**Spoilers ahead. This recap is lousy with them, so stop reading now if you haven’t seen The Distance yet and want to be surprised. **
This week’s episode picked up immediately with Sasha and Maggie bringing Aaron, the guy who had been watching them, into the barn to meet Rick. Later in the episode it’s revealed that Aaron has actually been following them since they got to Richmond. He even had a parabolic mic and was listening to them. It’s very apparent in the way that Rick approaches Aaron that the old Rick is gone for good. Rick is cold as ice and doesn’t trust Aaron at all. Aaron is a very smooth talker, similar to how Gareth was at first. Aaron is disarmed, tied up, and questioned. The situation in the barn is tense as Aaron start to explain himself.
Aaron explains that he used to work for an NGO and spent a lot of time in tough situations, which explains why he can stay so calm in a tense situation. He tells Rick that he is part of a community and he wants them to join his community. In his pack he has some blurry photos. One of the photos is of a heavy steel wall. Aaron tells Rick and the group that the walls surrounding the community are thick steel and that the community is very secure. Rick doesn’t believe him and doesn’t trust him. But Michonne wants to consider going to the community. Aaron keeps talking trying to convince Rick and Rick punches him and knocks him out to shut him up. When he comes to they question him further. He tells Rick that he has one other scout with him, and that they have vehicles not far away. Glenn volunteers to go look. Rick doesn’t want to take the chance but Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Abraham also go that Rick feels a little better about it. He tells Aaron that if the group isn’t back in an hour he will kill him.
Rick is not put at ease by Aaron or anything that he says. Rick is not willing to trust the group’s safety to this community that he doesn’t know. After being burned by Woodbury and Terminus and losing the prison Rick is not going to trust the promise of a secure place to live. He’s convinced now that there is no security and no safety and that the only way the group will survive is to trust no one but themselves. In this episode he makes some pretty strong choices, some of which end up leading the group into danger. But he is trying to keep everyone safe the best way he knows how.
While Glenn and the others are out searching for the vehicles and the people who stayed behind are watching for any threats Judith starts crying. She’s hungry. Rick tries to grind up some acorns to give her but Aaron tells him to give her some applesauce from a jar in his pack. Rick doesn’t trust Aaron, and forces him to eat the applesauce first to prove it isn’t poisoned. Aaron eats the applesauce and then, satisfied it’s not dangerous, Rick gives it to Judith.
The Road to Alexandria
The vehicles turn out to be waiting where Aaron said. There is a car and an RV, which looks a little similar to Dale’s RV. The group returns to the barn to tell Rick. At first Rick says they’re not going anywhere, they are just going to take the food that was in the RV. But Michonne and the others convince him that they need to go see this community and see if it’s somewhere they can live. Rick asks Aaron where the camp is. Aaron mentions Alexandria several times but doesn’t say exactly where. He says that he will drive the car and bring them to camp. Rick says no, he will only go if he drives and if Aaron tells them where the camp is. Rick wants to go at night so that they can check out the camp without being seen. Aaron tells him eventually where the camp is and what road to take. Rick insists on taking another road in case Aaron is leading them into a trap. However it’s Rick that ends up putting the group in danger. As they are driving Glenn asks Aaron the three questions that the group always asks people.
Driving down the highway that Rick insisted on, which was not cleared the way the other highway was, they run into a huge herd of walkers on the road. Glenn is driving the car and the RV is following. Glenn loses control of the car in the herd. He didn’t stop going through the herd so he’s not able to see anything and the car is covered in blood, guts and body parts. There are body parts in the grill and stuck all over the car. When they finally clear the herd and look around the RV is gone. A flare goes off and Aaron panics, which surprises everyone. There are several spectacular kills during these scenes, including where Rick turns a walker into a lantern by firing a flare into the head which lights up the head like a Jack O Lantern and provides light to see by and light to draw the walkers away.
Eventually they find the RV and the others, including Eric. Eric is another scout from Alexandria who was out with Aaron. Aaron and Eric are a couple and when Aaron finds out Eric has a broken ankle he is very concerned but Eric assures him that he will be ok. Maggie took care of his injury as best she could and splinted it. As soon as the sun comes up they load Eric and the rest of the group into the RV and set out for the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
A Throwback to Dale
In a charming silent memorial to Dale when the battery in the RV dies and it breaks down Glenn knows exactly where to look for a spare battery and how to change the battery thanks to information he picked up during the long stretches where he and Dale would work on the RV. Glenn takes a moment when picking up the new battery and without saying anything it’s clear he’s thinking of Dale. It was a nice moment.
The Alexandria Safe Zone
Finally they arrive at the Safe Zone. It looks well protected and safe, but they know that looks can be deceiving. They stand outside the gates, a little uncertain about going in. Carol tells Rick that even though he was wrong, he was right. She meant that even though he was wrong not to want to go to the Safe Zone he was right for wanting to take every precaution to keep them safe. From outside the gate the can hear the sound of children playing. His eyes light up for a moment hearing the innocent sound of children. Earlier in the episode he mentioned to Michonne that outside of Woodbury and outside of Terminus the silence surrounding the settlements was something that should have made them wary. So hearing the laughter and playing of children from inside the Safe Zone was a reassuring moment. The group has finally made it to Alexandria, although it remains to be seen if the Safe Zone will give them the sanctuary they need.