This week’s episode of The Walking Dead means transition for the Grimes survivor gang. After hitting a low, becoming mired in basic survival and edging ever closer to despair, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and crew meet Aaron, who leads them to a gated suburban-esque community. As wary as they are weary, the group must feel as if they’ve walked into a dreamscape–a world that no longer exists. It’s a brave new world they’ve found seemingly just in the nick of time; but is the town more Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or a gentle push back into civilization.
But can any of them trust what they see? Who they meet? But there has to come a time when the group is willing to take another chance. Just as much as their willingness to use violence to survive, they also have to know when to set it aside to save their eroding humanity–what distinguishes them from the walkers.
This week’s episode “Remember” is gripping and compelling. Everything looks too normal, as much to us as to Rick’s group. Our point of view, as is the survivor group, tells us that nothing should be trusted. Nothing. Yet, the lure of normalcy is irresistible for most of them. They don’t want to let go their wariness; it will make them weak to let down their guard. But they are so beaten down, they want to believe.
In a place where they don’t have to worry about surviving, the horror of what they’ve been through begins to settle in for each of them. The impact of what they’ve had to do to survive hits each in different ways.
With Carl it hits when he meets up with other teenagers. Their life is all music and video games: a world he’d left behind before he’d even hit those teenage years. He is in disbelief that this world still exists, but there’s more. The freedom from zombies and scratching out an existence allows reality to seep in: Lori’s death and the fact that he’s the one who’d had to kill her.
Daryl must be thinking that he’s pretty useless back in a world like this. No wonder he prefers to sit on the porch alone. Out in the wild, Daryl is a leader, a provider; he keeps everyone safe. Now, if this place is indeed as promised, he is irrelevant. He doesn’t really belong in suburbia, but can the ever-adaptable Daryl Dixon adapt to an impossibly idyllic life?
I believe he’s not sure he wants to stay, but feels an obligation to what has become his only family. However, he keeps to himself and within his comfort zone, neither changing his clothes, leaving behind his crossbow–nor willing to take a shower. Although, as Carol says, if he doesn’t clean up, she’ll hose him off in his sleep. (OK, that’s something I’d love to see!)
Michonne, like Glenn, is ready to embrace something new. It’s like Glenn says during his interview. He feels that they have to try to make this all work because they’d been “out there almost too long.” Any longer, and their descent would have made them completely indistinguishable from the walkers. The glimmer of humanity they all still possess can use a little bit (or a lot) of nurturing, and if Alexandria is what it seems, their better natures will cease the atrophy and return.
Each of them are interviewed to figure out where they fit in. Carol, notably, lies in her interview. She paints a picture of herself that is at odds with the warrior queen she’d become, and suggests a life before zombies that includes a good marriage and a “stupid, wonderful” husband that had never existed.
The end of the episode is almost surreal, as we watch Rick return to his role as a police officer. But in a strange twist, Rick reveals that he has a backup plan should the Alexandria suburbanites fail; they’ll just take over.
So far, this is the best episode in the new half-season, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Best moment? Rick Grimes shaving his beard on camera. Transformation begun!
And then you have to wonder about Deanna’s (Tova Feldshuh) agenda. A congresswoman, now heading a community. Part of me believes that she is a logical, likely leader of a survivor community. She is likely strong and smart, but what’s her game? I wonder if she looks at Rick’s group as battle-hardened in a way her community is not. She sees a potentially growing threat, possibly growing nearer and nearer by the moment. She also knows that her son, bombast aside, is a weak security force–and no leader.
Her aim is to protect her community, and through Rick, Michonne, and everyone else in the group, she sees a way to do it, while strengthening their community with numbers and the sort of experience none of the community members have.
What did you think of this week’s The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet me @B_Barnett. The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00FN5Z8UY,B005LAJ22Q,B009NH6AOQ,B00ND9O9MU]