Summary (with on the fly thoughts mixed in parenthesis). This is a going to be LONG one folks. The action sequences and character dialog exchanges are finely meshed in this episode; especially the back 15 minutes. I wish all episodes were for 1 1/2 hours to help give the show enough time to strike a balance for action and dialog (there are some caveats with this. Read on and you will see those in the BAD.)
We cold open with Morgan (YES!!) waking up in an abandoned car that crashed under a tree; making breakfast for himself over a small fire and silently approached by one of the Wolves at gunpoint.
(What I loved here was how calm and unaffected Morgan's reaction was to the threat of a gun pointed at him. Even when the First Wolf tells Morgan he's not going to leave there alive, Morgan asserts himself without so much as a twitch of anxiety that he cannot allow for that to happen.)
A second Wolf tries to attack Morgan from behind while he’s being distracted by the first wolf and a Bo staff versus knife fight ensues.
Morgan is easily victorious and puts the unconscious bodies of the Wolves in the car he was sheltering in and hits the horn taking off. We do learn during this exchange that the wolves meet people every two weeks but it appears they just take their things and kill them as they encounter them.
(The First Wolf says to Morgan while he was stalling him with a slow relaxed delivery ‘you’re not exactly going to be alive.’ This explains Noah’s compound with no survivors. These are some very brutal adversaries and they appear to have been at it a while and are confident. This whole opening scene I thought was beautifully done.)
We are treated to a quick view of Daryl out with Aaron scouting for new recruits setting up a spy point.
Rick wakes up in a house guarded several feet away by Michonne laughing. She asks why and he tells her it’s like waking up in the train car at Terminus. She tells him Rosita patched him up and that Carl came to visit. Pete has been put in another house.
(There’s no word whether he’s being guarded or not. More on that later…)
Rick told Michonne things were going too fast for him to mention to her about the gun.
(The truth is he’s lying to her because she wanted that place and he thinks her allegiances might lay with Deanna.)
Carol walks in with Glenn and Abraham. Michonne asks Rick where he got the gun and Carol covers up her involvement and answers for Rick that he got the gun on his own from the Armory and that was stupid. Glenn tells them all there will be a meeting about the incident tonight. Maggie was with Deanna trying to make a case for keeping Rick at Alexandria.
Carol puts more words into Rick’s mouth “You say you were worried about someone being abused and no one was doing anything about it… You say you took a gun just to be sure that Jessie was safe from a man who wound up attacking you… You say you'll do whatever you want them to…You just tell them a story they want to hear…because children like stories.”
Abraham brings up what if that doesn’t work and they still want to kick Rick out? Rick mentions they still have their knives and he will set up a whistle signal. Carol grabs Deanna, Rick takes Spencer and Michonne grabs Reg; Glenn and Abraham will cover them and watch the crowd. If they can’t talk to them they threatened killing Deanna’s family and the Alexandrian’s will surrender the Armory and then it’s over.
We cut to Maggie watching Father Gabriel out a window. She tries to convince Deanna and Reg before the meeting not to exile Rick. She asserts that ‘You let Rick in…You let all of us in.’ (This means to me that Maggie is saying to Deanna that if Rick is exiled then they all are exiled and will leave, so they will lose the protection they are getting from Rick’s group.) She points out that he didn’t fire the gun and that is more important then he pointed the gun at Deanna and the crowd.
Reg picks up on these politics and tries to convince Maggie to stay in his own way and that running away wasn’t the answer for the group by bringing up Cavemen as an analogy. How they died because they were nomads and it wasn’t until people stopped running and started civilization that they were able to survive and build something. He insists he is going to tell everyone including Deanna this; Maggie smiled before she left.
We switch to Sasha right outside the wall burying dead walkers in a body pit. She puts herself in the pile of walkers and lays there a while. (It’s as if she considers herself the Walking Dead; she feels empty inside like Michonne did in Season Four right after the fall of the prison.)
We switch to Aaron talking to Daryl out in the field about the two exiled men and the one woman he drove out a day’s travel and left on their own with supplies
(If you consider who is saying this I have to believe in my mind that the Wolves have these three people in their group. Why else bring this up? Perhaps just to prove the Alexandrians have never killed or punished any of their own before that?)
They appear to be tracking someone…
Carol visits Rick and gives him a gun. He asked her why she didn’t mention to the Michonne all the guns. Carol said she did so just in case Michonne was on Deanna’s side since she knocked him out. Rick said he acted stupid which is why she knocked him out and that she was on their side and he knew that and told her no more lying. Carol says ‘you wanted to take this place and you don’t want to lie? *Sunshine* you don’t get both’
(I busted out laughing when she said that.)
