‘The Walking Dead’: Aaron Offers Rick & The Group A New Safe Place To Live

So, what's the deal with Aaron? Turns out he has a safe place he wants Rick and the rest of 'The Walking Dead' survivors to come and live in. Should they trust him? On the Feb. 22 episode of The Walking Dead, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally come face-to-face. Aaron tells Rick and the rest of the group that he is a recruiter who wants them to come live in the safe community he is a part of, but, of course, Rick knows better than to trust a new stranger.

‘The Walking Dead’: Aaron’s Safe Place Revealed

As “The Distance” begins, the group is still resting up inside the barn when Maggie and Sasha return with their new “friend,” Aaron, in tow. This should be interesting.

Maggie announces to the group that they met Aaron outside, that he’s alone, and that they took his weapon and gear before bringing him into the barn. Immediately, everyone is on guard — especially Daryl, who not only double checks outside the barn to make sure no one is trailing them, but gives Aaron a quick pat down once he’s inside.

Rick stares the new stranger down until Aaron finally says hi, and at the sound of his voice Judith starts crying. Eerie coincidence? Maybe.

After Rick passes Judith to Carl, Aaron steps forward but immediately stops when he hears the clicks of everyone’s guns prepare to take him out. Sorry Aaron, you can’t just step to their leader like that.

Maggie hands over Aaron’s weapon to Rick, who happily tucks the gun into the back of his pants where it’s safe to assume he will keep it until he needs it. That’s when Rick asks Aaron what he needs, but Sasha is the one who chimes in and reveals that Aaron has a camp nearby that he wants them to “audition” for.

That’s when Aaron explains that his job is to convince the group to return home with him, and that he thinks they would all make “valuable” members of the community he lives in. Interestingly enough he also tells them that even though he wants them to join him, it’s not actually his “call” to make. I guess that explains the audition.

Immediately you can tell that no one in the group is convinced. They are all just staring at him like he’s a piece of meat they would like to tear into. Er, maybe that’s a bad Terminus reference. Either way, Aaron knows he hasn’t convinced anyone of anything, and he asks Sasha to pass Rick his bag.

Inside the bag is an envelope full of pictures that show what Aaron’s community looks like. The first picture is one of a very high wall (15 feet according to Aaron) that is reinforced with steel beams to keep the community safe. Aaron says nothing is getting passed that wall, dead or alive, without the community letting them in. He’s probably right.

Slowly but surely, the group starts to warm up to the idea. You can see the look of hope that Maggie gives Glenn after they hear about the wall, and even Daryl is staring down Rick to see how he is going to react to this news. Rick glances around and sees everyone has let their guard down a little bit. But, is he really convinced this is where they need to go?

Apparently not. As Aaron continues to talk about the community, Rick approaches him and out of nowhere clocks him right in the jaw. Boom. Aaron is out like a light.

Rick Is Too Paranoid To Deal With Aaron

We quickly learn that Rick is paranoid. Maybe beyond paranoid. Not only did he knock the poor guy’s lights out, but now he has Carl dumping out his pack and searching it for clues, while he has everyone else on watch because he believes that people are coming for them.

The more I think about it, the more I realize Rick has every reason to be paranoid. Let’s not forget what the Governor put him through, and then the crazy folk over at Terminus. A new community sounds great, but could it be too good to be true like everything else they’ve discovered in this post-apocalyptic world?

Inside Aaron’s pack Carl discovers a flare gun, and Rick immediately knows what it’s for. As if on cue Aaron wakes up, and that’s when Rick starts questioning him about how many people are in the woods waiting to take them out. Rick flat-out tells Aaron he knows that’s what the flare gun is for, to be used as a signal, and he’s right. But Aaron won’t budge on how many people are out there, because he knows it doesn’t matter — Rick doesn’t and may never trust him.

Aaron claims that he knows what kind of people they are because they’ve been following them for a long time. They ignored the water, and, as Aaron puts it, they never turned on each other no matter how hungry or hopeless they were. “You’re survivors, and you’re people,” Aaron tells them, still desperate to break through to Rick.

That’s when Aaron reveals that there is only one other person outside of their cabin. Of course Rick doesn’t believe him, but you can see that the rest of the group — Michonne, Abraham, Glenn — are all starting to feel for this guy. He tells them where he and his hidden partner have cars parked to take them to his community, but Rick isn’t buying it — he’s convinced they are trying to ambush them. But for what? They have nothing.

