By Matt Vella
March 9, 2015

Should I stay, or should I go?

That’s the essential question the main characters are asking themselves as season five of The Walking Dead begins to wind down. Episode 13, “Forget,” finds the members of Rick’s group trying to acclimate to their new, uber-normal surroundings in a self-sustaining suburb of Alexandria, Virginia.

Most on edge is Sasha, who opens the episode with some target practice on a set of framed family portraits. At first, it’s not clear if this is simply a form of catharsis or a way to bait nearby walkers. It becomes obvious it’s the later when she slumps down on a tree trunk and whispers to herself: “Come and get me.” (They don’t.)

Carol, Rick and Daryl, meanwhile, are scheming to get their embargoed guns back. None of them seems to trust the camp’s facade as a safe haven, and they all want to be ready for things to go downhill as they have before. (Daryl, by the way, is the only one that seems to be sticking with an apocalyptic chic look when pressed shirts and sweater vests are widely available.) When a walker interrupts their colloquy, they’re surprised to find that some unidentified sadist has carved the letter ‘W’ on its forehead.

Back at the split-level ranch, city planner Deanna gives the group an impassioned speech about getting rid of the ‘us’ and ‘them’ lines dividing Rick’s crew from the rest of the community. Her goal, she continues, is to reintroduce self-government, law and order, commerce—a.k.a. civilization—to the face of the Earth. Rick, concerned this is a naive world philosophy in the age of brain-eating hordes, convinces her to station guards along the walls and post a lookout in a nearby bell tower. Sasha volunteers for duty, but Deanna isn’t convince she quite stable enough yet.

Daryl and Aaron find themselves on a scouting errand together. They spot a wild horse some of the community’s kids have nicknamed “Buttons.” They try to catch him, but Buttons ends up being chewed up by zombies. Later, Aaron invites Daryl over for dinner and gives him a motorcycle to fix up. He wants him to join him as a recruiter for the community, a job Daryl more or less accepts.

Deanna throws the group a welcome mixer, which turns out shockingly normal and suburban. There are plastic cups, beer, chips’n’dip, and the hostess wears a pearl-lined Chanel dinner jacket. It’s surreal in other words. But most of the group seems to be warming up to the reality of the community, a.k.a. that it’s real and not some nefarious pretext.

Carol, who says she likes “being invisible again” as an older woman in flower-patterned jumpers, sneaks off to recover some of the group’s guns, just in case. She pulls a delightfully Cruella Devillian maneuver when a neighborhood kid who followed her in hopes of getting more cookies discovers her robbing the armory. Our poor August Gloop slinks off in terror at the thought of being tied to a tree and left in the woods if tells anybody what he’s seen.

When Carol, Rick and Daryl meet again to distribute the contraband arms, Daryl takes a pass. Rick takes an illegal gun, however. (In the mean time, we see Michonne hang up her samurai sword, symbolically and literally.) In the final shot, Rick is seen from above the wall while a zombie bumps aimlessly against the other side. The walls of the city provide a line between the inside and the outside, but how permanent is it really?

Zombie Kill Count
1 silenced shot to the head by Carol; 2 shots and 3 machete blows to the skull by Daryl; 1 arrow to the face by Daryl; 1 boot to the head by Daryl; 1 rifle shot to the skull by Aaron; 1 knife to the face by Daryl.
Estimated total: 10

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