What Rick and the others discover at the CDC is not exactly what they imagined
Rick and his friends make it to the CDC
Rick and his friends run into a tough situation after Glenn is taken hostage
Merle does the unthinkable to get off the rooftop where he was left handcuffed
Rick Grimes wakes up and the zombie apocalypse is already happening
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete
* For a review of the previous episode, “Heads Up” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “No Way Out” – click here
After last episode, we’re all eager to see how the Alexandrians band together once the wall came crashing down.
This episode begins with young Sam (Major Dodson) up in his room, listening to Tiptoe Through the Tulips on a vinyl, as tons of ants crawl around the window and down to food he’s left rotting. Strange, though, the fact he lays an empty plate at the top of the stairs.
Meanwhile, outside the tower has fallen into Alexandria and torn one of the walls down completely. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is on the frontline, alongside Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) who seems determined to help him. Then there’s Maggie (Lauren Cohan), she manages to climb the ladder up to one of the watch posts, but halfway up the dead almost take her. She gets there, though.
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) almost gets eaten, except for Rosita (Christian Serratos) who blasts him out of it. Even Rick and Deanna, plus others, get saved by Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). After they’re all inside, what’s meant to happen next?
Watching on in horror, Glenn (Steven Yeun) continually has to try and talk Enid (Katelyn Nacon) into not leaving. But Glenn goes on regardless, whether or not she does too is left to be seen.
I’m wondering what’s going to happen with Sam. As the carnage comes back to his house, Deanna injured and general chaos boiling over, the poor kid looks messed up. He’s barely been outside, let alone seen any of the “monsters“, as he calls them.
Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) end up back at his place during the onslaught. She does not particularly trust him, and wants to find out what’s happening in his basement. Downstairs, with Morgan staving off Curious Carol, there’s Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) having an eerie conversation with the remaining Wolf (Benedict Samuel). He’s pretty much at their mercy, but doesn’t appear to care about any of them. Still, Denise starts out to help him.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) is tending to Deanna’s wounds at the Anderson house when she and Rick discover a bite on her waistline. All Deanna has to say: “Well… shit.” Sad to see her go, honestly. Some may not enjoy her character. I liked the way she was envisioning a future for Alexandria, whether or not its entire structure survived ‘whatever comes after this’. There’s a great little scene with Deanna and Michonne, which gives more depth to Deanna as a character, even on her deathbed(/couch). You can see how much she cared, as the life literally slips out of her.
In the Anderson garage, Carl (Chandler Riggs) goes to talk to Ron (Austin Abrams). As always, dickhead Ron comes on with aggression. He tries to go for his gun, but Carl smartly counters before anything can happen. They wrestle for a bit until Rick and Jesse make their way inside. All the noise makes the zombies take notice, and Ron has doomed his own house. The dead come crashing through the gate and into the garage. Even after all that, though, Carl lets it slide. But he speaks plainly to Ron in private, after taking his gun: “Look man, I get it – my dad killed your dad. But you need to know something… your dad was an asshole.”
Deanna and Rick have a very intense, deep conversation. She explains a few things to Rick, about how they’re all HIS people out there. He is them, they are them together. It’s a hard thought for Rick, I think. Because he’s already shouldering everything, all the time. It’s almost as if Deanna places the survival of society as a whole on Rick.
Back at Morgan’s place, Carol pulls a little bait-and-switch tricking him. She runs downstairs to find out what’s going on. But we quickly cut to the Anderson house, as Rick, Michonne and everyone else are pushed upstairs. They bar off the stairs while Rick starts getting a couple zombie corpses to smear themselves with to get over to the armory. We cut back and forth between the people in the Anderson house to a showdown between Carol and Morgan – he will not let her kill the last Wolf, he keeps spouting off how “life is possibility” and so on, all those things he was indoctrinated into while captive a long way back on the road. It’s a tense situation.
Deanna: “Someday this pain will be useful to you. They need you: go.”
Michonne: “Thank you”
Deanna: “For what?”
Michonne: “For believing”
Deanna: “I still believe. I cocked it all up, but I figured it out – what do you want? Now you figure it out”
Michonne: “I will”
Deanna: “Good. Give ‘em hell.”
The final Wolf keeps telling Carol and the others: “You’re not supposed to be here.” We all know he needs to die, Carol knows that. However, Morgan’s not willing to let that happen. He and Carol have a fight, he knocks her out. Then the Wolf knocks him out, pulling a knife off Carol and holding Denise at the end of his blade. As the others at the Anderson house smear dead human blood and meat all over themselves, the Wolf is interrupted by Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Rosita with their guns drawn. He now has Denise as a hostage, backing out into the nasty zombie apocalypse. That’s a bummer, I really like her. I hope she gets away from him.
Then we get another scene where Rick and the survivors make their way out of a horde with zombie guts all over them. A really great montage with excellent music from Bear McCreary. Very inspired sounding stuff, as well as ominous; great electronic sound happening, fitting for the vibe intended. Plus, we also see Deanna take a final stand upstairs, opening the door to willingly face the walking dead down with her gun instead of committing suicide.
