This latest installment of The Walking Dead starts by reflecting back on the deaths of last week’s fallen soldiers: Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) and Noah (Tyler James Williams). Nicholas (Michael Traynor) can still sleep at night due to his logic of everyone being out for themselves and that he had to do what he had to do otherwise he would’ve joined Aiden as walker chow, whereas Glenn (Steven Yeun) is haunted by the death of Noah and makes no qualms about telling Aiden how much of a dick he is.
One thing that seem certain about the Alexandria location by this point is that the show’s regular faces, such as Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Glenn and Carol (Melissa McBride), are far more ahead of the game than the community’s locals. They’re more wised-up, more aware, more altered, and more damaged for having gone through what they’ve gone through for the last few seasons.
Still on the horizon is the problem of Pete (Corey Brill), who Carol claims is abusing his wife and child. Again Carol makes it a point to push Rick towards resolving the problem with a gun. You do get the feeling, however, that maybe Carol isn’t quite telling the truth. After all, this is a character who has had her fair share of breakdowns and unhinged moments through the show’s run. Just as you’re starting to maybe doubt Carol, it becomes clear that, yes, Pete is a bad egg and that Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) has known all about it. Given Pete’s skills as a medic (although he generally tends to spend his time constantly half cut), it’s deemed that him slapping his wife and child around is acceptable if he is also capable of helping the sick and the injured. Yep, that’s the world that the group now live in – and this doesn’t sit well with Rick in the slightest as he decides to try and intervene before the ultimate price is paid. Unfortunately for all involved, this doesn’t go well and ends up in a mighty tense slobberknocker of a brawl that felt like it could’ve been something straight from They Live if time allowed it. But as this fight comes to a halt, we get to see the return of the slightly unhinged side of Rick Grimes. Whilst you could’ve been forgiven for thinking “crazy” was hacked away when Rick’s beard was offed, apparently Rick still has it in him.
Elsewhere, we get to see further development in the arc of Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her new behaviour; channelling her inner Frank Castle as she takes some weaponry on a quest to take down seemingly every walker on the planet. Substitute the guns for a katana, and we get to revisit Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) entrance to the show several years back. Whilst she finds herself holding a handgun rather than a badass blade these days, we get to see Michonne back to taking care of business in more ways than one. It was hinted at during the mid-season return that ‘Chonne was seemingly starting to not always totally agree with Rick’s ideals, and this is something that raises its head in a big way here as she essentially bitch slaps Rick in order to shut down one of his ever-so-familiar rants. We’re not sure how it played to other viewers, but we were totally in agreement with Michonne’s notion that Rick really needed to just shut up. Also, it likely runs deeper than that, with Michonne not wanting to go back to the recluse, solo walker-slicing hooded figure she once was and instead looking to embrace the increased stability that Alexandria gives her. She doesn’t want to go back to her old ways and nobody’s going to get in the way of that, not even Rick.
Much like the last few episodes, it still feel strange to see the show set in a supposedly safe community locale. The citizens have clean clothes, ovens, washing machines, CD players, and general mod cons, which is startling in how different this is to the desolate shithole of a world we’ve come to expect. It’s been a couple of episodes since Rick and his battered down crew turned up at Alexandria, but this new location still has a strange ‘new car’ smell to it.
Whilst all is apparently civil in Alexandria, there’s still a larger W-carving threat on the cards, one that was further shown this episode during Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Aaron's (Ross Marquand) search for other survivors. With next week being the season finale, we’re hoping to see some fireworks in relation to this particular thread of The Walking Dead. If done well, it could be brilliant. Brutally brilliant. There is still a slight doubt, though, whether this particular facet will be held off until Season 6 in order to flesh out the inner Alexandria conflict during next week’s 90-minute episode. We’ll just have to wait and see. Either way, here’s hoping for a good send off.
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