The group have finally found salvation after a long spout of being on the road, starving and hanging onto one last breath. The community, Alexandria in Virginia, just a few miles along the outskirts of Washington D.C.
Just outside of Alexandria’s gates, Rick and his people slowly walk into the void as Carl spots a young teenage girl, about his age, in a burned up house nearby; only to disappear in a flash. Daryl takes out a jumping possum with his crossbow and saves him for an evening meal.
When they enter the community, a man named Nicholas greets them and closes the gate behind them, leaving the sedan and the RV parked. Aaron tells the group to relieve their firearms. Rick holding Judith immediately states that they may not want to stay as he has not yet ultimately decided. Rick wants to get a feel for the place. Before the gates can fully close Rick looks beyond the barred entrance and whistles to Sasha. She turns around and immediately snipes the head off of a walker as its skull spills to the earth. Based off the comic book, this automatically made me think that Sasha has become the books equivalent version of Andrea. Aaron insists on them speaking to the communities’ leader, Deanna, who can answer all they’re questions. Aaron summons Rick to go first and talk to her alone.
Inside a very well cleaned office replicating the sheer columns of the oval office, we meet Deanna Monroe. Who if you have read the comic book, is the female version of Douglas Monroe. Deanna immediately appears to be very friendly and extremely intelligent, almost knowing too much about Rick and his “family” as she becomes so awe-inspired. She begins filming an interview with the grisly bearded leader and tells him about herself. Deanna was once a politician working in the 15th District over in Ohio until the army directed her towards the community safe haven where she remained and built the high walls from the help of her children and husband. The army that led to her safety never came back as they promised. Deanna asks what Rick did before the apocalypse.
“Does it matter?” Rick questions her.
“Of course it does,” Deanna answers confidently and calmly.
She asks Rick how long he’s been out there and how he knows those people.
“From the beginning,” Rick responds as she says it has been awhile since they let in people like Rick, people who have been outside the walls and experiencing the hell on earth.
She needs Rick to keep her community safe. There are families, several women, children and elders in Alexandria who cannot defend themselves. Rick tells her that she should keep the gates closed. He goes on to explain that survivors on the outside all have different agendas and motives which they use to manipulate others. Rick then goes to admit that he does not know how many people he has killed, but he remembers why. He did it to keep his group safe and alive. In the end, it all comes down to the survival instinct. And Rick’s concern is more on the terms of his inability to live among these civilized people. He’s afraid that him and his group are a danger to Deanna and the community. Deanna, however, disagrees and sees a lot of potential. Instead, she complements on his skepticism. However, she has an ability to read people very well. Even jokingly revealing that if she wasn’t a politician she would have been a world renowned poker player as she regresses from her sitting position to an upward stance in front of Rick’s face, merely an entire head shorter than Rick. When Deanna notices Rick checking his watch she tells him it’s 3:37 pm. Rick tells her he was a Sheriff.
“I knew you were something like that,” she replies.
Deanna and Aaron then have the entire group remove their firearms outside in a courtyard as they place them on a sliding cart. Deanna tells them that they can have them back once they proceed outside the walls. Carol is the last person to remove her assault rifle as she places it on top of a pile of metallic guns that are nearly about to fall over. She smiles as she does it. Deanna encourages them to explore the community and that they will all be given jobs at some point.
Aaron shows Rick and Carl they’re new homes which are about the size of half mansions. Aaron tells Rick that if he needs anything, he’s only four houses down; there’s no phones. However, Alexandria has all the other essentials of it being a working pre-apocalyptic existence, a place that Rick and Lori always planned on finding.
Rick and Carl enter one of the furnished dwellings and are nearly numb by its beautiful presence. Rick decides to finally take a warm shower. Carl explores the upstairs. Carl’s own preemptive instinct is to attack as he hears a screeching from one of the doors while raising a sharp dagger to his shoulder. The door opens up to a children’s attic, with painted water color images and bright patterns. Carl picks up a comic book. That was a close one. Lucky for their sake, it wasn’t a chamber of decaying corpses. Which in this world is more predictable than just having a normal room.
