The Walking Dead: Try

Rick: “We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live.”

Rick has gone over the edge. He has turned into the uncivilized man who cannot live with 'good' people. Or has he?

This episode was about trying to go back to a way of being that no longer exists for our group and in reality doesn't exist for anyone anymore. We have watched as the vestiges of civilization dropped off the members of our group while they continued to struggle to be human. Now they are back to civilization but they have been radically changed by their experiences. On the other hand they desperately need what Alexandria can offer them - a form of safety, food, shelter and 'good' people, a means to hold onto their humanity.

Noah's death has put a shadow over the illusion of safety Alexandria provides and Pete beating Jessie has shown that civilization comes at a cost. Rick wants safety for his children but is coming to realize that they aren't safe in Alexandria. They might actually be less safe than they were in the woods because the people living there have a false sense of security. They are not prepared to defend themselves and they will get in the way of Rick and his group defending themselves when it becomes necessary. In contrast, it is wonderful that Glenn, who has been most traumatized by Noah's death, is still trying to be a good guy. He knows that the people of Alexandria are ill-prepared but he also understands that they, not just their town, are important to the long-term survival of our group. He doesn't have any illusions, as was evident in his talk with Nicholas. He knows that they somehow have to change how the town runs but he wants to do it peacefully.

Rick is another story. He is trying to act in a civilized manner but he can't hold on when he is pushed. It is interesting that he tries not to kill Pete but I wasn't sure if that was to protect his children's place in Alexandria or because it would be wrong to kill Pete. He tries to come across as wanting to protect Jessie because she is being beaten by her husband but he clearly states that he wouldn't do it for someone else. Rick doesn't belong in Alexandria but is that because of who he is or because of the willful ignorance of its inhabitants, their insistence on the illusion of civilization even if it costs lives? It's clear that something has to give. I can't see our group agreeing with Rick being exiled and I can't see Deanna just letting things continue as they are.

There were two lovely bits of this episode. The first was the kick-ass women looking out for Sasha. They certainly don't need anyone to protect them. Too bad they couldn't teach Jessie to kick Pete's ass herself instead of making it caveman Rick's job. The second was the scenes between Enid and Carl. They are the adolescents of the new world and they are finding a way to be in that death-laden reality. The romantic scene in the hollowed out tree was especially sweet as Carl went to make a move and then reconsidered. As Enid said, "Cool. You're afraid of me too." Adolescent love in a post-apocalyptic world.

Bits and Pieces

Deanna is not dealing with Aiden’s death very well. She rejected the casserole which seemed ominous but then you could tell that she didn't believe the story that Nicholas gave.

Nicholas lied as expected but I thought Glenn was classy. He didn't argue with Nicholas, he just called him out and said he wouldn't let it happen again.

The intro music by Nine Inch Nails was great at setting the mood for the episode.

Daryl and Aaron are following one sick puppy or puppies. They are the ones carving W's in people's heads and then leaving them to die.

The red balloon was an interesting way to symbolize innocence and civilization. Children seem to be safe in Alexandria. Judith was being monitored by an iPhone! But is that the reality? Sam certainly isn't safe if he has to lock himself in his closet.

Nicholas has the gun that Rick hid. I can't see that ending well.

Quotes

Deanna: “You don’t know what I see, Nicholas, and I see a great deal.”

Glenn: “We are them, Rick. We are now.”

Carol: “If walkers hadn’t gotten Ed I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
Rick: “Yeah, you would.”

Rick: “Keep walking.”

Deanna: “We don’t kill people. This is civilization, Rick.”
Rick: “Warning someone to stop or die, that is civilized nowadays."

Glenn: “People like you are supposed to be dead but these walls went up just in time so you’re not.”

Enid: “It’s their world. We’re just living in it.”

Sasha: “I’m sick of playing defense.”

Rick: “Jessie, in here you can’t see but it’s the same. It’s the same as out there. We have food and roofs over our heads but you don’t get to just live. You don’t get to put it off or wish it away, Jessie. If you don’t fight, you die.”