Daryl and Aaron it turns out are trekking a red poncho guy who has enough backwoods know how to put wild leeks all over him to keep the mosquitoes off of him (Daryl must like the guy and thinks he’s a survivor.)
Rick leaves his house and says hi to some of the folks in town and goes past Deanna who shoots him a look of mixed measure.
Nicholas is spying on Glenn with Maggie. Maggie tells Glenn everyone gets to speak their mind about the incident at the meeting so they all have an opportunity to say things to defend Rick and the Deanna will make a decision.
Glenn spots Nicholas escaping by climbing the wall and pursues him.
Father Gabriel takes a walk out of the compound without a gun.
Rick goes to visit Carl. He tells Carl to stay home because he might have to kill one of them and he doesn’t want him to get hurt (Carl thinks he won’t.)
Daryl and Aaron lose the red shirted survivor. They are about 50 miles from the compound. They find a food truck depot and break in, however it’s rigged with traps. When they open one food truck door it flies open setting off wires that cause all the other food truck doors to fly open and walkers come pouring out and start swarming them. They manage to evade being killed and run for cover and hide in a car that is in the complex.
Aaron and Daryl back in the car are swarmed being by walkers. Aaron finds a note in the cat that says in three different hand writings and inks: ‘Don’t stay… Bad people coming…Trap!’
Carol goes and visits Pete and tells him he needs to check on Tara. He tells her to get out and she whips out a knife and tells him she could kill him now and will and even begs him to come at her. (All the while balancing a casserole in her left hand.) She says ‘(he) has a chance to change things but he’s a small, weak nothing and with the world how it is he’s even weaker…If he plays his cards right he won’t have to die… and she want her dish back clean when he’s done.’ (Go Casserole Queen!) After she leaves Pete throws around things yelling that it isn’t his house! (Isn’t anyone guarding this guy?)
Glenn tracks Nicholas and then gets shot in the shoulder. The gunfire brings walkers.
Rick goes to visit Jessie to see if she’s okay. Pete sees Rick leave his house and looks upset.
Aaron says Daryl was right that they should have kept looking for that guy in the red poncho. They make a plan for leaving the vehicle as Daryl takes a smoke break. Before they can institute the plan Morgan rescues them with his bo staff and they introduce themselves to each other. They offer to take him to Alexandria and he says he’s on his way somewhere and was lost and could use their advice. He pulls out the map with Rick’s note on it and Daryl spots it and now he knows this is the Morgan Rick spoke of. (FINALLY!!)
Father Gabriel spots a walker eating someone and offers himself up for death. He then decides to live and he fights off the biter and mercy kills the victim leaving him sobbing. (He is trying to use the zombies to martyr himself and find a way to leave hell on earth. He has finally had to kill in this world and he feels horrible guilt. More on this later…)
This cuts to Abraham visiting Tara who is being accompanied by Rosita and Eugene (who is sleeping.) She encourages him to sit down next to Eugene and then drops a pan intentionally waking Eugene as Abraham has quietly pulled up a seat next to Tara’s bedside. The two make amends.
Father Gabriel returns to the compound, however he really doesn’t shut the gate properly.
Nicholas shoots a walker and then Glenn catches up with him. They struggle and Nicholas leaves Glenn to struggle with two walkers on the ground.
Rick confides to Michonne that Daryl, he and Carol worked out getting the guns from the armory and he hands the gun Carol gave him to Michonne and mentions there were three guns and that Carol still has one. He told her that they lied to her because they didn’t know how she would take it or what she would do. She told him she wouldn’t try to stop him and that knocking him out was for his own good; not for them. She still believes things could be worked out there without any weapons and he can find a way without them. She’s with him either way. She says something is going to happen but tells him not to make something happen. She leaves him.
Rick thinks back to a conversation he had with Bob Stookey where Bob was convinced that the real world was out there and what they were living now was a nightmare that would end someday. He looks out his window and something seems funny to him. (I love it! We finally get to hear inner thoughts of characters on the show; albeit it's something someone said to him rather than his own thoughts. There is a message with this thought SEE the good.)
Rick runs to the gate and sees that it was left open and that there were bloody body parts from a walker in the locking mechanism and blood droplets leaving a trail into the compound. He surmises that a walker (or a few) got into the compound and he starts looking around for where they went off to.
He runs around the fence and the compound looking for them.
Sasha comes to Father Gabriel for guidance and help. He says cannot help her.
The gathering commences (I keep thinking about Survivor: The apocalypse for some reason) and they are going talk about the incident with Constable Grimes; his actions with the gun and what he said. This discussion is lead by Deanna. Maggie, Michonne and Carol try to stall Deanna.
