Season Five Episode Thirteen

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Photo Courtesy Of Will Hart/NBC

WARNING SPOILER ALERT

The NBC series “The Blacklist,” went into its two-week Olympic Games hiatus, (Personally, I think Raymond’s a luge enthusiast) with an episode that confirmed some theories, and set in motion the inevitable confrontation with Ian Garvey. One week after featuring Tommy Wattles, a Blacklist member that will remain embedded in viewers minds for years, the group that the Task-Force brought to justice paled in comparison. We’ve seen vigilante groups such as “The Invisible Hand,” countless times in fiction over the last couple of decades. (Think low-tech version of F-Society, from Mr. Robot.)  Frankly the writers and show-runners did nothing to advance the concept, resulting in a rather flat and predictable story-arc, which may have been by design.

This episode’s true strength was to put the pieces together to set the course for the balance of season five, including a bitter-sweet reunion between Lizzie and her grandfather Dominic Wilkinson. Although Dom didn’t identify himself as Keen’s grandfather, the exchange provided a glimpse into the past of the man we’ve only known as Katarina’s father. Raymond continued building a force to be reckoned with, for his upcoming war with his unknown foe. We also obtained some game-changing information concerning Ian Garvey, hinted at in this corner before the series returned from its Autumn vacation.

The Blacklist Members Of The Week.

We’re going to cut right to the chase on the story-line of The Invisible Five. The plot revolves around six kids who lived in a seemingly paradise-like cul-de-sac in the town of Brenford, New York, in the nineties. Suddenly their world got rocked, as their parents died after being ravaged by cancer they contracted as a result of Atria Chemical Corporation, dumping hazardous waste into the ground. The EPA eventually declared a ten-mile radius around the town as a toxic dump, warning people to stat away due to the massive dose of radiation emanating from the land.

The six kids scattered to different parts of the country, but got reunited at the funeral of one of the group, as a result of the radiation poisoning. The remaining five formed a vigilante group they dubbed The Invisible Hand, dedicated to punish an Atria executive, a judge and a lawyer, who settled a lawsuit with one of their neighbors and then sealed the records. The rest of the neighborhood remained ignorant of the danger, and slowly succumbed to the radiation poisoning.

They quickly got their revenge on the judge and the attorney, burying both men alive in the toxic wasteland. However the remaining member of the troika, the Atria executive Anna Hopkins, moved to England. They then decided to expand their scope, taking out people who do things within the law, but that they considered morally reprehensible. Seven more people would suffer their wrath, until some teenagers jumped the fence on a dare, and discovered their latest victim.

When the five members see the news reports they meet at a restaurant owned by Zeke, a member of the hand. Another member Stephen Altman, who seems to be their leader, says they’ve always done things together, and if any of the group wants to stop, they’ll immediately disband. However he says they might want to carry out one more mission, as Anna Hopkins’ in town to make a speech. They can finally punish the third member of the troika.

Navabi and Ressler arrive at the toxic dump, and one of the investigators tells them they’ve recovered seven bodies at that point. He also informs them of a camera the EPA installed at the site, similar to the one “The Tracker,” used last season, except this camera takes just one picture a day. Ressler asks for the contents of the camera, and when they return to the Post Office, Aram sees Stephen Altman standing in the woods without a hazmat suit on. They soon identify him as a former resident of Brenford, who unsuccessfully sued Atria, as a teenager.

Samar and Donald drive to the cul-de-sac the in Brenford, it looks as if it went through the apocalypse. Although the entire neighborhood’s deserted, Ressler notices smoke coming from Altman’s chimney, and calls in for a SWAT-Team. Altman escapes into the woods, however the agents discover the monitoring equipment set up in the house and bring it back to the Post Office.

The Invisible Hand undertakes their plan to capture and kill Anna Hopkins, staying at the Braxton Hotel. One of the group, a reporter named Bobby, interviews Hopkins about her new project, and slips a tracking unit into her purse. After he leaves, Altman poses as a courier saying he needs Hopkins to sign for two packages. She senses something wrong and calls the hotel’s front desk, and asks if they authorized a courier to come to her room? The attendant says no, and says he’ll send security up to the room.

