The airing of season 5, episode 12 of The Walking Dead, titled "Remember," although light in action, still captures. Proving the enduring strength of this show. Thus far, it's also continuing its staying power.
It was an episode that eased up on the accelerator a bit. An episode where everyone needed a profound time of respite. And it's no wonder the previous episode was titled, "The Distance." For in that episode after the new character Aaron, played by Ross Marquand, made his proposal to Rick's group to join his Alexandria community near Washington, D.C., it was Michonne who assertively spoke before the group to say, "We need this."
You also have to give credit to Michonne as she continually supports, while also continually offers differing constructive views to Rick. And it was Rick's son Carl after all who had warmed to her first, beginning as far back while all were at the prison enclave in the third season. The way things have been going between the battle-hardened leader Rick and steadfast Michonne, you'd think they'd eventually get married. Which is certainly all-right by me.
Rick's group is told to surrender their weapons after entering the fortified Alexandria community, where there are beautifully maintained homes with electricity and running hot water. And while Carl is amazed at the new surroundings as the rest of Rick's group are, Carl says, "These are like mansions." Yet while they were told to give up their weapons, like when they arrived at Terminus in the last episode of the fourth season, they are also told they may retrieve their weapons whenever they venture beyond the fortified perimeter of the Alexandria Safe Zone community. It's a community in which Deanna Monroe, a former congresswoman from Ohio, is the leader. Actress Tovah Feldshuh plays Deanna, and whenever I see her play any role, I'm grateful. For some inexplicable reason I always like Tovah Feldshuh.
As already mentioned, the action was light in this episode. Yet it was enough to be symbolic. For it involved a momentary dust-up basically between Glenn from Rick's group and community resident Aiden, the son of Deanna.
Glenn, Tara and Noah volunteered to go on a supply run with Aiden and his friend Nicholas beyond the perimeter. Just after Aiden arrogantly established he's in charge -- which Glenn, Tara, and Noah warily agreed -- Aiden and Nicholas led the three to where they had chained a walker. In this case, walkers are also called roamers by those in the Alexandria Safe Zone community. The walker had killed former community individuals. After discovering the walker had escaped, both Aiden and Nicholas whistled to bring it out in the open. Such an act was immediately seen by Glenn, Tara and Noah as unnecessarily dangerous and infantile. The walker then suddenly reappeared to lunge after Tara, followed by Glenn giving it a head stab, which angered both Aiden and Nicholas as both only wanted it captured once more as a prize.
Upon safe arrival back within the community, Aiden taunted Glenn for disobeying established orders by killing the walker. This altercation attracted Rick, Deanna and others. While Deanna questioned her son, Aiden took a swing at Glenn who instinctively ducked, and with quick fluidity, responded by rising up to solidly deck Aiden. Next, Daryl nearby bull-tackled Nicholas who was closing in on Glenn. Shortly after Deanna tended to Aiden and after Rick restrained Daryl from Nicholas, as Daryl helped Glenn to mop-up, Deanna spoke sternly to both her son and Nicholas. Following that, she announced to all that Rick and his group are to be treated as equals.
The symbolism of the brief fight between Glenn and Aiden is basically only an exaggeration to distinguish between Rick's group, and the Alexandria community whom hadn't experienced the seemingly perpetual horrors outside. Aiden had bragged to Glenn, Tara and Noah that he trained in the ROTC before the zombie apocalypse. It's not to imply that the rest of the community is like Aiden. But using a military term, Rick's group is used to living "behind enemy lines," not only from on-going encounters with the walkers, but also by encountering depraved humanity. Rick said this in a soft spoken way to Deanna during his videotaped session near the beginning.
There's an excellent online article titled, "The Walking Dead in an Age of Anxiety," written by Michael J. Totten from City Journal Autumn 2014. Totten says, "Like all good science fiction and horror, The Walking Dead is completely believable once you accept the premise -- the existence of corpses that walk and bite." That's a start. Jumping ahead he later writes, "As creator Robert Kirkman tells Matt Mogk, author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies, The Walking Dead is about us. It's about how we respond to crisis."
It's a sentiment I've mentioned somewhat similar in a past blog titled, "The Walking Dead: An Emmy-worthy Drama." For within I stated, "The central theme as I see it, is not about the gore or survival, but about cherishing humanity. We cherish that which is elemental if it is on the verge of being lost." Meaning, the verge of elemental loss does not always have to necessarily involve loss of life, or that of a loved one as both are important.
For example, we may need oil, but water is essential. That point was illustrated two episodes ago in episode 10 titled, "Them," As Rick's group, while very short on water, looked as if they were re-enacting The Bataan Death March. It also could mean something else, as Michonne asked Rick how long she brushed her teeth, while all 15 of them settled that first day within a luxurious house. To which he replied, "20 minutes." Next she says, "God, I could not stop brushing." To go with that, let's say you still remember having gone camping. Well maybe not all of us. Anyway, I bet you couldn't wait any longer afterwards to shower up and freshen up.
Rick's group needed a momentary respite especially after suffering back to back losses during the beginning of season 5. Losses that began with Bob, a loved one of Sasha, then Beth, sister of Maggie, followed by Tyreese, brother of Sasha. For Sasha had suffered two losses. All this goes right back to Michonne in the previous episode when she tells the group, "We need this."
That's why to me, the best scene in the "Remember" episode was when Deanna pays a visit to Rick at his new luxurious mansion home. While she not only expected to see Rick, his son Carl and Rick's baby daughter Judith, the former congresswoman, to her surprise, also sees Michonne, Glenn and Maggie, Daryl, Carol, Sasha, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Father Gabriel and Noah. In other words, she discovers all 15 of them resting for their first night within a spacious living room. To which she says, "Staying together, smart." Rick followed by saying in his soft spoken way, "No one said we couldn't." Following that, she says, "You said you're a family. That's what you said. Absolutely amazing to me how people with completely different backgrounds and nothing in common can become that." And she's right.
If Rick should die, and he's my favorite, heaven forbid, I'll still watch this show. If Daryl should die, heaven forbid, I'll still watch this show. If Glenn, Maggie, Carl, Carol, Rosita, or anyone else from Rick's group should die, I'll still watch this show. Why? For The Walking Dead is a beautiful show about a beautiful diverse collection of humanity. "Did we hear you right Darryl?" you may ask. Well, yes, for as long as the overall story evolves, and is continually well crafted and looked after by writer and executive producer Scott M. Gimple, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, co-executive producer Denise M. Huth and the rest, I'll always be grateful.
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