The Walking Dead Recap: You Know Why

 Posted by on March 23, 2015 at 3:43 am  The Walking Dead
Mar 232015

rick-grimes-0c8dfa3eb1c30827In the newly divided Alexandria community, the roles determine the rules. We see this clearly in The Walking Dead episode Try: Deanna, a lawmaker long after the death of law, is the one who builds the social order. Rick and Michonne enforce it — up to a point. And the one surgeon? Apparently, vicious Pete is above it.

Pete is beating his wife. It’s an open secret; Deanna has known about it for some time. (“I thought it would get better,” she muses to Rick, her eyes still on her son’s grave.) Granted, this may not be the best time to bring the problem of intimate violence to Deanna’s attention, but her response still shocks me. What kind of leader turns a blind eye to the brute on her leadership team?

Why do you care what happens to Jessie?

You know why. – Rick and Carol

It was Carol, of course, who alerted Rick to what was going on in Jessie’s home. She’s also the one who proposed a very practical solution (killing Pete). Carol has walked in Jessie’s shoes. That’s not an experience you forget; the memory of being brutalized by someone you love does not soften over time. When you see the same thing happening to others, you recognize it — and you know there is no cure.

It was like this before, and he got help. I helped him. … I can fix it. – Jessie

Jessie is indignant. She’s also wrong. “If it gets worse, that means he kills you,” Rick reminds her. “That’s what’s next.” He’s right, of course. Rick is a cop; he knows how things usually go between women and the men who terrorize them.

But here, Jessie does a couple of things that surprise me. First: she lets Rick back in her house, to continue their discussion of the awful, humiliating mess her life has become. Second: when her brutish husband looms from the shadows of her home to confront them, she actually stands with Rick, and tells Pete to leave.

Does this kind of thing happen in the zombiepocalypse? Because it sure as hell doesn’t happen nowanywhere in the world, except in myths.

It’s happening in Alexandria, though! “You and me are leaving now,” Officer Rick tells Pete, with all the calm authority and poor grammar of the world he once knew. Rick has obviously removed more than one abusive jackass from a domicile in his day. Here’s the problem, though: it’s not that day anymore.

Pete responds as violent men do. Rick was spoiling for a fight anyway; he welcomes Pete’s attack with enthusiasm. They break through a window, and end up beating each other up in the middle of the street. Everyone in Alexandria comes running; a few try to intervene. And when Rick makes things worse by arguing with Deanna over the rightness of his fight, Michonne has to knock her friend out cold.

She is a cop, after all. In a community, this is what a good cop does: she protects the community from whatever endangers it. (Even if the danger wears a uniform.)

The only one who doesn’t drop everything to watch the fight is Sasha: now the best shot in the neighborhood, if not the state. As a bloodied Rick rants at his spectators, she continues calmly picking off walkers, one by one, with her trademark clean shots to the head. Sasha doesn’t just have PTSD; she embraces it. She aims to kill every last zombie in the American South — and when Sasha aims at something, she does not miss.

Glen — like Sasha, a survivor who’s having a hard time with survival — may have the coolest head in the cul-de-sac. He’s actively grieving for Noah; but like Sasha, he’s got ways of passing the time. Glen’s approach includes quiet talks with others in the community:

People like you are supposed to be dead. Those walls went up just in time, so you’re not. … I’m someone who knows what you are. I know what you did. I’m not warning you, I’m saving you. – Glen to Nicholas

Glen does know what happened between the survivors and the Alexandrians outside the walls. Even so, I wonder if he — or anyone — will side with Rick in the showdown that lies ahead.

Final episode thoughts:

  • I’m not gonna lie, Basketcases: this was a very hard episode to recap. I’m not even a year out of my own experience helping a loved one break away from her abusive partner, so it was not easy to focus on any other aspect of Try. If I gave other storylines short shrift, I apologize. Please weigh in below with anything I may have missed.
  • If we’re printing t-shirts and taking sides, I am Team Let’s Kill Pete. I don’t believe the excuses of intimate abusers (they do not snap, they are not just going through a hard time, it is not a private matter). I also don’t think they ever change: I think they hibernate, practice, and repeat their old patterns with new victims. Feed Pete to the zombies. He deserves it.
  • Nine Inch Nails’ Somewhat Damaged opened the episode. Nice touch, or a bit too on-the-nose?
  • We didn’t see much of the Alexandria Recruiters, Daryl and Aaron, but what we did see was ugly. The two continue to discover bodies with “W” carved into their foreheads, one of whom had apparently been fed to the zombies while she was still alive. Ew.
  • We didn’t see Tara at all. Worse, she’s under the care of Alexandria’s own intimate terrorist and medical professional, Pete. Are you worried? I’m worried!
  • Strange sight of the week: Jessie’s son Sam, running to Carol’s side as his abusive dad and the local cop pummeled each other in the street.
  • Carl and Enid had a date! Sort of a date. (Is a walk in the woods in the company of zombies still a date?) They are equally afraid of each other, which is definitely one of the first stages of a crush. Good for you, apocalypse kids!

