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Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 15: ‘Try’ A Little Harder

Review: 'The Walking Dead' Season 5, Episode 15: 'Try' A Little Harder

PREVIOUSLY: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 14, ‘Spend’: Cookie Crooks 

Whose Episode Is It?

Rick gets the most screen time, but we also check in on
Michonne, Sasha, and Carl.

Man is the True Monster

Sasha’s still got PTSD, and she still isn’t handling it that
well. Michonne, who was so eager to settle down, now seems conflicted about
losing her edge, and helps Sasha mow down some zombies. It’s a taste of the old
life, and one that she again seems to come to reject by the end of the episode
— I get that Michonne should have some focus this episode, considering her
decision at the end, but this really feels like wheel spinning.

Considering the events of last episode,
there’s remarkably little fallout. Deanna interviews Nicholas about what
happened, and he naturally lies through his teeth, blaming the Ricketeers for
everything. Meanwhile, Glenn gives his own (truthful) account to Rick, but
there’s no indication that Deanna debriefed. Nicholas is so cartoonishly
terrible it’s difficult to believe that anyone would take his word about
anything, and if Deanna does, it makes her look like a fool. Which might be the
point, but Deanna’s feelings about the Ricketeers this episode are largely
inscrutable. Frustratingly, nothing is really settled about the supply run
before the episode gets swallowed up by Rick vs. Pete.

Does Anyone Know How Cops Work

Rick comes to Deanna with his findings about Pete’s abuse of
Jessie, and Deanna’s like, “Yeah, I know. But what are you gonna do?”
Because, you know, Pete’s the town surgeon, and he probably wouldn’t like being
forcibly separated from his wife. Rick’s all, “If he doesn’t like it,
we’ll just kill him,” which is obviously not what Deanna wants to hear,
since she believes Alexandria should remain civilized. Did these two really not
have a conversation about how law and order is handled in Alexandria before
Rick started his job? Deanna had mentioned exiling people before, but it’s not
clear how exactly that worked.

Which gets to the heart of a problem with this episode: The
nuts and bolts of Alexandria haven’t really been made clear, so it just leaves
the viewer with a ton of questions. What did Deanna expect Rick to do as
constable, if not stop the town’s one actual criminal? The lack of detail
really distracts from what the episode is trying to do; it’s the hospital
all over again.

And things get even more confusing when Rick confronts Jessie.
She doesn’t seem to understand why Rick would take an interest in her abuse,
which is understandable, since it seems that Pete’s behavior is one of
Alexandria’s open secrets. You’d think Jessie would be happy to have anyone
fighting on her side, whatever the reason, but it turns out she just wants Rick
to confess that he’s in to her. 
“Would you do this for anyone?” she pleads. Man, I hope so —
he’s the town’s cop. But Rick says no, and Jessie’s totally willing to kick
Pete to the curb. Of course then Pete walks in and it’s fightin’ time!

How Far Is Too Far?

Rick and Pete go at it Wild West saloon style, hurling one
another out the front window. The fight is brutal and harrowing, because at any
moment Rick might do something too extreme, and Pete’s a complete wild card; the
brutality is laid bare when Jessie tries to intervene and is shoved off by
Pete, and then Carl is shoved off by Rick. They’re both consumed by rage, and
Rick’s getting closer and closer to the edge.

Deanna shows up, and Rick starts giving her and all the
gathered townspeople what for, ranting about how the Ricketeers know what’s
best, since they’ve actually lived hard. It’s a scene that’s both effective and
frustrating. Effective, because Rick’s basically correct, but screaming his
points as he’s covered in blood and waving a gun around is not a particularly
convincing debate tactic, and really conveys how far Rick has fallen. And
frustrating because again, Deanna never asked his opinion about how to run
Alexandria? Rick and the others were actively recruited because they were
tough-as-nails survivors, but they seem to have just been thrown into various
jobs and expected to fit in. No one wants the benefit of that expertise? It’s
just baffling, and undercuts all the drama.

What isn’t undercut is Michonne, who brings Rick’s rant to
an end with a swift blow to his head. It looks like she’s decided which side
she’s on.

Symbolism Running Wild

As Rick and Pete go at it, we cut to a shot of a child’s red
balloon floating away, forgotten. Goodbye, innocence!

A Shred of Humanity

Carl and Enid frolic in the woods and almost kiss. There’s
not much to it, but I was happy Carl almost got some.

Achievement in Grossness

Daryl and Aaron find a naked woman tied to a tree, having
been eviscerated by walkers. This season’s entrails budget must be off the
freaking charts. The woman has a “W” carved into her forehead, like
several walkers we’ve seen the past few episodes. Looks like there’s someone
out there who’s willing to show Alexandria what a real threat is.

Grade: C+

READ MORE: How ‘The Walking Dead’ Cast Would Kill Zombies and Other Red Carpet Secrets

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