EPISODE 511 – A LOOK BACK WITH HACKSAW JACK – The Distance (POTENTIAL SPOILERS)
I realize that I am a few days late with review but I have a great excuse! I was at Walker Stalker Con Chicago all weekend and wrapped up Sunday night at an amazing viewing party joined by Greg Nicotero, Christian Serratos, Melissa Hutchison, James Allen McCune, multiple cast members from Face Off and about 40 of my Walker Stalker friends! It was so cool to watch Rick Grimes shoot that zombie with a flare gun and then on the next commercial break talk to Greg Nicotero about that scene. Immediately following the episode, we had a great instant reaction podcast with the whole room. You can listen to that discussion here.
I had to re-watch parts of the episode again when I returned home on Monday because in all honesty, it was a little hard to give my complete attention to the episode considering my surroundings. I’m easily distracted. However, after catching up, I can give an honest opinion and say that I generally liked this episode! I am a comic reader so this episode gave me a lot of teases and confirmations but I WILL NOT claim that I know what is going to happen in the next few episodes with Alexandria. The show runners have proven time and time again that they weave in and out of the comic storylines. So even if you are a die hard comic reader, you CANNOT predict what is about to happen. There will always be a curveball.
So the first thing I’ll comment on is Michonne standing up to Rick very vehemently. People haven’t been opposing Rick too often and in this case, Michonne is so tired of running that she wants to hold out hope that this could actually be a safe haven. If this seems like Michonne is breaking out of nowhere, remember that they have now traveled approximately 600 miles since Beth was killed at Grady Memorial Hospital. We don’t really know what all they went through during that journey outside of the loss of Tyreese. So for viewers that hope that Aaron is telling the truth, it might come off as a bit annoying that Rick is being so crazy about this trip. Even when he finally agrees to go with Aaron, he refuses to go Aaron’s route (along route 16) and chooses route 23. Even though that likely means a harder journey, Rick just cannot let himself fully trust this stranger.
But I TOTALLY GET IT. The last smooth talking, clean cut guy that they came across was in Terminus and tried to EAT THEM. All of his past experiences with inhabited settlements (Woodbury, Terminus, Grady Memorial Hospital) have created this hesitation in Rick. He is the only one in the group who has kids so that adds more caution to his psyche. So this is the guy that carries a baby in one hand and a revolver in the other (See photo on right) and he is going to be as calculated and careful as possible. With that attitude, Carol points out that even when he’s wrong, he’s right. Meaning his intentions are good and meant to keep the group safe.
So with all that being said, during the journey to Alexandria, we had all kinds of excitement including walker hordes, creative kills (courtesy of Greg’s amazing effects team) and even a new romance. So this leads to this week’s poll question:
The last interesting thing I want to point out is how Rick stepped away from the group to hide a handgun in a blender. This is obviously a callback to a tactic he used before entering Terminus when he buried a bag of gun in the woods. The thing that really caught my eye was the “J” that was etched into the handle of the gun. The director took care in clearly showing us the “J” in the handle so I know that it MUST mean something. But I cannot figure out where Rick got that gun and why there would be a “J” etched on the handle. I began running through the names of the group and couldn’t think of anyone that starts with the letter “J”. Perhaps it was one that he took from “Claimer Joe” (Jeff Kober). Who knows, maybe Rick is stashing it away for Judith when she is older. What do you think it means?
P.S. I included an epic picture of me and my cosplay group, The Cosplaying Dead, at Walker Stalker Con Chicago! Definitely worth being a few days late on my review! 🙂