Rick sheds off the dirt and grime of the wilderness under the high pressured water from the shower head. He gets out and looks intensely at his reflection. After four seasons, Rick finally shaves his beard off. Rick walks out of the bathroom shirtless, with wet long hair and a clean shaven face as an attractive young woman named Jessie (played by Alexandria Breckenridge, known for American Horror Story) greets him at the door. Jessie comes bearing gifts and even offers to cut his hair after flirting with him about some shaving cream he forgot to wipe off his face. The approachable Jessie tells him she is a stylist among twelve other things. Rick reassures her that she doesn’t know him. “I can take care of myself,” she replies.
During his haircut, Jessie reveals to Rick that she has two sons around Carl’s age who he can hang out with and a husband named Pete. We really don’t care about Pete. When she asked of Rick’s wife, he had no response. She apologizes. Rick agrees that would be nice for Carl.
Meanwhile, Daryl is being interviewed by Deanna. She asks him to sit down, but he ignores her request and instead quietly observes the room in its entirety while chewing on some peanuts in a small dish. Daryl seems to have regressed to his earlier self. Emotionless to the world around him while living in his own mind. Deanna tries to tell him that the community is safe.
Back at the new Grime’s house, Rick walks onto the porch carrying Judith and sees Carol, Daryl, and Carl outside. Rick is now wearing a white t-shirt and his signature black pants, boots, and black belt buckle. Daryl decides to gut the possum he took out earlier with his crossbow. Rick walks around the house and confines in Daryl that the community is trying to split them up. Rick tells Daryl that they will all sleep in the same house that night.
That night, they all set up sleeping bags and huddle up together in the comfort of the home. Michonne comes out of the bathroom after twenty minutes of brushing her teeth. Others are seen playing cards on the kitchen table when a knocking comes at the the front door. Rick opens it and sees Deanna.
Deanna is pleased to see them settling into their first night and is surprised how people from all different backgrounds can become such a tight family. She acts surprised and inspired by their willingness to stay together. Rick questions her and says she didn’t tell them they couldn’t sleep in the same house. She’s content with the idea, but in the back of her mind, she’s probably thinking their cautious actions are unnecessary. Deanna teases that she didn’t realize there was a face under Rick’s beard. She then looks over the room and mentions how she’s almost finished delegating them jobs. Deanna is closing in on Sasha, but cannot seem to figure Daryl out yet. And she already has jobs for Rick and Michonne, but does not tell them yet.
That night while everyone is nestled into their sleeping postures, Rick is the only one who wakes up. He grabs a knife from the kitchen and explores the dark abode. Any noises that inquire during the night happen to just be implanted imaginations from his fear.
The next morning, everyone decides to explore the community. Rick tells Carl he can go and then tries getting Daryl to leave his spot on the stairs. Carl takes baby Judith with him. Rick tells Daryl this is a place that him and Lori always wanted to find, but now she isn’t here. Daryl replies coldly, “you now found it.” Daryl decides to stay at the house with a grouchy attitude.
When Rick decides to explore Alexandria to meet up with the others he begins to panic as he loses sight of his son and his daughter, along the quiet suburban blocks. Before his head starts to spin, Jessie grabs his attention. Rick is startled as he calls out for Carl. Jessie reassures Rick that Carl and Judith are at her house introducing themselves to her boys Ron and Sam. “I think I’m losing my mind,” Rick tells Jessie. I feel this way every single day. Rick then sees Carl holding Judith while speaking to some of the neighbors.
We now see Carl sitting on the same chair that his father sat inside Deanna’s office. Deanna asks Carl while he holds his baby sister, his thoughts on this place. Carl explains that this was a place him, his dad and mom were always trying to find. Deanna tries finding out what happened to Lori.
“She died, and then I killed her. I had to, no one else was around,” Carl replies.
Going back to the present, Carl meets Ron, Sam, and the girl from before who was hiding inside the burnt building. The girl seems very emotionally distant and does not even bat an eye toward Carl’s presence as she’s lying on the bed reading a book. Ron and Sam are your normal teenage boys who like playing sports and video games. They mention the fact that they’re father, Pete is at work, so they can have a play date. The boys are normal in our world, but compared to Carl, they’re just remembrances of an old time. Carl is a bit speechless at first until the boys say that the girl did not start talking after two weeks when they found her only eight weeks ago. Carl decides to join them and play some video games.
