TWD, Season 6, Episode 9, “No Way Out”

“No Way Out”

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

Well, that was fun!

Sad…yes.  Dark, yes.  Haunting…god, yes.

Admittedly, it is with some real trepidation, and assorted beverages, that I set out to craft this post, and face, at some point, the inevitable moment when I must revisit the harrowing scene where Sam, Jessie, Ron, and Carl each meet their respective, tragic fates amidst the swarm of savage walkers invading the streets of Alexandria.

I know that in the rewatchings, there will be many moments, and images, from that scene that will cling to me like burrs, imbed themselves into the depths of my psyche, and stay there for a long while.

This episode’s definitely going to leave a mark or two to remember it by.

Since Episode 609’s airing, there has been a constant stream of social media postings celebrating many of the key moments of “No Way Out” as we in TWD fandom strive to process the constantly-unfolding “new classic” moments of this iconic episode. We, the obsessed fans, show our devotion to the TWD creators, cast, and crew by shipping our favorite show, (and the characters we love so well) with the unparalleled devotion they deserve, in the form of screenshots, memes, videos, blogs, fan fiction, interviews, articles, etc.

This, of course, is as it should be.

Lucky for us, dear readers, great love, lasting love, is reciprocal. Real love, when it’s got the flows, is a mutual, symbiotic exchange, an ever-evolving dance of give and take between two (or more) parties.  That, people, is how real love do.

And, lucky for us, dear readers, Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Greg Nicotero know this.

They are worldly men, with big hearts & mad skills.

They know when to bring the love, and with TWD‘s Season 6’s action-packed, chock-full of spills, thrills, and cold, ghostly chills (OMG, the Sam chomp scene…and then, Jessie…and Michonne skewering Ron…and Carl’s eye….and Rick…and Michonne…and OMG, Richonne!..and that Rick and Carl scene…and Daryl…and Glenn and Maggie…and Carol and Morgan….and Denise and The Wolf…and the epic Battle For Alexandria…and Rick Smash! taking on all the walkers, berzerker-style… I cannot…but I must, and I will, dammit, I will!) mid-season premiere, Episode 609, “No Way Out,”  Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Greg Nicotero gave everyone in TWD fandom a big, red heart-shaped box, tied with a pink satin ribbon, like:

Here you go, guys. Happy VDay.

And we TWD fans receive this love offering joyfully, grateful for the respite, because we know that as we celebrate the victories and post the memes, trouble is brewing, and hard times are coming for Rick and the gang.

We know soon enough, dear readers, that we are going to get our asses kicked, but good, and we’re ok with that.

It is, of course, as it should be.

So, let us seize the day and celebrate some of the highlight scenes and pivotal moments from The Walking Dead’s Episode 609, “No Way Out.”

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“No Way Out”

When we left Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham in the first four minutes of “No Way Out,” Daryl had just been roughly escorted to the back of the fuel truck, at Snidely’s orders, by one of Negan’s biker goons, “T,” while Sasha and Abraham were looking down the barrels of their own handguns as they were held at gunpoint by Snidely, who had just informed them that he was basically done talking…

snidely gunpoint 1

snidely drops the weapons

Then, suddenly, Snidely brings the weapons down, by his sides, slumping into his bike’s seat, looks down, as if reconsidering...

snidely looks up 2

Snidely looks up at Sasha and Abraham with a sheepish grin…

snidely looks up 3

…then rolls his eyes upward…

snidely sez i'm not gonna kill you

“I’m not gonna kill you,” he tells Sasha and Abraham in a joking, friendly manner.

sasha looks relieved

Sasha looks at Snidely, nods, unsure of how to interpret this…

sasha looks at abraham

…and turns to Abraham, questioningly, like, “Is this a sick joke, or what?”

abraham looks at snidely

Abraham seems to be wondering the same thing, does not take his eyes off Snidely.

snidely reconsiders 1

“Wait,” Snidely says, as if reconsidering…again.

snidely says wait, wait

“…wait…”

snidely says you know what, yes i am

Snidely looks up at Abraham and Sasha. “You know what? Yes, I am,” and with that shitty statement, Snidely starts to lift the handguns, ready to shoot Abraham and Sahsa…

blast 1

We hear a hissing noise, and then a huge explosion engulfs Snidely and his crew of biker dicks in a huge fireball.

blast 2

Later, dicks.

blast 3

Hey Snidely, did anyone ever tell you that you have quite the combustible personality?

blast 4

Well, rather, you had quite the combustible personality…

blast 5

…because you, and your shitty crew, and your snide comments are in the past tense, now…

daryl and missle launcher 1

…thanks to our man, Daryl Dixon.

daryl and missle launcher 2

Holding the smoking rocket launcher, Daryl surveys the burning remains of Snidely and his charred posse.

daryl and missle launcher 3

Daryl’s like, “Whoa!”

daryl and missle launcher 4

He looks down at the smoking weapon as Sasha and Abraham ease their way back to standing from where they dove for cover.

sasha covering ear gets up

Coughing, sputtering, ears sure to be ringing, Sasha and Abraham survey the burning, blackened remains of the men who, just one minute before, almost killed them.

sasha abraham daryl 1

I love this look on Sasha’s face as she steps towards Daryl. She’s beaming at Daryl, and nodding, and dazed, and so stoked, like, “Well, how about that?  Hell yeah, Daryl Dixon!

daryl bleeding 1

Daryl turns away, says, “Sonuvabitch was tougher than he looked,” (which is pretty funny, because that guy, T, looked pretty tough). As he walks away, we see that Daryl has a bleeding stab wound on his left shoulder, leaving a bloodstain on his left angel wing. This image really saddened me, on many levels, one of them being how it seems to symbolize all of the wounds Daryl has taken right to the heart in his life. ❤ We love you forever, Daryl Dixon, and we are with you, always, every step of the way.

daryl bleeding 2

“Did he cut you?” Sasha asks. “A little,” Daryl replies.

daryl bleeding what a bunch of assholes

Daryl turns, and classic Daryl Dixon style, says, “What a bunch of assholes!”

daryl bleeding sasah lets get you fixed up at home

Sasha laughs, delighted, lays her hands on Daryl’s shoulder, causing him to wince slighty, probably both from the shoulder being tender and Daryl’s general cageyness about letting others touch him. Sasha, however, is family, and this is the first time we have seen her smile like this since, well, Boband certainly since Tyreese. “C’mon, let’s get you fixed up at home,” Sasha says, getting to play the role of bossy, loving, sassy sister once again. ❤

daryl sasha yes ma'am

“Yes ma’am,” Daryl agrees. Still beaming, Sasha follows Daryl as they take one last look at dead-ass T and climb into the truck.

abraham nibble on that

Abraham turns to take one last look at the blown up bikers and in classic Abraham-style, tosses out the last word:

 

later snidely u dick

“Nibble on that.”

Standing ovation, cheers all around to that incredible scene, especially to our man, Daryl Dixon, for proving his constancy and resourcefulness by saving the day, and the peeps, once again.

Deadie of highest order, The MVP Award, to our man, Daryl Dixon, and to the fine, fine actor who plays him, Norman Reedus.

How we love thee, Daryl Dixon/Norman Reedus!

There will be more star players awarded by the end of this post, but we have to take a moment to show the love, “right out of the gate.”

We can only imagine the awesomeness of Daryl’s silent, stealth takedown of T behind Patty the fuel truck’s back bumper. God love him, because we sure do! Five or six minutes into the S6 mid-season premiere, and we are already awarding our man mad props and highest accolades.

I am also loving seeing Sasha blossoming once again, jolted back to life after her and Abraham’s brush with death. That beaming smile…so great to see that again!  The banter back and forth between her and Abraham spoke to a deepening connection between the two. Very interested to see how this all plays out.

And, while we rejoice, I do feel the need to point out that there are speculations online about this scene, about the sight of a far-off car way down the road behind Snidely and his fellow “chodes on choppers” as he goes through his comedy routine of, “I’m not gonna kill ya, oh, wait, yeah I am.” 

My WD buddy sent the following link to myself and our new team member, The Rookie. (Very cute and fabulous and fun, loves to research TWD, loves The Reeduswelcome to the fold, Rookie! <3):

http://hellogiggles.com/walking-dead-daryl-oh-no/

When I rewatched, I kept watching back in that corner, and I did see something that gleamed like a faraway car appear in the distance. As the article in the link says, there is speculation that the car may be Negan himself, or perhaps one of Negan’s scouts, who speeds off as the explosion happens.

It’s a compelling theory, and there is definitely a car back there if you watch the link’s video footage. At the first watching, I had wondered about their leaving the burnt remains of Snidely and the biker gang behind, seeing that the road where Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha meet up with Snidely’s road block was probably a well-known and well-utilized road & route for Negan and his operation, and that sooner or later, somebody was going to come up on the charred remains of the biker gang and report back to Negan, who would start sleuthing who the perp(s) were and get to plotting his revenge.

Because it just seems like Negan isn’t the kind of guy who lets such insults slide. Negan feels like he might just be the reigning Godfather of the PZAand if he is that guy, then I don’t think that guy lets shit like blowing up his motorcycle scouts slide.

oh no they di

Negan be like, “Oh, no they didn’t!

<Sipping Stella, trying not to have a bad-boy crush on Negan.>

IMG_8883

Replace.There, that’s better. In this post, I am going to feature some of my favorite recent offerings from various TWD-loving IG accounts. ❤ Enjoy, and if you aren’t already, give them a follow!

Meanwhile, back at Alexandria:

walker walk rick 1

walker walk ron 2

walker walk sweet carl 3

walker walk sweet carl 4

walker walk jesse 6

walker walk gabriel 7

walker walk michonne 8

walker walk vday walker 9

walker walk passin thru 10

walker walk passin thru 11

walker walk sam 12

walker walk sam 13

walker walk rick and carl 14

walker walk rick leads gang 15

walker walk jesse 15

walker walk new plan 16

When the gang is able to break away from the walker herd, they duck behind a bush for a brief rest. Rick turns to the others and outlines a new plan: there are too many walkers, too spread out, for the few weapons and flares in the armory to take care of. Rick lays out a plan to head out to the quarry and recover the vehicles there, come back, and I guess, lead the walkers away from Alexandria. As Michonne watches out (looking majorly badass while doing so), Rick tells the group that they need as many drivers as possible.

walker walk jesse but judith 17

Jessie, after a moment’s hesitation, agrees with Rick’s plan…Rick sees the hesitation, waits, then listens as Jessie voices her concerns about Judith’s safety if they set off for the quarry. As always, excellent boyfriend behavior exhibited by our man, Rick Grimes, and good looking out once again by Jessie. Props. <3<3

gabriel steps up 1

Rick turns, thinking, and we see that Gabriel has overheard this conversation, and a light has turned on inside him…this is his chance to step up, to redeem himself. Gabriel recognizes the opportunity immediately, says:

gabriel steps up 2

I’ll take her…keep her safe in my church until you all lead the walkers away.”

gabriel steps up 3

Rick looks into Gabriel’s eyes, measuring this. I looked into Gabriel’s eyes as well, and after a brief wave of creepiness and trepidation, I did believe Gabriel would keep his word and do his best to protect Judith…and as we’ve seen in previous episodes, Gabriel def has some walker killing skillstime to put that shit to good use, son!

gabriel steps up 4 michonne can u do this

Mama Michonne is not taking any chances. “Can you do this?” she asks softly, like, ‘I will fuck you up if you fuck this up, got me?’ Gabriel gets her, says, I’m supposed to…I have to.”

gabriel steps up 5 i will

Gabriel turns to Rick. “I will, he vows. (Well, alrighty then, Gabriel. Don’t fucking blow it…or else.)

gabriel steps up 6 baby judith pass off

Carl passes Baby Judith to Gabriel…what a horrible, scary world to be a sweet little baby in! 😦

gabriel steps up 7 gabriel shush

gabriel steps up 8

Jessie and Rick look on as Gabriel gathers up the baby, covers her in his cloak slimed with walker gutsone of the things that really worked for me with Jessie and Rick’s connection was that they both knew what it was really like to be a parent, and could understand/support each other in that. Jessie would have been a good mom figure to Judith and Carl. 😦 ❤

gabriel steps up 9 take sam

As Gabriel turns to go, Jessie has, voices the idea, “Take Sam.” Sam protests, and despite Jessie’s insistence that he would be safer in the church, with Gabriel…

gabriel steps up 10 sam i'm not leaving you

Sam insists on staying with her, continuing on to the quarry. “I’m not leaving you,” Sam tells his mother.

gabriel steps up 11 jessie gives in

After Sam’s repeated assurances that he will be ok, that he wants to continue on, Jessie, God help her, relents to her son’s wishes (despite not looking too convinced…the shot pans around to the others, and they are not looking too convinced either)…

gabriel steps up 12 rick jessie

…but, Jessie gives in to Sam, thus sealing her fate, and her sons’, as well. 😦

gabriel steps up 13 I'm going to keep her safe

Gabriel turns to Rick, vows, “I’m going to keep her safe.”

gabriel steps up 14 rick says thank u

Rick looks at Gabriel, says simply, humbly, “Thank you.” (One of the first things that I fell in love with about Rick Grimes was his impeccable good manners when someone did him a solid. The man is just solid gold, always. <3)

gabriel steps up 15 michonne stink eye

As Gabriel begins towards the church, Michonne shoots him a final stink eye, like,I’m watching you, got that?”

gabriel steps up 16

They all watch as Gabriel walks away with Judith concealed under his cloak, making his way quietly, evenly, into the throng of walkers. He is doing well, not calling attention to himself.

gabriel steps up 17 rick

Awwwww…. <3<3

gabriel steps up 18 jessie

Jessie looks Rick in the eye, tells him earnestly, Hey, he’s going to make it, ok? Jessie gives Rick’s hand an extra squeeze. “I know it.”

