On last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” Rick and the team had been invited to join the Alexandria Safe Zone, but our weary Spartans have been burned twice; Woodbury and Terminus. Will Team Rick be able to put down their weapons, to trust, to blend in? Aaron thinks they can. Sometimes, it’s hard to let down your guard. Sometimes, peace is scarier than war.
Rick and his team must have seemed like a scraggly bunch of hobos to the people of the Safe Zone as our tired Spartans entered through the gates. But hey! They didn’t come empty handed. Daryl brought a lovely opossum for dinner. Nicholas (Michael Traynor) asks for their guns. Like hell! They’d already danced that tune before and, they’re not falling for it a second time.
Baby in one arm and gun in hand, there was no mistaking who the leader is. Rick stood his ground. Aaron comes to the rescue. They can keep their guns until they’ve met Deanna. Rick’s telling Sasha to kill the walker stumbling outside the gate was the same as drawing a line in the sand. The message, “Don’t try to trick us.”
I guess Aaron (Ross Marquand) was telling the truth about auditioning. One by one our team is interviewed and filmed by Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), former Congresswoman from Ohio. Oh great! We went from a Governor to a Congresswoman, but as far as we know, Deanna doesn’t have a fish tank full of heads. The community is self-sufficient, with each home equipped with solar power, fresh water, electricity, and lots of supplies. The wall was built by Deanna’s husband Ron. She thinks it’s strong enough to hold the walkers out. Our Spartans know better.
What was with the interviews? Was Deanna just trying to get a feel for these strangers, making sure her people hadn’t invited in a Trojan horse, or was she looking for weaknesses? Time will tell, but one thing is sure Rick and the others are displaying symptoms PTSD. Just like our real warriors who are returning from tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s kind of hard returning to ‘normal’ and Daryl, our little apocalyptic stud muffin, is finding it harder than the others to blend in. Hell, he won’t even shower. That’s a little bit too normal for him.
Rick and the team are given homes, but the first few nights, they huddle together. Deanna is not surprised. From her interviews, she’s realized that this group functions as a family. Rick is the first to jump into the shower, to the delight of all us female fans and, he shaves, too. We get to meet one of the Zone people, Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) offers to cut Rick’s hair. You may remember Alexandra as Moira from “American Horror Story” and Katerina Pelham from “True Blood.” Rick later meets Jessie’s husband. He seems like a jerk. Keep your eye on him.
During Daryl’s interview, you sense that he is out of his element. Out there, beyond the gates, he’s a super hero. Here at the Zone, he’s a trapped animal. Carol seems to have assimilated to the new surroundings. Dressed as a soccer mom, she’s off to cook meals for the shut-ins and do all kinds of soccer mom things. Daryl’s expression was priceless when he saw Carol in her sweater.
Carl makes a few friends and baby Judith is being spoiled by the zone grandparents. Jessie’s son Ron (Austin Abrams) wants to play video games. What a joke because Carl’s life up to then has been a video game. What’s the story with Enid (Katelyn Nacon)? Why is she sneaking out of the zone? Where the hell is she going? Carl is a smart kid. He knows that the people in the zone are weak and he’s worried that they’ll get soft, too comfortable and, weak. Carl and Rick share a special father/son moment and Carl gets to spear one of the trash heap walkers.
Deanna’s son Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) and Nicholas have Glenn, Tara and Noah go with them outside the wall. They strung up a walker who had killed their friends. Their inexperience and carelessness almost gets Tara (Alanna Masterson) killed.
Watching Rick and the team adjust to the Safe Zone is like watching a tiger adjusting to life in a chicken coop. Alexandria is a Safe Zone, but it’s thanks to that wall. The men, Aiden and Nicholas think they know how to defend themselves, but they don’t. They haven’t had to live on the run. Aiden was training to become an officer through the ROTC program. That’s nice, but he doesn’t have what he needs to lead. He’s not a killer. His stupidity earns him a punch in the nose from Glenn.
Deanna makes Rick the Sheriff of the Zone and I’m guessing Michonne is the deputy. If Deanna is as good as she pretends to be that’s fine, but remember she said that if she didn’t go into politics, she would have been a poker player; politicians are more dangerous than walkers.
I’m not worried about our team. Wonder Woman Carol (Melissa McBride) is playing possum. She acted like she didn’t know how to handle that big old gun she turned in. She’s dressing the part, helping the community. When she told Deanna that she missed her husband, I almost spit out my tea. No, I’m not worried about the team. They are the walking dead. They know about survival at any cost and, like Rick said. “If the people of the Zone can’t make it, we’ll take it from them. Now we’re talking.