In the latest episode of AMC’s hit series, “The Walking Dead,” Rick’s hesitation to trust the newest character, Aaron, comes to light.
Rick’s past wounds and mistakes have now shaped him into a fairly ruthless, untrusting leader of the group. From Shane to the Governor, Lori to Terminus, he cannot shake off how his previous negligence or lack of brutality has nearly killed his post-apocalyptic family.
As his beard grows, so does his barbarity it seems.
However, there’s a peculiar new “voice of reason” grounding Rick, who is, surprisingly, Michonne despite her past silent rage and edginess. Without Dale or Hershel, she rises up to the overwhelming challenge of keeping Rick’s morality and priorities straight, such as strongly suggesting heading to D.C. and trusting Aaron as his statements are confirmed to be true.
If it wasn’t for Michonne, Aaron would have probably been shot in the barn and left to rot.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case since Aaron is not only a seemingly trustworthy and intelligent character, but also the first gay male character on the show. Him and his boyfriend, Eric, are seen reunited after the catastrophe on the roads involving their car clogged with walker arms and guts and a flare propelled into the gray head of what they call “roamers.” Despite Tara being established as a lesbian in the last season, viewers have been waiting to see when a gay male will be popping up and that desire was satisfied.
After the disaster on the highway, the group finally arrive to their possible new home, Alexandria. The episode fades out with faint giggles of children echoing from inside, expertly making the audience wait to see what is on the other side of those steel-enforced walls.
“The Distance” was precisely about what the title says – distance: the hundreds of starving miles travelled by the survivors; overcoming past mistakes to make new, decisive choices; arriving at a place to call home that, hopefully, isn’t run by a savage cannibals or a manipulative dictator.
In a world overcome with loss and savagery, how can Rick trust anybody besides those already part of his family? He simply can’t, despite Aaron’s photographs, bottled water and applesauce. He almost denied his baby girl, Judith, food if it wasn’t for Aaron’s persuasion, but would he go that far again? These questions about Rick’s new set of values and ethics seem to be just beginning. With every season, he evolves dramatically. During his stay at the prison, he grew comfortable being a simple farmer, ignoring the decomposing corpses grunting and pushing on the exterior gates by his flourishing garden. The Governor shook him brutally from that ideal reality, and now Michonne is doing that job in a much more humane, civil manner.
For those who have indulged themselves into the comic book series, they know how the new path ahead of Rick and the group is brimming with both a promising future with authentic, new people and a shadowy overcast riddled with bloodshed and hardship.