On last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes and his motley crew got their first taste of life in the Alexandria Safe Zone, a key port that may serve as the base of operations for quite a while if the comic book storyline is followed.
Due to the importance of Alexandria and what it could mean for the show and its characters, it seemed right to look at the ways that last night’s episode did and didn’t stay in line with its comic book counterpart.
[Warning: There Will Be Walking Dead Comic Book And TV Show Spoilers Here]
When Rick’s group reaches Alexandria in issue #70 of the comic book, Aaron tells him about the community leader’s interview process and says, “Answer all his questions honestly, even if you feel like you shouldn’t, and you’ll be fine.” Though most of the gang did exactly that while being interviewed on the show last night, Carol didn’t listen as she went into “Happy Homemaker” mode after offering nervous smiles while surrendering the small armory on her back at the front gate. Junior League? Finding fulfillment in making her husband dinner? Carol should have told them about her experience with flowers and caring for the sick.
The gender-swap of Douglas Monroe is probably the most noticeable change from the comic book in last night’s episode, but there are other differences that mean more to the story.
Former congressperson Deanna Monroe comes off as tough, but fair and very likeable. Douglas Monroe, on the other hand, was a bit more intense, going to a very dark place in issue #70 when he told Rick Grimes about a child whose father had eaten his eyes before the zombie turn to explain that there has always been evil in the world. Unlike Douglas, Deanna doesn’t cop to killing two people either, but she does admit to exiling three residents.
Will we come to find out that one of those exiles was Davidson? In the comics, Davidson is described as the man who built the fence before Monroe came along, and he’s someone who was cast out by Douglas Monroe after he put people in jeopardy as community leader. You may have noticed last night that Deanna Monroe said that her husband and sons built the fence. Is that a change in the story or a bit of subterfuge on Deanna’s part?
Rick sets his watch as soon as he finds out what time it is from Deanna, but while that isn’t a direct copy of something from the comics, he is quite interested in the date and the way that Douglass has kept a handle on what day it is as the community celebrates Halloween in issue #71.
The Walking Dog
Two episodes ago, Rick’s starving band of survivors found themselves eating a wild dog to stave off hunger. Last night, Rick saw a woman in Alexandria walking her dog down the street while Daryl isolated himself in a corner by bar-like spindles of the front porch (metaphor!). Though it may seem like a minor moment, this was actually pulled from the comic (issue #71) and a scene when Rick and Andrea were standing on the porch reflecting on how weird it is to be someplace normal.
In the comic, Olivia is the pantry manager who delivers goods to Rick and then offers to cut his hair and give him the 411 on the community. On the show, Olivia has seemingly merged with Jessie Anderson, who is played by American Horror Story alum Alexandra Breckenridge.
Jessie is Ron’s mom and Pete’s wife in both iterations, but the TV version introduces a second child into the mix for reasons that may or may not become clear later on. Carl got to know Ron a little last night, and Pete made his presence known, but we didn’t get to see any evidence of his abusive side. What we did see, however, was a bit of chemistry between Rick and Jessie, and that may be a clue that Robert Kirkman is going to stick to the comic book storyline when it comes to Jessie Anderson.
Under One Roof
It’s Abraham and not Rick who comes up with the idea to sleep under one roof in the comic after everyone surrenders their weapons. Abraham is nearly non-existent in this episode.
Speaking of those weapons, Rick and his gang are asked to turn in their guns well after they arrive in Alexandria in the comic. The begrudgingly compliant end result is the same, but Michonne’s desire to keep her sword in the comic isn’t addressed. We do get to see Daryl toting around his crossbow and his possum, however. That feels like a “from my cold dead hand” situation.
Deanna’s Son And What Lies Beyond The Gate
The scenes with Deanna’s reckless douchebag son Aidan and Glenn — in the woods and back at the community after he almost gets Tara killed — may be a stand-in for the sequence in the comics when Abraham saved Holly’s life while working on the construction crew beside Tobin as he basically abandoned her in favor of the Phalanx formation. In that moment, Abraham demonstrated how little the Alexandria group knew about handling the walkers, and Glenn basically did the same with Aidan. The only difference is that in the comic, Tobin quickly surrendered control of the construction crew to Abraham, and I don’t see Aidan giving Glenn anything but a hard time.
In the comic, Monroe asks Rick to help him figure out which job best suits Michonne. It’s Rick who suggests that she become a constable with him.
“Then We’ll Just Take This Place.”
Last night’s episode ended exactly where issue #71 and the Volume 12 trade did, with Rick making it clear that if Alexandria isn’t ready for them, they’ll just take it. The big difference is that Rick was talking to Carol and Daryl on the show when he said it, one character who died long ago in the comic and another who never existed. How will their presence change things? Will the show continue to stay mostly true to the comic? Will the Ricktatorship return? We’ll have to wait and see.