AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman
* For a review of the previous episode, “Start to Finish” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Next World” – click here
Back from the midseason break, we begin as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) meet a group of bikers who claim all their things “belong to Negan” now. The three survivors are disarmed by the bikers, otherwise known as The Saviors. These guys are quite concerned with who Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham are, what they have to give over, where they live.
“Ding, dong, Hell‘s bells,” taunts the main biker after Abraham asks: “Who‘s Negan?”
Sneaky Daryl finds an RPG and blows the whole Saviors crew into the sky. Almost appears an act of God at first before Daryl steps from behind their truck. Good save. But are they safe for long with Negan clearly scouring the Earth, or his proxies that is, looking for people, their guns, their things?
“If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble:
bite, chew, swallow, repeat.”
Cut to where we last left Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Jesse (Alexandra Breckenridge), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and most of the others— covered in guts, blood, wandering through the hordes of walkers. Jesse’s son Sam (Major Dodson) wasn’t doing so well mentally recently, but none of them are particularly doing so hot now. Rick tries to get a new plan in order. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) offers to take little Judith: “I‘m supposed to— I have to.” Everyone else sticks to their guns, even young Sam, and Gabriel promises Rick sternly he will keep the baby safe. However, Rick is terrified, no matter how strong he appears on the outside.
They all forge on in a new direction, but the zombies are too thick. Tara (Alanna Masterson), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) remain stuck inside, as well as a banged up Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James). They’re all worried for Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever), taken by the Alpha Wolf (Benedict Samuel), who moves her along through Alexandria, headed who knows where.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) end up at the church to take a moment and try regrouping. She’s trying to hold herself together and be strong. He tries keeping her hopes up. They end up on the same page soon enough.
With Rick, Carl and their small group heading past hordes of walkers in the streets, the group is no closer to safety. Each corner there are more and more lining Alexandria. In the mist of it all, Sam sees a small child walking, zombified. Everyone tries to make him move, but he won’t, and a walker bites into his arm, another munching on his skull. Then the screams begin. Jesse wails for her dead son still holding his hand. It all devolves. Jesse is taken next when the zombies swarm. The rest of them try staying silent. A tough thing to do. With Jesse’s dead hand still gripping Carl, Rick is forced to chop her arm off.
Then Ron (Austin Abrams) pulls a gun on Rick.
Before he can shoot, Michonne impales him with her sword. Everything’s fine. Except Carl turns mumbling “dad“— his right eye gone, blood spurting. He falls to the ground. Rick picks him up, then he and Michonne run for safety— somewhere, anywhere.
Everybody’s in hiding aside from Rick, Carl and Michonne.
In a basement, the Alpha Wolf looks longingly out the window at the zombies pushing towards the gunfire. He seems pretty confident about himself. Denise reminds him their group is the reason why his “friends are dead.” After that, he gets bitten. And Denise tells him she’ll save his life if he’ll help her get to the infirmary.
Carol and Morgan are inside debating how Morgan didn’t do anything to benefit the group, but only thought of himself. Carol believes she should’ve killed Morgan. These are two hard characters, each in their own right. They’ve both lost children, lots their loved ones, and now they’re confronted with one another, at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Carol ends up saving Denise, shooting the Alpha Wolf and allowing the doc to get inside where others such as Aaron (Ross Marquand) are hiding. Finally, Rick makes it inside with Carl, and Denise takes charge, beginning makeshift surgery. Poor Rick constantly loses people in his life— he and Jesse were just starting to get close, now she and both her boys are gone. Worse is the way Rick always handles these chaotic moments. He goes out on the street with an axe and starts mowing down walkers, one after one, no concern for anything or anyone, least of all himself. Michonne, Ross and a few others storm the street to help Rick try clearing out the hordes of undead. More people run out and Rick assures everyone: “We can beat ‘em.”
Father Gabriel takes Judith to safety, then takes up a machete and tells the others God wants them to save Alexandria themselves. Love that Gabriel has this watershed moment! Also, the deaths in this episode were pretty damn wild. Even Morgan gives up his “life is precious” bit to put the zombie Alpha Wolf down.
Enid and Glenn do their best to try and save Maggie (Lauren Cohan) stranded up on the wall. However, he finds himself backed into a corner with walkers bearing down on all sides. He fights and fights, pushing them away, firing off rounds.
Out of nowhere, Abraham and Sasha appear at the top of the wall. They gun down the walkers in front of Glenn while Abraham cracks wise. Daryl picks him up then things take shape. On the streets, Rick and the crew continue fighting. Tara, Eugene and Rosita head out to help. Ole Eugene does his damnedest to redeem himself like Gabriel, as well.
Daryl empties a ton of gas out of the fuel truck and sets a massive blaze with the RPG launcher. The flames draw walkers while Rick and Co., keep killing. The editing in this sequence is absolutely incredible. We go back and forth between walkers setting on fire in the blaze, to all the survivors hacking, slashing, stabbing, slicing, to more walkers pushing through the streets.
One of the greatest sequences ever on this series. Father Gore’s said that a lot this season.
Once the smoke clears, figuratively and literally, the group remains standing. Zombies litter the streets. Everybody waits to see how Carl’s doing. Rick sits by his side, talking to his boy about “rebuilding” and “expanding the walls,” realising “everything Deanna was talking about” is within their capable reach. He realises the potential of the people in that town— they’re strong, and they can band together when necessary.
“I wanna show you the New World,” Rick says to his son.
Then Carl’s hand curls around his father’s, and hope lives once again.
“The Next World” is next time.