Talking Out The Dead: “The Distance”

Thomas: So, we are supposed to trust this Aaron guy?  Man, just something about this sounds like a “long con” to me.  If you haven’t heard that term, it is when there is a huge setup before the fall guy falls.  He just seems too, nice, affable, okay with getting hit in the face.  Really, he gets knocked out, tied up, and reacts like there is no issue going on.  It’s just another day in his ordinary life.

Then, he plays the “self-preservation” card.  He encouraged Rick to give Walker Bait some of the applesauce he carries around.  It was in a large container, which he doesn’t like by the way.  In fact, he just carries it so that he can show prospects that they have apple trees.  I can’t be the only person seeing trouble brewing.

The fact that Rick is playing it safe and being extra paranoid in this episode… I have to admit I like it.  It also shows how far the group as a whole have fallen.  It seems like every one has forgotten Terminus, the last “friendly” community.  The older members of the group seem to have forgotten about Woodbury.  It is interesting because so much bad came from that “friendly community” you would think it would have left an imprint.  Why is Rick the only one that is being cautious about this new friend?

Why is it that me and you are so opposite on this issue?  You seem to trust Aaron.  In a way you seem to think he is telling the truth.  I could be wrong but just our last conversations hinted at that.  The past I have been complaining about Rick.  I have been thinking he is losing it, being too inhuman, maybe going to the darker side too much.

With this issue, I am one hundred percent behind Rick and his actions.  I am wondering if you think he is overreacting?  Do you think Rick is trying to “bite the hand that feeds him”, so to speak?  I think he is spot on in not trusting Aaron.  He is right in not trusting that out of nowhere, a safe community has thick walls and is welcoming friends.  Then again, you might agree totally with Rick’s actions during this episode.

A final thought about Aaron.  Notice how he acted when the car wouldn’t start?  I can’t remember his exact words.  However, it seemed like he was saying this was over, it had to stop.  It was almost like he was thinking it was a play.  The play got too realistic for him, and he wanted it to stop.  Maybe I am over analyzing.  Just something about that moment made me side more with Rick than anything else.  Okay, his smile, clean appearance, and talks of a safe community also pushed me in that direction.

What is up with Michonne?  Nice segue I know.  She is falling all over herself to trust Aaron.  She countered Rick’s orders and basically made him go against his instincts.  She has always been a strong willed character.  I just can’t help but thinking she is starting to crack.  She has survived by being mistrusting, hard, and willing to fight at the drop of the hat.  Now she seems to want to walk arm in arm with Aaron into a compound, just on his say so.  I think if Aaron told her to leave her weapons at the door and walk in blind folded she would.  Maybe I’m not being fair.  However, that is what I’m sensing at this point.

Another thought, where is the anguish from the last episode?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fan of the group seeming to implode.  However, this episode seems to be the exact opposite.  Aside from Rick, every member seems to have forgotten the past few weeks of loss and horror.  Is the hope of a sanctuary that strong?  Is it blinding them to possible dangers just to get a respite?  Rick had to mention Terminus by name during the episode to get Michonne to remember.

Are the writers being lazy, or are they just putting out human behavior?  When so many things go bad, people grasp for any hope.  In a way, it seems that the entire group has turned on Rick.  It isn’t a violent mutiny as such.  However, they all seem to question his judgement.  In a way, they seem to view him as I have over the past months.  It appears they are seeing him as so into survival, that he is forgetting about what it means to live.  Is this a good or bad thing?  I’m not sure.

I should point out that Daryl, Michonne, and Glenn seem to be completely at odds with Rick.  This is a new development because historically they are his supporters.  Michonne even gave Rick a little speech about the rage and anger.  She said at some point he needed to let it go.  Again, this just feels like a mutiny of sorts.  They aren’t an army, however Rick’s decisions tend to have been in the right ballpark.  It is unsettling that a story about a safe haven, fresh water, and food breaks down that trust.

Carol, at one time was at total odds with Rick.  She went out and handled a situation by herself trying to stop the fever in the prison.  For that, she got banned from the prison by Rick.  These two have sort of made up.  However, at the end of this episode, she was on his side.  She said his decision wasn’t right, but was right at the same time.  She supported him.  What does it say when these two characters are on the same page?  Carol doesn’t trust Aaron completely either.  Like Rick, she has seen too much and remembers.