Finally, someone challenges Rick on his stance — and it’s Michonne. “You know what you know, and you’re sure of it, but I’m not,” she tells him. Surprisingly, Maggie chimes in to agree. Michonne wants a safe place and we’ve known that since the disaster that was Noah’s old home, so it’s nice to see her stand up for herself. Unfortunately, we all know Rick doesn’t like to be challenged.

Rick gives in and sends Abraham and Rosita with Michonne, Glenn, and Maggie to find the cars Aaron says are waiting to take them to his community. Then, he sends the rest of them to cover the grounds and make sure they are still safe inside the barn. That leaves Rick alone with Aaron, and suddenly I’m remembering blood thirsty Rick who enjoys killing people a little too much sometimes.

That’s when Rick threatens Aaron, saying that if his group isn’t back in an hour he’s going to shove a knife into his skull. Yikes.

Aaron Offers Rick An Olive Branch

Out on the road Glenn is acting a little too much like Rick, and Michonne is trying to talk him down. Maybe Glenn is just nervous because he went against Rick, and he knows if he messes this up he’ll probably be in big trouble for it. But Michonne has a lot of hope, and she thinks Aaron is legit. Hopefully, she is right.

As they are walking, the camera pans out and reveals one man hiding behind a tractor and watching them make their way down the road. So, Aaron didn’t lie about how many people he had with him.

Then they arrive at the cars, and just like Aaron said they had to be left in the road because the storm left trees blocking the way. There are two, a smaller Cadillac-looking vehicle, and an RV that could definitely fit their group. As they approach something in the trees starts to move, and they all point their guns assuming it’s the “ambush” Rick warned them about. Instead, it’s two walkers who Abraham and Rosita quickly take out as a team. Well, sort of. Once it’s over Abraham thanks Rosita for her help and she flat-out ignores him, showing us that they are still on bad terms after the way he treated Eugene over the “cure” lie.

Abraham and Rosita team up again just moments later to search the RV and it’s completely clear. In fact, it’s stocked with food, and Abraham nearly cries when he finds a can of “s’ghetti rings” in the cabinet. They reminisce for a moment about a time when they had their own stock of food, and then Abraham takes advantage of the moment to reassure Rosita he was never going to harm her — physically or otherwise. She tells him that whatever’s wrong with her isn’t him, but she can’t even look at him when she does.

Unfortunately, back at the barn, Rick has a problem aside from Aaron: Judith. She won’t stop crying, and he’s desperately trying to find some food for her to eat. That’s when Aaron tells him he has applesauce in his bag, and that it’s not a trick — Rick needs to feed Judith or the “roamers” (that’s Aaron for walkers) will come and kill the three of them. He’s right, and Rick knows it, so he makes Aaron try the apple sauce before letting Judith have some.

Michonne Takes Charge Of The Group

Somehow they manage to get both cars to the barn, and the next thing we see is all of the food unloaded and inside the barn where Rick is inspecting it. He tells Aaron that the food is theirs now whether or not they go with him, and Carl interjects real quick to ask why they wouldn’t go. Before Rick can respond, Michonne takes over again. She’s getting really good at this.

Michonne addresses the group and tells them that he’s not lying and that if people were out to get them they would have done it already. “We need this,” she tells them. “So we’re going. All of us.” Wow. The Ricktatorship just suffered a major blow.

Believe it or not, Rick agrees with her. Is your jaw on the floor, too?

He quickly tries to scramble for control again and takes over the how and the when and why, much to Aaron’s dismay. Aaron refuses to tell them where to go, so he decides that they will go at night — which Aaron claims will put them in more danger. Rick doesn’t care, he just doesn’t want to take orders from anyone.

Rick heads outside to search the cars himself, and Michonne follows after to make sure that he really is going to let them go to Aaron’s community. He basically tells her that he doesn’t think anything can convince him to bring his family inside a new place after Woodbury and Terminus, but that he still wants to see it. He still wants to know if it’s real. That’s a pretty fair thing to request, isn’t it?

They take off at night, just as Rick planned, and they take a different highway than Aaron suggested despite his warning. Things seem to be going okay until Michonne looks at Aaron’s pictures and realizes there are no people in them. Not a single person. Michonne asks Rick if he asked Aaron “the questions,” but he didn’t — so she does it.

How many walkers has he killed? He doesn’t know, there’s been too many. How many people has he killed? Two. Why? Because they tried to kill him first.