Aram discovers the tracking unit that Bobby put into Hopkins’ purse and he’s able to triangulate the signal. He discovers it’s originating from the seventeenth floor of the Braxton Hotel. Navabi and Ressler head to the hotel, and the hotel front desk clerk’s informed that Hopkins might be in danger. He responds that he just sent security up to her room.

Two security guards head up to Hopkins’ room and tell Altman that he’s got to register at the front desk before delivering any packages, as Hopkins watches through the peephole in her door. When Altman leaves, one of the men knock on her door and she opens it to thank them, however it’s Zeke and Bobby posing as security. They quickly overtake her and bring her to a maroon van in the parking lot.

The agents arrive just as the group puts Hopkins into their van, and a shootout ensues. The agents take out Zeke and wound Bobby, and Emma. Bobby and Altman escape with Hopkins in the van, and Navabi and Ressler take the remaining member, Sophia into custody. After arriving at the Post Office, they convince her to help them find the van by threatening her with never seeing her two young children again. She leads them to where Altman was burying Hopkins, while Navabi and Sophia rescue Hopkins, Ressler tackles Altman as he tries to escape.

During Ressler’s interrogation of Altman, we learn that he’s dying of radiation poisoning, and found out two years before. He says he’s proud of what the Invisible Hand accomplished, he says they’re a corrective unit, and they carried out corrections against injustice. Although none of their victims broke the law, they all took advantage of the law and in the process ruined other people’s lives.

Raymond And Lizzie’s Discoveries

There’s a knock at Elizabeth’s apartment door, and she finds Detective Singleton on the other side, ostensibly there to deliver Tom’s last effects. However he quickly reveals his true reason for his visit, to attempt to intimidate Keen into admitting she killed Bobby Navarro, and she stole the bloody rag from Singleton’s station’s evidence lock-up. She spits back at him that she’s still a federal agent, and for him to stay away from her. He says he’ll be back soon to arrest her.

Among Tom’s effects, she finds a set of keys and immediately fixates on one. We next see her in one of Tom’s storage units, and she uses the key to open an electronic box she seems to know resides there. Opening the unit, she finds a pistol and a leather-bound journal. She sees an entry about Oleander, and then finds a travel brochure for the Oleander Hotel in Slovenia. She immediately calls Cooper asking for help.

Dembe informs Raymond they’ve got an unexpected visitor, our old fiend Anthony Pagliaro the postman, enters the room apologizing profusely. He says he’d never show up unannounced but for a dire emergency. Raymond asks the postal-worker his definition of emergency, and Anthony responds somebody’s going to kill him. Reddington deems the situation an emergency as well, and tells Pagliaro to explain his situation.

Anthony recounts how he discovered a shipment meant for Big Willie Wilkins, and deduced that it contained massive quantities of drugs, so he stole it. He figured he could convince the drug kingpin that the shipment got lost in the mail, but Wilkins didn’t fall for the story. He then told Big Willie, that the shipment got stolen by a rival drug-dealer Momo Marinello.  However when Momo got word that Pagliaro fingered him, he decided to take Anthony out. Raymond asks why he needed the extra money, and Pagliaro says he’d rather not discuss it. When pressed he admits he’s dating a woman out of his league and he wants to get liposuction surgery.

Raymond says that they’ll pay Wilkins a visit and Anthony will admit the truth. Pagliaro balks at the idea, but Reddington says that he’s found over the years that telling the truth is the best course of action. At least most of the time.

Elizabeth and Harold are meeting in Cooper’s office and he’s giving her the information he’s been able to track down on Oleander, and the first point of info’s that Oleander’s a man. He was a legendary Soviet operative, rumored to have come to the States after the Cold War ended. He give’s Keen the name of the man believed to be Oleander, but warns her that if he’s actually the operative, he might not take kindly to questions about his past.

