Monday, February 23, 2015

The Walking Dead: Season 5 Episode 11 - The Distance

Hello everyone and welcome back for another helping of The Walking Dead!  And what an episode it was!  It feels like we're always asked to determine if someone is deserving of our trust.  But, this show sure nows how to amp up the intensity as if it's the first time we've been asked the question.  Maybe it's the weight of everything that has preceded it combined with the promises that these new characters provide.  Our heroes are at their wits end and are looking for any sliver of hope.  But, even when everything checks out, there are still questionable moments that still make us not trust.  Plus, it's easier for us not to trust knowing that it's a television show where there always has to be stakes to keep things interesting!  I doubt they'll show up at Alexandria and it'll be 5 seasons of ping pong tournaments until the viewers finally cry, "Uncle!"  Okay, enough rambling.  It was a great episode and let's dive in and discuss!
Discussion Points
  • When we last left off, Aaron had entered our lives as someone who knows he's not to be trusted but wants so desperately to be trusted.  He wants to bring in Rick and crew for an "audition" to join their group.  He says all the right things to lure some of the group into convincing Rick that they should fact check out the info he's dishing out.  
  • There always has to be some kind of voice for hope on the show, someone to keep the team grounded.  It turns out that Michonne is now that person.  Rick is rightfully at the point where he refuses to trust anyone and doesn't even know what they could do to earn his trust.  Michonne though it was at least worth checking out the details of Aaron's story.  He stated there were cars a couple miles down the road that could take all of them to Alexandria.  
  • Rick took all precautions he could be spreading out the whole group outside of the barn and keeping Judith and Aaron with him in the barn.  He also punched Aaron and tied him up for good measure.  
  • The minute Aaron brought up that he was the one that left the water, I was yelling at the TV to make him drink the water.  But, they went a different way by offering Judith apple sauce when she was hungry and crying.  Rick force fed Aaron the apple sauce, which he claimed to hate, before feeding his daughter. 
  • Meanwhile, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham and Rosita checked out the vehicles which did turn out to be there.  ANOTHER RV!  The RV was stocked with lots of canned goods including generic brand spaghetti o's!  Abraham was pretty excited about this.  He and Rosita reflected on a guy named Rex who presumably was part of their group previously.  Rosita seems a little shaken up by Abraham since his behavior after Eugene's confession.  Honestly, I forget what exactly he did to Rosita, but even Abraham asked her if she thought he'd kill her.  
  • We should point out that Glenn was in "shoot to kill" mode when walking to the vehicles.  He said if ANYONE walks up on them, they should shoot no questions.  His defense was that they are 5 armed people and no one should be coming up on them.  Michonne started arguing that the people could be like them, which made Glenn fear even them even more.  Michonne talked about the group and how they are generally welcoming people.  They took in her, they took in Tara who came with the Governor, etc...   She said that Aaron and his people probably have observed these things.   So Michonne immediately thinks Aaron has been watching them for a long long time.  Aaron has only mentioned that he's been observing them long enough to have seen them on this journey to D.C. not anything in Georgia. 
  • We also observed someone watching the vehicles from afar.  Aaron had mentioned there was 1 other person out there with him, but also mentioned that he know Rick wouldn't believe anything he said. 
  • Even though Aaron's story checked out Rick still was giving Aaron a hard time and didn't agree  to go.  It was Michonne who challenged Rick in front of the whole group that "they need this" and that they're going.  Pretty much the whole group agreed.  It's funny, I don't think Rick has ever made a decision, at least on screen, that hasn't been challenged by the group!  He could be a Ricktator or a farmer, and someone's always not happy with his methods!   After everything they've been through, I'd probably be as skeptical as him.  That said, they didn't travel all this way to not find new options of survival.  They're a smart group, it's probably worth checking out. 
  • Throughout the course of the episode, Aaron explained Alexandria.  It's a town surrounded by 15 foot steel walls, large homes for everyone, plenty of food, apple trees.  He mentioned to Noah they have a great surgeon as well that might be able to fix his leg.  He brought low quality pictures to share with the group as well.  
  • Rick decides to go, but refuses to follow Aaron's plan to get there.  Aaron wanted to drive and take route 16 which they've cleared.   Rick decides on Route 23 (ahh, I know Route 23 well!  At least in PA.)  As they are driving Rick finds a pile of license plates from different states in the glove compartment.  Aaron suggests that he's trying to collect all 50 states and he wants to hang them on the wall of his home.  This triggers Michonne to look at the pictures and she observed that there are no people in them.  Aaron looked a little worried and said he tried to take a group picture but the exposure levels were off or something.  
