In "Try," Rick becomes completely unhinged

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated March 22, 2015 11:55 PM
Credit: AMC

There have been some really well-chosen songs used in this season of The Walking Dead, but there was no more apt way to open “Try” than with Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged.”

The episode began with the aftermath of Aiden’s (Daniel Bonjour) death, which was partly due to his own stupidity and unwillingness to listen – a fairly common disease among the population of Alexandria. Carol (Melissa McBride) tried to make nice by leaving a tuna casserole on the Monroes’ doorstep with a note that read, “We’re truly sorry for your loss.” Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) left the casserole and brought the note into the house to burn it, Father Gabriel’s (Seth Gilliam) words from last week’s episode clearly weighing on her.

In “Try,” Rick (Andrew Lincoln) proved that he’ll never be able to forget what happened outside of the walls of Alexandria, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) chose a side.

So Impressed with What You Do / Tried So Hard to Be Like You

As we learned last week, Pete the surgeon (Corey Brill) has been physically abusing his wife, Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). Unfortunately for Pete, Carol – a domestic violence survivor herself – was the one to find out, and Rick has taken a shine to Jessie.

Carol once again told Rick that he needed to be the one to sort it out: “I’ve seen you talk to her,” she said. “If walkers hadn’t gotten Ed, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.” Rick knew what he had to do, but he told Carol nonetheless, “Yeah, you would.”

Broken, Bruised, Forgotten, Sore / Too F—ed Up to Care Anymore

While it looked like Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) had entirely left the premises a few episodes ago, she had actually been circling them; during a patrol beyond the wall, Michonne and Rosita (Christian Serratos) discovered dead walkers littering the perimeter of Alexandria, all taken out with clean headshots.

“I’m sick of playing defense,” she said when the women found her. Michonne asked, “So you’re just gonna take out all of them?”

That seemed to be the case – Sasha was grimly pleased when they became surrounded by walkers and she was able to completely lose herself in shooting them all dead(er). As Michonne watched her, she had flashbacks to her sword-wielding, walker-toting days, and she started shooting along with Sasha. “I don’t need your help,” Sasha snapped. “This isn’t for you,” Michonne replied. It’s a far cry from the Michonne who hung up her sword, who has been trying so hard to make Alexandria her home.

Poisoned to My Rotten Core / Too F—ed Up to Care Anymore

When Rick approached Deanna about killing Pete if he wouldn’t stop beating Jessie, she was unsurprisingly not thrilled with his problem-solving technique. However, the fact that she knew about Pete and didn’t care to do anything because he’s a surgeon was symptomatic of the inherent problem of Alexandria. Deanna is so insistent on the place being a so-called civilization, but people are dying because everyone is so convinced they’re right – they’re far from the team Rick created. “Warning someone to stop or die – that is civilized nowadays,” said Rick. “So, we just let him hit her? We let him kill her?”

Not on Rick’s watch. Later, he stopped by Jessie’s and tried to convince her to let him help, but she was resistant – as abuse victims often are. “Look, it was like this before, and he got help,” she told Rick. “I helped him. And things were good.” Rick wasn’t really buying what she was selling.

“If you don’t fight, you die,” he implored her. “And I don’t want you to die. I can help you. I can keep you and your boys safe. I can. All you have to do is say yes.” Jessie asked him if he’d do this for someone else – for anyone else. “No,” he said. Then she said yes.

Naturally, that’s when Pete came into the room. Jessie worked up the nerve to tell him to leave, which only enraged him to the point that he launched himself at Rick. While psychotic adrenaline and drunken rage certainly made Pete a formidable opponent, it was surprising the fight lasted as long as it did. Rick is basically savage at this point. So it was unexpected that Rick, who can fight off countless walkers, found himself evenly matched against a lumbering, wife-beating surgeon.

Anyway, they ended up crashing through a window and fighting in the middle of the street, drawing eyes from everywhere. Jessie tried to pull Pete off of Rick, and Pete threw her off. Carl tried to pull Rick off of Pete, and he got knocked back by his own father. It was a mess. It devolved from protective chivalry, from Jessie seeing Rick as a savior, to Rick revealing himself as the disaster he is – by the end of it, by the time Deanna arrived, Jessie was horrified.

That’s when Rick began speechifying. His face covered in blood, he ranted about how nobody in Alexandria gets it: “We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live. You just sit and plan and hesitate. You pretend you know but you don’t.” He wasn’t wrong per se, but kneeling on the concrete covered in blood and ranting at the sky did not endear him to Deanna. “We have to control who lives here,” he said. “That’s never been more clear to me than it is right now,” she replied, prompting Rick’s rant to go into overdrive – before Michonne knocked him the hell out and took his gun, cutting him off.

Despite the joy she derived from killing walkers in the forest earlier, Michonne chose a side, just like she’s been doing all season. Though sometimes she needs to be prompted, Michonne has been making choice after choice to better herself, to separate herself from the sword-carrying, walker pet-owning person she was. Who’s going to join her?

Also Worth Noting

• Tara (Alanna Masterson) is not (yet?) dead; Pete has been taking care of her. It’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll continue to care for one of Rick’s people.

• Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) hiding in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Almost. Carl discovered that Enid is basically as messed-up a child as he is, and the two baited walkers in the forest before a horde came their way and they hid inside the hollow of a tree, nearly kissing, before they admitted they were afraid of each other.

• Daryl (Norman Reedus) was fairly absent this episode. While hunting with Aaron (Ross Marquand), they discovered assorted walker body parts, as if something – or someone? – had entirely ripped them apart. One walker had a “W” carved onto her forehead – a motif we’ve been seeing a lot this season. Will it come to a head next week?

• Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Nicholas (Michael Traynor) each had to give their side of what happened when Aiden and Noah died – naturally, Nicholas made himself out to be a tragic hero who had to save himself or else he would have died, too. “These people have to go,” he told Deanna. “They are not like us. I know you see it, too.”

Later, Glenn told Nicholas that his days of going beyond the walls were over: “People like you are supposed to be dead, but these walls went up just in time, so you’re not.” Nicholas wasn’t thrilled by that and asked Glenn who he thinks he is. “I’m someone who knows who you are. I know what you did. And it’s not gonna happen again.” Glenn is basically a saint for not having left Nicholas to be walker chow in the first place, quite honestly. Glenn was right when he told Nicholas that he wasn’t “threatening” him; he was “saving” him by keeping him inside the walls.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on AMC.

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