We cut t to the woods were Nicholas is trying to make his way back to the compound.
Rick keeps looking for the walkers.
Sasha tells Father Gabriel she wants to die. He tells her she doesn’t deserve to be there because what she did can never be undone and because of the choices she made Bob was mutilated and consumed because of her sins. He tells her that Tyreese felt he was a part from it, however he was a part of it and he didn’t deserve to be in this world. She tells him to stop.
Rick fines one walker and deals with it.
The gathering continues to make justification for Rick’s actions. (My favorite line out of this was Michonne’s ‘who he is…Is who you are gonna be…’ (More on this later…)
Rick grapples with two more walkers.
Sasha gets into a physical struggle with Father Gabriel.
Glenn catches up to Nicholas and starts wailing on him.
Carol makes a case for Rick.
Rick grapples with the male walker.
Glenn wails on Nicholas.
Abraham says that ‘(they) don’t know shit and out of the vast sea of shit that’s out there, Rick knows every fine grain of said shit’ (I lost it with that line)
Rick finishes off the walker.
We cut to the wolves Morgan left beat up in the car (he should have killed them) and they are bringing the red poncho man (Daryl wanted for Alexandria) to the walker food truck trap. He begs for his life and the first wolf we met cuts his throat and welcomes the second wolf home.
Maggie talks about her father and Rick and how they are all family. Deanna talks about Father Gabriel coming to her and telling her that Rick and his people were bad and then this incident happened the next day substantiating what he said. Jessie is quick to point out Father Gabriel wasn’t there. Deanna points out neither is Rick.
Maggie goes looking for Father Gabriel
Glenn tells Nicholas Noah died because of him and points a gun to his head.
Sasha points a gun at Father Gabriel.
The wolves set off a deterrent system that lures the walkers back into the food trucks so they can get back inside. (Their home must be inside of the building.)
One of the Alexandrians speaks of keeping his family safe as Rick shows up finally with a walker over his shoulder that he dumps into the center of the gathering.
Nicholas pleads for his life saying he’s scared and doesn’t belong out there (exactly what Glenn had told him the day before) as Glenn holds a gun to his head and tells him to shut up and Glenn takes the gun off of him.
Gabriel keeps encouraging Sasha to kill him and Sasha says she knows what he's doing. Maggie finds them and manages to get Sasha to put down her weapon. Father Gabriel admits his flock died because of him and Maggie agrees and helps him up.
(Father Gabriel is trying to Martyr himself using Sasha so he doesn't have to live in the hell on earth and she knows it. It's good to see him accept his immorality with his flock; Maggie acknowledging this shows Father Gabriel that he misjudged her and therefore Rick's group.)
Rick says there wasn’t a guard at the gate. Deanna’s son asked Father Gabriel to close it but it was open. He didn’t bring the walker in and that it got in on its own. As Rick is talking he talks about people will hunt them and try to use them.
We see Glenn bringing Nicholas back to the compound while Maggie and Sasha pray with Father Gabriel.
Tara awakes to see Rosita reading.
We see the Wolves going into their lair looking at pictures of the compound that was in Aaron’s pack.
Rick goes onto to say he wasn’t sorry for what he said last night. He was sorry he didn’t say it sooner because they are not ready but they have to be right now because luck runs out.
A drunk enraged Pete says Rick doesn't belong there and lunges out at Reg and slices his throat with Michonne’s sword (Why wasn’t anyone watching this guy?? Poor Reg!)
Deanna cries as Reg bleeds to death. She instructs Rick to execute Pete which he does so as Morgan, Aaron and Daryl just arrive. Morgan calls out to Rick and we fade.
A coda clip follows the credits…
Michonne tries to put the sword back up on the mantel after she wipes off Reg’s blood. She pulls it back and instead sheaths it back in the scabbard over her back. She looks upset (a loss of idealistic optimist tempered with the harsh realities of this post apocalyptic universe. They are never safe in this world they live.)
We focus back to Graffiti at the food truck area to a car that says ‘Wolves Not very far’ (Indeed, trouble it appears is coming…)
Lenny James has solid intensity and on screen presence as Morgan. I sincerely hope he stays on this show a while. The first Wolf was a great actor as well.
What is being conquered in this episode?:
*Morgan: Appears to have conquered his need to *clear*.
*Nicholas: is broken and conquered. I think he knows now that he doesn't belong outside the walls because he's just to scared and needs to learn how to defend himself to protect others.
*Deanna: Had to learn the hard way by losing Reg that Rick was right.
*Sasha: has to conquer her depression and move on with her life.
