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Trust takes on a whole new meaning in the world of The Walking Dead. The phrase "survival of the fittest" gets thrown around as though it's an excuse or justification to partake in the kill-or-be-killed mentality. Rick has plenty of reason not to trust outsiders, but does that mean he should exclude every one of them from the group? Maybe Rick's not the right guy to be making those kinds of decisions right now, as tonight's episode suggested in its final moments.
The structure of both camps seem to be on unsteady ground right now. The episode began with Rick and his people causing a bit of mayhem at Woodbury during Daryl and Merle's fight-to-the-death battle royal for the entertainment of the residents of the once cozy little safe haven. Rick and his people succeeded in freeing Daryl (and Merle), taking the lives of a few residents in the process and bringing their attention to Andrea, who hadn't yet discovered that her old friends were in the neighborhood.
Rick, Glen, Maggie, Merle, Daryl and Michonne escaped Woodbury relatively unscathed, after which Rick promptly refused to let Merle join them at the prison. It's a good call. Not only is Rick well aware of what a problem Merle can be, but Merle's also a pal of the Governor's. Who knows if Merle will hold a grudge against the Governor for setting him up to fight his brother, but Rick has no reason to trust the guy either way. The problem is, Daryl's not just going to abandon his brother. So now Rick and his group are out one Daryl, which is like being out five guys in one. Daryl and Merle set off on their own.
With Daryl gone, it seems like Rick should be particularly open to hiring a replacement, which would be Michonne, a woman who has proven to be particularly capable of taking care of herself and others if it comes to it. She's a prime candidate for a place in his group. While Rick was willing to bring her back to the prison so she could heal, he insisted she had to leave as soon as she was well. I want to hope that he'll change his mind on that, but the end of the episode suggests his mind is kind of in the rafters.
Upon returning to the prison, Rick was introduced to the newbies, Tyreese, Sasha, Alan and Ben. The foursome presented themselves as cooperative toward Hershel, Beth and the others who stayed behind at the prison, but in private, Alan and Ben were plotting to overthrow the residents. They would have probably regretted doing that, had they gone through with it. I can only imagine how Rick would have reacted to finding a new group of people taking up residence at his prison and the rest of his group either dead or tossed to the curb. But Tyreese and Sasha vetoed the plan.
Tyreese made a pitch to stay and join Rick's group, offering tombe contributing members to their group and help them in any way they could. Hershel was on their side, but after witnessing a woman up in the rafters, (presumably a hallucination of Lori), Rick freaked out and made them leave.
I don't like Rick being haunted by Lori. It's not just that seeing Rick unravelled shakes the whole foundation of the show. He's entitled to a breakdown after all he's been through. It's the lack of subtlety in seeing a fancy-dressed woman hovering above that feels a bit like overkill to me. Yes, he's devastated that his wife is gone and it's affecting his leadership abilities and his mental stability in general. But between the weird "phone calls" last year and now the hallucinations, the message is coming in louder and clearer than necessary.
While I don't love the execution, I do like the parallel between Rick and the Governor. While Rick is insisting on blocking out all outsiders, the Governor seems to have lost his flare for leadership. What was once a seemingly perfect, safe little community is now proving to be anything but. After Rick's ambush left Woodbury shaken, panic ensued, followed by a few walkers who managed to make their way inside the barriers. They managed to take a bite out of one of the residents. Andrea took care of the walkers but hesitated when it came time to "help" the bitten man. The Governor walked out and promptly shot the man in the head, then went back home without a word. When Andrea confronted him about his refusal to address what happened, he brushed her off and treated her like an outsider who hasn't really earned an opinion. That in itself isn't great form (though unsurprising), it was his indifference toward addressing the people that seemed out of character for him.
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