‘The Walking Dead’ 5.12 Recap: “That’s What You Were, That’s What You Are”

My initial guess is that a great number of ‘Walking Dead’ fans may have found this week’s episode to be somewhat of a snooze because not a whole lot of action takes place. However, unlike some previous entries that just seemed to pad the series’ schedule, I found this week’s story to be quite interesting.

The episode feels very much like a reset for our characters, and it introduces us to a whole bunch of new characters (most of which, of course, aren’t likely to still be around at this point in Season 6).

Our heroes enter the gates at the community in Alexandria, but not before Daryl takes out a possum that startles them when it knocks over a trash can. It’s always good to arrive with a housewarming gift, right? Inside the gates, a man named Nicholas (Michael Traynor) introduces himself and asks them to turn over their weapons. When Rick refuses, Nicholas says they’ll need to talk to Deanna.

Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) is the community’s leader. At her house, she asks to videotape her interview with Rick. In fact, Deanna wants to interview everyone in Rick’s group individually on camera. She tells Rick that she used to be a congresswoman from Ohio. Rick hesitantly tells her that he used to be a sheriff.

The group turn in their weapons, although they’re told they can check them out any time they need to. They’re given two side-by-side houses to stay in, but decide to stay together in one place, at least initially. Rick gets a shower and finally shaves off his Grizzly Adams beard, which makes him look about ten years younger. A neighbor named Jesse (Alexandra Breckenridge) comes over with some supplies and offers to give Rick a haircut. For the record, Daryl Dixon refuses to either shower or cut his own hair, and gets hell from Carol for not doing so.

As it turns out, there are a number of kids Carl’s age in the neighborhood. He’s introduced to Jesse’s son Ron (Austin Abrams) and his pals Mikey (Elijah Marcano) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon). Almost immediately, Carl and Enid start eyeing each other up, though Carl’s not sure that Enid likes him very much. Not long afterwards, he has a talk with his dad about how he likes this new place… but he’s worried that staying here will make them all weak. Later that night, Rick goes for a walk in the moonlight and passes Jesse’s house, where her husband Pete (Corey Brill) gives him a rather creepy welcome to Alexandria.

Of course, every episode needs to have a few Walkers in it, so some of our heroes venture outside the walls. Glenn, Tara and Noah join a group led by Deanna’s son Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) on a supply run, while Rick goes out to check on the gun he hid during last week’s episode. Carl stalks Enid when he sees her climbing over the wall and heading out into a wooded area.

Aiden tells the others that they’ve hung a Walker from a tree as a sort of pre-hunt ritual to remind them of what they’re facing. However, when they get to the spot, they find that the Walker has gotten free. It attacks the group, so Glenn kills it with a knife before it can bite anyone. Aiden is really upset about this. Meanwhile, Rick discovers that someone has taken the gun he hid. He, too, gets attacked by Walkers, but Carl arrives to team up with his father in disposing of them. We don’t learn in this episode what Enid was up to, but she’s back at the community by the time Rick and Carl get back.

Upon the return of Aiden and the others, he gets in a verbal confrontation with Glenn and takes a swing at him. Glenn ducks the punch and then slugs Aiden, knocking him to the ground. Daryl is nearby and goes after Aiden himself, but Deanna arrives to break up the conflict. She tells Aiden and the others that Rick and his group are now part of the community and are equals with everyone else there. She also offers Rick the job of community constable. Rick decides to accept.

The episode wraps up with Rick (now in a law enforcement uniform once again) talking to Carol and Daryl on the porch of his new house. Like Carl earlier in the episode, Carol is worried that staying here too long will make them all weak. Rick assures her and Daryl that he won’t let that happen… and if the others in the community can’t make it, they’ll just take this place for their own. Uh oh.

This entry has a ton of new characters to meet, but among them, I actually found Deanna the most interesting and the one I hope sticks around on the series for a while. She kind of reminds me of a cross between Cherry Jones’ President Taylor on ’24’ and Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’. It’s going to be interesting to see how her character develops, and I hope the writers don’t take the easy path and make her a villain or have her bitten and disposed of too soon. It also looks like both Aiden and Pete are potential problems at the community. Enid may wind up being Carl’s new girlfriend, and Jesse may be a new love interest for Rick. (Let’s just hope she’s not as crazy as Lori was!)

What did you think of all the new people we met this week, and what are your predictions for what might happen next? (Note: If you read the comics, no spoilers please!)


  1. This was another good episode. I’m wondering if Enid took Rick’s gun or maybe someone else from the community that might be sneaking out. I looked at Jesse’s husband two ways. One, he’s creepy and will turn out to be a douche ( another reason for Rick to hook up with Jesse) or two, he’s more like Rick and the gang. He was up and restless in the middle of the night in this perfect little world, just like Rick. What’s funny about this little town is that it reminds me of Celebration. The look of the houses were strikingly similar. It’s built by Disney to be this perfect little community but sometimes it seems eerily Stepfordy. It’s a great little place, but I’ve heard more than one person make this comment. I found it fascinating that there were people who actually haven’t been out in the post Zombie world and have been living normal ish lives in their gated community. I don’t know who’s crazier, Daryl who won’t clean up, or Carol wearing her Mr.Rogers sweater. I’m also hoping that Deanna doesn’t turn out to be a villain. That would be really uninspired. It almost seems as Rick is the villain with his plans to take over if things don’t pan out. I hope they can keep the show really interesting for the remainder of the season.

    • I really liked this episode, and the scene where Carol pretended to be a naive housewife was hilarious.

      On the subject of Daryl not showering, I think he doesn’t expect to be in this little community for very long. If they’re going to get back out and about in the world of Walkers again, being freshly cleaned and showered is a liability. When they’re covered in filth, they look and smell like Walkers and don’t draw attention to themselves, either from the real Walkers or from bad people who might want to take what they have.

  2. eric

    This was another good episode that had me waiting for it all to go to crap at any moment. I really hope this doesn’t turn into another town leader is the villain story line. It definitely would be interesting if Rick and team became the villains and ended up turning this place into a cross between Terminus and Woodbury, but I can’t imagine the writers taking a risk like that. I have a feeling we find out there are other people (or another town) out there and Rick and team came along just in time to protect this one. Maybe, there is someone higher to answer to and that is why Deanna makes the video recordings.

    Some great moments in this episode, like Carole immediately acting all defenseless and incapable immediately upon arrival. She immediately went into stealth mode to protect the group, just in case. I really like how subtle this was.

    Also, Glen historically as one of the weakest characters in the group is a badass in this town. These people are weak.

    Also, with Ricks gun missing and a zombie under the trash where there wasn’t one before tells you something more is going on that meets the eye.

    The town is well stocked and the leaders son doesn’t seem competent enough to be making sure the place is well stocked, there has to be more to this element.

  3. Chris B

    I dug this episode as well, they’re definitely keeping the audience guessing as to what’s up in Alexandria. I loved the lighting during the scene when Rick and Michonne are talking by the window in the middle of the night. The shadows were so heavy it looked like it was ripped right out of the graphic novel. The final part of episode where Rick states the group will take the town over if necessary seems to imply he’s going a little nuts. Maybe the writers are setting him up as the new “Governor” of the town? It would be ballsy as hell to turn him into a full blown villain by the end of the season. Then he’d have to square off against members of the group who don’t agree with his line of thinking. Can you imagine a fight to the death between Rick and Darryl?! Or Rick and Glen?! People would lose their shit! I had given up in this show for a while but I feel like the last few episodes have been a bug improvement. I’m fully onboard once again 🙂

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