Keen arrives at a house we’ve seen before, and when she knocks on the front door a familiar figure appears. He recognizes her identity immediately and his eyes gleam, but he soon realizes she’s unaware of their relation. She asks if he’s Dominic Wilkinson, and identifies herself. When he asks how he can be of service to her, she asks if he’s the former Soviet operative Oleander?

He lets out a cynical laugh, and says that old ghost story got disproven years before. The CIA cleared him of being Oleander, however she cuts him off and says the Agency didn’t have sufficient proof to charge him. He asks why she’s interested in a former Soviet operative, and her face softens as she explains that her husband was killed over a year ago, and she found information about Oleander among his belongings.

(Her statement doesn’t coincide with the time-line that the show runners have established. Tom died in November of 2017, and she didn’t come out of her coma until September of 2018. Professional athletes would take at least two years to recover from the injuries she received, pushing the time of her departure for Alaska to around September of 2020. When we had a glimpse of Agnes in “The Cook,” she appeared to be about four, she was born in April of 2016.)

Dom apologizes for her loss, but he says he was just a systems analyst for the Soviet Union, not an agent. When the Cold War ended he got granted asylum and a new identity by the American government, and went to work as a systems analyst for them. He’s sorry he can be of no help to her, but she asks him if he interacted with any Soviet operatives. He says he did and she asks if he knew Katarina Rostova?

Dominic breaks into a broad smile and says he knew Rostova quite well, then feigns surprise when he “realizes” he’s speaking to Masha. He says that Katarina used to come into the office he worked out of all the time. When Keen asks if they’d been friends, he quickly changed the subject to a time that Katarina brought Masha to the office when she was about three-years-old.  She asked him if he knew Raymond Reddington, and he said that he didn’t want to discuss him.

She then asked if he thought Katarina could still be alive, and mentioned the former Soviet operative she met in season one, who said he saw her at a hotel. Dom’s face softened as he said he never heard from Rostova after she moved to the States. He once again apologized for not being more informative.

Reddington, Dembe, and Anthony, go to met Big Willie, Raymond’s tickled to find the drug establishment operates out of a candy factory. He says his mind’s filled with visions of Sammy Davis Jr. Seeing the drug kingpin, he thanks him for making the time for them. Wilkins’ surprised that Raymond actually showed up for the meeting, he thought somebody was putting him on. He’s also surprised that Pagliaro works for Red.

Reddington prods Anthony to begin his confession, but the postal-worker says he’s suddenly feeling light-headed. Clearly frustrated, Raymond tells the chief of the drug syndicate that Anthony stole the cocaine, then panicked and blamed Momo for the theft. He says Pagliaro’s sincerely sorry, and he will pay Wilkins back in full, with interest. He then says since it’s no harm no foul, he thinks that Big Willie should forgive Anthony and call off the hit on him.

Wilkens sneers and says “No harm no foul, eh? Follow me.” He takes them into another room where we see some of his men disposing of the remains of Momo Marinello. Big Willie says you have to respond quickly, or his foes perceive it as a sign of weakness. Suddenly the lights cut out, Marinello’s gang’s arrived for their revenge. A shootout ensues, and the air suddenly becomes dense with smoke courtesy of a device one of Marinello’s men set off.

Raymond takes cover but joins in on the action, although at a disadvantage armed just with a pistol, while the others carried long guns. We suddenly see a pair of feet heading towards Red, and Dembe shouts to Reddington to watch out. Raymond turns and fires, realizing too late that the man approaching him was Anthony. Dembe and Reddington carry Pagliaro out of the facility, and the post-worker says he doesn’t want to die. Raymond says he won’t die as they’re getting him help.

Pagliaro wakes up in a recovery facility, Reddington tells him he’s going to be fine, but he needs to watch out for his lap-band. Anthony pulls up the blanket covering him, and realizes that Raymond had the doctors perform the liposuction procedure. Reddington tells him that as long as he was under, he figured they might as well perform the procedure. He wishes Anthony good luck with his new girlfriend and leaves.

Red then meets with Wilkins, telling the drug kingpin he wants him to take on a mission for Reddington. He wants Big Willie to start a war with the Nash Syndicate. Wilkins replies Reddington’s already a big fish, why would he want to take on another? Raymond responds he’s not a big fish, he’s Moby Dick, and for Wilkins to get things in order to proceed with his plan.

Raymond heads to the Post Office, and a look of concern crosses his face when his cell phone rings, and he realizes the caller. He asks what’s wrong, and Dom on the other hand asks him why he thinks something’s amiss. Reddington replies because Wilkinson never calls unless it’s an emergency. Dom informs him that Masha had been at his place that afternoon, seeking information on Oleander. He says he didn’t reveal that he’s actually Oleander, or say anything about Reddington. The old man then grumbles that’s all Raymond cares about anyway.

Dom tells Reddington he should tell Masha the truth, but Raymond sees Elizabeth at that point talking to Samar, and says he can’t talk about that now. Turns out that Bobby the reporter might have some information, that could lead Reddington and keen closer to Tom’s killer.

Raymond heads into the reporter’s hospital room, and he tells Bobby that most bullet wounds to the abdomen aren’t fatal. He then recounts a story of a confederate of his, getting shot 24-times in the abdomen, and surviving. He then asks Bobby about a man The Invisible hand employed, known as the Toy-Maker, and where he’s located. The reporter glares at Reddington, says he’s definitely not a cop, and asks why he should share that information with him? Raymond replies that if he doesn’t he’ll make certain that Bobby won’t survive his gunshot wound.

Lizzie and Raymond head to an electronics repair shop, and find an elderly round little man behind the welding bench. Raymond calls the man by his surname, but the man responds that Mr. Reddington should call him by his first name, Cleveland. Red smiles and says he’s pleased Cleveland knows his identity, as he’s aware that Cleveland’s the Toy-Maker, and hands him Navarro’s glass eye, asking him whom he made it for. Cleveland stammers and stutters, while Raymond puts his pistol on the welding bench, and picks up his welding gun.

Cleveland then says that the eyeball was just the first thing a mysterious man wanted from him. He says the man never introduced himself, and the Toy-Maker identified him as a man that one should never ask his name. He says the guy’s an electronics expert, that the first time they met they had a 20-minute discussion on RF-gain. When Raymond asks Cleveland if he believes the man’s a cop, the Toy-Maker remained silent. Reddington thanked him for his time and the pair left the shop.

Before recapping the hour’s final two scenes; let’s take a look back at a guess we made back in our column of December 27, entitled “Suitcase Suppositions.”

I believe Garvey is either a former agent from the Agency or the Bureau, which is why he was able to access CODIS. Ideally, I would love for him to be the new FBI Director, but that’s likely asking for too much. Plus he dresses like an out of work bureaucrat, sporting a tie so wide that it could double as a table-cloth. I had some of the same back in the mid-seventies and they’re likely still sitting in some compost heap.

Garvey looks like a retired or possibly disgraced “Spook,” (old-term parlance for a CIA Agent,) and realizes that if the information that our Raymond’s a fake emerged, Reddington’s reputation would be in tatters and his life would be endangered. So the former government employee’s going to try to put the squeeze on Red, and demanding a percentage of the profits. Personally, I don’t like Garvey’s odds.”

After Elizabeth leaves the repair shop, she heads back to the Post Office, and once again meets with Cooper. She asks to be reinstated back onto the Task-Force. Harold replies that she told him she looked at being a Federal Agent as a handicap in her search for Tom’s killers. She responds that’s until she realized the man she’s searching for, might wear a badge himself. Cooper shakes her hand, and welcomes her back to the Task-Force.

