The Walking Dead season 5 brings its 15th episode to life with Sunday’s “Try,” as Rick upsets the Alexandria order in dealing with Jessie and her abusive husband Pete, while Daryl and Aaron make a shocking discovery outside the walls.

Last week’s The Walking Dead installment, “Spend,” saw a mission to repair the power grid going awry, Father Gabriel having a crisis of conscience over the group’s arrival in Alexandria, while Carol discoveeds something sinister about Pete and Jessie’s family. So, what does the penultimate episode of season 5 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about The Walking Dead season 5, episode 15, “Try”!

The Walking Dead fandom has a tendency to grow restless whenever the show settles into any particular safe haven for too long. We certainly saw that when Season 2 spent an entire year on Hershel’s farm early (perhaps too early) in the series’ run, while life at the prison never settled long enough to establish any truly specific quality of life to protect, instead dividing the narrative with attempts to build up the natures of Woodbury and its despotic Governor. Paraphrasing a great man of days gone bye, never half-ass two things, but lend undivided ass to one.

Alexandria has proven a welcome change for the series, not merely by Season 5 taking tremendous pain to highlight Rick’s group at their lowest, but also in establishing its people and way of life so genuinely. Granted, a number of its residents still seem entirely oblivious to the brutality of life outside the walls, rebuilding civilization on a smaller scale still brings with it plenty of moral dilemmas without easy answers.

So while we never quite expected The Walking Dead to shift focus into Rick embracing his new Andy Griffith image, “Try” still poses an intriguing question of morality for Rick’s group through all facets. Not solely for the obvious violation of Pete abusing his wife, but also in how Rick’s personal investment in the matter complicates his position, and as Deanna points out, how Pete’s own value to the community as a surgeon affords him some protective status.

It seems a distant memory that Rick began the series as a deputy, and likely saw any number of domestic abuses unfold in exactly the same tragic progression, but old world experience only tells so much of the story. Even if Rick and Deanna worked things out to have someone protectively separating Pete and Jessie at all times, the man would inevitably prove a liability even exile wouldn’t fix. For the first time in the series’ history, Rick’s people have bonded to an ideal that no liability can be allowed to threaten, at least in Rick’s extreme (and admittedly colored) view.

It’s especially fitting that “Try” begins from the perspective of Deanna and her grieving family, a small consideration, given how little we knew self-professed douchebag Aiden, but an important precedent to establish, as our first time viewing the impact of Rick’s group without the aid of any POV characters. Apart from Rick and Jessie, or to a lesser extent Glenn and Nicholas, the only other intermingling of Alexandrians and our core heroes occurs outside the community walls, ostensibly between those who already admit to having difficulty integrating.

Or grasping the efficacy of trees as protection.

Michonne too plays a key role in the hour, not solely as someone who embraces Alexandria enough to leave her sword behind on missions, but a survivor who recognizes and shares the post-traumatic stress displayed by Sasha, and thereby with the capacity to recognize Rick having lost his way*. We had the benefit of seeing Pete throw the first punch, and the moral authority to recognize the need for immediate intervention in his home life, though in that particular moment of the brawl, Rick wobbles and waves around a gun at innocents, spewing frightened and angry rhetoric, seeming every bit the bloodied and soulless threat they’d previously grown accustomed to taking down outside the walls without a second thought.

*Granted The Walking Dead’s ever-increasing cast prevents every character from appearing in every episode, but it seemed especially notable in afterthought that Abraham apparently missed out on the entire affair, or that Gabriel was too busy to see his warnings given physical form. And hey, does anyone remember Morgan?

So while Alexandria had plenty of effective drama within its own walls, it was especially nice of “Try” to keep things moving out in the wilderness as well, whether by Carl’s continued friendship with Enid, or Daryl and Aaron’s continued uncovery of the mysterious “W” walkers. Headed into the finale next week, it’s difficult to make heads or tails of Carl’s first reciprocated crush, and certainly Sasha’s continued PSTD outbursts have run their course narratively, but the ominous arrival of another nefarious group well-sets up some major conflict for next week’s climax, one Alexandria may be caught ill-prepared for, given Rick’s current state.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • I liked the visual of Rick continually fixating on Sam’s red balloon or the toy boat, but after a few appearances, I couldn’t get past my notes on its heavy-handed symbolism. It’s a glaring distress call, like the family’s! Only it’s a toy, the way Rick sees Alexandria as a smaller, manufactured way of life! Also, it’s way out in the water, but the distance is negligible, like neighbors! The rat symbolizes obviousness!
  • Disappointed Carl and Enid playing in the woods lacked a “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” accompaniment.
  • So, did Nicholas find and re-bury Rick’s gun, or was that a different weapon? Strange that it never came up again.
  • Seriously, Morgan? Morgan? Bueller?

Stay tuned for more coverage of The Walking Dead season 5's latest, and join us next week for our review of The Walking Dead‘s next episode, Season 5 finale “Conquer” on AMC!