  • She then realized they didn't ask him the questions they ask of any new potential team member.  How many walkers did he kill?  (they call them Roamers, Noah calls them Rotters.  Crazy that they still stick to what character calls them what.)  Aaron said lots.  How many people has he killed? 2  Why?  Because they were trying to kill him.  
  • Rick then pulled out sound recording equipment from the glove box (that's a big glovebox!!) and realized they've been recorded and that someone else may have been listening in to them as well and have known their plan.  Glenn slams on the breaks but it's too late, there is a herd of Walkers all over the road and they start plowing in.   There was a nice effect of blood all over the headlights giving the whole scene an ominous glowing red look.  
  • The car eventually stops and a flare shoots up.  This freaks Aaron out and Rick as well (since they have Aaron's flare gun).   Aaron says, "this is over" and bolts out of the car and through the woods.   
  • Meanwhile the car won't start because there are walker guts in the engine.  Michonne tried to fix, but when the flare gun went off, she assumed the other half of their group would be heading towards it.  So, they all run into the woods into the walker mess.  Rick runs out of ammo, Glenn has a decision to make and saves Aaron.  Rick fires their flare gun into a walker's eye and it's awesome!  Eventually, Rick, Glenn, Michonne and Aaron head towards the sight of the flare.  
  • There's a whistle code shared between Rick's group and Darryl's group and they meet back up at a warehouse.  
  • Aaron's other man was there who was saved by the crew.  His name is Eric and surprise....he's Aaron's lover!!  They have a sweet moment realizing they're both alive and well.  Eric gave Aaron a gift of a license plate from a state he was missing which makes Aaron laugh because he lost the rest of them in the walker plagued car.  You immediately want to trust these 2 as they just seem like 2 people in love and really wanting to bring these people into Alexandria.  Eric even mentioned they're good people unwitnessed by the group.  Rick eventually walks in to observe.   
  • I am not a reader of the comics but apparently Aaron and Eric are a well known pair from the books, so it would seem that maybe they are trustworthy.  That doesn't mean Alexandria won't be without drama! 
  • They continue their journey in the morning on route 16.  They either found a new car to go alongside the RV or fixed the other one.  I'll go with new car.  There was an awesome shot of seeing the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the distance.  Rosita and Abraham shared a moment and a smile that they made it to their original destination.   It was a welcome sight to Walking Dead fans also because it gives us a new landmark and a familiar landmark proving that the group has traveled outside the Georgia state lines.  
  • Of course, the RV dies enroute, but Glenn knows how to fix it.  This was a great callback to season 1 of the show.  Dale had taught Glenn how to replace the battery in the RV.  This was brought up on Talking Dead but I felt it also.  You just realize how much the group has changed since season 1.  There are still some season 1 cast in the show, but it's mostly a new crew acquired along the way.  There has been a lot of loss on the show!  But, a scene like this makes the deceased characters resonate and still hold value. 
  • Rick and Michonne talked as they approached Alexandria.  He asked what did they hear when they approached Woodbury and Terminus.  Silence.  And they turned into disasters.  He doesn't know if anything will make him trust this situation, but he has to bring his family into this place.  And because the group wants to go he's going to check it out.  
  • As they pull up to the steel wall, the camera focuses on Rick's eyes.  You see the skeptical look turn into relief when they hear the sounds of children playing beyond the wall.  Was this enough to make Rick trust the situation?  Maybe / maybe not.  But he'll at least enter with a more open mind.  
  • Carol took a moment to tell Rick that even though he was wrong, he still isn't wrong.  Just simple words of caution that they can't lose their heads in this new place.  A place we're going to explore much more next week!  We saw them walking towards the gate and then the credits rolled!
That's all I have for this week.  Still enjoying this season and looking forward to seeing how the Alexandria plot unfolds.  We mustn't forget that just the other week we saw what happened to the corpses in Noah's hometown.  There is a crew on the loose that was chopping up the living and leaving their animated parts all over the place.  Are they related to Alexandria or a different nearby group?   Or was that just in there for decoration and nothing they're going to explore further?  Anything is in play!  Time to comment on the episode.  I look forward to everyone's thoughts. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!