We see Detective Singleton making a call on his cellphone, telling the part on the other end that he’s concerned about Elizabeth Keen. We then see the caller on the other end’s Ian Garvey, and he tells Singleton to clam down, that he’ll take care of things on his end. Just as we realize that Singleton’s working for Garvey, the camera flashes on a star attached to his belt.

The Story Returns on Wednesday February 28, at 8:00 pm on NBC.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In another blessing of continuity from The Walking Dead Gods, this week we again pick up right where we left off. The group is gathering at the gates of Alexandria, with Aaron and Eric limping through first. It’s a typical slow, deliberately crafted Walking Dead shot. All of a sudden, a crash and rustle of movement stirs in the weeds beside the road. The entire group draws on the disruption, and Daryl puts an arrow throw the offence’s source—a possum rooting through some rubbish cans. The Alexandrites are horrified, but Daryl’s used to shocking polite sensibilities. He grabs the dead thing by the tail. “Brought dinner,” he proclaims.

Just inside the gates, the gate worker tells the group to disarm. They, of course, protest. Rick reiterates that the group won’t be surrendering their weapons until they speak to the person in charge. Aaron vouches for him, wants them taken straight to Deanna. As they’re discussing things, a walker begins to amble up the street. Sasha raises her rifle and puts it down through the bars in the gate. No more words. The group remains armed as they walk into Alexandria. Rick muses aloud that Alexandria will, indeed, need Rick Grimes.

Next, we find Rick in a very nicely furnished sitting room. Books on shelves. Lace curtains. The whole schmear. Hairy and filthy, Rick looks out of place. For his part, Rick looks like he can’t believe that a place so clean and well-maintained still exists. It’s hard to blame him.

A short, pale woman enters, dressed in the clothing you’d expect any business-elite woman in her mid-50s to wear at home. She introduces herself as Deanna Monroe. Rick states his name and continues to size her up. Deanna gets right to business. She wants to talk to Rick, and she wants to film the talk for the sake of transparency. She asks what Rick was before the world ended. Rick is sure it doesn’t matter. She isn’t.

Deanna begins to give her background—she was a congresswoman representing Ohio. She and her family were trying to get back home during the crisis but they were stopped by the Army and rerouted to the neighborhood where they now sit. It was a subdivision, planned to be self-sustainable with solar power, cisterns, septic tanks, etc. The wall outside came from construction materials from a nearby shopping center. Her husband, an architecture professor, started to put up the walls with the help of their sons. Soon, more people came and the wall was completed.

They’ve been inside the walls the entire time. That’s why they need people like Rick and his group—they need people who have been on the outside to help them survive. Rick, still amazed that a place like this can even exist, looks at Deanna as he tells her he thinks they should keep the gates closed.

Deanna inquires as to why, continuing to interrogate him with the patient, even manner of a lawyer or psychiatrist evaluating a client. Rick knows he’s being watched very carefully, but he doesn’t hesitate in explaining that, on the outside, it’s all about survival by any means necessary. Any people you come across measure you by what they can take from you. Deanna asks if he means that their group should not be allowed in Alexandria. She explains that she’s considering taking them in on the word of Aaron, and Rick interrupts. He doesn’t know Aaron, he states, but Deanna should know that Rick has done

whatever he needed to do to survive, including killing people. He’s killed people so that his family, his entire group, would be safe, and so he could stay alive to continue to support them.

Rather than being bothered by Rick’s confession, Deanna states that his family seems very important to him, and anyone should be so lucky as to be a part of a family like his. She continues to explain that all of northern Virginia was evacuated when the crisis began, so there haven’t been many people or walkers (called “roamers” in Alexandria) to deal with. But, regardless, they’ve lost people within their community. And she, herself, has “done thing.”

Rick asks what she’s done, and she solemnly confesses that she exiled three people from the community because they “didn’t work out.” She knew it was as good as a death sentence but she did it anyway.

