The show picks up with posturing – there is the request for the group to give up their guns and their refusal to do so. As if planned by the god of angry things, a walker approaches in the distance and Sasha, as requested by Rick, blows the walker’s head off, clearing the closed gate. Case closed, the survivors hold on to their guns, for now. Aaron supports that decision.
Rick then meets Deanna, once a congressperson from Ohio. She cuts to the chase in her taped interview with Rick. Taped how? They are in a planned community with its own solar grid. They have power and a fair number of resources – lucky for them since the Army never came back for them. Her husband was an architect and helped the citizens put the plates up that protect the compound, taking the plates from a construction site nearby. Rick warns her of the dangers outside the gates and the “survival at any costs” angle people out there play. He tells her she shouldn’t let anyone in, if she wants to stay safe. Deanna knows that Rick and his crew can help them all survive. They are the first group the Alexandrians have trusted and invited into the compound. She is not upset by what he tells her – that he had to do terrible things to help his family survive, a family it sounds like she’d like to be a part of, in her words. She tells him that she had to do things as well, like exiling three men who didn’t work out – rendering what was effectively a death sentence.
She trusts Rick. She is good at reading people and would have become a poker player if she hadn’t won re-election, she tells him. Somehow, she manages to miss Rick’s contempt for just about all living people except his survivor family. She seems to mistake it for fear. Just as Rick was shocked that she is able to film their talk, he is stunned when she gives him the time, telling him that it’s time for him to make a decision about what he wants to do – if he’s the person making the decisions. (P.S. He sets his watch). He tells her about his past, as a sheriff. She figured as much. This could be an interesting friendship – if it ever gets that far. After their talk, the survivors let their guards down and give up their weapons. They are told the weapons still belong to them, and they can check them out when they’re on the wall, but inside they’re stored for safety reasons. The woman collecting the guns jokes she should have brought a bigger cart.
Rick can’t believe he is being given the choice of two large homes. He and Carl carefully explore the first of the two. In some ways, while it is certainly grander, it reminds me of their Atlanta home. This one has picture frames sitting on a shelf by the door – reminding me of the empty spaces on the wall in their Atlanta home, where the frames use to be. Rick showers and shaves as if he thinks he’s dreaming every movement. SHRITLESS Rick (thank you writers) answers a knock at the door. He’s handed a bin of food and necessities from “Jessie.” She was once a stylist and offers to give him a haircut. Rick angrily tells her that she doesn’t even know him (seriously dude, let it go). She’s ok. She can handle herself. Electricity, Showers. Haircuts. He never thought he would see them again.
Daryl’s taped interview is different. He is not as willing to be questioned. He’s there because the “boy and the baby” deserve a home, and doesn’t have much else to say. Later we see him on his $800,000+ porch, skinning possum. So very true to form, I love it. Daryl, Rick, and Carol meet up and talk about how they’ve been split up into different houses. Is it a “divide and conquer” move? Rick thinks they should all sleep in the same house. As they are talking, Carl is inside with his knife drawn, exploring the house when he finds a bonus room. Luckily no one was on the other side of the door because he would have put a gaping hole in them. Surely the compound has a pharmacy and anti-anxiety meds.
Michonne seems to be the only person completely at ease. She even smiles at Rick’s lack of facial hair realizing she’s never seen his bare face. Later that night, Deanna is amused, not angry nor offended, that they are all in the same house. She loves Rick’s new look and is amazed that people with such completely different backgrounds could become a family. Deanna is only there to let them know that she’s putting together work assignments for them. Later, as all are sleeping, we see Rick’s shadowy figure in the night. He goes to the kitchen to grab a knife… just in case. His scars run deep. Not so deep that the next morning, as the group is sent out to explore the compound, that it stops him from sharing with Daryl that he and Lori use to drive through neighborhoods like Alexandria’s. He panics when he realizes that Carl and Judith are missing, only to find out they’re sitting with a couple who once had five children and twelve grandchildren. They’re excited by seeing a baby. Note that Rick’s panic comes after Michonne has told Deanna, in her interview, that they are all ready to be a part of the community. Carl meets the other teens, Rob (Jessie’s son), Mikey (playing video games), and Enid (another version of Carl, sitting silently on the bed). It’s a far cry from the time Carl found video games and a tv, but had no electricity. They talk about hanging out at abandoned houses to listen to music and about playing pool at Mikey’s house while his strict dad is at work. Carl looks as if he has fallen into the rabbit hole. He later tells Deanna about having to “kill” his mother and tells Rick he doesn’t ever want to be weak like the Alexandrians.