The end of this episode is sort of low-key. While the last montage is pretty intense overall, we end with Sam calling out to his mom before things go to black. Sort of a bittersweet ending, as we barely saw any of Glenn/Enid, nor did we get ANY look at Daryl (Norman Reedus) & Co. Either way, I loved this episode, and I don’t think it’s deserving of people whining saying nothing happened, et cetera. Lots happened. Also, what do you expect in the post-zombie world? Mostly struggle ahead. Nevertheless, the teaser for the second half of the season wets our appetite Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan and hard times ahead for the group. Lots to look forward to! And we do at least see Daryl, Abraham and Sasha run into some of Negan’s crew, an ominous tease for the second half of Season 6.
I’ll see you all again on Valentine’s Day, when The Walking Dead returns in all its horrifically oozing glory.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 6: “Always Accountable”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Heather Bellson
* For a review of the previous episode, “Now” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Heads Up” – click here
Another episode keeping the group divided, “Always Accountable” begins with walkie talkie chatter between Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). They cruise down the road, even a little chummy in their disposition over the radio.
Then out of nowhere, some other group attacks them. Daryl ducks under fire over the road. Abraham and Sasha take fire in the care.
But still, these tough sons and sister of bitches are downright bad ass. After Daryl hits the pavement, some zombies descend upon him. He makes it out while Sasha and Abraham gun down men in the car chasing after them. Separated slightly from his two friends, Daryl ends up collapsing on a forest road, surprisingly enough next to a corpse wearing a motorcycle helmet; all the while, Daryl wears nothing except the clothes on his back.
Problem is, now Daryl’s off on his own in the woods somewhere. He’s a little beat up after taking a skid on the bike back with the trigger happy maniacs and the zombies. Something I don’t mention often enough is Norman Reedus, in terms of his acting skill. Even just himself, on his own, the pain he feels comes across as so real. I’ve loved him since I first saw him in Mimic, such a small yet impressionable role. But as Daryl, he plays a rare role – with greatness – in which he’s both a hard, backwoods type of man, and at the same time there is a true, and often, glitter of kindness in his heart. There’s a reason the role was made for Reedus, literally; Darabont loved his audition for Merle, and so created the character specifically for him.
The worst comes when Daryl finds two women following him. Then a guy knocks him out. He gets taken captive by the three, at gunpoint. In the face of possible death, Daryl doesn’t flinch. How many times before AND after the zombie apocalypse happened has Daryl had a gun pointed in his face? Too many to count.
When Daryl does make it away, running off into the woods, he takes an army duffle bag. Once far enough he has to fend off a zombie, then realizes the bag contains insulin. One of the women of the trio who took him captive seemed to have fainted right before Darly ran. Will this affect his good conscience? Or has the new wasteland finally turned him away from having that conscience when danger is too near?
On down the road, Sasha and Abraham scrawl DIXON on a door in case Daryl is trailing behind. They head inside an office building. First, Abraham finds a military man’s uniform decorated with medals, a family photo. You can see a part of his former self, in the good sense, flicker behind his eyes. Afterwards he and Sasha have a bit of a confrontation. Both of them talk about being in control. Each has had a good deal of mental strain over the past while, though, they’re sort of returning to themselves. Surprisingly, it’s Sasha – who at once wanted to basically die – who has her head on the straightest. In some sense, she does get through to Abraham. Although he still puts up such a hard, rigid front.
Sasha: “Without walkers and bullets and shit hittin’ the fan, you’re always accountable.”
Going back to give the trio their bag, Daryl finds himself in a bad situation. Into the forest rolls a huge truck, out come a group of armed men looking for the three people. In a moment of even further conscience, possibly to his own detriment, the backwater cowboy Dixon helps the people who had once treated him harshly. Off they run, hiding for a while. Until Daryl draws one of the men into getting bit by a zombie. The truck and men withdraw, not wanting to pursue any further because “he only wants ass that’s willing, y’know?” – pretty ominous. Is this what I think it is? Are we beginning to see slight introductions to a well-known character coming to the show later this season? Or is it merely another little villain for our heroes to overcome? We’ll see. I can’t remember half of the comics I’ve read up to this point, so some of what’s coming in terms of the adaptation I’m not even sure of anymore.
Abraham is still having his own trouble. He finds a box of cigars, as well as a soldier hanging from a rooftop and some knocked down fence. The soldier’s got an RPG strapped on his back. After a drawn out, tense scene, he ends up watching the zombified man rip apart and fall… but the RPG still hangs off the fence, anyways. Heading back inside with a newfound optimism, Abraham “makes some plays” in order to possibly get to know Sasha “a whole lot better“. Funny, sort of cute little scene between these two.
Back with the trio and Daryl, things turn to terror. The young diabetic girl (ends up being bitten, once they return to a camp where they’d obviously once been. After they head into the forest, things seem to turn fine. Daryl begins the recruitment process, asking the THREE QUESTIONS they used to ask new people on the road.
But not too long passes before the two others turn on Daryl. They take not just his bike, also his crossbow. Alone in the woods, he’s again in a vulnerable position. Worse than when the episode began, in fact. Even so he comes to find a truck in the forest, a fuel company truck.
For a moment when he pulls up to where Abraham and Sasha are staying, you think they’re in danger. We don’t even see Daryl, or the truck at first. Only the smiles on their faces.
As the episode closes, over the radio we here someone say: “Help. Help.” It sounds like Rick, possibly. Next week, I anticipate everyone will find their way back to Alexandria and once again they’ll all band together in order to move forward.
Stay tuned with me for the next episode, “Heads Up”. Will we soon find out about Glenn? I’m loving the anticipation.