THE WALKING DEAD 5.11 ‘The Distance’ Recap

THE WALKING DEAD Season 5 Episode 11

Episode Title: “The Distance”

Writer: Seth Hoffman

Director: Larysa Kondracki

The creative team behind The Walking Dead usually remixes the comic book storylines to keep fans off guard and add some suspense to the story. “The Distance” was one of the rare occasions where the show was so close to the source material that there wasn’t any tension for anyone who knew who Aaron (Ross Marquand) was and where the story is going.

Arguably, the biggest difference from the comic may be the emergence of a second alpha in the group. The leadership decisions of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) have previously been challenged by Shane, Tyreese, and Hershel… all of whom are dead now. What surprised me is that the newest challenger appears to Michonne (Danai Gurira). I would have guessed that Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) would be the next in line, but he deferred to Rick in this episode.

Work on That Sales Pitch

Picking up where last week’s episode left off, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) introduce Aaron to the group. Although most of the survivors are impressed by Aaron’s apparent friendliness, his extremely awkward sales pitch about a safe community is interrupted by Rick’s right cross.

Because the survivors have been burned by Woodbury and Terminus, Rick is extra paranoid and he orders his group to prepare for an inevitable attack by Aaron’s people. When Aaron wakes up, he continues to be unusually reasonable about the situation. Michonne and Maggie give Aaron the benefit of the doubt and they volunteer to verify his story that two vehicles are waiting to take them all to a potential new home.

Eat The Damn Applesauce

Abraham, Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) accompany Maggie and Michonne on their attempt to determine if Aaron was telling the truth. Back at the barn, the writer tries to create some tension over Aaron’s reluctance to eat the applesauce from his bag… and it’s a pretty sloppy attempt that ends when Rick insists on it before giving it to his baby, Judith.

While Aaron’s partner, Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) observes them from a distance, Michonne’s group locates the two vehicles, including an RV that is packed with canned goods. In this world, food is the new currency. That’s probably one of the reasons that Rick instantly claims the food as the group’s, regardless of whether they follow Aaron to his community.

The New Plan

Although Rick seems ready to shoot down the idea, Michonne speaks up and tells him in no uncertain terms that they are all going to Aaron’s community because they need it and it’s their best option to survive. No one challenges her and Rick realizes that he has no choice but to go along with it.

However, the writer once again tries to add some uncertainty when Aaron won’t immediately give up the location of his community. So the group still treats him like a prisoner and they ignore his warning to stay off a highway that hasn’t been cleared.

Into The Woods

On the drive to their potential sanctuary, Rick, Michonne and Glenn take the lead car with Aaron while everyone else piles into the RV. While rifling through Aaron’s glove box, they find his collection of license plates and Michonne begins asking him the questions that they always ask someone before allowing them to join their group.

However, the trip gets complicated when Glenn plows through a herd of Walkers and splatters the car with a sea of blood and guts that disables the engine and covers all of the windows. When the car won’t start, Aaron notices a flare fired into the air and he bursts out of the car to reach its source. Reluctantly, Rick, Michonne and Glenn go after him.

He Lost The Car

While fighting Walkers in the woods, Glenn comes across Aaron and saves his life. In turn, Aaron makes his pitch again and helps Glenn kill some zombies that were closing in on Michonne and Rick. Shortly thereafter, they reunite with the rest of Rick’s group… but Aaron is only concerned with the safety of his lover and partner, Eric.

Supposedly, Aaron and Eric are the first gay characters on the show. But Tara (Alanna Masterson) still exists, so Aaron and Eric are just going to have to settle for being the first gay male characters… barring a retcon. Aaron is so grateful for Eric’s safety that he tells the group that the community is in Alexandria. Glenn even sticks up for Aaron when Rick tries to keep him from sleeping near Eric out of misguided fears for their safety.

The Sound of Laughter

During the trip, Rick and Michonne recalled that they heard only silence outside of the gates of Terminus and Woodbury. But when they arrive at Alexandria, they hear only the laughter of children playing on the other side of the wall. The survivors are so transfixed on the noise that they don’t seem to notice that no one appears to be manning the gate to their potential new home.

On the whole, I wasn’t that impressed with this episode… although Rick killing the Walker with a flare gun was a really fun moment. Now that the characters have seemingly reached safety, it could mean that the show is only a few episodes away from introducing a few new dangers from the comics and pushing the story forward much faster than in previous seasons.

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