Our The Walking Dead crew has suffered tragedy piled on tragedy since the fall of the prison. At the end of last episode mysterious new character Aaron promised “good news.” Can he deliver, or is just another grim disappointment in the offing?
We pick up with the crew cleaning weapons and moping around in the magic tornado-proof barn. Maggie and Sasha bring Aaron home to meet the group, who are, of course, a bit skeptical.
Like, pointing guns skeptical. Judith immediately cries when she sees Aaron, not a good sign.
Aaron wants the group to “audition” for membership in his community. He tells them his job is to convince them to follow him home. He essentially has a brochure, which is a set of pictures showing the walls of the camp and more, and he makes his pitch that the community will be stronger if they join it as Rick goes through them.
Rick only looks at the picture of the walls before walking straight up to Aaron and knocking him out, though. Pity anyone who tried to sell that guy a condo before the apocalypse.
Michonne is not too happy with Rick’s rash action. Rick expects an attack on the barn, so they tie up Aaron and set up lookouts.
In his pack Aaron has a flare gun. Rick takes it. This will be important later.
When Aaron wakes up, he’s tied up and Rick starts interrogating him, asking him how many people he has out there. Aaron makes the point that Rick isn’t going to trust whatever he says. Aaron reveals he left the water in the road and had been following them.
He says he was impressed with both their survival skills and how they stuck together without turning on each other when starving and dehydrating last episode. Well, physically. Emotionally they tore each other apart. And Sasha did go nuts and nick Abraham with a knife. Guess he didn’t see that.
Rick just asks how many others are out there again. Aaron says “one.” He tries to convince them that he and his friend will drive them down to their community in two vehicles they have nearby. Rick just sees an ambush, but Aaron says if he wanted to kill him he would have burned down the barn.
This leads to a split in the group. Michonne wants to check the cars, because she really wants another day with a chance. Maggie and Glenn volunteer to join the mission. Rick volunteers Abraham and Rosita, because honestly they really haven’t had much to do in recent episodes.
“If you’re not back in 60 minutes we’ll come. Which might be just what they want,” Rick says. He sends the remaining members of his group out as sentries for the barn to watch for an attack.
This provides time for a heart-to-heart, where Aaron gives his backstory about being a former NGO worker who delivered food on the Niger River Delta in Nigeria. He said bad people pointed guns at him there, and he can tell Rick’s group aren’t bad people and won’t kill him.
“Just because we’re good people, doesn’t mean we won’t kill you,” Rick says, and promises that if the others aren’t back in an hour he’ll put a knife in the back of Aaron’s skull.
So Michonne’s group walks down the road, not sure what they’ll find. Michonne and Glenn have a walk and talk. Glenn doesn’t believe Aaron would honestly want them if he knows what they’ve done. Michonne points out that they saved a priest, Tara even though she worked with the Governor, a crazy lady with a sword, Noah even though he’s literally worse than useless and might be cursed (she doesn’t say this, but it’s implied), etc.
“He saw that,” Michonne says.
“I don’t know what he saw,” Glenn says.
While this is going on, some guy is watching the group from behind a tractor.
For all of those who were complaining that it doesn’t make sense that Judith is still alive without formula or baby food (dog is too tough for babies to chew), here’s an unsatisfying explanation. Rick is trying to grind some acorns into baby acorn butter with the butt of a gun, which isn’t working and Judith is crying from hunger.
Aaron reminds Rick that there was applesauce in Aaron’s pack and says it isn’t a trick, he’d really like Judith to shut up before she draws a horde of walkers while he’s tied up and unable to defend himself.
Rick makes Aaron taste the applesauce. The implication that he’s trying to poison Judith offends Aaron. And we also get our first obvious hint that Aaron is gay. He says he hates applesauce because his mom, a “very confused woman,” tried to make him eat applesauce and other weird foods to make him “more manly.”
He eats it and doesn’t die. Rick eats it and doesn’t die. So Rick feeds it to Judith. Aaron tries to use safety for Judith as an incentive to join him, but Rick is still stubborn.
Michonne’s group finds a car and an RV. They also find a couple of walkers, which Abraham and Rosita wearily agree to murderize. Look, they really haven’t had many scenes lately. They take ’em out in stylish bloody fashion, but there’s a hit of tension between them.
Rosita and Abraham search the RV. Inside Abraham finds an unopened can of Gorbelli S’Getti Rings (with hotdogs). That leads to reminiscing about a dead friend, Rex, who loved the stuff.
Abraham moves straight from this to breathlessly asking Rosita if she thought he would hurt her when he beat the hell out of Eugene at the fire truck. Remember, Abraham’s whole deal is that his wife and child left him because they were scared of him.
“No. It’s not you,” Rosita says, but not in the most super-reassuring way.
So they drive the vehicles and all the S’Getti Rings and other food back to the barn. Rick tells Aaron they’re keeping the food, whether or not they go. More people have come around to trusting Aaron, including Carl. Michonne just straight up says they’re going and Rick agrees.
Aaron’s a bit worried because they won’t let him drive them so he won’t tell them where the camp is. He tells them to take Route 16 North and he’ll tell them from there, but Rick, still in his “stranger danger” mode, decides to take 23 North even though Aaron says it’s not cleared. And he decides to do it at night to gain an advantage against the camp.
Rick is checking the car for traps or something when Michonne comes out to talk to him. She asks if they’re really going and Rick says they are.