After a moment, Rick takes Sam’s hand, and one by one, they begin to make their way back into the flow of walkers. Carl looks towards Ron, who hangs back, hesitating, and offers Ron his hand…

gabriel steps up 19 carl reaches for ron's hand

gabriel steps up 20 ron

Again, Ron hesitates, looks down at Carl’s proferred hand a moment…

gabriel steps up 21 ron grabs carl's hand

…before taking it in a rather dickish and aggressive fashion (I thought, anyway). (Ugh, you’re such a chip off your dickhead dad, McSlappy!)

Meanwhile, in another part of Alexandria, Tara is peering through the barred window of the home that she, Rosita, Eugene, Carol and Morgan is safely encased in…you can tell she is peering out for any sign of poor Denise, who was taken against her will by the dark-haired young Wolf.

Outside, countless walkers pass, some lurching along in a slow, plodding fashion, others zigzagging in a shuffling sidestep, heads jerking discordantly as long-dead nerves fire intermittently in the most basic arc. a mere brain-stem connection.

There are so many walkers pouring past the barred window.

tara sez we gotta save denise

Tara turns from the window, says, “We have to try. (Man, poor Tara is having some pretty horrible luck dating women in these postapocalyptic times!)

rosita sez no way, there are too many of them

Rosita, who is ever-so-hot, and ever-so-wise, sez no way, there are too many of them.

The girls go back and forth, Tara saying that the Wolf will kill Denise, and Rosita countering that they won’t even be able to get to her (through all those walkers). 

“She needs us!” Tara pleads. “We’ll die, Rosita says, flatly.

rosita is hot lady boss

Like a boss, Rosita lays it down, hard truth delivered firmly, but with love: They have one gun, and there are too many of “those things” out there. The Wolf needs Denise, as he’s sick, and she’s a doctor. (I hadn’t really thought about that angle of it, but that does make sense…he would have a vested interest in making sure Denise made it with him through the walkers.) Rosita points out that the Wolf knows how to survive out there, and that she, Tara, and Eugene need to stay back and make sure Carol and Morgan are ok…when they wake up, then they can make a plan.

“We can’t just go,” Rosita says, quietly, firmly. Tara nods tearfully, agrees.

A noise from the other room startles them, and they go in to see Eugene helping Carol come to standing. She’s pretty jacked, you can tell, after Morgan threw her down on that concrete floor  (thereby earning himself quite the drop in approval ratings from my corner of the universe).

Like, I empathize and all, and I have love for Morgan. I know that he is trying to apply Eastman’s style of kung fu quite literally to his own life, to help him have a code to live by, but Eastman’s methods apply way more in theory than in actual practice around these parts.

Eastman had indulged his deep bloodlust desire for vengeance to the max, building a prison cage inside his mountain home to imprison the man who killed his family, and destroyed Eastman’s life, and exacting his vengeance by watching the man starve to death in that cage, Eastman keeping him alive enough to prolong the man’s suffering while watching it, 24/7 if he wanted to…like bingewatching your revenge.

I have thought about that Eastman storyline,  and I tried to imagine what that would have been like, how long it would have taken, what kind of interactions he and the man had while the man starved to death, day after day without food, and Eastman had total access to watch the whole horrific day-to-day process unfold.

Basically, people, like I’ve said before, I know it isn’t real, but I still obsess, and I have formed a personal theory that Eastman was able to indulge his darkness, his obsessive desire for revenge, fully, and come out the other side, perhaps sobered and sickened by the reality of what he did to the man who killed his family. Dude, starving someone to death who is imprisoned in a cage that is basically right in your living room, where most people’s tv’s would be, is some pretty burly shit.

So, Eastman indulged his darkness, fully, and was living in isolation, so he had time, space, and distance to then immerse himself in his quest for peace and quietude: reading, meditating, practicing with his staff, working in his garden, practicing nonviolence, vegetarianism, embracing life as something precious.  Those lofty ideals that Eastman espoused were much easier to practice safely removed from others, especially in the days after a zombie apocalypse.

The way I see it, Morgan’s path is vastly different from Eastman’s. Every time Morgan hesitates in killing someone, or something, who is clearly a threat and who will remain a threat, well, that hesitation seems to come back and bite him, or someone close to him, in the ass. Little Duane was killed, in a horrible twist of irony, by his undead mother, Jenny, who Morgan remained unable, or unwilling, to rekill, though he had many opportunities to do so, and knowing, deep down, that he needed to.

The Wolf boys who Morgan refused to kill found Aaron’s man purse, and came and slaughtered many residents of Alexandria, and then, those selfsame Wolf boys that Morgan continued to spare tried to ambush and kill Rick Grimes in the RV, and now, one has taken Doctor Denise as a hostage and is trying to cross the sea of walkers to scramble up and over the fence…to do something, I’m not sure what, but I’m pretty sure it involves making Denise a walker, herself, at some point. (Honestly, I am still not sure what these freaking Wolves actually believe in…for a sect of humanity that seems to devalue life so much, that dark-haired Wolfboy sure didn’t seem to be in any hurry to become a walker himself, am I right? Like, hypocrite much?)

Anyhow, not sure how all this rant got started, but basically, I think Morgan is full of crazy beans and needs to get over it, like yesterday, or he can just go free-agent or some shit and get traded to another community, because I do not think the chemistry is there if he continues on this foolhardy crusade of his.

carol wakes up

Carol seems mos def in my camp, as she looks down at Morgan’s unconscious form, asking Rosita if she can borrow her gun, so she can take a sweep around the brownstone and see if there are “any other surprises” waiting for them in there.

morgan wakes up

And then, Morgan wakes up, looks around…

morgan wakes up 2 where is he

…asks, “Where is he?”

morgan wakes up 3 where's denise  he took her

Nobody has the heart to answer right away. Morgan then asks, “Where’s Denise?” to which Carol guesses, immediately, “He took her,” (while actually managing to hold herself back from adding, “You fucking idiot,” to Morgan).  I thought this omission showed some real restraint on Carol’s part. Props, New Carol.

Didn’t he?” New Carol presses Rosita, who answers without words, slowly coming to standing, looking at Carol and nodding, then pulling out her handgun, silently handing it to Carol, who stalks off angrily to take a sweep of the rest of the house.

Morgan’s eyes register his dismay as he realizes the truth of what has happened, while Eugene, no stranger to fucking shit up royally for others, gently encourages Morgan to stand, and offers his assistance in helping Morgan up off the floor.

While that hot drama unfolds in the brownstone, we see an ariel shot of two figures, fleet of foot and nimble of mind, dart across the expanse between the fence and the church in short, well-timed dashes, ducking behind bushes, signs, undetected by the milling walkers, until they are able to scramble up the church steps and get inside safely.

glenn and enid 1

We recognize these figures, with their speed and savvy, as Glenn and Enid. #superteam

…while outside, in another part of town…

denise and the wolf 2

The young Wolf looks over as Denise bravely tries to keep her calm, and composure, as they hunker down and wait for an opening in the steady stream of walkers, just an iron railing away, while taking momentary refuge in the downstairs bricked-in porch/patio of one of Alexandria’s brownstones. The Wolf narrows his eyes and smiles at this, touches his gun to Denise’s back, says, softly, “Easy.”

Meanwhile, once safely inside, Glenn bars the church doors and instructs Enid to look for anything that may have been stashed or hidden, even inside torn-out pages of a bible. As Enid looks up at a proverb painted on the church’s wall, Glenn continues, instructing Enid to look for any cloths or robes, curtains that could be tied together for Maggie to climb down off the platform she is trapped up on, while a swarm of walkers press and paw at her from below.

enid looks up 1

Honestly, at the first watching, I was kind of bored with Enid’s process…sorry, but I was like, “C’mon, Enid, didn’t we do this already, like in that town, in that apartment, then out in the bushes, outside the wall, in the tree, climbing up to the wall? “ Like, I don’t know, didn’t versions of this conversation happen like ten times already, or am I being very creative with my memory (again)?  I was like, “Boring.” My friends were more tolerant with Enid’s process, so I shut up and sipped champagne and tried to emulate their good example. And they were right. Sorry, Enid. I have a shot attention span. I know you are a young girl and Glenn had an important message to impart. I’s a dick.

enid looks up 2

“Faith without works is dead.”

Meanwhile, crouched outside the brownstone as countless walkers stream past, just above their heads, Denise has her eyes closed, breathing through bursts of fear, and panic, that bubble up. The Wolf regards her closely.

wolf and denise 1 how things turn

wolf and denise 2 how things turn

“How things turn,” muses the Wolf, watching Denise like a movie.

glenn like wtf enid

Glenn finally turns around and is like, “WTF Enid?” and Enid’s all like, staring and mopey and like, “When I wanted to run, you said that’s how you lose people…” and then it was all like, wah, wah, wah, blah, blah, blah,  my parents died, everybody dies, what’s the point? and Glenn was like, “You do it because you’re here, they’re not, and so you do it for them,” and Enid was like, “Ohhhh…” (and I was like, “Come on, already!”) and Enid’s all like, “Who were your people ?”

And Glenn’s like…

glenns like who are my people

Who are my people? Girl, I’ll tell you who my people are…”

 

IMG_8885

And then, Enid finally fucking got it, and I was like, “OMG, finally!” and Enid was like, “Oh, look, I found a gun in the bible!” and Glenn was like, “Good job,” and I was all like…

wolf and denise 3 crouched side look

“Oh, YAY, Enid. You go, girl. Now, can we please move the fuck along to the other storylines? Thanks!

So, moving right along, to other storylines…

when theres an opening 1

The Wolf begins to prepare Denise for the next step of the plan, “When there’s an opening…”

when theres and opening 2 well make a break for that tower

“…we’ll make a break for that tower, over there.” Denise tries to convince the Wolf to leave her: “No, I’ll just slow you down…”

denise youre here with me

Poor Denise is not to be let off the hook that easily, however. The Wolf leans in to her. “Denise? You’re here…with me.”

denise you're here with me 2

“I need you.”

denise youre here with me 3 maybe i want u to say bc i'm enjoying your company so much

The Wolf pauses, then smiles horridly, “Maybe I want you to stay…because I’m enjoying your company so much.

Enid, meanwhile, flips the script on Glenn when he tries to order her to stay behind in the church while he goes to rescue Maggie…

enid pulls a glenn

Back in the church, Enid basically pulls a classic Glenn Rhee manuever on Glenn and tells him, “You were right, and I’m here now, so I’m going out there, and I’m helping you!” Enid then hatches a pretty brilliant plan involving Glenn distracting the walkers while she helps Maggie, who is injured and needs help, over the wall. “We do it together,” Enid says. Then she laughs, shakes her head with a shrug. “I’m just going to follow you anyway.” Glenn looks at her like he’s looking in the mirror. (Well, alrighty then, Enid! I like you so much better when you’re not being totally annoying.)

wolf makes chitchat

Meanwhile, the Wolf continues to chat up Denise. “I liked what you said before,” he says, by way of opener.

“That I wasn’t born this way?” the Wolf continues. “You’re right…I changed.

wolf makes chitchat 2

The Wolf looks at Denise intently. “And now, I want to help you change.” (Oh, fuck, it’s some bad, bad fucking news when the dude with reanimated torsos hanging from meat hooks in the truck trailer says that line!)

The Wolf continues, telling Denise that she’s being given “a gift.” The young Wolf looks upward, muses aloud that, maybe, one day, Denise will realize that…or maybe she won’t.

denise be like that breath dude, seriously

Denise be like, “Well, I don’t know about all that, but I do know one thing…your breath smells like a walker ate a dead, decomposing skunk,  and then shit it into your mouth. Seriously, dude, keep fucking breathing on me like that, and I’m gonna jump up and run screaming into that sea of walkers out there, just to get the fuck away from those mossy-ass teeth and that Breath of Death of yours.”

and then night was falling

In the next scene, night is falling, and the walkers continue to swarm the streets of Alexandria. Their hissing and snarling fill the air.

rick leads the gang 1

Rick leading the way, the gang makes their way carefully through the savage walkers.

rick leads the gang 2

carl 1

carl 2 ron

sam 1

At first, Sam is holding it together pretty well, until some particularly messed-up walkers come snarling close by…

sam 2

Butterface Walkers be like, Yo, young homie, looking good, son! Looking fresh.

sam 3

And then, Creepy Carol’s lilting voice begins to fill poor young Sam’s head, reciting the fairy tale that is both a promise and a curse:

the monsters will come 1

“The monsters will come…”

the monsters will come 2

“…and you won’t be able to run away…”

the monsters will come 3

“…when they come for you.”

the monsters will come 4

These images seem like they are straight from the nightmares poor Sam must have started having that very night after Creepy Carol terrorized him into keeping her secret about stealing guns from the armory…

the monsters will come 5

(Damn, Creepy Carol, did  you have to get so jiggy with your scary tale? That poor kid never had a chance…all he wanted was the cookies, Creepy Carol.  All the poor kid wanted was the cookies!)

the monsters will come 8

Creepy Carol’s voice over continues, “The ones out there, and they will tear you apart…”

the monsters will tear you apart and eat you up

“…and eat you up…”

the monsters will tear you apart

“…all while you’re still alive.”

white walker close up

And with those words, the curse was cast upon the doomed young Sam…

sam is a goner 1

…for once the words fell from Creepy Carol’s lips, they imbedded themselves into Sam’s fertile young mind, and black vines of terror and foreboding began on grow wild…

sam is a goner 2 young walker

…until they choked out the light inside the young boy, leaving only darkness within.

sam is a goner 3 jessie sees his terror

Sam stops short, staring at the walker child, and when Jessie looks into her son’s eyes, she sees his terror, his paralysis…and the fear in her eyes grows because she’s seen this before with him…she knows this is bad.

sam is a goner 4 jessie tries to coax him

As Carl looks out, alarmed, Jessie tries to coax her son, “Sam? Come oncome on. Sweetheart? Sam…”

sam is a goner 5 sweetheart, sam

But Sam does not, cannot, heed his mother’s quiet urging...he is frozen with terror.

sam is a goner 6 jessie close up

Jessie pulls at her son’s hand, but Sam does not respond, does not budge, will not move…

sam is a goner 7 sam sam

Rick joins in, and we hear his voice, Jessie’s voice, softly calling to Sam in alarmed whispers… “Sam? Sam! Come on, honey, come with me.” But poor Sam is in the grip of his worst nightmare come to life…

 

sam is a goner 8 ron

To his credit (which is limited at best), Ron tries to encourage his brother, “Sam! You can do it! Sams, look at Mom! But Sam shakes his head, becoming more and more upset, agitated, starts to cry…his heart pounding, body temperature rising, blood surging to the skin’s surface and to extremities to be ready to fight, or flee…and predators, like the walkers, can sense, smell, prey in distress…

sam is a goner 9 jessie

Jessie kneels down to Sam’s eye-level, says more firmly for Sam to come now, come with her…

sam is a goner 10 whimpers

Poor Sam, paralyzed by his fear, whimpers, “I want to.”

sam resigned

This shot really gets me…it felt to me like Sam had already resigned himself to his unspeakable fate in the moment before the walkers’ attack

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And then…oh, God! OH, GOD, oh, God, oh God.

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OMFG.

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Like, seriously, people…

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…I may need to go on antidepressants after rewatching this scene. OMFG, is that a chunk out of Sam’s shoulder in Take A Bite Outta Sam Walker’s mouth? Jesus Christ…

 

sam chomp 5

At this point, I usually insert a technical factoid to distance myself from the horror of what is happening in a scene, so here goes: On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero explained how the special effects crew designed special dentures for the walker actors in this scene. The dentures contained fake blood capsules that burst when the actor bit down on them, creating the effect of the blood streaming from poor Sam’s head as the walker bites down on it.

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As the walkers engulf the little boy, poor Sam unleashes a blood curdling scream that has haunted my dreams, as well as some of my waking hours, since…

And, of course, the horror is just beginning…

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Poor Jessie… 😦

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…ughhh…

jesse chomp 4 hands

I…cannot. (Honestly, of all the gnarly and heartbreaking screenshots I have ever posted on this site, I think this shot, of Jessie holding her son’s hand as he gets eaten alive by walkers, has gutted me more than any other image I have posted. I am so glad this shit isn’t real, that Major Dodson and Alexandra Breckenridge are alive and well. (And p.s., Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Greg Nicotero, I will be sending you three the bill for all the therapy I am going to need after watching, and rewatching this scene in the writing process. Bravo, sirs…well played, well played.)

jesse chomp 6 ron and michonne

Ron looks on in disbelief as Michonne’s eyes register the horror and gravity of their situation.

jesse chomp 7 walker

And, when a walker looks up a moment, tearing away a bleeding piece of her son’s flesh, muscle…

jesse chomp 8 jesse scream

…Jessie unleashes a primal scream of a mother’s anguish as Rick, in shock at the sudden, horrific turn of events, looks helplessly on…

jesse chomp 9 walker

This scream, of course, gets the attention of nearby walkers…

jesse chomp 10 carl ron jesse

…as Carl (whose hand Jessie still grips) and Ron realize, with growing alarm, what is surely about to happen…we her Rick’s voice, sounding so far away through her echoing screams, “Jessie...Jessie!

As her son’s hand slackens in her grip, Jessie’s gaze deadens as she stares, fixated, at the grisly sight before her, of a group of walkers feasting on her youngest son, tearing him apart before her very eyes.

jesse chomp 11 carl

Carl, pale, panicked, sweaty, calls to Jessie in a frantic whisper, tries to pull her away, but she cannot, does not, heed him…

 

jesse chomp 12 you have to come

“You have to come!” Carl begs her. Jessie pulls back, in shock, seems unable to process this horror, this nightmare.

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The walkers pounce on Jessie so quickly…

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…it takes Jessie a moment to register what is happening to her.

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By the time she realizes, it is already too late. The walkers descend on poor Jessie.

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“No,” Rick keeps muttering, in dull shock and grief, watching the lovely, good woman who he cared so deeply for suffer such an angonizing, cruel fate…

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Carl’s voice cuts through Rick’s reverie: “Dad…Dad!” Rick looks over, dazed, to see Carl’s hand still held fast in Jessie’s death grip…

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As if in a dream, Rick lifts the axe he is holding, and after the barest hesitation, brings it down on Jessie’s arm…

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…and begins to hack away at it to save his son.

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With a final swing of the axe, Rick severs poor Jessie’s arm through, freeing Carl. The walkers pile savagely on Jessie, pulling her down to the ground in frenzy of feeding.

Through all this, a handgun (I forget whose gun this is…anyone?) falls into the grass, unheeded by Rick, Carl…but someone, someone who has now lost everyone closest to him, and who blames Rick Grimes for this, notices the gun, lying there.

rick axe 9 ron gun click

Carl whirls at the sound of the handgun’s safety being released, sees Ron, who is clutching the gun, pointing it at Rick, behind Carl. “You…” Ron grinds out, staring at Rick with unbridled hatred.

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“You!” Ron says, again, pointing the gun at Rick.

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Rick says nothing, does not try to defend himself, or talk Ron down.

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Before Ron can fire the gun at Rick, Michonne comes from behind, and in one quick upward thrust…

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…and skewers the shit out of Ron McSlappy, son of an abusive a-hole, bearer of a legit grudge against Rick Grimes, but…we can’t have you killing our main man, McSlappy. Michonne no likey when some dicknuts is trying to kill her man, Rick Grimes…remember that time when the Gov was beating Rick almost to death at the Battle Royale for the prison?

 

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Then, suddenly, Snidely brings the weapons down, by his sides, slumping into his bike’s seat, looks down, as if reconsidering…

Ron, in his dying throes and jerks, does manage to squeeze off one shot, involuntarily, as he goes down. Michonne pulls her blade back quickly, silently, as Rick nods his thanks to her and walkers fall upon Ron’s dying body.

carl eye 1 dad

Rick then turns to his son…and sees…

carl eye 2 dad

“Dad?”

carl eye 3 rick

“Carl!” Rick gasps, stricken at the sight of his son, blood pouring out of the hole where Carl’s right eye used to be.

carl eye 4 carl ground

Carl collapses to the ground. Rick rushes to his unconscious son and quickly scoops him up into his arms.

carl eye 5 michonne rick carl

Wild with anguish, Michonne hacks a clear path through the swarm of walkers as Rick runs behind her, Carl bleeding out in his arms.

Holy crap, gang, I tell you…there isn’t enough wine in the world to make that shit go away anytime soon.

(Side note, I was still working on this scene when TWD’s Episode 609 aired this Sunday.  It did my soul good to watch the next episode, and celebrate the classic Rick/Daryl hotness, as well as the new man talent (I ❤ Jesus), but it definitely was surreal to have to go back, after the watching of that frolicsome episode, and taking part in the Richonne celebration, and reimmerse myself into recounting this dark scene.

Honestly, t kind of messed me up, and I actually woke up the next day exhausted, run-down, fighting off a cold, and asking myself, for the umpteenth time, “Why the hell am I putting myself through this?”

I know why, loves…I think I do, anyway. It’s inexplicable, but it’s something bigger than me. It’s like some kind of Field of Weird Dreams:  “If you write it, it will come.”

What will come, I have no idea, but this crazy project has been a life-changing endeavor, as it keeps me writing, and creating, and the readership is ever-increasing, at an unprecendented rate, with views from all over the world.

And, thanks for that, gang. Thanks for reading my crazy-ass blog. 

It means the world…it really does. ❤ <3<3<3

________________________________________

Now, where were we? Ah, yes, having survived the Jessie/Sam/Ron/Carl scene portrayal, let us step back and enjoy a couple of related IG postings:

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This post features the amazing makeup and technical effects that went into creating the illusion of Carl’s eye wound.The makeup effects team created an incredibly realistic dummy in Chandler Riggs’ likeness, complete with eye wound, which was used in certain scenes, like the scene where Rick is running, carrying his wounded, unconscious son through the walker horde. An image of the eye wound was also digitally superimposed onto Chandler Riggs’ face (shown in the last panel)  in the final edits of the scene where Carl looks up Rick, immediately after getting shot by Ron.

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And this post (by the always-hilarious @therickygrimes ) is one of my personal favorites in regards to the character of poor, doomed Sam.

And, mad props, and a round of Deadies to:

1) Alexandra Breckenridge, the lovely and talented actress who plays Jessie Anderson. 

Jessie, girl, despite my initial resistance to your coming on the scene, I did grow to have love for you. Respect.  You did not deserve what you had to endure, both in your life, and in your death. I am glad you got to kiss Rick Grimes, and hopefully, you were able to knock out a quick one with him in that garage before all the shit went down.

RIP Jessie Anderson

2) Major Dodson, who plays Sam Anderson, the sweet, doomed boy who went in search of cookies, and found himself a world of shit, instead…sorry, little buddy. That’s some rough breaks, right there. I love me some cookies, as well, and I could see myself getting into some similar trouble in the PZA in my endless quest for tasty night snacks.

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Chris Hardwick posted this hilarious IG posting comparing a childhood picture of himself next to the talented young actor, Major Dodson, with the hashtag #IAmSam

RIP Sam Anderson

And, finally:

3) A very special Deadie to Austin Abrams, the handsome and talented young actor who plays the complex character of Ron Anderson (a.k.a. Ron McSlappy).

Austin, it is not an easy thing to play a character who is generally disliked by an overprotective, somewhat obsessive fan base, but you really did an amazing job. Baller, truly. 

May your young star continue to rise…you’ve def got the goods, son.

And, Ron, well, you started out sweet, then downward-spiraled pretty quickly into becoming a bitter young D-bag.

Carl said it best, when he told you, straight up, that “Your dad was an asshole.”

He was, and for that, I am so sorry. And, your beef with Rick Grimes was definitely understandable, but we can’t have you shooting at the man, Ron, and we certainly cannot have you shooting out Carl’s eye.

That aggression simply will not stand, Ron McSlappy.

(I think, once again, Talking Dead’s In Memoriam said it best):

RIP Ron McSlappy

____________________________________

Meanwhile, back at the brownstone:

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As Tara tirelessly keeps watch out the window for any sign of Denise…

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…and Morgan mopes…

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…Eugene ponders the machete he holds in his hands.

eugene machete 2 game face and front lines mullet

Sporting both a game face and the Front Lines mullet, Eugene looks up at Rosita, who is watching him with narrowed eyes.

eugene machete 3 rosita

“Sooner or later, we’re fightin’ our way out of here,” Eugene says. Rosita regards Eugene a moment more, says nothing, then turns her gaze away.

“I am fully aware that you know that we will,” Eugene continues, in classic #EugeneSpeak.

eugene machete 4 i know that you're fully aware that we will  yeah

Rosita looks back at him. “Yeah,” she confirms, arms crossed, “We will.”  Rosita then narrows her eyes at Eugene. “Not you,“she says, somewhat bitterly, and begins to move past him. 

Eugene protests, “Well, by my reckon…”  Rosita cuts him off with a sharp hiss. “Eugene!” she says, arms crossed and eyes shooting daggers down at him. “Come on!” Rosita stalks off angrily…

eugene machete 5 by my reckon

…leaving Eugene sitting there, holding the machete and rocking the Butt-Hurt mullet. She’s right…how many times did she, Abraham, and so many others fight off walkers to protect him in the past, while he faked having the key to curing the walker epidemic? (Gotta say, really loving this shot of Eugene.)

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Meanwhile, the dark Wolf peers through the railing at the walkers moving away, en masse. “They’re moving towards the gunfire,” he says, then muses, “I suppose someone thought they  could put up a fight…I guess you all thought that.

wolf 2 denise

“We did put up a fight,” Denise replies. “That’s why your friends are dead.” (Oh SNAP, Doctor Denise! You throw some shade at that bad man, girl! )

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Denise cuts a sideways look as the Wolf agrees easily,Yeah…we should have waited, and watched a little longer. I was selfish.” The Wolf smiles, remembering, as he moves behind Denise to her left side, watching the flow of the walkers. “But, if I hadn’t been so selfish, I wouldn’t have gotten that I.V.”

Clocking the walkers, the Wolf tells Denise, “We’re gonna find a gap, and GO…up that guard tower, and over the wall.”

wolf 5 looks at denise

The young Wolf then turns to Denise, looks at her intently, grabs her arm.

wolf 6 and denise looks back at him

Denise turns to look at him, afraid.

“You don’t need to be afraid,” the Wolf tells her. Denise turns her eyes back to the steady flow of walkers in front of them, turns back to look the Wolf in the eye.

wolf 7 go to hell

“Go to hell,” Denise tells him.

wolf 8 you need to know, it's safer out there than it is in here

The Wolf replies, “You need to know, it’s safer out there than it is in here.” Denise does not reply. “Start moving,” the Wolf commands her, “Start moving.” Denise is left no choice but to nod, wordlessly, and starts moving towards the stairs, the Wolf right behind her.

