Sunday, March 1, 2015

Walking Dead Recap: The Distance

The past few weeks have generally been a game of ‘follow the leader’, the leader being Rick.  However, this week we saw many members of the gang step up as defacto leaders when an important and complex decision was placed on the table.  Michonne has a lot to say in this episode, but Glenn, Maggie, Daryl, and Carol are also featured as key players in the fate of this group.  

The episode picks up right where last week left off.  Everyone’s kind of just waking up in a daze when Maggie slowly opens the door.  She introduces Aaron and everyone pops up, weapons at the ready.  As Aaron starts to address Rick, Daryl gives him a pat down. 

Sasha explains the situation, saying that Aaron wants them to audition for membership at his camp.  Aaron makes a funny, saying that they’d only need to audition for the dance troupe on Friday nights.

Rick goes through Aaron’s pack and unearths some pictures.  Aaron jumps into a politician-like speech and waxes poetic about the walls of the community.  The phrases ‘pressed steel’ and ‘reinforced concrete’ don’t seem to impress Rick much.  He’s got a one-track mind. Preservation.  So when Aaron delivers a familiar line, “People make us stronger”, that is much like the one Gareth delivered at Terminus, Rick loses his shizz. He strides up to Aaron and cold cocks him in his handsome, clean-shaven face.

Boom.  Credits roll.  Oh, Rick, what have you done?

Rick starts to formulate a plan.  He’s understandably paranoid about the promise of a community due to the horrors that have come before with Woodbury, Terminus, and Grady, and he’s not really open to the possibility of other good people in the world.  Aaron wakes up and they question him to how many people are out there.  Aaron says they won’t trust him and starts rattling off numbers like a bingo caller.

Bingo Tuesdays and Dance Troupe Fridays?! Count me in.
Photo Credit: Golden Hat Bingo
Eventually Aaron tells them that he has one person with him, and that he’s been tracking them for some time.  He admits to leaving the water in the road, and that he sees the group as people.  Honestly, this got me a bit teary because our gang is definitely comprised of good people, pushed to their limit, who have certainly done bad things, but who have also fought to retain their humanity.

Aaron says that he and his partner have two vehicles and that they can take everyone with them back to the community.  Ever skeptical Carol jumps in and says, “and you parked just a couple of miles away, right?” Even though the group is wary, Michonne is optimistic.  She says she’ll go look for the cars, and Glenn and Maggie step up to join her.  For good measure, Rick calls on Abraham and Rosita to go with them, like picking teams for dodge ball.

Don’t even try to tell me that these rules aren’t perfect for the zombie apocalypse.
Photo: Fox
The rest of the crew fans out to protect the perimeter of the barn, and Rick and Aaron are left alone inside.  Aaron speaks up and explains that he used to work for an NGO that went on missions to deliver food and medicine to dangerous regions.  He notes that he can tell that the Grimes gang is good people.  Rick kind of just gives him a side eye and says, “Just because we’re good people doesn’t mean we won’t kill you.  If they’re not back in an hour I’ll put a knife in the base of your skull.”  Daym, Rick. Ice cold.

On the road, the primo dodge ball team treks out to check the cars.  They chat and Michonne starts to make her case for trusting Aaron.  She believes that he saw genuinely good people.  She makes a point of remarking that they saved her, “a crazy lady with a sword.”

Back at the barn, Rick mashes up acorns for Judy with the butt of his gun.  Mmmmm, just like mom used to make. Aaron offers the applesauce from his pack, which makes Rick wary. He pushes a spoonful of applesauce into Aaron’s face, and he refuses, stating that he doesn’t like applesauce because of his mother who fed him foods to make him “more manly”.  Huh?  No matter, Rick eventually gets Aaron to take a spoonful of the applesauce, and then licks it himself for good measure.

On the road, the group hears a rustle in the bushes. Glenn warns, “Not one step further, asshole.”  They group appears relieved when it’s just a walker coming out from the bushes, further illustrating that the living are definitely a bigger threat than the dead now. Rosita and Abe tag team the walker and then make their way into the RV.  There’s canned food galore in the RV, Gorbelli stylez.

The crew brings all the canned food back to the camp, and they start to chat about the decisions they have to make.  Carl’s all aboard with going, and asks why they wouldn’t go.  Michonne breaks it down for him, saying they wouldn’t go if Aaron was lying or wanted to hurt them.  She doesn’t think he is, so she makes the decision for them, bypassing the Ricktator.  Daryl steps up and agrees with her saying, “I’m in.  This barn smells like horseshit.”

After a bit of back and forth with Aaron, they finally get on the road.  Michonne, Glenn, and Rick accompany Aaron in his car.  Rick finds license plates in the glove compartment, and Aaron explains that he’s trying to collect all 50.  Good luck with Alaska and Hawaii, buddy.

