Last week, our heroes found themselves suddenly inside the gates of the mysterious, too-good-to-be-true Alexandria community, where they took their first trepidatious steps toward a more settled existence among other survivors with much less experience keeping themselves alive out on the road, under constant threat of becoming a delicious all-you-can-eat guts-buffet for every shambling herd of walkers crossing their path. Despite the gang’s reflexive suspicions about the Alexandrians’ hospitality — one tends to keep one’s guard up after being lured into a cannibal enclave and knelt down before a bleed-out trough — they ultimately relented and took their places inside the community. Rick showered, shaved, and accepted a position as constable. Carol raided an active grandma’s closet and baked some cookies. Daryl clung to his hard-won grime and made a couple of new friends. Carl continued to wear his daddy’s hat and contribute nothing but the dead-eyed stare of a kid who grew up in a hopeless world.
But most importantly, this cautious settling-in period provided us with answers to some of the 54 questions about Alexandria that seemed unknowable a mere seven days ago. Let’s see what we know now, accepting the inevitability that everything could look completely different next Monday morning.
“Alexandria leader Deanna Monroe claims to be a congressperson from the 15th District of Ohio. Wasn’t the total collapse of society a good enough reason to never let another politician be in charge of anything?”
Deanna has used her obvious political skill to win over the Alexandrians. “There’s going to be a government here one day,” she promises. And a police force. Industry, commerce, civilization. Perhaps she’ll even spearhead a committee to explore the possibility of finally getting that unfinished shopping mall next door opened. She has a pie-in-the-sky vision: a return to the old ways, but for a new society. Doesn’t that sound better than having your intestines torn out and gobbled down like a 12-foot party sub? Of course it does. Here’s your constable uniform and your giant new house, come help her make this all a reality, and please don’t ask too many questions if your baby suddenly disappears and someone inexplicably brings veal cutlets to the next potluck.
Oh, she’s good. She’s really good. They’ll elect her Emperor For Life in a year if the whole place isn’t overrun in two weeks.
“Are the other members of the community able to check out these videos from some kind of lending library in the interest of ‘transparency’? Do these confessional-style videos serve as the community’s entertainment programming?”
Deanna’s husband, Reg — remember him? The guy who knew how to build the walls? — has watched all the new videos. And he’s very impressed with Rick. The things those people said about him, the things he did for them. All good old Reg did was get an advanced degree in architecture and build the unbreachable defense system that’s keeping humanity’s last hope for a functioning society safe from a horrific, tragic collapse. But keeping a handful of dirty refugees alive is a pretty cool accomplishment, too. He’s super into Rick’s videos, best ones since Mrs. Niedermeyer’s series on homemade pasta fabrication.
“If Deanna is so ‘exceptionally good’ at reading people that she was going to be a professional poker player if her political career didn’t work out, why didn’t she immediately offer to exile Carl and relieve Rick of the burden of continuing to raise the postapocalypse’s greatest monster?”
One hopes she’s playing the long game. She has to realize Carl’s gotta go. Maybe she mentions in passing that the mall has a really sweet hat store, “accidentally” leaves the gate open, and lets nature take its course.
“How long will Daryl wait before taking a shower?”
It’s unclear if Daryl showered before Aaron and Eric’s recruitment dinner. If nothing else, he looked almost excited about the possibility of slathering on a new layer of grease while building himself a recruitment-cycle from the pile of bike parts in Aaron’s garage.
“What happens if Carol, who has discovered her inner badass at great personal cost, suddenly develops a taste for her new Chico’s sassy-casual wardrobe and job cooking for old folks and goes soft?”
