Previously! Deanna and NPR Chairperson Reg mourn their dead son by listening to Trent Reznor, as you do. Reg is moved to tears by the ’90s emo, and I’m crying, too, Reg. Because Carol made you guys a sympathy tuna casserole, with a “We’re truly sorry for your loss” card, which Deanna promptly sets on fire. She then leaves the tuna noodles out on the porch, and that’s how you get ants, Deanna.
Sasha is continuing her PTSD story arc by spending waaaaay too much time in the guard tower sniping Walkers. I know I’m supposed to care, but I don’t. Why? I can’t put my finger on it, but I just don’t care. Maybe because all the show has her doing is looking terrified, angry, and determined as she shoots things. It’s… hmm. I just don’t connect to her anymore, and that makes me sad because I really liked the character before Bob. Maybe that’s on me?
And just what we predicted would happen does: Nicholas, in his interview that Deanna apparently requires everyone to do when people come back after things go FUBAR, he lies through his teeth about what went down, blaming Glenn for distracting Aiden and then says Glenn did everything he did. DIRTY MOTHER TRUCKER. Deanna takes it in, tells him he and Glenn are on probation until she gets to the bottom of this. Of course Nicholas thinks she’s not seeing this for what it is. [LIES???]
Deanna: You don’t know what I see. And I see a great deal.
She looks undead herself as she watches his recorded video late at night. But does she see? I still can’t get a bead on her.
Rick interviews Glenn, getting the real story. In the background is a red balloon tethered to a boat on the little pond—a symbol of the town’s childishness and also a warning. Carol and Rick meet, next, and she’s wants to know if he’s gonna kill Pete. No? Ok, but Sam told Carol that his mom put a lock on the inside of his closet so he could lock himself away safely when Daddy goes into one of his rages. It gets bad over there. Bad enough to kill? Carol seems to think so, and thinks its a good way for him to be with Jessie. UH, WOW, CAROL.
Rick sees the red balloon again, the danger sign clear and representative of him holding on by a thread, and loads up his handgun. Pete comes stumbling over, “Hey new buddy!! You okay? Friiiiieeeeend?” KEEP WALKING. They stare off, he doesn’t see that Rick has his gun pulled at his hip. DAMN. Rick is definitely hanging on by a thread.
OH HEY MICHONNE STILL EXISTS. She goes off in search of Sasha, leaving her uniform behind. This is wonderful, because she’s still trying to decide how she feels about everything—she doesn’t look too happy to be there at this point. She even says to Rosiate that she’s worried she’s getting too comfortable, too complacent in Alexandria. “I feel like I was asleep in there.” Big decision coming for her.
Deanna, standing over Aiden’s grave, is approached by Rick approaches, asking about how she’s doing.
Rick: So. Porch Dick. That’s a big problem, huh?
Deanna: Yeah, we all hoped he’d cut that out eventually
Rick: YOU KNEW? And no. It hasn’t.
Deanna: He’s a surgeon! He saves lives.
Rick: So let’s separate them. Tell him that’s how it is.
Deanna: Yeah, that’ll keep him away. And when he goes back?
Rick: We kill him.
Deanna: WE DON’T KILL HERE! I campaigned on an anti-death penalty platform! We’ll just kick him out and let the world kill him so I don’t have to feel responsible, because my thinking on this only goes skin deep.
Rick: Yeah, this world is pretty harsh, so we have to make those harsh decisions, lady.
Deanna: Harsh decisions? Like with my son? I wouldn’t kill you. I’d just send you away.
She’s pretty angry looking here. And I still think it’s naive to send people away. They could gather up reinforcements and plot a hostile takeover. Ahem.
CORL goes looking for Enid, who tells him that he scares her, and she just wants to hang out by herself. “CATCH ME!” She cries, running all free and joyful, Carl in hot pursuit, ha ha! Life is a romp! It’s all fun and games until Walkers show up, though. She throws a wind up alarm at it so they can leisurely get away. Pretty smart until you realize it’ll keep making noise, drawing more Walkers to it.
They find a picturesque spot in the woods to chill, talk about teen stuff: using witch hazel for zits, the right kind of granite rocks for knife sharpening, hopes and dreams, making noise bombs, You know: teen stuff. He wants to know her story, but they don’t have time. There are too many Walkers in the distance, so they hide in a hollowed out tree???? Because reasons!??? SHE IS SO TURNED ON BY DANGER, YOU GUYS. HAND HOLDING COMMENCES. AWWWW. A good-sized herd moves past them. What’s bringing them?? AND WHY THE W ON THEIR HEADS?!?
Glenn finds Nicholas and calls him out on the deaths, that it’s on him. “You have to carry that. People like you are supposed to be dead, but these walls went up just in time, so you’re not. You don’t go out those walls anymore. And that’s how you’re gonna survive.”
Dickbag Nick: WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
Glenn: Someone who knows who you are.
Dickbag Nick: You threatening me?
Glenn: NO. I’m saving you.
Glenn is good people, you guys.
Later, we see that Nicholas is who has taken Rick’s handgun and has hidden it in the woods. Oho! Sasha is out hunting Wabbits, by which I mean Walkers. Michonne and Rosita find her, where she tells them she’s tired of playing defense, but damn, it’s a big herd coming up on them. My big question: SASHA. WHY ARE YOU USING A SNIPER AT SUCH CLOSE RANGE?? That is ridiculous.
