Every week for the fifth season of AMC's post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, David Sims and Lenika Cruz will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show's increasingly hardened band of survivors.
Sims: The fifth season of The Walking Dead has, more than anything, dealt with the emotional scars Rick Grimes and his crew have suffered through their years together in the apocalypse. “Try,” the penultimate episode of the season, saw their tenuous membership in the Alexandria safe zone begin to collapse beyond repair; more than that, though, it underlined just why the show has pursued this narrative angle in the back half of the season. As Rick repeatedly yelled at everyone, Alexandria is an unsustainable fantasy for its residents: a thin sheen of optimism over the desperate situation that is the world at large. But more than that, it’s an unflattering mirror being held up to Rick and company—a glimpse at what his lawless group looks like to a community that never left civilization behind.
In Alexandria, Rick has practically walked into the past, and despite his best efforts to fit in he seems sorely out of place. It was never more painfully obvious than in the final moments of the episode, as a bloodied Rick ranted and raved about the horrors of the real world to the gathered townspeople, reminding them that they can’t keep the zombies, and all the consequent horrors that come with them, out. Rick’s motivations are somewhat noble, somewhat not: He wants to neutralize Jessie’s abusive husband Pete, partly (he admits) because he has strong feelings for Jessie. He was willing to kill Pete if necessary, but instead engaged in a public brawl that made him look like the bad guy, and things ended with him getting clocked in the head by Michonne.