By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool's recap and dissection of the latest issue of The Walking Dead. Last month was a real hard on Rick and his burgeoning communities. After facing the newest threat of Alpha and her Whisperers and coming out losers it's time for some strategy meetings, regrouping, and perhaps some revenge. So as always, *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article
The Walking Dead #147 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard.
In typical fashion, we pick up immediately where the last issue left off, with Eugene suggesting using Lydia as a bargaining chip against Alpha. Rick asks him what he means, but the usually clever Eugene is clearly off a step with a less than elegant plan.
Andrea explains that Alpha sent Lydia away and isn't sure what connection if any she has to her daughter. Rick follows up by telling both of them that he believes Alpha does care about Lydia, sending her away because she knows the way her Whisperers live is, "screwed up" but can't change how she's lead them. Eugene continues with the planning saying that they can hostage Lydia and see what Alpha is willing to offer, then set up a meeting where they may be able to attack her. Eugene says they wouldn't actually harm Lydia, feeling that Alpha doesn't know what they're capable of. Rick sees a fatal flaw in the plan, Alpha calling their bluff, asking Eugene what will happen then.
Andrea is shocked at Eugene's tactics while Rick tells him he's not comfortable talking about harming a child. Eugene angers at the idea that Lydia is a child, pointing out how she's killed and how she's lived for years among the Whisperers, offering a warning to not fool themselves in thinking she's an innocent girl. Rick retorts that in their world not too many people are innocent and they will treat her like a child because she is one, upholding the rule that they need to hold themselves to a higher standard. Eugene now in a full tantrum points out that Carl could be in danger and asks if Rick really trusts her.
Rick simply replies no, but says that he trusts Carl and he'll give Lydia a chance to earn his trust and won't do anything to keep him from earning hers. Rick tries to tell Eugene that he's a better man than he's coming off, but Eugene is too consumed by grief, bringing up Rosita and her unborn baby. Eugene does have one solid point, he asks Rick if he thinks that he's the only one who's having these thoughts, and how no one is going to want her in Alexandria after knowing that she was the cause of the tragedy. Rick responds with silence while Andrea asks him to leave as he defiantly saunters out the door proclaiming he was done anyway.
Left alone, Rick and Andrea have a moment to drink in the terrible situation, knowing that Eugene is right, that Lydia isn't safe in Alexandria. Not only that, but knowing how far Carl went to protect her also means that Carl is in danger as well. Andrea agrees and promises to take them both away from the community, Rick doesn't want her to, but Andrea cuts him off, telling Rick he can't leave with everyone on high alert. Andrea says that she can handle it, Rick replies that he never questioned her capabilities. Andrea tells Rick to save the people, while she saves her son and his crazy girlfriend, who she also doesn't approve of.
In Carl's room, he's awakened by Andrea who tells him to get dressed and ready to go. Carl is a little freaked out by the late night wake up call and asks if everything is alright. Andrea tells him they're fine, but informs him that people are talking about trying to get at Alpha by hurting Lydia and they're not taking a chance on that happening, telling him they'll head back to the Hilltop. The four meet up while Lydia asks why they're leaving while it's still dark, but Rick assures her that the roads are safe and patrolled. Carl's not happy about the quick move telling her they have to leave before the nice folks of Alexandria crucify her. Rick tells his son it will blow over, but Carl isn't happy heading back to the Hilltop as he points out Alpha killed people from their community too. Rick tells him he doesn't know if they'll be safe there, but he'll check with Maggie before Andrea leaves them. The two share a hug before the trio set off for the Hilltop.
Still under cover of darkness we see a shot of Rick's house, then Rick sleeping, but when we return to the outside, a hooded stranger with a sword is outside. It's Michonne checking the area. She silently stalks the area and creeps through the house, but suddenly there's a cocked gun to her head. Rick tells her she's not rusty, but Michonne only has Lydia on her mind, asking where she is. Rick tells Michonne Lydia is gone and he's disappointed in his old friend. Michonne is a little shocked asking why Rick is disappointed. Rick explains that Lydia came to Alexandria to be safe and he's not going to let her be used as a bargaining chip, asking what Michonne had planned for her. But it wasn't revenge Michonne had on her mind, she tells Rick that the chatter in the community has gotten bad and she was going to take Lydia to safety. Rick says he doesn't know and informs Michonne he anticipated the backlash and already sent Lydia away. Michonne is slightly relieved as Rick invites her to have a drink.
In the kitchen Rick tells Michonne that he's surprised Eugene has already started rallying people, but can't be mad at him having lost his partner and knowing the pain it brings. Michonne agrees looking somber while doing so. Rick asks how she's feeling, to which she replies, "not well…angry". It's not just anger at Alpha either, she's angry at Ezekiel for not being able to fight her off and anger at herself as she could've had more time with him. Rick knows grief and explains that she would've blamed herself no matter what happens and that she can't focus on the time they missed. Michonne can't handle the moment and tries to leave but Rick stops her, saying it's time to stop pushing people away.