Plumbarius said...

Been awhile since I've commented but I have thoroughly enjoyed these first 3 episodes as much as any in the series.

I love how Michonne took charge and made a decision for the group; it could turn out to be a life and death choice but the group was running on fumes at this point and were basically out of options. Its good that Rick is so cautious after being burned so many times and he has the most to lose with Carl and Judith.

What a great piece of acting when they focused on Rick's eyes and the him hearing the sounds of children behind the walls, there was a visible change in his emotions which is difficult to pull off when his whole face was not showing. Bravo!

FYI, Rosita stood up to Abraham and had her hand on her gun after the incident with Eugene.

I was curious about the last episode when Sasha accidentally slashed Abraham in the arm with the bloody knife; I thought something might come out of that but I guess they have been arms deep in walker blood many times without turning.

Interesting how the faith issue came into these last couple of episodes with the frogs, the sudden rainstorm, and then the tornado? that wiped out the herd of walkers....having faith/hope is something that is on short supply in this walker world.

I haven't read the comics but looked at some of the info on Walking Dead Wiki and I knew Alexandria was potentially a pivotal moment in this part of the season. It won't be paradise but it appears it might be a safe haven at least until all the "leader" personalities begin to clash as this series continues.

MJ said...

I don't know that Michonne is the voice for hope per se - to me it's more that she's been down this road (literally) with no hope, hungry, no shelter. With the recent deaths she knows the group is emotionally and physically battered and that they need to take a break. She listened to Aaron and liked what she heard cause he didn't come at them like Gareth and even the Governor - she liked his logical way of watching them to see if they should be invited. And I think she liked that they are invited to 'audition'. So I think she is cautiously optimistic that Alexandria is a place they can go to safely. So while I think she is keeping the team grounded - which she had been doing for quite a long time actually - I don't see her as the voice of hope like Dale and Hershel were. She just knows most about living on the road and what it does to you - and she knows what not having hope will do to you. And way too late to be asking those question now that they are pretty much there !

My first thought when hearing the kids playing was that you'd think they'd keep quieter so as to not draw walkers - then I realized that there were no walkers around. I know they said they'd cleared that road - but no walkers at all ? Hmmmm. LOL - I wasn't screaming to make him drink the water but i was yelling make him try the applesauce!

If you watched talking Dead the brand of the spaghettti O's is the name of the company that Tara's dad drive the truck for.

I have to admit those pictures are highly suspicious. No people and very crappy pics. Are there really kids playing or is it a recording? I got confused why when the first flare went off Aaron's thought was 'its over' and bolted. But I'll just roll with it. Loved the flare zombie and all the guts in the grill. LOL I know they've been making a bog deal about the first gays on the show - I could care less.

Was this other group chopping up the living? I thought it was walkers they were chopping up - so that they can't walk . But yes - that group is still out there and they seemed to have bombed Shirewilt so wondering if Alexandria is safe for long.

Mike V. said...

MJ, I did watch Talking Dead which is where the whole "voice of hope" came from. I wasn't even going to bring it up until I saw it there. But I agree with your assessment. lol

Of course I wasn't paying that much attention because I didn't hear about the spaghetti o's lol

The reason Aaron took off was because he knew that flare was Eric's and he was concerned for his man. lol

I just assumed they were chopping up the living, but that's a good point that it could've been walkers.

Thanks for the reminder on Rosita Plumbarius!

The cut with abraham came up last week too...but yeah I think they're good as long as they're not bitten.

And yeah the whole faith tornado thing is certainly interesting.

Interesting thoughts from the TWD Wiki! I'm sure it could go down somewhat like that!

Short for time, hence why I'm being brief, great comments!

MJ said...

They are making such a big deal about the 'first gay couple' but that is no true. Tara had a girlfriend with that group of people who tried to take the prison.

Leslie said...

Late in commenting, but I think Michonne is right in that they have to at least check out any opportunity to settle in somewhere safe. It worked out for awhile at the farm and the prison. And, while they have to be smart and cautious, they have to keep taking in new people so there are others to kill besides our core group! lol

Rick punching the guy was uncalled for. He already had the upper hand and was in the power position.

I thought the same thing about the pics with no people and wondered if the sound of the kids playing was a recording. What better way to bring Rick's guard down when he is bringing in two kids of his own?

mj said...

Just read that the finale will be 1.5 hours.

Mike V. said...

First Gay couple - Well..first MALE gay couple. I know..equal right stuff but for some reason 2 men is a bigger deal on television. lol

@Leslie - poor Rick can't catch a break! Maybe it was uncalled for but it's a rough world they're living in and his trust has been put to the test many times.

I wonder too about a recording of kids.

@MJ - I saw that too on the finale!

Zainab Sher said...

Hello again,
Been away from a while but never missed reading your recaps. I don't have much to add but have they changed their director or something cause last episode, them and this one, both were shot amazingly. I loved the camera work and the way they built whole atmosphere to life, bravo!
1 thing that bothers me though and you can help since I don't live in US, what type of weather is in these episodes? I am asking cause I see cast sweat and are wearing shirts and then Aaron comes and he is wearing jackets. It just bothers me. May be it is hot in the day and cold at the night, I don't know.

Again, love your recaps. :)

Mike V. said...

Hi Zainab, sorry for the delay in responding. Haven't been near a computer all weekend. :) Not sure about the directors of the episodes which is weird because for other shows I do notice the director. But, they certainly have changed show runners over the seasons. The past couple seasons have been run by Scott Gimple who seems to have a good grasp on what this show should be. It's been notably better since he took the helm.

As for the weather, I'm not sure what time of year it is. I know that one time that they were coming up on winter, they skipped right past it with a time jump. Georgia is in a southern part of the U.S. so it would be notably warmer throughout the year than in the D.C. area. I live in the Northeast and we experience all 4 seasons here. Winters are cold, snowy and icy (for example...yesterday and today!), Summers are humid and hot. Spring is nice but lots of pollen.

But, I'm sure with TWD, they're going for what looks good on television and not "what is the weather?" Maybe there's a little consideration for it. I remember back when LOST was on, people asked the show runners why people wouldn't be wearing shorts on a a tropical island. Their answer was that people in shorts does not translate well to television, which is why they all wore jeans all of the time!

Okay, time to recap the new episode! :-) Thanks for the praise on the recaps!