*Michonne: has realized her desire to live in a world where she can put down her weapons just isn't going to happen. Perhaps those feelings have been conquered by the sheathing of the sword on her back?
*Carol: Threatening to cut Pete’s throat while holding a Casserole in her other hand was priceless. She certainly has conquered her fears of drunken abusers. GO CASSEROLE QUEEN!
*Glenn: has moved firmly into a gutsy assertive leadership/ co captain role in my mind.
*Gabriel: has finally accepted that his morality is subject to the conditions he must live in (a world full of mindless rotting zombies that just want to prey on the living). That is the test god has given to him. He has accepted that morally he *didn't do the right thing* to his flock (which was to reject their assistance for shelter and protection). He also morally *didn't do the right thing* by trying to Martyr himself to the Zombies or by using Sasha. He accepts also that morally he *did do the right thing* by killing the zombie and it's nearly dead victim because those are the right things to do in this world. He no doubt also begged forgiveness to Sasha for wanting her to kill him in his own church (because in his twisted mind that would make him a martyr and absolve him of his sins.)
*Maggie: has accepted the death of her sister and has displayed many of Hershel's attributes; representing Rick's group as council to Deanna; helping Father Gabriel accept a new form of morality based on the state of the world is now; and helping reestablish the spirituality of the community through Gabriel.
*Rick: has conquered his need to tell these people the truth about themselves and what they need to do to survive. It appears blood, sweat and tears are required tools to his morality and hopefully this will change the group mindset and ultimately the spirituality of the Alexandrians.
My prediction is still that it will be Daryl and Aaron who again encounter the wolves in larger numbers than the two we have seen. Then again, a better drama would be one of the runners looking for supplies (however, whoever that might be will risk certain death with an encounter, unless of course the Wolves know that person lives in the compound. Then they have a bargaining chip for supplies or whatever.)
*Sasha lying down in the mass grave of walker bodies. I thought she looked at herself as being dead; hollow inside; the epitome of the Walking Dead. This is the way Michonne felt after she took everything out on the dead. They are already dead so getting angry at the dead is pointless.
* Michonne takes her sword down off the mantle and puts it back it’s scabbard over her back*. Perhaps she thinks she was fooling herself with her notions of a place determining you don’t need weapons. This world that they live in with the zombies has created a lawless construct and the conditions where life the way we knew it is impossible.
*I loved how the first Wolf looked at his encounters with other survivors like ‘going to the movies’. People aren’t people to this guy. That probably makes killing them and taking their possession for him easier. It certainly establishes in my mind that he's a psychopath.
*Equal time was giving to a lot of characters interactions which make all them more meaningful to me. This will make any actions good or bad more intense in the new season and with seasons to come.
*I loved Abraham’s line about Rick being through every grain of *said shit* projecting something Eugene would say of Rick (just as Rick was choking the brains and eyeballs out of zombie trying to choke him. I thought that was very funny.)
*Spiritual Epiphany and blueprint for Mankind:
The problem (the zombie apocalypse and the collapse of civilization) has been equated to being a 'Nightmare' that you have to wake up from. What I think is being conveyed here is how you view living life in the apocalypse in your mind. Humanity; working together in great numbers reestablishing morality, spirituality and civilization is how you *wake up* from the *nightmare*. The zombies aren't going to go away; human beings just need to learn to adapt and readjust to these horrible new sets of problems and consequences ( if dealt with wrong) and move on with their lives.
(Added to Show Axioms here: http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/151)
I have to agree with Robin that when they keep cutting away from actors in bad situations to other characters it kind of lets us know nothing is going to happen to them (or else we will miss that right?)
I think what I have learned from this is even when you allot enough time to get characterization in a show; action sequences work best when they run their course uninterrupted on TV.
Deanna's decision to kill Pete was a bit quick, however the show needed a dramatic moment to top Reg's death. I actually loved Reg's character and would have loved more from him before he met his end. He was the more pragmatic and solid figure of Deanna's family.
*It appears the Wolves have Aaron’s pack with the pictures in them. Is Carl in any danger? (They had a picture of him and the walls.). There has to be more than just two of the Wolves right? Noah's compound looked like it faced a fairly large group of attackers.
*Are any of the Wolves one of the three people that were thrown out of the compound at Alexandria? I get the impression that isn’t the case. Otherwise Deanna would have brought up the Wolves to Rick, so I think they will eventually come a calling on the Alexandrians. Then again, if the Alexandrians never encountered the Wolves it could still be possible. Aaron did mention they drove the three a day's travel from the compound. That's not too far from them to travel (even by foot), so if those three banished folks were in the Wolves pack they would have tried retaliation tactics by now right?
Walking Dead Threads on the TV Critic: