On The Walking Dead recap, Rick is skeptical about Aaron’s offer of a new town that could house the survivors, but Michonne wants to go because maybe this is finally a chance to run towards something rather than away from everything….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s easy to understand in this new world haunted by the zombie apocalypse why trust sounds like a four-letter word.
As the days turned to weeks, the weeks to months and the months to years since the undead started taking over the world, it’s certainly gotten harder and harder for any one person to trust another. For our group of survivors, trust has meant shaking with one hand while waiting for the other to pull a gun or a knife. So when a man dressed from head to toe in clean clothing looking like he just stepped out of a shower instead of a living hell, it’s understandable that Rick isn’t going to welcome him with open arms.
At the tail end of last week’s episode of misery, this clean cut man we now know as Aaron showed up unannounced and approached Maggie and Sasha requesting an audience with their leader. He wasn’t asking for the group to surrender or to prepare for the snipers waiting in the treetops above them to start picking them off if they didn’t give up all their belongings. No, Aaron arrived to recruit this band of survivors to join his community because he believed they would be a good fit.
He even provides pictures that show a town surrounded by 15-foot tall walls of cold, rolled steel, firmly planted and giving everyone inside a real sense of security. No one living or dead was going to get inside without some serious effort. Aaron is offering utopia but Rick only hears lies disguised as unrealistic promises so five minutes into the newcomer’s sales speech, he knocks him out cold and decides he’ll find the answers he’s looking for on his own.
And really can you blame him?
Rick has gone up against a sociopathic doctor ready to blow everything up to get out, a megalomaniac determined to rule the world his way and by any means necessary and a town full of cannibals who lure people in with the promise of salvation before turning them into Salisbury steak. Now here’s this clean-cut friendly type offering a town surrounded by walls and people inside who want to greet them with baskets of food, water and open arms.
With that let’s recap this week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘The Distance’.
State of Love and Trust
Aaron gets tied up to a pole while the group decides his fate, but it’s clear more than a few of them want to believe he’s a good and decent person, really offering them a safe place to lay their heads. Unfortunately, Rick falls on the complete other end of the spectrum and won’t trust Aaron as far as he could throw him. He remembers all too well what happened when he believed a sign that said ‘those who arrive survive’ and how that nearly lead to the termination of everyone he loves.
Aaron tries to calm everybody’s nerves by revealing he was the one who left those bottles of water while they were stuck on the road with nothing to drink, but then he also tells them that he’s been watching for days now to make sure they were worthy candidates to get taken to his community. Rick is convinced Aaron is setting them up for a trap and he wants to know how it’s going down. Michonne finds trust in Aaron awfully quick and believes he’s telling them the truth and tries to explain it to Rick. In turn, he reminds Michonne what they heard when they arrived at Terminus and it was the same sound she found when she arrived at Woodbury.
Nothing. Silence. A deafening echo of quiet.
To qualm their fears, Aaron tells them that there’s one other person with him but that’s all and also explains the exact location of the two cars they drove there that would provide them all with transportation back to the town. Rick sends a scout team to check out Aaron’s story while putting the rest of the group on watch outside the barn to try and spot if any of his co-conspirators are lurking in the shadows.
Applesauce and Spaghetti-O’s
Michonne, Abraham, Rosita, Glenn and Maggie find the cars exactly where Aaron said they could find them. Inside the RV, Abraham finds a stash of Spaghetti-O’s and marvels at the last time he saw the saucy pasta treat. It was back during a time when his group was flush with people before he met Rick and a member put down four cans of them in one sitting. He shares a moment with Rosita looking back before asking his lady if she ever got scared of him during his tirade back at the fire truck that ended with Eugene knocked out cold. Remember, Abraham’s own wife and children left when they saw him kill a man because they were afraid of him and they ended up zombie lunch before they could get 10-feet away. Rosita tells him she was never scared of him and wave of relief washes over Abraham.
Meanwhile back at the bar, Judith is screaming bloody murder and Aaron tells Rick that inside his backpack is some applesauce he can give his daughter for food, if for no other reason than her squealing will alert any walkers in the area to find them and since he’s tied up to a pole with no way to defend himself, he’d be the first person killed. Rick still isn’t in a trusting mood so he makes Aaron taste the applesauce first because it could be full of poison. Aaron is shocked that Rick would take him as the kind of person who would poison a baby, but again let’s not forget the psycho Detroit Tigers baseball cap wearing Terminite that threatened to snap Judith’s neck to make an escape once upon a time. In other words, Rick still has just cause.
When the group arrives back with the food and the cars just like Aaron described, Rick still isn’t in a trusting mood. He tells Aaron that everything he brought now belongs to them, but Michonne has had enough of this shit. She wants to go to Aaron’s community because at this point they need it. There’s no where else to run and they need something to run towards. Even Darryl, who is fed up with the smell of horse shit, is ready for new surroundings.
