The Walking Dead 5×13 ‘Forget’: Two worlds

The Walking Dead 5x13

The Alexandria storyline says a lot about The Walking Dead as a whole.  When the characters are hanging out in the wilderness, the show tends to drag a great deal.  In “Them”, everybody just kind of talked and walked and that was about it.  It would be more interesting if the talking was more complex or the walking was more dramatic, but it never really is.  On the other hand, throw these same characters into a new status quo (Alexandria), and having them simply exist is exciting.  Because it’s always interesting to see how people react in new situations, how changing the setting forces characters to adapt to new situations and new people.  And, if “Forget” shows us anything about The Walking Dead, it’s that it could always be fun and exciting if it just remembers to throw characters into new situations.

There are a couple key scenes in this episode that illustrate just how great this new Alexandria plotline is:

The Walking Dead 5x13-2

Source: AMC

1. Carol threatening Sam: Carol is probably the most interesting character to watch on The Walking Dead right now.  She plays herself as a timid den mother, which is hilarious, because every time she does that I’m reminded of “No Sanctuary”, where she blows up the wall at Terminus, smears herself in walker blood, and single-handedly rescues everybody from becoming cannibal food.  It’s remarkably entertaining, but unnerving when we’re reminded of who she really is.  She’s immensely paranoid, to the point where she supports Rick’s decision to steal pistols from the Alexandria armory.  She’s even the one to steal the pistols.  But when she does, she’s caught by this very innocent boy who says that he’ll have to tell his mother that he saw her.  And Carol threatens to tie him to tree and let walkers feast on him.  The camera work just amplifies the intensity of the scene, often focusing on medium close ups that angle up at Carol and down at Sam.  Carol is a person who has been through so much, who has lost so much, that she’s unable to consider anything other than survival.  She still cares about those around her, but if you’re not inside her inner circle, then she doesn’t care enough about you to save you.  It’s a dangerous mentality, but one that makes sense given the horrific nature of the world outside the walls.  And that mentality makes it really easy to take advantage of those who are weaker, who live in luxury.

The Walking Dead 5x13-3

Source: AMC

2. Sasha breaking down: Sasha isn’t really a character that we know very well.  She had a brother, Tyreese.  She had a lover, Bob.  She’s really angry about them both being dead.  Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to say about her.  She’s just another character that doesn’t have a backstory, and trying to say that she’s angry doesn’t really cut deep enough to say anything worth saying.  Even the opening scene of the episode is largely forgettable because there’s not a whole lot that it says about Sasha that we don’t know already.  But what “Forget” does is use Sasha to remind us what happens to people when they have to deal with PTSD.  At the welcoming party for Rick and the group, one woman asks her what her favorite meal is, to which Sasha freaks out and screams at her, wondering why that is what she cares about.  Watching everybody eat just reminds her of the cannibals.  Watching everybody gripe about menial things reminds her of all of the suffering she had to go through, about having to always worry about whether those around her will survive the day.  It’s like soldiers being reintegrated into society after a combat tour.  The world is different, to the point where it’s almost unrecognizable.  Sasha can’t fit in because she doesn’t think like everybody else.  She’s not a part of the status quo that Alexandria is used to.  But it’s true when Deanna tells her that her community is not a lie.  Alexandria is real, the kind of community that can prosper.  But it says something that living outside the walls can destroy a person, because people living inside the walls choose to forget that the outside even exists.

