The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 11 “The Distance” Review

the-walking-dead-the-distance 5x11

A mysterious, cleanly dressed man named Aaron offers Rick’s group something that may just be too good to be true. At the same time, it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up without investigating.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled reaction and recap of The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 11.

Going The Distance

The Walking Dead rebounds with a stronger episode that sets up the remainder of the season. After spinning its wheels last week, it’s a pleasant surprise how fast the group has made it to Alexandria. Typically the show has a pattern of taking its time to get to the next big story arc. 

Carol summed up Rick in a nutshell this episode: “You know you were wrong, but you’re still right”. After dealing with the Governor and Terminus, Rick is understandably hyper vigilant. Surviving on the road has honed Rick’s instincts to be distrustful of strangers. The very instincts that has kept the group safe and alive could eventually “turn on you” as Michonne put it which appeared what was happening to Rick.

One aspect that makes Rick a good leader is that he listens to the advice of others even if it’s against his own instincts. Michonne stepped up to the plate as a leader in her own right by giving counsel and acting as a voice of reason. Previous episodes like “Clear” which built the relationship between Michonne and Rick paid off here.  They have a mutual respect for each other but more than that, characters who become apart of Rick’s inner circle work better on the show.

the walking dead season 5 episode 11 Abraham

People Like Us

Aaron took quite a bit of abuse and hostility from Rick. It’s interesting that as overly accommodating as Aaron is, the one thing that he’s consistently unwilling to compromise on is Eric’s well-being, which is an effective, quick hand way to establish their relationship. 

The fact that Aaron went to great lengths to recruit Rick’s group says one thing.  Survivors who have lived through all the dangers out there are the greatest resource for any growing community.  Rick’s group are bad-asses, even when starving and having a trail of walkers following them, they remained as a tight unit as seen last week. Who wouldn’t want Daryl and Rick as a part of their crew?

Road To Alexandria

It’s fast becoming an over-used device when someone takes their eyes off the road for a split second a whole bunch of walkers appear out of nowhere. But what it led to was an intense action sequence and Glenn narrowly surviving a close call. No matter what obstacles got in the way, like the low voltage battery on the RV, this episode had this feeling that nothing was going to stop the group from getting to their destination. It just happened a lot faster than expected.

A lot of tension throughout the episode, particularly the scene in the car, is achieved by playing up whether Aaron is leading Rick’s group to a trap or not. The sound of children on the other side of the fence drives home the point that this isn’t going to be another Woodbury or Terminus.  The show has done the false sanctuary before, so to avoid repeating themselves it’s reasonable to presume the writers are going to go in a different direction.

To handle a large cast, previous seasons have seen the survivors splinter off into smaller groups or pairings. For a second episode in a row, the entire group is involved. For the most part, this episode is pretty strong and focused as there is no B plot to sidetrack from the main story. It’s a little nitpick though that some characters like Carol didn’t get much to do or say.  Next episode will likely spend time on establishing a whole new bunch of people so it’ll be interesting to see how the show balances even more characters to an already sizeable cast.

Was Rick right to be so distrustful of Aaron? What do you like or dislike about this episode? 

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Posted on February 23, 2015, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Being honest, when they rolled up to Alexandria and started to hear the “children”, I was looking out for signs of speakers mounted somewhere beyond the wall. Aaron had no pictures of people, just of the facilities. There was nobody manning the gate that I could see. Now with fortifications like that chances are you wouldn’t need many to walk the walls, so to speak, but it seems a bit idiotic that they wouldn’t post some form of guard. Maybe we’ll see that in the next ep.

    Anyway, I’m pretty suspicious (naturally, who wouldn’t be?) about this place and the people inside. I don’t really know why Aaron had such a hard on for Rick’s group, and the only viable trade off I can see is that they just need muscle, giving me the impression that we’ve a bunch of weeds inside. I mean, why else would they send someone like Aaron or Eric, neither of whom look all that tough, out on runs on the outside?

    Looking forward to next week’s ep, this is getting interesting.

    • It would be so devious and creepy if the sound of children was from speakers beyond the wall. That’s a good point about no guards seen at the gate or wall, I’m guessing next episode will address some of these questions. It’s also a little creepy that Aaron was not only watching them but eavesdropping from a distance with that listening device. But I guess he had to assess whether Rick’s group were good people or not before potentially risking his safety to recruit them. I think it’s natural to think that Aaron might have some ulterior motive, maybe Rick’s group will have to earn their keep by doing some questionable deeds.

      This being TWD, I’d imagine there will be further mysteries, intrigue or suspense when we see what’s on the other side of the gate. And Rick will continue to look for any suspicious signs. It’s possible that the gun he planted for safe keeping’s outside the gate will come into play somehow. I really like where this episode left off. Looking forward to next week ep’s!

  2. Again, the slight disadvantage of reading the comics is knowing how these situations will play out and knowing that a. Aaron is being completely straightforward and b. Alexandria is just what he made it out to be. I figure that the man has taken his fair share of lumps as a recruiter, but the fact that he’s still willing to seek out the group and not hide anything shows his integrity. Rick has every reason to be suspicious, yes, but like Michonne said, the group has taken on the likes of her and Tara, who was in cahoots with The Governor. If they can take on seemingly dangerous people, so can others.

