The communities move on in the wake of Jesus being killed, now all too aware of the Whisperers.
Daryl lives on his own, trying to remember and trying to forget. Jesus grapples with being leader of Hilltop.
Time doesn't stop for tragedy, and people have to move on.
Michonne struggles with her relationship to Negan. Rick and Daryl face hard truths.
Things have changed for Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Sanctuary. But in some ways, they remain the same.
Morgan tries helping Martha, but everything goes horribly wrong.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 6: “Swear”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by David Leslie Johnson
* For a review of the previous episode, “Go Getters” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sing Me a Song” – click here
On the beach two girls find Tara (Alanna Masterson) washed shore, still alive and not infected. One of the girls nearly kills her, but the older one decides they won’t kill her, not if she isn’t sick. They won’t tell their community about it, or at least the older of the two won’t. At least there are still some good people left in the new world. Sad to see the youngest are already becoming desensitised to living in the post-zombie apocalypse. Although, lucky for Tara one of them was willing to do the right.
Some time before, Heath (Corey Hawkins) and Tara survive on their own. They’re losing hope about what’s next. No gas, barely any food. Heath laments what happened at the station, when they killed those Saviors. All over food and rations. Now with Hilltop and the deal with the Saviors things are supposed to be… tolerable. However, that isn’t enough for everybody. All Heath knows is that to be honest to themselves, they’ve got to admit who they are: killers beneath it all.
Tara’s personal saviour, Cyndie (Sydney Park), tries keeping her presence secret. She leaves a passed out Tara some water, a little food, along with a spear to defend herself. When the poor girl finally wakesup she doesn’t know whether Cyndie’s there to help. So she remains sceptical. Out into the woods Tara goes, following Cyndie back to her community. The place is full of people, and firepower. Suddenly everyone rushes at the sound of a whistle, or a horn, or something. Guns are handed out to everyone. The community’s on high alert. Then the bullets start flying, as Tara runs for her life. She gets the jump on one woman, but the young girl who wanted to kill her earlier stops Tara, gun pointed. Once more Cyndie stops it, although the rest of the community – all women notably – hold their weapons on Tara. “Look, I‘m cool,” she tells the group. She tries talking to them, even if the place looks on edge. Who knows what’ll happen next.
Back when Tara was with Heath, they come across a bridge, old cars, tents, tarps, you name it scattered everywhere. Lots of “blind spots,” as Heath points out. They go ahead, slow, steady. They find a load of sand dumped on the bridge, covering a ton of bullet casings. When they try sifting through, one wrong pull sends the sand down on top of them, and a load of walkers crawl out from underneath. In the crowd of zombies Heath leaves Tara to fend for herself; no, you fucking didn’t, Heath!!!!! Oh, man. That is raw.
Tara’s now handcuffed to a radiator in the head honcho Natania’s little house. She learns more about the place. They have lots of security measures. Natania wants to know about Tara. She talks a big load of shit about working on a fishing boat before, she and a friend. Smart move, girl. But the community isn’t pleased with strangers wandering in. Regardless, Tara gets an invite to the dinner table for fish stew. Things go normally, and later Natania extends another invite: for Tara to stay with them. Somewhere she can “put down roots” and be a part of their community. We again find out more about the community, that they were in a fight with another group, which left them decimated, and without any of the men who were a part of the group prior. True survivors, hiding and fending for themselves, alive, healthy, together. They trust Tara because she’s had the opportunity to hurt them and chose not to do so. She then opens up to them about her own community in Alexandria, her girlfriend, their way of living. She tells them about killing the people at the station, hoping their groups can work together. “Sooner or later you‘re gonna need a friend.” Natania proposes sending a guide, to help Tara find Heath, then go to Alexandria and scope out their community for safety.
They head out through the woods. When a zombie needs killing Tara offers to get it done, taking her chance to run from her guides. She fights one of the women when they cross one another. She lands on the other side of a gun, again. The woman says that The Saviors can’t be stopped, there’s no point in going home. They are everywhere, they kill everything and everyone. They’re the ones that killed this community’s men; “every man, every boy over ten, they lined them up, shot them in the head.” Those women ran from Negan and The Saviors and they’re not willing to let Tara ruin any of that. Cyndie manages to help Tara get free, and follows her away. She pleads with Tara not to tell anyone where they are out in the woods, giving her rations for the trip home. On the bridge there are tons of walkers, though. Cyndie helps Tara to get around them, providing gunfire from a car nearby as Tara runs right through the crowd. She makes it to the other side of the zombie wall eventually.
