We pick up right we left off, with the Grimes Gang having to turn over weapons and meet Deanna, who is the de facto leader of Alexandria and a former Ohio congressperson. (She is also played by Tovah Feldshuh, who kicks total ass.) The neighborhood was a planned community, “starting in the low $800K” and designed to be sustainable with solar panels and such. She explains that an army stopped her and her family on a back road and directed them here. They put up the walls, led by Deanna’s husband, who we have yet to meet. She says they need people who’ve lived “out there”. She says she’s exiled three men, which is as good as killing them. Rick tells her it’s all about survival at any cost. He says people are always looking for angle; what they can take.
Here’s a sample of their tense exchange, which is also being recorded for “transparency”…
Deana: “Aaron says I can trust you.”
Rick: “Aaron doesn’t know me, I’ve killed people. They’re dead so I can be alive, and so my family can be alive.”
Deanna: “Sounds like I’d want to be a part of your family.”
Once Deanna explains that she needs Rick’s group to help hers survive and she knows they can help them, he starts to listen. Then, she humanizes herself a bit further by saying, “If I didn’t win re-election, I was gonna be a professional poker. I’m not kidding.” Or does she just out herself as a superior liar and someone not to be trusted? If Joan Rivers was in Alexandria, this admission would not be a plus, is all I’m saying. (Never thought I’d put a Celebrity Apprentice reference in a Walking Dead recap. RIP, Joan.)
It’s at this point, Rick breaks down a bit further and admits he was a sherriff.
The scene where everyone is storing their guns is actually hilarious. Between Carol feigning weakness as she awkwardly removes the gun from around her shoulder (it’s the beginning of her long game) and the Alexandrian who jokes that she “should have brought another bin” when the sheer volume of everyone’s weapons overload what she’s got, this is post-apocalyptic comedy at its finest.
The gang is given two houses to live in, and they’re spacious and immaculate. (Carl: “These are like mansions.” Carol: “And they’re just giving them away.”) Rick and Carl walk in like they’ve got to clear the place and marvel at the running water in the kitchen. There are showers! And A Mirror! Rick shaving that crazy man beard is a watershed moment. (Hello, Love, Actually Andrew Lincoln!) A pretty blonde named Jessie brings over some sundries from a pantry and ends up giving Rick a haircut. She has two boys, one Carl’s age. And we also do meet her husband, in the form of a snarky, shadowy man smoking on a porch, a bit later in the hour. (“You’re Rick, my wife cut your hair. Welcome to Alexandria.”) Meanwhile, Carl goes upstairs exploring, knife drawn. He finds an attic, very lived in, and full of comics.
When Daryl meets with Deanna, still holding the dead possum he shot just before entering Alexandria, he says “the boy and the baby, they deserve a roof.” Later, we see him gutting the critter on the porch of his new home. He’s suspicious that they took all their weapons and now they’re being split up.
Despite having two home to spread out in, everyone bunks together. Michonne appears, happy to have brushed her teeth for 20 minutes. She says she gets why they’re playing it safe, but she has a good feeling. (When she met with Deanna she said, “We wanted this. We’re ready.”) Deanna drops by to check in. She’s surprised (but not) to see them all together. There’s talk of everyone’s jobs, but she’s still working on what Sasha and Daryl will do. And she hasn’t told Rick and Michonne of their duties yet.
The next day, everyone’s out walking around, except Daryl, who stays on the porch like an outdoor cat. Rick tells him he and Lori used to walk through neighborhoods like this thinking “One day”. When it seems everyone has disappeared all of a sudden, Rick luckily runs into Jessie, who helps him find Carl and Judith with an older couple who lost all their kids and grandkids. Her son Ron introduces Carl to Mikey and Enid, the latter of whom has only been there eight months. It turns out they’re the teens who used the attic he stumbled on earlier. They offer video games and pool, but Carl is speechless for a minute.
When Carl meets with Deanna, he has Judith on his lap when he says he didn’t just lose his mom, he had to kill her. Later, Carl tells Rick he likes the people he’s met, but they are weak, and doesn’t “want us to get weak too.”
Carol’s meeting with Deanna is an example of her fine acting skills. She says that in her previous life, she gardened, did laundry and made dinner for Ed. (“I miss that stupid, wonderful man every day.”) She swears she does not much to offer beyond being a den mother. She calls herself a real people person and volunteers for The Junior League. In short, she’s full of shit. Later, on the porch with a still filthy Daryl, she tells him to shower and keep up appearances. She’s dressed like Suzy Homemaker, off to make dinner for the old folks in town.
Glenn tells Deanna that they need to make this work because they were almost out there too long. Glenn, Tara and Noah meet Aiden, Deanna’s son, who was in ROTC. He, along with Nicholas (the guy they met at the gate), is doing a dry run with them outside the gates. Aiden is in charge, and he quickly makes it known that he is a douchebag (his words) and also a moron (mine), who in retaliation for a walker killing a few of his men, strung the thing up to use as a good luck charm whenever they go on runs. Not surprisingly, it’s escaped. Nicholas and Aiden stupidly whistle to lure it out and nearly get Tara killed, until Glenn steps in to knife it. This does not make Alpha Male Aiden happy.
Around the same time of day, Carl sees Enid climb up and over the fence, so naturally he follows her into woods. (Was she with the exiled guys and she’s taking them supplies or intel? Or, is she simply going into the woods to keep her skills sharp and not get “soft”.) Rick also leaves the town to get his stashed gun from the blender, which is disturbingly gone. He sees one walker he doesn’t off, then is suddenly surrounded by a bunch. Carl shows up at that point and they take them all out together. Father-Son bonding at its best!
All the drama spills over back near the gates with Aiden attacking Glenn and Daryl eagerly jumping in to get his buddy’s back. Deanna appears and says Rick and his people are equals. She then informs Rick and Michonne that she’d like them to be constables. She even thanks Glenn for knocking her son on his ass. The next scene brings the arrival of Sherriff Rick! Carol tells Rick about her fear of them becoming weak, just like Carl said previously. Rick says it’s not in them anymore to be weak and if they (the Alexandrians) can’t make it, then we’ll just take this place. It’s looking more and more like they just might have to do that.