I made you a promise, before…”

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick Smash!  P.S. He's got anger issues.

Gareth, meet Rick Smash!p.s. he’s got anger issues.

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch's face, like, oooh, don't hurt me!

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch’s face, like, oooh, don’t hurt me!

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

And then, this happens…

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means...

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means…

Katana time again! Yes!

Katana-time again! Yes!

After the carnage, a dazed Rick says, simply, “It could have been us.” As he and the other heavies file out of the room, a shaken Gabriel enters, says, in disbelief, looking at his now bloodstained church, “This is the Lord’s house.”  “No,” says Maggie, looking majorly creeped out by it all, “This is just four walls and a roof.”

In the next scene, the gang is all around Bob’s bed, and one by one, they are saying their goodbyes.  Maggie gives Bob the sweetest smile, tells him that he will “always be with us.”  She turns, and she, Glenn, Abraham and Rosita, then the others file out.

Bob calls out to Rick, who is holding Judith, and Sasha leaves them to have a moment. Bob thanks Rick for taking him in, and helping him believe, and know, that there are good people left in the world.

Bob tells Rick he's not backing off his earlier stance...don't lose too much of what you really are, and don't stop believing that things will be good again, one day.

Bob tells Rick he’s not backing off his earlier stance…don’t lose too much of what you really are, and don’t stop believing that things will be good again, one day. “Nightmares end…they don’t have to end who you are.” Bob looks at Baby Judith, says, “Look at her, and tell me the world isn’t gonna change.”

Sasha sits by Bob’s side, later, watches him wake up.  “You were out,” she says, as he smiles.  “Why are you smiling?” she asks him.  “I think I was having a dream, and in it, you were smiling at me,” murmurs Bob.  This brings a smile to Sasha’s face, and that smile brings Bob joy. “There it is,” he murmurs happily.

sasha smiles for bob

Sasha asks Bob, “So what is it, what is the good that comes from this bad?” Bob doesn’t answer, and his face goes quiet, peaceful.  He is gone.  Sasha sobs, tries to compose herself. She knows what she must do, and she pulls out her knife…but she can’t bring herself.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha. “Give it here,” he says, and lets her leave before he slips the knife in Bob’s temple, rekilling him.

The next day. Sasha is finishing up the wooden cross marking Bob’s grave, and the gang is saying their goodbyes to Glenn and Maggie, and Abraham and Co. Abraham hands Rick a map, telling Rick that he and his gang know the route Abraham and Co. are taking to D.C,, and if for some reason they veer off the charted course, they know the destination.  Abraham tells them that Eugene will fix things, and when he does, they should be there, too.

It is majorly surreal to see Glenn and Maggie looking out from the bus, with Tara, Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham.

Glenn and Maggie leaving...it just doesn't feel right!

Glenn and Maggie leaving…it just doesn’t feel right!

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map.

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map, later.

Later that night, Michonne sits on the front steps of the church, looking at the katana she holds once again.  Father Gabriel comes out and sits beside her.  He can’t sleep, keeps hearing the cries in his head from the night before…and from before.  Michonne tells him that won’t stop…but, eventually, it won’t happen all the time.

A noise from the bushes startles them.  Gabriel makes his way back inside while Michonne goes out to investigate…and finds, emerging from the bushes…

Daryl!

Daryl!

Michonne smiles, then frowns, asks, “Where’s Carol?” Without answering, Daryl turns back to the darkened bushes, tells someone, hidden, “You can come out.”

What??

Two things, before I sign off.  First, I would like to say that in my frenzy to get my post written last week, I forgot to award a Deadie, so this week, we are going Double Deadie…I hearby award these two Deadies to (drumroll please), Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (and his character, Bob Stookey, who turned out to be a great guy, and family) and to Andrew J. West (and his character, Gareth). While Gareth wasn’t a great guy, he was a great villain, and I feel like this young, talented actor is going to be wowing us again and again in the future. Cheers, Bob and Gareth, and farewell.

Second, I am honored to have readers all over the world, as we are part of the worldwide community of Walking Dead Obsessed.  Since we have this wonderful network, I wanted to post this picture, and this information, about William Tyrell, a beautiful 3-year-old boy who has been missing for more than a month now.  He was last seen playing in his grandmother’s yard.  If anyone has any information about William, or his whereabouts, please contact the number provided.  Please, let’s try to help bring this baby back home safe.

come home william tyrell

Good night, gang, and until next week.  Enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Because I really do think Gareth wanted Rick to take him out, there, at the end..)

alt-J, “Every Other Freckle” (For Sasha and Bob, who never got to party naked together…they would have had fun if they had)

Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground” (Six Terminans, 6 Underground…you do the math.)

Phantogram, “Nightlife” (RIP Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 10, “Inmates”

“Inmates”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Those of you who actually read my recent pre-season post, “What Happens After”?  may remember my telling you about The Law of Kirkman, which basically states that Kirkman will do as Kirkman pleases, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions.

Nothing personal; it’s just how he do…well, he and Gimple and the rest of the WD gang, anyway.

I have wondered lately about how the whole Kirkman and Gimple relationship works…are they like Batman and Robin, or are they more like The Tick and Arthur? Maybe they really complement each other and are actually more like The Wonder Twins, with special rings and shit…I don’t know, but what I do know that they are pretty much kicking my ass right about now.

Back after mid-season finale, when Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman on that night’s Talking Dead about the possibility of Baby Judith still being alive, I really thought Kirkman was scoffing and laughing at us sentimental fools: “There was a lot of blood in that car seat!”  I thought, “Oh, man, poor Baby Judith’s a goner for sure…” My WD buddy’s friend, Neil (the originator of The Crazy Carol Theory) even read some interview where somebody from the show said that it was “unrealistic” for the story line to keep her alive.

Now I know that what Kirkman and Co. were really doing was bluffing… and playing with our emotions.  Now I know why Chris Hardwick yells, “Kirkman!!”

Yesss, Precious, the Kirkman is tricksy, yes it is….it tricks and teases us, yessss it does, Precious….

(Despite my mock protests, I am loving every minute of Kirkman and Co. slapping us up like the baby bitches that we are.)

In Season 4, Episode 10“Inmates,”  Kirkman and Co. proved once again that they are masters of their domain by throwing down five game-changing plot developments in a single episode…Baby Judith is alive, whabam!   Carol is back, whabam!   Glenn wakes up at the freaking prison, and after indulging himself in a brief tearful moment in his old cell, looking at a polaroid of Maggie, he squares his shoulders, gathers supplies, suits up in riot gear to make his escape through the horde of prison walkers, and finds Tara having an existential crisis moment in the fenced garden area..whabam!