I’m going to throw it over to you.  I’m not good on the recap, anyone can find it.  These are just the main thoughts I have after I watched the episode the first time.  I will probably stew and watch it again a little later on.  So what do you think?  Is Aaron trustworthy?  Are the writers getting lazy about how they deal with the emotional issues?  What does it mean that the entire group seems to disagree with Rick?  Is Rick losing it?  He did leave a gun outside hidden just in case of trouble.  Why am I totally behind Rick on this episode and totally against Aaron?  That is a big one.  So what are your thoughts?

Kelen: First thought: I loved this episode way more than “Them”. I realize “Them” was necessary and not every day in the world of TWD is action packed, but that was a tough watch.

You’re behind Rick and not Aaron for one reason: You don’t want anything good to actually happen for the group. Hear me out. Your main argument has been why has everyone forgotten Terminus and Woodbury and not agreeing with Rick. What choice do they have? They’re holed up in a barn with nothing. As Rick said last episode, they are the walking dead. The rest of the group hasn’t forgotten the horrors they’ve seen but if they don’t attempt to go with Aaron to see if he’s telling the truth, what are they going to do, keep walking around until the all starve to death?

I think you see the idea of Aaron and Alexandria and you want it to be the next big threat. Grady Memorial was a bust and Terminus was 11 episodes ago, and they killed the Terminus survivors by episode 4 this season. There hasn’t been a threat to the group outside of the walkers and you want there to be one. I want there to be one. But the group has to catch a break and Aaron and Alexandria are it. The next villain will be coming in due time and if it’s who I think he is, a major character may be leaving the show by the time the season 5 finale is over.

That’s another reason I trust Aaron. Even though I haven’t read every issue of the comic, I know what Alexandria is in the comic, so I’m thinking it will be the same for the show. So I have a little extra insight.

And come on, does Aaron really seem like a threat by himself? I get the Stone Cold mantra of “Don’t trust anyone” but look at this guy and the lengths he went to so he could show he could be trusted. He let Maggie and Sasha haul him in, guns on him. He let Rick knock the hell out of him… and let me take a moment to address that.

If you were Aaron in a post-outbreak world, and you have a actual safe place to live, and it’s your job to recruit new people to come to your safe place, do you think it’s his first time having guns drawn on him? Or getting punched in the face? We know Rick and the Daryls aren’t the only group wandering around, looking for any signs of hope. How many other Rick and the Daryls has Aaron had to encounter in his attempts to bring them back to Alexandria? I’m guessing more than a couple.

He ate the applesauce he brought despite the fact he hates it. That was a little weird that he protested considering the circumstances but he ate it. He wasn’t lying about the two vehicles. He stayed with Glenn even though he was given an opportunity to run away and helped kill the herd of walkers that was on Rick and Michonne. The same Rick who had been threatening him all day long.

As for why was he acting weird in the car, we now know that it was his boyfriend Eric that shot the flare and Aaron thought he was in danger. Despite everything he had went through to prove he was trustworthy, why wouldn’t he freak out if he thought his significant other was in trouble? He was choosing Eric’s safety over the group and while that was selfish, it makes plenty of sense.

I also have my new favorite couple on the show now.

As for your other questions: I think Carol was just giving Rick a little reassurance about his actions but I don’t think she 100% supported him or she would have said something. She said nothing the whole episode until that moment.

Daryl barely grunted 3 audible sentences and he’s so emotionally devastated that he could care less if he lives or dies right now. So I wouldn’t count him as opposing Rick. Same with Glenn, who made comments about shooting anyone who approached when they went to check for the vehicles. At best, he stopped Rick from trying to force Aaron to sleep in a different room than Eric (which was Rick’s most paranoid moment).

Michonne’s actions make sense as well. She did have a moment at Shirewilt where she freaked out but she was very much in control. No one else was going to push Rick to listen to Aaron. Daryl is too much of a mess, Carol hasn’t said much since Grady Memorial, Glenn has to deal with Maggie, Carl is his son, who else is going to challenge him? I like the fact that she did this. There’s no way she’s forgotten about Woodbury and Terminus, but as she said at some point, the group has to try to find sanctuary somewhere. If they assume everything and everyone out there are going to lead to their deaths, they might as well never leave the barn.

She was telling Rick to let go of his crippling fear that something bad is going to happen. Something bad has happened to them plenty of times and they’ve all (mostly) made it. And I don’t remember her disobeying his orders. And then again, she doesn’t take orders from Rick. He’s the leader but she’s never been down for the Rick-tatorship.

