Rick is not paranoid ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 11: The Distance

By in Aaron, Alexandria, AMC The Walking Dead, Eric, glenn, Michonne, Rick Grimes, Safe Zone, The Distance, The Walking Dead Season 5
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Five seasons in, it feels like there will never be a moment of peace on The Walking Dead. The 11th episode, titled “The Distance,” questions the levels of trust and caution that a person, living in the midst of such a desperate situation, that causes people to betray for the sake of survival, should have, and when and how, these levels of caution should fluctuate.

Its all trash!! It’s been many, many moon since the days of civilized living, and at this point, who in their right mind is going to be trusting anyone at all. Rick is at fault, according to this episode, for allowing his “paranoia” to take over and not giving people a chance. Did someone forget the past seasons? I was completely confused at this sudden finger point at Rick, as if he should calmly and submissively put down his gun. The idea is that if things start checking out or if the approach is different, he shouldn’t mistrust the way he always has.

It all comes down to Aaron, who Rick punches the snot out of, in order to look through his stuff. Maybe not the most cordial form of conduct, but in his defense, the last time they trusted people, they were cannibals. Aaron claims that he lives in a safe area and he has a home, and that in his community, they are actually living. LIVING, as in, he is decorating his home and not worrying about where his next meal will come from. Which is why the man is so clean.

Rick doesn’t trust him and its nothing personal. They have been lured and made pretty promises before. The plan is to head out to his campsite, which he won’t reveal the location of till they get there, and check out if the place is livable. The person that should have been checking her own instincts, was Michonne. She is so exhausted of the roaming and constant struggle for survival, that she is very willing to head out to this unknown location. She feels Aaron’s approach is different and that it should be taken into consideration. Maybe his camp is what they need right now, blah, blah, blah.

At first, They all question Aaron to death. He has food and water, and has no problem sharing with any of them. Suspicion of this very fact, is not an erroneous decision. How many people have we meet in the past on The Walking Dead, that have had so much food that they can spare or even take on people. Even at Grady Hospital and the Governor’s town, provisions had to be accounted for to make sure that it would last them.

Judith begins to wail from hunger and Rick is stuck with crushing nuts to feed her. Aaron has apple sauce, but Rick tries to make Aaron taste it before he feeds it to his daughter and Aaron claims he hates apple sauce due to his mother, and we are suppose to accept his claim as viable because he has offered food freely to this group? Am I suppose to feel bad for this guy? Because I don’t. Let’s be real. Things checkout for Aaron. The food is legit and the apple sauce isn’t poisoned. (Rick force feeds him anyway lol)

But at this point, Michonne goes in on Rick because she feels he is too cynical. Even after finding out that he had been listening to their conversations ,by using a mic, Michonne insists that its a precaution that they would have done too. This is true. And thats the only thing I will agree with Michonne in this episode. Because if anyone has ever let down their guard, it’s Rick. He was a born again farmer, when he was back at the prison. And all he wanted to do was invest his time in survivng, by growing their own foods, and bask in the safety his children lived in. But he couldn’t, because supplies are short across the nation and people are desperate to survive. And the fewer supplies that exist, the more frantic people become to try to have a chance. It doesn’t mean that good people don’t exist, it just means that they are going to have to go through a filtering process, until they can comfortably prove that they are not the other kind.

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I do understand that Michonne had to take charge from Rick to make sure that they were actually going to at least look at Aaron’s camp, but I don’t think that Rick needed the pep talk on becoming inhumane. The proof is in the possibilities. The crew decides that they will all head out north, to this unknown location. Aaron suggests taking a highway that they cleared out and Rick recommends taking another. Again, do you see where the precaution here lies? Aaron could have a group of bandits or some other type of zombie apocalypse scavengers, hiding out in a particular highway, waiting for the return of their new victims. It all sounds suspicious, no matter what Aaron’s true intentions are. I think even Rick said this at one point, but they don’t know this man and they’ve met some pretty crude people, let’s question everything and let him prove us wrong.

Further proof of the possible mistakes that one could incur in leveling up their trust in people they don’t know, are in the photos. After all this talk about the community Aaron lives in, and the homes and close knit relationships, Michonne finds pictures of the houses in the safe zone, with no one in them. If this is such a lovely town, where are all the people in the pics? Another shifty excuse later, and  Michonne is suspicious of Aaron and questions his intentions. Had Aaron been lying about this safe zone because he wanted to lure these people somewhere, this is when they would have all realized, drastically too late.

Because they chose Rick’s road, they run through a horde and end up having to fend for themselves in the darkness. Glenn saves Aaron and unties him. Aaron chooses to stay with the group. I see the loyalty here, but trust me, there are so many deceptive ways of bringing down peoples guard, and I imagine that in this zombie infested world, people would have had to become pretty creative to be deceitful.

Finally, they reach Maggie and the others, and we meet Aaron’s boyfriend, Eric. He had injured his ankle, but the two were happy to be together, after possibly thinking the worst. I think Eric completes the image, of how genuinely good they are. Aaron reveals the location of their safe zone in Alexandria. When they reach the gates, they can hear the laughter of children.

We won’t find out what’s behind those gates till next week. This is the calmest episode in awhile, which is why I don’t think that Rick’s caution should be interpreted as paranoia. After the world has changed so much, you just have to make sure.

Do you agree with Michonne or Rick’s stance on trust and cynicism in the zombie apocalypse?

image source: The Official Walking Dead Facebook page

Let's talk about it! What do you think?

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