When Carl gets back home, Rick sees him lying on a bed and asks him what he thinks of Alexandria. The father and son share a little moment when Carl hesitantly says that he likes it here but says the people are weak and he’s afraid that if they stay long enough, they will become weak as well.
That night, Rick is having a hard time sleeping as he waits and observes by the window. Michonne out of the corner of his eye comes to meet him in his observatory glance. Rick tells Michonne that he’s afraid to accept that maybe this place isn’t bad. Michonne says she isn’t afraid. “How come you’re up then?” Rick questions Michonne. Michonne tells Rick she believes this place is safe. “I hope you’re right,” Rick says as Michonne replies, “Me too.”
In the next shot, Carol is being interviewed and video taped by Deanna. Carol reveals to Deanna what she missed most about the old world. Carol blatantly lies and says her husband. She even has the nerve to lie about her contribution to the group, only admitting that she was only good enough as a “demi-mom”. Carol states that everyone else helped her stay alive. We all know that’s bullshit! When she’s asked what she would like to do for Alexandria, her response is to cook for elders. She asks if they have any setups like that. Is she lying about her current identity because she doesn’t trust these people, or is it because she does trust them, but wants to put on a face so they won’t find out about her dark past? Maybe a bit of both.
After, Carol steps onto the porch wearing colorful suburban clothing. Daryl smoking a cigarette as his back is pressed against a porch beam gives Carol a dirty look. She smiles and says she’s cooking for the elders. “We need to keep our appearance up,” she tells Daryl as she adds that he should take a shower. Daryl lies and says coldly that he has taken one. He’s still looking like his normal grungy self. The sewed angel wings brightly displaying off the back of his vest. Clearly, he has not taken a shower yet. As Carol walks away Daryl says under his breath, “you look ridiculous.” Carol smiles.
Rick goes on his own and explores around the outside walls. Carl wakes up out of bed to see the quiet teenage girl climbing over the walls with a few metal rods and a blanket at the top.
Rick harnessing a brown satchel is equipped with his signature Colt Magnum. He quickly spots a few walkers roaming around the fortress and decides to ignore them.
Carl runs in pursuit of the girl and follows her over the wall and through the thicket. However, when he goes to look for her, she’s gone.
Meanwhile, Rick comes back to the area where he left his pistol inside the blender with the letter “J” marked on the handle. When he goes to open it, the gun is missing. When he turns around he sees a few walkers coming towards him. He aims his gun, but then decides to his use knife. His son appears out of the woods and helps his father kill the gang of walkers. One walker hiding beneath a bedding cloth grabs at Rick’s ankle when Carl comes behind Rick and asks for the metal rod. Carl jams the rod through the lying walker’s eye socket. Rick and Carl shared another father and son bonding moment and proved to each other that they are still strong and dominant.
Inside Alexandria, Deanna has delegated her son and Nicholas to lead Glenn, Tara, and Noah in a supply run. Aidan Monroe introduces himself and tells them he worked in a special area of the army. The same area where Noah’s father was part of. Aidan then provides them with minuscule handguns while him and Nicholas bear AK-47s and fully automatics. Aidan tells them that they must do exactly what he says as he reveals to them that he’s an asshole and a douche bag. Well said Aidan. Aidan goes on to say that their joining him because the last crew got killed. Aidan explains that they circle the compound by gradually steering away. They’ve gone as far as 53 miles away from Alexandria.
Glenn seems to be a bit opposed to Aidan’s ruling when they take them outside the walls. Especially, when Aidan reveals to the group that they’ve kept one walker chained to a tree. They did this because they wanted to get revenge on the walker for killing their last supply runners. When the five get to the tree, the walker is gone, but the chain is dangling loosely from the branch. Aidan and Nicholas begin to call out and whistle knowing that the walker is nearby. Glenn, Tara, and Noah immediately try to quiet Aidan and Nicholas down. The walker approaches as Aidan attempts to grab it and wrap the chains around it. Aidan struggles as the walker fights him, Tara pitches in. Tara winds up peeling the walker’s skin on its upper back as it caves off like rubber. The walker then lunges towards Tara and desperately tries to bite at her until Glenn steps in and stabs his knife through the walkers decaying head.