And I don’t recall anyone in the group other than maybe Sasha thinking Woodbury was friendly. And considering how quick everyone ended up in that train car at Terminus, no one made the mistake to think they were safe there either. No one in the group as forgotten those two places.

Which brings me to my final thought: I never thought Rick was wrong for how he was acting, not for one second. Rick is the group’s leader. They look to him for what they should do next. Over the seasons, he’s learned he can’t make all the decisions alone though. That’s why there was a council at the prison that I don’t think he was even apart of. He has the first word in any discussion but not necessarily the last one.

Think back to when the group was going to bust into Grady Memorial, guns blazing. Is that how we would’ve liked things to have gone as fans? YES. But it was Tyreese and Daryl who reassured Rick that going the hostage route was the right plan. And it was, Beth and Dawn died due to their own actions, not because of the plan. Would Rick’s plan have worked? Maybe but the body count would have been ridiculously high and at the end of the day, not everyone in that hospital deserved to die.

My point is, Rick wasn’t being paranoid or overly cautious. He was being the best leader that he knew how to be. It’s up to the other members of the group to try to reason with him when they don’t agree with him. Otherwise, they’d all be on the road again with nothing, having killed Aaron and Eric for daring to approach them. Just the walking dead walking amongst the walking dead.

 So while I know you’ve been trained to think everyone wants to murder our heroes, as I said before, they need a break. That’s how stories go. And I’ve enjoyed every facet of this one that’s been told thus far.

Thomas: I must concede, that yes you have a point.  The show has conditioned many to be wary of friendly behavior as threats.  It is also true that it is more entertaining when the group is in total fight for their lives mode.  I would also like to point out that this episode was way better than, “Them.”  I can say that episode might have been needed, but it was hard to get through.

I don’t think I’m wrong about the group starting to have problems with Rick’s judgement.  You are right, it never has been a Rick-tatorship.  However, in recent episodes, the group has tended to be more united.  This episode still felt like Rick was the only one not willing to take Aaron on faith.

The vehicles were where he said they would be.  They were filled with food.  He did let them disarm him.  He didn’t try to beg too much when he woke up tied up.  I will say that all of this points to that I’m wrong.  Still, something about it was just too nice.  I will admit, I’m not familiar at all with Alexandria, so you being a little more familiar with the comics gives you more insight.

I said maybe I’m being harsh about Michonne cracking up.  However, I don’t remember her ever flat out countermanding Rick in front of the group.  It has been a long running show so I’m probably forgetting something.  I just don’t remember anything recent.  Daryl muttered just a few sentences.  However, those sentences were in support of Michonne and going with Aaron.

Even Carl wanted to know why they wouldn’t go with Aaron.  I remember Rick saying “if they decide to go or not.”  I don’t think he was being unreasonable.  That “if” brought out everyone saying they wanted to go.  Wasn’t this a reasonable statement by Rick?  I would think so.  However, Michonne made it clear that they were going.  Maybe it’s nothing.  Perhaps it is the start of a schism.  I’m just going to wait and see.

Another interesting thing was the little back and forth between Abraham and Rosita.  It seemed like a little sweet reminiscing when he found the canned goods.  Then he asked if she was afraid that he was going to hurt her back at the fire truck.  She didn’t seem too quick to respond.  Could there be trouble for Big Red and his Spicy Lover?  By the way, its amazing that all this time she looks good without makeup, a mirror, or hot water.  Got to love TWD world for some things.

It seems weird because I figured this would be the next big couple that would be coming to the forefront.  As it is Glenn and Maggie haven’t had much of a conversation or part to play.  It is understandable considering what happened.  As it looks, this coupling may be in trouble before we get to find out anything more about them.  I’m wondering if Rosita or Abraham may be next on the chopping block in the near future.  Sad to think about but a thought I had.

I’m not ready to say Aaron and Eric are my new favorite couple.  After watching the show through a second time, I have lightened up my thoughts about him.  I don’t think he exactly is going to be a threat.  I do have a feeling that the leader of Alexandria could be a problem.  Aaron mentioned that he was the recruiter, but another made the decision.  I will give that he helped the group, and wanted to save his significant other.  However, I still don’t fully trust him.  By extension, I don’t trust Eric.  It may be harsh, but I’m going to have to see how these two develop in upcoming episodes.