The holy grail. Photo: Plate Shack
 As the group chats, Aaron offers Michonne the pictures again.  As she flips through she suddenly notices that there are no people in them.  She gets a brief look of panic on her face and asks Rick if he asked Aaron the ‘Big Three’. He says no, and Michonne immediately starts her interrogation.   Aaron says he’s killed more walkers than he can count, and only two people. Just as the tension starts to ramp up, Glenn runs into a small herd on the road, mowing down a gaggle of walkers.

Glenn tries in vain to start the key, but it won’t start.  Michonne gets out and casually starts removing bloody arms and legs from the cars hood when a flare goes off in the distance, freaking Aaron out.  He kicks out the door and starts running toward the light.  Michonne argues with Rick that they need to follow the flare too.

Somehow Glenn ends up in a cornfield, and gets attacked by a walker from behind.  But, goosh!  He slams the walker’s head on a rock, and it splits open like a gigantic egg. Geez these things are getting super mushy.   In the distance, Aaron tries to fight off a walker with his hands tied behind his back, and Glenn goes in for the assist, proving that his humanity is still in tact. 

In another part of the field, Rick runs out of ammo and blasts a walker in the face with the flare gun, making for a spectacular glow-in-the-dark zombie skull.  Glenn and Aaron arrive just in time to help Rick and Michonne and the foursome makes their way in the direction of a water tower in the distance.

At the water tower, Rick whistles some sort of complicated Mockingjay whistle and Katniss Everdeen busts out of the woods.

No, not really, but Katniss would be an amazing addition to the group.  Maybe she’s at Alexandria... Photo Credit: YouTube
 Aaron goes nuts, screaming, “Eric?! Eric?!” over and over again.  He races inside the building, and finds a guy sitting on a chair with with bandages on his ankle.  Aaron looks worried, but swoops in for a passionate kiss.  Oooooo, hello!  Eric and Aaron are a couple!  As they lovingly speak to one another, Rick creeps on their convo.  Eric sees him and introduces himself.  Rick answers back and actually introduces himself as well.

The next morning, the group is road trippin’ it to Alexandria.  The majority of the gang is in the RV, and as the camera pans through the vehicle we see a montage of normalcy.  Eugene deals some cards to a group at the table while Carol and Sasha look on.  Rosita and Abe are up front, and she points into the distance at the DC skyline. Abe gets tears in his eyes.  This was supposed to be their destination.  They made it. Well, almost.  Abe looks down at the console and sees a red warning light.

The next thing we see is the RV broken down in the middle of the road.  Abe gets all hot and bothered but Glenn’s like, calm down dude, here’s the other battery.  He goes and unearths the spare from its hidey-hole underneath the stairs.  Abe asks how he knew it was there, and Glenn just smiles.  TEARS.  Dale saved them.  He’s amazing. Oh man, I miss Dale!

Cut to Michonne, who is actually kind of the fourth or fifth incarnation of Dale on the show.  (Side note - Noooo!  She can’t die.  She has her katana.  She’ll be ok.  Right?  RIGHT!?!)  She is talking to Rick about ‘letting go’ even though his ‘trust no one’ mentality has kept him safe.  Rick sort of gets it, but asks for a moment before they reach their destination.

Twangs of guitar play in the background as Rick hikes a bit into the woods and hides a gun in an old blender.  The gun has a prominent ‘J’ marked on it in Sharpie.  There are many, many theories as to what this gun represents, but one thing I know for sure is that the show must be evoking the Chekov rule.  That gun is coming back, and we will eventually learn the origin of the ‘J’.  Mark my words.

The group pulls up to the gates, and stops their vehicles.  Pan to Rick’s face as he hears the sound of children playing inside.  His gaze softens and Michonne reaches out for his hand.  “You ready?” she asks with a smile.

Rick scoops Judith out of the backseat and starts toward the gates.  Carol delivers only her second line of the episode, but it’s a doozy.  She says, “Even though you were wrong, you’re still right.”  That seems to help Rick a bit, knowing he wasn’t alone in his rationale.  Rick looks at Judith and smiles, saying, “Here we go.”

Random Thoughts Before I Go:

- Aaron calls the walking dead ‘roamers’, which is a nice reference to the comics.  Comic Rick calls them roamers as well, so I wonder if this means we can trust Aaron since he has a kind of kinship with Comic Rick?

- Funniest moment of the episode goes to Daryl when he interrupts Aaron’s apologies about the photo quality.  “Nobody gives a shit.”  True dat, Daryl.

- The can of Gorbelli spaghetti rings that Abe finds in the RV is definitely a callback to the Gorbelli food truck that Tara’s dad drove.  Furthermore, the governor dumped a plate of spaghetti rings right out his window when he first met Tara’s family.

- Abe and Rosita start to mend fences in this episode, and I hope they end up sharing a house together in Alexandria.  They’ll just need to put up some curtains in case Eugene wants to do anymore peeping.

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