5.12 Remember / 5.13 Forget
Rick and the gang are finally in Alexandria. Now to find out what it’s all about? Happy times are ahead now surely for the wandering gang of survivors. Remember is the episode where the long game the show runners have been playing starts to pay off. The viewer is as unsettled as the gang by their new setting, preconditioned to expect something, or someone, bad to happen. It's clever stuff.
As a picture of a set of people and their reintegration into society it’s convincing and actually quite thought provoking. The gang are wary of everyone, alert to anything, and paranoid. With their previous experiences they’re entitled to be. But there is acceptance, Rick loses the beard – to the wail of a million beard aficionados – whilst Carol starts wearing knitted jumpers and Carl makes friendly with the local kids. It’s mostly nicey nicey in Remember as the gang slowly readjust to people and an almost normal way of life.
And it looks like they might make it… until the final scene and the line that the whole episode has been leading up to “If they can’t make it… then we’ll just take this place.” Not so nicey nicey then Rick.
Forget picks up on those threads, Daryl is forever the loner, Rick and Michonne are now the cops but still not fully trusting, and Carol is the mumsy one with the dark side. And in the absence of any Walkers that are much of a threat at the moment it’s Carol that epitomises the current themes of the show, that her and the gang are now the outsiders, the ones to be feared, and her gruesome intimidation of a small boy is genuinely chilling. Whilst Rick is now warming to civilisation through an A stamped on his hand, some flirtatious looks from married Jessie, and the sight of his children integrating with their new home. And even Daryl is in on the act, chowing down with Aaron and his boyfriend, and agreeing to be a recruiter for Alexandria; he’s bought into it so much that he refuses a weapon. Does this leave Carol as the only one still unsettled?
It’s all painting a picture of the gang splitting, those that are buying into their new life and those that aren’t. After two episodes settling into their new environment something needs to happen soon as it’s all a little safe. Judging by past experience you can see something big (i.e. a death or two, maybe a major character?) is going to happen before the end of the season which means that two hour season finale is going to be a sight to behold.