Last night on The Walking Dead, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang finally entered the Alexandria Safe Zone. But is Alexandria really as safe as it seems? And if it isn’t safe, who is in more danger: Rick’s hardened band of survivors, or the people that let them in?
Not everyone on The Walking Dead is adjusting to life in the land of luxury homes with Pottery Barn decor. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with Daryl behaving like a wild animal and Carol playing a strange game of domesticated den mother that Donna Reed would envy.
Before they even got inside, Daryl let the Alexandria residents know he’s far from domesticated. As the group was going through the gate, they heard a noise in some garbage cans and Daryl shot a possum with his crossbow. He looked at the greeters and told them, “We brought dinner.”
Was Daryl just establishing his usefulness and his ability to survive without luxury? Or was it also a sly reference to Terminus, letting them know he would bring dinner, but they aren’t going to be dinner?
And then there was Carol. What is up with her last night on The Walking Dead?
The group had to give up their weapons upon entering the Alexandria Safe Zone. No surprises there, but what most Walking Dead fans found odd was the way Carol did it. She was the last one to put her weapons on the cart, smiling coyly and acting like she didn’t know how to handle that gun and could barely lift the strap over her head.
Remember, of course, Carol was the one who busted the group out of Terminus McGyver-style during the season premiere of The Walking Dead. And don’t forget what happens if she tells you to look at the flowers.
Then, during the videotaped interviews with Alexandria’s leader, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh), Carol started portraying this former life of domestic bliss before the walkers came, talking about how she missed her husband every day. This was the husband that abused her and treated her like a dog, mind you. Any fan of The Walking Dead can tell you that there’s no way she’s missed that man one moment since he’s been gone.
So what is this game of possum that Carol has started playing from the moment she walked to the gate? She even dons matronly slacks with a button-down shirt and cardigan, soccer mom-style. As Daryl sits on the front porch slicing open his possum and spilling its guts all over the pristine front steps, he looks up at her and tells her “You look ridiculous.”
What fans of The Walking Dead might not know is that that line was actually an ad lib by Norman Reedus. According to Executive Producer Greg Nicotero in a postmortem for Yahoo! TV, the cast was having almost as much trouble adapting to their new, clean environment as the characters were in the episode.
“Let me say, that was an ad lib by Norman [Reedus]. That was not scripted. When we shot that scene, we all stood there in shock and looked at Melissa [McBride], and like… that’s a tricky thing to pull off, that transformation of a character. We’re so accustomed to spending years watching all of these people dirty, sweaty, covered in blood. When Melissa stepped out the first time, we were all sort of laughing. Even Melissa was like, ‘This is so silly. How are we going to pull this off?'”
“When we did the first couple of takes, Norman was just giggling and laughing at how ludicrous this whole idea of Carol dressing up as a soccer mom was. Every time I watch that scene, and especially the way Norman looks up at her and then looks back down, he’s like ‘Pfft.’ He does that great thing Norman always does… I love Norman and Melissa, and they’re both such genuine performers that just adding that little flair takes it to such a great place.”
Daryl seems to be having the hardest time adapting to his new environment. Walking Dead fans would likely find this setting odd for the character even before the zombie apocalypse. He preferred a meal of possum over much more appetizing fare available and Carol had to threaten to hose him down due to his reluctance to even take a shower.
Daryl and Carol shippers will be disappointed to see them slipping more into the mother-son zone. But the characters make an interesting contrast on The Walking Dead. Daryl is eating possum to look tough and Carol is playing possum to look weak. What’s her endgame?
In other domestication news this episode, Walking Dead fans were all in a tizzy over Andrew Lincoln shaving his real beard on camera for the show. Everyone knew he had shaved and had seen him since it was filmed, but it was still a favorite scene for Walking Dead fans watching him do it, and then the “sultry stubble” that started growing back was the fans’ favorite look per a Talking Dead poll.
Rick had been looking a little rough with his “homeless man beard” as many Walking Dead fans had dubbed it, but it was still weird seeing him after a shave and haircut. But the weirdest throwback to the beginning of The Walking Dead was seeing him in that constable uniform with a tie, bringing back memories of Sheriff Rick Grimes.
Rick may look clean cut and ready to play the peacekeeper for Alexandria, but one could argue he is playing possum a bit too. At the end of the episode, Rick said that if things didn’t work out, they’d simply take Alexandria for themselves against the weak residents who have been behind its walls this whole time instead of learning to fight for survival.
Has Rick’s group become the new bad guys on The Walking Dead?
[Photo by Gene Page/AMC]