And to top it all off like two crazy cherries, Lizzy is a major psycho (as we all suspected), and at the episode’s end, a catalytic and iconic character from the WD comic series, Sgt. Abraham Ford, enters the arena with the line (to Tara), “You got a damn mouth on you, you know that?  What else you got?”

All I can think of to say is, “Thank you, Kirkman, may I have another?”

Inmates”  opens in a haunting sequence showing Beth and Daryl running for their lives through the woods, pursued by a large group of walkers.  Beth’s voice comes over the slow-motion, dream-like sequence, reading aloud a diary entry from their early days of the prison, when Lori was still alive and expecting her baby any day…Beth addresses the diary like an old friend:

“Hey… I know it’s been awhile…I gotta be honest. I forgot about you. After the farm, we were always moving. But something happened…something good…finally.  We found a prison…Daddy thinks we can make it into a home. He says we can grow crops in the field, find pigs and chickens, stop running, stop scavenging…Lori’s baby’s just about due…she’ll need a safe place when it comes…the rest of us, we just need a safe place to be.”

Still running through the woods, Beth is surprised by a walker…She points her pistol and tries to shoot, but is out of bullets. Daryl is there, shooting an arrow through the walker’s head, bashing another walker’s head open with the swift upswing of his crossbow, and planting his foot into the third walker’s belly and shoving it down to the ground. This gives just enough time for him to do a quick touch-check with Beth, grab his arrow from the walker’s skull, and then they must run, run from the walkers, who seem to keep coming and coming.

Beth’s voice-over continues, “I woke up in my own bed yesterday…my own bed…in my own room.  I’ve been keeping my bag packed, keeping my gun close…I’ve been afraid to get my hopes up…that we can actually stay here.  The thing is, I’ve been starting to get afraid that it’s easier just to be afraid. But this morning, Daddy said something…”If you don’t have hope, what’s the point of living?” So, I unpacked my bag….and I found you. So I’m going to start writing in you again.”

Finally free of the walkers, hidden in the underbrush, Beth and Daryl collapse onto the ground, exhausted and winded.  They have been running since the prison’s collapse, and the shot pans in closer to them, as Beth’s voice-over continues:

IMG_2798

“And I’m going to write this down now, because you should write down wishes to make them come true…we can live here.  We can live  here for the rest of our lives…”

Early next morning, before sunrise. Beth and Daryl are sitting on opposite sides of a tiny fire.  Daryl’s face is stony, and it feels like he may be shutting down inside, retreating back into his former persona of a lone tracker/hunter. Beth sits forward, looks at Daryl.

“We should do something,” she says.  No response from Daryl, so Beth says it again. “We should do something.” Daryl just looks up at her, says nothing. “We aren’t  the only survivors…we can’t be….they could be out here…You’re a tracker, you can track…..c’mon, the sun will be up soon…if we head out now…”  Beth stands above Daryl, waiting for him to answer. In response, Daryl does nothing, says nothing.

Beth has had enough.  She snatches up her knife, says, “Fine.  If you won’t track, I will.” She stalks off, and of course, after a moment’s hesitation,  Daryl must get up and follow her.

While I was initially resistant to the possibility of Daryl and Beth getting together, seeing how they interact in these scenes made me realize that I actually like them together. Beth has a brave honesty about her, and she not afraid to speak her mind and call someone out if need be.  But Beth is also young, with an artist’s sensitivity, and I think both her fire and her vulnerability would help to draw Daryl out a little.

Daryl has always had a youthful, childlike way about him, and I could see him being able to relate to Beth as a girlfriend…she is a good combination for him…she has a sweet innocence and openness about her, but she’s definitely seen some shit and has the strength and smarts to have survived this long.  In that way, Beth and Daryl have a lot in common.

And, honestly, while there are many of us out there who consider Daryl Dixon our pretend boyfriend (or, one of our favorite pretend boyfriends), we can’t bogart the Daryl, people. The way I see it, the only thing worse than Daryl having a cute young girlfriend is Daryl not having anybody to love at all…he is way too hot for that.  Daryl deserves love, something sweet to keep him going.  At the very least, Daryl needs a hobby, and saving Beth from walkers seems to be becoming a full-time job for him. Beth is good for him, and if I’m right, I think love is blossoming already between the two. I smell lovers.

I really liked the scene when they find some signs of others, and Beth tells Daryl to have a little faith, and Daryl responds with some shitty remark, “Faith…faith ain’t done shit for us, and it sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father…”

It’s too mean, and they both know it. Beth gapes at him, while he looks shamefacedly back at her. She blinks back tears, turns away from Daryl with the pretext of gathering grapes for the others, who will probably be “hungry” when they find them. Daryl gets this sweet, regretful (totally hot) look:

IMG_2818

Then, in a gesture that is both tender and totally manly, he pulls a clean bandanna from his back pocket, shakes it out, and holds it out to Beth, who is still turned away from him. He gently nudges her arm with the bandanna, and after a moment, Beth slowly turns and takes the bandanna from him, and begins to put the grapes she is gathering into it.

IMG_2823IMG_2828

I texted my WD buddy, I officially approve of Beth as Daryl’s girlfriend, to which she replied, in emoji, a thumb’s up, followed by two hearts.  It’s official:  We approve.

A few moments later,  Beth and Daryl work seamlessly together to kill Pop Walker, who reanimated after getting chomped by the rails. In the times of post-zombie apocalypse (PZA), killing a walker together is like PZA foreplay. Beth and Daryl go down to the railroad tracks to find more walkers, crouched and eating human remains. Daryl makes quick work of the walkers, who are intent on their grisly feast.

Owwww...my head!

Owwww…that hurts!

When Beth surveys the carnage, she a child’s shoe that resembles the shoes Mika was wearing. Beth breaks down in tears.  More shots of Daryl, looking super fine in his sleeveless vest, walking along the tracks, then looking back at Beth, at a loss for how to comfort her:

IMG_2857

Daryl was looking so fine in this scene that I paused the dvr and went to find my husband for a quick

Daryl was looking so fine in this scene that I paused the dvr and went to find my husband for a quick “writing break…” sorry for the TMI, but that man is just damn inspiring.

That night, as Beth and Daryl sit across each other at a small fire, Beth rips pages from her diary and throws them into the flames. We hear her voice-over, reading the last of her diary’s entry:

“We’re not going to die…none of us…I believe now…I believe for Daddy, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know how I can keep going…”

Unbeknownst to Daryl and Beth, the sites and areas they have been tracking were the ones traversed only hours before by Tyrese, Mika, and Lizzy…carrying an unexpected surprise survivor:

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier!