As they slowly make their way up the steps, the Wolf instructs Denise, “Straight up the guard post, and do not stop…go!

wolf 9 run for it

Using Denise as a human shield, the Wolf pushes her forward as they begin to dash across an opening in the stream of walkers.

wolf 10 walker blocking them

They zigzag past the walkers, but see that there is one walker blocking their way to the ladder, and another walker or two turning towards them…

wolf 11 post blocker walker

Post Blocker Walker be like, “Hey, y’all know where the dang all-you-can-eat dinner buffet is? I been lookin’ all over the place for it, and I cain’t find it anywhere!”

wolf 12 stabs walker

Owww! Goddam, now that hurts like a sonuvabitch! Y’all young people nowadays got shit for manners, you know that?”

wolf 13 early bird special walker

Early Bird Special Walker grabs Denise and starts shaking her. “You gonna tell me where that damn all-you-can eat buffet is, you hear?

wolf 14 i wore my purdy dress

“I got all dolled up for the fancy party, wore my purtiest dress, got my hair did and everything! Now, I’m a gonna get me somma that all-you-can-eat buffet, so you better just start talking,  missy!”

After killing Post Blocker Walker, the young Wolf turns around, looking for Denise, and sees her trying to fend off Early Bird Special Walker. Now, the Wolf has a clear path to the ladder, is right there, but he rushes back to help Denise, stabbing Early Bird Special Walker in her rotting skull, rekilling her.

wolf 15 stabs ebs walker

Aaaahhhh! That ain’t no way to treat a lady, no sir! Lookit what you gone and done…you done ruined my fancy hairdo!”

wolf 16 you had it comin walker

As soon as the she-walker slumps down, dead for good, You Had This Coming Walker takes a bite out of the Wolf’s left arm.

wolf 17 chunk outta arm

Gnarly! As You Had This Coming tears a huge chunk out of the Wolf’s arm, the young man howls with pain and rage and rekills the walker with a downward stab to the head.

As the young man’s arm begins bleeding out, Denise stares down in momentary shock, then she looks up at the Wolf. “You get me to the infirmary,” she tells him, “and I’ll save your life.” He looks at her in shock. “I’ll save your life,” she says, again.

wolf 18 denise says u get me to the infirmary, i'll save your life

The Wolf and Denise begin to run back towards the infirmary...

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Meanwhile, Carol has done a sweep of the brownstone, and looks out the window, upstairs, down at the streets filled with walkers. She sits down heavily, her head in her hand. She looks so over it.

carol 2 morgan

Carol hears a noise, jumps up, gun raised, sees it is Morgan, who approaches slowly, looking somewhat shamefaced.

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Carol’s face, as she registers who it is, shows her anger. She lowers the gun, turns back to the window. Morgan comes into the room cautiously, towards Carol, not taking his eyes from her.

carol 4 morgan guesses you had a child

“You had a child…right? Morgan guesses, astutely.

carol 5 looks out window

Carol does not reply. “A husband?” Morgan guesses, again, and Carol’s eyes close a moment at that. “I didn’t want to hurt you,” Morgan explains, by way of apology. “I had to stop you.”

carol 6

Carol calls Morgan out, her voice shaking with anger.. “You saved him for you, not us.”

carol 7 if it was for us, you would have...

“If it was for us, Carol continues, “you would have-…” and she lets the thought trail off, unsaid.

carol 8 i should have killed you

“I should have killed you,” Carol says, looking a little shaken at this realization. “I should have…”

carol 9 you can't

“You can’t, Morgan replies, before turning and walking out of the room.

Meanwhile, Denise and the Wolf duck into an office. The Wolf stares ahead in shock as Denise unbuckles his belt to make a tourniquet for his bitten arm.

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“The infirmary is right across the alley,” she tells the dazed Wolf.

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“We need to get you there, now.

The Wolf continues to look dazed with shock. “Hey!” Denise says, trying to bring him back to the present. The Wolf looks at her, then looks away, his brow furrowing with confusion. “The ladder was clear,” he says, wonderingly. “We could have made it.”

doc denise 3

“You turned back for me,” Denise reminds him, tightening the tourniquet around his arm. The Wolf turns to look at her, remembering. “Maybe it was because you needed a doctor,” Denise says, looking at the Wolf significantly..

doc denise 4

“Or, maybe you changed.” The Wolf looks at her, stunned at this. Denise turns to go, then turns back to the Wolf. “You ready?” she asks him, and after a moment, he follows her out of the office.

Once outside, the pair must start fighting off many walkers. The Wolf is able to shove a few nearby walkers away and clear a path, but one walker makes straight for Denise.

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Sub Pop Walker be flyin’ the flannel and the ferocity.

The Wolf pulls the walker away from Denise, just in time, and calls to her to “Come on!” when a couple of pops sound out from above…

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The Wolf is hit by one bullet, then another, as Denise stops and stares, in shock, first at the Wolf, then up where Carol is standing above them, on an upstairs balcony, pointing a gun at the Wolf. “Go!” screams Carol to Denise.

Denise hesitates, and Sub Pop Walker lurches forward for another go at her. The Wolf clasps his arms around the walker from behind, dragging it down with him as he echoes Carol’s command, yelling for Denise to “Go!”. Denise looks back at him a moment more, as walker upon walker descend upon the young Wolf, before turning and running.

doc denise 8

Carol watches the young Wolf, whom she had wanted to kill, and who just so clearly intervened to save Denise’s life, get taken down by walkers. Carol’s face shows her conflict, and her sadness as she watches this. A very special Lupine Deadie goes to Austrailian actor Benedict Samuel, who plays the dark haired Wolf, and who, thankfully, is as handsome and delightful as he is talented. Well done, mate!

heath 1

Denise rushes into the infirmary as Heath and Aaron quickly bar the door behind her. (And, where the hell has Heath been this whole time? I haven’t seen that dude since before the Wolves attacked Alexandria. Heath’s all like, “Whoa, man, I was totally bingewatching Gilmore Girls dvds, and then I musta fallen asleep, because next thing I know, this crazy noise wakes me up, and I look out the window, and there’s like a shit-ton of walkers everywhere!”)

Aaron peers out the infirmary window, whispers, “Oh my God!” at what he sees outside…the others peer out and see:

aaron sees rick and michonne

Rick and Michonne running, Rick carrying his unconscious, bleeding son in his arms, as Michonne hacks a path through the walkers to clear the way. They are hauling ass to the infirmary.

“It’s the kid,” says Heath. “Is he bit?”

aaron sees rick and michonne 2

Denise closes her eyes, takes a few deep breaths to steady herself, then replies, “No.” She then starts to order the men to gather the needed supplies, meds, IV, gurney. They rush to do her bidding. Doctor Denise is in the house!

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Denise opens the door and points Rick towards the waiting gurney. He rushes through the doorway, Michonne behind him, both looking frantic with worry for Carl.

 

rick brings carl 2 please save him

Denise immediately begins assessing the situation. “Gun shot wound?” she asks. “Handgun, close-range,” Michonne replies. As Denise gets to work, Rick pleads, softly, humbly, “Please save him…”

rick brings carl 3 eye wound

“Please! (And how about those eye wound effects? So super duper gnarltastic!)

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Denise’s voice, and the others’ voices, begin to drone out, sound further and further away as it all begins to close in on poor Rick:  His son is gravely wounded, eye shot out, he just watched his girlfriend and her son get eaten alive by walkers, and to add insult to injury, Rick had to hack off his doomed gf’s arm with an axe to free his son…and then, poor Carl took a bullet in the eye that was meant for Rick, and now, he’s watching a capable woman, who is an untrained doctor, begin the procedures to try to save his son. #shittiestdayever

 

rick dad 2 michonne takes off walker cloak

My WD buddies and I loved this tender gesture on Michonne’s part, taking the walker guts cloak off Rick for him. ❤

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Rick turns away, head in hand, then turns back as Denise begins to operate on Carl, ordering Michonne to apply pressure to Carl’s head, above the eye, to try to keep him steady during the procedure, and to limit blood loss…

rick dad 4

Rick peers out the window, and as feared, the light that Denise is using for surgery is indeed drawing the attention of nearby walkers, who are shuffling en masse towards the infirmary.

rick dad 5 axe drawn

Rick Smash! has some serious rage that he needs to work out, and so our man pulls out his trusty hatchet, goes to the door, and begins to open it.

rick dad 6 axe ready

Time to get to work, Rick Smash! (P.S. I love you. <3)

rick dad 7 rick what are you doing

As he saunters out the door, ready to fuck shit up, we can hear Michonne’s voice calling after him, “Rick! What are you doing? Rick…Rick!” Rick Smash! does not hesitate as he out the door and closes it behind him. <3<3<3<3

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Rick Smash! is not fucking around.

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Our main man is all about the business of fucking some walkers UP.

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Rick Smash! be like, “I am most ill and I’m axin’ and slayin!'”

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(On a side note, my hubby’s been teaching me how to split logs, and I’ve been wielding the axe a lot lately, chopping a lot of wood. I have a long way to go with my building my strength and skillz, but I have been thinking that the axe might be my signature weapon in a zombie apocalypse. Just a lil FYI.)

rick smash 4

As Rick Smash! kicks Why Don’t You Ax Him? Walker‘s rekilled ass away, Phil Side Walker looks on in dismay all the harshness going down, like right in front of him.. He’s all like, “Hey, man! Hey, man, that’s not cool! That’s not cool, bro…so not cool!!”

rick smash 5 phil side walker

Phil Side Walker continues his conscientious objections: “Dude, your agro is totally harshing the collective mellow…don’t you know, like, it’s all connected, bro? We are all one with the universe, man!”

 

rick smash 6

But, of course, Rick Smash! doesn’t care about any of that shit. He just wants to smash him some of these undead fuckers that keep ruining his life and fucking everything up for everyone he loves. And so, he does, looking completely sexy and baller while doing so.

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He gets jiggy with that shit, and we likey. 

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At this point, Phil Side Walker feels it is his karmic duty to call out, “Dude, bro, violence is never the answer!”

rick smash 13

rick smash 14

❤ The Rick Smash! angels in my head are singing, “Hallelujah!” ❤

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Back inside, Michonne keeps looking towards the door, getting frantic. “Rick’s out there,” she says, in a rush.. “Hold on,” says Doc Denise, calmly, stitching Carl’s wound.

 

michonne rick 2 he's out there, he needs my help

“He needs my help!” Michonne presses. “Just one more suture,” Doc Denise replies, steadily working. “He’s out there! Michonne cries.(OMFG, were you fellow Richonners out there just loving the shit out of this, or what? I was sooo dying! ❤ )

michonne rick 3 one more suture

Doc Denise is all like, “Girl, I know you gotta get out there to your bf and all, but first things first…”

michonne rick 4 this is his son, one more second

Doc Denise says calmly, firmly, This is his son. Give me a second.” Really becoming a major fan of Doc Denise, and busting out a love offering right here, right now by awarding Doc Denise both a barnfullawalkers Weird Science Deadie Doctorate and naming her as one of the three MVP‘s of TWD Episode 609Daryl Dixon, Doc Dense, and our third  MVP will be named soon enough, loves, and I am sure you know who it is already. 🙂 ❤

michonne rick 5 yes doctor

Even Michonne, in her panic, is like, “Yes, Doctor.” Behind her, Aaron marvels, “He’s taking them all on…we have to go get him.

michonne rick 6

Spencer’s like, “Say what?” (Yeah, that means you. too, pretty boy, so grow a pair, arm yourself, and get out there and get to rekilling STAT.)

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Heath (who is well-rested and reinspired after his long nap and Gilmore Girls marathon) turns to Spencer, agrees with Aaron. “We have to.” Heath turns to the others, taking deep breaths, readying himself for battle. “This is it.”

michonne rick 7 kisses carl

Doc Denise announces, “Got it,” and Michonne bends down to give Carl a quick kiss on his forehead…

…then grabs her katana, rushing out the door, with Heath, Aaron, and after a moment’s hesitation, Spencer, following right behind her.

 

calvary 2 walkers

The walkers are coming full force towards Rick, who is still hacking away at them, berzerker style.

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calvary 4 rick

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The others, Michonne, Aaron, Heath, and Spencer, join Rick, and the gang forms a kill circle, back to back, facing the oncoming walkers head on…

calvary 6 f2c guy

…as other residents of Alexandria look out from the safety of indoors, and see the small circle of warriors battling for their town… (I think this is Fax 2 Cleveland guy from the Abraham/Francine walker attack construction site. Go, F2C guy, go on with your bad self and help Rick Grimes take back this town!)

calvary 7 olivia

Go, Olivia!

calvary 8 eric

Go, Eric! You can do it!

calvary 9 heath rekill

Heath got some mad rekill skillz…

calvary 10 heath skillz

calvary 11 rick knock em away drive em down  and sees

Rick-In-Charge orders his band of warriors: “Knock “em away, drive ’em down.” He then turns to see…

calvary 12 second string eric and olivia

…the second string, machetes in hand, running down the steps to join the fight! Yahoo!

calvary 13 eric and aaron

Couples who rekill together, stay together!

calvary 14 rick and spencer

Spencer’s starting to get the hang of this…

calvary 15 rick we can beat em

“We can beat ’em!” Rick exhorts his troops.

calvary 16 aerial shot

Aerial view, as the Battle For Alexandria rages on.

