The Walking Dead Recap: S.5, Ep. 11 – "The Distance" #TheWalkingDead

The Walking Dead - The Distance - Rosita and AbrahamCarol best sums up my thoughts on this episode at the end when she tells Rick even though he was wrong, he was right.

And man, did Rick do a lot of wrong tonight. After being burned one time too many by a seemingly kind stranger with a smile offering promises of safety and sanctuary, Rick wasn’t going to make the same costly mistake again even if it was putting his group in greater danger.

But like Carol said, it’s hard to fault Rick for not happily jumping for joy when Aaron (Ross Marquand), the seemingly normal stranger who introduced himself to Maggie and Sasha last week, reveals he was the one that dropped off the water and represents a community the Grimes Gang would be welcome to join. The last time Rick remotely let his guard down, he was moments away from getting bled out at a Terminus feeding trough. Rick has trust issues, but they’re well-earned trust issues.

As Aaron begins his spiel of all the wonderful amenities at this community, Rick is not in the mood for the sell job and knocks him out. Rick probably loathed sitting through those timeshare presentations. Complicating matters, Judith finally realizes she’s a baby and starts crying at inopportune times namely after Rick is more comfortable listening to Aaron after he’s been tied up.

The Walking Dead - The Distance - Rosita, Aaron and MichonneAaron understands Rick’s overly aggressive protective measures though and even compliments Rick on his punching techniques. Again, Rick isn’t necessarily being wrong here as he points out Aaron shouldn’t be that happy he got punched out earlier.  I get mad if someone walks in front of me a little too close at the mall.

While Rick’s not buying, the rest of the gang is more willing to consider Aaron’s offer. Michonne fully asserts herself in this episode as one of Rick’s main lieutenants (along with Glenn and Darryl) who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and challenge Rick’s decision. She wants to check out Aaron’s claims that he was accompanied by another community member and they’ve got two vehicles ready to transport the gang back to the community.

Rick knows he can’t be too rigid here or risk losing his authority. The lack of food and water helps too. Rick sends Michonne, Glenn, Rosita, Abraham and Maggie to go check it out. If they’re not back in 60 minutes, Rick and the others are coming after them and Aaron’s getting a knife through the head. Aaron’s being a remarkably good sport about all this as I would have rescinded my offer to let these ingrates in my camp after Rick threw that punch.

While scouting for the cars, Glenn echoes Rick’s shoot first, ask questions way later mentality, but Michonne questions if that’s what they’ve become. Apparently, Michonne has completely forgotten how quick she was to trust The Governor when Andrea couldn’t wait to join up with the fine folks of Woodbury.

the-walking-dead-the-distance-rickRick stays in the barn with Aaron while the others guard the perimeter. In a sensible and funny bit, Rick agrees to Aaron’s offer to give Judith some of the applesauce he was carrying in his bag provided Aaron takes the first bite. But the catch is Aaron hates applesauce.

Meanwhile the away team has found a car and an RV packed with food. With these findings, the rest of the gang has seen all they need to and their only question is how fast they’re heading to the community. Rick is still very leery, but agrees to take the car and drive with Aaron, Michonne and Glenn. Aaron gives him the first part of the directions, but Rick is so distrustful he wants to take an alternate route. Bad move Rick.

This detour takes them right down Walker Road and Glenn starts barreling through the herd. Pretty sure walkers aren’t covered under their insurance. “Oh sir, here’s what’s wrong with your transmission. It’s got a couple of walker arms in there!”

Aaron spots a flare going off and panics, breaking free from the others in that direction leading to a walker battle in the woods. Rick shoots Aaron’s flare gun into a walker providing this week’s unexpectedly brilliant way to kill a walker No. 4,382. The lighting of this scene was especially good and had that horror movie fleeing through the woods feel. After getting free of the herd, Rick’s groups reunite with the RV crew, who did take the road Aaron suggested. And they’re not alone. Aaron calls out for his boyfriend, Eric, who banged his leg up trying to grab another license plate for Aaron’s collection.

The RV crew helped Eric out and Aaron expresses his gratitude saying he will repay the debt very soon once they get to their community Alexandria. I was expecting some cool post-Walker name for it, but just sticking with Alexandria was a bit underwhelming. Every instinct Rick has is screaming this is too good to be true and he’s still so paranoid he wants Aaron to sleep in another room from Eric. Glenn convinces him to give it a shot and Rick reluctantly agrees.

Midway through their road trip, Michonne and Rick discuss his apprehension with Aaron’s promise of a better life. Michonne tells him it’s time to let go of the fight and in a symbolic gesture, Rick puts one gun in a blender next to a deserted house.

The Walking Dead - The Distance - AaronAs they get to the gates of Alexandria, Rick hears the sound of children playing and laughing. The tight close up on Rick’s eyes was expertly shot. Could he have been so blindly wrong all along? Carol encourages him as they all exit the cars that Rick was wrong, but he was still right in being so cautious. If anyone would appreciate Rick’s harder stance it would be Carol.

So next week, the gates of Alexandria open and Rick and company find….?

The catch with the show is we know it’s going to go all parts of bad for Rick and company. Whether that’s right away or if it’s after they get comfortably settled in is the only question. The show had been catching some flak for not including any gay males on the show and if past experience has taught us anything, when new characters are introduced, old ones get killed off. Eugene? Tara? Noah? We’ll see if the ranks start thinning out again next week.