**Spoilers! No one dies in this episode!! If there’s anything else you don’t want to know stop reading.**
Fans of The Walking Dead were a little amped up this week because there was a mystery guest star on Talking Dead and most fans assume when there is a surprise guest that means there is going to be a death of a main cast member in that episode. But, just to mess with the fans, that didn’t happen. The surprise guest turned out to be Alexandra Breckinridge who is plays one of the new characters in Alexandria, Jesse. It’s been reported that Jesse is going to be a love interest for Rick, but is that the case? Read on for more on that in a bit.
A Period of Adjustment
The episode begins with Rick, Daryl and Carol at the shack outside the wall creating a plan to steal and hide some of the guns from the armory inside the gates outside the gates in case things go bad in the Safe-Zone. Carol points out that she will have the easiest time stealing the guns because the armory and the pantry are in the same place. She can make an excuse to go to the pantry looking for food supplies and unlock a window while she is there so that later she can sneak back and get back some guns. She is dressed in a ridiculous floral sweater which is really part of her disguise. As Carol says, she can easily blend into the background in this middle class suburban community. She has got her “middle aged suburban housewife” act down pat and she can be invisible in the community whenever she wants to be. They head back inside the walls and split up.
Deanna tells Rick that there is going to be a party at her house that night to welcome the group. All of the people in the group are uncomfortable at the idea of a cocktail party. After what they have been through they can barely comprehend having a party. Some of them want to go to make an effort to fit into their new community, but others like Daryl and Sasha are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of mingling with a bunch of people who have become very alien to them. After fighting to survive for years out in the world they are having a very hard time adjusting to safety and community. It is really a shock for fans when they see the group, who just days ago were eating barbecued dog by the side of the road to stay alive, dressed in cocktail attire chatting and drinking with the people of the Safe-Zone. Daryl, predictably, does not attend the party. He does head toward Deanna’s house, but he is stopped by Aaron and instead he joins Aaron and Eric for dinner.
At the party Rick seems very uncomfortable, like the rest of them. Abraham has a little too much to drink but if anyone is entitled to get drunk it’s the group who haven’t experienced any kind of peace or plenty for a long time. Rick chats with Jesse and her husband, who is the doctor in the community. He seems pleasant and chatty and not at all the way he was the first time Rick met him on the porch. He and Jesse talk about babies while Jesse is holding Judith. Jesse is very sweet and nurturing and there is a definite attraction between them. Jesse soothes Rick as much as Judith and he kisses her on the cheek. While she is clearly surprised they share a lingering gaze and she doesn’t yell at him or remind him that she is married.
Early in the episode fans see Daryl out hunting. He comes across Aaron, who has followed Daryl hoping to get the chance to talk to him. They hunt and Aaron tells him that he knows how Daryl is feeling because he and Eric are still kind of outsiders in the community. Even though they are outsiders for different reasons, Aaron tells him, they do understand each other. Aaron sees a wild horse that some of the kids have named Buttons, and together he and Daryl try to approach the horse to put a halter on it and bring it inside the gates. Daryl is able to get close to Buttons because Daryl understands animals so well but unfortunately they are attacked by walkers and Buttons become zombie chow. Horses don’t seem to fare very well in the post-apocalypse world. They notice that some of the walkers have a “W” carved into their foreheads, like the walkers they saw in Richmond.
But the hunting does more than bond Daryl and Aaron. They are feeling each other out and judging each other’s skills. Daryl finds that Aaron, despite his placid demeanor, is a good shot and is very good under pressure. Aaron finds out just how skilled Daryl really is when it comes to hunting and survival. He asks Daryl to be a recruiter for the Safe-Zone, with him, so that Eric doesn’t have to go out anymore. Eric really doesn’t have the skills necessary to be an effective recruiter and Aaron worries about his safety. Daryl agrees to become a recruiter, and it seems like he is relieved to have the chance to get outside the gates sometimes. Everyone knows that Daryl doesn’t like cages and the thick of walls of the Safe-Zone are starting to look like a pretty gilded cage for the survivors.
As he is heading to the party he sees Aaron, who isn’t going to the party because he is using Eric’s injured ankle as an excuse. He tells Daryl to come have spaghetti with them instead. Daryl does, and after dinner while they are talking Aaron takes him to the garage of the house he and Eric share. There is a motorcycle, and a lot of different parts. Aaron said he found the bike and had planned on fixing it up to use it on recruiting runs but he didn’t know how to fix it. He gives it to Daryl so that Daryl can fix it up and use it. Daryl seems relieved to have something to do that he feels comfortable doing.
Of all the members of the group Sasha seems to be having the hardest time dealing with the safety inside the Safe-Zone walls. She tells Deanna there has to be a guard in the tower and volunteers to take as many shifts as possible because she is a great shot. She goes outside the gate for some target practice and hears some voices whispering to her. That could be the introduction to the Whisperers or it could be just Sasha’s mind playing tricks on her. Later on, at the party, she had another meltdown probably brought on by PTSD. She has lost Bob, and only recently lost Tyreese. She freaks out and leaves the party.
Melissa Mcbride is once again stealing the show in this episode. She’s already proven that she has the guts to take on walkers, sociopathic kids, and anything else this world throws at her. She slips out of the party and back to the pantry under the guise of picking up more chocolate to make some more cookies. She grabs a chocolate bar from the freezer and then turns to her real mission which is stealing some guns. She hears a noise and turns around. It’s Sam, Jesse’s son. He followed her in the hopes that she was going to make more cookies because he really liked the cookies and they were all gone. Carol tells him that he has to keep it a secret that she was in the pantry. Sam tells her that he can’t keep it a secret because he tells his mom everything. Carol doesn’t miss a beat. In her sweet suburban housewife voice she delivers the scariest speech ever. She tells him that if he doesn’t keep it a secret he will wake up one morning tied to a tree far outside the gates where no one can hear him and the walkers will hear him and come and eat him alive. Sam’s eyes get as big as saucers while she tells him in detail what the walkers will do to him. Then she tells him, in the same sweet voice she used to threaten him with a horrifying death, that if he doesn’t tell he will get cookies. Lots of cookies.
The Beginning of Trust
At the end of the episode Carol, Daryl and Rick are once again at the small shed outside the walls, this time with the guns that Carol has stolen. Carol takes one and Rick takes one but Daryl doesn’t. Daryl is really trying to trust the new place and adapt to the possibility of Alexandria really being a safe place for the group. He keeps his crossbow but says that if he needs a gun he knows where they are.
What Lies Ahead
It’s pretty clear that this awkward period of adjustment won’t last. There are only three episodes left in Season 5 and the season finale is a whopping 90 minutes so it’s clear that some bad things are about to start happening. Will the group stay at the top of their game and be able to reform their tight knit group of fighters or will they start to lose their edge now that they are back in a pre-apocalypse society? Fans will get answers over the next three weeks as the last episodes of Season 5 air.