For once, my hopes weren’t that far from the reality. After last week writing about my wish to see a storyline where the group struggle to fit into a civilised society, this week that’s more or less exactly what we got.
‘Remember’ didn’t go overboard with trying to contrast the survivor instinct and real life, but it still threw various elements in, and it was refreshing to see the old gang finally let down their guard, just a bit, and begin to settle in. What made this even more interesting was how they almost felt guilty for it. However, this wouldn’t have been much of an episode without the hints of doubt that began to come into play at the end. Yes, we finished with Deanna Monroe, the leader of the Alexandria group, formally welcoming in Rick and co, as well as making Rick and Michonne the community police.
Glenn’s confrontation with Deanna’s son felt like a significant moment. Given that supply runs are important enough for a nomadic group, with a continually new stock of towns to purge, for a stationary and established community like the Safe-Zone, they become even more vital. So are those responsible for said runs less than responsible themselves? We’ll likely delve more into the viability of Alexandria as we get further on in the arc, but for now let’s just say there are as many questions as answers.
The real treat of ‘Remember’ though, was seeing it live up to its name, harking back to the early days as much as possible. We had the literal reminiscence in the recorded interviews, as we were reminded how far some have come; Carol for one having gone from domestically abused housewife to apocalyptic ‘jack-of-all-trades’ – personable, brave, confident and compassionate. But that was nothing compared to the shock transformation of Rick (and Andrew Lincoln for that matter), with his beard coming right off and, perhaps inexplicably, a new dress code eerily reminiscent of his old Sheriff’s uniform.
It was intentionally symbolic of the general theme of the episode, and the rest of this season. Indeed, much of TWD has revolved around variations on the question ‘can we go back?’. From trying to find salvation and civilisation at the start, to exploring the ramifications of the groups actions and the finality of them in season 3, to the place we find ourselves now, watching the group assimilate into Alexandria.
It’s easy to forget the strength of the cast in a show like TWD – less prone to show-defining moments like those found in Game of Thrones – but here the quality shines through, especially in the case of Lincoln at the top, perfectly capturing Rick’s eroding paranoia. Hopefully the rest of the season brings similar performances.