 

gabriel 1

From inside his church, Father Gabriel peers out the window at Rick and the others fighting. We can hear Rick shouting orders, encouragement from outside.

gabriel 2

Judith begins to fuss, and Gabriel takes her over to a female parishioner, asks her to take the baby.

gabriel 3

gabriel 4 tobin gabriel, what are you doing

Gabriel then walks over, picks up a bloodstained machete, and walks over to the door. Tobin follows him, asks, “Gabriel, what are you doing?”

gabriel 5 we've been praying, praying together, for god to save our town

Gabriel turns to the his parishioners. “We have been praying, together, praying that God will save our town…”

gabriel 6 well our prayers have been answered

“Well, our prayers have been answered. God will save Alexandria…”

gabriel 7

“…because God has given us the courage to save ourselves.” (Can I hear a “Praise the Lord!”?)

berzerkers 1

As Rick Grimes and his merry band of Badass Berzerkers go to town on the walker herd…

berzerkers 2

berzerkers 3 carol rick's making a stand we need to get out there

Tara tells the others, in the brownstone, that the walkers outside are starting to thin out…Carol comes in and informs them that Rick, along with Michonne and some others, is making a stand against the walkers. “We need to get out there,” Carol says, heading for the door.

Carol tells Tara that Denise made it back to the infirmary safely, then tells the others that she’s going to help Rick.

berzerkers 4 morgan

Morgan chimes in, says that he is going, too. The others, one by one, voice their support. They are all in, even Eugene.

berzerkers 5 rosita eugene you don't have to

Rosita turns to Eugene. “Eugene, you don’t have to,” she tells him.

berzerkers 6 eugene

“That’s incorrect, I do, Eugene replies. “Nobody gets to clock out today. And, hell, this is a story that people are gonna tell.

battle 1

And so, the story of the Battle of Alexandria continues, as the invading walkers stream towards the fight…

battle 2

Rosita and Eugene leading the way, the others join the seige.

battle 3 wolf walker

The first blow Morgan delivers with his staff sends a walker to the ground, and as it rears back up, snarling, Morgan sees it is the young dark-haired Wolf.

battle 4 morgan i'm sorry

Morgan looks down at the Wolf Walker. “I’m sorry,” he says, before swiftly delivering the fatal blow.

maggie rescue 1

Meanwhile, Operation Rescue Maggie is underway, with Glenn and Enid sprinting past walkers…

maggie rescue 2

…to the lookout post Maggie is trapped up on. To Glenn’s horror, the walker horde is charging the posts, and the makeshift wooden structure is rocking as Maggie hangs desperately on. It will not hold much longer.

Glenn orders Enid to “Go get her,” and when Enid hesitates, Glenn barks out the order again. Go get her!

As Enid rushes forward towards Maggie, and the swarming walkers…

maggie rescue 3

…Glenn begins firing his handgun, screaming to the walkers, “Over here! Over here!

maggie rescue 4 maggie sees glenn

Hearing Glenn’s voice, Maggie looks up to see her man for the first time since before he set out to redirect the quarry walkers and was feared dead.

maggie rescue 5 maggie yells glenn

Maggie immediately sees the danger Glenn is putting himself in. “Glenn!” she cries.

maggie rescue maggie glenn!

“Glenn!” Unbeknownst to Maggie, Enid is scaling up the side of the tower to help her. Glenn continues shooting, calling to the walkers, to draw them away from Maggie, going hand-to-hand with the ones that get too close to him. “Over here! Hey! Over here!

maggie rescue 6 maggie enid

Maggie helps pull Enid up, and they both watch helplessly as the horde of walkers begin to stream over to Glenn, who continues shooting, yelling, fighting them off.

maggie rescue 7 glenn and walkers

The walkers continue to swarm around Glenn, backing him up against a wall. He continues to fight, and that this point in the inital watching, TWD fans’ cortisol levels were rising…

maggie rescue 8 maggie gun

Maggie raises her gun, aims, and pulls the trigger, but the telltale click signals that the gun is out of ammo. “Shit!” she swears, then in a last-ditch effort, she bangs the gun against the railing, trying to draw their attention away from Glenn, to no avail.

maggie rescue 9 glenn getting closed in

Glenn Rhee continues to fight, to the very end if he has to…

maggie rescue 10 glenn closed in on

…and the walkers continue to close in on him.

maggie rescue 11 maggie watches

Maggie watches, helpless and distraught, as Enid takes advantage of the clearing to tie her makeshift rope to the railing. It is what Glenn would want her to do, and she knows it.

maggie rescue 12 glenn!

Maggie cries, frantic, watching the walkers close in and around Glenn.

Suddenly, the sound of shots pepper the air, and the walkers closest to Glenn go down, one by one.

glenn drops for cover

Glenn drops for cover as the walkers around him go down, one by one, in a spray of undead blood and guts.

glenn drops for cover 2

It’s the sexy sharpshooters, Abraham and Sasha, come to save the day!

As Glenn looks up dazed, he sees Abraham looking down at him.

abraham

“Can you get the gate?” Abraham jokingly calls to Glenn. “Appreciate it, pal!” And with a laugh, Abraham returns to one of his favorite pasttimes…

abraham 2

…blowing away some walkers.

abraham 3

Later, fuglies.

end 1

As Abraham, Sasha, and Enid help Maggie down onto Patty the fuel tanker…

end 2 daryl and glenn

…Glenn climbs into the shotgun seat,. Daryl asks him, “What the hell happened?” Glenn replies that he doesn’t know, he just got back there, himself. It’s crazy to think of all that has happened to each of them since they first set off for the quarry, to lead the walkers away from Alexandria.

Glenn voices the idea of leading the walkers away, but Daryl has a better plan. He bangs on the ceiling of the truck, signaling the others on top.

end 3 eric sporty style

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Rick and the others continue to go hand-to-hand with the walkers. (I found myself admiring Eric’s sporty style of walker killing…those Alexandria cardio kickboxing classes have really paid off!)

However fearsome and badass each warrior is in holding his/her own, the walkers’ sheer numbers continue to give them the advantage as they press onward towards the living.

end 4 daryl backs patty up to the pond

Meanwhile, Daryl backs the fuel truck up to Alexandria’s mini lake in the center of town…

end 5 daryl unleashes gas into water

…and while Glenn, Sasha, and Abraham fight off walkers, Daryl opens the hose and unleashes a large spray of gasoline into the lake.

end 6

The warriors of Alexandria continue to face off with the press of walkers…

end 7

…who keep backing them up…

end 8

…until they are nearly up against the walls.

lake of fire 1lake of fire 2lake of fire 3lake of fire 4lake of fire 5lake of fire 6lake of fire 8lake of fire 9lake of fire 10 walkers see firelake of fire 11 walkers firelake of fire 12 walkers close uplake of fire 13 walker killslake of fire 14 walkers lake 1lake of fire 15 daryllake of fire 16 walkers on firelake of fire 17 fire walkerslake of fire 18 fire walkerslake of fire 19 fire walkerslake of fire 20 rick

The next day…

next day 1next day 2next day 3next day 4next day 5next day 6next day 7

carl rick 1

carl rick 2 i was wrong

“I was wrong.”

carl rick 3 i thought after living behind these walls for so long that...

“I thought after living behind these walls for so long…”

carl rick 4 maybe they couldn't learn

“…that maybe they couldn’t learn.”

carl rick 5 but today

“But, today…”

carl rick 6 today i saw what they could do...what we could do

“Today, I saw what they could do…what we could do…”

carl rick 7 if we work together

“…if we work together.”

carl rick 8 we'll rebuild the walls, we'll expand the walls

“We’ll rebuild the walls…we’ll expand the walls.”

carl rick 9 there will be more, there's gotta be more

“There will be more; there’s gotta be more.

carl rick 10 everything that deanna was talking about

“Everything that Deanna was talking about…”

carl rick 11 is possible, it's all possible, I see that now

“…is possible. It’s all possible. I see that, now.

carl rick 12 when I was out there with them, when I knew it was over, I had this feeling

“When I was out there, with them, when I knew it was over, I had this feeling…”

carl rick 13 it took me a while to remember what it was

“It took me a while to remember what it was…”

carl rick 14 because I hadn't felt it since before I woke up in that hospital bed

“…because I hadn’t felt it since before I woke up in that hospital bed.”

carl rick 15

carl rick 16 i want to show you the new world, carl  i want to make it a reality for you please, please carl, let me show you

“I want to show you the new world, Carl. I want to make it a reality for you. Please, please, Carl…let me show you.”

carl rick 17 carls hand closes over ricks

In response, Carl’s fingers close gently over his father’s hand.

carl rick 18 rick lookscarl rick 19 rick looks

carl rick 20 rick looks at carl

Ladies and gentlemen, our third and final MVP for Episdoe 609: Rick Grimes.<3 ❤ <3<3

Well, kids, there it is. I wanted to pay homage to this incredible episode and reconnect with my fave show with a super tweaktastic post.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoy the playlist as well. Next couple of posts will def be breezier, more scaled-down, but def showing the love and celebrating TWD.

Until next week, loves, and enjoy the playlist.

IMG_9017

Playlist:

Aerosmith, “Back In The Saddle”

Judas Priest, “You Got Another Thing Comin'”

Van Halen, “On Fire”

Misfits, “Last Caress”

The Smiths, “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”

Mob Deep (Nas, Raekwon), “Eye For And Eye (Your Beef Is Mines)”

Smith & Mighty, “Walk On”

Meat Puppets, “Backwater”

Nirvana, “Oh Me”

Nirvana, “Lake of Fire”

Nirvana, “About A Girl”

PJ Harvey, “The Wheel”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 12, “Remember”

“Remember”

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

Well, well, well, my TWD obsessed darlings, it seems there’s a new constable in the walled, sustainable town of Alexandria, and he’s bringing the clean-shaven manliness along with the muscle and the menace…the beard is gone, but the wildness lurks beneath the chiseled surface.

And that’s the way we like it.

There are those who mourn the beard, yes.  I do understand. But remember, darlings, the man makes the beard. The beard does not make the man.

Just think of all those urban scenesters rocking hipster beards across the world at this very moment.  They look pretty cool drinking their PBR’s and shit, but many of them couldn’t change a tire if their life depended on it…maybe with some time, a few more PBR’s, and much discussion, bickering, and cigarette breaks, a group of three or four of them could put their combined brains and brawn together and figure it out.

Maybe. 

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hipster+Beard

Of course, that’s not what we’re talking about here.  We’re talking about our favorite Deputy of Id, Rick Smash!  Has the primal manbeast that we have all grown to love so well gone down the drain with the lather and the whiskers?

Oh, hell no.

The beard may be gone, yes, but Rick Smash! remains. Don’t worry, darlings. He’s still there.

Rick Smash! has merely gone under the radar, gone rogue. He is showing the outside world his more socially adept manifestation, Rick-In-Charge  (aka. Constable Grimesbut smoldering and simmering under the clean lines of his demigod jawline, Rick Smash! is crouched and waiting.  He needs to be, and he knows it.

Shit’s coming, and if my hunches (and many others’) are correct, Alexandria’s impressive walls will not be able to protect them much longer from what lurks on the outside.

In The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 12, “Remember,” there’s a game of seven card stud being played by two powerful leaders of two very different communities for the highest of stakes: the survival and continuance of their respective tribes, their chosen “families.”

In theory, the two tribes, one led by Rick Grimes,  and the other led by Deanna Monroe, leader of Alexandria (played by Tovah Feldshuh, wielding her usual mastery and grace), can combine and continue, stronger than ever.

It’s a good theory, but there are many variables to consider, and there are many, many questions that have yet to be answered. Until all the cards in each player’s respective hands are revealed, we do not yet know what each player’s motives, intentions, and ultimate goals really are with this arrangement, of Alexandria taking in Rick and his gang.

We know what Rick and his gang need from Alexandria: food, shelter, a safe and secure place for Rick’s children to live, and hopefully, grow up.

But, we still don’t quite know what Deanna Monroe’s true motives in taking Rick’s group in really are, at this point. We can only guess.

As Deanna tells Rick, in their initial interview, it has been a long while since Alexandria took in anybody new to their sheltered, sustainable community, which has served, thus far, to be one of the more powerful barriers we have seen yet in TWD.

Since the walker epidemic’s inception, Alexandria, with its impressive walls, has pretty effectively shut out the horrors of the outside world and encased its inhabitants in a protective bubble.

These days, the citizens of Alexandria seem to be suffering more from boredom and restlessness than anything else.

But, as this month’s full moon in Virgo reminds us, change is inevitable, and the reality bomb seems like it’s about  to drop on Alexandria.

Nobody stays safe for too long these days, especially when they most surely have some pretty choice digs for the taking.

Deanna Monroe seems to know this all too well, and she has sent Aaron and Eric out, at real risk to their lives, to act as the Fabulously Gay Ambassadors of Alexandria.

Aaron and Eric’s mission:  To scour the surrounding area for potential future citizens, survivors who know how to negotiate the savagery of the world outside the walls, but who still embody the ideals of community and humanity that Alexandria has been able to maintain, at least at a surface level, up to this point.

It is a tall order, and if Aaron and Eric actually do find such a group, they are then charged with the task of approaching the group, selling the group the idea of coming back to the community of Alexandria and “auditioning” for membership, and then transporting the group back to the walled community for taped interview with Deanna and tryouts.

It is a big risk, a big gamble, a bold play made by a woman who, by her own admission, would have been a professional poker player had she not become a congresswoman. It’s a risk big enough to be viewed, perhaps, as a last ditch effort, an act of sheer desperation.

Why else would Deanna Monroe make such a play, to let strangers who are well versed in the ways of the savagery of the world outside, into the heart, and underbelly, of her community, at potential risk, and harm, to her and her people? The risk is huge, so the stakes must be very high, indeed.

I have my guesses, as do many. What do you think is coming?

