Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
I'm still in a bit of shock this morning regarding The Walking Dead and the surprisingly hopeful direction the show took last night in "The Distance". In fact this was an episode about healing, about our humanity, quite frankly about the best parts of ourselves and all the characters in the show and all of it came to pass over one thing...hope.
There was some incredible character development last night on the show, and we are finally understanding just how badly traumatized Rick Grimes is from all the horrors he has seen from that final battle of the prison and everything that came after. We genuinely saw fear in his eyes about crossing the threshold into Alexandria until those final moments when he heard children playing in the distance. But it was that possibility, that perhaps this place was indeed as safe as advertised that mattered. Heck, we even saw him break down his guard just a little bit in the tense scene between he and Aaron regarding applesauce.
But, the whole tone of this episode was vastly different from the rest of the season, hell the rest of the show. The ominous cloud of the apocalypse was lifted here. Sure, the dead were still present and everywhere, as they will always be until the day they finally drop, but there was a strange sense of urgency this go round. It wasn't simply a rush to find some place safe and catch your breath, this was about finding something more, a place where there was actual safety, and I loved every minute of it.
After all, we have spent five years with this group, suffering from terrifying and heartbreaking moments with the rest of them. We've seen loss on levels most of us would never understand, knowing full well that they are but a handful of people left in a world of death and here we are, as shocked as they are, as they are now facing down life instead of death. It's a wonderful twist in the plot of this whole mess and it now makes Beth and Tyreese's loss relevant and special. Because while Beth was lost to a tiny tyrant who clearly didn't value people or life, these people just might.
This seems like the kind of place where the group can recover, can mourn. Can share the stories of brave men like Tyreese and know that their memory will live on in a place where people will let it live on. There is hope on this show at last. Hope that they can finally lead a semi normal life, with a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs and not spend every waking moment in terror. It's a brave new world to step into on a show about the end of the world, and quite frankly, that kind of hope is rare in the genre, I can't wait to see what they do with it.