We start pretty much where we left off last week, as the group slowly creeps into the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the place they might be calling home by the end of the episode. Things are as tense as you’d expect for the group that just a few episodes ago had to deal with another community — one full of cannibalistic killers. Of course the group is asked to give up their weapons before entering the Safe-Zone, and that doesn’t fare well for Rick.
But after the first commercial break, Rick meets Deanna Monroe (Douglas Monroe in the comics), the leader of the Safe-Zone. The video interview is a very interesting inclusion, especially in a world where technology is now so scarce. Even her watch is still keeping track of the time. When’s the last time we ever knew what time it was? Rick sets his watch to hers, and it seems that he finally starts to consider this new life.
Deanna is definitely a politican — once a congresswoman for the state of Ohio — as she lobbies for Rick to join the community, playing on Rick’s sentiments towards what’s outside of those iron gates. Is this the place where his family can finally begin to have a normal life? She tells him they’re the first group they even considered letting into Alexandria. He warns her that it’s not a good idea to let ANYONE into the Safe-Zone. Foreshadowing? Duh.
Can I just reiterate how much I love watching Aaron (Ross Marquand) interact with Rick? Even when Aaron is doing his genuinely friendly neighbor bit, Rick is completely apathetic. I really hope they become best buddies. Because I love Aaron.
The group gets two mini-mansions to live in, and well, they’re still ready to knife all of the strangers down. When Jesse shows up at his door with supplies and offers him a haircut, Rick is genuinely confused. “You don’t even know me.”
He accepts the haircuit after shaving. I have to say that I’d forgotten that there was a handsome dude under all that beard. Welcome back, clean-cut Andrew Lincoln. The show spends about two minutes pointing out how surprised they are by Rick’s face. With all that hair, he looked like he’d aged twenty years in a matter of months. But he’s still a pretty young guy, thankfully.
Although they get to sleep in separate houses, Rick decides that it’s best to sleep in the same house for the first night. Which probably is a good idea. But Michonne, who has probably changed as much as Rick (but in the opposite direction) has a good feeling about their new home. She spends twenty minutes brushing her teeth, and that’s pretty much the best.
Deanna informs everyone during their video interviews that they’re getting jobs in the Safe-Zone, which is part of the deal for everyone that joins the community. Only Rick, Michonne, Sasha, and Daryl don’t receive jobs after their interviews with Deanna.
A quick summary of what everyone else is up to in this new place:
As I said above, Michonne is pretty cool with the Safe-Zone, except that she’s as irked as Rick about not getting their jobs. Where is their place in this new world?
We get a nice moment with Carl, who meets kids his age. Then my girlfriend and I realized that Carl has NEVER hung out with anyone his age in a normal sort of setting. Hanging with other boys in a prison does not count. So when the other teens ask him if he wants to play video games, Carl doesn’t really know what to do. He tells his father later that he’s worried that the group will get weak like the people in Alexandria. Like father, like son?
It’s great to see Carl and Rick keep up with their zombie killing outside of the walls. Rick even lets Carl stab the last zombie in the head with a metal rod. Keeping fit, yo.
AH, Carol’s video interview is so great. She lies about how much she loved Ed and how family-friendly she is. When she hands over her rifle, she’s very clumsy with it. Deanna gives her a job feeding seniors in the community. Which is fantastic, because now we get to see Carol pretend to be this very motherly woman even though she’s keeping up appearances. She’s kind of the mole in community, ready to murder everything at the first sign of trouble.
Carol advises Daryl, who refuses to shower or even try to be normal, to do the same. Daryl is not in the mood to hang much. He prefers to gut furry creatures on porches. And just look miserable about everything.
Glenn, Tara, and Noah are going to do supply runs for the community, which fits them pretty well, especially Glenn, who we first met on a supply run in Atlanta all those years ago. They have a bad time on their first test run, under the leadership of Aiden, who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He’s lost four guys, and plays his supply runs like a game, tying up zombies for “pre-game to get their heads on straight.” Glenn has to kick Aiden’s ass in the end after he almost gets Tara killed. But really, why do we still need her on this show?
When Deanna informs Rick and Michonne that they’re going to be the law enforcement of the community, it’s powerful to see Rick walk out in his new police uniform. He meets Carol and Daryl on the porch of their new house, and he agrees to stay in Alexandria. But it’s an ominous ending, as Rick tells them that if the Alexandrians prove to be weaker than the group, they’ll take the Safe-Zone for themselves. Uh, what? That’s about as good an ending as you’re going to get this season.
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John Saavedra is looking for a safe-zone. Follow him on Twitter!