Our group is lucky that they manage to fall into despair in shifts.
There always seems to be at least one person who continues to hope and hang on to their humanity. Right now that person is Michonne. Who would have expected that the crazy lady with the sword would be the one who was strong enough to believe that something better was possible? Not only that, she was willing to take on Rick and stare him down to do what she knew was essential to the group's survival. Michonne has moved through anger and fear to a place where she understands that simple survival is not enough and she is smart enough to know that this is true for everyone.
In the opening scene, everyone looks worn out and dejected, more hopeless than I can remember ever seeing them. They have survived the storm and individually they are preparing themselves for the day but there is no joy in it, no camaraderie. The arrival of Aaron shows how much has changed, particularly for Rick, Glenn and Daryl. They are up in a flash with no trust for this newcomer. They expect the worst and refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary. There is an interesting gender dynamic at work as Maggie, Sasha and Michonne decide that Aaron is all right while Rick, Glenn and Daryl are suspicious. These women are not push-overs, so it seems as if the men can't get out of fight mode even to consider the possibility of a safe community.
One of the main themes of this show is how trauma and adversity can affect people. It seems at times in this episode that some people like Rick and Glenn no longer believe in their own 'goodness' let alone that of others. As Glenn says, if they run into people like them they should be afraid. Michonne understands that Rick and Glenn, along with many others in the group, are in danger of falling into the nightmare she was living when the group found her. She knows that they need a rest, some hope, a chance to regain their humanity if they are going to avoid losing themselves.
Aaron is a perfect foil to illustrate how dark our group has become. He prattles on about his community, trying to joke as they stare stone-faced at him. I think at some level, Rick punched him just to shut him up. The fact that Aaron refused the applesauce means that he hasn't known hunger lately. They're not quite sure what to say when he talks about his license plate collection. Aaron is terrified of the walkers while our group takes them in stride. He is also able to laugh and be loving with Eric when he finds him. He is more like our group used to be a long time ago. It is interesting that this made me think of him as soft.
The sound of children playing as they drove up to Alexandria was beautiful. I almost cried when Rick went to take Judith out of the car and they interacted like any loving father and child. It will be wonderful if the group finds some respite in Alexandria but since it would make for very boring television, I don't hold out hope for it to last too long.
Bits and Pieces
Carol continues to live in the dark place that Michonne describes. She is not willing to give up the fight.
Aaron’s previous life was interesting preparation for the new world and it is another harken back to the world as it is now. He is tougher than he looks as evidenced by his kicking the door off the car.
It looks like Rick is trying to feed Judith acorns which people cannot eat unless they have been boiled for a while to remove the tannic acid. It's interesting that if he fed those to Judith he would have been the one who poisoned her.
Did they have to take 23 to be safe or to provide the required gore for the episode, not to mention providing an opportunity to shoot a flare into a walker?
Abraham and Rosita have not been okay since the Eugene incident but she says it is her, not him. I'm not sure what that meant but they seem to be okay now.
We now have several names for walkers - rotters, roamers. Should we have a contest and come up with some more?
Aaron: “I wish there was another word. 'Audition' makes it sound like we’re some kind of a dance troupe. That’s only on Friday nights.”
Daryl: “Nobody gives a shit.”
Aaron: “In fact there’s only one resource more critical to our community’s survival: the people.”
Michonne: “So we’re clear, that look wasn’t a 'let’s attack that man' look. It was a 'he seems like an okay guy to me' look."
Rick: “It’s hard to trust anyone who smiles after getting punched in the face.” (I think Aaron was just happy to be alive.)
Michonne: “You know what you know and you’re sure of it but I’m not.”
Glenn: “We’re five people with guns. No one is coming up to say hello.”
Eugene: “Serious as two copulating dogs.”
Abraham: “Might as well paint it red and put a ladder on it.” (Abraham is still pissed at that firetruck.)
Glenn: “I can’t give up everything else. I know what I said, but it does matter.”