The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 13 recap. 

Last week I mentioned that it seems like Rick & Co. are becoming the villains of the show, and Dustin Rowles over at Pajiba posited that they might actually be the “wolves” hinted at throughout the season. I’m not sure I’m with that 100%, since there is a comic book villain, Negan, we know for sure is lingering just off stage, and there’s also whoever is carving W’s into zombie heads, and whatever Morgan is doing following mysterious symbols in the woods, but I like the sentiment. Rick & Co. HAVE formed into a wolfpack, and if the seemingly kindly people of Alexandria don’t fall into line with that, they won’t hesitate to take the f*ck over.

Speaking of those W’s—is someone inside Alexandria doing that? The pretty hairdresser’s kid has a thing about stamping people’s hands with an A. For “alive”? Is this part of a system hidden under the stable surface of Alexandria? This is the most interesting thing this show has done in a long time, maybe ever. Also, the pretty hairdresser’s husband is real! The way that scene was edited last week make it seem like Rick was dreaming about their spiky nighttime confrontation, but maybe he wasn’t. It’s still not entirely clear they met before the party at Deanna’s house. This is what bad editing does to you.

This episode is divided in halves. In the first half, Rick, Carol, and Daryl plan their presumed (inevitable) takeover of Alexandria. Sasha goes into the woods to practice sharpshooting with the photos of the happy family who occupied her house before she moved in, and Daryl confronts Aaron in the woods. The first half feels in line with Rick’s statement that Alexandria and its relative comforts wouldn’t make them soft, but then the second half shows them already succumbing to Deanna and her forced community. She throws a welcome soiree and makes everyone attend, and we can see the cracks forming, both in Rick and in Alexandria.

Some, like Abraham and Michonne, are ready to give cohabiting with the Alexandrians a fair shot. Sasha, however, thinks that Alexandria isn’t real, and she and Rick want the walls patrolled 24/7. Carol, too, is still on board with the “whatever, eventually we’re going to f*ck these people up” plan, and she steals guns from the town’s unused store to fortify their force. She’s also busted by the hairdresser’s obnoxious kid, whom she threatens so terrifyingly thoroughly that he will probably be wetting his bed until he’s 27. Carol is not f*cking around.

Rick, however, is. He’s developed an ill-advised crush on the pretty hairdresser, and goddammit, can’t we just have a Rick who picks a course of action and sticks with it? He’s already wavering from his “this won’t make us weak” stance. This show has never been subtle, and the metaphor of the wily feral horse finally being taken by down zombies is clear—the minute you even consider accepting the bridle, you’re done. Rick is wavering, and it will eventually cost him. For some reason, the writers must always walk back the momentum of Rick’s character development.

Following the events of Terminus, Rick locked into Ricktator mode and as the signs started adding up to “Rick is now the leader of a dangerous band of marauders” things were starting to feel exciting. They’d failed to establish a safe home twice, Terminus was the last straw, now they’re going full-Road Warriors. But instead of running with that and seeing where it goes when, for once, they refuse to join a community, we’re back to wishy-washy Rick and “maybe we can make it work”. NO, YOU CAN’T. We’ve already seen that episode like, ten times. Do something else.

Status Check:
Rick – Get your brain out of your pants, asshole.
Aaron – The one person who poses a real threat to Rick & Co.
Carol – Scariest person alive.
Sasha – Losing her sh*t or holding it together, can’t tell which just yet.
Daryl – Look who got a job!

Worst thing seen/heard this week: The zombies eating the horse.

Zombie kill of the week: Daryl to the head with a boot.