Rick might slowly be warming up to Deanna. She isn’t all smiles and charm like The Governor was, or skittish and creepy like Garrett from Termius. She’s frank, but chooses her words carefully. Rick, at least, is intrigued by what a community like Alexandria could want from his group.

Deanna replies that they need people with survival skills. The world has changed and they need people who understand it as it is now. The people of the community deserve a chance to raise their families, and Rick’s group can help them do that. And, in turn, Rick’s family should have a safe place to live. She has absolute confidence that his group will be an asset to Alexandria.

Rick is still suspicious. Deanna smiles. She’s good at reading people, she says. (And, as a career politician, that’s probably true). And if she hadn’t won reelection, she was going to become a professional poker player. Rick scoffs, but Deanna sharply tells him she wasn’t kidding. She points to her watch. It’s 3:37pm, she reminds him. She understands he’s skeptical, and respects his right to be, but the time has come to make a decision.

Rick lifts his arm and begins to wind his watch. The click of the gears turning is nearly deafening as he sets it to the correct time.

And so Rick and the group decide to stay, for now. They disarm and turn their weapons in, which they’re allowed to have any time they leave the compound but not within its walls. The guns are laid in a giant plastic bin and wheeled off in a cart, which seemed like a terrible idea to me because there was about 15 barrels rattling around like they weren’t deadly weapons. Alexandrites aren’t too good with proper weapons discipline, it seems.

Aaron leads the group to two large, northern Virginia, expensive-suburb houses. The group has both, Rick can pick whichever one he’d like. The community has been notified to give them a wide berth as they settle in, and Aaron takes leave to leave the group a chance to look at their surroundings.

Rick and Carl enter, finding the house to be furnished with upholstered couches that don’t have any blood or guts on them, and clean towels and blankets as far as the eye can see. Rick stumbles into the shower as soon as he finds it.

Out of the shower, he wipes the steam from the mirror to examine his reflection. He doesn’t look as though he recognizes it. There are shaving tools laid out on the counter. Rick starts to trim away at his beard, then shaves it off entirely in what I am absolutely referring to as the fourth character death this season. (So far: Bob, Beth, Tyreese, and now Rick’s Beard.)

A neighbor lady knocks as Rick is finishing his shave. He stumbles to the door to find a blonde woman with a basket of supplies for them. They make some awkward small talk about his obvious fresh shave, and she volunteers to cut his hair.

She was a stylist, she explains, and she has Rick sitting before her while she wields scissors at his righteous mass of curls. She begins chatting in the way a stylist would have before the world ended—what her life is like, how many kids she has, etc. She has a boy, Ron, who is Carl’s age, and she wants to introduce them. Rick is okay with this, even if he chokes up a little as he tries to comprehend the normality of the situation.

The episode takes us to a cut of Daryl’s interview with Deanna. He refuses to sit, and is still clutching the possum from earlier by the tail. Deanna doesn’t seem to be disturbed, and Daryl doesn’t feel the need to be any more personable or friendly than he ever is. She asks him why he wants to stay. “The boy and the baby deserve a roof, I guess,” he replies. “And you?” Deanna pushes. Daryl grunts and leaves.

He returns to the group’s houses and begins to gut and clean the possum on the front steps. Carol and Carl take a peek inside the other house, which is just as clean and furnished as any other they’ve seen here. Carl hears a slow thumping from upstairs. He follows the noise to a door at the end of the second story hallway, drawing his knife as he opens it.

He finds no walkers or murderous spies, though. Just a room filled with teenage paraphernalia like comic books and CD liner notes.

The group begins to settle in for the evening. They all feel more comfortable sleeping in the living room of the bigger house. Michonne emerges after brushing her teeth for twenty minutes. I can’t even imagine how good that would feel but I think it’s close to heaven. Buoyed by her clean teeth, she checks in with Rick. Being safe is smart, but she has a good feeling about this. And, she doesn’t add, she might be a little worried that being too paranoid will blow their chances at staying here.

