The Walking Dead has a bad habit of low points before they reach their season enders, and “Try” is really no exception. “Try” is one of the more forced episodes of the season, one that doesn’t just flip the script by completely transforming Rick into a villain, but into Shane. It’s surprising that this isn’t brought up more often within the confines of the series, because it’s become the crux of what the show is all about. Shane accepted the new law of the land while Rick fought hard to preserve his own humanity. Now Rick is just like Shane, and there isn’t much ballyhoo behind this transformation.
Not even Carl seems to be noting that Rick is only taking special interest in Jessie because he has a thing for her, much in the way Shane sought to save Carl mainly because he was in love with Rick’s wife Lori. Rick’s gone full on villain in “Try,” and it’s hard to find a way to root for him after such a misguided attempt to save Jessie and her son. Everything Rick has done to this point can be likened to Walter White: both convinced themselves that a lot of what they’ve done has been for the sake of themselves and their family. Now Rick is out to just do it for himself.
Sasha’s mission to stop the Walkers not only develops her and explores her need to prove to herself that she’s willing to take the dead head on, unlike Tyreese, but highlights that the surrounding area of Alexandria isn’t safe. The community needs more than check points and secure perimeters, but sweeps across the land, with the Alexandrians bringing down the Walkers at all corners. Carl is potentially setting himself up for a crushing let down with Enid and their scenes are mainly inserted for a bittersweet flower in trash heap metaphor as their romance blossoms. And there’s the W again. Many people think it’s an M for Morgan, who hasn’t been seen since being teased in the first half of the season, but it’s beginning to look like so much more, especially now with Aaron and Daryl discovering a freshly reanimated corpse with the W on it. This is a less engaging scene than what goes down this week with Glenn and Sasha, though it’s more interesting than Rick’s mini-arc, if only because Rick digs himself into a hole the more the episode progresses.
Surely Rick and Carol have something to gain and or contribute to this issue, but nothing materializes. There is just more filler, save for the idea that along with being unsuited to the realities of post-Walker life, Alexandria has no idea how to confront real world problems like domestic abuse. Not only do they have to focus on learning the ropes from the post-apocalyptic view, but realize that there are calls for rules and sentencing beyond exile. The final scene is ripped right out of the comic books, with the fight scene with Rick beautifully choreographed and edited to become a cliffhanger and crucial moment in Rick’s evolution and the evolution of Alexandria’s law. Ending with Michonne doing the necessary thing is forseeable from a mile away–for the entire episode, Rick does nothing but prop himself up to take the fall and become a pariah–but more than anything, she’s saving Rick. There would likely have been a lot of shooting if she didn’t put him down.
In next week’s finale, we’re likely going to see the gun Nicholas gets from the coffee jar again, and in disastrous ways. “Try” gives a strong sense of how well Nicholas is going to handle Glenn giving him orders and telling him how affairs will be composed, now that Noah has died. The confrontation with Nicholas and Glenn is great, mainly because it signifies how desperately Glenn is trying to make Alexandria work for himself and everyone else and how angry he is about Noah’s death, to the point where he’s willing to demand control over future events to avoid losing other good people. Glenn’s confessional, paired with Nicholas’, is gut wrenching, and Deanna seems to be keeping the records not so much for posterity’s sake but to use them as incriminating evidence in what could become trials in the future.
There’s a feeling Noah’s death will have fallout for a long time, right into season seven, as Glenn has lost someone he saw promise in and is surrounded by people who are ruining what could be his final chance to live in peace and away from the dead. Despite its exploration of the psychology and long-lasting effects of Alexandria, much of this penultimate episode is dedicated to setting up the finale, which makes “Try” a lesser episode on its own.