In the first dealing of seven card stud, it’s two cards down and one card up…we see the initial upcard only, at first, its ranking displayed openly. We can only guess at the cards facing down, and how each player’s hand will unfold as the game progresses.

It’s a test of each player’s skill, and will, as the first bets are placed, and then the bluffing, reading, mind-messing, and maneuvering begins.  Ultimately, the game becomes a “two down, four up, one down,” ending in a “showdown,” where each player makes the best five-card poker hand out of the seven cards he/she has been dealt.

Until the time comes for the final “showdown, when all will be revealed, this game of poker being played between Rick Grimes and Deanna Monroe is a taut back-and-forth between two leaders, and their chosen families, who are, in some ways very different, and in some ways, very much alike…the biggest similarity, of course, is that all of these people, sheltered or savage, are fighting for survival in a brutal, post-apocalyptic world.

In TWD’s Episode 512, director Greg Nicotero and the rest of Kirkman’s Army deal us viewers another expertly crafted, game-changing episode that delivers the thrills, chills, surrealism, and iconic images that have become the norm in Season 5, searing themselves upon our collective psyches, social media, and upon pop-culture in general as now-classic TWD moments.

And eye candy.  There was lots of eye candy served up in this episode. Thank you, Andrew Lincoln and Greg Nicotero.  Me, and my married lady friends, thank you very, very much.

#RickPorn  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Anyhow, regarding Deanna Monroe’s true motives for taking in Rick and the gang, if the many clues, Easter Eggs, and speculations are correct, Kirkman, Gimple, Nicotero, and the rest of Kirkman’s Army are about to get majorly TWD Comic Series on our asses

As I have said before, TWD’s Season 5 is all about bringing it. It’s time to sac up or pack up, people, because Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero have been waiting a long time for this moment to arrive.

Four and a half seasons, to be exact.

They have been candy-assing us for long enough. They. Are. Done. With. That. 

The time for tough love is now, and now is the time for tough love. We must prepare ourselves, my WDO darlings.

Remember the drill we have discussed in previous posts. Plan, and implement, your coping methodology.  Stock the fridge, replenish your personal pharmacopeia, secure your Daryl Partner.  

(For more on Daryl Partners, refer to my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens After?” in the archives.)

Start your own grass-roots Walking Dead support group. Take long walks, outside, and listen to the sounds of the world around you. Hug your children, your partner, your friends, your pets, a lot.  Keep lots of chocolate on hand for when you need a serotonin boost.

Listen to music.  Do your yoga.  Take time for yourself if you need to go have a good cry. You must take good care of yourself and your #TWDFamily around you, because I really feel like we are about to get our asses kicked.

Seriously, people, I am not fucking around here. Kirkman loves nothing more than to slap us up like the little bitches we are, and I think he and his army are about to get jiggy with it…just saying. 

If I’m correct, Kirkman’s Army is about to throw down The Iron Maiden on our asses.

And, maybe I’m wrong.  

Maybe I’m Chicken Fucking Little and the sky isn’t really about to fall on our heads. Anybody who actually reads this tweaker-ass blog knows that I am prone to wild imaginings and am constantly casting out completely wrong theories.

At this point, it’s practically my trademark.

But, as Abraham Ford said, to Tara, one night as they sat against a tree: I’m right, and I’m wrong.  

Sometimes it goes one way, and sometimes it goes the other.

All I’m saying is, if the shit goes down, and the sky does fall on all our heads, and you find yourself shuffling around work, or home, or school, with a haunted, vacant look in your eyes from too little sleep, too many nightmares, and the latest TWD storyline mayhem and can’t-shake-them images (courtesy of Nicotero & Co.) seared into your broken heart and tormented brain, keep telling yourself, darlings, as real as it feels to us TWD fans, and as much as we love our sweet gang, it’s only a show. 

Say it with me. It’s only a show. It isn’t real. It’s only a show.

And, if a beloved character does die, or have some other tragedy befall them on the show, remember that the actors who play them are alive, well, and will remain rich off royalties, guest appearances, and all the fantastic future opportunities that await them.

Playing a major character in a standalone pop culture phenomenon like The Walking Dead pretty much guarantees that any actor who has “suddenly” become available for other projects will be a hot ticket, indeed.

Life will indeed go on, and it really is all good, my TWD obsessed darlings.

I promise. 

Of course, for all my brave talk, I am going to be freaking out just like everyone else if serious shit goes down. But, I will stick to my personal coping methodology.

I will breathe. I will watch Talking Dead and take comfort in Chris Hardwick’s calming manner and funny jokes. I will watch the actors who play the departed, beloved characters laugh and joke and talk about their upcoming projects as they sit on the TD couch.

I will lean on my Daryl Partner, and I will support her when she needs to lean on me. I will attend TWD support group, and I will talk about my feelings, and I will listen as others talk about theirs.  We will laugh, we will cry. We will drink the coffee provided, and we will eat the donuts.  And we will take comfort in our friends and family, in our #TWDFamily.  ❤

And we will keep telling ourselves, It’s only a show. It isn’t real. It’s only a show.

And maybe, maybe one day, we will actually believe it.

_____________________________________________

The Walking Dead’s Episode 512 opens as the gang, along with Aaron and Eric, emerge from their vehicles and approach the gates of AlexandriaAaron supports Eric as he limps gamely on his injured ankle, while Rick, holding Baby Judith, and the others cautiously approach the gate, which slowly, noisily begins to roll open for them.

aaron helps eric

As they approach, Carl looks back at one of the houses which stand outside the gates, and is surprised to see a figure in one of the windows, a girl, looking out at him.

carl looks back girl in the window

Michonne passes, obscuring the window a moment, then when Carl does a double take, once he can see the window again, the figure of the girl is gone.

Carl stays back a moment, looking at the window, before turning and following the others.  The perspective shifts, and we see Carl and the gang walking towards the opening gate from inside the house, looking out through the window.

Carl stays back a moment, looking at the window, before turning and following the others. The perspective shifts, and we see Carl and the gang walking towards the opening gate from inside the house, looking out through the window.

A loud, clattering noise from the side startles the gang, and they whirl in unison, pointing weapons, and we hear the hiss of Daryl’s arrow spearing the offender, a possum who most likely toppled a metal trash can in search of a meal.

The gatekeeper, a  young man, stands watching in silent disbelief as Daryl picks up the possum by the tail, then turns and announces, deadpan, “We brought dinner.”

noise startles gang

brought dinner

Aaron quickly assures the gatekeeper that it’s ok, and bids the gang to come inside. The gang watches as the gates roll closed, and lock behind them.

and they're in

The gatekeeper/guard immediately says, “Before we take this any further, I need you all to turn over your weapons.” At the gang’s looks, he continues, “If you stay, you hand them over.”

Rick steps forward and says, none too friendly, “We don’t know if we wanna stay.”

we don't know if we wanna stay

Man, Papi Grimes is so hot when he plays hardball!

Aaron turns to Nicholas, the gatekeeper, and quietly assures him that it’s ok. Papi Grimes chimes in, informs Nicholas, Aaron, and anybody else in Alexandria who is listening:

“If we wanted to use ’em, we woulda started already. Holding the baby in one arm while he says it just makes Papi Grimes look even more like a badass.

Aaron tells Nicholas to let them talk to Deanna. “Who’s Deanna?” demands Abraham, loudly (and thus, one of Chris Hardwick’s favorite TWD lines was uttered).

Aaron replies that Deanna is the one who can tell them anything they want to know about this place. Aaron turns to Rick, suggests, “Rick? Why don’t you go first?

In response, Rick turns back towards his people, and seeing something beyond the gate’s bars, prompts, “Sasha.” 

sasha takes aim

Sasha turns, sees, takes aim…

right on target

…and with one perfectly aimed shot, splatters an approaching walker’s brains all over the pavement. The walker slumps to the ground, dead for good. (Awesome walker cameo here, played by Shaun Of The Dead’s Nick Frost <3) As the gates roll closed, Rick turns back to Aaron, and Nicholas, who, by their disbelieving stares, have received the unspoken message: Don’t even think about fucking with us.

good thing we're here

As he saunters away, towards his interview with Deanna, Rick says, sarcastically, “It’s a good thing we’re here.”

After the opening credits, we see a shot of Rick, looking around an airy, spacious office with high ceilings and art on the walls. Sunlight pours through the tall windows, which are framed with fine white curtains.

There are many bookshelves in the office, filled with books, and the mantlepiece holds candles, knicknacks, pictures, and other items of interest. There is even a flat screen tv mounted to the wall.

It looks warm, and inviting, and very well used, like an actual, working office of some esteemed, titled individual from days past.

rick in deanna's office 1

As Rick takes this in, a woman comes quietly into the office behind him, regards him for the briefest of seconds before grinning and introducing herself.

hello im deanna monroe

Hello. I’m Deanna Monroe.”

Rick turns to face Deanna.

Rick turns to face Deanna. “Rick Grimes,” he offers, before turning away again, looking once more at the window, the books, the room. I found this interesting, how he chose to play it like this, to turn away , instead to continuing to face, assess Deanna. I guessed maybe he was trying to make himself appear casually indifferent, harder to read, for Deanna Monroe.

Deanna proves herself a worthy match to this tactic by asking Rick, in the next breath, “You mind if I film this?” This gets Rick’s attention, and he quickly turns back to face her.

“What?”

Deanna repeats the question, a little more slowly and with a little more emphasis.

Deanna repeats the question, a little more slowly and with a little more emphasis. “Do you mind if I film our talk?”

Rick, who has recovered himself quickly, says, indifferently, “Go ahead.” He turns back to the window as Deanna walks over to turn on the camera.  Rick peers out the window, at the tall walls and the white steeple of a church. “Why film this?” he asks.

“We’re all about transparency here,” Deanna replies easily. She motions with her head, invites Rick to sit down, “Please.”

The next shot is aimed at the vantage point of the chair, which Rick has not yet sat down in.  We see his legs, his worn black pants, and we hear Deanna’s voice, a trifle tinny…we know that we are seeing through the lens of her camera, and hearing her voice through the recording microphone.  After a moment’s hesitation, Rick sits down, a trifle awkwardly, into the soft living-room style chair.

I guess it has been a long time since Rick has actually gotten to sit in an actual chair...maybe the last time was in

I guess it has been a long time since Rick has actually gotten to sit in an actual chair…maybe the last time was in “Claimed,” before the Downstairs Thug Boys found the house and Rick had to escape them, undetected, and intercept Michonne and Carl before they walked into danger? Can’t remember an actual house he was in since that time...always has been the ground or a floor these days.

“How long have you been out there?” Deanna begins the interview. “Since the beginning,” Rick replies.

“How did you all find each other?” Deanna continues. “Did you all know each other be-…” Rick cuts her off, “We didn’t know each other before.” His voice has a touch of annoyance, as does his manner, as he eases himself slowly, hesitantly, into the chair.

Rather than relaxing into the chair, Rick sits on the edge of it, taking a moment more to look off to the side, at something in the room...

Rather than relaxing into the chair, Rick sits perched on the edge of it, taking a moment more to look off to the side, at something in the room…

...before turning to face Deanna Monroe.

…before turning to face Deanna Monroe.

At this point in the watching, I wondered two things…I wondered, first, if this scene was crafted by Nicotero to be reminiscent of one of my fave movies of all time, Sex, Lies, and Videotape. 

The way Deanna asks Rick if he minds if she films the interview immediately reminded me of how the James Spader character asked in S, L and V, and the shots through the vantage point of the camera hearken back to some of the most riveting imagery of that incredible film.

If so, bravo, Greg Nicotero. It makes me love you, and TWD, even more. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is one of the great ones, and enough homage cannot be paid to that visionary, sexy, disturbing, timeless film.

Second, I also couldn’t help but wonder if Deanna Monroe, like the rest of us, was already crushing hard on Rick Grimes. I mean, man. Like seriously…literally.  Man! ❤ ❤

Sister's playing it cool on the outside, but I bet she's all like,

Sister’s playing it cool on the outside, but I bet she’s all like, Dayummmm!” on the inside. I mean, come on. Look at him!

Deanna tells Rick that she used to be a “congressperson,” before the turn.Ohio, 15th District,” she tells him, with a small smile and a nod.

Deanna motions to Rick, with her head, her eyebrows lifted. “You?”

Rick replies, “I don’t think it matters anymore.” Deanna is quick to disagree. “Oh, I know it does,” she counters.

Rick ignores the question. “What is this place?” he asks. You can hear the smile behind Deanna’s voice. “It’s the ‘start of sustainability,’ she replies. “That’s what the brochures we found say.”

“This was a planned community,” Deanna continues. “With its own solar grid, cisterns, eco-based sewage filtration…starting in the low $800,000’s.” With this, Deanna laughs, adding, “If there is such a thing! And they sold them all.

Rick does not share her laugh, shifts a little in his chair and looks away, asking, “How did you end up here?” Deanna explains that as she and her family tried to get back to Ohio from D.C., so she could help her district manage the crisis, the Army stopped them on a back road and directed them here. The Army was supposed to come later. Deanna looks at Rick with a small shake of her head.

“They didn’t,” she says, softly.

But, Deanna continues, looking around the room, there were supplies here, and they made the best of it. “You put up the wall?” asks Rick. Deanna replies that there was a huge shopping mall in the process of being built nearby, and her husband, Reg, is a professor of architecture.

“And,” Deanna says, leaning forward, “who he was mattered, quite a bit. Reg, along with their sons, put up the first plates of the wall. After a time, more people arrived, they had help, and from there, they built a community.

Rick sits, taking this all in. He cocks his head at Deanna, asks, incredulously, “You’ve been behind these walls this entire time?” 