12 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Much agreement this week, Doc. Obviously, after last week’s discussion, I was less than thrilled with most of the Rick and Jessie developments. And his admission that he wouldn’t “do this” for just anyone only cemented for me how messed up the whole situation is. (Because why wouldn’t he try to protect someone else from an abuser? He’d be fine letting the abusive doctor live if he didn’t want the guy’s wife for himself? WTF?) At least the show seems to recognize that it is messed up and that Rick’s become a bit unhinged over a woman he barely knows.

Of course, despite coming across like a dangerous lunatic in the street at the end, Rick still made some very valid points about the community needing to see the world as it is and being better prepared to fight. As you say, Doc, both Deanna and Rick have valid perspectives to an extent. Trying to rebuild civilization is a worthy goal, but Deanna needs to accept that it can’t be just like it was. At the same time, her desire to cling to the past --- especially given that things have been mostly okay for them so far --- doesn’t make it right for Rick to stage a coup and tear apart a somewhat decent foundation either. He needs to let go of some of the feral aggression and try harder to make them understand what they need to change, without going the “blood-soaked, gun-waving rant in the street” route. Both leaders need to give a little, follow Glenn’s example, and start working together, before it all falls apart for everyone. I’m guessing the impending external threat is about to force the issue.

Interesting tidbit on the titles, that I learned about thanks to a comment at the AV Club --- Apparently, all titles since we got to Alexandria call back to Dale’s speech around the campfire in S1, E4 (referencing William Faulkner), about why he bothers to keep time (a mark of civilization) even though the world has ended:

"I like what the father said to the son when he gave him a watch that had been handed down through generations. He said: ‘I give you a mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine and my father’s before me. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it. For a moment, now and then, and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.’”

So that explains last week’s title! I love that they are bringing in these echoes of Dale and Shane this half season. It’s a nice way to highlight how much everyone has changed, in ways both good and bad. And it is fitting, given that the basic difference in their worldviews is the same one Deanna and Rick are wrestling with now. Of course, things didn’t work out too well for either Dale or Shane, so hopefully their current “incarnations” can find some common middle ground.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Great review of a tense episode!
Is anybody else getting a really big Janeway/Chakotay-vibe from Deanna and Rick?

Billie Doux said...

I came away from this one feeling bad for Rick. He made an absolute fool of himself because he felt compelled to act, but he couldn't make anything happen because Deanna made him a figurehead with no authority. Actually, I do think Rick would have acted to save someone else who was being beaten, since I'm certain he used to do that in his pre-apocalypse job. (Although he probably wouldn't have rushed in the way he did here.)

I did love the way the women went out to help Sasha, who is in such a bad way. And that Michonne was the one to take Rick down. I personally think Rick and Michonne are perfect for each other. Forget Jessie. :)

Maybe Carol is the one who'll take out Pete after all. That is, if Alexandria isn't completely destroyed next week in the finale. Bad things happen in TWD finales.

Billie Doux said...

One more! I was completely furious with Deanna when she admitted that she let the situation with Pete and Jessie go on because Pete is a doctor. I get the importance of having a doctor in the community, but I hate the idea that someone else's life must be devalued because of it.

drnanamom said...

I felt bad for Rick too Billie. He really did try to keep it together but he is still too messed up and Pete did attack him. I thought what he said also made sense but where and when he was saying it didn't work. Michonne taking Rick out was awesome and I meant to mention it. Theres just always so many things to say! I think next week is going to be awful as you predict because that is just The Walking Dead but I hope that many in Alexandria survive to move on to the next season and I hope some of the town continues to stand. I would really like to see Rick come out the other side like Michonne. And I also agree that they would be great together. @Henrik I can see where you are coming from about the Janeway/Chakotay think although I think Janeway had a better idea of the shit they were dealing with and was a more decisive leader. I hope Deanna gets there because I like her.

drnanamom said...

@Billie - this pissed me off as well but I thought, that is what we do now and we don't have an apocalypse to deal with. The number of times I have seen people think - "oh it will get better just give it time"...

Jess Lynde said...

