Welcome to the official Panels The Walking Dead weekly recap! I did these recaps occasionally for iFanboy back in the day, and I am thrilled to be bringing them here to Panels. In the discussion, please be mindful of spoilers from the comics, let’s let everyone get their reveals the old-fashioned way.
The gang prepares to enter Alexandria, dirty and suspicious. Startled by movement to the side, everyone prepares for an attack. Daryl fires. ‘Twas a possum. The residents of Alexandria look horrified. “We brought dinner,” Daryl says as they enter the compound and the gate closes behind them. They refuse to give up their guns and Aaron vouches for them even if armed. Rick orders Sasha to drop a walker then saunters off to his audition. “It’s a good thing we’re here.” OR IS IT, RICK?!
Rick meets with Diana in her home. She asks to film his interview, for transparency. Diana reveals both that she was a congressperson from Ohio and that this was a planned community, perfectly set up for this kind of survival. Rick won’t reveal what he was in the beforetimes. Diana’s husband was a professor of archictecture, so he helped build the wall. Some of the footage of their exchange is show via the home video Diana is taking. Not sure what justifies the use of one or the other. Rick admits to killing people to keep his family safe, Diana confides that she’d like to be included in his protected family. She says she wants Rick and his group to help them survive. That they need people from the outside, those who were hardened by survival.
The gang surrenders their guns, a theoretically temporary measure. Carol seems to have the most trouble departing with her arms. Afterwards, Aaron shows them their digs, tells them to relax, settle in, explore a bit. Inside the house, the water works, meaning Rick can get a little less Grimes in the shower. Shaving scene?! Oh yes, shaving scene; the ultimate indicator of civilization, apparently. Then a cute woman, Jessie, shows up to offer some food. She additionally offers to cut Rick’s hair to match his newly shaved face. Small talk ensues accompanied by Rick’s all too understandable vulnerability.
Cut to Daryl’s interview. He won’t sit down, and says he’s only there because Carl and Judith deserve a roof. He’s still holding his opossum, which is hilarious. The community has offered them two houses, which to them is suspicious instead of generous. They won’t split up for at least the first night. Carl explores the second house and hears a thumping. He readies himself with a knife to stab a walker, but instead finds an attic space that looks like the hideaway for some errant teen.
As night falls the gang settles into the main room of one of the houses. Maggie inhales the clean sheets, Michonne marvels at both tooth brushing and Rick’s newly shaven face. She’s hopeful for this place, but is OK with playing it safe for now. Diana stops by, also comments on Rick’s face, and notices that they’re all in the same room. “Smart.” Rick wants to know about the job situation, Diana says she’s getting close to assignments, but doesn’t want to reveal them yet.
In Michonne’s interview she tells Diana that Alexandria is what the group has needed. That they’re ready for this opportunity. The rest of the gang explores, except Daryl who looks like he’d really prefer being anywhere but the suburbs. After Rick chats with Daryl for a minute he loses sight of Carl and Judith and has a minor freakout, running into a weird statue in front of Jessie’s house. She takes them to where the old folks live who are loving on Judith, since they haven’t had a baby around in a while. Jessie asks if Carl can come over to meet her son, Ron. At the house Ron tells Carl about having to go to school, which surprises Carl. Ron introduces Carl to Mikey and Enid. Enid is from “outside” and is still adjusting life in the ‘burbs. They further reveal that they were the ones hanging out in Carl’s new house. They offer to let him play video games or go to Mikey’s house and play pool. Carl is in over his head. He seems much more comfortable telling Diana about having to kill his own mother.
Later, Rick and Carl discuss the new place. Carl likes it, but thinks the folks are weak, and he doesn’t want that to happen to him and the group. Nervous about how much they want to go all in with Alexandria, Rick goes for a nighttime stroll and meets Jessie’s husband. He says welcome but is being a total creep about it. Don’t give Rick Grimes any reason to suspect you, buddy.
Carol’s interview is saccharine and full of bullshit. She claims to play the role of group den mother, and was just glad the group was willing to protect her in return. Later, she’s showered and dressed up. Daryl can’t believe she’s playing along, but she just threatens to hose him down if she has to so they can keep up appearances for now.
Rick heads out the gate to explore the outside of the walls. Carl sees Enid climbing over the wall by herself in full view of his window. Diana’s son, Aiden, wants to show Glen, Noah, and Tara the ropes of their supply runs. This means they’ll get a few guns for at least a little bit. Carl, of course, follows Enid out to the woods to see what she’s up to. She manages to lose him in the trees. Rick goes back to where he planted his gun a few episodes ago and it’s gone. Not a good sign. Carl shows up right as some walkers get close enough to need dealing with. Even though Rick has another gun back they decided to stick to knives.
Aiden explains their system when they’re outside the walls. All the flares and stuff we saw with Aaron before. Aiden isn’t a very nice guy, but at least he’s aware of it. Apparently they’ve kept one of the zombies that bit their friend strung up to a tree for sport. It’s escaped so Aiden and Nicholas start whistling loudly to lure it back. The situation is handled poorly and Tara almost gets bit before Glen stabs the walker in the skull, infuriating Aiden who wanted it ‘alive’ for his own messed up purposes. Aiden kicks them off his run team, which Glen is happy about so they don’t end up dead like his last team. A stare-down ensues, but Glen keeps supremely cool and Aiden’s mom shows up to diffuse the situation.
“Why’d you let these people in?” Aiden demands of his mother. “Because we actually know what we’re doing out there.” Glen replies. Aiden throws a right hook at Glen that he lazily ducks under and pops him in the face with a quick jab. Nicholas is ready to join the fray but Daryl tackles him back down on the pavement and begins to choke him out. Rick pulls Daryl off, and Diana defends the notion that Rick and his people are part of the community now. Equals in all things.
Diana tells Rick and Michonne that she’d like them to be constables. Peacekeepers for the community. Daryl scoffs at the idea. Diana thanks Glen for putting Aiden in his place, Maggie grins, proud of her man for solving the situation with violence.
Enid is back in time to see things shake out. Carl looks at her and says something completely unintelligible. Seriously, what the hell did Carl say? I rewound it three times and still couldn’t tell.
Rick found a uniform that fits, including a tie, which looks really weird because why wear a tie after the world has ended? Carol is also worried about getting weak. Rick doesn’t think they’re capable of being weak anymore. Besides, if everyone else in Alexandria is too weak to make it, then Rick has no problem just taking it for themselves. THE END.
So Rick is the bad guy now? Because he was awful to Aaron last week and this week he straight up says he’s willing to overthrow the first peaceful community that has withstood more than an episode’s worth of scrutiny. I hope they deal with how ruthless Rick has become in some satisfying way but beyond that I really enjoyed this episode. It built on previous episodes, laid groundwork for some new mysteries, and was most importantly just interesting and often funny. It’s great to see our hardened characters so far outside their element and struggling to adapt. Can’t wait for more next week. Speaking, next week’s episode is called “Forget”. This week was “Remember.” My guess is both refer to the groups humanity, which they needed to tap into for this episode but might need to let go of next week. What do you think it all means? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
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