Deanna graciously does not answer this question directly, but in not answering it, she answers it. Yes.

Deanna graciously does not answer this question directly, but in not answering it, she answers it: Yes.

As they face each other across the table, Deanna mirrors Rick’s posture by sitting forward on the couch, leaning forward, arms resting on the thighs. She tells Rick that they (Alexandria) need people who have been outside.  She tells him that his group is the first group in a long time that they have even considered bringing inside their walls.

“You should keep your gates closed,” Rick tells Deanna bluntly, quietly.

“Why?” she whispers, mirroring his soft tone.

rick lays it down

Rick takes a moment before answering.

“Because it’s all about survival now,” he replies, in the same soft tone, with a strong hint of truth, and menace that carries through the softly spoken message. “At any cost.”

Rick continues, “People out there are always looking for an angle, looking to play on your weakness,”

Looking directly at Deanna, Rick tells her,“They measure you by what they can take from you.”

By how they can use you, to live.”

Rick cocks his head at Deanna, says,”So, bringing people in, to a place like this, now…”

Deanna interrupts him, asks:

“Are you telling me not to bring your people in?”

Deanna blinks, once, then asks, with raised eyebrows and pursed lips,

Deanna blinks, once, then asks, with raised eyebrows and pursed lips, “Or, are you already looking after this place?”

Rick looks at Deanna with a new respect, or regard.  He says nothing, shifts back and forth in the chair, comes back to stillness.

Rick looks at Deanna with a new respect, or regard. He says nothing, shifts back and forth in the chair, comes back to stillness, watches Deanna.

When we hear Deanna’s voice again, it is through the camera, recording. “Aaron says I can trust you.”

Rick’s reply is immediate. “Aaron doesn’t know me. I’ve killed people… Rick looks down, shaking his head. “I don’t even know how many, by now.”

“But I know why they’re all dead. They’re dead so my family, those people out there, can be alive.

“So I can be alive, for them.”

Sitting across from Rick, matching his posture, looking into his face, Deanna says:

“Sounds like I’d want to be part of your family.”  Amen to that, Mrs. Sister!

Deanna continues, addressing Rick by name, telling him that northern Virginia was effectively evacuated, millions of people, gone. For a long time, there’s hardly been anyone here, living or dead, but still, “We’ve lost people,” Deanna says, simply.

She looks down, then at her hands. “And, uh, I’ve done things.”

Rick looks into her face, as they sit across from one another. “What have you done?” he asks her.

Deanna tells Rick that she exiled three people, who “didn’t work out…and we both know that’s as good as killing them.”

(Not so fast, there, Deanna Monroe…I have a sneaking feeling that at least one, if not all, of your exiles have managed to survive, and are planning a return visit, soon, if they haven’t called upon the hallowed steel gates of Alexandria already…and if that isn’t the reason for your sending Aaron and Eric out to scour the surrounding countryside for hardy and seasoned warriors who have managed, thus far, to survive the savagery of the outside world…you may need some muscle, some soldiers for hire, to give yourself and your community a fighting chance at surviving the war that may be coming for you, sooner than later.)

At this, Rick stands, walks over to the window, hands on hips, looking out. “What do you want from us?” he asks.

Deanna stands, walks over to the window, faces Rick.

“These families,” she begins, peering out the window, then facing Rick,“these families should be able to raise their children in a safe environment. Your son, your daughter, should have a place to grow up.”

Deanna takes a step toward Rick. “What do I want? I want you to help us survive. I know you can help us do that.”

“How?” asks Rick, hoarsely. “I am exceptionally good at reading people,” replies Deanna. “If I didn’t win re-election, I was going to become a professional poker player.”

Rick looks away, laughs. “I’m not kidding,” Deanna tells him, in a loud whisper.

Deanna looks down at her watch. “Rick,” she says, “it’s 3:37pm. You’re skeptical...you have a right to be. But it’s time to decide…if you’re the one doing the deciding.

(Man, she’s good! She’s def not kidding around about being a master poker player.  I am thinking, in the brains division, Deanna Monroe would be a major contender in Top Mama Tapout.)

With this, Deanna Monroe steps back, interlaces her fingers behind her back, and waits. Rick says nothing, looks down and sets his watch to the correct time.

We, and Deanna Monroe, can tell how long he's been wanting to find out the correct time, to set his watch to it.

We, and Deanna Monroe, can tell how long he’s been wanting to find out the correct time, to set his watch to it.

Rick looks down at his watch.

Rick looks down at his watch. “I was a sheriff,” he says, simply.

Yeah,” Deanna agrees, softly. “I knew it was something like that.”

In the next sequence, it’s outside, and Deanna is explaining the procedure of turning over the weapons to Rick’s group.

“They’re still your guns,” she tells the group, as they begin to load their weapons onto the waiting cart.

Deanna tells them they can check out their guns at any time when they go outside the walls...

Deanna tells them they can check out their guns at any time when they go outside the walls…

...but while they are within Alexandria's walls, their guns will be

…but while they are within Alexandria’s walls, their guns will be “stored for safety.” The gang exchanges looks, unsure about this. Abraham looks to Rick, who gives a small nod, but who looks ill at ease with the whole setup as well.

The following sequence is hilarious, played perfectly by Melissa McBride…

carol sequence 2

Carol steps forward to the cart, and giving a little smile to the awaiting cart girl, she begins to unload her arsenal onto the weapons cart. It is truly comical to see this tiny woman try to shrug off the huge assault rifle she has strapped across her.

carol sequence 3

With some difficulty, and a shoulder that is probably still tender, Carol finally manages to lift the gun off and place it on the cart.

carol sequence 4

Carol’s whole manner during this is like, “Who, little ol’ me, hefting around this big gun? Why, I barely know how to use it…whoops, easy, stay, big fella…there, that oughta do it. There you go…”

As the cart girl backs away, pulling her fully loaded cart with her, she jokes, “Shoulda brought another bin.”

New Carol gives a big grin at the girl as she wheels their guns away, outwardly in response to the joke, but inwardly, is like,

New Carol gives a big grin at the girl as she wheels their guns away, outwardly in response to the joke, but inwardly, is like, Yeah, you shoulda.”

Once the girl is gone, the smile is too, and Rick steps forward, his face reflecting what they all seem to be feeling right about now…

Rick and his gang aren't feeling it, having their guns taken away.

Rick and his gang aren’t feeling it, having their guns taken away.

Aaron takes Rick to see their new digs, which are pretty damn impressive.

Rick and Carl look at the two huge houses being offered to their group.

Rick and Carl look at the two huge houses being offered to their group. “Both of them?” marvels Rick. “At your disposal,” Aaron replies grandly.

Aaron, who is sporting a pretty damn impressive bruise on the lower corner of his mouth and chin, courtesy of Rick Smash!, tells them that Deanna asked the other residents of the community to hang back and give Rick and his gang some space to get used to their new digs and settle in.

“If you need anything, call me,” Aaron tells them.  At their confused looks, Aaron looks down and laughs at himself, explains awkwardly that of course he doesn’t have a phone… “I’m four houses down,” he tells Rick and Carl, pointing the way towards his residence.

Rick and Carl approach the door to one of the houses, and cautiously step in, in the “clearing” manner they have become so accustomed to.  The house has no walkers, of course, but it does have plenty of space, and furniture, some decorations on the walls, empty picture frames stacked up. There are even throw pillows on the couch.

Carl goes to the kitchen, stands in front of the sink a moment before turning it on…

Running water. Carl looks over at his dad in disbelief.

Running water. Carl looks over at his dad in disbelief.

And speaking of running water, and things that are pretty damn impressive…

As the thick layers of Rick Grime wash down the shower drain, we see our man is rocking some serious 7-11 feet.

As the thick layers of Rick Grime wash down the shower drain, we see our man is rocking some serious 7-11 feet.

Once the shot pans up from the Jiffy toenails, the view begins to get better and better....

Once the shot pans up from the Jiffy toenails, the view begins to get better and better….

Oh, yeah, that's the stuff.

Oh, yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Once the shower part of the program is done, we get to Act IIThe Shave Sequence.

shave 1

Rick wipes away the steam from the mirror and takes in the grizzled state of his appearance.

shave 2

It’s probably the first time he has really looked at himself in a mirror in a long, long time.

shave 3

shave 4

#RIPRicksBeard

shave 5

Many of the TWD crew grew out, then shaved, their beards in an act of shaving solidarity with Andrew Lincoln/Rick Grimes. Totes adorbs!

shave 6

Mmmmm hmmmm…

shave 7

shave 8

Sweet Baby Jesus, that is a beautiful man. ❤

By this time in the watching, I, and many of my married lady friends, went a little “Mental AWOL” on our marriage vows.  But, the #RickPorn was just beginning, because then this happens…

Rick is finishing up his fine, fine shave when there is an unexpected knock on the door...

Rick is finishing up his fine, fine shave when there is an unexpected knock on the door…

Watching this, my WD buddy and I were both getting all territorial, like,

Watching this, my WD buddy and I were both getting all territorial, like, “Ok, who is this bitch?”

jesse 2

Can’t hate a sister for being at the right place at the right time, I suppose. The look on her face, here, is pretty awesome. I mean, can you blame her?

jesse 3

Ummm, ok, you are definitely not the gentleman I was expecting, and p.s. thank you, God!

jesse 4

Jessie manages to keep her composure, explains that she works in the pantry, and Deanna sent her to deliver some supplies to Rick and his gang. Rick thanks her (in more ways than one, unbeknownst to him), and she has the quick wits to offer her services as a hair stylist to him. Jessie isn’t stupid, I’ll give her that.

As Jessie cuts Rick's hair, she tells him that she has two sons, the eldest, Rowan, being about his son's age.  She offers for the boys to hang soon, if that's ok with Rick, and...?

As Jessie cuts Rick’s hair, she tells him that she has two sons, the eldest, Rowan, being about his son’s age. She offers for the boys to hang soon, if that’s ok with Rick, and…?

jessie cuts ricks hair 2

Rick answers her unspoken question, that it’s just him. (Nice fishing, Jessie, you thirsty B.) Rick quickly tells her that that sounds great, getting the boys together, and then Jessie starts in with a whole lot of hair stroking, gratuitous touching, telling Rick that she’s sorry (about his loss, but no, she’s really not).

jessie cuts ricks hair 3

Rick tells Jessie that he thought things like electricity, running water, haircuts, were things that he would never see again. Jessie jokes that come on, haircuts were never going away. (Come on, unhappily married ladies in the post-apocalypse have to have some angle for being able to paw on hot widowers!)

jessie cuts ricks hair 4

Jessie lays on some more gratuitous touching, placing her hands on Rick’s back (causing him to wince, slightly) and telling him it’s ok if he’s not really feeling alright with all this, yet. At this point, me and my WD buddy were all like,Back off, bitch! That’s Michonne’s man!

new rick

Jessie hands Rick a hand mirror to inspect the finished product. Andrew Lincoln plays this entire episode so beautifully…so much said without words, just facial expression, as Rick processes so much feeling and information, on so many levels, in Episode 512.

Meanwhile, in Deanna’s office…

Daryl is leaned over, fiddling with some polished stones, or dice, or something on Deanna's desk.  We hear Deanna's voice, through the recorder,

Daryl is leaned over, fiddling with some polished stones, or dice, or something on Deanna’s desk. We hear Deanna’s voice, through the recorder, You’re welcome to sit, Daryl. I won’t bite.

daryl in deanna's office 2

Daryl, still holding the dead possum by the tail, demurs, Yeah, I’m alright.” He paces, looking around, throwing attitude. It’s like he’s in the principal’s office. Deanna asks,Daryl? Do you want to be here? Daryl stops a moment, regards her. “Boy and the baby. They deserve a roof…I guess.” Daryl bounces a bit on his toes as he turns and continues pacing, looking around.

Later, Daryl continues his acting out against Alexandria: Vanilla Dream by cleaning his possum right on the porch of one of their assigned houses, tossing the guts right onto the treated wood slats.

daryl cleans possum in porch

Rick, holding Baby Judith, and Carl are wandering around the porch. Carol comes out and joins them. Nobody gives Daryl and the possum a second glance…that’s not what’s unnerving them about their current surroundings. It’s probably the closest thing to normal for them, now.  Carl wants to go check out the house next door, and Rick tells him it’s ok, just make sure to keep it quick

Carl sets off, and Rick and Carol exchange a look.

It is the first, spontaneous convening of what I have come to think of as Episode 512's

It is the first, spontaneous convening of what I have come to think of as Episode 512’s “Porch Council” where Rick, Daryl, and Carol come together and share doubts, hunches, information, and make plans regarding Alexandria.

The look Rick and Carol exchange says it all. They both feel it…something’s weird. There’s something going on that isn’t being said, for all the comforts and hospitality being offered by Deanna Monroe and her community.

Carol leaves the porch and follows Carl to the house next door.  As Carl looks around the downstairs, he marvels, “These are like mansions.” Carol goes over to a window, peers out the horizontal blinds.

“And they’re just giving them away,” Carol muses, doubtfully.

After a moment, Carol turns to go. She asks Carl if he’s coming, and he tells her he will catch up with her in a little bit.  Carol goes outside, and she meets up with Rick, and Daryl,  who are walking in the narrow yard space between the two houses.

Porch Council reconvenes…

Carol weighs in first,

Carol weighs in first, “They’re right next to each other, but…” Rick nods in agreement. “They took our weapons, now they’re splitting us up.” He looks at Daryl, who agrees, “Yup.” “Yeah,” echoes Rick. They stand in silence a moment, digesting all this information.

