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Review: The Walking Dead, "The Distance"

I've been pretty vocal about my love of The Walking Dead. It's the one show I can't wait to watch, the one show I will watch as it comes on and suffer through the commercials. For the first time, last night, I realized I didn't watch it Sunday night and had to watch it on DVR. I was surprised that I had forgotten, to be honest. But this season hasn't been my favorite one, at all. There have been episodes in the past five seasons I have suffered through, I call them "story fillers" - they are only there to move the story along, but are incredibly boring. This season, so far, it's not that the episodes have been boring, it's that I am getting really tired of the plot line not going anywhere different. The show has repeated the same cycle since the beginning - our survivors wander until they find a place to stay, the people they find are crazy, they kill everyone, then they move on until they do it again. Last week, we saw them at their wit's end. Tired, hungry, thirsty, and filled with despair over the life they have had to lead, we saw them wondering through a lush desert, unable to find shelter, food, or water. This week, hopefully, we have been given some hope.
We meet Aaron, a well groomed, well spoken, kind stranger who has admitted to following our group and has asked them to come to his community, where he promises safety and refuge. (Hmm, where have we heard this before? Terminus? The Governor's camp?) So, with good reason, our fearless leader Rick is hesitant to trust him. He distrusts him so much that he puts his group in danger to make sure this man is who he really says he is. Although I have to admit, barreling through an endless hoard of walkers was pretty awesome to witness. Finally, Michonne has taken a stance on what she feels like the group should do, and admits to Rick that it would almost be better to suffer the consequences of more crazy people if it means they get somewhere they can all rest, even for a short time. I am not sure how I would feel either, and we hear Rick admit that he isn't sure anyone could say anything at this point to convince him that this new community is a good one, he just has to witness it for himself. I am with you, Rick, can't say I'd be any different.
What we do see in this episode is that these people have been asked in the last however many months? Years? to constantly adapt to new surroundings to survive. We have gone past the point in The Walking Dead that the walking dead are the number one enemy. The number one enemy is fighting against yourself, trusting when you shouldn't trust, killing when you don't want to kill, and going against all you have learned in a life pre-apocalypse to survive in a new world with new rules that change constantly and swiftly. I am glad we have finally gotten to this point because I do know a bit of the comic book story and I feel like this place will be a positive place and Aaron will be a trustworthy friend, even if the peace won't last all that long. However, we all know that the comics and the show don't always reconcile together, so who knows what will happen. But we do know that we finally see Rick's eyes show a glimmer of hope when he hears the laughing and playing of children and he sees the possibility of giving his baby girl a life where she can learn to run and play, and cry like it's every baby's right to do, within the safety of walls. I hope for the viewers sake that we have finally changed the cycle of this show, because I don't know how much more of these horrible plot lines I can take and keep wanting to watch.


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