Rick is ready for confession time as he starts talking about his deceased wife Lori. He talks about how much he loved Lori, but he'd seen things that he couldn't share with her, that he didn't want to talk about. Rick explains that it was his secret life, and how he was a different person at work, but it carried over into his life with Lori and how he'd hold back comments or didn't want to share as she wouldn't understand him. Michonne interrupts and doesn't get the full thought out, but Rick knows where she's going, talking about her affair with Shane. He says that he didn't blame either of them, knowing what the circumstances were, but notes that it still hurt him. Leading to his biggest confession.
Michonne says she's happy for Rick, but isn't sure at what he's saying. Rick tells her like it is and says he's happier now then when he was with Lori, explaining that Michonne pushed away all the good things in her life because she felt she didn't deserve to be happy. Rick continues explaining that she'll always have the pain, but she'll move on and deal with it, saying that, "Deep down you'll hate yourself for it". Even going so far as to say his wife and daughter had to die for him to be happy. Rick believes that he would throw it all away if it could bring them back, but knows the truth of their situation, they just have to keep going, just like Michonne will have to. Michonne asks if the feeling ever goes away, but Rick stoically tells her no. Michonne cries before the two friends hug, she laments on how even though she pushed Ezekiel away she never forgot him, how he was the only thing that made her forget about her daughters and now he's gone. Rick finally lays it out that this clears the table on her guilt and how she needs to focus on finding something good and holding on to it. Michonne tells Rick he's, "F-cked Up" but smiles saying she loves him.
Out on the road, Andrea, Lydia, and Carl run into one of the patrolmen. It's apparently a friend of Andrea named Gus, who she's pleased to see. Gus says he's in the area covering for someone on probation and asks if they're headed for the Hilltop. Andrea tells him she doesn't have time to explain, but asks that if anyone comes looking for her to cover and say he didn't see them. Lydia looks puzzled as Gus politely obliges informing her he hasn't seen anyone in days. As they move on Lydia wants to know why Andrea asked Gus to lie for her. Andrea tries to explain that she isn't safe in Alexandria and that people could be coming to hurt her. Lydia is a bit confused as to why Andrea's friends would want to hurt her saying it doesn't make sense. Andrea continues to explain that people might want to lash out at Alpha by hurting her, but Lydia gets agitated believing her mother doesn't lover her and continues to feel like the situation doesn't make sense.
Another solid issue from Kirkman and the gang. There was a lot of raw emotion to parse out and we should start at the very beginning with Eugene.
The usually quick and cleaver Eugene was about as sharp as an exercise ball this issue. The usually calm and rational scientist was on the verge of a very scary place as grief has driven him to wanting to harm a child. The guy who started out as a fat liar and con man has become an integral part of Alexandria and the surrounding communities. He figured out how to re-shell bullets, created a mill, and learned how to herd zombies, he's not a dumb guy. But the rage of losing Rosita and her child have made him a white hot ball of rage on the precipice of a breakdown of Ricks way of life, ready to rally people into hurting Lydia without knowing all the facts. It was an unusual bit of development, but to see dissent from the inner workings of one of Alexandria's most important citizens was a very shocking and raw moment.
You also can't talk about raw moments without mentioning Michonne. What started out as a home invasion turned into a breakthrough into the mind of a very hard woman. Michonne has been a reliable partner in crime for Rick, but in so many instances she comes off emotionally vulnerable which seems like her only real weakness against her imposing demeanor, physical threats, and master swordplay. We learned just a few issues ago that she felt so much guilt towards her former life and an unyielding sense that she abandon her children. To see her making such a powerful revelation with Rick was important, but also cemented the fact that she's undoubtedly loyal to her oldest friend and unlikely to let anything happen to him while she's around.
Of course the biggest moment of the issue was Ricks heartfelt confession that he's happier now with Andrea than he was with Lori. I can't say it's as shocking as some might think, Rick and Andrea have gone through so much together, they're as much soldiers as partners. Having survived for so long together they've formed a bond that I have to believe most people couldn't even fathom, not only would the fight and kill for each other, they have. Together the two have fought off zombies, survived on meager rations, and battled hostile armies. Lori on the other hand was by all accounts a good wife, who believed her husband was dead before sleeping with his best friend, but died by all accounts pretty early in the series leaving a huge hole in Ricks life. I'm not implying that Lori wasn't important, in fact her death and continued presence as a voice on Rick's disconnected telephone made some riveting moments for a man trying to cope. However Andrea is obviously a more capable survivor and pushes both Rick and Carl to be better survivors too.
Finally we end with Lydia's confusion and suspicions. It seems strange to me that she wouldn't understand that people would be mad at her. By all accounts The Whisperers aren't that far removed from traditional society and even though Lydia could be somewhere between 12 and 14 it strikes me as she would know why people wanted revenge. Although she believes her mother doesn't love her I find it a bit of a stretch that she couldn't connect the dots between people hurting her to get to Alpha. It could be due to the fact she just lived through a pretty traumatic experience and she's adjusting to a brand new life, but it was the low point in a very good issue.
That's all for this week folks, make sure to check out my other regular column, Sweet Release! where I run down the weeks big video games.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who's ready for some Rhode Island fall! Fall into him on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.