The Walking Dead “Try” (written by Angela Kang) saw tensions escalate between the Alexandrians and our survivors, culminating in a brutal fight that left Rick unhinged, and the whole community in turmoil.
The episode opens with Deanna and her family sitting in the dark, mourning the loss of Aiden. Deanna takes out the remix CD that Aiden made for his parents, and as Nine Inch Nails’ song “Somewhat Damaged” fills the air, we get shots of the bereaved family in tears, Carol making a tuna casserole, and Sasha on the prowl for walkers. When Carol’s casserole and sympathy note find their way to Deanna’s doorstep, she promptly burns the note, letting the audience in on her current feelings about Rick’s group.
We also see Daryl and Aaron outside the walls (they ended up making a good team), when they see signs of activity in the distance. As they investigate, they come across bodies that were obviously ripped apart. Then they make the startling discovery of a bound and naked woman, tied to a tree and disemboweled. When Daryl lifts her head, he and Aaron see the woman hasn’t even turned yet, adding to the horror of the situation. They – or we – don’t know who the monsters are that are doing this, but more walkers are turning up with “Ws” on their heads, so whoever these people are, they’re getting closer. What may be of even more significance is this means there were a lot more humans right outside Alexandria than that community ever realized.
Back inside the walls, Deanna is taping Nicholas’ “confession” about the events that occurred at the warehouse, while Glenn conveys the truth of what really happened to Rick. Nicholas makes Glenn and Noah out to be the bad guys, saying, “These people have to go. They are not like us.” But Deanna wants to look into the matter further. She sees more than she is letting on. When Rick hears all of Glenn’s story, he is chomping at the bit to take the place over, telling Glenn they don’t answer to the Alexandrians. But Glenn tells him “We are them, Rick. We are now.” He wants Rick to make the place work, in honor of Noah. But we all know that’s not going to happen – not now, not ever.
Rick and Carol have another conversation about Pete. Carol tells Rick that Sam has given her more information about his home life, including how Jessie put a deadbolt lock inside his closet that he hides in when his dad goes on rampages, and how he also once found his mom on the floor – unconscious. Carol wants something done about this, and it’s obvious why she cares, given her past. And it’s really obvious to Carol why Rick cares. There’s a poignant moment between the two when Carol tells Rick, “If walkers hadn’t gotten Ed. I wouldn’t be standing here right now.” But Rick counters, “yeah, you would.” Rick knows Carol’s strength. But it’s interesting that even after everything, Carol still doubts her own.
Later in the episode, there’s a great moment when Rick is standing in the street and Pete comes along. Rick sees him, and with his hand on his gun, and in as much of a restrained manner as he can muster, tells Pete “Keep walking.” It was a great line.
Meanwhile, Sasha is spending way too much time in the watch tower and is currently missing, so Michonne and Rosita go in the woods in search of her. While they’re walking, Rosita admits that Eugene’s lie deeply affected her, because she felt like she lost something. She tells Michonne, “You seem screwed up because we found something.” This is true, and not just for Michonne, but for many of the group members who are having trouble adjusting to the complacency that life in Alexandria can bring. Michonne is beginning to feel like she’s asleep – she didn’t even bring her katana with her into the woods.
Michonne and Rosita quickly learn Sasha is hunting walkers. When they find her, she wants to be left alone, but then some zombies shamble by, and the three women go on a walker killing spree, letting loose and finding comfort in doing what they have learned to do best. Afterwards, Sasha rants about how nobody has it as bad as her. Well, those weren’t her exact words, but that’s the gist. She even tells Michonne, “It worked out for you.” Excuse me? Michonne lost her child. I would hardly say it worked out for her. She just decided to keep moving forward instead of wallowing in self-pity. Sorry, but this has been going on too long. Sasha is pissing me off.
Rick finds Deanna and tells her they have a problem with Pete. His timing is lousy – maybe he should wait until Deanna isn’t standing at the grave of her son. But I guess he feels like time is of the essence. The thing is, Deanna already knows. She just figures Jessie’s suffering is a fair trade off so the community can have a surgeon. Rick makes the suggestion of separating Pete from Jessie and the kids, which seems pretty reasonable. And then if Pete doesn’t listen – well, they just kill him. Deanna is appalled at the suggestion, because she feels exile – for anyone who is a threat – is the preferred method of removal.
Carl gets some face time with Enid as he follows her into the woods. At first she resists, but then allows Carl to join her. I have to say the slow motion shot of the two kids frolicking in the woods didn’t work for me. It was too cheesy and out of place in The Walking Dead – but thankfully it didn’t last long. After distracting a walker with an egg timer, Enid confides in Carl that she doesn’t want to forget about life outside the walls of Alexandria – and clearly Carl doesn’t want to either. Seems there’s a lot of that going around. When a walker herd shuffles by (some with “Ws’ on their heads), Carl and Enid take refuge in the hollow of a tree, standing so close to one another that their hands brush together. Then Enid whispers, “It’s their world. We’re just living in it.” That’s an interesting philosophical perspective, and one we haven’t seen from a character before.