Michonne, flashing back on her buried anger, joins in, helping taking them out. “This isn’t for you,” she says when Sasha tells her to leave them. Michonne even helps her at one point, but Sasha doesn’t like that.
Sasha: It worked out for you! You can’t help me! Nobody can. Noah… I told him he wouldn’t make it. [stalks off, emotionally dead inside]
Yeah, I just don’t care about this. There’s nothing for me to care ABOUT. She was away from Tyrese for too long, she closed herself off early and we didn’t get her backstory, so she just seems like she’s making dumb decisions to me.
Daryl and Aaron, looking for new recruits, notice there are more Walkers around than usual. And also a light burning in a house in the distance. They also come upon some dismembered bodies, just like the ones from Noah’s neighborhood, except there are parts missing: torsos, heads. They’re fresh. There’s a naked woman bound to a tree, dead, her belly eaten out. Was she banished from some horrible group? She’s fresh, too. She also has a W on her forehead, and she slowly awakens as a Walker, leaving Daryl to brain-box her. WHAT IS GOING ON.
Rick goes to see Jessie and comes right out with it: Porch Dick is hitting you. It has to stop. She says it will. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard this before. This is a cycle, lady, and you can’t break it. Rick tells her as much. He cares, okay? He’s trying to help, but she can’t see that. She’s married, and she can take care of herself. She closes the garage door on him.
Everything in their town looks normal, people chatting on the porch, kids walking dogs, a kid running with a boat, a red balloon tied to it, now symbolizing Rick’s passion and desperation. He storms into her house and tells her that Sam asked for a gun to protect her. She should want more than just living. It should be about more than just enduring. She has to fight or die, just like outside the walls. And he doesn’t want her to die. [Note the LIVE on the mantelpiece, haha!] He says he can help her, can keep her safe.
GIRL: DROP THAT ZERO AND GET WITH THIS FINE HUNK O’SHERRIF. (He’s crying!! What?! RICK WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOU? WHY NOT RICHONNE?!)
She wants to know why he cares so much. Would he do this for anyone?
Rick: No. No.
Jessie: [realizes this handsome man—albeit a disturbingly intense one—is making her feel things] OKAY. HELP ME.
IN WALKS PORCH DICK.
Porch Dick: Uh. Yeah, get your gee dee hands off my wife and get outta here.
PD: …excuse me?
Jessie: YOU ARE WHO NEEDS TO LEAVE.
Porch Dick shakes his head at this, because yeah, NO. He gets all up in Jessie’s grill, leaving Rick to throw a punch. Porch Dick apparently isn’t as soft as he looked to me and has a pretty strong right cross, and now they’re going at it, fighting dirty, grappling, choking each other out, and we don’t know who’s winning. They fling themselves through a window, as you do.
The neighbors go nuts, they’re all watching the fight. It’s bloody and awful, Jessie tries to get Porch Dick off, so he hits her to get her away. Carl even tries to separate them, but Rick pushes him out of the way. It isn’t until Deanna tells them to stop, before there’s a break, leaving Rick to pull a damn gun on her, then pointing it at the crowd.
“OR WHAT? YOU’RE GONNA KICK ME OUT?! None of you get it! We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live. You sit, plan, and hesitate. You pretend like you know when you don’t. You wish things weren’t what they are. You want to live? You want this place to stay standing? Your way of doing things is done. Starting now we have to live in the real world, control who lives here.”
Deanna: That’s never been more clear than right now.
Rick: YOU MEAN ME? [laughs] You’re gonna destroy this place.
Michonne: COLD COCKS HIM LIKE A SUMMBITCH, HOLY SHIT.
Let’s talk about that, because she’s in her uniform. She’s decided. Safety and security is worth fighting for. Sasha becoming unhinged is a result of their group not having that, and Michonne can remember that all too clearly. She wants to stay, and she doesn’t want Rick messing it up for them. She’s pretty much the only person who could have done that and not been on Rick’s revenge list, I think. I don’t even think Daryl could have pulled him away, honestly.
RICK AND SHANE COMPARISONS: Shane had some valid points about culling the herd and about survival. Were they harsh? Of course. Was he right? …mostly. Shane’s biggest problem was his own hubris, his sense of importance, his feelings for Lori, and his willingness to sacrifice helpful and skill-essential people, like Otis.
And Rick is following those same footsteps, with one exception: while Porch Dick is skill-essential, he’s not helpful ultimately. He’s a bad egg. But does he need to die? My solution to the Porch Dick problem is to tell him he’s done having authority and access to Jessie and Sam, and then Jessie Pinkman that jerk in the hospital. That’s where he lives now, that’s where he gets to be, he doesn’t leave, he’s allowed food and shelter and protection in return for surgical services. One more big mistake (maybe taking a life to assert dominance or something Grady Hospital-esque) and he’s dead. Not banished, but dead. This is the apocalypse, and the old rules don’t always apply.
WHAT IS THE W? My current theory (and remember, I’m SPOILER FREE, please help keep me that way) is based off the ominous reminder that Deanna’s banished people in the past. Do they give them the mark of Cain? Is that what the W is? Or is this revenge from the banished person/people, killing other humans, marking them, and turning them out in hopes they’ll overwhelm Alexandria? That’s my guess, at any rate.
IS THIS THE ULTIMATE END OF THE RICKTATORSHIP? Banishing him would be stupid. But other than an overhaul, I’m not sure how they can make this work. Thoughts?