It’s always the good ones who die, isn’t it?
Both Deanna’s son Aiden and poor Noah were shredded alive in last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, in two horrifically gory death scenes traumatizing enough to leave us in Sasha-like states of PTSD. Glenn, Eugene, and Tara made it out alive, but so did Nicholas, the Alexandrian whose cowardice killed Noah. In tonight’s episode, “Try,” we saw the effects of Nicholas’s lies on the community, where Rick’s group is increasingly being seen as an unwelcome threat—no thanks to Judas the priest himself, Father Gabriel, and his babbling screed to Deanna about Satan, a.k.a. Rick Grimes & Co., being disguised as the angel of light. (It couldn’t have been Gabriel who went on the supply run, huh? It had to be Noah.)
Nicholas doubles down on the lies to Deanna, constructing some fantasy scenario where Aiden’s death was Glenn’s fault and Nicholas was the one who stayed behind to be the hero. Glenn, meanwhile, tells Rick what really happened and our fearless leader—who’s had it up to here with the Alexandrians’ general incompetence—tells it like it is: these people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
And he’s totally right. Under Deanna’s leadership (no matter how Hillary Clinton-inspired), Alexandrians don’t understand mind-bogglingly basic things, like why manning the town’s watchtower is essential. They’re useless at supply runs and, in dire situations, most will save their own skins rather than act in the interests of the group. (See: Abraham’s cowardly construction crew.) The people of Alexandria are weak; without Rick and his group, they’d be annihilated if the town came under attack—which it will because, you know, this is The Walking Dead. So, long live the Ricktatorship.
On top of everything else, Rick is also thinking about what the hell to do with Porchdick—sorry, Pete Anderson, Jessie’s abusive husband. Rick has feelings for Jessie, and has been mulling over Carol’s blessedly blunt advice about Pete: Kill the douche. He runs this idea by Deanna, who, it turns out, actually knew about Pete’s outbursts but “hoped it’d get better.” Because physically abusive relationships are things that generally go away on their own. Like pimples. Please impeach this woman immediately.
So when Rick—who somehow hasn’t turned tail running and screaming from all the dysfunction yet—comes face-to-face with Porchdick inside Jessie’s house, punches start flying. A window gets shattered, Pete smacks Jessie, Carl gets shoved, and Deanna tries to intervene—until Rick, blood streaming down his face, pulls a gun on Mrs. President and points it wildly at the crowd around him.
“You still don't get it. None of you do!” he shouts. “We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live. You, you just sit and plan and hesitate. You pretend like you know when you don’t. You wish things weren’t what they are. Well, you wanna live? You want this place to stay standing? Your way of doing things is done. Things don’t get better because you want them to. Starting right now, we have to live in the real world. We have to control who lives here.”
Deanna coldly snaps back, “That’s never been more clear than it is right now.”
“Me? Me? You mean me?” Rick laughs. “Your way’s gonna destroy this place. It’s gonna get people killed—it’s already gotten people killed. And I'm not just gonna stand by and just let it happen. If you don't fight, you die. I’m not gonna stand by and—“
BOOM. Michonne, in full Alexandria cop uniform, mercifully knocks Rick out cold before he lands himself in a mental institution and snatches his gun away. Cue the MichOWNED jokes.
The tensions of this episode effectively set the stage for next week’s whopper of a 90-minute season finale, when we’ll (hopefully, finally) see who these “Wolves” are in person and find out why they’re so fond of walkers and dismembered body parts. Spoiler: They’re probably evil.
But there are other open ends left, too. The walls of Alexandria are attracting an alarming amount of zombies, many with Ws carved into their foreheads—and Sasha, up in her watchtower, not quite in her right mind, and far away from the theatrics of the town down below, seems to be the only one who sees them. We’ve seen how ill-prepared the Alexandrians are for battle and we know there’s a storyline in Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comics that involves zombies breaking through the walls and devastating the community inside. Should that storyline come to life onscreen, a character Rick cares about won’t make it out alive.
Then there’s Morgan. The great Lenny James has been spotted a few times this season, following a trail of tree markings and reading the map that Abraham gave Rick. He knows Rick is in Washington, D.C., and is following him there. The only question is when he’ll arrive—though it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll show up at least once in the finale.
And Tara. Poor Tara. We’ve seen a lot of her these last few episodes—never a good sign for secondary characters—and she’s currently lying unconscious in a drunk doctor’s care. If zombies ran down Alexandria, she’d be in a very bad position.
Oh, and as for Porchdick, fear not. That asshole’s definitely screwed.