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier…

Baby Judith!  I was alternately relieved and completely freaked out by the realization that Baby Judith was alive…it was like, “Oh, yay!” and “This sucks!” all wrapped up into one. My WD buddy texted,  I am so over worrying about Baby Judith, and then she was gone, for like 10 minutes. I was a little worried at first, but I know how we are about this show…she needed to go process for a little bit.  Been there, done that.

She texted me, once she recovered,  It was so much better for me thinking she was dead.   I get it, I really do.  My WD buddy and I are both moms, and worrying about Baby Judith’s survival brings it all a little too close to home.

I basically decided in that moment that it was time to start drinking in earnest, so I poured myself another glass of pinot noir…I am glad I did, because it was right at the scene where it’s night, and Baby Judith is crying (and teething up a storm, it looks like), and Tyrese is trying to calm the baby…Mika is fearful that the crying will alert walkers, and Lizzy looks down at the log she is sitting on and discovers:

Bunnies!

Bunnies!

And in a silent and horrifying sequence, Lizzy pulls out her knife and goes to town on the bunnies, while the camera holds the shot on her face as she makes quick work of them with her knife:

What the hell, Lizzy?

What the hell, Lizzy??

Well, it seems pretty apparent to me at this point that it was probably Lizzy who was creating the fucked-up rabbit dissection art and feeding rats to the walkers, back at the prison. A couple of my Walking Dead-Obsessed friends have been pretty certain that it was Lizzy who killed Karen and David.  They think that Carol discovered what she did, dragged out and burned the bodies, and tried to cover up for Lizzy, getting banished by Rick in the process…fascinating, right? That would morph The Crazy Carol Theory into a whole new theory, The Crazy Lizzy Formulation.  We all know that Lizzy is crazy…the question is, just how crazy is she?

Pretty freaking crazy, it turns out, as she and Mika are left by Tyrese to stand back-to-back in the woods, Lizzy holding Judith and Mika holding a gun, to defend themselves against potential walkers while Tyrese goes to help whomever is screaming, someone presumably under walker attack.

Poor Judith begins to cry, and Mika pleads with Lizzy to please try to keep the baby quiet.  Lizzy puts her hand over Judith’s nose and mouth, and she starts to get that intent, crazy look as she continues to press down, beginning to suffocate poor Baby Judith.  Meanwhile, a couple of walkers approach Mika and Lizzy, snarling and hissing. Mika’s eyes grow wide with terror and she points the gun up towards the walkers, shaking…

While watching this scene the first time, I actually typed the line, “Oh fuck, Lizzy, don’t kill the baby!”  I would like to take this moment  to nominate Brighton Sharbiro, the beautiful young actress who plays Lizzy, for a “Deadie” for a great performance in this episode, and, in general, for taking on such an intense and complex role as Lizzy.

Down by the railroad tracks, battling walkers, Tyrese hears the gun shot, and when he turns, he is surprised by yet another unexpected survivor:

Carol!

Carol!

I have to tell you, I don’t know if I have ever been so glad to see someone as I was to see Carol in that moment, holding Baby Judith (who looked super-relieved to be away from Lizzy, I might add).  Carol looked a bit nervous when Tyrese rushed up to give her a big hug, but recovered herself quickly enough to lie about her whereabouts when the shit went down between the Gov and the prison peeps.

After the lies and the pleasantries are exchanged, Carol and Tyrese approach the poor bitten father, who is crying over the body of his son, who was bitten and killed by the walkers.

This scene definitely messed me up a bit, as the walkers definitely are scoring some mad kills and general scariness points so far in these mid-season episodes.  The poor young son fought valiantly, but those damn walkers and their singular, undead purpose (to chomp the living) just keep coming and coming…the poor dad tells them to follow the tracks, that there is a safe place there to take the children…they leave him crying over the dead body of his son…he will soon die himself, and reanimate in a few hours as Pop Walker, and get rekilled by Beth and Daryl.

Carol, Tyrese, Judith, and the girls take Pop Walker’s advice and walk along the tracks for a bit, Lizzy and Mika walking ahead, holding hands. Lizzy spots a sign, and they read:

IMG_2901

IMG_2899

Lizzy looks at Tyrese and Carol, who give a smile back, but seem hesitant to believe what seems too good to be true.

Meanwhile, Bob is loving being alive, chilling with two fine babes, Sasha and Maggie, getting his shoulder wound cleaned and bandaged up by Sasha while Maggie morosely carves into a large rock and looks at the engagement/wedding rings on her ring finger. Bob allows himself a smile, which Sasha sees. “It’s ok, smile if you want to…I get it, you’re alive…”  It’s actually nice to see Bob lighten up for a change.

Maggie is not giving a fuck about anything right now…she wants to go find Glenn. She tries a, “Nice spot, see ya, going to find Glenn now, and we’ll come back for you.” Sasha and Bob try to talk her out of it, but she will not be swerved from this plan.  She is going to find the bus, and Glenn.  Sasha tries to tell her, “We can’t split up!” as Maggie walks away.  Bob gets up and begins to follow Maggie, and at Sasha’s “WTF?” look, he shrugs and cheerfully echos, “We can’t split up!”

Bob and Sasha have a little back and forth as they walk behind Maggie, and Bob says that he is done with just surviving…he seems to want to embrace truly living for a change. Maggie spots the bus, which has run off the road, and of course, is full of walkers.  (Ha, it’s a busfullawalkers! Drink one if you got one!)

After stopping Maggie from charging right into the back of the bus to see if Glenn is on it, Bob and Sasha help her come up with a system to let the walkers out, one at a time…easier to manage, and less cleanup that way!

Maggie squares off with each walker as they emerge from the bus, one by one, looking majorly beautiful and badass in that fierce Lauren Cohan way she has…

My buddy says Lauren Cohan comes into his coffee shop in Atlanta, and that  she is just as beautiful in real life...even on the run from zombies and grief-stricken, Maggie is gorgeous.

My buddy says Lauren Cohan comes into his coffee shop in Atlanta, and that she is just as beautiful in real life…even on the run from zombies and grief-stricken, Maggie is gorgeous.

One by one, the walkers come out, and one by one, Maggie takes them down:

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The press of the walkers becomes too much, and Sasha and Bob cannot hold them…the walkers come flying out in a rush, and Maggie goes in some inner slo-mo moment as one walker comes lurching towards her.  Bob takes it out with a single shot to the head, jolting Maggie out of her reverie.  She then seems to take all her pent-up emotions out on the walkers, bashing one walker’s head into the bus again and again…

I called this walker Bitch Slap Walker at first, but Talking Dead's name for her, Headbanger Walker, is so much better!

I called this walker Bitch Slap Walker at first, but Talking Dead’s name for her, Headbanger Walker, is so much better!

