There’s a lot going on in the heads of our characters this week. Much more than actually goes on plotwise, but that’s generally what makes a good episode of The Walking Dead; and “Forget” was definitely a good one. The seduction of civilization is extremely tempting to everyone in the crew this week, except maybe for Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) who is arguably the hardest hit from the recent losses to the group. Her mindset is evident from the cold open, where she wakes up in a borrowed home, haunted by the ghosts of the previous residents looking down on her from the stylishly-framed family photos covering the walls. She gathers them up, signs out a rifle from the pantry, and heads out to the woods for some target practice. Martin-Green’s performance this week is heart-breaking as she suffers from PTSD nightmares and practically begs walkers to come take her. And that’s before the credits even roll. She and Carol (Melissa McBride) seem to be the only characters not succumbing to the forgetfulness of the episode’s title, as even Daryl (Norman Reedus) is brought into the Alexandria fold with promises of a motorcycle, friendship, and a job recruiting new citizens with Aaron (Ross Marquand). This forgetfulness can be nothing but deadly, given the way The Walking Dead is structured thematically. While the ultimate goal of Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) and her community is a noble one (to an extent), when she starts dreaming out loud of industry and commerce, the immediate question (that nobody asks) has to be “with whom?” If she’s just talking about growth within the community of Alexandria itself, then it’s arguably a dead-end. They can bring in new people now and then to avoid the incestuous deterioration of their social/gene pool, but they’re still going to be limited by their walls. If they’re talking about building relationships with other communities, then they have to hope they only deal with people as deluded and backward-thinking as themselves. Because they very much are deluded and backward-thinking in the context of everything we know about The Walking Dead. It’s a very seductive delusion, this idea that they can return to life as it was before the zombie apocalypse – but that’s only possible so long as the walls stand. In the meantime, their cocktail parties and attempts to recapture a world long gone are attempts to hide from reality; to capture a semblance of normalcy in a world that rewards normalcy with brutal death. Clearly, the community needs Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the others to bulk up their defenses, but that can pretty much only lead to one of two end results: either our heroes will become weak and ineffective as well, or they will ruin the dream of Alexandria with their strength and pragmatism. And it’s a strength that, in contrast with the world Alexandria is striving to recreate, appears dangerous and possibly self-destructive, with Carol — in one of the most unnerving scenes in the series to date — coldly threatening to horribly murder a child (Major Dodson) at practically the same moment Rick steals an uninvited kiss with the boy’s mother, Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge), at the party. Jessie’s family appears to be the proving ground for how our heroes will corrupt and/or influence the community. The entire episode was surreally bizarre, but the cocktail party in particular brought the disturbingly sexist 1975 film A Boy and His Dog, where a young Don Johnson is “recruited” to help repopulate a 50s-style underground community in the face of mass extinction after a nuclear holocaust. The Walking Dead isn’t interested in dealing with the sexual situations of that film, but it sets up the same sort of dichotomy between the community obsessed with maintaining the past in the face of apocalypse and the chaotically unrestrained libido of Johnson’s character — which is here transformed into the paranoid hostility of Rick and the others. If you’ve seen the film, you know nothing good comes to the community by bringing Johnson into the fold, and I can’t see a lot of positives coming out of our heroes’ influence on Alexandria. At the same time, though, Alexandria is already a dead end unless something changes; desperate for a misperceived golden age before the chaos, they’re either going to become stagnant or incapable of functioning in the face of adversity. Their inability to actually deal with the world as it has become could lead to sterility and death – not to mention oppressive power institutions micro-managing the lives of everyone behind their “gates.” A benevolent dictator is still a dictator, after all. And a Ricktator may end up being worse still. Especially as we now seem to have an entire town of expendable innocents to replace Tyreese, and we all know what happens to the voices of hope, compassion, and nostalgic morality. And if you’d happened to have forgotten, we were presented with the ham-handed symbolism of Buttons the horse; an animal gone wild, brought down bloodily thanks to Aaron’s misguided attempt at domestication. It was pretty clear to everyone watching just what that scene was all about, but Daryl seemed to miss the point, and eases into a dangerous domestication of his own. If Rick and Alexandria can’t find some sort of equilibrium, and soon (there are only three episodes left this season!!), I can’t see anything good on the horizon. Especially with the mysterious Wolves running around carving ‘W’s onto zombies’ foreheads. Maybe I’m just jaded, but I’m pretty sure the answer to the question of whether or not they can go back is no. They have to go forward, however changed, and any attempts to recreate pre-apocalyptic life is doomed not only for failure, but for devastation. The Walking Dead 5.13 “Forget”Paul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.