Last week’s episode of TWD was too slow for my taste. I was hoping for more action with The Distance. I was only partly rewarded as the survivors have to deal with some walkers but mostly attempt to figure out whether it is Aaron is telling the truth about the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
The Walking Dead S5Ep11 The Distance Review
Picking up where the previous episode left off, Maggie and Sasha return to the barn and introduce a stranger, Aaron, to Rick and the group. Aaron tells them that he is part of a larger community surrounded by reinforced steel walls that provide protection from intruders and “roamers” and that he has been observing Rick’s group because he believes they would make trustworthy additions to his community. Rick, however, doesn’t trust Aaron and punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground before tying him to a wooden column. A search of Aaron’s pack reveals, among other things, a flare gun, suggesting that there are others nearby.
When pressed by Rick, Aaron reveals that he has one partner who is hiding some distance from the group. He provides Rick with directions to two waiting vehicles which, he says, are to transport Rick’s group to the community today. Rick tests Aaron’s claim by dispatching Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Abraham, and Rosita to see if the vehicles are in fact there while the rest of the group takes up positions around the barn, just in case Aaron is planning an attack. The vehicles- a car and an RV- are found, suggesting that Aaron was telling the truth. When the group reconvenes, Aaron says that he will take them to the community the following morning. Aaron refuses to reveal the exact location of the camp, saying that he trusts that Rick and his group are good people, but he isn’t willing to bet the lives of his friends just yet. Instead, Aaron they will take highway 16 and that he will provide further directions along the way. Rick, however, plans to leave tonight, under the cover of darkness, and to take highway 23, which will lead in the same general direction. Aaron protests, saying that his people haven’t yet cleared that road but Rick is adamant.
Rick plans the convoy to the community. He asks Michonne what she heard when she got to Woodbury and when she got to Terminus. “Nothing” is her reply to both questions. Rick says that sometime tonight they will be outside Aaron’s community’s walls and, without knowing what is inside, he will have to decide whether to bring his family in. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Aaron take the lead in the car while the rest of the group follows a short distance away in the RV. On the way, they discover listening devices in the car, indicating that Aaron’s people have been spying on Rick’s group for some time and that they might already be aware of their plan to approach the community. Suddenly, the car is surrounded by walkers and becomes separated from the RV. When a red flare is spotted rising into the night sky, Aaron suddenly becomes panicked and says “this is over” and that he must go immediately. The group flees into the woods and is forced to fight their way through walkers. Glenn is nearly killed but is saved by Aaron. Together, they save Rick and Michonne. The four of them then reunite with the RV group, who rescued Aaron’s partner (and boyfriend), Eric.
Relieved that Rick’s group saved Eric, Aaron reveals that the community is located in Alexandria, Virginia. After camping for the night, the group hits the road in the morning. In the RV, Aaron tells Noah that they have a gifted surgeon named Pete who might be able to help him with his leg. The RV breaks down but Glenn is able to locate a replacement battery. Rick slips away into the woods to hide a gun before the group starts driving again. Pulling up to the community gates, Rick hears what he was waiting for- the sound of children playing. Realizing that Aaron was telling the truth and the community is safe, the group leaves the vehicles and heads to the gates.
This weeks episode of TWD, The Distance, was a good transitory episode. Compared to last week’s episode things finally got moving again. Everyone of the survivors had to overcome their fear of the Alexandria Safe-Zone being another Terminus. Rick’s fears showed he is only a slither away from insanity, after their improbable escape from Terminus his fears can in part be understood. My biggest gripe with this episode was the idea that Aaron and his boyfriend Eric would be sent over such long distances to find survivors. Together they are easy targets for both walkers and people with bad intentions. The approach to Washington also could have been done with flair. It seems unlikely the roads are clear and that there are no other survivors. These are only minor issues, but are noticeable due to the lack of character development. That is about to change as Rick and survivors will start to explore Alexandria. I appreciated the shows producers weren’t afraid to immediately flesh out the relationship that Aaron and Eric are having, the moment of tenderness each showed the other means the issue won’t be brushed under the rug.
Score; 7.9 / 10. Yet another slow episode that finally leads up to the survivors reaching Alexandria.