The Walking Dead Season 5: Forget Review

Can Rick and the group adjust to their new lives and roles in Alexandria? Find out in our review of tonight's The Walking Dead!

All of a sudden, The Walking Dead is a very different show. Ever since the introduction of Ross Marquand as Aaron and the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the show has stopped being about waiting for the inevitable end. As Deanna told Rick in tonight’s episode, Alexandria is supposed to be the new beginning humanity desperately needs. Things are starting to move forward. Whether that will really come true or not remains to be seen, of course. You can check out our guide to the Alexandria Safe-Zone for some insight from the comics. 

The question really is if the group is willing to accept this new beginning, this new reality these characters have suddenly been thrust into. From declaring themselves “The Walking Dead” to wearing formal attire to a cocktail party, they’d be remiss not to keep some guns stashed away in case the Alexandrians turn. 

It really comes down to Rick, Carol, and Daryl, though, doesn’t it? You could almost call them the ruling three of the group. They seem to think they know best for their people. Which up to this point has been mostly true. Sure, Carol did go on a murder spree towards the end of the prison days, but that was necessary, right? Now she’s wearing a nice mom outfit, complete with a powder blue cardigan. And she bakes the best cookies in all the land, too, apparently. 

It’s no accident that the characters who have lost the most throughout the show’s run are at the forefront of this big change. The episode is titled “Forget” for a reason, and it’s filled with endless symbolism. The Walking Dead has become quite good at talking about two things at once. Example: when Aaron and Daryl chase after Buttons, their conversation is about the horse and Daryl’s tendency to run from anyone who wants to help him at the same time. It’s very clever. As they stand over dead Buttons (who is mauled by walkers), Aaron delivers my favorite line of the episode, “He always ran.” 

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The symbolism is expertly done, if not a bit too obvious at times. You could almost miss things if you’re not careful. I probably did, and I’ll leave it up to you to call me out in the comments…(Saw that Morgan sign!)

The Scarlet Letter reference, for example, is cool, but maybe a little too heavy-handed. We get all the cheating going on. Some literal (Rick is totally going to steal Jesse away from her husband), but most of it symbolic, mainly Rick, Daryl, and Carol’s plan to steal guns from Alexandria for their own defense. 

Rick and Carol haven’t really changed that much since “accepting” their roles in Alexandria. Carol continues to play mom and Rick is the Safe-Zone’s greatest force for good. Even Reg, Deanna’s husband and the guy who constructed the walls around Alexandria, declares Rick a remarkable man. 

Carol is awesome as a double agent. The writers have created such a special character here. Melissa McBride might absolutely be the best part of season 5 — if not the entire series. The changes in her character, McBride handles every beat so masterfully. She delivers these very heartwarming moments with the cookies and then follows the sweets up by threatening a little boy (Jesse’s son, Sam) if he tells anyone she’s stealing guns. If you didn’t pee a little when Carol told Sam she was going to tie him to a tree outside of the walls so that walkers could feast on him, you’re a much braver man than I. Carol should be the new Chuck Norris meme. 

Meanwhile, the most antisocial and distrustful characters from past seasons, Daryl and Michonne, really get turned around in this episode. Michonne has spent the last few episodes trying to convince everyone to bet big on humanity and a new beginning, so it’s a bit easier for her to hang up the katana at the end of the episode. She looks really awkward in that cop uniform, though. Maybe if she tucks in her shirt?

But Daryl needs a BFF to help him adjust his attitude. That BFF, of course, is Aaron, who again is one of the best parts of the episode. He appears sparingly in this episode, like last week’s, but there’s enough of him to really leave a mark. Ross Marquand has so far delivered a fantastic performance, often tasked with introducing a lighter tone and some positivity to the overwhelmingly grim direction the show had taken recently. Aaron makes me extremely excited to never have to deal with episodes like “Them” and “The Distance” again. Of course, that’s unrealistic.

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Daryl is the one that decides not to betray the Alexandrians’ trust at the end of the episode, as Rick and Carol take extra guns for themselves. He decides that he’s going to try and live among the civilized. But really, that guy never belonged as a nice candelit dinner with spaghetti…Maybe Aaron will give him some dinner etiquette lessons? 

I realize I’ve left Sasha out of this review thus far, but that’s only because her conflict doesn’t really reach any sort of resolution. While Carol and Rick decide to live their double lives, and Daryl and Michonne decide to try in Alexandria, Sasha is losing her shit both inside and outside the walls. She’s lost two loved ones this season, and she’s clearly become unhinged. I honestly don’t think she’s going to make it to season 6 at this point. 

As she’s heading out to hunt, Sasha points out to Deanna that the Safe-Zone isn’t real. It’s only a temporary comfort before something really bad breaks the walls down. Deanna replies, “That’s bullshit.” The leader of this community clearly thinks that she’ll be able to restore civilization within Alexandria. She’s even hoping to have a working government again one day. 

These different philosophies on how humanity should rebuild will make the rest of this season (and probably the next few) and interesting one. Will Rick’s pessimism win out or does humanity truly have hope for the future? I’m excited to find out. 

John Saavedra is the unofficial zombie expert of Den of Geek. Follow him on Twitter.

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4 out of 5