Glenn and Nicholas have it out in this episode, too. Glenn calls Nicholas out on being responsible for five lives lost. “People like you are supposed to be dead. But these walls went up just in time. So you’re not.” Nicholas’ cowardice is very one dimensional, but I liked Glenn getting in his face and issuing him a directive to stay inside the walls. He’s taking a page from Rick’s book.
Rick finds Jessie and decides to confront her about Pete. But Jessie thinks it will get better, like it apparently did the first time Pete started hitting her. She rejects Rick’s offer to help. She doesn’t trust him, questioning why he would risk the home he’s found for his kids because of her. Rick walks away, but after pausing to take a look around at the seemingly ideal neighborhood and knowing what’s really behind it, he rushes back to Jessie’s. Determined to persuade her this time, he tells her about Sam’s request for a gun to protect his mom. To guilt Jessie into action was pretty manipulative, but it did end up working. And mention must be made of Andrew Lincoln and Alexandra Breckenridge’s performances in this scene. Both were excellent – full of raw emotion and vulnerability.
When Jessie inquires if Rick would do what he’s doing for anybody, he adamantly says no, which is kind of disheartening. I like to think Rick would do it for anyone because he’s a man of honor. But this realization seems to affect Jessie even more, and she finally agrees to accept help. As the two inch their way closer to one another (with Rick’s experience paralleling his son’s earlier one with Enid), an angry Pete walks in the door.
Jessie finds the strength to tell Pete to leave, but he starts to go on a tirade. He gets up in Rick’s face, and Rick is clearly losing his patience. And even though Rick will soon take things a bit too far, he did warn Pete to step back, and Pete did throw the first punch.
The two men then tear into each other, poking eyes and scratching faces, smashing clear through a window and onto the street, where Jessie tries to pull Pete off Rick (and gets hit for it), and Carl also attempts to stop his dad, but to no avail.
Deanna and much of the Alexandria community (including Carol, Glenn, and Michonne) surround the two men, and Rick finally stops when Pete is almost unconscious. Rick pulls out his gun, and starts his own tirade, yelling that Deanna’s way of doing things will get them all killed. He rants “We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones that live,” channeling a bit of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men (“You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall… “), going on until Michonne knocks him unconscious. And now, there’s mayhem in their own little Mayberry.
This episode continued to drive home the point that our survivors are still having difficulty adjusting to The Safe Zone, as well as perpetually showing us that many of the Alexandrians are ill equipped to deal with the current world. The episode also seemed intent on showing how unhinged Rick is becoming, even now that he’s in a supposedly civilized place – but I have some problems with that depiction. First, Rick has kept his group alive this long by having – as the show is so fond of saying – “done some things,” – but haven’t they all done things? Second, in Alexandria, he hasn’t done anything that extreme. He secretly made plans with Daryl and Carol in case things go wrong, which given their past, just seems like common sense. Third, Rick is the only one who’s willing to stick his neck out and help Jessie get away from Pete. Now, Rick did beat Pete practically unconscious, but as I wrote above, Pete did throw that first punch. And as I recall, Glenn did the same thing with Nicholas and Abraham did it with Eugene. Rick went a bit too far drawing his gun and ranting, but the community’s inability to act pushed him to a breaking point.
Also, the show has gone out of its way to tell us that these Alexandrians are inept, spineless individuals, and it’s pretty clear now that Deanna is a leader willing to turn a blind eye to criminal behavior for the sake of having a doctor around. And although they did get things up and running (which means they couldn’t be totally inept, but I know the show still wants us to think they are), the Alexandria community ignores security measures and continues to justify their cowardly actions. And the bottom line is, they specifically recruited Rick’s group for the sole purpose of using the survivors’ expertise to make Alexandria safer – and now they all have a problem with Rick and his people? Quite frankly, I hope Rick takes the whole damn place down. Ok, maybe Jessie and her kids can survive. And Aaron and Eric. And Enid can possibly squeak by, too. But that’s as far as I’m going.
As we approach the finale, we’re left with many questions: Will the group remain in Alexandria? What will happen to Pete? Will Rick be exiled? Will those who are carving the “Ws’ show up, and if they do, will everyone behind the wall put aside their differences to fight together? Will we see Morgan, or will we have to wait until next season? Will Gabriel get what’s coming to him? Will Tara wake up? That’s a lot of ground to cover! Ultimately, we know the finale will include a ton of action, and most likely a bunch of deaths as well. As for all the questions, we’ll soon find out if there are answers, and more importantly – if they’re satisfying.