As Carol grins benignly at a curious passerby, Rick and Daryl try to look casual...just a neighborly yard chat, here.  Looking away, Rick informs them that they will all be sleeping in the same house tonight.

As Carol grins benignly at a curious passerby, Rick and Daryl try to look casual…just a neighborly yard chat, here. Looking away, Rick says that they will all be sleeping in the same house, tonight.

Meanwhile, in the other house, Carl is poking around downstairs when he hears a creaking noise, above.  He makes his way cautiously up the stairs, then draws his knife as he approaches a closed door. Slowly, knife drawn, Carl reaches out and opens the door…

carl at the door, knife

Carl opens the door to an empty, bright, vaulted attic room that looks as if it has been used as a hangout room. There are pads and pens, markers, makeshift pillow setups for sitting on the floor, against the wall. It looks like a teenager’s secret hangout space.

Carl picks up a comic and starts reading.

Carl picks up a comic,Wolf Fight,”and starts reading.

Later, the gang is getting ready to bed down for the night.  They are all camping out downstairs, in the living room, and it becomes apparent that some in this gang are really trying to figure out what to do with themselves in all this quiet..

As Carol sketches in a notepad, Maggie takes a deep whiff of the clean linens...she has probably really missed that smell, and the feel of being clean and comfortable.

As Carol sketches in a notepad, Maggie takes a deep whiff of the clean linens…she has probably really missed that smell, and the feel of being clean and comfortable.

Meanwhile, Eugene seems to be feeling Rosita out, while checking her out, as he sets his bed next to hers.  She does not acknowledge his existence, again. Dream on, Eugene!

Meanwhile, Eugene seems to be feeling Rosita out, while checking her out, again, as he sets his bed next to hers. And, again, Rosita does not acknowledge his existence. Dream on, Dream Weaver! 

Rick sets Baby Judith down in her crib, and Daryl is being so sweet, watching over the baby. Carl reads his comic book.

Rick sets Baby Judith down in her crib, and Daryl is being so sweet, watching over the baby. Carl reads his comic book.

Sasha sits, looking out the window, not talking, while Abraham sits in the corner, sneaking mournful looks over Rosita's way. Poor guy.

Sasha sits, looking out the window, not talking, while Abraham sits in the corner, sneaking mournful looks over Rosita’s way. Poor wounded soldiers.

Michonne, however, has no problem knowing what to do with herself.  Coming into the room, smiling, girly, so fresh and so clean-clean, she laughs and asks the others how long she was in there. Rick guesses, (probably after checking his watch), “Twenty minutes.”

I love seeing this side of Michonne, all laughing and girly and cute.

I love seeing this side of Michonne, all laughing and girly and cute.

I love this pic.

I love this pic…she’s all like, “I could NOT stop brushing.” And then,  as she focuses on Rick, she sees something’s different about him…

Look at how ghostly this pic came out...I got one like this before, of Michonne in the Terry and Mike sequence...it's like the Ghost of Hot Girly Michonne makes her appearance in these posts...bring it, Ghost of Hot Girly Michonne!  <3

Look at how ghostly this pic came out…the moment she sees the clean shave.  (Damn, Richonne…I was rooting for you, hard.)  I got a crazy pic like this before, of Michonne in the Terry and Mike sequence…it’s like the Ghost of Hot Girly Michonne makes her appearance in these posts…bring it, Ghost of Hot Girly Michonne! Bring it, and I will keep taking pics. 

Awwww...look at that girl! She's checking it all out, and she says,

Awwww…look at that girl! She’s checking it all out, and she says, “I’ve never…I’ve never seen your face…like that, before,” in a way that is way more adorable than anything, ever.

In reply, Rick, rubbing his face, mumbles something about his thinking the exact same thing, before, and after, the epic shave, as he starts to walk past her. He was looking all shaven and beautiful, but I kind of didn’t like the way he was acting to Michonne in the moment, so I didn’t take a picture of it.

I swear, if Rick hooks up with that dumb Jessie girl and hurts Michonne’s feelings, I am going to be pissed. It would be tragically disappointing, and it may negatively affect my crush on him, if even for just a little while.

It would suck, like when one of your favorite guy friends, or favorite guys, in general, hooks up with some dumb girl you can’t stand.  Ugh, please, just say no to that shit, Rick Grimes. The haircut wasn’t that great. Michonne could do a way better job, and she’d probably be really good at shaving, too.

I don’t hate Jessie, and I would never begrudge a young woman (raising two sons in the post-apocalypse with an asshole, possibly abusive husband) her hot, unexpected crush and a mild flirtation with her son’s friend’s dad…but…

Bitch needs to recognize that Richonne don’t got any part of “Jessie” in it.

(Now, because this post is super duper late as fuck, I watched Episode 513 last night, as did pretty much all of you, and I now know that Rick Smash! has it bad for Jessie, giving her the hungry eyes at Deanna’s party, and fantasizing about killing her pud husband and shit. I knew it was in the works the moment that chick came to the door, so there, I know.  We all know. There is no Richonne, at least in the romantic sense. I am resigned. Annoyed as hell, but resigned. I’ll get over it. Meh.)

Anyhow, Rick leans in, and Michonne quietly says to him that she understands why they are playing it safe, but…she has a good feeling about this place.

(Yeah, man, I would too, you know?  It’s vanilla postapocalyptic suburbia, a glass castle, but it’s got a wall, and houses, and it’s stocked as anything. It’s like, hey, the whole setup is rife with bullshit, but I get to brush my teeth here, and take a shower, and eat food that isn’t possum and acorns, and sleep more than two hours at a time, and sit on the couch and read comic books. I have a really, really great feeling about this place...I fucking love this place!)

Rick glances around, says,

Rick glances around, before looking back at her, says, “Well, I hope you’re right.” I wonder if he thinks they are using parabolic mikes and listening to themI bet he does.

Michonne's face gets even more serious.

Michonne’s face gets even more serious. “Yeah, me too,” she says, thinking.

Man, there’s always a catch in this cruel, cockblocking zombie apocalypse. It’s exhausting, it truly is.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. The gang startles a bit, and Rick goes to the door, opens it, and it is Deanna Monroe, “checking in” on how everyone is doing. Deanna’s face, upon seeing Rick’s clean shaven one, registers her shock.

Wow. I didn’t know what was under there!”

Rick Grimes is clearly uncomfortable with all this praise and comment about his beautiful face.

Rick Grimes is clearly uncomfortable with all this praise and commentary about his facial superiority.

Deanna starts to apologize for interrupting, and then she sees the whole gang, together, camping in the living room. Oh, my,” she says, with a smile in her voice.

Deanna looks at Rick, smiling.

Deanna looks at Rick, smiling. “Staying together,” she says, wonderingly. “Smart.”

“Nobody said we couldn’t,” Rick replies.

“You said you were family, says Deanna to Rick. “That’s what you said.”

Deanna looks around at the gang, remarks,

Deanna looks around at the gang, remarks, “It’s absolutely amazing to me how people with completely different backgrounds and nothing in common can become that…”

“… don’t you think?”

Rick changes the subject, mentions to Deanna that he heard she gave everyone jobs. She agrees, saying that’s “part of this place,” then laughs, joking that it looks like “the communists won after all.”

Rick gives a small, polite laugh at this, then says:

“You didn’t give me one.”

“I have,” says Deanna, smiling up at Rick. “I just haven’t told you yet.”

“Same with Michonne,” Deanna adds.

Deanna then says she's

Deanna then says she’s “closing in on something for Sasha.”

“And, I’m just trying to figure Mr. Dixon out, but I will. Daryl looks away at this, crouched at the window, knife out and at the ready. He’s not settling down into this suburban limbo without a fight.

Deanna turns for one last look at Rick. “You look good,” she says, before walking out the door.

That night, as the others lay sleeping across the living room floor, Rick lay awake with his eyes open.  He gets up, covers Carl’s sleeping form, and makes his way to the kitchen.  He silently opens the knife drawer and pulls out a large chopping knife. He looks at the knife a moment, tests the blade, before bringing it close to his side.  It seems the knife will be beside him, in easy reach, when he goes to lie back down in the living room.

In the next scene, we see Michonne in the frame of Deanna’s recording camera.  She has gone to the bookshelf and selected a volume, then seats herself in the interview chair.

“If this is how you’re saying it is, then this is what we’ve wanted,” says Michonne. You can see her katana leaned up against the chair, and she holds the book she has selected, probably to take for future reading. Michonne seems like she is a well-read, well-versed individual, on many subjects.

“We’re ready for this,” asserts Michonne. We hear Deanna’s voice through the camera’s mic, All of you?” Michonne looks away a moment, shifts in the chair, then composes herself back to stillness, facing the camera.

“All of us,” she asserts.

gang takes a neighborhood walk

Meanwhile, the gang sets off to explore their new neighborhood.

rick says let's explore to daryl

Rick prompts Daryl, “They said explore…let’s explore.” Daryl takes a pass. He’ll stay put.

rick sez he and lori

Rick looks over the upscale neighborhood, where one Alexandria resident is seen walking a dog. Rick tells Daryl,”Lori and me…we used to drive through neighborhoods like this, thinking, ‘One day…'”

daryl sez well here we are

Well, here we are,” says Daryl, succinct as ever.

As soon as he steps out into the road, Rick starts to get freaked when he doesn't see his children around, anywhere.

As soon as he steps out into the road, Rick starts to get freaked when he doesn’t see his children around, anywhere.

Rick be running and bugging.

Rick be running and bugging, looking for his kids.

Mid wack-attack, Rick crashes some big weird metal thing in a driveway.

Mid wack-attack, Rick crashes some big weird metal thing in a driveway.

Jessie runs up, concerned, asks Rick if he's ok...he asks her if she's seen Carl and Judith, as he can't find them.

Jessie runs up, concerned, asks Rick if he’s ok…he asks her if she’s seen Carl and Judith, as he can’t find them.

Jessie has an idea where they might be, and she brings Rick to an elder couple's home, where Carl and Judith are, sure enough, getting exclaimed over by the couple (who had five children, and twelve grandchildren, before...ugh, awful to think about that scope of loss).

Jessie has an idea where they might be, and she brings Rick to an elder couple’s home, where Carl and Judith are, sure enough, getting exclaimed over by the couple (who had five children, and twelve grandchildren, before...ugh, awful to think about that scope of loss).

Jessie tells Rick that it’s been awhile since there’s been a baby in these parts, and that Judith is probably going to have to deal with some pinched cheeks. Rick is majorly rattled, and Jessie assures him that it’s ok, she gets it.

Look, I’m sorry I broke…whatever that was I broke, Rick apologizes. Jessie tells Rick it was an an owl she and the boys were working on…she tells him that she had been having trouble getting the eyes right, and at Rick’s blank, “Oh, right, the eyes, she playfully teases him for not getting a good look at it.

Rick sheepishly admits,

Rick sheepishly admits, “I was in the middle of losing my mind.” (Ok, you two, I get it. You like each other. I am completely annoyed, but I get it.)

Before he turns to go, Jessie asks Rick if Carl can come over to their house, now, as Rowan really wants to meet him, to hang.  Rick agrees, and so Carl goes over to Rowan’s house.

As Rowan brings Carl up to his room, he tells him that they are there almost every day after school, and invites Carl to come over, any time.  Carl marvels that they have school, and Rowan explains to him that it’s just in a garage, and the little kids go in the mornings, while older kids go in the afternoons.

“Probably you too, right?” Rowan asks Carl.  “Probably,” Carl agrees.

In Rowan's room, two teens, a boy and a girl, are hanging out. Rowan introduces Carl to

In Rowan’s room, two teens, a boy and a girl, are hanging out. Rowan introduces Carl to “Mikey” and “Enid.”

While Mikey gets up to greet Carl, Enid doesn't look up from what she's reading.

While Mikey gets up to greet Carl, Enid doesn’t look up from what she’s reading. “Hi,” she says, not looking at Carl.

Rowan goes over and puts a hand on Enid's shoulder. Must be her self-appointed boyfriend...she does have the spot on his bed. As Carl shyly sneaks a look over at Enid, Rowan explains that Enid's from the

Rowan goes over and puts a hand on Enid’s shoulder. Must be her self-appointed boyfriend…she does have the prime spot on Rowan’s bed. As Carl shyly sneaks a look over at Enid, Rowan explains that Enid’s from the “outside” too, that she came to Alexandria just a couple of months ago.

Carl pulls out the “Wolf Fight” comic from his pocket, asks Mikey and Rowan if it is theirs.

Rowan apologizes, says he didn’t know “they” got that house, and Mikey admits that they used to hang up in the attic room and listen to music.  The comic is actually Enid’s, and she quickly snatches it from Carl’s hand and puts it next to her on the bed, then continues reading. Carl watches her a moment, fascinated, take this all in, then looks away.

Rowan, being a good host, offers different activities they can do...they can play video games, or Mikey's house has a pool table (and a strict dad, who luckily is at work at the moment).

Rowan, being a good host, offers different activities they can do…they can play video games, or Mikey’s house has a pool table (and a strict dad, but Mikey is quick to say that his dad’s at work at the moment). They turn to Carl, but he is having trouble processing all this…normalcy.

Poor Carl's like,

Poor Carl’s like, “Um…”

Enid looks up at Carl, seemingly identifying with his shellshock, as she has experienced the horrors of the world outside the walls, herself.  She must know how weird it feels to be planted into this surreal suburban reality after experiencing what she and Carl have, outside.

Enid looks up at Carl, seemingly identifying with his shellshock, as she has experienced the horrors of the world outside the walls, herself. She must know how weird it feels to be planted into this surreal suburban reality after experiencing what she and Carl have, outside.