The Walking Dead season 5 brings its 12th episode to life with Sunday’s “Remember,” as the group meets the inhabitants of Alexandria, and Rick begins to question how well they can adjust to the new circumstances.

Last week’s The Walking Dead installment, “The Distance,” saw Rick and the others evaluating the mysterious Aaron’s claims of a walled sanctuary, before walkers interrupted the possibility of following him. So, what does the latest episode of season 5 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about The Walking Dead season 5, episode 12, “Remember”!

Safe havens have historically gone awry for The Walking Dead, though Alexandria presents us with a much different challenge than warring despots or cannibals; for the first time in the show’s history, the hope seems genuine, and very much flips the lens through which we spy the show’s sense of conflict. It feels safe enough to presume that not all within our new walled sanctuary will remain so idyllic forever, but “Remember” felt like a creatively unique, even alien approach for The Walking Dead to bring us in the group’s mindset.

In particular, the framing device of Deanna’s interviews with the group offered up an unusual perspective on the hard-worn survivors, their grime and unease with comfortable conversation a stark contrast to the pristine homes around them. The Walking Dead often has trouble servicing all of its characters in one episode (note that we never hear from Abraham’s crew or Father Gabriel), but the interviews allowed quick reference points on who was willing to adjust to Alexandria, and who remained skeptical of its idyllic promise.

It certainly helped that most all of the characters introduced within the walls felt like level-headed and intelligent individuals, Deanna in particular proving very forgiving of the group’s difficulty fitting in, and more than willing to acknowledge the faults of certain members of the community, her own son’s arrogance included. The Governor too had his charming side, though presenting most of the Alexandria citizens as benevolent re-frames the season’s narrative a bit, as our heroes become the source of liability and conflict.

Someone like Deanna or Aaron readily embraces that survivalist mentality as an asset to the group, however many interpersonal wrinkles might need ironing, though clearly her son Aiden or Jessie’s shadowy husband seem resistant to the new recruits, Alexandria having instilled in them an arrogance of their own invincibility. Perhaps most jarring of all however, and proof that perhaps Rick had been “out there too long” as Glenn suggests, is the ease with which the newly-reinstated lawman suggests they might simply take over Alexandria, rather than worry about fitting in. It’s a striking sentiment, from a clean-shaven figure in a sheriff’s outfit, but one that nicely articulates how Season 5 seems to have flipped the script in its latter half.

Presumably re-titling to 'The Rocking Dead' in Season 6.

Compressed for time as it is, “Remember” only took us so far into the group’s adjustment period, or even the community itself, focusing on the core characters’ intriguing reactions to the new situation. Rick sheds a man-tear during his haircut in remembering the simpler pleasures of a world gone bye, while Carl barely seems to remember how to hang out with other children. Daryl in particular seems like a wild card, seeing in Alexandria the kind of society that rejected him long before the dead started returning to life, and forcing him to question his own usefulness , absent any pressing need for survival skills.

We’ll likely get a chance to check in with everyone’s adjustment  by the next episode, but “Remember” still seemed like the most exciting The Walking Dead has been in years, building up a very different breed of tension as the group bristled against a more padded community, forcing them to come to grips with their own misgivings. Rick’s investigation outside the walls nicely framed the sentiment, as he and Carl faced approaching walkers with a nostalgic sense of glee, taking comfort in the life they’d come to know, rather than kick up their feet on some Alexandria porch. However the remaining four episodes of the season keep things moving without the basic survival conflicts that have driven the story for five seasons, “Remember” offered a great stride toward turning the show’s perception inward, and allowing a new perspective on our core heroes.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Carol seemed to dutifully accept her title as “Den Mother” for Deanna’s sake, fumbling with a strap as she went to turn over her weapon, leading me to believe Carol might strategically be projecting some weakness. That said, it’s of interest that she’d admit to missing her ex-husband, and seem so eager to fit in with the work force
  • Not that we didn’t know it was coming, but clean-shaven Andrew Lincoln takes years off his look, and will require some adjustment.
  • So, I’d imagine Enid was the one to take Rick’s gun from the blender?
  • I can’t even imagine what Daryl would wear, should he shower and accept any new clothes.

Stay tuned for more coverage of The Walking Dead season 5's latest, and join us next week for our review of The Walking Dead‘s next episode, “Forget” on AMC!