**Spoilers about the Alexandria Safe-Zone and other stuff. And thangs. Back up if you don’t want to know what happens when the group goes inside those gates**
Finally the group has arrived at the Alexandria Safe-Zone and found civilization and hopefully safety. But can they trust this place? They did hear children playing when they approached which is a good sign but Rick is not about to let his guard down yet. When they first go inside they are instructed to hand over their weapons. Rick refuses to do so until they have been interviewed by Deanna, who is the person in charge. She interviews them one by one, on tape, saying that transparency is everything in the community. At first Rick is caught off guard but he and Deanna have a very tense conversation where both of them size each other up and Rick sizes up the Safe Zone.
The Safe-Zone isn’t just a community that has been cobbled together from bits and pieces and scavenged items the way that Woodbury or even Terminus was. The Safe-Zone occupies what was a luxury gated community that was built on Eco-Design principles so that it has solar power and other amenities that make it essentially like it was before the apocalypse. The houses are huge, filled with books, functioning appliances, luxury furniture, and electronics like video games and DVD players.
Deanna, who is the leader of the Safe-Zone, tells Rick that she was a Congress person before the apocalypse. She was trying to get home to Ohio with her family when the apocalypse made that impossible. She and her family were sent to this community to be safe. Her husband, who was a professor of architecture, scavenged materials to build the enormous walls surrounding the Safe-Zone and as people joined them they were able to build the walls up to be a pretty strong defense. She mentions that they have been living in the Safe-Zone ever since the apocalypse happened and have never lived outside the walls. So in essence they have no idea what it’s like to try and survive in the world the way it is now.
The group is clearly uncomfortable being surrounded by comforts that they have been without for a long time. Daryl looks extremely uncomfortable throughout the episode, which is to be expected. Even before the apocalypse he would have felt uncomfortable and left out in a community like this one. The group is given two houses side by side to use as their dwellings, but no one in the group wants to be separated. They all stay in one house together, sleeping in the living room with everyone in one room the way they are used to. They are given a couple of days to settle in before Deanna assigns them jobs.
Rick seems as if he is going along with the rules in the Safe-Zone but really he’s still sizing the place up. They are weak, and he knows it. Carl mentions that he is afraid the group will get weak like the people who have never been outside the fences but Rick says he won’t let that happen. Rick and the other members of the group except for Daryl finally get a luxury they have been dreaming of when they get to take hot showers and clean up. Rick shaves his beard. As he finishes shaving a neighbor comes by with a basket of food and supplies from the communal pantry for the group. Her name is Jessie, and she is played by Alexandra Breckinridge.
So as predicted the characterization that was leaked about Jessie was correct but her name was given as Samantha to divert attention. She lives nearby with her two kids, one of whom is around Carl’s age, and her husband. Her husband is a lot like Ed Peletier and chances are good that her husband isn’t going to be around for long, which would leave the way clear for Rick and Jessie to be a couple. Jessie tells Rick that she used to be a stylist and offers to give him a haircut. While she cuts his hair she gives him some information about the Safe-Zone and the other people in it.
The next day Rick and Carl, with Judith, are out exploring. Rick loses track of Carl who is holding Judith and freaks out. He stumbles through Jessie’s yard and knocks over a sculpture that she is building. She comes out and calms him down, showing him that Carl and Judith are visiting with other neighbors who are sitting on their front porch. She tells Rick it’s been a long time since the community has seen a baby so Judith may have to put up with some pinched checks and attention.
Carol, in a masterful performance by Melissa McBride, has a plan in place from the moment she goes through the gate. She drops into an act as a bumbling, quiet, suburban housewife who doesn’t know anything about guns or security. She fumbles when handing over her weapons and has an “aw, shucks” kind of attitude. During her interview with Deanna she tells Deanna that she took on the role as the mother hen of the group because she can’t shoot or handle weapons well. She talked about how much she missed her husband too, which every fan knows is a lie. She is given the job of helping to feed and care for the elderly in the community.
When she comes down after getting cleaned up and goes off to her new job she is wearing a Stepford Wives worth sweater set and looks every bit the doting housewife. It’s a genius move on her part, because her disguise will allow her to get information about the Safe-Zone from the residents and if Rick and the other members get into trouble she will be able to rescue them without being suspected. She knows that people underestimate her and she’s going to use it to her advantage. She and Daryl share a nice moment where she tells him that she’s going to hose him down if he doesn’t take a shower and he tells her that she looks ridiculous in her housewife disguise.
Carl seems, like the rest of the group, to alternately like and dislike the Safe-Zone. He clearly wants to have that sense of normalcy again but when he is introduced to some other kids and goes to play with them it’s very clear that he can’t go back to being a kid. They want to play video games and do things that kids do and he doesn’t know how to respond since he has been forced to do things like kill his mother and kill walkers constantly. A video game doesn’t hold much appeal after that. He does feel a kinship with a girl that he meets, Enid. When he sees her sneaking over the wall and going outside the Safe-Zone he follows her. He runs into Rick, who has gone outside the wall to retrieve the gun he hid at the cabin in the blender. But it’s gone, and suddenly he and Carl are set on by walkers. They kill the walkers and Carl seems relieved that he’s still capable of doing what has to be done.
Glenn and Tara
In the meantime Glenn and Tara are given the job of going on a run with Aidan, who is Deanna’s son, and another man. Deanna’s son is a blowhard who is clearly threatened by the presence of the group. He takes them to a spot where they have tied up a walker that killed one of their friends. It has gotten loose thanks to the flesh rotting off it and while Aidan and his friend make a big show of trying to capture it and tie it up again it attacks Tara and she and Glenn kill it. Aidan gets upset but Glenn, who is not about to put up with attitude from Aidan, blows him off. They are still arguing when they get back to the Safe-Zone.
Glenn Fights Back
Aidan and Glenn continue to have words. Aiden tells Glenn and Tara that they aren’t ready to go on runs with the Safe-Zone crew yet and Glenn tells him that he has that backwards, meaning Aidan and the other guy aren’t ready to be doing runs with Glenn and Tara. Aiden gets in Glenn’s face and pushes him but Glenn takes the high road and just tells him to stop. Aiden doesn’t stop. Deanna comes out and when Aiden asks her why she let the group in Glenn told Aiden it’s because the group actually knows what they are doing when it comes to fighting walkers. Aiden swings at Glenn, who knocks him out. Aidan’s friend comes at Glenn and Daryl tackles him, strangling him. Michonne steps in front of Aiden before he can swing at Glenn again. Rick breaks up the fight.
Officer Friendly Returns
Deanna tells Rick that she wants him to the cop in the community since it’s what he was and what she thinks he still is. Michonne is also made a cop. Not everyone has been assigned a job yet but it’s very clear that Daryl is feeling very left out and uncomfortable. Rick is given a new uniform to identify him as the police in the Safe-Zone. The patch on the sleeve has a Latin phrase embroidered on it that means, “We will rise again”. Foreshadowing perhaps?
We’ll Take It From Them
After Rick puts on the new uniform he and the group are talking about the situation. The others are also afraid the situation will make them weak but Rick assures them it won’t. He tells them that they will make it work, and if the Safe-Zone people can’t make it work then the group will take the Safe-Zone from them. Clearly Rick has found a safe place for his family, and for Judith to grow up in, and he’s going to keep it by any means necessary. Officer Friendly whose only mission is to protect his family is back in town.
In the preview clip for the next episode Sasha is out in a clearing and she thinks she sees something in the woods. She fires, but isn’t sure she hit anything. But all around her she hears a low murmuring, like a whisper, that totally surrounds her. It’s very possible that is the first appearance of The Whisperers.