We owe Carol a sincere apology for even the implication that she could ever go soft, that she could be seduced by the Stepford comforts of her new home. She’s far too spiritually ruined to ever fully reclaim her humanity. Here is, in full, her speech to young Sam, who made the mistake of following the nice new Cookie Lady into the gun-storage unit and mentioning his responsibility to tell mommy:
“You can never tell anyone, especially Mom. If you do, one morning you’ll wake up, and you won’t be in your bed. You’ll be outside the walls, far, far away, tied to a tree. And you’ll scream and scream because you’ll be so afraid. No one will come to help because no one will hear you. Well, some thing will hear you. The monsters will come, the ones out there. And you won’t be able to run away when they come for you. And they will tear you apart and eat you all up while you’re still alive. All while you can still feel it. And afterwards no one will ever know it happened to you. Or: You can promise not to tell anyone what you saw here. And then nothing will happen. And you’ll get cookies. Lots of cookies.”
“I know what I think you should do.”
We know what poor, innocent Sam is going to do: soil his pants at the faintest whiff of cookies baking for the rest of his presumably short life, because that brat is going to tattle and the Cookie Lady is going to tie him to the nearest oak for his treachery. She warned him not to tell. He’s bringing this miserable, lonely death — where the last thing he hears will be the juicy pop of his little heart underneath the pressure of a dozen rotten walker teeth — upon himself. Nobody likes a tattletale.
“Is Deanna’s son Aiden, who leads these patrols, more of a hard-ass or a douchebag? It’s definitely douchebag, right?”
To review: It was douchebag. However, Deanna has another, even more handsome son named Spencer, who bears an eerie resemblance to the dude from John From Cincinnati.1 Spencer seems nice, in that ineffectual clock-tower-assassin-with-an-unloaded-rifle way.
Strangely the only HBO series in the Alexandria DVD lending library.
“Is there any way that Rick and Jessie, the cute hairstylist mom, aren’t hooking up eventually? And that this won’t precipitate a violent incident between Rick and Jessie’s presumably deadbeat husband, who likes to spend his evenings smoking on his front porch, foreshadowing future conflicts with his wife’s eventual, superior lover?”
Again, an apology: Jessie’s husband, Pete, is not the deadbeat we assumed. He’s a doctor. A short-tempered doctor, who apparently can’t even get a refill on his drink without snapping at his wife, but a doctor nonetheless. We never should have assumed shiftlessness just because he seemed to have nothing better to do than sit out on his porch late at night, waiting for Rick to stroll by so he could establish some boundaries by informing him “my wife cut your hair.” Even doctors should get to ineffectually menace obvious threats to their questionable domestic bliss without these kinds of knee-jerk judgments.
Still, the original point stands: That relationship is toast. Rick’s been inside those walls a hot unfaithful minute and already Jessie is carrying around his baby like it’s hers and leaning in to kiss her eventual new lover’s clean-shaven, rugged face. Constable Rick did the noble thing — for now, at least — and went for the cheek. But to paraphrase what he said at the end of last week’s episode: If Dr. Pete can’t make his marriage work, then Rick’ll just take it. Sorry, doc. How many men have you killed? Exactly. And no one’s counting the malpractice cases.
“Are they going to eat Baby Judith? OH MY GOD ARE THE KINDLY SECRET CANNIBAL GRANDPARENTS ALREADY EATING BABY JUDITH?”
Old Mrs. Niedermeyer is always rambling on about how much she wants a pasta maker if anyone happens to find one at the nearest abandoned Sur La Table, but it seems clear after multiple suspicious references to the old bat’s alleged KitchenAid obsession by the town’s residents that something far more sinister is afoot: “Pasta maker” is octogenarian cannibal code for “fresh baby meat.”
They are going to eat Baby Judith, and eat her soon. Probably when Rick leaves her momentarily unattended while making sweet, territorial love to Dr. Pete’s wife. Don’t eat the potluck veal, Rick. Never eat the potluck veal.
“Is there a horse named Buttons?”
Fine: We didn’t actually ask this question last week. But we have the answer anyway: There is a beautiful black stallion named Buttons who occasionally gallops by outside the gates, eluding capture by town recruiter/ostensible animal wrangler Aaron.
Well, there was a horse named Buttons.
RIP, Buttons. You were majestic in those fleeting moments before you were torn mane from hoof by that pack of ravenous zombies. As always: It should have been Carl.