Nicholas' attempted coup gets resolved very quickly, but it's the aftermath that illuminates a lot of cracks in the community as everyone deals with the fallout from the day's drama. As expected, Nicholas was not the story itself, but the engine to reset the status quo.
This was a very talkie issue, but really hammered home the differences between the sheltered members of Alexandria and Rick's hardy band of survivors.
Rick continues to reveal further facets of himself with both Carl and Andrea. The final scene felt very fulfilling, a little bit expected, and perhaps inevitable. Despite the good feelings it elicited, it won't last, of course, given this is The Walking Dead, and Kirkman has hinted that all is not well.
Nicholas surrenders, fully expecting to be shot. But Rick tells him he's not going to kill him or his cohorts, and to just go home, though they'll be keeping an eye on him. He chides them all for taking for granted the virtual paradise that the community offers, given they've never had to fight for their lives like Rick and his group.
After the tense standoff, Rick goes to see Carl, who is actually fine enough to go home, so the two of them leave the doctor's house. Carl asks Rick if he would be sad if he had died, which shocks his father. Carl has been trying to deal with everything by not being sad, so Rick tells him to allow himself to let it all out, and leave it to his father to be the strong one.
Abraham and Holly are going to bed, commenting on the pent up frustrations among the townsfolk. She suggests the community is a powder keg, and while she does like Rick, there comes a time when certain people have to go. And she thinks Abraham is a much better person to make decisions. "You think so?" he muses (yikes!).
Maggie has a bit of a breakdown after the standoff, and tells Glen she can't take this anymore. She's lost the sense of security she had with the town, and can't deal with another round of chaos.
Nicholas shows up, and Rick sends Carl inside. Nicholas isn't there to fight, but to apologize. He explains that his ego got the best of him. He had been a failure before the apocalypse and resented having to dig ditches again. He tells Rick he was completely right but assures him he's not crazy. Rick responds rather indifferently.
Nicholas departs as Andrea arrives, and Rick commiserates with her about the feelings he had when Nicholas pulled his gun. He just wanted to kill him. Not that he had to, he just wanted to. That's his normal reaction to conflict these days. Despite his efforts to build a better life for them, he's unsure if he's capable of living it. He feels he died a long time ago.
Andrea has been inching closer on the couch during the conversation. She tells him it's time he came back to life and kisses him.
I really enjoyed this month for its subtle but very important developments. Another big character issue, these last few have been leading to this union for awhile. I'd been wondering if Andrea and Rick would find themselves drawn together (if not her, then Michonne), and it finally happens in a really sweet way, which means disaster is sure to follow.
Rick's confessions over the last few issues have painted a thorough picture where he is at these days. With both him and (perhaps) Carl reaching a turning point in their emotional development, they could either head towards better days or get run off the rails very quickly should other events intercede.
One of these variables is Abraham. In hindsight, Abraham's quiet musing on the status quo has been building very subtly with throw away comments here and there. But at this juncture it still appears to be premature to count him as the new dissenter stirring rebellion. That will amount to quite a betrayal for Rick, considering he's relied on the man for so long now.
I'm most concerned for Maggie and Glen. Glen's paranoia about his time being up some months back, coupled with Maggie's history of emotional fragility makes me wonder if either of them are on the chopping block in the near future.
It seems like it's been awhile since a major threat from outside has hit Alexandria. There's enough brewing right now among the characters to cause sufficient problems, but I feel there has to be something up Kirkman's sleeve that's going to come out of left field, especially with all the talk of dwindling food supplies.