    • That’s a good point, for comic book readers there’s no doubt as to what’s really going on. Aaron had a forthcoming explanation for everything which could come off as ‘it’s too good to be true’ for non-readers. Yes, Rick has every reason to be suspicious, he’s responsible for the group and for his baby & son. One wrong decision in this world could have deadly consequences. Even someone like Gabriel who may not be evil by nature is capable of doing something horrific or stupidly dangerous.

  3. If this was the second season, the group would’ve been lost in the woods for several episodes.

    But I digress. I wouldn’t say this was one of the best episodes, but the show has clearly seen an improvement in direction and acting. Rick’s eyes when he hears the children. Rick being Rick. The red herring involving the pictures that came out of nowhere. The vibrant red cinematography at night.

    I hope the series keeps this up.

    • I’m glad this wasn’t a filler episode where the group wanders around in the woods.

      There’s a lot to like in this ep but I also wouldn’t say it was one of the best. I really liked the close up on Rick eyes and that reaction to the sound of children playing. It’s also cool whenever we get a night time action sequence, it got pretty intense in those scenes.

      • Next week’s episode will probably be more psychological. There is no way in hell the group are going to separate their anxiety from living on the run with Alexandria’s calm environment. I want to see how they pull off PTSD.

        • That’s my guess too. I think our group are going to be super suspicious and jumpy at first. It may also feel eerie to them living in those well-kept homes. Maybe they might feel some survivors guilt too for making it to the safety zone while others like Tyreese and Beth didn’t.

  4. There’s more of this world to explore, which is both wonderful, as well as terrifying. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Nice review.

    • The thing about the show is that whenever or wherever the survivors start feeling like it’s safe, we know it won’t be for too much longer lol. Nice to see the group make it to the DC area, it’s a whole new area to explore and discover. Thanks Dan!

  5. I like Aaron because of what he did before the apocalypse. He would go into war-torn country and offer aid. He’d been beaten and threatened by people who were going to kill him and he knows the difference. He’s the perfect man for the job. Also if you look at our group. There are women who aren’t being raped, a child, an infant that hasn’t been abandoned and a priest and the group are absolute badasses. They probably tracked other groups moving through their area and stayed away from most of them. I liked this episode a lot.

    • I’m glad you brought that up because when Aaron told his back story it made a lot of sense about his character but I didn’t write much notes while watching this time so I forgot to mention that in the recap. I think it’s really interesting how much Aaron believed Rick’s group to be good people even after getting punched and held prisoner. His life before the apocalypse helped explain why he was so understanding and perceptive. He also had that listening device so he probably learnt enough about the group and how they would react before deciding to recruit them.

  6. I loved this episode. I understood where Rick was coming from, but at the same time I really wanted to believe Aaron. Partly because I want a nice place for our characters and partly because doing the guy that seems good and is secretly evil or whatever thing again… well I didn’t want to see that again already. Anyway, much better than last week’s snoozefest! Great review!

    • It’s awesome that you loved this episode, I know last week was kind of boring for you and for lots of other viewers. The group went from a very low point to what seems to be a very fortunate break for them. We’re so used to deception on this show that it’s kind of a twist if a person is who he says he is haha. It’s nice if the characters are in a better place for now, because I’m sure they’ll be lots of drama and thrills to follow. Thanks Matthew!

  7. I can’t add anything here as I haven’t seen the show as you know, but I just saw Steven Yeun on Conan the other day, that guy is hilarious!

    • It’s always incredibly nice of you to stop by even though you haven’t seen the show! I hope to have some movie posts soon. 😀 Yeun on Conan is funny stuff and a cool guy. He’s grown as an actor too.

      • Oh, there’s always something you can comment on 🙂 I hope that Yeun gets more work now that he’s caught people’s attention. He must be good if he hasn’t been killed off on this show yet, ahah.

        • I hope Yeun gets more work too, I see a few former cast members popping up in various movies and other shows which is nice . Haha, his character has had some close calls recently but so far so good. 😉

  8. This was a solid episode for me. Progression of the story and group dynamic that all played out in a way that made sense. I’m enjoying the Rick/Michonne dynamic. She provides a balance that isn’t judgmental or preachy and she challenges him in way he can understand and appreciate. I liked the quick way they treated Aaron and Eric’s relationship. It was obvious these two mean a lot to each other but the story didn’t didn’t spend a lot of time explaining why. I really like these two characters in the short time we’ve seen them. They offer some freshness to the story which is really needed.
    Agree about the “whoa, where did all those walkers come from as I took my eyes off the road for three seconds” thing. That’s happened too many times and they’ll hopefully do away with it soon. Happy they got to Alexandria so fast. Given the 2nd half of the season is so short, it’s nice they didn’t waste time by overplaying the group being beat down and dejected. I’m expecting the next few episodes to be fairly decent. As long as the writers don’t drag the story line out too much.

    • I really like how the story unfolded and left us with the group going thru the gates. Nice that you enjoyed the Rich/Michonne dynamic too.I liked how she handled herself, she got her points across respectfully. The writers handled Aaron & Eric with enough info to make them interesting and still kind of mysterious which is a good balance.

      Last season it took them half a season to get to the Terminus so I thought they were going to do the same with Alexandria. It’s nice that the group isn’t going to mope around. As long as the story keeps moving forward and interesting things happen, I’m okay with them staying put in one location for a while. DC is whole new area for them to explore.

  9. Solid episode. We are FINALLY at alexandria. And that car through crowd of zombies 😀

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