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Recap / The Walking Dead S 05 E 11 The Distance

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Season 5, Episode 11

The Distance

The group is invited to a community by Aaron, but Rick remains suspicious.

At the cabin, the group is resting when Maggie and Sasha arrive with Aaron in tow. Rick and the others immediately draw their weapons at him, and he explains that he was the one who left them the care package of water bottles the day before. He tells them that he wants to recruit them for a community nearby, but Rick refuses to believe him and rifles through his backpack instead.

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He finds a set of pictures, which Aaron says are grainy photos of the town he came from. Aaron continues to ramble on, leading Rick to punch and knock him out in one hit. Although Michonne tells him that Aaron isn't a threat while handcuffed, the latter comes to and tries to make light of the situation to no effect

Rick continues asking questions about whether he has any other people waiting for him, and Aaron admits that he wouldn't trust him no matter what answer he gave, but eventually says that there is one other person and that they were driving in vehicles to find them. Rick orders Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham and Rosita to check out Aaron's planned meeting spot, and if they don't return in an hour, he'll execute the recruiter himself.

When they leave, Aaron tells Rick about his past work as a government employee, and says he has noble intentions. When Judith begins crying, Aaron tells Rick that he has applesauce in his bag. Rick believes it is a trap and has Aaron taste it first, despite the latter claiming he doesn't like it. Upon seeing that it's safe to eat, Rick gives it to Judith.

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Michonne and the others find the meeting site and see an empty car and RV, indicating Aaron is telling the truth. Despite Glenn's attempt to cast doubt on Aaron, Michonne tells him that Rick and all of them aren't bad people because they took on stray people who were lost or had nothing left. Glenn concedes the point, and they head back to the cabin with canned food and the two vehicles.

After they arrive, Rick tells Aaron that they'll be keeping the canned items when they go. The group, however, disagrees with Rick's claim that they won't check it out. This causes him to change his mind, and he says that they have Aaron take them to the town while kept hostage. Rick insists that they travel on a different path than Aaron's map with directions because he still doesn't trust him.

That night, the group heads out in the two vehicles. Rick, Michonne, Glenn and Aaron are in the car, and Michonne takes the lead by questioning Aaron using Rick's "three-question" routine he used back at the prison. Their journey is stalled when they run into a herd of walkers on the road, and realize that they are separated from the RV and the rest of the gup. At that moment, a flare lights up in the air far ahead of them, and Aaron begins to panic. He tells the group that he has to leave, and flees despite still having restraints on. Rick, Michonne and Glenn are forced to abandon the car and follow the path of the flare, running through the darkened forest.

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Glenn gets separated from the others and finds Aaron caught on a tree, trying to push away an attacking walker. Although Glenn is initially content to leave him to his fate, he goes back and saves his life. Aaron tells him that he realizes they are good people and that they need to find everyone else before going to the town. They rejoin Rick and Michonne and continue heading through the woods.

They arrive at an abandoned building, where the rest of the group has arrived, along with Aaron's partner, Eric, who sprained his leg while running from walkers. Aaron and Eric embrace each other, while Rick is convinced to stand down from his paranoia by Glenn and the others.

The next morning, the group continues the drive towards the community. Aaron promises to get Noah's leg looked at by the town doctor, Pete. When they are forced to stop to change the RV's battery, Rick tells Michonne that he still doesn't trust Aaron or Eric, and she tells him to let go of his worries. Before they leave, Rick plants a gun inside a blender at an abandoned shack.

The group reaches the front gate of the community, Alexandria. Rick is unsure what to think, but his eyes widen when he hears the sounds of children playing inside the fortified metal walls. Everyone exits the car and begins to walk towards the gate, and Rick picks up Judith and asks her if she's ready before he walks off with them...

Tropes:

  • Anti-Hero: The Ricktatorship hasn't been this strong in quite some time, but Rick's actions in this episode further showcase his Anti-Hero qualities.
  • Big Damn Heroes: With the group separated, and Rick having fired the desperate flare shot, they are rescued by Glenn and Aaron.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Aaron's flare gun is a literal case.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Aaron mentioned a Pete in Alexandria, which may well be Pete Anderson from the comics.
  • The Comically Serious: The group doesn't have the best reaction Aaron's jokes about how his community's rule of auditions .
    Aaron: Audition makes it seem like we're some kind of a dance troupe. That's only on Friday nights
    (Everyone stares at him)
  • Continuity Nod: Glenn quickly figures out how to get the RV going, thanks to his lessons and experience from working with Dale's RV.
    • Abraham asks Rosita if she thought he'd hurt her when he was in a rage after Eugene's deception was revealed.
    • Aaron says the wrong thing when he claims that his community only gets stronger with more people, the same thing Gareth told Rick when he entered Terminus.
    • Noah mentions how he sustained the injuries to his leg back in Atlanta.
    • Rick brings up Woodbury and Terminus when pointing out the show's tendency for a promise of a safe haven turning out to be a deathtrap.
    • Michonne's counseling of Rick is noted to be similar to one of Bob's last pieces of advice.
    • Glenn says he was wrong in what he said earlier. "It does matter."
    • Rosita and Abraham smile at finally making it to DC, a goal that's been repeatedly mentioned.
    • Much like he did before going in to Terminus, Rick leaves a weapons cache hidden behind him.
    • Merle once said that he and Daryl had bird calls they used to signal each other when they were hunting; Rick and Daryl use them here when the group is separated.
  • Five-Man Band: The group scouters that Rick assigned to confirm that Aaron is not lying.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    Rick: Just because we're good people, doesn't mean we won't kill you.
  • The Heart: Michonne acts as this for the group, trying to convince them to have hope in Alexandria, particularly Rick. Makes sense, considering she has the most experience with hopeless wandering in the wilderness.
  • I'll Kill You!: Rick flatly promises to stab Aaron's skull if his group isn't back in an hour.
  • Kick the Dog: Rick slugs Aaron for saying his group gets stronger with more people (see Continuity Nod). Considering the many people Rick has faced in the past, this is almost acceptable.
  • Kill It with Fire: Rick, low on ammunition, takes out one walker by shooting a flare at its head.
  • Nobody Here but Us Birds: Rick and Daryl use bird-like whistles to signal to each other once the group is separated.
  • Not So Stoic: Aaron acts remarkably calm throughout the episode, up until he believes Eric is in danger.
  • Properly Paranoid: Rick edges beyond this point, in contrast to his earlier interactions with strangers. Accusing Aaron of wanting to poison Judith was a bit far.
  • Real After All: The sounds of children playing is seemingly solid proof that Alexandria is indeed a safe place to live.
    • Although, really it proves nothing. There were children playing in Woodbury, too. We saw a little girl chasing her dog on the lawn, at one point. Perhaps, by that point, Rick just wanted to believe.
  • Red Herring: Aaron is hesitant to eat the applesauce he brought, and none of his photos of Alexandria have any people in them. But he was telling the truth about his dislike of the food, and may well have had exposure problems.
  • Rule of Three: After encountering two dangerous communities with dark secrets (Woodbury and Terminus), Alexandria breaks the pattern by actively seeking out Rick's group and appearing to be a decent place to live.
  • Ship Tease: Rick and Michonne get a bit of it, as they become closer confidantes and she briefly holds his hand at the end.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The applesauce scene in a nutshell: "Eat it or I'll kill ya." "But it's yucky."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Michonne and Aaron both call out Rick for putting the group in danger while trying to keep them safe. Specially when Rick insists on going to Alexandria though a walker-infested road, and during the night.

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