  10 Responses to “The Walking Dead Recap: You Know Why”

  1. When Glen said to Nicholas, “I’m not threatening you, I’m saving you,” I thought that foreshadowed/explained what Michonne did to Rick. She saved him.

    The conversation between Deanna and Rick about what to do about Pete was powerful and weak at the same time. How do neither of them know that in the old world, the way it was supposed to work was with Orders of Protection?

    Deanna has chosen to sacrifice Jesse so that the community can have a surgeon. Just live with it and keep your mouth shut, she’s tacitly saying. And in truth, Jesse would probably survive that indefinitely–in misery and terror. The vast majority of women killed by intimate violence are killed when they try to leave (and note that the episode got that right–Pete went over the edge when Jesse tried to end it). So, as long as Jesse doesn’t leave, she can survive–with broken bones and a terrorized son.

    Execution is a slippery slope, to say the least. You don’t want to build a new world on the principal that anyone who doesn’t behave gets killed. It demands we answer the question: What DOESN’T get the death penalty? What if adultery, for one example, gets added to the list of executable offenses?

    Here’s the thing. With a small community and only two cops, the only way to enforce an Order of Protection, keeping Pete away from Jesse, is if the entire community agrees to help enforce it. If they can create that much mutual care in Alexandria, then it could work. But what most communities, throughout most of human history, have done is sacrifice the Jesses.

    • The thing I said to my sister last night, during the episode, was this: “So isolate the dude.” I still think this is part of what an order of protection is supposed to do.

      Once served, a restraining order removes the abuser from his victims, allowing those victims to assemble a kind of primitive security apart from his control or intervention. And it’s temporary, of course. The victims are supposed to use that measure of security to begin formally separating themselves from the abuser. As we know, victims often aren’t able to do this.

      In nations that operate on the idea of community, isolation is the logical end of criminal law. People who can’t function constructively in the community end up being ostracized from it. Norway is famous for this. Even the prison is still part of the community; many of the worst repeat criminals aren’t allowed in. Instead, they get sent out of the country.

      I think this is what Deanna was getting at when she suggested separating Pete from the others. But she wasn’t serious: she neither took any action nor ordered Rick to place Pete under arrest. Pete is simply more valuable than Jessie is.

      Which is true not just to Deanna, but to most others in Alexandria. (It’s one of the first things Aaron mentioned to the newcomers when he recruited them: “We have a surgeon.”) The same is true here and now, unfortunately — in the American university system, corporations, government, and most neighborhoods.

      Sucks to be Jessie. (Or Sam.) 🙁

      • Deanna equates isolation with exile. Rick points out that an exile can come back with guns blazing; he’s regretting letting Merle live, I think.

        What I’m talking about is actually different; keep him in the walls and make everyone know that he’s to keep away from Jesse.

        Wouldn’t work among these people, Alexandria people are too willing to let anyone go when their own asses are on the line. Rick’s people don’t let others go–once, and only once, they decide they’re worth keeping.

  2. Last week’s episode and this, to some extent, begged the question: if these folk are so piss-poor stupid when it comes to making runs, how the heck have they survived this long?

    • Some of it was luck. Some of it is, they haven’t–they’ve lost a lot of people on runs. They sacrifice people when a stagger comes–we’ve seen that three times now. Some of it, as Deanna explained, is that the region was heavily evacuated and their little community was well-supplied–which means there have been few runs, and not much competition for what they need.

  3. Rick’s speech tonight reminded me of Theon Greyjoy’s speech at the end of season 2. Carl no girl is going to kiss you if you wear that stupid hat.

    • How ironic that Rick has come around to Shane’s way of thinking. Rick’s speech sounds exactly like Shane’s when they were deciding the fate of that young guy who knew about Hershel’s farm.

      RE: Carl’s first kiss – make sure she puts down the knife first, Carl. I can’t wait for Enid & Carl, the children of the Zombie Apocalypse, to come up with their own version of make out games. Spin the Walker, Truth or 9mm, Kiss Me – I’m Human . . .

  4. I wish the dialogue over these very real, very complicated issues were a little more nuanced and a little less hysterical. I mean I know it’s all easy for US to do it, not being in the middle of an actual zombie apocalypse, but — I mean, what Rick is suggesting is valid, but he sounds like a raving lunatic. Almost everyone sounds entirely unreasonable unless they’re just not talking.
    We’re all Team Kill the Douchehound until somebody loses an eye, AMIRITE???

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