Maggie still has to know if Glenn is in the bus…so she goes in. The bus seats are covered in blood and gore, and flies are buzzing.  I always try to imagine how it must smell…must be godawful.  There is one male walker at the far front of the bus, hard to see, but with dark hair…Maggie fears it may be Glenn, and upon discovering it isn’t, slumps into a seat and dissolves into a mixture of helpless tears and relieved laughter. Poor Maggie!

And poor Glenn, who wakes to find himself at the prison! My WD buddy texted me, Wasn’t expecting that!

Me neither.

Damn!

Damn!

Glenn gets himself to his old cell/room, and takes a moment to process this…the interior of the prison actually looks pretty solid, making me wonder if it really was such a lost cause after all…it seems a lot better than the prison gang fending for themselves out in the wild.  But, I guess the walls are probably breached somewhere, and the fences are surely shot to shit, so I guess it is time to move on.

Glenn seems to decide this as well…after taking a moment to process it all, he seems to invoke his inner badass, collecting supplies from around the prison (including the makings for a molotov cocktail, thanks to Bob’s bottle of liquor and a working lighter).

I love when Glenn invokes his inner badass…remember the interrogation room battle with the walker, then the battle with Merle, then the escape for himself and Maggie he orchestrated? I am a big fan of Glenn when he goes off.

I also love this part, when Glenn suits up in the riot gear and emerges to fight his way through the walkers and escape the prison:

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Riot Glenn!

Enter Riot Glenn!

After charging the first line of walkers, Glenn finds Tara getting meta in the garden. She is hating herself, mourning the loss of her sister, niece, and girlfriend…she cannot forgive herself for believing the Governor’s lies and blindly following in what turned out to be a suicide mission.  Glenn isn’t having it, tells her he needs her help.  He fashions a molotov cocktail with Bob’s bottle of liquor and buys them a clear line out of the prison.

Once they reach the road (a sign, riddled with bullet holes, warns motorists that hitchikers may be escaped inmates from the prison), Tara wonders how Glenn can trust her, and he basically tells her that he needs her to find his “wife,” Maggie.  They are rushed by walkers, and Glenn manages to kill one but is struggling to fight off the others in his weakened state.  Tara rushes forward and stabs one walker, then bashes another’s head open with repeated blows with the butt end of Glenn’s assault rifle.  In the midst of this carnage, a super-style military Hummer-type truck pulls up…Tara looks up in alarm, and tries to cover her fear with mock bravado: “Hope you enjoyed the show, assholes!”

Leading with his massive chest, assault rifle in hand, Sgt. Abraham Ford steps around to the front of his massive vehicle, flanked by a man and a woman:

Enter Abraham and Co.!

Enter Abraham and Co.!

“You got a damn mouth on you, you know that?” he asks Tara. And then, with a smile at his own private joke, he asks, “What else you got?”

Aw, shit…it’s Abraham! 

Until next week, gang….

Playlist: 

West Indian Girl, “What Are You Afraid Of?”

Of Monsters and Men, “Dirty Paws”

Coldplay, “Clocks”

Season 4, Episode 9 prepost, “What Happens ‘After?'”

images

So, what happens “After?”

Welcome back, gang….It’s been a nice couple of months since we watched the Governor implode in a hero-brother-hating self-sabotage and basically fuck it all up for everybody, including himself, by making an ill-fated play for the prison.  

The Walking Dead’s Season 4 mid-season finale, Too Far Gone, left everybody either dead or broken and bleeding, running for their lives in ragtag bands (or alone) as the prison is overrun with walkers… and then, after the finale,  we shaken WD fans all took a well-earned break from the mayhem and went on holiday.

And it’s the day we’ve been waiting for, Feb. 9th, 2014. Tonight, my friends, WD is back with its mid-season premiere, “After,” and the blood and guts are gonna hit the proverbial fan.

After a couple of moons, many questions, predictions, and about a million social media freakouts later, the question stands:  We are back, but are we ready?

I, for one, do not know… but here I am.  So, armed with two Stellas for self-medication (and bravery), I rewatched Too Far Gone… and yes, it was even more brutal and heartbreaking this time around.

I did notice a couple of things in the episode that I guess I had missed before, like Rick’s getting shot in the leg…I did not remember that Rick had gotten shot in the thigh.

That is so not good, and his poor, beautiful face is looking like raw hamburger meat after the Gov beat the total crap out of him and almost strangled him to death (btw, that fight scene between Rick and the Gov is one of the burliest onscreen punchouts, ever).

Rick’s not looking too good in the previews, either, and then there’s that scene in the preview where Carl’s terrified face is above an unconscious Rick, screaming for him to “Wake up! Wake up!”

Oh, god…Rick…I cannot.  I just cannot.

(Stella!   At this point, I took a writing break and went to the neighborhood bodega get another twelver of Stella…I am learning that when writing, one must choose their beverages wisely and stick with the chosen kinds during the writing process. Bukowski would agree, I think.)

One of the main questions I wanted to get clear on while rewatching Too Far Gone was:  Who ended up with whom as the surviving prison peeps scattered?  

From what I saw, Glenn ended up on the bus, Maggie ended up with Sasha and Bob, Tyrese ended up chasing after Lizzy and Mika, yelling, “Hey! We go that way!”  (I sense the potential for a kooky sitcom here, NewDad and the girls braving the pitfalls and funny shenanigans of zombie apocalypse and impending puberty).

Daryl and Beth ended up together, and I have this creepy feeling they are going to hook up at some point. While I do feel a little jealous and shitty about that possibly happening, I really couldn’t blame them…they are both smokin’ hot and pumped full of adrenaline. And, I suppose you gotta get it while you can in these dire times.

I don’t hate the players, people…at times, however, I do hate the game.

When I suggested the Daryl Fucks Beth Postulate to my WD buddy (by texting, God, is Daryl going to fuck Beth?), she immediately texted back, No, Daryl is not!  

Hmmm….I wish I could be that confident. I do not relish the mental picture that comes up in my head when I think of Daryl and Beth getting it on… but the way I see it, while Daryl may not, Beth definitely would, and will.

I remember that long-ass hug she gave him in “30 Days Without an Accident.”  That Beth is a little Lolita, and despite his best efforts, Daryl may just give in to a “what the hell” moment late one night, when all they’ve got is each other, and Beth’s looking real cute tidying up their squatter house and singing a Tom Waits song to herself.

Whatever happens, let’s just hope that when it does happen, they don’t get walked in on by Crazy Carol. That would not go over well.

Oh, you didn’t hear? Carol’s coming back… at least, that’s what the buzz is about on social media these days.

