In the previous episode of The Walking Dead, “The Distance,” the decision was made to go to Alexandria. In this week’s episode, “Remember,” they get their first glimpse of this walled community. Rick remains wary, but it had become clear that they needed to at least explore this option. They will finally learn what lies behind the walls of Alexandria. In “Remember” our band of survivors tries to remember how people lived before the dead walked the earth, while not forgetting anything that has happened since then.
[For the recap continue reading, but if you want to go straight to the review commentary section of this recap, click here.]
We find the group, where we left them at the end of “The Distance” last week, standing nervously stands outside the gates of Alexandria. There is a noise on the side of the road and many, many guns are drawn. It turns out to be a possum, which Daryl quickly kills. As the gates open Daryl says, “We brought dinner.” Nick, the man on gate duty, tells them to turn over their weapons. Rick refuses, saying they haven’t decided if they want to stay. Aaron suggests they can wait until after they talk to Deanna, who appears to be the leader of Alexandria. As the gates start to close, Rick spots a walker coming towards the gate and directs sharpshooter Sasha to take care of it. Rick mutters, “It’s a good thing we’re here.” Who knew The Walking Dead could be funny?
Behind the Wall
Rick meets with Deanna, and she asks to record their interview for purposes of transparency. Deanna explains she was a congresswoman and that Alexandria was an eco-based planned community. When attempting to evacuate, the roads were blocked and she and her family were directed to Alexandria. Rick is shocked to find out that most of the people in Alexandria have lived behind the walls this whole time. She tells him that his is the first group they have invited in for a long time. He tells her that she should keep their gates closed to outsiders. She asks him why.
“Because it’s all about survival now. At any cost. People out there are always looking for an angle. Looking to play on your weakness. They measure you by what they can take from you, by how they can use you to live.”
Deanna is not sure if he is trying to warn her about his own group or if he is already trying to protect Alexandria. We think it’s both – that he would “take care” of Alexandria if he needed to do so in order to keep his own group safe. He tells her that he has killed people, more than he can remember: “They’re dead so my family, all those people out there, can be alive. So I can be alive for them.” Deanna acknowledges that she has also made difficult choices to protect her community, recently exiling three men who didn’t work out. Deanna tells him she is very good at reading people, that she would have become a professional poker play if she hadn’t been reelected. She tells him it’s time to decide, and he finally tells her that he had been a sheriff.
A Change is Gonna Come
Rick has talked to Deanna, and now they must give up their guns if they want to stay. It seems hard to believe they would be willing to do this, but clearly it was expected since Rick hid a gun outside the gates. Some of the group seem nervous about giving up their guns, while others appear, or at least act, relieved to turn them over. Carol acts all awkward with her guns, then gives the Alexandria folks a friendly smile. They certainly have acquired a lot of guns. They’re told, “They’re still your guns. You can check them out anytime you leave the gates.” Welcome to the Hotel Alexandria. We’re guessing Rick is eager to find out if this is true.
Aaron shows Rick and Carl two houses their group can live in. They walk into one of the eco-McMansions to find running water and lots of supplies. It’s weird for them to be in these fancy, undamaged houses, and it’s weird for us to see them there.
All season we have been waiting for Rick to shave his beard, and the time has finally arrived! Rick takes a shower and then shaves his beard in an “I am becoming civilized” montage of sorts.
A woman named Jessie brings Rick some supplies. She offers to cut his hair, and Rick is surprised she would so easily trust him when she doesn’t know him. She tells him she can take care of herself. Let’s hope so. Jessie has sons, Ron and Sam, and the older is close to Carl’s age. Rick thought he would never see electricity, showers, and haircuts again. We were starting to get worried that was the case as well. Rick looks at himself in the mirror and doesn’t recognize himself.
Much of the rest of the episode is cut with the different members of the group being interviewed by Deanna. It’s an inversion of the interviews that are done when people are voted out of the Big Brother house. This time, the interviews focus on transitioning the people into the house, not out of it. The interviews seem to serve a similar confessional purpose.
Meanwhile, Daryl appears to be failing his audition with Deanna. During the interview, he’s still wearing his empty crossbow across his back and carrying the dead possum, and he’s pacing the room like a caged animal. When she asks if he wants to be there, Daryl replies, “The boy and the baby, they deserve a roof. I guess.” Later we see Daryl sitting on the porch of their new house, skinning the possum. Carol and Carl go to check out the house next door. Carl hears a noise upstairs and carefully enters the room with his knife, as though approaching a walker. He finds an attic full of comic books. Carol goes outside to reconvene with Rick and Daryl.
Carol: “They’re right next to each other, but….”
Rick: “They took our weapons and now they’re splitting us up.”
Rick: “Yeah. We’ll all be staying in the same house tonight.”
