They've survived walkers, an evil governor, a megalomanical police woman and even cannibals, but can Team Rick make it through ... a welcome party?
Spoiler alert: The following recap contains spoilers. There is no sanctuary.
After being promoted to Constables by Alexandria's resident-in-chief Deanna, Rick and Michonne are ready to patrol their newfound neighborhood, but there's a lot more going on than Deanna, the rest of the town or even Michonne understands.
Here are the four main takeaways from Sunday night's episode, entitled "Forget."
Rick, Carol and Daryl plot to get an upper hand, and Carol is willing to go pretty far for it.
When Rick, Carol and Daryl have a secret meeting at the bungalow in the woods outside of Alexandria, the plan is to obtain as many weapons as they can from the pantry -- just in case. They want the rest of the group to try acclimating to life there, but with the condition that this inner circle is prepared to take things into their own hands. They plan to have Carol (who is proud to be "invisible" once again) slip in and take back their weapons during a welcome party hosted by Deanna, something that should be easy to do now that Carol dresses and acts like a female Mr. Rogers.
Carol wins the trust of Olivia the pantry worker and even plays dumb about her knowledge of weaponry to a man named Tobin so she can undo a window latch and later sneak in. But being deceptive is nothing compared to what she actually does to get a hold of some hand guns. After slipping out of the party, Jessie's younger son, Sam, follows her, thinking she is going to get more cookie-making supplies and sees her taking the guns. She tells him she'll bake him his very own batch if he keeps quiet. But after learning that he tells his mother everything, Carol goes the other way and tells him that if he says anything at all, he'll wake up outside the walls alone until "the monsters" come and eat him alive. WTF!
After that horrifying speech (Carol certainly does have a way with children, doesn't she?) Carol is able to get what she needed and distribute the guns to Rick and Daryl. Only by then, Daryl isn't interested.
Daryl has a change of heart after his day with Aaron.
After refusing to bathe or even pretend to rejoin society last episode, Daryl discovers his role in Alexandria thanks to the man who recruited him, Aaron. While tracking in the woods, Daryl runs into Aaron. Aaron does his best to relate to Daryl, telling him he understands what it's like to feel like an outsider due to his relationship with Eric. "People are people. The more afraid they get the more stupid they get." Apparently homophobia is still alive and well in the South.
They spot a beautiful looking horse -- one that the town's children have dubbed "Buttons" -- and try to lasso it, but walkers spook it away. Daryl saves Aaron, Aaron saves Daryl and the two are beginning to trust each other. Then, as it so often goes in this show, the two bond over a tragic moment when walkers catch and devour the horse. Aaron encourages Daryl to try and attend the welcome party and let people get to know him, but Daryl realizes he isn't quite ready for primetime. As a compromise, Aaron invites him over to his and Eric's place to slurp up a plate of spaghetti. No more worms for him!
But the food isn't even the best part. Aaron shows Daryl something special waiting in his garage: the body of a motorcycle and tons of parts. Aaron reveals his true motive for inviting him over: he told Deanna not to assign Daryl a job because he wants him to become the second recruiter for new Alexandrians. After all, his BF Eric didn't have such an easy go of it on their last attempt. Aaron insists that Daryl will be perfect for it, what with his penchant for skulking around the woods and ability to tell the difference between a good person and a bad person. Daryl accepts with a simple, "I've got nothing else to do," so it's settled. Daryl doesn't want to keep a secret weapon anymore. He wants to ride that chopper.
Everyone has a hard time remembering how to function at parties, but Sasha has severe PTSD.
Poor Sasha. Not only did she just lose her brother and boyfriend, but now all she wants to do is pick off walkers and instead she's being made to go to a party. She's not the only one who isn't ready to mix and mingle. Michonne, who just got comfortable in her new Constable's windbreaker, has to put on a dress and pretend her plastic cocktail sword isn't her trusty Katana. Sgt. Abraham enters the party with suspicions (and Rosita with a ton of side-eye), and Noah has enough social anxiety to go around. But you know what really helps in this situation? Alcohol!
By the end of the party, Carl's had a fun time with his new friends, Abe's feeling tipsy and thankful to be there, and even Mchonne hangs up her sword. But Sasha is another story. Earlier, Deanna told her she could be the primary lookout in the town's clock tower -- which is currently unmanned for the most part -- but only if she comes to the party. When she gets there she is greeted by Deanna's much nicer son Spencer, but even his friendly quips and good looks can't put her at ease. When another friendly Alexandrian asks what her favorite food is because she's worried she won't make anything she likes, Sasha flips out. She's seeing visions of the various traumas her group has endured and can't believe someone is worried about what she's going to eat. Deanna calls bullshit on Sasha's behavior, but tough love might not be enough to bring her back to her old self.
Rick and Jessie sitting a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
Okay, let's talk about what's going on with Rick. Last week he had no problem saying he could "take this place" if necessary, and now it appears he's setting his sights on taking something else that doesn't belong to him: Jessie. After Deanna's husband Reg (who built Alexandria's walls) compliments Rick at the party for keeping 14 people alive outside, Rick has his first nice glass of scotch in ages. He further warms up to the idea of being at a party when Jessie arrives with her husband and two kids. Now, in last week's episode Jessie's husband gave Rick an ominous greeting in the dark, but this time the man (who is also a doctor) is all smiles and warmth. What changed?
Jessie tries to convince Rick that the "view" is pretty good at the party, meaning the view of their friends and families enjoying themselves instead of fighting for their lives. It's not exactly like before, and they've all lost something (or someone), but Jessie is an optimist who seems intent on passing her infectious positivity onto Rick. A few glasses of the brown stuff later, Rick is happily sporting a red "A" that Jessie's younger son stamped on his hand, watching Carl talk to kids his own age and seeing Jessie hold his baby daughter like she's one of her own. There's a sweet moment when Jessie hands Judith over to Rick and he uses the opportunity to plant a little kiss. However, the moment loses some of its sweetness when, the following day, Rick sees her walking with her husband and touches the gun in his holster as if he could shoot her husband dead right then and there. WTF, Rick?
So, what will happen next week? The biggest mystery of this episode had little to do with Team Rick acclimating to their new surroundings: a walker with a "W" carved into its forehead that Carol shoots by the bungalow. What on Earth could that stand for (Woodbury?!) and does it have something to do with why Enid was sneaking out last episode? Here's a preview clip from next week's episode entitled "Spend" to hold us over.