Norman Reedus posted pictures on Instagram of Melissa McBride getting made up backstage at the Conan show, and all the comments were about how two characters from before are returning to WD.  No surprise here. I knew Carol was coming back.(Refer to the ongoing Crazy Carol Theory in previous posts)  

Nobody puts Carol in the corner!

As for the second WD alum returning to the show, my work buddy Jeff and I have been predicting Morgan’s return into the forefront of the storyline for some time now…Jeff is the maverick who offered the Carl Theory in the first part of Season 4, and I respect his WD insights (even though you still haven’t put a “Like” on my Barnfullawalkers FB page, Jeff, you cagey bastard!). https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers

Ahem…sorry…where was I?

Oh yes, anyway, at the end of Season 3, Jeff and I both agreed that we thought it was Morgan who poured gasoline on the Gov’s pit of walkers and set them on fire (thus spawning The Morgan Theory. )  But, of course, at the  time, the Gov blamed poor Milton for torching his pit walkers.

Remember when the Gov asked Milton, “Where did you get the gasoline?” to set the fire, and Milt looked like he didn’t know what the Gov was talking about? Then, in a total dick move, the Gov killed Milt and left him to zombify, chomp Andrea, and, ostemsibly, zombify her… earning my vote for the Governor as the Worst Boyfriend Ever.

Anyway, Jeff and I have discussed The Morgan Theory at length during lulls at work… we’ve always said that he’s coming back to be a major game changer and fuck some shit up.

So, my pick for characters returning are (drumroll, please):  Morgan and Crazy Carol, WD’s Homecoming King and Queen!  I mean, who else is left as far as characters from before? Everyone else is all dead, right?

Three characters, however, remain a question: Tara, Lilly, and Baby Judith.  Are they alive or dead, and will we see any of them again?

Baby Judith.  Sigh…  Man, I don’t know.  Many of my friends are talking about how Baby Judith could have been scooped up and taken on the bus…yeah, yeah.  I would love that, I really would.

That last shot of her, strapped into the baby carrier and being jostled by Mika and the other cute girl as they tried to carry her to the bus, is burned into my memory…I mean, she was the most beautiful baby in the world.  We all love Baby Judith! Even Daryl named her Lil Asskicker.  I am so pro-Baby Judith being alive, I really am.  

I love Baby Judith!

But….I also know that back in Season 3, when Glenn Mazzarra was still at the WD writing helm, the other writers were pretty much wanting to kill off Baby Judith…and Glenn Mazzarra held them back…for a while.

Now, Glenn Mazzarra is out, and Scott M. Gimple’s at the helm. And, after Too Far Gone aired on AMC, Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman about the possibility of Baby Judith being alive still.  In response to that question, Robert Kirkman got this look on his face, this scoff, like he was so sure that he was so doubtful about that one.

After the scoff, Kirkman kind of shook his head, and said, with a laugh,  “There was a lot of blood in that car seat!”

That, straight from The Mouth of Kirkman, people, the creator of both The Walking Dead comic series and the television series… I would say that Kirkman pretty much has the final say on Baby Judith’s fate, or anything to do with The Walking Dead.

So, unless Kirkman is totally fucking with us and playing with our emotions (and we know how he, and Gimple, and Nicotero and the rest of the gang at WD, Inc. love to play with our emotions)…

…Baby Judith is probably not one of the returning characters…I really want to be wrong about this, people.  Let’s hope I am.

I will say that with this most recent and painful viewing of Too Far Gone, I did see the possibility of Judith being scooped up by someone from the prison who had been wounded and who, perhaps, bled on her while freeing her from the car seat and carrying her to safety.

I tried to see if the car seat straps were torn or gnawed away when I watched the wrenching scene of Carl and Rick’s discovery of the bloodied and empty seat.  It was really hard to tell.

I am not sure what happened to Tara, or her sister Lilly, after Lilly pulled the trigger on her shitty boyfriend, the Gov.  It would not be hard to imagine Lilly turning the gun on herself and pulling the trigger after she did the deed on the Gov, after losing her daughter, Meghan and everything going to shit. I guess we will see if either of the ill-fated sisters shows up in the second installment of Season 4… I liked them both, so I would hope so.

I am also not sure what happened to Michonne, if she ended up with any of the other prison peeps…my WD buddy thought she had ended up with Rick and Carl, but in that final scene, when Rick tells Carl not to look back, to just keep going, it is just them, no Michonne.

I know that Michonne can take care of herself, but she was just starting to open up to the others, and to get thrust back into that bleak solitary survival mode would just suck so bad…maybe she’ll find Tara and they will travel together and be hot asskicking girlfriends!

I can’t stop thinking about that crazy scene in the “After” preview, when Carl is luring the walkers away from the front door of the house, and down the street… I have been watching it over and over and thinking about Carl a lot.

Apparently, that scene is straight from the comic series. I think this time together, with Carl and his father, is going to be really significant in the development of their relationship, as they only have each other.  And it looks in the preview that Rick is pretty messed up, and Carl has to take care of him, even screaming down at Rick in terror that Rick is slipping away… I am so freaking scared for them, for all of them, but I am especially bonded to Rick and Carl.

Ok, so this brings us to the hard hitting question that is in, I think, everyone’s hearts: How is this all going to go down? What is going to  happen to our most beloved WD characters?  

The long term prognosis is not good here, people.  While I do not pretend to be an expert on the comic series, I do know enough to know that the end isn’t exactly chocolates and roses.

At this point in the zombie apocalypse, even if a group of people establish a foothold somewhere, set up a dwelling, and find a way to feed themselves and defend themselves to whatever degree from walkers, it seems that other surviving groups and individuals may prey upon them merely to get what they have.

Resources are dwindling, and the world is becoming more and more predatory, competitive, brutal to try to navigate and survive in.

And is it just me, or does it seem that the world of WD that Mother Nature herself is dying, or sick?  In the Camp Martinez episode, the lake next to the Gov’s camp was a dead lake, and the hunting expedition in the forest only yielded a dismal haul of a couple of squirrels… Rick’s attempt to raise hogs ended in a highly lethal swine flu… it all leaves me wondering if the pestilence and decay of the walkers is infecting the world and poisoning its resources even further.

We have to steel ourselves, people.  It’s balls-to-the-wall time. Some fucked-up mean characters from the comic series are coming.

Remember the radio promise of the Sanctuary? Remember how the little camp the Gov,  Martinez, and Sweet Pete happened upon was ransacked, the people massacred? And we never found out who was feeding the walkers rat-snacks and creating gruesome rabbit-art with entrails…

Many questions remain to be answered.

Now, I must say the thing that I do not want to say, but we are all thinking it.  I have read, and commented in, many exchanges on social media about the what if scenario: What if one (or more) of my favorite characters die?