Before the interrogation can continue Rick finds a listening device in the car that upsets everyone. Rick then tells the group that Aaron’s people could have been listening in on their plan so it’s no longer safe, but it’s too late for that. Glenn slams on the brakes and crashes into a walker herd. He’s forced to keep going, and by the time he’s through the walkers the white car they were driving is dark red and covered in walker goo.

The car stops and everyone jumps out because when Glenn slammed on his brakes the RV that was supposed to be following didn’t immediately crash into them. They think the RV got away safely, so they all hop back in the car to go back and find them — but the car won’t start. There are walker arms and legs and guts all inside the radiator and under the hood, so the car is shot.

Aaron Proves Himself In An Emergency

Right at that moment a flare goes up into the air. Suddenly, Aaron panics — he wants out of the car. Whoever shot that flare gun has him in a frenzy, and he kicks open the car door and runs straight into the woods with his hands still tied. Michonne chases after him and tells Rick and Glenn that their people are going to think it was them who shot it, so they are going to follow it, too. Hopefully, she’s right.

As soon as they hit the woods they are surrounded by walkers. They are coming from every angle, and the group is shooting off round after round without making a difference in the herd. Glenn gets cornered and a walker sneaks up on him behind, but he catches it right before it takes a huge chunk out of his arm.

Glenn is the one who finds Aaron, and he’s cornered by one walker who he keeps trying to kick away. For a moment Glenn turns away, but then he stops and decides he’s better than that. So, he saves Aaron and then unties his hands so that he can run if he wants to.

“We can make it together, but we can only make it together,” Aaron tells Glenn, repeating the exact same thing he said just one episode earlier. So, he was listening, and Glenn decides not to abandon him in the woods.

Then, Glenn and Aaron save Rick and Michonne from a pack of walkers. That’s when Rick is no longer concerned about Aaron, and they all head off into the woods to find the source of the flare together.

Finally the find the rest of the group hidden inside a garage somewhere off of the highway. Everyone is okay, but Aaron couldn’t care less about them — he’s looking for someone named Eric. The other guy who was following the group?

Turns out Eric was also inside the garage, and he’s okay too, aside from a broken ankle. It also turns out that Eric and Aaron are a couple, partners, and it’s really sweet to see them reunited.

After Aaron thanks the group for saving Eric, they decide they won’t be driving any more tonight. However, Rick isn’t exactly satisfied with Aaron’s behavior just yet, so he demands that Aaron sleep in a different room than Eric. It seems like a cruel and unnecessary demand, and Glenn is the one who talks Rick down from his throne this time.

Is it me, or should this episode be called “Everyone Hates Rick”?

Abraham Makes It To Washington D.C. — Sort Of

They hit the road once again, this time in daylight, and Eric gets some sleep as Aaron watches over him. It’s Abraham behind the wheel with Rosita in the passenger seat, and after they hit a curve she spots Washington D.C. in the distance. Maybe that’s not their final destination, but they made it after all, didn’t they?

Well, sort of. The RV battery dies, of course, and Abraham is so angry over it he tells Glenn they might as well paint the RV red and put a ladder on it — like the fire truck that continuously let him down in the beginning of the season. But Glenn has an answer to the problem, and he shows Abraham where there are batteries stored. For diehard fans, this takes us back to season one and for a moment I miss Dale.

As they wait for Abraham and Glenn to switch out the battery, Michonne has a one-on-one with Rick about how he needs to “give up the fight.” According to her, their fight is over now that they have Alexandria — Aaron and Eric’s community. That is, of course, if they are allowed in after they audition.

Once the RV is started up again Rick tells them he needs a moment and steps out into the woods where he finds an abandoned house. He finds a blender and puts his gun in it, then stashes it outside of the house. Man, he is one paranoid dude.

They finally make it to Alexandria and as Rick pulls up to the gate he looks skeptical. The camera zooms on his eyes, his very tired, very stressed out eyes, and very slowly they began to relax as he hears the sound of children and swings in need of a good oiling. Earlier in the episode he told Michonne the one thing he remembered about Woodbury and Terminus is that when they arrived at both places it was silent. Too silent.

Michonne smiles at Rick and takes his hand, and it’s very clear that Rick decides he’s going to go inside with Carl and Judith.

Right before they all head inside, Carol stops to tell Rick that even though he was wrong, he was right.

Looks like we’ll have to wait until the March 1 episode to see inside Alexandria!

Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Do you think Alexandria will be good for Rick and the group? What do you think about so many people challenging Rick? Comment below!

— Lauren Cox

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