In 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.
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!