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!)