Rick reminds Michonne of when they approached Woodbury and Terminus, which both seemed innocuous from outside. He says he heard nothing inside, and he’ll have to decide to bring his family inside the walls of Aaron’s compound knowing just as little about the dangers within as did the other times.
“I’m not sure if anything could convince me to go in there. But I’m going to see,” Rick says.
So they roll out at night. Glenn drives the car, Rick rides shotgun and Michonne sits in the back with Aaron, whose hands are still tied.
Rick finds a bunch of license plates in the glove compartment. Aaron says he’s trying to collect all 50 states to put them on the wall of his house. He shows Michonne a picture of it from his packet. When she looks through the pile other pics show only buildings, not people, which freaks Michonne out. Now she’s suspicious.
She asks him the famous question “How many walkers have you killed?” Aaron answers “I don’t know, a lot.” She asks him how many people. Aaron says two, “because they tried to kill me.”
Rick finds a listening device in Aaron’s car and now it’s his turn to freak out, because others could have overheard the plan.
Then a distracted Glenn drives into a horde of walkers on the road and it’s splatter city. The whole car is coated with blood as Glenn just keeps mowing them down until he can’t even see out the windshield any more.
They stop the car, Glenn does a quick windshield wipe and they make plans to go back to the RV, which avoided the horde. But walker guts have clogged the engine, so Michonne has to get out and pull body parts out as the rest of the horde approaches.
In all of this chaos a flare flies into the sky. When Aaron sees it’s now HIS turn to freak out. He says “this is over” and kicks the door of the car open and runs toward the flare, hands still tied.
Rick wants to leave Aaron to find the RV, but Michonne points out that the RV crew is going to think Rick’s group fired the flare and go to it. So they chase after Aaron.
Lotsa walker killings follow. Glenn almost gets a walker love bite but he doesn’t go down easy and bashes its brains on a rock.
When Glenn recovers he find Aaron about to be killed by a walker. He almost walks away, but after hesitating goes back and helps, proving he’s still a good guy despite all his tough talk recently. He even frees Aaron’s hands.
They hear a gunshot. Glenn tells him to run if he wants. Aaron says they can make it together, but only together, repeating something Glenn said earlier that he overheard while eavesdropping.
Rick runs out of ammo. He improvises with the flare gun for one of the best walker kills of the series, and then it’s mano a mano fighting against hopeless numbers.
Until Glenn and Aaron ride to the rescue, shooting all the walkers.
When they get to the area where the flare was they find Daryl, whistling in an alley behind a building as a signal. The rest of the group pours out and there are hugs, but Aaron starts yelling for “Eric.”
He finds Eric in the building. The other group has rescued him and set Eric’s broken ankle. Aaron is very worried and he kisses Eric with relief.
They have a nice little lover’s convo. Eric said he got hurt by hiding under a car the walkers rolled over his ankle. But he has a gift for Aaron, a new license plate.
“You lost the license plates,” Eric teases when he notices Aaron’s look.
“I lost the car,” Aaron says and Eric laughs.
Aaron goes outside and tells the group he owes them for saving Eric and he’ll make sure the debt is paid in full when they get to Alexandria.
Rick, still a big skeptical grump, wants Aaron to sleep on another room. Aaron says the only way they’re keeping him from Eric is shooting him. Glenn plays peacemaker and convinces Rick to let the lovers sleep together.
“I can’t give up everything else. I know what I said, but, it does matter,” Glenn says, reversing a nihilistic position Glenn took in “What’s Happening and What’s Going On” when he and Rick were talking about killing Dawn.
The next day they head to Alexandria in the RV and a car. Aaron watches over a sleeping Eric in the bedroom of the RV. Noah brings Aaron some aspirin and water for his rope burns.
Aaron asks about Noah’s crippled leg, which gets him to reminisce about the car accident that sent him to Grady Memorial Hospital. Aaron says there’s a surgeon named Pete in Alexandria that might be able to fix Noah’s leg.
There’s a quick, weird scene that shows Abraham and Rosita’s relationship is healing, or at least going back to its old ways. As Abraham is driving the RV past D.C. Rosita, in the shotgun seat, sees the Washington Monument in the distance and points it out to Abraham. Because it’s shaped like an erect penis, get it? Abraham smiles and she tells him “Eyes on the road, champ.”
Abraham notices the battery is dying on the RV. He asks Rosita how much farther and she says they’re halfway there.
The music swells and Abraham says “We can make it.”
That’d have been a nice upbeat ending to show, but this is The Walking Dead so the RV breaks down. Abraham is freaking out, but Glenn shows him that RVs have spare batteries.
While they work, Michonne and Rick talk. She tells him “the fight’s over” and he has to let it go.
The guys get the RV started. Rick says he has to take a moment before they go. He walks out into the woods to a junk pile behind an old house and hides a gun in a blender. He’s not good at letting it go.
They drive up to Alexandria’s walls, with Rick at the wheel of a car. When he cuts the engine, instead of hearing nothing from inside, Rick hears the sound of children playing. People laughing. The sounds of life.
Michonne puts her hand on his and asks if he’s ready. Rick agrees. He gets Judith from the backseat.
As he’s getting her out, Carol walks by and tells Rick that “Even though you were wrong, you were still right.”
Rick chuckles as Judith pulls at his beard.
“Should we go?” Rick asks Judith. He kisses her on the head and then heads toward the gates of Alexandria. End of episode.
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