The Walking Dead: The Dark Side Really Does Have Cookies
This week on The Walking Dead, Daryl is getting seduced by the dark side… or is it the light side and Rick is actually the villain here? Rick’s side even has cookies… but the townies have beer. Talk about a dilemma!
Uh oh, looks like Sasha woke up on the wrong side of the bed, which is to say she woke up on a bed, which is wrong. Being comfortable makes her uncomfortable. It’s all dizzying and surreal, especially the smiling faces staring down at her from the photographs throughout the bedroom. Happy, shiny suburbanites—now dead, no doubt—and their corpses may well be wandering mindlessly and murderously in the wilderness beyond the walls at this very moment.
Sasha really, really wants a gun. Fortunately, there’s a smiling housewife handing them out at the pantry. Just put your name on the sign out sheet, and here’s your high powered sniper rifle. Oh, and if it’s not too much trouble, keep an eye out for boars, will you, dear? The nice pantry lady would just love to make some prosciutto for the potluck next week.
Beyond the wall, Sasha lines up the photos from her bedroom on a stump 50 yards away and practices her sharp shooting. There’s a strange hum in her ears, getting louder… A train? A helicopter? She’s getting increasingly frantic, but she never misses a shot.
All the photos are destroyed. The noise is gone. Sasha stares back the way she came…towards the town, the happy families, and the comfy bed. “Come and get me,” she mutters.
Elsewhere outside the wall… Rick, Carol, and Daryl are conspiring. They want to pilfer a few handguns from the pantry to keep hidden. No problem, says Carol. If a few of the less popular guns disappear, no one will ever notice. The only security is a latch on the window, and Carol can easily leave it unlatched during her next shift at the pantry.
Rick is incredulous at the lax security. “They’re the luckiest dam people I’ve ever met, and they just keep getting luckier.” How so, Daryl wonders. “We’re here now,” Rick says.
Rick is more than happy to conquer these reckless, childish idiots for their own good. Spoken like a true supervillain, Rick. And yet, we the audience found ourselves nodding along, thinking yeah, maybe the townies would be better off if Rick seizes power. The ones that survive the coup, anyway.
In the meantime, Rick urges, keep trying to fit in… Daryl.
Oh, here comes a zombie. Carol unloads an entire clip into it so it looks like they really were out here innocently practicing their shooting. Wait, did someone carve a “W” into that zombie’s forehead? That’s probably going be significant at some point. In the meantime, I’ll just assume it’s Dick Cheney’s fault.
Back in town, Michonne is trying on her fancy new police uniform. She’s leery of town leader Deanna and wonders if making them constables isn’t part of some long con. Rick scoffs.
Daryl’s still out in the wilderness—and pulls his crossbow on whoever’s following him. Turns out to be Aaron, who says he knows why Daryl is out there. I spent the rest of the episode wondering if that meant Aaron knew about the secret meeting with Rick and Carol, but typing up this recap makes me realize that if Rick had time to go home and change into his cop uniform, this may be an entirely different trip beyond the wall for Daryl. Not terribly clear, show.
Anyway, Aaron is impressed that Daryl could tell the difference between a living guy and a zombie just from the sound of his footsteps. “Can you tell the difference between a good guy and a bad guy? Rick doesn’t seem to be an expert at that,” says Aaron.
Aaron’s probably talking about Rick beating the crap out of him when they first met, but is the screenwriter slipping in another subtle jab at Rick for underestimating Deanna? This time, the ambiguity is a good thing. Aaron asks to accompany Daryl on his hunting excursion, and Daryl tells him okay—but keep up and keep quiet. Daryl then stomps away like a wounded elephant.
Back in town, Deanna waxes poetic to Rick about how their happy little town will soon have a government and a Cinnabon and two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy ‘cuz of you. Rick is not impressed and wants to talk about the here and now. “People are the real threat now,” he warns her—without a hint of irony or self-awareness. Deanna again refuses to let citizens keep guns inside the walls, which annoys Rick, even though it’s probably a good thing for his insurrection plans.
But what really gets Rick’s goat is that the watchtower is for show only—no one’s ever manning it. Rick insists that the watchtower be manned 24/7, and Sasha steps up to volunteer for “as many shifts as possible.” This finally seems to raise Deanna’s suspicions, but she says she’ll “consider it” on one condition: everybody comes to a welcome party she’s throwing for Rick’s crew tonight.
Rick catches up with Carol while she’s doing the meals on wheels thing. If the whole town is going to the welcome party tonight, he says, it’s the perfect time for one of them to break into the pantry and sneak out a few guns without being seen. Carol volunteers because she’s least likely to be missed if she slips away from the party for a while.
Out in the wilderness, Daryl is tracking a feral horse. Aaron says he’s been trying to lure “Buttons” inside the walls for a month now to take care of him, then quickly explains that one of the little kids came up with the name. The horse is skittish, but Daryl puts on his horse whisperer hat and moseys on up within a few inches. But the horse panics, attracting zombies.
In the pantry, Carol is requisitioning some chocolate to make cookies for tonight and trading baking tips with the nice pantry lady. A hunting party comes in to pick up some weapons, and a well meaning gentleman about Carol’s age tries to strike up a conversation by asking Carol if she’s afraid of guns. She allows that they were a necessity she had to get used to in the wild, and she’s so sweetly demure is nauseating. The gentleman—who desperately wishes he had LOVE INTEREST tattooed on his head but doesn’t—offers to give her a shooting lesson sometime.
Zombies destroyed, Daryl and Aaron are back to tracking the horse. Aaron is babbling the whole time, and Daryl strangely doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, Aaron is really speaking to him, man. Aaron admits he still feels like an outsider among the people in town because of the whole gay thing, which everyone is polite about, but awkwardly so. Aaron says people are nervous around Eric and him, and fear makes people act stupid. He urges Daryl to try to come by the party tonight so people can get to know him and be less nervous around him.
The party’s already starting, and our heroes start arriving. Abraham’s frown turns upside down when he sees there’s beer. Deanna’s husband makes small talk with Rick, each politely flattering the other, and Rick hesitantly accepts a glass of alcohol. Ooo, that alcohol might be about to come in handy, because here comes Rick’s love interest Jessie with her whole family.
Daryl and Aaron have cornered the horse in a fenced field and are slowly approaching. A hand grabs Aaron’s ankle, and he falls. There’s a zombie on the ground, and Aaron quickly turns it into ground zombie. But oh no, zombies everywhere! Daryl and Aaron can defend themselves, of course, but the horse is backed up into the corner of a fenced field thanks to our heroes… And the zombie swarm it.
Aaron and Daryl destroy all the zombies, but there’s nothing to do for the horse but put it out of its misery. “He always ran,” laments Aaron.
“You were trying to help it,” says Daryl. And OH MY GOSH THE HORSE IS DARYL AND HE’S GOING TO EVENTUALLY GET CORNERED AND DIE IN THE WILDERNESS IF HE KEEPS REFUSING TO BE TAKEN IN BY AARON’S PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT THE BEST FOR HIM AND YOU CAN SEE IN DARYL’S FACE THAT HE GETS IT BECAUSE HOLY SHIT IT’S NOT EXACTLY SUBTLE.
At the party, Noah is hiding in a corner, but Glenn and Maggie come to coax him out because otherwise none of them would have any lines this week—oh, and because Noah’s “here with family.” Aw, that’s actually pretty nice, even if this is a throwaway scene.
Daryl is standing outside the party, contemplating going in. Not gonna happen. He starts walking home, but when he passes by Aaron’s house, Aaron calls out to him. Daryl wonders why Aaron’s not at the party, and Aaron is all, “Fuck that noise.” Then he invites Daryl in for pahsketti.
When the nice pantry lady shows up at the party, Carol knows the coast is clear and sneaks out. Meanwhile, Rick is making time with his love interest while her hubby is off getting drinks. She surveys the crowd of pleasant suburbanites with satisfaction—an enclave of normalcy after the apocalypse. She even seems pretty chipper about how less complicated life is these days. “We all lost things, but we got something back,” she beams.
Rick looks at Carl hanging out with the other teenagers and being a normal kid for once, and he seems pretty open to Jessie’s worldview, at least for the moment. Jessie’s other son—who’s like eight or so—comes up: “Mom, there’s no more cookies.”