Michonne is now awake in the middle of the night, with Rick. Both seem to have some anxiety as Michonne waits for her assignment from Deanna. Rick decides to take a walk when he’s welcomed by Jessie’s husband. Rick doesn’t bother to get to know him and keeps going. Now I feel as shell shocked as Carl. It’s what fans have wanted for the survivor family, but it only makes you wonder how long they’ll get to be happy.
It’s Carol’s turn to tell her story. She says she misses husband Ed, that “stupid, wonderful man” and cooking and cleaning for her family. She describes herself as the den mother of the group with no special skills, asking if there is a junior league. She neglects to let Deanna know how she took down an entire walled community and killed about half of the cannibalistic Terminans on her own. Carol is clearly trying to snowball Deanna and is treating it like the high stakes job interview it is. Later, we see her in a sweater set, on her way to the senior center. Thank goodness Deanna won re-election. Carl isn’t the only one afraid of becoming weak. Sampson had his hair, Daryl has the stink of his clothes, and his unwashed body. While he tells Carol she looks ridiculous, she tells him to clean up, they have to keep up appearances and get to know the neighbors.
In Glenn’s interview he says that they have to make it work because they were almost “out there” too long. Rick patrols the wall from the outside, where, coincidentally, the support posts are. That can’t be good. Carl is surprised by Enid approaching. She pegs her way up the wall and goes over it. Glenn, Tara, and Noah meet Aidan (Deanna’s son) and Nicholas – the obnoxious guard at the gate when they first arrived. Aidan, who is former ROTC., tells the group that he heard they have experience with supply runs. Aidan and Nicholas arm the survivors and take them on a dry run.
Carl follows Enid into the woods, but she ditches him. Rick is outside the gates as well. He’s gone back to the place where he left his emergency weapon, and finds it gone. He hears walkers approaching and pulls his weapons, first a gun and then a knife. Just then, Carl walks up and pulls his knife, too. Together they take down a herd of five, one of which surprised Rick by grabbing his leg after crawling from under a mound of trash. Rick allows Carl to have the honor of taking out the last walker, as Carl requested. They are either heroic or dead scary in the way they seem to relish the opportunity for hand-to-hand combat.
Adrian explains the flair guns – used as a call for help, which explains Aaron’s panic in the last episode. Alexandria lost four people last month, which is why the survivors were recruited. Adrian, in his not-ready-to-be-Rick-voice, tells everyone he knows he’s a hard ass and a douche but someone has to call the shots. He tells them they have to do whatever he says. I think Carl could take this guy. Adrian brags about hanging one of the “roamers” who killed their people, but it’s gone when they get to the torture site. They whistle for it when Glenn warns them to stop. The roamer comes out and is hard to contain as its skin peels away when pulled and muscle tissue ripping. Tara and Glenn take it down, which infuriates Aidan. Back at the camp, he tells them they’re not ready since they did not listen. He gets in Glenn’s face and is even more enraged when he’s told no one is impressed and that listening to him might cause them to all end up like his last crew. Noah tries to stop Adrian, but he throws a punch, which causes Glenn to knock him on his butt. Nicholas gets the same treatment and Daryl, still unshaven and unwashed, jumps in and keeps them down. A bloodied Rick and Carl return in time for Rick to pull Daryl away. Aidan cries to his mom that she shouldn’t have let the survivors in. Instead she tells everyone that Rick and his people are a part of the community, as equals.
She wants to speak with her people, when their weapons are turned in. She makes Rick and Michonne the town’s constables. She even thanks Glenn for knocking her son “on his ass.” Carl looks over and finally realizes that Enid is back. He says to her, ‘You don’t like me, do you?.” She coldly eyes him and walks away. He has met his match.
I was just watching #TWD (season 2) on Netflix and thought about how much I’ve missed Rick’s hat and the prominent role it played in reassuring survivors. It doesn’t feel the same on Carl’s head. As the interview with Rick replays with his warning to Deanna, he descends the stairs of his home in his new uniform and it is glorious. He thinks it’s time they all start sleeping in their own homes and Carol utters the same words to Rick, as Carl did. She’s afraid they’ll get weak. He tells her that they won’t get weak. It’s not in them anymore. They’ll make it work. If the Alexandrians can’t make it, they’ll take over. Has Rick become the thing he fears and loathes most? What is Rick’s angle? Is there one?