ONLY READ IF YOU’RE CAUGHT UP — PLOT SPOILERS LURK BELOW

This episode is officially titled, “The Distance,” but they should’ve called it “Everybody Overrules Rick,” cause that’s pretty much what goes down, the whole time. Is that good or bad? Tough to say.

We met Aaron at the end of last week’s episode, a clean-shaven doofus sounding like a really bad youth pastor, promising good news. So you gotta figure, the man walks with death. I mean seriously, leaving water in the road like that, following Rick & the Gang but not saying anything? Creep.

The show opens with Sasha and Maggie bringing him back to the barn where the crew is holed up. He wants them to “audition” to join his community nearby, but won’t say what or where it is. He does bring a picture of the walls of the place — the first being a picture of a barrier wall, 15-feet-high panels of solid steel.

But when he shows a picture of inside the place — Rick walks over and punches his lights out! A KO! What’d he see? They don’t show us.

When he comes to — tied up and all — he’s not even mad! Says it was reasonable. He acknowledges he and a friend have been following them. Says they got a coupla cars just down the road. Hey, all friendly. Nice. Calm. Calling Rick by his first name like they went to high school.

Rick says no way…but we get drama but from an unlikely source — Michonne! Miss I-Hate-Everybody thinks this dude just might be telling the truth. Says that just cuz Rick says so doesn’t mean the rest of ’em do. What is this? Did she forget the Governor and the lovely promises of Woodbury? Garrett and Terminus? White men promising hope and happiness are not good things in the apocalypse, Missy.

But she leads a delegation to check out the guy’s claims. The rest go outside to guard the barn. Rick stays inside with baby Judith and Aaron. Who starts talking too danged much, about how he used to be an aid worker in Africa, and that he can tell good people from bad, and that Rick ‘n them are good.

Rick says, “Just because we’re good people doesn’t mean we won’t kill you. If the five of them aren’t back in an hour, I’ll put a knife in the base of your skull.”

YES, RICK BABY!

Michonne’s group does indeed find a car and a camper, just like Aaron said, and they come back just fine — but we see a guy hiding behind a tractor, watching them en route. He never makes himself known. So now Michonne, feeling her oats, says they’re all going to make the trip to Aaron’s “community” even if he won’t tell them exactly where it is. Rick, overruled again, insists they go at night, not in the day.

So down the road we go in the middle of the night in the zombie apocalypse, because, really, what could go wrong? A few minutes after pulling out, Michonne finally asks to look at the guy’s pictures of the community…and NOW she notices there aren’t any people in them. And then Rick, riding shotgun, reaches down at his feet and hey, what’s this? Long range listening gear? And that means the others in his group could have heard their plan?!

And then, wham! They’re running into a massive herd of walkers, Glenn mowing them down like blood-filled tulips, splattering arms and legs everywhere. Worse, the camper behind them doesn’t follow.

They come to a stop, finally, but the car won’t crank back up.

Then, in the distance, a flare! Who shot it? The rest of the crew back in the camper? Aaron starts to panic, saying he’s gotta get out of there NOW.
And they’re all out and running through the woods in the moonlight with, oh every walker in Virginia in hot pursuit. Swords, gunfire! Glenn rescues Aaron. He cuts him loose — WHAT?! — and then Aaron quotes his line back to him, from when he was spying on the group. “We can make it together. We can only make it together. You said that. I was listening.”

They cut for a commercial right there, which I spent yelling “KILL HIM GLENN! KILL HIM NOW!”

Seriously, how screwed up is the recon on this group? They can find every can of Spaghetti-Os in the camper, but NOBODY notices the surveillance gear in the front seat of the car? Nobody notices there are no pictures of people at yonder community?

Back from the break, Glenn of course doesn’t waste the dude because, well, he’s Glenn. They make it back to the camper and find the mysterious second person, too. This turns out to be Aaron’s apparent soul-mate, Eric, who broke an ankle in the melee of walkers. Aaron tells the group this will certainly be remembered when they get back home…to Alexandria. Ah. The safe zone. So we’re on pace with the comic.

The roads are clear the rest of the way and what’s that ahead? The Washington Monument! Seen from a high turn in a road that doesn’t exist!

It’s all pretty quick from there. Rick hides a pistol in a blender by an old house at the side of the road, because foreshadowing is a thing. They pull up to the gates of the place and everybody gets out and stands around in front of it, because nothing ever bad happens and you can totally trust people you’ve never met.

We shall see, kids. We shall see.