Editor’s note: this review will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
Meet Aaron, your new post-apocalyptic director of human resources. Aaron is super excited get to know you and tell you all about the new benefits you’ll get to enjoy in Alexandria. He even has pictures. They’re black and white, and a bit overexposed, but he’s doing the best he can.
Aaron is a pretty likable guy. He’s positive and has an easy smile. Most people like him right away, but not everyone. Indeed, some people take one look at the guy and think that he’s far too upbeat to be living in the zombie apocalypse, and that means he must be up to something. Some people like Rick Grimes feel very strongly about this, even when the rest of the group is inclined to trust the man, perhaps because of this.
And thus we have the main conflict in “The Distance”, the latest episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It starts off with a bang. When Aaron is brought inside, every weapon in the place is pointed at him. In the initial interrogation, he seems to have the perfect answer to every question, which only seems to make Rick trust him even less.
Getting nowhere, Rick punches him in the face, knocking him cold. When Aaron comes to, he’s tied to a post and all his possessions have been rifled through. He makes some good points about Rick not believing him no matter what he says, but Rick isn’t impressed.
The rest of the group, on the other hand, is a bit more open minded. when Aaron says that he and his partner have a couple of vehicles parked not too far away, several volunteer to confirm his story.The group splits up, leaving Rick and a fussy Judith alone with Aaron, who is further interrogated regarding the contents of a jar of applesauce.
The away team is able to confirm that the vehicles are indeed there, and Rick finally agrees to check out Aaron’s community in Alexandria, provided they take the more dangerous route, and go at night.
Things go exactly as you would expect, with the more dangerous route absolutely filled with zombies. Glenn does his best to drive through every single one of them, laughing with glee as that explode on the car like water balloons filled with gore. Unfortunately, most cars simply aren’t built to drive through huge throngs of zombies, and it dies right as they hope to reunite with the rest of the group.
Things seem pretty bad as Michonne pulls various zombie limbs out of the car’s engine compartment, when suddenly they spot a flare in the sky. Aaron freaks out and runs away, with Rick, Glenn, and Michonne in hot pursuit.
We get a pretty nice zombie fight here as the group separates and reunites, with Glenn trusting Aaron enough to untie him and give him a gun.
With the zombies dispatched, the group heads toward where they saw the flair, almost immediately stumbling up the rest of the group, who are holed up in a garage. Aaron rushes inside to find his lover, Eric, with a broken ankle. It turns out the other half of Rick’s group rescued the guy during their escape.
Naturally, Rick thinks this is another trap, and demands that Aaron and Eric be kept separate for some reason. With a little logic, Glenn manages to convince Rick that the pair of disarmed men pose little threat, especially considering that one has a broken ankle.
Rick finally relents, and agrees to leave in the morning for Alexandria. When they arrive, he hears the sound of children playing inside. I suppose it could still be a trap; I mean, how hard would it be to record kids playing? Still, it’s not likely.
I quite like the way The Walking Dead handled this episode. It was nice to see the group divided over what to do, and whether to trust Aaron. It felt right to me that, after Woodbury and Terminus, they would be very, very wary of other groups offering salvation.
It was also nice to see Michonne and Glenn questioning Rick’s leadership, and even outright defying him. I’ve long struggled with the fact that Rick has some how managed to fall ass backwards into leadership of the group, even though he’s had a host of problems. It’s nice to see a more realistic reaction from others in the group.
I’m curious to see what happens next. Can these wary survivors manage to fold themselves into a peaceful new group? I’d imagine a few of them are going to struggle with it.
Ricks seems like to give up against Michonne and Glenn more often than not. I don’t know if that’s something he really wants (giving up leadership step by step) by being second guessed 2 or 3 times an episode. Could be interesting to see how this develop if this is really going somewhere.
That said the last 2 or 3 episodes really helped the season bouncing back after the Hospital story. No time out this sunday! Nice rhythm from the beginning. I completly agree with your rating!
I loved the flashlight scene!
Excellent point. In the comic, I know he wanted to give up the leadership at one point – back at the prison.