Rick—possibly trying to impress the mom, possibly trying to give Carol an excuse to be gone for a while—says he knows the cookie maker and can see about getting a whole new batch cooked up fresh. Then the kid pulls out a giant hand stamp and brands Rick on the back of the hand with HOLY CRAP A SCARLET LETTER REALLY?????????
Jessie says, “Now you’re officially one of us,” so presumably the dark red capital “A” stands for Alexandria, not adulterer, but whatever.
Deanna’s other son (not the douchebag from last week) runs into Sasha at the party and tries to flirt, but she ain’t having it. She curtly says, “Excuse me,” and brushes right past him.
At Casa Aaron, Eric is jovially babbling about Mrs. Needermeyer wanting a pasta maker and she won’t shut up about it and, hey, while you’re out there scouting the wilderness with Aaron, maybe you could keep your eye out for one? This doesn’t seem strange to me at all since Daryl is often wandering around outside the walls and today was out there with Aaron—but Eric cuts himself off awkwardly like he’s made a big faux pas. Oops, Aaron hasn’t gotten around to asking Daryl his big question yet.
Aaron takes Daryl out to the garage, where he’s got a million motorcycle parts organized in nice, clean piles. He’s been collecting them on his scouting trips, and he hopes maybe Daryl knows how to assemble them. Say, speaking of scouting trips, Aaron wants to know if Daryl will join his recruiting team because Eric sucks at it. Why Daryl? “You do know the difference between a good person and a bad person,” Aaron assures him.
And Daryl’s heart grew three sizes that day.
But he’s not gonna admit it, of course. “I got nothing else to do,” he says, as if he’s accepting the job offer out of boredom. Sorry, Daryl, you’re not fooling anyone—especially Aaron.
At the party, Michonne is eating potato puffs alone on the porch. Abraham comes out to haver at her incoherently. If he’s got beer, all is right with the world. “Things have worked out pretty damn well for me,” he says.
Carol is fishing guns out of a trunk at the pantry. “What are you doing?” demands a squeaky, unintimidating voice. It’s Jessie’s younger son, who followed Carol to see if she was making more cookies.
Carol offers to make cookies if he doesn’t tell anyone what he saw. This only makes the kid more suspicious, and he insists he’s going to tell his mom. In a calm, motherly voice, Carol assures the kid that if he tells, then one morning he’ll “wake up outside the walls, tied to a tree. Then the monsters will come, and they will tear you apart and eat you up, all while you’re still alive, all while you can still feel it. And no one will ever know what happened to you.” Or he can keep quiet and get cookies.
Apparently Jessie’s husband thinks the drinks are located somewhere outside of Baltimore, because she’s still alone with Rick. She’s playing with Judith, and when she hands him back to Rick, their faces are just inches apart. She lingers… Rick leans in… and gives her a peck on the cheek.
Deanna pulls Sasha out of the corner and into a conversation with a bunch of strangers. She’s surrounded, trapped—so many people, so many noises. As they sink their teeth into hors d’oeuvres, Sasha hears the sound of zombies biting into flesh. One of the suburbanites wants to know what Sasha’s favorite food is so she can could her dinner sometime. Sasha is too overwhelmed to answer. Come on, insists the lady, everyone’s got a favorite food. “I’m worried I’ll cook you something you hate,” she says.
“THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT?!” demands Sasha.
All eyes are on her. She flees.
The next morning, Sasha has a gun and she’s headed outside the walls. Deanna stops her for a moment, but Sasha’s still not in the mood to talk. “This…” she stammers, gesturing to the town, “it isn’t real.”
Rick, Daryl, and Carol are having another secret meeting out in the wilderness. Carol passes out the purloined guns—or tries to, anyway. Daryl refuses. Looks like he’s going native. This causes Rick a moment’s hesitation before he takes the gun, but take the gun he does.
Michonne is at home, hanging her sword over the fireplace. It’s a souvenir now. A show piece.
Rick is coming back into town and immediately runs into Jessie’s family. She says hi, and he shows off the scarlet letter on his hand with a smile. But when their backs are turned, Rick stares at the husband while fingering his secret gun. It’d be so easy to just take what he wants…
He walks to the wall and caresses it lovingly. Music plays… “Where is the sun in my life? It is dead. It is dead.” Huh, Google tells me it’s a Bee Gees song. Who knew they had an emo phase?