Norman Reedus’s Instagram account is a classic example of the social media panic, as is AMC’s The Walking Dead live chat page.  People are really starting to freak the fuck out…they are posting comments like, NORMAN!!  IF DARYL DIES I WILL QUIT WATCHING THE SHOW!!!! 

Now, let’s all just take a deep, cleansing breath, shall we? That level of distress at the thought of losing a beloved WD character is totally understandable.  I did try to post, in response, what I thought was a placating, soothing thought, something like, Daryl Dixon is a warrior and does not fear going into the void…and Norman Reedus is alive, well, and here to stay!   That’s nice, right?

Trying to be reassuring, and the response I got to that was like the social media equivalent to being chased by an angry mob brandishing sticks and torches…never again!

But for all my brave words, I too am freaking about this.  I called my WD buddy and asked her, point blank, “Dude, what are we going to do if Daryl dies?”

I won’t go into all the details of what happened next… let’s just say there were tears,…and more tears…and some shaky laughter, and sharing memories, thoughts, feelings…it was raw, it was real.

We needed to get it out, and we were kind of moving through it, getting a grip on it….and then, my friend spoke the unspeakable sentence.

Her voice breaking, she said, “But…I don’t know what I would do…if Rick…”

Oh, God, say no more, SAY NO MORE!  Now it is time for my shouty caps and thousand exclamation points…. STELLA!!!!!

Ok, here is what I propose…we cannot control The Mind of Kirkman … The Law of Kirkman basically states (I think) something like:  Kirkman will do as Kirman wants, and Kirkman and Co. can (and will)  play with our emotions. It’s nothing personal…it’s how he do!

We have to stay strong, people.  I advise that you all set up a Daryl Plan with a designated Daryl Partner.

Here is how a Daryl Plan works:  

You pick a close friend and similarly obsessed WD buddy to be Daryl Partners with you, so if one of your very favorite characters dies in the show, you are there for one another.

In the Daryl Plan,  you and your Daryl Partner would check in with each other…Being a Daryl Partner may entail little, supportive gestures, like sending little encouraging texts throughout the day, such as, Thinking of u! Hope your day is going well! 🙂  Load on the emoticons.

Or, perhaps you can share some uplifting links to your Daryl Partner’s Facebook timeline, like, Onward and Upward! (or basically anything that involves a photo of a kitten, puppy, or baby, preferably with an upended bowl of spaghetti on their heads).

As a Daryl Partner, you may need to go check on your designated buddy’s place, unannounced, especially if you cannot get a hold of him or her by phone, text, or computer after repeated attempts…

You may need to go to their front door and knock loudly, calling their name.You may need to go around their house or apartment, looking in the windows… and if you see your buddy, face down, sobbing in a pool of tears and vomit, you may need to break in through one of the windows to get to them.  You may need to help lift your buddy up from their prostrate grief, gently wipe away the tears and vomit, and say something to snap them out of it, like, “You have to get it together…think of the children!”

A Daryl Plan is a serious pact, and the way I see it, key to our survival as WDO’s (Walking Dead Obsessed).  

The key tenant of the Daryl Plan is:  Do for your Daryl Partner as you would have your Daryl Partner do for you.

Pop-culture histrionics aside, the second installment of TheWalking Dead’s  Season 4 is sure to be a wild, fun ride, chock full of suspense, plot twists and turns like shiny, bloody innards, and super gnarly walker kills.

Nicotero will once again outdo himself, and Kirkman, Gimple, and the writing crew will be sure to infuse dark humor and moments of respite and renewal to keep us all hanging on through these dark times.

And there is sure to be amazing music, both by the inimitable Bear McCreary and an array of musical artists, as the addition of an ongoing playlist/soundtrack is one of the new offerings of Season 4. So stock up on Stellas (or whatever your beverage of choice) and strap on your strap-on’s, people.

We are in for a wild, bumpy ride.

To kick off the music, here is my humble offering…the prepost playlist for the upcoming mid-season premiere episode, “After.” Enjoy, and cheers!

Playlist:

Iron Maiden, Aces High

Soundgarden,  The Day I Tried to Live 

Foo Fighters,  Alone + Easy Target

(Oh, and p.s., if you haven’t already done so, find my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers and show the love…will be full of fun posts, updates, media, and wacky antics!)

Season 4, Episode 8, “Too Far Gone”

“Too Far Gone”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Well, people, here we are already…the mid-season finale…I am not sure who, where, or whence the ol’ mid-season finale concept came, but I, for one, am grateful for the idea.  I am too busy in a million different ways to be able keep a boner going for any show, no matter how awesome, for 16 weeks in a row…especially through the holiday season. The Walking Dead would have had pretty much one of the best shots at keeping me going for a straight 16-weekerbut it would have cost me.

I would have rallied, but it might not have been pretty at the end.

So, thank you,  genius of television who came up with the mid-season break idea…for saving our collective sanity, and giving us something to look forward to in the last part of dreary winter, the January/February slump, where the weather is cold and grey, and there are no real breaks or holidays except Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day…and sorry, but in my experience, those two “holidays” are never really as fun as they could be.

However, Season 4, for me, as been a pretty epic one, more fun than I could have imagined.  For one, it’s been the “coming out” season of barnfullawalkers, and despite the long hours of writing, rewriting, sleep deprivation, and technical difficulties that have come with this endeavor, it’s been a super rewarding adventure to start this blog and write about The Walking Dead. My WD buddy and I agree that Season 4 has been one of our favorites so far, on many levels.

I personally have enjoyed where Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero, and the entire gang of WD have taken us in the story line of this season, and I like how dark elements and characters of the comic series have been woven back into the television series. For me, the writing team has done a masterful job of maneuvering the scope of these dark times while still keeping love, hope, and humanity alive in key characters…and it seems the actors have been inspired by such a high level of writing by the haunting performances that all of the key actors have delivered so far in Season 4.  For some actors, these performances were their final ones for the series, and mad props need to be given to:  David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Jose Pablo Cantillo for wrenching our hearts and guts all over the floor…and to the actor that played Red Shirt Walker, who rolled over from his prison cot and spilled his guts all over the floor…mad props to that guy.

I also must give mad props to Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, gone but not forgotten…I will add another level to the ongoing Carol Theory, and say the I feel that we will definitely be seeing Carol again, perhaps in some leadership capacity elsewhere, where the bounds of morality are based more on brute survival than human compassion…but we shall see, won’t we?

I have also enjoyed, in Season 4, the addition of music from different musical artists, blending with the ongoing genius of Bear McCreary, to create a soundtrack for each episode.  I have read and heard various interviews with the actors of The Walking Dead where they said that they used music to prepare for, inspire, and come down from key scenes and performances throughout the series. For me, it just makes sense…music and The Walking Dead just go together.