Around this time, Deanna interviews Michonne. Michonne is hopeful and happy that they’ve found sanctuary.
When the supply party returns to Alexandria there are discrepancies. Aidan tells Glenn that him, Tara, and Noah aren’t ready nor suited for supply runs. Glenn disagrees and says that Aidan and Nicholas are the ones who are amateurs. Aidan then gets in Glenn’s face and pushes him. Glenn replies, “you don’t want to do that man, just walk away.” Before I said to myself, “Will someone punch this guy already?” Aidan goes to swing at Glenn when Glenn quickly dodges and counters with a punch, knocking Aidan on his feet. Before Nicholas can pounce on Glenn, Daryl chimes in and tackles him to the ground. Rick runs to Daryl and pushes him off Nicholas. “We can’t do this again,” Rick screams at Daryl. This scene reminded me of when Rick had to hold Daryl back from kicking the crap out of the teenage Vatos gang member back in Season 1. And Glenn is a total ninja bad-ass, pulling fast reflexes.
Deanna sees the drama and immediately uses her authority to end the dispute. She sentences her son and Nicholas to her office while giving Rick and Michonne their title duties as Alexandria’s Constables. After Aidan and Nicholas walk off, Deanna tells Glenn that her son needed a good punch in the face. Hmm, interesting. Carl who returned with Rick now sees the girl with a puppy eyed look on her face. “You don’t like me,” Carl tells her. She doesn’t respond.
That night, Rick puts on his Constable outfit as he strides into the living room looking like his former self during the days when he was referred to as “Officer Friendly”. He takes a stroll down the suburban streets as a night watchmen of the community. He spots a middle aged man smoking a cigarette on his porch who rudely asks, “My wife cut your hair?” Rick hesitantly replies, “yeah” when Pete responds, “Welcome to Alexandria.” That guy is definitely going down at some point. Assholes don’t last that long in the apocalypse anymore. When Rick gets home, he has a hard time sleeping.
The next morning, Rick tells his group that they don’t have to sleep in the same house anymore. I think Rick is starting to have faith and is gaining trust. Lets hope that trust won’t be gutted from beneath his feet.
We then see Glenn being filmed and interviewed by Deanna. Glenn explains that they needed to find this place. When Deanna asks why, he says, “We would have been out there too long.” Regardless of the physical form, they’re own mental states and humanity would have diminished completely.
On the second night of his watch, Rick walks down the stairs in his Constable uniform as they replay what he said to Deanna when he first arrived in Alexandria. The fact that she should keep her gates closed, even closed off from people like Rick.
Rick walks out onto the porch and sees Daryl and Carol conversing. Daryl quickly notices and comments that Rick is a cop again. The Constable uniform is black, with a shoulder patch and a black tie. It is a professional version of his original Sheriff outfit. Carol shares her concerns with Rick, saying that the people are nice but “too weak”. And what if the place does not turn out to be what it seems? And what if they become too weak? Carol continues to voice her concerns. Rick tells them they won’t ever forget what’s it like outside the walls. Rick ends his speech with a dark connotation, “we’ll take it over, if we have to.”
Based on the tone of his voice, it seems as if that may happen in the near future. Has Rick gone too far? Have they all gone too far?
To be honest, not much happened in this episode. This episode was meant to build new exposition within the saga story-line. Every time there’s a new setting and new characters, it is like opening the book to a new chapter. ‘Remember’ is a setup episode. I was surprised that Greg Nicotero who directed this episode did not have more walkers. There may have only been about a dozen featured walkers. But, we can say goodbye to Rick’s beard for now. Rest in peace, Rick’s beard.
Stay tuned for next Sunday’s episode. Lastly, I would like to add that the season finale (March 29) will be extended to 90 minutes, hooray! There is nothing like more Walking Dead to tickle my fancy.