But Rick again insists on doing things his way. Instead of driving up Route 16, which is clear according to Aaron, they will go on Route 23 just in case his people are waiting to ambush them. Aaron pleads with him to go the other way, but Rick’s mind is made up. They’re going on Route 23. He’s going to really wish he chose the other way.
It’s Raining Dead
On the road to Aaron’s dream destination, Rick discovers a pile of license plates in the glove compartment, all of them from different states. Aaron explains that he’s collecting all 50 states for a display in his house back at home. Just when Michonne starts to settle in with the idea of having a house again when looking at Aaron’s pictures, she notices none of the photos show any of the people who apparently occupy this heavenly little town. It looks awfully quiet in Aaron’s haven of safety. Now Michonne is coming around to Rick’s way of thinking because she’s wondering how Aaron will respond to the three questions.
Remember the three questions from a season ago?
Aaron doesn’t know how many walkers he’s killed but it’s a lot. He’s killed two people as well. Why? Because they were going to kill him.
Before he can explain much further, Glenn notices that Route 23 really wasn’t safe after all as he starts plowing through a road full of walkers littering the highway. He keeps driving as fast as he can, taking out as many zombies along the way as possible while hoping that the rest of the group in the RV noticed the hazardous road and made a turn before they could run into the same rot filled shit storm.
When he finally comes to a stop, they see a flare go up in the distance. It’s the same kind of flare that Aaron was carrying with him when he arrived at the barn earlier in the day. While Rick and the others are mystified wondering if this is the signal of an oncoming attack, Aaron knows exactly what it means he busts out of the car and starts running even with his hands bound behind his back because he needs to get somewhere in a hurry.
Rick, Glenn and Michonne battle through a sea of the undead, just trying to find a way to escape, before they are separated and scattered amidst a growing horde of walkers barreling towards them. Glenn finds Aaron barely fending off a walker before saving his life and cutting his hands free. And just when it looks like Rick and Michonne are going to get overrun, Glenn and Aaron swoop in like heroes and shoot down the lot of them, saving their lives.
Aaron quickly hands over his gun again and tells Rick to either shoot him or let him go because he’s going to find the source of that flare come hell or high water.
When the group chases down where the flare came from, they find Darryl and the others hiding out in a building just waiting on them to arrive. It seems they found Aaron’s partner on the road in need of some help after a car rolled over his leg and broke his ankle. His name is Eric and he’s Aaron’s boyfriend and the two of them embrace when they both realize how close they came to never seeing each other again.
Yes, this is the first openly gay couple on The Walking Dead and I long for a day when we no longer have to designate or acknowledge things like this any longer. Gay relationships are no different than straight relationships. There should be no shock factor or reaction whatsoever other than to say ‘oh look how happy they were to find each other! It’s just like Glenn and Maggie!’, because that’s exactly what it was.
Even in this moment when it’s clear Aaron has been telling the truth all along and he even attempted to lead the survivors down a safer path to get to his community, there’s still some mistrust from Rick.
Michonne has had enough. Aaron has proven himself and at this point she’s taking over the decision making and they are going to his town. The town of Alexandria, Virginia. Rick finally concedes and the next morning they load up in the RV and another car they find and they head towards a new destination.
Alexandria offers everyone a slice of hope. Aaron tells Noah that inside their town walls is a doctor named Pete and he’s a gifted surgeon and he might be able to fix the injured leg that’s been haunting the boy since before he arrived in Atlanta. For Abraham and Rosita it’s the culmination of trip that was predicated on a lie back in Texas when Eugene said they had to get to Washington D.C. so he could save the world. Of course that was all wrong but when Rosita spots the Washington Monument, Abraham can’t help but to laugh and feel like this was a mission accomplished.
There’s a slight hiccup in the road when a battery dies in the RV, but thanks to all the mechanical know-how Dale passed on before he was killed, Glenn knows where the spare is hiding. Rick still can’t quite let it go so before he jumps in the car and knocks on the front door, he finds an abandoned house nearby and hides a single gun inside a blender for safe keeping. It’s not exactly the bag of guns he left outside Terminus, but this is Rick’s security blanket. He needs to know there’s a way out even if it’s not really feasible to think one gun would offer him any kind of long-term solution.
In the end, Rick and the other arrive at the gates of Alexandria before they pile out of the car and the RV. There’s no way to see over the walls, but out of the silence comes a few giggles and then some laughs. It’s children playing.
A smile creeps across Rick’s face and the same with Michonne. This isn’t the sound of silence they experienced when dread was hiding just around the corner. Maybe this really is the answer they’ve so desperately been looking for.
Maybe this is home.
Tune into the next episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ on Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC