I am in love with the opening scene, which includes our survivors mulling around the next morning, preparing for the day. Judith watches, in silence. Sasha and Maggie return, with Aaron, after removing his gear and weapon. Everyone springs into action – prepared for whatever lurks outside, walkers or warlords. We learn that our survivors have to “audition” to become part of his community, which he jokes that he regrets using a term that makes them sound like a dance troupe – dancing is on Fridays, only. After The Governor (nearly killed them, twice), the Terminans, and Grady Hospital, Aaron’s humor falls flat. What does get a rise out of them are the pictures of his fortress, 15-foot steel walls with steel beams. Aaron tells them his community is strong, but they could make the groups stronger. The Rick who shot Dawn is back. He knocks Aaron out without blinking. Michonne reminds him that his look didn’t say “Let’s attack that guy”, it was more “He seems ok”. So true, so true. He warns the group that Aaron’s people are coming for them, they don’t know when or how, but they are.
Aaron comes to, complimenting Rick on his right hook. He tells him that he gets it, Rick is being cautious. Flattery gets him nowhere since all Rick cares about is finding out how many people are out there waiting for him. Aaron responds that how many people are out there is important, but what he says won’t matter because Rick won’t trust him. We learn that Aaron and his group have been following them for some time and are impressed that no matter how desperate things got, they never turned on each other. He says there is only one other person is waiting for him, and wants to know what it will take to convince Rick that all is ok. Aaron reminds Rick that if they wanted to kill them, they could have set fire to the barn and killed them as they tried to escape. He and his partner each drove separately and can take them all back to the compound. Michonne wants to check out the cars asRick tells her there are no cars. She is skeptical and still wants to check things out. Rick relents when Michonne reminds him that this could be a place where Judith can grow up. Rick waits with Judith and Aaron while the others go in search for the cars and secure the area.
Aaron tells Rick that he once worked for an NGO and had guns pointed in his face by a lot of bad people, he knows that despite what they’ve done, they’re not bad people Rickreminds him that it doesn’t mean they won’t kill him. If his group isn’t back in an hour, he’ll put a knife in the base of Aaron’s skull. While waiting Aaron freaks at Judith’scrying. He tells Rick to give her the applesauce in his bag. He’s terrified that “the roamers” will hear her. Rick him to taste-test the applesauce, which Aaron refuses. He hates it because of being forced to eat it as a child. He reminds Rick that he already has him tied and has threatened to put a knife in his skull, he has no reason to try to kill Judith in front on him. He also tells Rick that there will be a place for her to cry without anyone hearing her. He has not learned that nothing causes Rick to drop his guard. Rick forces the food into his mouth and tastes it himself. The group finds the camper (a nod to Dale?) and car Aaron and his companion brought with them – the companion is gone – the audience saw him hiding earlier and he has not returned. Before entering, Rosita and Abe take out two walkers who come through the woods – she saves his butt as he slips trying to take one down. The camper is empty, Abe takes that moment to apologize (somewhat) to Rosita about his rage at the fire truck after finding out about Eugene. All is good.
The group returns with food from the camper. Rick “claims” it (if you remember the episode), still refusing to go where there might be more food. The group rebels and decides to go check out the camp. Rick decides they’ll leave at night, which worries the group. Aaron tells him he’s putting the group in danger, no one at the camp would hurt them. Someone may as well stick the “Judith phone” in his hand because Rick is wildly paranoid. It’s like the voices in his head are telling him to trust nothing, despite the mounting evidence that everything seems on the up and up. Or is it? Michonne has a heart to heart with Rick, who assures her he means it that they’re going. He asks her what she heard when she came up to the walls of Woodbury and Terminus. She responds with, “Nothing.” He tells her that he has to decide whether to take his family behind walls he can’t see, but will make a choice when they get there.
As they travel, Michonne is impressed that Aaron is collecting license plates, one from each state, for his own home. He tells her to look at the pictures of his home. She notices that he never has pictures of his group (he has a group pic, he responds, but got the exposure wrong and the pic didn’t develop). She nervously asks Rick if he asked Aaron the questions. Aaron can only remember that he’s killed lots of walkers and two people, but only because they tried to kill him. They find a listening device and Aaron admits has been listening to them, he told them he’s been watching. They realize “the others” could have been listening to their plans well. Just then, Glenn veers into a crowd of walkers, walker blood covering the windshield – walker parts are stuck under the hood. They worry about the camper coming up behind them. The camper makes it through but the car is stuck. It stalls as the walkers close in.
A flair goes off. Aaron panics and takes off into the woods. Michonne knows they have to find him because his people think he’s been killed. As they run into the woods they are surrounded. Glenn is separated and nearly killed, but escapes. He finds Aaron – with his back to a tree, still bound, fighting a walker. Glenn cuts him free and Aaron tries to convince him to stay with him so they can make it out together. Glenn can’t do it. He heard the shots from Rick’s gun and is on the way back to him and Michonne. Aaron joins Glenn and they cut down the walkers who begin to surround Rick and Michonne after they run out of ammo. When they hit the road, Rick promises Aaron his people will die, tonight, if this is all a trap. They head in the direction of the flair and find the group.
Aaron’s boyfriend (husband?), Eric, was saved by the group and patched up after being injured. They embrace in a loving kiss. Eric reminds Aaron how much he loves him and presents him with the gift of a new license plate. It’s “Gift of the Magi” since Aaron lost the car and the other plates. Rick seems relieved as he spies on them. Eric warmly greets Rick. It reminds me that in none of the places where they were at risk was there a loving relationship. Aaron thanks them for saving Eric, and promises to pay his debt of gratitude when they reach Alexandria.
When the group decides to travel in the morning, Rick wants to separate the two for the night until he knows they are no threat. Aaron tells Rick he will have to shoot him to separate them. Oddly enough, I thought of this couple as the new “Maggie and Glenn”, so it’s fitting that it’s Glenn who talks Rick down so that he leaves them alone. The next day, as they travel, Noah brings Aaron pain medication and water. They talk about Noah’s leg and the limp. We find out he was injured during a car accident. Noah tells him there is a gifted surgeon in Alexandria who may be able to help. Rosita and Abraham smile as they see Washington in the distance.
A hopeful Abraham says, “We can make it”. We know the writers have a since of humor, because the camper gets stuck at the side of the road shortly after. They are also rebuilding our sense of hope, since it’s only a matter of a dead battery and there is a spare. They also rebuild our hope by having Michonne tell Rick that he has to let go of the fight, it kept him (them) alive, but it’s time to let go. He takes a moment for himself, walking away to be alone. He’s Rick, so his “moment” is what you would expect. He finds something to hide his weapon in, just in case he needs it, later.
As they reach the walls, the “nothing” of Woodbury and Terminus is missing. He hears children laughing and is overwhelmed. They all walk to the gates as he grabs Judith. Carol stops to say to him that even though he was wrong, he is still right. We conclude with our survivor family standing outside the gates. We wait… until next week.
I’m an exasperated soap fan who keeps hanging on – waiting for the daytime I once loved to return to its former glory! Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a dream. I learned to love soaps thanks to my wonderful mother and grandmother. I’ll always have fond memories of daytime, most especially of ‘Another World’, my first stoap love. The ever great, but sadly defunct, daytime shows like Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, The Doctors, Loving, and many others keep a special place in my heart, as well.