I like that you point out that a major character may leave the show by the end of the season.  By major character I only have a top few in mind.  Rick, Carl and Judith are out, I don’t see that happening with an entire sixth season coming up.  At this point, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Tara and Gabriel aren’t strong enough characters in my mind to qualify.  I would say Glenn and Maggie could go.  However, with what has transpired they seem like ghosts of themselves.  The same could be said for Sasha.

If the show was going to make an impression, there are only three characters that come to mind.  That would be Daryl, Carol, or Michonne.  The loss of any of these three I think would have the greatest impact.  It would not only impact the group in the show.  It would be the biggest shock to the fans.  Daryl and Carol have been with the show the longest as main characters.  Michonne is arguably the most popular female character at this point.

On a positive note.  I don’t think the writers have the guts to get rid of Daryl or Michonne at this point.  The entire length of time they have been on the show, they have grown in popularity.  If they wanted to make waves and really shock us, it would probably be Carol to go to the wayside.  I’m not hoping for it.  Just what you had me thinking when you said a major character could be eliminated by the end of this season.

Overall, I did like this episode.  I think it is safe to say we have way different feelings about the meanings involved.  However, I do agree it was good story telling.  I am anxious to find out what happens within the gates of Alexandria.  Will it be a place to relax and reflect for an episode perhaps?  Or will the group find another danger that they walked into due to the circumstances?  Is the group doubting Rick?  Is he being overly cautious at this point?  I can honestly say whatever the answers wouldn’t surprise me.  Kudos to the writers, because I can’t wait to find out.

Kelen: I knew I could make you see reason. But let me try to answer some of the new points you brought up.

It does look like we’re going to get another slow episode with the group adapting to life in Alexandria from what the preview of next week’s episode showed us. I hope it’s not as slow as “Them”, but considering this will be the first time the group is “safe” since the prison, I understand the need for it. I also predict that this will be the episode that Rick shaves that epic beard.

As for what major character will die, it could be Carol. I know who it was in the comics but with things that happened in the books being changed around for the show so much, I don’t think it will be the same person. Michonne is a big possibility in my mind. For this next threat, I feel like the writers will want to bring them in with a bang and killing her would be huge. Or at the very least have her disappear. Or maybe I’m just determined for a long time character to leave for awhile without dying, like I suggested for Daryl last week.

The reason I don’t see it being Carol is how much they’ve downplayed her since the beginning of the season. Downplayed characters don’t normally die. Tyreese had an ongoing storyline about his conflicts with killing the living and was the moral compass of the group. Beth got kidnapped (still not addressed) and showed exponential growth before Dawn killed her. Bob was in love with Sasha and had turned a corner from when he was alone, drunk, and thinking he was bad luck for any group he encountered. Krazy Lizzie had it coming. Hershel had a solo episode of how he singlehandedly took care of everyone who was sick in the prison… and he was the moral compass. Both Michonne and Glenn have been acting as the moral compass, especially in this episode. Hmm…

As for problems in Alexandria aside from Aaron and Eric, God I hope so. While I never got the feeling of Aaron being a threat, you just know that someone in Alexandria will not be happy about Rick and the Daryls getting there. You have three alpha males (Rick, Daryl, Abraham), wild cards in Michonne and Carol, utility man Glenn, two emotionally unstable females in Maggie and Sasha, two ride or die chicks in Tara and Rosita, a know-it-all in Eugene, Father Gabriel (he’s not valuable at this point) and Noah (I HATE YOU NOAH), growing up in the apocalypse Carl, and Judith. They’re not exactly the Brady Bunch and we know the group are anything but conformists. So who knows how their integration into Alexandria will go. I still think the threat will be from certain people in Alexandria and not from Alexandria as a whole.

Random: I wonder if anyone else that was with the Governor before the second attack (when he became Brian) made it to Alexandria?

As for the rest, Rosita and Abraham are fine, or she’s (sorry in advance female readers) being a woman and saying nothing is wrong when something is wrong… Rosita is a babe… Still don’t think the group are turning on Rick, at best they’re grabbing what little hope Aaron was offering and running with it… I think Michonne took the lead because no one else had the strength to do it. If it really came down to it, Rick would have let her go alone knowing she could take care of herself rather than risk himself or his family. He probably would’ve let other group members go with her if they wanted. And you know how good they’ve gotten at storytelling when the group is split up.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Alexandria has in store for our heroes. I just hope I’m right and they don’t gun down three people when the gates close. Unless it’s Noah, Gabriel… and a Star Trek red shirt.

Kill Watch
Noah (seeing that surgeon Aaron was talking about could be bad for him. I hope.)

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