Deanna knocks at the door just then to see how they’re all settling in. She seems a bit surprised at the sleeping arrangements, but the considers that it’s smart. It’s even heartwarming, she continues like a career politician, that people from so many different backgrounds can become a family like they have. They’re a family that will be welcomed in the community, and in the community everyone has jobs that she assigns them.

Rick asks if she’s going to give him a job, and she responds enthusiastically. She has a job figured out for Rick, and Michonne, and almost for Sasha, but not “Mr. Dixon” just yet. I wonder if her invocation of Beth’s sarcastic nickname for Daryl stabbed him in the heart as deeply as it got mine. It’s hard to tell from Daryl’s reaction, though. He gives a dissatisfied grunt.

The group slowly drifts to sleep, but Rick lies awake. It’s a huge adjustment to go from roaming the wild with walkers everywhere to sleeping in a subdivision. He goes to the kitchen and removes a knife from the drawer. He’ll probably be safer if it’s nearby.

The next interview we see is Michonne. If the community is what it appears to be, she says, it’s exactly what they’re looking for. They need it. They’re ready for it, she asserts. Deanna confirms, “All of you?” Michonne takes a split second to steel herself before replying, “All of us.”

The next morning, the group is headed out to the neighborhood to explore a bit. Daryl declines to go, and Rick understands but hangs back a minute to talk to him. He and Lori used to drive through neighborhoods like this and dream, he says. Daryl points out that he’s living in this neighborhood now. Rick nods, and moves to follow the group.

But, it’s a subdivision, and they’ve gone around a corner and he can’t see them anymore. Rick panics like a herding animal panics when its lost its flock. He runs headlong down the neighbors yards and barrels into a pile of metal in someone’s driveway. It’s the stylist’s driveway! Rick hastily explains that he can’t find Carl and Judith and Jessie (the stylist) smiles and shows him the most likely place they would have gone.

They find Judith, Carl, and the rest of the group on the porch of an elderly couple’s home. Everyone seems taken in with the baby, for obvious reasons. Jessie offers to introduce Carl to her son Ron, and Rick moves to retrieve Carl from the group on the porch.

Carl and Ron walk along the second story hallway to Ron’s room. There’s a group of teenagers in there, playing video games and listening to music. Ron rattles off all the stuff to do in the neighborhood like he’s a normal teenage boy welcoming someone who just moved nearby because his dad got transferred. Carl is a bit overwhelmed, but Ron quickly senses it and tries to cover for his mistake. There’s one girl in the room, Enid, and she’s from the outside, too. It took her three weeks to talk. She hasn’t said a word since Carl walked in, but lifts her eyes and brusquely tells Carl, “Pull it together, sport.” Carl produces the comic book he found, Ron takes it and apologizes—they didn’t realize anyone would be moving into that house so soon. The comic book, it’s learned, is Enid’s. The rest of the group doesn’t seem to be interested in it.

We flash to Carl’s interview, which is conducted while he holds Judith on his lap. He tells a bit of the story of how he lost his mom. Not just that he lost her, but that he had to kill her.

Carl is laying in his bed like any other teenager. Rick enters, and asks how the visit went. It was okay, Carl says, but he’s bothered by the people in the community. They’re weak, and he worries that if the group stays they’ll become weak, too. Rick grunts in agreement.

That night, Rick again can’t sleep. He takes a quick walk around the neighborhood, and runs into a neighbor who’s smoking on his porch. He introduces himself as Jessie’s husband in the kind of way that Rick is used to people talking to him. He looks suspiciously at the man and turns back towards his house.

He may have managed to sleep a little that night, but he starts awake the next morning.

Carol invokes the person she was for her interview with Deanna. In her old life, she’d wash clothes, clean the house, and have dinner on the table for Ed when he got home (and oh, how she misses that stupid wonderful man!) She became the groups den mother, and they were kind enough to protect her out on the road. She conveniently leaves out the part where she first kills two sick people, teaches children how to fire guns, and becomes Our Lady Badass to save her group several times over.

