As Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company continue to acclimate to their new surroundings in Alexandria throughout “Forget,” the question remains whether or not the group will be able to buy this society as a reality. This is a particularly touchy subject for Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), who opens the episode by leaving the Safe-Zone to stir up some zombies outside. None come, but Sasha continues to try to find a way of distancing herself from her new neighbors by volunteering to be a lookout. The naïveté that Alexandria runs on doesn’t sit well with her, especially considering how little time has passed since Tyreese’s death. Sasha’s staunch resistance to her new home seems absolute, but Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) insists she gives life in the Safe-Zone a real shot, and much of “Forget” is as much an attempt to convince the audience that nothing bad can happen in Alexandria as it is about the characters overcoming memories of Woodbury, Gabriel’s church, and the prison.
And Sasha isn’t the only one who isn’t quite buying this seeming dog and pony show that Deanna is presenting as the new world order. In one of the most unsettling scenes of recent episodes, Carol (Melissa McBride) not-so-casually threatens Sam (Major Dodson), the young son of Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Pete (Corey Brill), with being fed to zombies, after he catches her stealing guns. By making the young boy choose between telling on her or receiving a big batch of cookies all for himself, Carol becomes a mouthpiece for the writers, all but spelling out the decision Rick’s group must make: eat cookies or be the cookies. Meanwhile, Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) wavering distrust over Alexandria comes to the surface while speaking with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), gazing at her plastic cocktail sword only a few scenes before quite literally hanging up her blade.
The most remarkable symbol, however, is the black stallion that Daryl (Norman Reedus) finds while hunting with Aaron (Ross Marquand) outside the Safe-Zone. After zombies devour the horse, Aaron mentions that the horse always ran away before, but for some reason, it doesn’t this time. Fear of inclusion and the comforts of isolation have been a cornerstone of Reedus’s character since The Walking Dead began, but “Forget” sees him, well, forgetting much of that. Staying in one place may have always seemed like death to Daryl, but when Aaron suggests he become a recruiter (someone who bonds with others as a trade), he doesn’t buck or turn it down. The show’s writers have incrementally opened Daryl up as a character before, and his unexpected warmth with Aaron and Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) suggest new, unexplored dimensions to the quiet, prickly character.
Rick is seemingly also showing new colors, getting a bit more comfortable with the Alexandria folk and paying especial attention to Jessie. At one point, Sam tellingly marks him with a red A, seen here as a sign of belonging, but also a reference to The Scarlet Letter and the novel’s symbolic take on banishment. The meanings have essentially been blurred, as all the members of Alexandria are outcasts attempting to reclaim some sense of normalcy by keeping up the neighborhood and throwing parties. It’s understandable that the surreal nature of talking about one’s favorite meal while being separated from a world full of biters by a gate and barricades is a little too much for Sasha, who all but spits in a woman’s face when she asks if she can cook for her. Even as Deanna convincingly calls bullshit on Sasha’s inability to trust Alexandria, there’s a potent sense of humankind’s rampant need to focus on the manageable, even when history has shown the all-too-real dangers of doing so.
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