“The Walking Dead” recap (5.12): Remember

Ah yes, ye old town of Alexandria—a sustainable community that was once built on solar energy for families looking for homes in the “lower 800,000s.” So says Deanna, a former Ohio congresswoman who has been here since the whole thing began and seems to head the community as lead mom. She wants to film Rick in her living room, which looks straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie, as does she in her ironed linens. Maybe her husband’s Jack Nicholson, or maybe she’s a dyke—I’m obviously hoping for the latter. I bet she hosts Cards Against Humanity nights.

Of course, Rick is seasoned from the road, so he’s still skeptical of this charade, and Deanna has questions of her own. We know Rick still has a gun nearby stashed in a blender if anything goes to shit. For a show that love to foreshadow, I don’t want to believe this act of “blending”—integrating the road group into this relaxed, eco-friendly community—will prove chunky later on, for lack of better words. 

5WalkingDead12.1Deanna probably makes a killer apple pie. 

Two mini-mansions—that’s what Rick and his whole group are told are now all theirs. Carl and Rick are checking out their digs. Carl approaches the sink. YES! There’s running water! In a flash, Rick is seen taking a long, hot shower. Remember in the first season when the original group made it to the Center of Disease Control and giggled to themselves the whole time they were showering? Time out there on the road, seeing everything this group has seen, is a stark contrast against this new, white-walled, laundered clothes, friendly-faced community tucked away in Northern Virginia. Is it too good to be true? Is any formal semblance of the life we once had possible in this new world, even in a community so sheltered, even if the right groups come together to make peace?

After Rick shaves off his road beard, he meets Jessie, a self-proclaimed “stylist” who acts like a Jill of all trades—she works in the pantry and offers to give Rick a fresh haircut. (Just don’t lay those trimmers on Dr. Porter’s precious mullet!) Watching Rick take a long hard look at himself in the mirror of the bathroom, and now through Jessie’s hand mirror, is a strange thing. Rick is a weathered man; a hardened man. Will he ever be able to let his walls down again?

Outside, the group hands over their weapons. Carol is all smiles, as she struggles to lift the machine gun off her little body. Why is she acting so demure all of a sudden? Daryl is seen pacing through Deanna’s living room with that dead opossum he killed. Deanna seems humored by Daryl, like he’s dragged his pet in as a security blanket. Carl wanders upstairs through their new house, clearing rooms like he’s been taught to. It’s second nature, to fear what’s behind that closed door. What he finds is interesting. Upstairs is an unfurnished room with a pillow and blanket propped against a wall, some drink bottles, books, as if someone was crashing there before they showed up. Other than that, the house is immaculate, so what’s the explanation here? Deanna mentions she had to exile three men who didn’t “work out” in the community. Could this have been theirs, or are those men still out there lurking, waiting to come back for revenge?

At nightfall, the group decides to sleep in one of the two houses—all together. Michonne can’t stop brushing her teeth, and she’s never seen Rick with this new face. Deanna comes by to check up on them. She takes notice of their family-like vibes, smiling from ear to ear. She says she’s got a few jobs lined up for them—one for Rick, for Sasha and Michonne, and for “Dixon.” (Of course she means Daryl, who’s still a ball of strange energy.) What we have to remember is that Daryl (and many others) not only acclimated to the outside world, but also gave up their ghosts to be survivors in that world, a process of discovery that started long before the world ended. Daryl is one with that world out there. When he was squatting in that house with Beth sipping on moonshine, his life story began to come out; Daryl never really had a home—never had a strong sense of family, sans his brother, may he and the hand Rick cut off of him rest in undead peace.

5WalkingDead12.2Rick, you have a face under that beard!

As everyone begins to explore the area the next day, Rick loses the group and freaks out. He knocks himself into something that looks like a shopping cart until he runs into Jessie again. Just the night before, Rick was creeping through the house and winds up in the kitchen, pulling a knife out of the drawer. Old habits die hard. This morning only proves he’s still very much on guard. Jessie says Carl and Baby Judith are probably at this older couple’s house who had a billion grandkids and haven’t pinched baby cheeks in a minute. She says her son Ron still wants to meet Carl, so that’s exactly where we go next. Ron introduces Carl to two other kids, one being this girl Enid who he swore he saw earlier from when they were standing outside of the gates. She doesn’t say much. She, too, has been on the outside, and it shows. She doesn’t need to be fussed over and she doesn’t trust anyone. The two boys are clueless about this type of life and are dressed like they’re attending prep school in The OC. They mention that there’s school and work, like having a regular life—there’s even video games, bro. Carl’s overwhelmed. Just yesterday he was protecting his baby sister in a shitty smelling barn from a terrible storm, a hoard of walkers were about to eat them all up for dinner, and the possibility of starving to death remained ever present.

5WalkingDead12.3Video games are sooo pre-zombiepocalypse.   

Carl is a teenage boy now. The writing is on the wall for Carl and Enid. I could see them together, and that’s a big duh. He isn’t the little kid he used to be. (Wink, wink.) In between scenes, we see everyone from Michonne (holding the fittingly perfect book for this moment, Crimes and Punishments by Fyodor Dostoyevsky) at the chair in Deanna’s living room, to Carl and Baby Judith taking their turn in front of the camera lens. Carl mentions having to kill his mom. It’s the first episode in a long, long time that we’ve heard mention of dearly departed Lori, Rick’s wife. It happens again when Rick asks Daryl if he wants to go explore and says Lori and he used to drive through neighborhoods like this saying, “One day…” Are we about to meet a Rick we’ve never met before?