Throughout The Walking Dead’s history, Rick and his group have not had much luck with new post apocalypse communities. His caution, though, is borderline paranoid and his desire to keep his family alive may be its undoing.
Instead of a megalomaniac or manipulative cannibal, a peculiarly clean and well supplied couple- Aaron and Eric- invite the group to a secure safe zone in Alexandria. Is Rick right to believe this is just too good to be true?
Aaron’s devotion to Eric softens Rick for a moment. After a dangerous encounter with a zombie horde, compliments of Rick’s distrust, Rick interrupts the couple’s romantic reunion. Their warmth doesn’t completely disarm Rick, but it does help him to see their humanity. Glenn helps Rick remember “what matters” moments later. Together, they will complete the journey.
Glenn isn’t the only character doling sagacious advice. Michonne tells Rick to let go of the fight before it turns on him. She speaks from experience- it was not too long ago that she walked among the dead.
Thankfully, her emotional trajectory lands her second in command, leading the group to a new start. She chooses hope instead of despair. And her hope is validated when they arrive at Alexandria.
When they roll up to the Alexandria Safe Zone gates, they are greeted by the sound of children at play. This subtle detail cues the audience that there is a safe respite on the group’s horizon. Afterall, ominous silence fell at the gates of previous communities.
Carol consoles Rick- telling him that he was right to be cautious. Was he justified or traumatized? It’s interesting, too, that Carol, who Rick once ostracized, shows solidarity with Rick in the throes of group dissension.
Now that the group is in a safe zone, will they be able to acclimate to a more civil existence, or will they be community pariahs? Will Rick’s warrior leadership clash with Alexandria’s current leadership?
One of the most poignant moments of The Walking Dead comics is when Michonne hangs up her katana. Will she be more cautious in AMC’s adaptation, or is she ready to live simply?