Speaking just for myself, if I controlled a fragile suburban oasis in a post-apocalyptic world, I’d definitely invite in a close-knit, deeply scarred, heavily armed gang of survivor-warlords. Then I’d put the head warlord and his deputy in charge of my town’s security. Then I’d light myself on fire just to see if I could put out the flames before they consumed me. All of these thoughts are equally rational.
But that’s okay. The lesson Rick’s gotten on Alexandria (so far) is not to look a gift horse in the mouth; we shouldn’t do that either by scrutinizing the first novel plot development in ages for illogic. The nifty thing about this storyline, hinted at in Rick’s menacing final line last night, is that there’s a chance the Grimes crew will end up as the bad guys as this plays out. That’s never been true before as far as I can recall. Their enemies, from the Governor to the Terminus creeps to Dawn and the hospital staff to the zombies themselves, have always threatened to overpower them. Five seasons in, after endless teases that Rick’s thisclose to snapping and following Shane into “Lord of the Flies” amorality, the hard fact is that he and the gang have never killed someone who didn’t need killing. The threat posed by Alexandria’s residents is that they’ll underpower them by lulling them into “softness” and complacency, leaving Rick with no choice but to thin the herd’s weaker members for the crime of being … civilized. Sounds good to me: After four and a half years, we deserve a plot arc that casts the Family Grimes as antiheroes. It’s truer to what life would be like in this setting and it’ll be fun as a viewer to be coopted into their deceit and ruthlessness. How many of the best dramas of the past 15 years, from “The Sopranos” to “Breaking Bad” to “Mad Men” to “Game of Thrones,” revolve around antiheroes?
I’m already imagining how this is going to go. Obviously Glenn and his allies will ambush the hotheaded, irresponsible Aidan while out on a supply run and feed him to the walkers, then lie to Deanna and claim that it was the walkers who did the ambushing. King Rick’s going to claim a new queen in the form of the hot blonde housewife who cut his hair by making sure her husband, who doesn’t seem to like him much anyway, meets with an accident. Eventually another group of survivors will reach Alexandria and beg to be let in, and Deanna will be willing and Rick won’t and you know who wins that battle. How sweet would it be if the season ended with the Grimes gang mowing down a group of people begging for help outside the walls before turning their guns on Deanna and Aaron? If the prospect of a “Rick versus Daryl” grudge match is the best hero-on-hero match-up since Wrestlemania VI, the prospect of Rick morphing into the Governor with Deanna’s head on the flagpole on his front porch would be the best heel turn since Andre the Giant went rogue on Hogan before Wrestlemania III.
No looking a gift horse in the mouth then. Except for one thing: Did they ever explain to us how Aaron, who sure doesn’t act like an expert tracker or practiced killer, was able to follow the Grimes gang without being detected? He popped up in the final moments of the episode two weeks ago, taking Maggie and Sasha by surprise, and seemed to know enough about the gang that he’d already formed an opinion about whether they’d be good recruits for Alexandria. (Didn’t he also know Rick’s name without being told or am I imagining that?) Sure hope we get an explanation for all that. Note to Deanna: If you have a guy already on your team who’s capable of ambushing a group of 12 or so battle-hardened apocalyptic commandos, maybe think about making him your chief of police.