THE WALKING DEAD Season 5, Episode 12 'Remember'

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Remember sees Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of survivors arrive at the apparent safe haven of Alexandria after being recruited to join the community by Aaron (Ross Marquand). Nearly as soon as the episode opens, we find our battered-down familiar faces getting adjusted to their new surroundings. All seems idyllic enough, but the group have been through so much to date that they find it hard to let their guard down and fully relax in their new locale.

In fairness to the residents of Alexandria, Rick isn’t afraid to put it all out there and makes no bones about telling the established inhabitants of his past, of some of the darker acts he has committed, and about how it may not be wise to bring people like he and his group into their community. Apparent leader of the community Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) does her best to talk things through with Rick, and he eventually comes to terms with giving this new life a chance - symbolised by him finally shaving off the dead fraggle on his face that was known as his beard (who’d have thunk he’d look just like Egg from This Life?!). He even gets a haircut, giving us our first look at “Andrew Lincoln” Andrew Lincoln for the first time in a few years. Even then, there’s still the snarling, grizzled voice of Rick coming through, which sounds a little out of place when coming from the clean-cut face he now has. With that said, though, his voice does some to soften as the episode progresses and his guard comes down.

Much like Rick, the rest of our familiar group are also shown trying to adjust to their new surroundings, with each seemingly given an impressive house of their own. But despite the group starting to mellow, they still find it hard to not be in each other’s company and it’s almost like a Stockholm syndrome mentality that comes into play with the group; they seemingly have their freedom and space, yet can’t stand to be away from the safety blanket of each other.

The new threat to our group seems to be cheek-pinching grandparent types rather than the usual soulless walkers, and this certainly takes some getting used to for particular characters. It most definitely seems like a sense of normalcy is being introduced into the show, with family units, video games, teenagers being teenagers, jobs, and stuff that the key group and the audience haven’t seen for a long time all coming into play; and by a long time, we mean that these things haven’t really been seen since the whole Walking Dead shit-storm began in late 2010.

Remember is an episode that focuses on readjustment, as if we’re almost seeing a wild, savage beast being tamed. Whilst Rick and Co. have done some horrible things over the years and become different people to what they once were, they start to become humanised once again. Some are still stuck in their survival mind-set, such as Daryl (Norman Reedus) refusing to even shower or change his clothes, and they have done things in the previous years that will put them in good stead for any challenges that may appear. And on that front, there is some possible foreboding as to just who may be out there and ready to attack our group, which could very well tie into just why they’ve been invited into Alexandria in the first place.

This is an episode that was desperately needed by the show; a change of venue and something a little different to what we’ve now become accustomed to with The Walking Dead. Given the subject matter of the world having gone to the dogs and walkers everywhere, it’s easy for the series to drag a little and start to feel formulaic at times, so an outing like Remember gives a fresh impetus to the show.

At times you may feel yourself questioning whether you are watching as much out of habit as you are out of interest, so it’s vital to keep the overall arc of the show progressive and fluid, rather than merely watching more-or-less the same episode from week-to-week. Remember is a timely change of venue and should lead for more human confrontation rather than just walker after walker after walker…

An over-reaching theme of this episode is whether settling into their new surroundings will result in the group becoming weak. We’ll have to wait and see on that front, but lawman Rick Grimes is back, with Michonne (Danai Gurira) alongside him, as Season 5 has the potential to really step it up a gear going forward.
 

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