Ok, enough preamble…let’s get to it, shall we? I’m not really going to get all recappy with this one…if you are reading this, you know what the fuck happened.  But we have definitely got some shit to hash out here, tears to cry…memories to share.

“Too Far Gone”

I was pretty curious how the Gov was going to spring his evil plan to the RV gang, and so I enjoyed listening to the Gov’s rallying speech at the beginning of Episode 8.  And, true to form for Season 4, the beginning was double-layered, with two scenes interposed, serving to turn the plot gears at double speed and getting the viewers right in there, and I, for one, am loving it.

In this episode, the Gov’s speech scene was interposed with the scene of him ambushing Hershel and Michonne in the woods… For me, it was super-pimp the way the Gov popped Michonne with the butt of his gun, dropping her, then with a single turn of the wrist, pointed the gun straight and true at Hershel, who knew he was bested…so poor Hershel just set down his gun and put his hands up, like, “Dude, sucks to see you, but that shit was pretty Bruce Lee, right there…why the fuck can’t you be on our side, again?” (Don’t get me wrong…I am Team Prison all the way, but I just have to throw some admiration at the Gov’s style of kung-fu.)

And then, in inimitable Gov fashion, we see how “Brian Heriot” turns on his unique charm to sell the RV gang on the hostile prison takeover, twisting their emotions and the facts to achieve his nefarious scheme. “I want you to survive,” he tells them…calls the peeps of the prison the ones that destroyed Woodbury, took his eye, killed his daughter. Damn, what a storyteller…he’s good, that Gov.

And I love how he just throws in there, at the end of his initial pitch:  Oh, and btw, I just happened to capture two hostages…not that I’ve ever TAKEN hostages before, because, you know, that would be weird…I just was thinking that a couple of hostages would be a good bargaining chip for my peaceful hostile takeover plan, you know, the one where nobody gets hurt, and they leave gladly, and we live in peace and harmony at the prison for ever after…and we need to do this, like now, or we’ll lose the element of surprise and they’ll notice that their buddies are gone…not that I’ve ever done this before!

The Gov plays their emotions and fears, and before they know it, the group is nodding and agreeing to his plan…all except Lilly, who has overheard the Gov’s pitch and is not having it…girlfriend’s got her arms crossed and looks pretty pissed.  When Lilly calls him out, the Gov throw out all the stops, telling her the only judgement he cares about is that she and Megan are alive and breathing…then, the Gov throws in a, “I love you,” for a good measure Hail Mary pass.  

Lilly replies, “I don’t know who you are.”  Get used to it, girlfriend…that’s life with the Governor!

The scene with Hershel, Michonne, and the Gov in the RV, with Hard Pass Mitch standing guard outside, is pretty crazy.  I love how Hershel calls the Gov out when the Gov tells them that nobody is going to hurt them…”I don’t believe that” says Hershel.

In response to this, the Gov avoids looking at Hershel and Michonne by pretending to pack up some battle snacks for later. “Well, I don’t care,” he replies.  When pressed by Hershel to please explain what is going on, the Gov tells them that he needs the prison, nothing personal, and that he needs them to help him get it as peacefully as possible, without anyone getting hurt if it can be avoided.

It’s hard for me to know if the Governor is actually believing any of this story he’s telling at this point…is he just sugar-coating it, rationalizing it, to those around him to make them do what he wants them to do, or is he really telling himself this story, over and over, so he can believe that he really is the good guy in this “peaceful hostile takeover” scenario he’s cooked up?

When Hershel proposes that the two groups can find a way to coexist at the prison, peacefully, the Governor resists, acknowledging that Hershel is a “good man, better than Rick.” Hershel points out that it seems the Governor has changed, and tells him that Rick has changed as well…the Governor stops him right there, tells him there is no way that Rick and he, or he and Michonne, can live together in the same community.

When Hershel presses, the Governor snaps, then recovers his poise, telling them there’s many ways he can do this, and this way, “You get to live, and I get to be…” 

The Gov never finishes that thought, seeming to get lost in the question of it.  Who could he really be, when it’s all said and done? Could he do it differently this time, or would things progress the way they did with Woodbury?  Things are already getting pretty fucked up as it stands.

Hershel asks the Governor, “If you understand what it’s like to have a daughter, then how can you be willing to kill someone else’s?”  The Gov replies, “Because they aren’t mine,” and exits the RV.

The Governor has the RV’s moved to the water’s edge, assuring Lilly that they will be safe there, as the walkers cannot cross the river…he doesn’t really focus on teaching Lilly, Megan or those who stay behind at the camp the basics for defending themselves while he and his Makeshift Army 2.0 go to battle “peacefully” for the prison…instead, he makes a show of giving Megan, who is making mud pies, unsupervised, by the water’s edge (and the bushes’ edge…how is that a good idea?) a big goodbye hug, and that proves to be a fatal lapse in judgement for the Governor…and little Megan.

Back at the prison, poor Glenn is still looking pretty green, not quite recovered from the Explodey Flu…but he manages to laugh with Maggie and joke about needing a vacation…meanwhile, Rick is having the dreaded Daryl Conversation, and Daryl takes it as well as can be expected, which is not very well, at first…he’s pissed, he’s pacing, he doesn’t believe that Carol would kill those people…Rick seems to convince him, because when Rick tells Daryl he still needs to tell Tyrese all of this, and that he’s not sure how Tyrese is going to take it, Daryl says right away, “Let’s go find out.”

Like I said before, Daryl understands dude code better than anyone else…he isn’t happy with Rick’s decision, but he will not let Rick go have The Tyrese Conversation without a second to back him up if Tyrese goes apeshit at Rick’s news.

They find Tyrese down in a darkened hallway…and he’s got some news for them…he shows them the creepy mutilated rabbit and brain art that some fucked up person is making…he thinks that whoever killed Karen and David is the same “psychopath” who made the rabbit and brain painting and who was feeding rats to the walkers…Rick begins to tell Tyrese that he doesn’t think it’s the same person, and when Tyrese asks why, they are (saved by?) interrupted by a huge explosion.

Cue the pulsing Bear McCreary music…and here he is, ambassador for peace, standing atop a tank: the Governor, flanked by his Makeshift Army 2.0, calling for Rick to come down and “talk.”

God, Rick is so hot when he bellows back that it’s not up to him, there’s a council now….the way Rick handles himself in this crisis just ups his hotness index by like a thousand degrees, if that is even possible.  The Gov is all silky and slithery as he asks, “Is Hershel on the council? What about Michonne?” and his minions trot out the hostages and force them onto their knees, for Team Prison to see.

When Rick asserts that he doesn’t make all the decisions any more, the Governor tells him that he, Rick, will be making the decisions today…”So come down here, and let’s have that talk.”

