If last week's focus was remembering all they had learned and seen in the new world so as not to become soft and vulnerable, this week's episode titled "Forget" was about the Grimes family's need to do just the opposite. There's no way anyone can adjust to the sleepy, suburban calm of gated Alexandria without forcing themselves to slow down and keep their general distrust of all other people under wraps. Not an easy feat when their razor sharp reflexes cause them to immediately draw their weapons at the slightest off sound, sight, or smell.The S in PTSD stands for Sasha
Sasha, the who is currently battling the worst case of PTSD ever seen on the show, refuses to assimilate to Stepford life. And who can blame her? The normalcy of the townsfolk is the very thing that makes them freakish to anyone who has been living in the real world all this time.
Instead, she opts to use framed family photos from her assigned house for target practice. On the one hand, it's good to keep her shooting skills up to par. On the other hand, besides wasting ammo which is still a precious resource, blowing sh*t up causes her imagination to conjure up the sounds and associated gory threats of walkers. It's fine if she isn't quite ready to join the Scrabble Club or start her own Mary Kay at home business. But Constables Rick and Michonne maybe
definitely need to start noticing this and have a fireside chat with her about taking a break from firearms.Rick 3.0
Rick is easing into his new life which is his old life as sheriff on a much different playing field. Since he's still leery of the overly warm welcome Deanna and her people have given them and the fact that the Alexandrites only knew him for two minutes before trusting him to uphold the law, he and Carol and Daryl come up with a plan to sneak out a stash of guns from the commissary where they are stored to have on hand as a just-in-case precaution. All they need to do is unlatch the window from the commissary's interior (how safe that all those guns are just a window latch away!) and someone to quietly go in and sneak off with a stock pile. That someone being Carol who is soaring
under the radar.
The new Rick's outlook is a fantastic hybrid of his bearded and non-bearded former selves in that he is ready to shift from Constable Rick to Ricktatorship at a moment's s notice. The potential need to flip like that is further re-enforced when he comes upon a dead walker with a "W" carved on its forehead which must stand for more than "weird."
Michonne is happy to have some semblance of a normal life, even going so far as to hang her katana above her new mantel since that kind of weapon is overkill for a constable. Yet she agrees Deanna could still reveal herself to be super shady and attempt to do them dirty despite the fact that Deanna is actually throwing them a fabulous, old-world cocktail party in her house late that night as an official welcome.
At their first meeting with their new boss lady, Rick and Michonne are told that the community having official authority figures is the first step to the new civilization she is trying to build. One in which commerce will eventually flourish (ummmm, ok??
) and there will be a brand new government, with which, for reasons that are totally glossed over, Maggie has been chosen to help. (Ummmmm, like she could come up with some cool ideas about how to start a government? Sure, totally plausible.
) Rick is more concerned with security and the very real need for more surveillance to keep outsiders at bay.
As if on cue, Sasha interrupts to announce she would like to take on the role of watch woman on the clock tower. Everyone is aghast when Deanna reveals no one is up there now except for a dummy with a gun fashioned as a decoy by her (dummy) son who almost got Tara killed last week. Deanna agrees to consider letting sharp shooter Sasha (who was born to be in this role despite her PTSD) sit up there a little bit IF she will come to the welcome party that night.
HOW have these people survived this long under such blase leadership? Who doesn't enjoy rum punch and canapes but helllllo, at any minute, another group of people with guns and bad intentions could very well storm the walls and knock them down as people who find walls in their way are prone to do.That new lady Carol is so sweet!
Meanwhile, in what continues to be my absolute favorite storyline of the season, Carol in her latest JC Penney fitted, floral cardigan is - to viewers and not the oblivious townsfolk- engaging in the world's most comical coffee klatch. As one of the sheltered Alexandrite women giddily describes her favorite snack of Lima beans, cocoa powder and sweeteners, Carol, who will be baking cookies for the big party, makes a show of enjoying the domestic chatter. She makes her exit by exclaiming, "Sounds delicious. I'll be back. I've got to go beg Rick for help with tonight." HA
And with that, she walks with Rick to finalize the gun-stealing plan which will naturally consist of her being the one to do the dirty work.
"Know what's great about this place? I get to be invisible again," she reminds Rick before sauntering back to her harmless cookie baker routine.
Once Carol gains entry into the commissary (which is "managed" by an utterly hapless woman named Olivia who appears to only be armed with a clipboard) under the premise of needing supplies to bake those cookies, it's child's play for her to undo the window latch. In another moment of hilarity that's a true testament to Carol's chameleon quality acting abilities, a nice outdoorsy type guy named Tobin arrives at the same time to check out a weapon so he can carry out a task assigned to him by Deanna.
