In last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes and the survivors finally made their way into the Alexandria Safe Zone, a self-sustaining housing development where an actual human civilization exists. There, we met Alexandria’s oh-so-benevolent leader, Deanna, who was quick to offer Rick and his crew houses and jobs within the community. Alexandria seemed almost too good to be true, and it may still be, but if there’s anything we learned from last night’s show, it’s not the citizens of Alexandria that pose the biggest threat.
It’s the wolves.
Recall the midseason premiere, where there were several nods to “wolves” hidden in the episode. It’s written out here:
In these two shots, you can see the “W’s,” warning the arrival of the wolves.
It turns out, however, that the “wolves” aren’t the enemy of Rick’s gang. THEY ARE Rick’s gang. They are the wolves, and that metaphor was obvious throughout last night’s episode, from the moment they walked in like a feral pack of dogs. Here’s the thing about wolves: They are pack animals. Wolf packs stick together, as Rick’s gang demonstrated by sleeping in the same house. They mark their territories, and they DO NOT join other packs. In fact, a large percentage (in some cases, more than 50 percent) of wolf deaths come as a result of fights with other wolf packs.
That’s exactly what was going on in last night’s episode. Rick — R.I.P. Rick’s beard — is the pack leader (along with Michonne); Carol — as she noted herself — is the “den mother” — and Daryl is the “lone wolf,” or the guard dog, as the episode took pains to demonstrate. The rest of Rick’s pack also illustrated how much stronger they were than the weak wolf pack in possession of Alexandra, and by episode’s end, it had become apparent that Rick would not deal with threats from the citizens by taking his family and leaving Alexandra, but by taking over their territory. The Alexandria citizens are set to become prey for Rick and his pack.