Rick quietly nods to Daryl, checks in with Carl, before going to face the Governor, the Gov’s tank, and his army, armed with only a pistol…like the lone hero in a cowboy movie…so freaking hot…Daryl’s making plans with Sasha and Tyrese to get everyone on the bus, to make their escape.

Rick tries to reason with the Governor, telling them there are sick children at the prison who would not survive leaving…to no avail…the Governor is being the dick with the tank and giving them until nightfall to leave.

Back at the RV camp, Lilly sees a walker making its way pretty easily so far across the water…then he goes down…Megan pulls up a flash flood area sign from the mud, and unearths a walker who was buried under the sticky mud and sign…it grabs for her, and before Lilly can get to her, poor Megan gets chomped:

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Poor Megan!

Poor Megan! My WD buddy texted me, The Gov sucks at protecting his girls…he’s gonna go batshit now..

Back at the not-so-peaceful takeover, Rick delivers his epic speech: “We can all…we can all live together. There’s enough room for all of us.” The Gov pipes in that he doesn’t think “his family” would sleep very well with Rick and the prison gang under the same roof, as they (mistakenly) believe that Rick and the gang are the bad guys, not the Gov.  Rick counters that the two groups could live in different cell blocks, that they wouldn’t even need to see each other.  Hershel turns and backs Rick up by telling the Governor, “It could work…you know it could.”

The Gov is being a big baby about it, and the camera focuses on Michonne’s face as he says he can’t, not after Woodbury, not after Andrea.

Michonne is so hating him, and right now, so am I. The Governor tortured and killed Andrea, deliberately and maliciously, and Rick and the gang were just rescuing their people.  Rick is too gracious to bring this up, saying instead that it would be hard, a lot harder to make it work than to go to battle, but that there is no other choice. Rick says they will not leave without a battle, a battle that would draw the walkers and tear down the fences, making the prison worthless.

The Governor then jumps down from the tank and seizes Michonne’s katana, holds it to Hershel’s neck.  Hershel looks unafraid.  Rick points to Tara, asks her if this is what she wants, if this is what any of them want. Hard Pass informs him that what they want is what he’s got, and it’s “time to leave, asshole.”  Nice, Hard Pass. Way to turn on the charm and the diplomacy.

Rick counters that he has fought the Governor before, and after the fight, former residents of Woodbury and compatriots of the Governor were welcomed into the prison community, where they became leaders.  Rick invites them to put down their weapons, to walk through the gates of the prison, and become “one of us.”

Rick looks right at the Governor, who is still holding the sword to Hershel’s neck, but who seems uncertain now.

“We can let go of all of it,” Rick tells the Gov, swiping the air with his arm as if wiping a slate clean, “and nobody dies…everyone’s alive right now…everyone’s made it this far…we’ve all done worse kinds of things, just to stay alive…but we can still come back…we’re not too far gone…we get to come back…I know we all can change.”

The Gov lets the sword down for a moment…Hershel smiles at Rick, proud and happy to hear Rick speak of love and forgiveness instead of dwelling in fear and uncertainty, as he had before.

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The Governor, no doubt overcome with hatred for yet another Hero Brother, whispers, “Liar,” and slices Michonne’s katana into poor Hershel’s neck. Maggie and Beth scream, and Rick screams, “No!” and fires…and Battle Royale has begun.

As Battle Royale begins to rage, Michonne manages to sneak away, cutting ropes that bind her wrists after tripping an enemy soldier and stomping his face.

The Governor catches up with Hershel and finishes the job, badly, hacking away at Hershel’s neck until his head is severed.  He then looks up to see Lilly, bearing her daughter, Megan’s, body.  The Governor takes Megan’s body and rekills Megan with a shot to the head. Tara cannot bear to fight, dropping her gun and covering her ears, despite Hard Pass’s orders to pick up her weapon and fight.  Alisha tells Tara to run somewhere safe, and after the battle is over, Alisha will come and find her.

The Governor is in full kill mode, ordering the tank and trucks to run the fence down. “Kill them all,” he orders.  “Roger that!” yells Hard Pass, waving his shitty hat in circles above his head… it’s his big dick moment. He puts throws tank in gear and proceeds to mow down the prison fences. Tyrese orders Sasha and Bob back, and Maggie orders Beth to get the others in the bus.

“We all have a job to do,” Maggie reminds Beth. (Hershel! 😦 We love you!)

Maggie runs into the prison to get Glenn, brings him to the bus, then runs to find Beth, who has disappeared. Rick tackles the Governor, and they commence with a western saloon-style beatdown, which the Gov almost wins, until:

Enter Michonne, saving Rick and finally getting to kill the Gov's ass

Enter Michonne, saving Rick and finally getting to kill the Gov’s ass, katana-style!

Lizzy proves that she is Carol’s daughter when she saves Tyrese by killing some unnamed minion, then killing a shocked Alisha, putting a bullet right between her eyes:

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Daryl pulls off a sweet maneuver, deftly slipping a grenade into the gun barrel of the tank (while using a dead walker as a shield). He kills Hard Pass with an arrow to the chest before grabbing Beth and hauling ass away from the prison, which is becoming overrun with walkers.

Unfortunately, Lizzy and Mika forgot about poor baby Judith…after Rick and Carl find each other, they make the horrible discovery of Baby Judith’s car seat, soaked in blood, with Judith nowhere to be found.  Anguished, Rick and Carl run for the hills, with Rick advising Carl not to look back.

As walkers overrun the prison grounds, the group is splintered into factions as they flee the prison for their lives.  As the Governor lay gasping, we see Lilly come to take her revenge:

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And we see a familiar face from the past:

Creepy Clara Walker...I knew we would see her again!

Creepy Clara Walker... I knew we would see her again!

So, there we have it…the prison is gone, the gang is gone, and some beloved characters have gone. So, here’s a little something to help cheer you up…enjoy!

(After this mid-season finale post, I plan to expand to social media with barnfullawalkers, and to keep posting, starting with the Episodes Gone Bye  where we rewatch and revisit the entire WD journey thus far, starting with Season 1, Episode 1, “Days Gone Bye.”  In addition, I will watch and post on all the Walking Dead webisodes, which, if you haven’t seen them, are like creepy little vignettes that are essential to getting the full  scope of the Walking Dead story….so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!)

Playlist:

Weezer, “Say it Ain’t So”

Nirvana, “Oh Me” (for Rick)

Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (for the Gov)

The Dexateens, “Still Gone” (for Judith, Carol, Megan, Alisha)

The Queens of the Stone Age, “Mexicola” 

Radical Face, “Welcome Home, Son” (for Hershel <3)