They seem so … so nice. They brought homemade applesauce for Rick’s baby daughter! They can’t possibly be double-crossers, can they? If you’ve read the comics and know the answer, don’t tell me. I want to be surprised.
My guess is that they’re legit nice guys just because the show has tried every other permutation of the deceptively unsafe “safe haven.” Rick’s crew tried to hunker down at the CDC and nearly got gassed by a suicidal scientist. They tried to hunker down in Woodbury and nearly got blown up by the Governor’s psycho militia. They tried to hunker down at Terminus and nearly got eaten by cannibal hipsters. They tried to hunker down at Hershel’s farm and nearly bored the audience to death. The only twist left on the safe haven is to make it actually safe. And credit where it’s due: The end of last night’s episode, when Rick’s paranoid squint finally softens as he hears children playing inside the gates of Alexandria, was a moment of lovely understatement for a show that tends to club its viewers over the head when it wants to make a point. Remember him telling the gang last week, “we are the walking dead”? A week later, my stomach’s still upset.
So it looks like the Grimes clan will catch a break. What happens to the rest of this season once they’re taking hot showers again and detouring for dull romantic subplots? (Can Glenn and Maggie rekindle the passion? Stay tuned.) The Atlantic thinks it could be interesting to see how a post-apocalyptic mini-civilization keeps the lights on. I agree. There hasn’t been enough of that on the show — although, remembering how slow things got the last time Rick’s crew landed someplace tranquil, i.e. Hershel’s farm, I’m nervous that the zombies will disappear and take what’s left of the plot with them. Maybe we’re in store for some leadership tensions: The friendly but firm disagreement between Rick and Michonne last night on whether to go to Alexandria may be a premonition of conflict between alpha gorilla Rick Grimes and whoever’s in charge of their new citadel. The circumstances remind me of one of my favorite “Twilight Zone” episodes, “On Thursday We Leave for Home.” What happens to the heroic leader of a stranded group once they’re rescued and they don’t need him anymore? How does he handle the shift from being the man everyone listens to me to a man whose main job every day is changing a two-year-old’s diapers? It would be a poetic end to Rick’s character if, having reluctantly accepted leadership in the name of survival, he realized he can’t survive anymore without leadership. But that’s asking a lot of TWD’s writers, who long ago decided that this show doesn’t exist without Papa Bear Grimes.
Anyway, looking forward to the inevitable love triangle between Aaron, Eric, and Daryl. America demands nothing less. Exit question: When was the last time there was a serious division within the Grimes gang, to the point where one member became a threat to another member? That’s another possibility going forward, again foreshadowed by the disagreement between Rick and Michonne. You would think, amid the stress of the zombie apocalypse and sharp disagreements on where to go and how to cope, there’d be angry rifts developing within groups of survivors all the time. The last time things got hairy among the core TWD cast, though, was … when? Rick versus Shane? I’m not even counting Rick kicking Carol out of the group since she seemed to accept that she’d done wrong and of course made nice with everyone later. We’re long past due for a “Rick versus Daryl” death match. Best hero-versus-hero main event since Wrestlemania VI!