“Remember” opens with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group hesitantly heading into the Alexandria Safe-Zone, a heavily fortified suburban community run by Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), a former congresswoman. The title of the episode is significant in that it reflects the caution felt by The Walking Dead’s heroes in trying to adapt to life before the biters, and, of course, Woodbury. And much of the storyline teases two opposing possibilities of what Alexandria could come to be for the group, only to then introduce a third and far more chilling route in the episode’s final seconds.
If nothing else, Deanna makes an appealing case for Alexandria as the grounds for a new, better world. Her main priority is finding roles for the newest members of this society of survivors, finding a way for them to benefit the community; at one point, she jokes that the communists actually won. The episode’s most fascinating element is that she records each interview on a digital camera, and there’s a potent sense of the show’s fascination with the history of the present and how we might relay this latest chapter in humankind’s time on this planet. In the case of Carol (Melissa McBride), it’s a way of keeping her personal history a secret, as in the strategic omission of her, well, skill set. For his part, Carl (Chandler Riggs) admits to killing his mother while holding onto his little sister, whose birth was the real cause of her death.
Not for nothing is “Remember” one of the great Carl episodes, detailing his entrance into a new society that actually harbors other kids his age. His day-to-day struggle flips within literally a single day from scrounging for the bare minimum in order to survive and trying not to get eaten to whether to play video games or billiards. The change noticeably shakes him, as does the introduction of Enid (Katelyn Nacon), a quiet, angry teenager who sneaks out of the compound on occasion. In one scene, Carl follows her out and the show’s creators intertwine his primal urges of sex and slaughter when his inability to follow her closely enough coincides with him giddily killing a gaggle of zombies with his father, who’s symbolically lost his secret gun.
The size of a man’s, er, pistol comes up again, when Alexandria’s security squad, led by Aiden (Daniel Bonjour), Deanna’s son, purposefully hands Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) tiny handguns as compared to his team’s lumbering automatic rifles. Aiden’s game is total domination, which immediately puts him on Rick’s radar, as his temperament brings to mind the Governor’s own. Deanna makes Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) constables of the Alexandria Safe-Zone no doubt because she recognizes her son’s anger, as well as that of his cronies, namely the immediately menacing Pete (Corey Brill). And yet, the potential danger that these men pose seems distinctly lessened by Rick’s quiet promise to take over the community if they can’t get in line with his group. It’s an eerie moment, one that’s been hinted at before but never with such certainty of the demagogic impulse that’s increasingly rising to a boil within Rick. When Glenn gets interviewed, he says that his group was almost “out there” too long, but this final moment confirms that even with a freshly shaved face and a fancy new police uniform, Rick Grimes is still very much in the wilderness.
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