The Walking Dead recap: Always ‘Remember’ Rick’s dearly departed beard

the walking dead recap always remember ricks dearly departed beard s05e12 03
Gene Page/AMC
Forget Dale. Forget Lori. Forget Bob, Beth, and Tyreese. Tragic, horrible deaths, all of them — but they pale in comparison to the greatest Walking Dead death of them all: Rick’s beard.

The former law man became a current law man, sans beard, in the latest round of The Walking Dead, as Rick Grimes and his group of survivors finally returned to civilization. After weeks and weeks on the road without any concrete notion of salvation, the Ricktatorship can now kick back and relax in Alexandria, a walled-in community just a handful of miles away from Washington, D.C. — although relaxation doesn’t come so easily for any of these people.

Take Rick, for instance. Here’s a man so traumatized by his experiences in the apocalypse that he almost got his entire fellowship killed on the way to Alexandria, because he couldn’t trust a single, smiling stranger. Even now, inside of Alexandria, Rick appears reluctant to accept the new status quo. He’s the first of his group to meet with Deanna Monroe, the community’s leader, and a former Washington congresswoman. Under her leadership, Alexandria has flourished where so many others have perished. The community has been insulated from most of the horrors associated with the zombie outbreak, to the point that Monroe’s fellow Alexandrians are, in a word, soft. Even she admits her people’s weaknesses, which is why she’s thrilled to have some true, hardened survivors like Rick and friends under her roof.

Walking Dead S05E11 - 12-1
Gene Page/AMC

Deanna isn’t the only one excited that Rick’s people have joined Alexandria. There’s Jessie, a mother of two, who seems to take a liking to Rick, even as her husband comes across as seriously shady, throwing shade at Rick at night from the comfort of his porch. There’s Jessie’s kids, too, who are thrilled to have a new playmate in Carl. For his part, Carl is just as happy, if not happier, to finally catch his breath and play some video games.

But that doesn’t mean Carl is breathing too easily. Games are great, yes, but survival is greater, and he’s concerned about that prospect. It’s nice to have a roof over his head, and walls as added protection, but he’s worried about how these safety measures might weaken all of the strength he and his companions have gained under Rick’s reign. Likewise, Glenn notices weakness in Alexandria’s foundation, getting into a fight with Deanna’s douche-bag son Aiden when a supply run almost goes completely off the rails. No one’s more uneasy than Daryl Dixon, who is so fearful of society that he refuses to take a shower.

Rick is worried, too, but he’s willing to give Alexandria a fair shake. He accepts a job as the community’s new constable, with Michonne serving as his right-hand woman. He allows Carl to have a playdate with Jessie’s kids, and even allows himself to make a new friend in Jessie. Heck, Rick even shaves his beard, putting an end to the most ferocious facial hair on television, and bringing him back to his boyish Love Actually roots. He might not be convinced that Alexandria has what it takes to keep his people safe forever, but he’s willing to give it a shot. It’s the best available option at the moment.

Walking Dead S05E12 01
Gene Page/AMC

Besides, Rick has a plan. He wouldn’t be Rick Grimes if he didn’t have some tricks up his sleeve. And these tricks are sure to please not just some of his more civilization-averse compatriots, but the audience as well. When night falls on their third day in town, Rick steps out onto his front porch with dirty Daryl and prim-and-proper Carol, wearing a baby blue blouse that negates her Sarah Connor street cred just as much as Rick’s murdered beard makes him look like a fashion model. Both Carol and Daryl express their concerns about Alexandria making them weak — that these people, who have never seen apocalyptic life outside of these walls, aren’t capable of surviving in this world. Rick reveals that he shares their fears, but isn’t all that worried about it.

“If they can’t make it, we’ll just take it,” he says, and by it, he means Alexandria. It turns out that you can take the savagery out of Rick’s facial hair, but you can’t take the savagery out of the man himself. The Ricktatorship remains alive and well, civilization be damned.

Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Buster Scruggs,’ ‘Missing Link,’ ‘Mowgli’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mortal Engines, and the first trailer for Missing…
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Out of the loop on BioWare's new game, 'Anthem'? Here's everything we know

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Home Theater

PlayStation Vue adds more local channels, bringing the total to over 600

PlayStation Vue is Sony's answer to live TV without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. To help you understand the service, its plans, and numerous features, we've created this handy guide.
Movies & TV

Michelle Yeoh reportedly in talks for stand-alone ‘Star Trek’ show

Reports claims that actress Michelle Yeoh is in talks to reprise her Star Trek: Discovery role in a spin-off series. The series will focus on Georgiou being recruited into Section 31, a secretive organization within Starfleet.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘Room 104,’ German thriller ‘Beat,’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Room 104 returns for a second season, Robert the Bruce fights for Scotland's throne, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

‘The Grinch’ steals the box-office crown from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch is the new box-office champion, knocking off Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and posting a better opening weekend than Jim Carrey's 2000 live-action film based on the character.
Movies & TV

The ‘Toy Story 4’ teaser trailer is here to fork with your emotions

Disney released the first teaser trailer for its latest addition to the Toy Story franchise. The quick glimpse of what's to come shows all our favorite toys back in action, as well as a strange -- and seemingly unhinged -- new character.