In a neighborly way with just a hint of flirtation, Tobin asks Carol if she's afraid of guns. She hems and haws and refers to having to hold onto a small pistol prior to her arrival and how once in a while she would have to lug a big, old, heavy, gun, to, you know, transport it to wherever the group needed.
Tobin gallantly offers to teach her to shoot. "That would be nice," purrs the woman who blew up Terminus, executed a psychopathic child and fended for herself for weeks before reuniting with the Grimes family.You can take an outdoor cat inside but you can't make him like it.
Elsewhere, every viewer's favorite loner who is currently freaking out the townspeople just by being himself, Daryl Dixon, finds himself his first new friend in ages. While out Daryl'ing behind the gates, he catches Aaron who has been following him. Aaron claims to be hunting rabbits and is quick to ask Daryl if he can tag along with him. Daryl agrees if only Aaron can keep up and keep quiet.
The unlikely duo comes upon a horse that Aaron has attempted to capture and bring inside the gates for months. The elusive horse has become such a familiar sight that the children of Alexandria have named him Buttons. What follows has next has a tri-fold purpose in that it reveals to Aaron what makes Daryl and the rest of the gang tick, it perfectly illustrates what the effect the new world has on all living things and it shows Aaron how badly anything that seems promising is still likely to end in the new world.
Daryl approaches Buttons with a lasso explaining to Aaron how, "The more they are out there, the more they become what they really are." (Lesson #1.)
"You used to be somebody's, now you're just yours," Daryl tells Buttons as he tries to gain his trust. (Lesson #2.)
But alas, is isn't meant to be. Even after one brief walker battle in which Aaron is saved by Daryl and Buttons escapes unharmed, Buttons winds up meeting his end at the gaping mouths of another horde of hungry walkers. Daryl makes it a point to have Aaron be the one to put the horse he's become so fond of out of his misery with a bullet to the head. And just like that, the hope for Alexandria's first horse disappears. (Lesson #3.)
Aaron learns how Daryl likes horses but much prefers riding motorcycles. He encourages Daryl to go to Deanna's shindig. He attempts to bond with him by saying he and Eric can totally relate to being outsiders in this community as the sole gay couple. But the key to making his new neighbors less scared of him, is to do what they did and allow them to get to know him as a person. Daryl has nothing to prove to anyone and even pre-Apocalypse, he was never one for dainty soirees.
Later on, as many members of the Grimes family are arriving at the much talked about party in their brand new Sunday best, Daryl surprisingly gets as far as a couple houses away before turning back. As he walks past Aaron's house, Aaron conveniently happens to come outside and invites him in for a spaghetti dinner, since given Eric's broken ankle, the couple opted to skip the festivities.
Daryl slurps up his spaghetti toddler-style just as one would expect from a starved ruffian who has been known to eat worms when necessary. (Somewhere Herschel is smiling at that menu!) After his uncouth feast, he is shown to the couple's pristine garage where, as luck would have it, a motorcycle along with tons of spare motorcycle parts is waiting
The bike is Daryl's for the taking. ....if he agrees to accept the role Aaron has in mind for him. "I told Deanna not to give you a job because I think I have one for you. I would like you to be Alexandria's other recruiter," he explains. He doesn't want Eric risking his life anymore.
"You want me risking mine?" Daryl drawls.
"Yeah, because you know what you are doing. You're good out there but you don't belong out there.But the main reason why I want you to help me recruit... you do know the difference between a good person and a bad person."
Daryl realizes he has made a friend in Aaron. And that taking this job will save his sanity from the banality of picture perfect suburbia.Tonight we're gonna party like it's 2010!
Finally, we move onto the most awkward, psychologically jarring house party. (Too much too soon, townspeople!)
Carol, Rick, Carl and Judith arrive and it's immediately clear that while the setting of a civilized gathering in a lovely house is familiar to them, actually being there is totally surreal.
Abraham and Rosita can only relax once they discover the beer. A not-so-sober Abraham later on has an endearing chat with Michonne who is out on the porch marveling at the tiny, sword-shaped toothpick from the plate of finger foods she just enjoyed. It's all so normal. She could get used to this life but can't admit it yet.
Abraham makes a joke about her packing different steel these days. "Live by it Die by it. Eat potato puffs by it. Pray to God you don't have to use it again Pray to God you don't get used to not using it again. It's on your back even when it's not on your back." Wise words from a drunk fool.
Noah wants to ditch the party. Maggie and Glenn insist he stays with his "family."