I haven’t been a Rick and Michonne shipper because of my whole “why can’t men and women just be friends and partners” issue, but I’m starting to wish he’d get together with her, too. I’d much prefer to see him with an equal partner who actually gets what he’s been through, rather than this “damsel in distress.” Ugh. I get that being in the kind of place he and Lori used to dream about for their family and seeing Jessie as a pretty suburban mom figure (holding his baby, no less) triggered this attraction to her, but it seems like it is coming from a very unhealthy place. It’s not really about her or who she is; it is all about longing for the past that he lost. Michonne is the present and could be the future. She’s just a much better partner for him, any way you slice it.

I kind of like that they put the doctor vs. abuser issue on the table. It's an interesting moral quandry that parallels some of the "do some lives have less value" issues floating to the surface in our current reviews of The Wire. I don't think either Rick or Deanna handled the situation in the best way. She's too soft, and he's maybe too hard. Middle ground, people. Try for the middle ground.

Marianna said...

Yvette Nicole Brown made an interesting point on Talking Dead that Rick's obsession with Jessie is at least partly because she has qualities similar to Lori, which may be contributing to his craziness that is getting closer to his level of craziness after Lori's death. Basically all of our people have PTSD. Some of them are at least aware of it and seem to be dealing with it in a healthy way (Glen, Rosita, etc.). Some are on the verge of or already have completely lost it (Rick, Sasha, etc.)

By the way, Carl's new love interest is named Enid, not Erin. =)

drnanamom said...

Thanks Marianna, I've fixed it. She looks like an Erin to me :)

Kate said...

Really liked this episode. great review. It was very tough to watch Rick gradually become more and more unhinged and the fight scene was pretty brutal. Pete had it coming thou and Rick's right about the people of Alexandria, he just picked a really bad time to yell at them about it. I was annoyed at Deanna for saying how civilized their society was yet she knows about Pete hitting his family. I get that he's a Doctor, but he's also drunk 24/7 so I don't know that I'd want him operating on me. I also want to take back a comment a made a few weeks ago about Enid. After she snuck out of Alexandria a few weeks back I was speculating that she might have ties to an outside group. I'm backing off of that now. She seems more like just another damaged kid and less like someone spying on the group for someone else.

Heather said...

Doc:
I really love the way your write. I.E. Noah's death has put a shadow over the illusion of safety Alexandria provides and Pete beating Jessie has shown that civilization comes at a cost. You captured in one sentence what I think are the episode's strong points of tension, thematically.

What I liked about 'Try': Carl and Enid. This just rings as so authentic, and the flavor of it is different than anything TWD has done before, imo. Aaron and Darryl, I could watch them wandering around the forest forever. Finally, did you notice Sam hiding behind Carol during the last scene? Visually that struck me as really smart and interesting.

What I didn't like: Everything about Rick and Jessie including but not limited to Pete and Deanna. Although on a second watch, I had a different take on why Rick claimed he wouldn't help anyone else with this situation. I think his dialogue was a lot more sinister than it first came across because it could also be interpreted as a manipulation. I think he said that to Jessie so she would agree to let him help.
I don't know if there are a half a dozen scenes on the editing room floor where Rick and Jessie have cultivated real feelings for each other but it just feels so off and Rick comes off as super-unstable, weird and borderline pathetic. Speaking of pathetic, I loathe Pete and not for any of the reasons the writers are going for. He's a mealy, insignificant, unthreatening d-bag who Rick (or Jessie or Deanna for that matter!) should easy be able to take down, I mean without even cracking a sweat. There's no menace there at all for me. Finally, when the show keeps hitting the same note, I want to throw things. (And this is a transgression TWD is perhaps, above all else, most often guilty of, imo.) Therefore, I am not into Sasha's meltdown at all.
All that said, I'm looking forward to the finale!

Marianna said...

Kate:
"I was annoyed at Deanna for saying how civilized their society was yet she knows about Pete hitting his family. I get that he's a Doctor, but he's also drunk 24/7 so I don't know that I'd want him operating on me."

I completely agree! I can see why Deanna might not want to exile Pete (or as he's come to be known as Porch D*ck) even though I disagree with her, but it shouldn't be hard to cut off his alcohol supply. Come to think of it having a completely dry community sounds like a safe idea in general under the circumstances.