The Walking Dead 5x13-1

Source: AMC

3. Daryl eating spaghetti: Daryl is a character that can be kind of boring at times, despite the bizarre fan love that he accumulates.  Even through a portion of the episode, he and Aaron aren’t the most interesting simply because they’re hanging out on the outside of the Alexandria walls.  And while killing zombies can be fun, watching a character we don’t know well and a character who basically spends all his time grunting isn’t necessarily all that interesting.  But their exploits out in the wilderness are a prelude to a great scene, where Daryl is invited into Aaron and Eric’s house for dinner.  The Walking Dead has done a great job showing us how Daryl reacts to the new status quo, how he basically isolates himself unless he absolutely HAS to socialize.  And it’s not because he’s dead inside.  It’s because he feels too much.  He’s just lost Beth, and he’s absolutely terrified to bond with anybody else because he’ll inevitably lose them too (think back to Merle and having to put down his reanimated body).  But Aaron and Eric show him that bonding with others is the only way to really live.  Aaron gives him the job of recruiter because Daryl is the kind of person that understands the difference between a good guy and a bad guy, and Aaron having that kind of intuitive sense about Daryl shows him how the people at Alexandria (or at least Aaron and Eric) genuinely care about him.  Which is why, at the end of the episode, he doesn’t take the gun that Rick offers him.

The Walking Dead 5x13-4

Source: AMC

All of this reminds us of what is at stake at Alexandria.  Carol, Rick, and Daryl keep meeting up to figure out a plan in case everything goes wrong, but it’s exactly that kind of dissenting behavior that is going to incite a conflict.  Right now there are two worlds on The Walking Dead, the kind of world that can be rebuilt to mirror the old world and the kind of world that truly exists in the wild.  And those two worlds need to merge, if only to preserve the notion that community can be rebuilt within the apocalypse.  Because it’s not inevitable that community falls apart on The Walking Dead.  Hershel’s farm, the prison, Woodbury, Terminus, they’re all examples of failure, but there can be success.  It is possible.

And when Rick walks up to the wall at the end of the episode, when he thinks about Carl with his new friends, Jessie being so kind to him, the “A” stamped on his hand, he’s thinking about a community that he wants to be a part of.  But there’s still a brutal world out there, and Rick has to be prepared for it.  Because it’s always out there.  No matter what.

So what do you think of “Forget”?  Do you think the Wolves will make an appearance before the end of the season (if they are indeed the next enemy)?  Are you as excited as I am for the 90-minute season finale?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.
  • Guillermo

    This storyline is certainly showing many new facets of old characters, and it’s definitely headed in an interesting direction. It does seem that the Wolves will be an external threat that will probably show up at the worst possible moment, seeing how conflict within those walls seems incredibly likely. I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting hints towards them in the next two episodes and they’ll finally appear in the finale.

    I’d like to point out, I think the entire situation between Rick and Jessie is a point of inner conflict for Rick. I feel that he wants to genuinely believe Jessie is the caring and nice person she seems to be, and he might be catching onto how strained her relationship with Pete is (who gives me bad vibes) and might want to help her. But on the other hand, his paranoid mind keeps telling him that this is all a trap, a play by Deanna to make him do something, and that Jesse is her pawn. I think that he believes he’s playing a chess game with Deanna and that things are gonna go bad eventually and she’ll show herself as a villain, but she’s actually genuine about the community and Rick himself will be the danger because of that thinking. And if anything will snap him out of it, it’ll be an exterior threat that shows him that Alexandria is what’s being presented at face value, hard to believe as it is.

    • Michael St. Charles

      Yeah, I definitely think that putting Alexandria in crisis mode will show Rick what Alexandria really is. I haven’t said a whole lot about Jessie and Pete in these reviews because their storyline hasn’t moved forward to a point where I want to comment on it yet, but that’s absolutely a possibility, that Rick’s paranoia is playing into his perception of these genuine people (or at least we think they’re genuine). He’s so worried about being played by these people that he’s completely unable to trust anybody new, even though he wants to give in and feel at peace with a community.

      That being said, the 90 minute season finale would be FANTASTIC if it’s about The Wolves. Kind of a “one and done” storyline, like Terminus in “No Sanctuary”. I’m hoping that The Wolves are introduced and taken care of all in the finale so that we can see Alexandria work through a crisis point and then come to exist as a singular community instead of two factions like it is now. That would be a great way to end a season that has meditated so intently on community, to show how community can be born through crisis.