Would you remember? If you lived like this group of people has lived over the past few seasons, would you remember how to live a safe life? That is exactly what the group was tasked with in the latest episode. The viewer is immediately thrust into the interviews that Deanna conducts and she asks Rick if he minds that the interview is filmed for transparency purposes. Rick seems to be skeptical of the entire set up. Who would blame him? These people in Alexandria have been in the safe zone the entire time. Deanna seems to understand that they are weakened by not having people in the community that aren’t hardened survivalists and that is the reasoning she gives for bringing the group in.
Deanna reveals that she was a congressperson in Ohio before the collapse of society and if she had not won reelection she would have become a professional poker player, that she is “exceptionally good at reading people.” Perhaps, her real reason for filming? We will suddenly be thrust into a world of paranoia and subtle manipulation. This threat is totally different. In remembering to live a safe life the group risks forgetting the survival skills that have kept them alive. This place is creepy. Don’t worry, the government lady is here to take your weapons.
Deanna is indeed quite good at reading people and understanding what they need to hear; she tells Rick it’s decision time: 3:37pm. Wait…she is real good. Rick immediately sets his watch; this place begins to look like order. Does Rick want a safe place for his kids? A place where he can tell them to be home at 6pm for dinner. Rick gets a hot shower and a shave, socializes with the neighbor/hairdresser while getting a trim–gets to shed the old life of hardened survivor and live a new life. He remains skeptical and believes that they might be ambushed at any moment but it’s easy to see how Rick wants this place to be real: Electricity from solar installations, hot water and a sewage system, safety. He has Michonne on one side reinforcing the idea that this place seems ok and Daryl on the other who doesn’t take the opportunity to shower.
The directors portrayed Daryl’s mindset brilliantly when they showed his interview, which was basically him standing in the frame of Deanna’s camera for 2 seconds and then never getting back into frame contrasting Rick’s long monologue in her frame. Michonne says on Deanna’s camera that the group is ready for this while holding a book called “A Crime Without Punishment,” which details the Katyn massacre…. Carol is very much like Rick, she is going to play the game. There was a bit of dark comic relief as she recalled how much she misses “stupid, wonderful” (Read: dickhead-wifebeater) Ed. She downplays her role as a general badass, calling herself a den mother cause she doesn’t have much to offer the group. Apparently she didn’t watch the Carol-as-Rambo episode, No Sanctuary.
In what was one of the more surreal moments of the episode Carl is asked to play video games with the neighborhood kids…after SCHOOL…while their parents were at WORK. Carl properly deems these people to be weak and warns Rick about the same thing happening to them. Through the episode the group remains together despite being prompted to explore and more or less take their pick of remarkably well kept mansions to live in; I suppose house cleaner is one of the jobs that Deanna is giving out in Alexandria. This place is clearly different. They have organized supply runs but they can come an go as they please, evidenced by Rick leaving by himself.
Glen, Tara and Noah team up with Alexandria fratboys Nicholas and Aiden, who is Deanna’s son. Nicholas and Aiden are far too cavalier about traveling outside the walls of their community and they immediately begin to rub the group the wrong way. Aiden and Nicholas chained up a walker and have a “pregame ritual” to get their “heads straight” before they go out on runs. When Glen punches this asshole it is the most gratifying moment of the episode. Only made better by his own mother thanking Glen for punching him in the mouth.
The job Deanna offers to Rick is that of constable, which she also offers to Michonne. Deanna is playing her game perfectly slowly assessing how to work the power dynamic and work her way into it. Can Rick remember? Rick’s speech about how people on the outside are always looking for the angle or way to use people extracting what they need to live is played against him donning his new constable suit. Does Rick want to remember? Daryl asks Rick, “So, you a cop now?” and Rick responds “I’m trying it on for size…we won’t get weak. That’s not in us anymore….If they can’t make it then we will just take this place.” He will remember if it suits the group; but he won’t forget who matters.