Everyone is all cleaned up and sitting around together in the living room of the eco-McMansion. They seem more stunned than anything, except for Michonne, who seems happy. She tells Rick even though she understands why they’re playing it safe, she has a good feeling about Alexandria. Deanna stops by and is surprised to find they are all staying together, but points out that it’s smart since they are a family. Rick asks if they have a job for him and Deanna says she does, but she hasn’t told him what it is yet. She says she also has something for Michonne and is closing in on something for Sasha. Deanna has not yet figured out Daryl, who we see sitting guard by the window, holding onto his knife. She leaves without giving them any more information about the jobs she is considering for them.
That night, everyone sleeps on the floor together in the living room. Judith is sleeping in a playpen for the first time in her little life. Rick wakes up during the night. He goes into the fancy kitchen and takes a knife from a drawer. He is still pretty worried.
In her interview, Michonne tells Deanna that if the community is what it seems to be, then that is what they all want. We are not as certain that all of them want the same things. Some of them still acting like they are on the other side of the wall, pacing around with a dead possum.
Rick, Carl, and Judith are going to explore the neighborhood. Rick invites Daryl, who wants to stay at the house. Daryl seems to be having the most difficult time with this adjustment. Rick tells him, “Lori and me we used to drive through neighborhoods like this thinking, one day…” Daryl responds sardonically, “Well. here we are.”
Rick realizes that Carl and Judith are gone. He freaks out, but with Jessie’s help, he finds Carl and Judith with some older people who are thrilled to see a baby. Jessie asks if Carl can come and meet her boys.
Carl finds out that the kids there go to school. Ron introduces Carl to Mikey and Enid. Enid just arrived in Alexandria a couple months ago and seems uncommunicative. Mikey says they can go to his house to play pool because his dad, who is strict, is at work. Carl doesn’t know how to respond to their teen spirit at first. Is Carl feeling the loss of his own childhood or is he no longer interested in kid games because he knows that part of his life is over? After a moment’s reflection he recovers, and goes off with the boys to play video games.
We see Carl’s interview in which he talks about having to kill his mother. We are guessing that Ron and Mikey have never even imagined having to do something so terrible, but Enid may be another story.
When Rick asks Carl about what the other kids were like, Carl tells him, “I like it here. I like the people, but they’re weak and I don’t want us to get weak too.” Rick’s response is neutral. There have been times over the series when Rick wanted nothing more than to protect Carl from this world and allow Carl to be a child. By Season 4, Rick’s perspective began to change, and by Season 5 Rick’s “You are never safe” speech to his son showed us that Rick knows Carl must be ever vigilant. We agree with Carl, but aren’t sure if Rick will backslide, trying to create an enforced adolescence for Carl.
Rick and Michonne can’t sleep. They talk about getting jobs and wonder if they should be afraid. Yes, they should be afraid. Rick goes for a walk and finds Maggie’s husband sitting on a porch smoking. He tells Rick who he is and says, not in the friendliest of ways, “Welcome to Alexandria.” Maybe he wasn’t unfriendly, it’s hard to tell. It’s possible we’ve been trained by Rick and The Walking Dead writers to automatically read sinister motives in everyone.
Carol is being interviewed, describing herself as a den mother who is protected by the others in the group. She tries to convince Deanna she is harmless. When Deanna asks her what kind of work she is interested in, Carol acts like she has no idea, then suggests she could be involved in the community, telling her, “Do you have anything like a Junior League. I’m a real people person.” It’s quite a story Carol is trying to sell Deanna. Who is the better poker player—Carol or Deanna?
Carol comes out of the house dressed in a blouse and sweater. She tells Daryl to take a shower because they need to keep up appearances. He tells her she looks ridiculous. Oh #caryl!
We see Glenn’s interview. He tells Deanna they need to make it work because they were almost out there too long. Glenn’s moral compass still seems to be working.
Carl sees Enid with a backpack walking toward the wall. Looks like she wants to escape, or at least get outside for a bit. Carl seems impressed when he sees her climb over the giant wall.
Outside the Wall
Glenn, Noah, and Tara meet up with Aiden and Nick to do a practice supply run outside the walls. Aiden is Deanna’s son. When Glenn asks about weapons, Aiden says, “We pulled out some sweet-ass biscuits today,” and hands them guns. Glenn looks disdainful of Aiden’s playtime attitude. Carl may be right. These people are soft.
Rick leaves Alexandria to find his hidden gun. The gun is gone, but a group of walkers have appeared. Carl, who has followed Enid outside, comes up behind his father. Rick and Carl unsheathe their knifes and begin killing walkers. It looks like Rick agrees with Carl after all. They have a father and son bonding moment killing walkers together. In this scene Carl really looks like his father’s son. A walker who is suspiciously hidden under a pile of junk grabs Rick’s ankle. Rick is about to kill the walker, but at his son’s monosyllabic request, Rick hands a metal pole to Carl, who kills the walker. The family that slays together, stays together.
Aiden and Nick take Noah, Tara, and Glenn outside the gates, explaining their team system. Aiden tells them that they lost a group a few months ago during a run. Aiden and Nick strung up a walker for target practice, yet the walker has escaped. Nick makes noise to attract the walker, despite Glenn’s protests. When the walker appears Noah goes to shoot it, but Aiden tells him not to. Tara tries to help Nick and Aiden capture the slippery walker, and it almost kills her. Glenn steps in and kills the walker, much to Aiden’s annoyance. Glenn is pretty infuriated himself.
