This week on The Walking Dead: Sasha becomes the lone wolf, Daryl finds a job, and Carol proves herself to be a real cookie monster.
While a bit slow in pacing compared to last week’s episode, “Forget” highlights character development for some of the major players and the internalized conflicts that are beginning to arise in Alexandria.
While recovering from all of the major past traumatic experiences that have recently occurred to her, the major one obviously being her brother’s death, Sasha is slowly trying to recuperate and adjust into this new suburban lifestyle. She goes on a range trip in the beginning to practice her targets, proving to us that she is an amazing shot, but still is struggling to find common ground with Deanna.
Rick, Carol, and Michonne show how adaptable they are surface-level to Alexandrian culture with changes in wardrobe. Internally, they all remain skeptical of Deanna’s motives of keeping them within the community and appointing them with high rank positions. Carol, Daryl, and Rick agree to sneak out guns and arm themselves, in case things go south. On the bright side, Rick’s new sheriff outfits and crouching-down-at-scene-of-the-crime poses makes for great CSI shots.
Unsure of Deanna’s methods of security, Rick confronts her and requests that they put a watch on the wall. All walls come down eventually, after all. And as far as he’s concerned, the people are the real threat here. Even Sasha expresses interest in volunteering as a watch guard in the clock-tower. Deanna remains unmoved however, stating that she sees “a vibrant community here with industry, commerce, civilization. Real lives.” Oh how disillusioned you are, Deanna.
Carol brings the humor in the episode with her part as a double-sided housewife. We may as well call the show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, carrying on conversations on the merits of certain household standards and commenting on recipes, specifically chocolate chip cookies. She is eventually brought into her own heaven – the gun room – where she continues her façade by actually telling one of the gentlemen that she’s “not an expert” when it comes to guns. Before she leaves the room, she unlatches the window lock.
Daryl is off on his own in the woods when he encounters Aaron, who seems to be following him. While Daryl finds this annoying initially, he allows Aaron to walk with him on the hunt for food/resources. They come across a black horse, lovingly name “Buttons” by Aaron; according to him, they’ve been trying to capture Aaron and bring him into the community. As an unrestrained and free horse, Buttons immediately bolts out of Daryl’s reach. But after this moment of befriending and vulnerability, they later find the horse captured by a horde of zombies, tearing the horse’s flesh apart. This may have been the saddest moment of the season thus far (rivaling Beth/Tyreese’s deaths).
That night a party is a brewin’ over at Deanna’s place, welcoming all of the gang into Alexandria. As if things couldn’t get more shocking, our favorite grimy heroes clean up, and surprisingly look very fresh and fitting. Abraham in fact is enticed to stay at the party due to the presence of beer.
Everyone has a little bit of trouble bringing themselves to socialize freely. And it makes sense: not two days ago they were battling the real world just outside the wall. Maggie and Glenn comfort an isolated Noah, emphasizing that “we’re here as family”. Awwwww.
If there’s one person who’s not really “restraining” their emotions, it’s Rick. While he still remains impassive as ever, it really does seem as though he has a soft spot for Jessie. They share a meaningful conversation, where Jessie emphasizes that regarding the conflict and melting pot of backgrounds in Alexandria, “everyone’s been through it somehow”, and that “we all lost things but we got something back”. Rick understands where she’s coming from, adding in that they’ve got a pretty good view here too. I’m 100^ sure that Rick wasn’t talking about the scenery (Rick you sly fox). He ends up planting a kiss on Jessie’s cheek later on in the evening.
Outside the party grounds, Daryl is invited over to Aaron and Eric’s place for “some pretty serious spaghetti”. It almost seems as though the two have adopted Daryl, and this idea is later cemented once they propose a task for him. Aaron explains to Daryl that they requested Deanna to not give him a job, as they had one in mind for him. They bring him to the garage, where they present to him his very own motorcycle and the chance to be a recruit out beyond the wall. It would allow Daryl some alone-time and separation from everyone else, and very limited interaction with other people. At the end of the day to Aaron, Daryl “knows the difference between a good person and a bad person”, which is the most important quality in this type of job. As Daryl basically has nothing to lose, he accepts (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the motorcycle).
On Deanna’s requests (and suspicion), Sasha arrives at the party, thoroughly feeling thoroughly unwelcomed and abnormal. She can barely stand the small-talk and first world problems being generated from every mouth there, and cracks a little too early. She yells at a fellow party-goer for asking her what her favorite food is, and then storms out.
Jessie’s son Ron makes his presence known to the gang, striking up a conversation with Rick and telling him how much he enjoyed Carol’s cookies. He promises Rick that he’ll find Carol in hopes of getting his own batch.
Carol herself has averted her party-going interests in favor of the gun room (which she had unlocked earlier). As she stashes rifles into her bag, she suddenly finds out she’s not alone: Ron has followed up from the party.
At first, Carol plays her cards very smoothly, acting the concerned and comforting “mother” she is. Of course she can make a batch of cookies for Ron! But should Ron let it slip to his mother that Carol was in the gun shop, well, Ron would find himself gagged and bound onto a tree far beyond Alexandria walls, at the mercy of walkers. Otherwise, he can most definitely have his own batch of cookies, no strings attached. Yeah, this is all said by Carol. With her face cemented in half shadow, half light, you (and Ron for sure) can get a sure taste of Carol’s double life and just how dedicated and assertive she is in carrying her mission. You can bet that Ron will avoid saying anything to his mom immediately.
The next morning, Sasha and Deanna meet at the wall, where Deanna arms Deanna with some type of weapon and sends her on her way out of Alexandria and on a very ambiguous note.
Carol, Daryl, and Rick reunite outside the wall, where Carol distributes guns. While Rick hesitantly accepts, Daryl rejects the offer. A definite step in the direction of acclimatizing to the lifestyle of Alexandria, but is it a step in the right direction?
As the episode draws to a close, we see Rick observing Jessie and her husband from afar. It all seems fine, until the camera focuses on Rick stroking his gun hooked onto his jeans. He then saunders off to the gate, where he presses his hands and face onto the wall. All set to the Bee Gees “Spicks and Specks”.
- I’m getting some major Shane vibes from Rick. While he’s been pretty stoic in the past, it’s hard to ignore the ulterior motives and complication brewing in his mind as he looks over at Jessie and her husband. There’s especially a huge nod to The Scarlett Letter and adultery and carrying “the mark of shame” when at the party, Rick is stamped by Ron with a huge red “A” on his hand, apparently a denomination for all members of Alexandria.
- Man is Carol going off. As previously stated, she has fully cemented her double life as a “real housewife” and also a terrifying cookie monster. Her monologue to Ron may have been the most simultaneously ridiculous and terrifying speeches in Season 5. Her basically death-threats to the kid almost gave me Governor vibes. Clearly, the message of the story is don’t even think about messing with Carol.
- Now while I would like to assume that the horse has no meaning, there may actually be more to it. The way I see it, the horse is a metaphor for Daryl’s life: as an unapproachable wild being, the horse/Daryl has very little to depend on. However, once the horse was befriended and welcomed, letting down its guard, it was attacked and killed. This is happening right at the onset of Daryl accepting Aaron’s friendliness and job offer. So unfortunately, the horse could be a foreshadowing of Daryl’s potential fate (which is unreasonably painful to think about. Hopefully it’ll never happen).
- Speaking of letting down guard, Michonne hanging up her Katana in her house clearly shows a lack of inhibition from her part in letter her guard down to other Alexandrians. On the other hand, severely distrusting Sasha is on some type of mission from Deanna, leaving us completely in the dark.