Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
I was quite surprised last night on The Walking Dead when the show decided to go above and beyond in explaining just what it is that is truly eating at our main characters and why they are having such a hard time adjusting to life in this quiet little community.
Part of it is the obvious fact that Deanna and her people are as weak as can be when it comes to surviving in this world and well, that's nothing new. We know they are out of their minds when it comes to their understanding of how the world has changed, so we won't be spending any time on that today. No, instead a few key moments last night showed what is really the root cause gnawing at Rick and his intrepid band of survivors...the fact that a return to civilization has forced them to reflect upon their lives and life choices in recent weeks...and they are filling up with guilt.
That guilt and regret was completely on display this week courtesy of Sasha, with her sudden need to head out into the area surrounding Alexandria to hunt the dead. There was a terrifying bloodlust in her eyes as she took down one walker after another, without giving a damn about her safety. She explained it all in a matter of seconds. Pointing out the fact that she told Noah that he would never make it in this world and of course the loss of her brother factors in as well. It's clear she is second guessing all of her choices at this point and it is isolating her in extreme fashion.
Heck, I'm even beginning to think that Father Gabriel's little stunt last week was related to guilt as well. After all, no one in this town, outside of Rick's group, know what he has done, that he let his congregation in Georgia die a terrible death and that is no doubt still tearing at his soul and moving him toward bad choices. But the character that we thought had moved past guilt and letting the past haunt him, showed he is just as hurt as the rest of his group. Yes, Rick Grimes finally snapped last night, letting his fists do the talking when it came to dealing with Pete.
It wasn't simply because he desired or wanted Jessie as his own in caveman fashion, take a moment and think back to the scene before he went inside the house to tell her he could help her. He took a good look at the kids running around Alexandria and the town as a whole and saw a chance to make things right. His "ignorance" in his mind cost lives and the group the safety of the prison and this was his chance to set things right.
In fact if anything, Rick has the most to reflect on because he is truly at a crossroads. This is a man who has in essence walked both the path of the hero and the villain. He has been the benevolent leader of the Prison, in fact he was willing to pull a Deanna and banish Carol for murder, ironic seeing as to how he advocates it now. Which brings us to how he has mildly played the villain.
Surprisingly there have been both physical and psychological parallels between the Governor and Rick. Both men went so deep into the horrors of the world they eventually resembled one another. Think back to the Governor's return to the show when he sat down in Lily's apartment and saw his scruffy reflection in the television with surprise, much like Rick did in the mirror. Not to mention the fact that Rick's speech last night about fighting or dying is similar to the one the Governor gave before his new group attacked the prison. But does it mean that Rick's reflections are turning him into the next bad guy? I still don't think so. I think in some way Rick is aware of the two lives he has led and it is beginning to truly tear at him. He genuinely wanted to help Jessie and see an end to her pain which means good Rick is still in there, just lost at the moment and he needs a genuinely good purpose to bring him back from the brink, and I think that goes for the entire group.
It really was a fascinating and subtle aspect of storytelling to see last night, and clearly their guilt and inner reflection on the choices made have now come back to haunt them. The question is...if Rick and his friends get the chance to do exactly what he told the Governor was possible...if they finally get to come back from all the things they've done, that they are not...too far gone.