When they return to Alexandria, Aiden tells them they are not ready for runs yet. Glenn responds, “Yeah. Pretty sure you got that backwards.” The confrontation between Glenn and Aiden escalates. Glenn points out that if Aiden continues doing runs as he has been, “We’re just as screwed as your last group.” Deanna, Maggie, and some others come over to the gate. Even Eugene starts walking over, presumably to help his cohort. Deanna tries to intervene and Aiden asks his mother, “Why’d you let these people in?” Glenn jumps in, “Because we actually know what we’re doing out there.” Foolishly, Aiden tries to punch Glenn, but he is no match for Glenn.
Rick and Carl come running through the gate as things get out of hand. Nick tries to step in, but Daryl is spoiling for a fight and has Nick on the ground in a second. Rick has to pull Daryl off Nick. On the outside Daryl was the one who often calmed down Rick, but inside these walls Daryl is the one going a little nuts. When Aiden gets back up, Michonne is there, daring him to make a move.
Deanna gives a speech about Rick and his people being part of the community as equals in order to calm everyone down. She sends Nick and Aiden off and people start to disperse. Deanna tells Rick she wants him to be a constable: “That’s what you were. That’s what you are.” She looks at Michonne and adds, “And you too.” When Rick and Michonne agree, Daryl storms off. Deanna thanks Glenn for knocking down Aiden, and Maggie smiles. Maggie’s so proud of her man. Us too.
Apparently the job comes with a fancy outfit. If we learned anything from the hospital cops, it’s that a uniform is a powerful symbol. As Rick gets dressed in the law enforcement gear, we hear the warning he gave Deanna about how people will play on others’ weaknesses in order to see what they can take in order to stay alive. Is Deanna playing on Rick’s weaknesses by giving him this authority, or is Rick playing on hers by taking it?
Carol, Daryl, and Rick go outside to talk. Carol asks if they are going to stay and Rick says they can settle in. Carol expresses her concern, “If we get comfortable in this place, we let our guard down, we get weak.” Rick has already considered this, saying:
“We won’t get weak. That’s not in us anymore. We’ll make it work. If they can’t make it, then we’ll just take this place.”
Whoa! Let’s hope he means he will take over the leadership of Alexandria, not kill everyone there. You never know with Rick.
We love the act Carol (Melissa McBride) is putting on for Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) and the Alexandria crew. She pretended to be useless with weapons, lied through her teeth during her interview, found a job that enables her to gather information about people in the community, and she told Daryl he needed to keep up appearances. She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Carol’s previous experience with domestic violence probably taught her how to keep up an act in order to stay safe.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) was fantastic in this episode. Aiden might have wanted Glenn to be part of his crew, rather than someone like Daryl or Abraham, because he thought he could control him. But Glenn is no pushover. It was interesting to see Glenn, who is often the voice of reason and calm, be the one to get into a conflict with one of the Alexandria crew. Of course, this practice run was the first evidence that being a part of Alexandria, the way it currently runs, could put the group in danger. We are hoping that we will get to see some Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) storyline before the end of the season. There is a lot of potential there. It seems like The Walking Dead can only focus on Maggie and Glenn’s relationship when the show is going through a period of hope or expectation because they are such a grounding force for the others and the series.
It’s not obvious what Daryl (Norman Reedus) is afraid of. It’s natural that he would be suspicious of this new community, but he appears to be having some kind of post-traumatic response. Daryl has served as protector and gatherer of resources. As Beth told Daryl in the episode “Still,” it’s like Daryl was made for the post-apocalyptic world. Perhaps Daryl is not sure if he has a place in Alexandria and is concerned he won’t have the same value as he does outside the walls. Someone designed for a post-apocalyptic world is not that useful in a place set on living life as if the apocalypse never happened.
The interaction Carl (Chandler Riggs) has with Ron (Austin Abrams) and Mikey (Elijah Marcano) hails back to the episode “After,” when Carl walked into a teenager’s room filled with video games and posters on the walls and realized he was never going to have that life. It was also during “After,” as his father lay unconscious, that Carl went through a short-lived rebellious period. Since then he has learned that listening to his father keeps him alive. Mikey’s pre-teen rebellion of using the pool table while his father is at work, seems pretty silly in this context. For the first time in a long time, or maybe ever, we are finding Carl’s storyline compelling. It’s interesting to see him with other kids, and we want to know what’s up with Enid (Katelyn Nacon).
We still have many unanswered questions. Why does Noah (Tyler James Williams) act so weird when he talks about how he lost his dad? They have all lost loved ones, but Noah always seems to act a bit suspicious when he talks about his dad’s death. Will Rick (Andrew Lincoln) help or hurt Alexandria and will Michonne (Danai Gurira) be a moderating force as they begin their enforcement efforts? And most importantly, are the town and the people in it what they seem to be? We are as anxious as Rick and his group, and we look forward to finding out.
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