Rick meets Deanna's husband, Reg, who is full of compliments for the sheriff about how he has managed to keep fourteen people alive so long, Getting into the give-and-take of cocktail party talk, Rick compliments the wall Reg built. The two enjoy some scotch together. ALERT: Rick is actually enjoying
Jessie, the attractive stylist who tamed Rick's wildman hair last week, arrives with her sunny-looking doctor husband and kids in tow. In this setting, the husband is nothing like the snarling creep Rick encountered last week.
Jessie has a talk with Rick about adjusting to this new life. "We all lost things but we got something back. It isn't enough but it's something." Rick is inclined to agree as he watches Carl happily socialize with her teenage son.
Totally inept Olivia from the commissary arrives which is Carol's signal to sneak out and go grab those guns
Jessie's younger kid, Sam, complains about there being no cookies left. Rick jokes about knowing the cookie baker. Sam notices Rick doesn't have a stamp on his hand like everyone else and quickly inks his hand with a giant red "A." Presumably, it stands for the community's name though nothing further is said about its significance or why an 8 year old would go around stamping hands.
The letter seems to ring a bell with Rick who knows he has seen it before and likely also reminds him of the "W" on the walker he ran into earlier. (And as we know, that "A" is also affiliated with mysterious Morgan who has yet to re-surface)
Sasha arrives and immediately regrets attending. Deanna takes her under her wing imploring her to just listen to the other people talking and having fun.Sasha cannot deal with the drone of typical conversations being had by these basics.
All the party sounds are way too much for her PTSD. This setting triggers the sounds and images of walkers despite there being no walkers inside the community walls, much less the house. She sees flashbacks of Tyreese. A female guest with the best of intentions approaches her to ask her favorite meal so she can cook it for her and Sasha freaks out on her and runs away.
That sweet lady Carol should never EVER babysit
Back at the commissary where all the chocolate and guns are left unguarded, that sweet lady Carol is busy stealing a bag of guns. But young Sam who missed out on her cookies left the party and had followed her!
She promises him his own batch with a giant helping of blackmail thrown into the recipe. Switching from JC Penney Carol to Commando Carol, she warns Sam he can never tell anyone he saw her there, especially his mom. "If you do, one morning you will wake up and you won't be in your bed.You will be outside the walls. Far away tied to a tree. Screaming. No one will come to help because no one will hear you.Monsters will come for you and they will tear you apart and eat you up while you are still alive and feel it. And then afterwards, no one will ever know what happened to you. Or, you can promise not to ever tell anyone what you saw here and then nothing will happen and you will get cookies. Lots of cookies."
DAMN, that was cold but necessary.
How Rick is getting his groove back
Back at the shindig, Jessie is enjoying holding token baby Judith in a quiet moment with Rick who still can't believe his surroundings.
"She and Carl. They are why I am still here. And I get what you've been telling me. Here isn't that bad."
And with that, the newly minted constable gives the town hair stylist a lingering kiss on the cheek that only narrowly misses her lips while locking eyes with her. No mistaking it. That long peck was more than neighborly as was the knowing glance the two shared. The tension is palpable. This new world is Rick's oyster! (Lori whooooo?)
Jessie smiles, blushes and walks away. Wouldn't it be something if Rick winds up being ousted for a scandalous affair instead of losing his cool and blowing up as everyone believed he might when they first arrived?
That day after the party letdown feeling
The next day, Deanna confronts Sasha who flat out tells Deanna that this community isn't real.
"That's bullshit," Deanna responds and sends Sasha out on foot patrol instead of letting her use her best skills by manning the clock tower.
Carol, Rick and Daryl meet at the shack with the guns. Daryl, who is starting to settle down a little, questions Carol about whether they really need those spare guns after all.
Rick takes a small pistol and hides it in his back pocket. Even the alluring beauty of the local beautician isn't about to knock him off his game. He goes back to patrolling.
Speaking of, Jessie strolls by with her clueless husband and says hi to Rick like nothing happened. Rick creepily feels for the pistol he has hidden in his back pocket as the happy couple passes him.
Rick realizes his new life will never be completely transformed. He will always exist in an in-between place where he might let himself enjoy a moment but will never, ever take his guard down.
He hears a walker behind the wall pawing at it but unable to get inside. The wall is so high and thick, he can't even see him. And he realizes that this threat and all kinds of other threats are out there but for the first time in a long time, he doesn't need to directly deal with them. That's exactly what his new life is all about.
And he could really get used to it.
*What is up with these Alexandria people? Who is the shadiest of them all?
*Will Carol's true nature be found out?
*Where's Morgan? And why didn't we see Father Gabriel or Eugene or Tara at that party?