There’s so much going on in the suburbs! Between neighborhood watch, recipe discussions, and scaring the hell out of sneaky neighborhood kids, there’s no time to grieve for what you had before — even if it was everyday combat with zombies. Rick Grimes certainly seems to miss the walkers. There he stands, in the last shot of this week’s Walking Dead, Forget: palm pressed to the perimeter wall of Alexandria, hearing the groans of the walkers on the other side. He doesn’t seem fearful: he seems wistful.
Rick isn’t alone in feeling ill at ease. There’s no room for the pain of Sasha’s recent losses in her bucolic new surroundings. She begins the episode outside the gates, literally baiting the local walkers to come get her, and it gets worse from there. She requests watch duty, but gets turned down. Finally, at a boring house party for Sasha and the other new arrivals, a neighbor asks her what her favorite meal is. She loses it.
THAT’S what you WORRY about? – Sasha
The very next day, Deanna rolls the gate aside to let Sasha out. As we say in the pre-apocalypse world, she wasn’t a strong culture fit for Alexandria.
By contrast, Daryl is doing surprisingly well. He runs into Aaron outside Alexandria, and the two try to catch a local wild horse (which Aaron has named Buttons). This project is disastrous for poor Buttons, but it works for Daryl and Aaron. When Daryl passes Aaron and Eric’s house later that night, Aaron invites him in for dinner.
You do know the difference between a good person and a bad person. – Aaron to Daryl
It’s not an idle compliment: Aaron is offering Daryl a job, as Alexandria’s “other recruiter.” The position would involve lots of travel, a sweet ride (some assembly required!), and very few terrible cocktail parties like the one going on next door. It’s perfect!
At the cocktail party, Rick is proving very popular. Deanna’s husband showers him with praise, then offers him what looks like some very nice Scotch. “I’m good,” he demurs, but his host insists.
Rick’s new neighbor Jessie is there as well, with her husband Pete (now off the porch and in a better mood). Jessie holds Baby Asskicker for a while, singing the praises of Alexandria. When she hands the baby back, Rick kisses her. It’s a kiss on the cheek, but it’s also that kind of kiss.
Also at the party, Carol is winding up a long day of nice-lady recon. After hours of smiling and recipe-sharing, poor Carol steals away to grab some guns and chocolate — but guess what? The nosy neighbor kid followed her, hoping that there would be cookies.
Without raising her voice or breaking her composure, Carol lets the boy know exactly what he can expect from her:
You can never tell anyone, especially your mom. Because if you do, one morning you’ll be outside the walls, tied to a tree. The monsters will come, and they will tear you apart and chew you up while you’re still alive … Or you can promise not to ever tell anyone and then nothing will happen, and you’ll get cookies. Lots of cookies. – Carol
That is a high freaking price to pay for some extra cookies.
Clearly, adjusting to Alexandria is not second nature for the survivors. They’re trying, in different ways — Michonne even puts on a dress for the party — but it’s a struggle for most of them. When fight or flight has been part of daily life for so long, how can these people go back to recipes and walking the beat? And will “normal” life ever feel like life to them again?
Final episode thoughts:
- “I’m hunting rabbits.” This is literally how Aaron greets Daryl when they run into each other. Insert your BE VEWY VEWY QUIET jokes here, because for some reason Aaron does not.
- I’m sorry, Buttons. You deserved a more peaceful end.
- The friendship between Aaron and Daryl makes sense. These two –three, counting Eric! — are no-bullshit guys. I don’t think theirs is an alliance of outsiders; I think it’s a shared aversion to smalltalk. Many friendships grow from much less.
- Carol was killing it as the neighborhood auntie, until that kid came skulking after her. Her hideous flowered sweater is terrific camouflage, and her clueless act around guns? Perfect.
- Rick’s storyline just got interesting, and I really did not see that coming. Have you seen how bad this guy used to be at flirting?
- What do we think of Jessie, friends? My family calls her “Supercuts,” as in: It’s on for Rick and Supercuts!
- The way Rick reaches for his gun at the end of the episode makes me nervous for Jessie’s husband. Pete might not be the greatest guy, but Rick is a loose cannon — and it’s looking like Pete is his likely target.
- I’m sorry Sasha left — even though as an introvert, I understand why she chose to. I’m also thinking she’s more valuable to Team
Loose CannonRick on the outside: if things suddenly go sour inside Alexandria, she can help.
- Dumb Spencer’s dumb comment about the pasta machine was probably what sent Sasha over the edge. I hope she locates a pasta machine and fires it over the wall, just for spite. Here’s your f**king pasta maker, Mrs. Neudermeyer!
- The letter “W” carved into the forehead of a zombie kill outside Alexandria: what does it mean? “Watchers”? Is someone out there in the habit of labeling things (“w” for walker)? What?