Surviving The Walking Dead: Domestic Abusers Gotta Die

Illustration for article titled Surviving iThe Walking Dead/i: Domestic Abusers Gotta Die

What do you do in a society where prison doesn't exist and people do evil things? Rick Grimes has a solution: execution.

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Domestic abuse was at the center of Sunday night's episode, which once again exposed humans as the biggest post-Apocalyptic threat (notice the pattern) and forced Rick into a decision designed to fuck it up for everybody else and their future stay at Alexandria. Here's What Would Jezebel Do?

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1) What would we do with the domestic abuser?

Now that Carol's confirmed through Sam that Pete has been hitting Jessie, Pete's fate is all but secured. Carol knows this horror, having had to travel around with her abusive husband Ed until it eventually took care of itself, and thus she proposes killing Pete. But when Rick suggests this to Deanna, she's like eh.... She's incredulous that Rick would contemplate killing a person and tells him Alexandria isn't a place where they execute people. They're trying to have some semblance of civilization and capital punishment isn't part of it. Deanna, who's still mourning over the death of Aidan (oh right, Aidan was her son), would rather exile Pete if it comes to that.

Deanna's rationale: "We don't kill people. This is civilization."

Rick's: "Warning someone to stop or die, that is civilization."

In trying to decide if Carol and Rick's solution is the most judicial way, the obvious problem is there's no real-world justice system or therapy option in play here. And domestic abuse is hard to battle even in a world where options like rotting in prison exist. Could they create some sort of jail? Then someone would have to maintain that. They do need repercussions for crime, though I'm not sure if exiling is the best solution, either. It's basically the equivalent of killing Pete, who's far from equipped to survive walkers on his own. Like Rick says, there's a possibility he'd return with a vengeance.

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While I'm still cursing Rick for ruining this safe place for everyone, he's right. Previously, Rick has dealt with evil people—the Governor, the Cannibals—by killing them. Those guys, however, were also confirmed murderers. Pete is a dangerous man, not a killer. But he is a man who's slowly killing his wife and putting his son Sam through irreparable emotional damage. Jessie even had to put a bolt inside one of their closets to shield Sam from seeing the abuse.

As al-damn-ways, Rick reaches a boiling point where he feels compelled to make decisions for other people. It doesn't help that he's antagonizing a community that's embraced him. Confusing the matter is that the rest of Rick's crew, including Glenn and Michonne, want to settle there for real, for real. Glenn tells Rick, "We gotta make this work." And Deanna has already warned Rick that the consequence of going against the rules is exile.

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Illustration for article titled Surviving iThe Walking Dead/i: Domestic Abusers Gotta Die

Still, I'm siding with Rick. He makes the right move to approach Jessie in her home and ask her to decide her husband's fate, telling her, "You either fight or you die." She wants Pete gone, so just do it. Unfortunately, Pete pops up at this moment to ponder why Rick is chatting up his wife in their house and they get into a fight that spills into the streets and becomes a violent spectacle.

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2) Would we support Sasha on her zombie hunting mission?

While all this is happening, Sasha has absconded on a mission to take down all the walkers in the world on her own, which sounds like a great plan.

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Everyone's had their own coping mechanisms for dealing with the death of family members and lovers. Most of them (including Carl who lost his mother and Carol who lost her daughter) have managed to keep a relatively cool head and emotions in check, which is incredibly surprising and scary. Sasha's having a normal, albeit dangerously irrational, reaction, clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress.

How do you talk to someone who'd rather be left alone, who's a danger to themselves? With no psychiatrist around (what are the odds that they'll find a surviving therapist?), there's nothing to do but wait out Sasha's emotional distress. The best route seems to be to not make it about you. Michonne and Rosita do a pretty good job just letting Sasha get her anger out, like she needs to. Sasha is back in the tower for now, which is a decent temporary fix. It lets her perform the duty she wants as part of whatever healing process she needs.

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***

This episode ends with Rick and Pete's street scuffle and another one of Rick's mad-man rages. At this point, it doesn't matter whether Pete dies because he's now trying to harm Rick. Wouldn't it be self-defense if he shoots him?

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The one thing I'd argue against Rick is that Deanna seems to have done okay running Alexandria. He tells Deanna, "Your way of doing things is done." He says, "We have to control who lives here" and "Your way is gonna destroy this place." But Alexandria is still standing, while Rick's crew was previously homeless and on-edge. Why does he think her system is inefficient? His way of life has still led to them losing people.

Once the fight is broken up, Rick pulls out a gun and points it at the onlookers and this is where it truly gets out of hand. "You still don't get it! None of you do! We know what needs to be done! We do it!" says Rick, in a fascinating, extremely unhinged monologue.

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Michonne, at last, comes from behind and punches Rick to end this glorious speech and I love her much more. Next week is the season finale. So who's carving the W's on the walker heads? Is it Morgan? Will Rick get the boot? Where's Gabriel mark ass? Are Aaron and Daryl besties now? Should we call them DAaryl?

Image via screenshot/AMC


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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DISCUSSION

5Up-Mushroom
5Up-Mushroom

I can't help but feel that they ruined a really great streak of amazing episodes with this dud. Again, Rick's character falls back into this unlikely boring irrational nonsensical crap that I had hoped the writers would have left back at the prison.

My beefs:
1. If the only reason you are willing to help out a victim of domestic abuse is because you want to bone her, you are an awful person. This is not the same rick from previous episodes and a mental break down is not enough to completely erase the man's ethics.

2. Rick is having problems taking down this drunken asshole whose only form of exercise is beating up his wife who is half his size. Not buying it.

3. Rick in previous episodes is careful, intelligent, and caring. Rick of tonight's episode flips his shit, breaks into pretty lady's house, demands that he gets to kill the drunken asshole beating her up, then gets in a bloody brawl with the guy. This is not the same character.

Hypothesis: Option 1: The writers are drunk. Option 2: there are two Ricks. Rick1 is a brilliant strategist with a mangy beard, wild eyes, and a razor sharp sense of justice. Rick2 is a blood thirsty freshly shaven selfish brain-dead moron that can't think more than 2 seconds into the future. Option 3: Rick has deep troubling issues with schizophrenia that are unrelated to the stress and overall shitty conditions of post-apocalyptic zombie land. Perhaps zombie land is acting as a catalyst. Option 4: Rick's beard has magic powers.