She emerges from her house in slacks and a cardigan, looking less like Our Lady Badass and more like Our Lady Lemonade Social. She’s off to make casseroles for the people who can’t cook for themselves. She tells Daryl where she’s headed, and admonishes him for his still-rough appearance. She wants him to take a good long shower and take the vest off so she can wash it. They’ve got to keep up appearances, and if she has to she’ll pull out Our Lady Badass and hit him with a hose.

Glenn’s interview reveals that he feels that the group needs to make Alexandria work for them. When asked why, he replies that they were almost out there too long.

Tara, Glenn, and Noah are met later that day by Alexandrites Aiden and Nicholas, who introduce themselves as supply-run-type-people. It quickly becomes obvious that they’re wanna-be-cowboy-jerks. They also have bad weapon discipline, demonstrated first by referring to the weapons they checked out for today’s outing as “sweet biscuits.”

And they run things about as well as you’d expect someone who calls a weapon a sweet biscuit to run them. They pop off about how tough they are, willingly calling themselves douchebags and assholes but insist that they’re in charge to keep people safe. No one from Rick’s group is impressed. They’re even less impressed when they hear that the group recently lost three people, and that they’ve tied up the walker who killed one of them as kind of a violence piñata. As they approach where it was kept, they see it escaped, and they begin looking and calling for it. Glenn tries to dissuade them, but Nicholas and Aiden insist. Of course it comes stumbling out of the woods, and of course Aiden and Nicholas barely evade it, and the whole scene ends when Glenn spikes it through the head. Aiden and Nicholas are incensed that Glenn killed their toy, but Glenn doesn’t want anything to do with those chumps. Neither does Tara and Noah.

Rick is taking his own stroll around the compound, checking the security of the walls and going on a field trip to retrieve the blender gun from the last episode. He comes along to the house, but the blender gun is gone. He’d been trailed by a few stumbling, worse-for-wear walkers during this time, and as he kneels and wonders who took his gun and why, the walkers begin to advance. Lucikly, Carl (who has been chasing Enid after watching her climb over the security wall by his house) shows up, and the two participate in some zombie-apocalypse-father-son bonding.

Glenn et al have returned to the compound, and Glenn is none too pleased with what he saw from Nicholas and Aiden. Things quickly come to a head, and Glenn tries to convince Aiden that he doesn’t want to fight. Aiden continues to get shove-ey, and Glenn employs his hard-earned ass-kicking skills to dodge Aiden’s punch and then lay him out. The rest of the group has convened by this point, and a fair melee breaks out, ending with Daryl knelt down on top of Nicholas, a minute away from snapping his neck.

Deanna interrupts, calling for everyone to quit fighting. She hears Aiden and Nicholas’s protest that Rick’s group shouldn’t be allowed in, but she dismisses them. She declares that Rick and his family are now a part of the community and equal in every way. She sends Aiden and Nicholas to turn in their weapons and then wait for an audience with her, and she does NOT seem like she’s going to be very happy when she talks to them.

She then turns to Glenn to thank him for knocking Aiden on his ass. She offers Michonne and Rick positions as constables within the community. She tells Rick that he needs to go back to what he was before. Daryl doesn’t wait around for Deanna to not offer him a job. Rick and Michonne accept Deanna’s offer.

Later that evening, a clean-shaven, recently-trimmed Rick Grimes descends the stairs in his house dressed in a constable’s uniform. Jacket, tie, the works. Everyone smiles, but Rick deflects, saying he’s only trying it on for size for now. Daryl doesn’t seem to be impressed, but Daryl will also respect Rick Grimes, even if he does turn back into a cop.

Rick tells the group they should begin to settle in and get comfortable. Start sleeping in the bedrooms. Acclimate to the community. Carol wonders if it won’t make them weak, if they do so, but Rick doesn’t think there’s weakness in any of them anymore. And, he adds, if Alexandria goes bad, they’ll just take it for themselves.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.