Cut back to when Heath left her on the bridge. Or did he? Nope. He comes back with a gunshot, but Tara’s forced to jump off the bridge to save herself. Now there she stands at the bridge, not sure where Heath might’ve gone. For a second she thinks he’s there on the bridge; only a lady walker with similarly braided, tied up hair. Phew. A little farther off the bridge, Tara finds Heath’s glasses, a swipe card with PPP written on it, and tire tracks.
Out in a field she heads forward, anywhere else. She happens upon a store and some houses, an overturned boat. She keeps moving on back towards home. At the walls of Alexandria, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) sees her coming, happy as can be. But she hasn’t been back in awhile. She doesn’t know about the latest deaths, Denise, all the horror. Rosita (Christian Serratos) asks her about where she was, what happened, and true to her word Tara says she saw nothing.
This was a slower episode, but a good one. I love Tara, and Heath. They got a bit of good screentime, which I hope continues. I’m also itching to get back to Rick and Negan, too.
Next up is “Sing Me a Song” and I’m willing to bet things are going to get nasty.
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Cell” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Go Getters” – click here
Back in Alexandria once more. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) lay in bed next to one another. She rests uneasy, her breath heavy. She heads downstairs and gets a gun from the chimney, then leaves the house, as Rick watches her go.
In an open field Michonne walks by herself. She stops at a rusty old truck and gets up to look around. She sits there, waiting with the rifle in her hands. At the house Rick holds his little Judith. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) fumbles around with a radio outside while Rosita (Christian Serratos) and others hope to gather more for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) when he arrives.
But he has already arrived: “Little pig, little pig, let me in.” Rick meets him at the gates. As always, Negan talks shit. He’s brought his Saviors, Dwight (Austin Amelio) and captive Daryl (Norman Reedus) included.
Negan lets himself into their little town. Even makes Rick hold Lucille while he waltzes. And seeing Rick hold that bat, new blood splattered over it, there’s a hate in his eyes we’ve not seen in a long, long time. If ever.
Negan’s pleased with the looks of Alexandria. Plenty of spoils to take. When Rick tries talking to Daryl, the bad man makes clear he is “help” and nothing more. Scariest part of this guy is that he’s also sexually threatening to the women. We’ve already seen, and heard from his own mouth, about what happened to Dwight; not good. He’s got women amongst the Saviors, as well. But just like hardline right-wing women, there is a seething hatred likely underneath their hard exterior. No telling what Negan’s offered them, what type of options they’ve been given to this point to make them follow his orders. On top of everything else, Alexandria gets pillaged of supplies, so on. Leaves them withered to even think about taking on Negan if they’re struggling to keep themselves in goods to appease him.
Out in the field Michonne takes shots at a walker in the distance. She never quite hits the thing in the head. So it’s back to the sword. Moments later she happens across a deer in the woods, dead, bullet hole in its neck.
More and more we see that Negan is happy with what Alexandria provides: “This is the kind of stuff that just tickles my balls!” Moreover, he finds the tapes Deanna left long ago. The tape shows a bearded, wild Rick. Not the man he is today. Such a stark contrast, one heavy reminder. Then Negan begins taunting some about Maggie (Lauren Cohan), talking about widows in a real nasty manner. Oh, and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) shows up. They tell Negan that Maggie is dead, buried. We know it isn’t true. That isn’t something we’d not see. But this baseball wielding bastard doesn’t need to know.
A gun goes off down the street. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t letting the Saviors take all their things. He’s holding them at gunpoint. This pisses the big guy off when they catch up. Negan does feel slightly impressed with Carl’s balls. Eventually the kid gives up, his father watching with tears welling in his eyes, not wanting another person – especially his son – dead in front of his eyes. Shitty thing is that Negan will be taking firepower with him when he leaves. Again, withering Alexandria worse than before.
Lots of psyching out from Negan. He continually batters people, physically and mentally, no matter with whom he’s dealing. Even his own guys, now and then. With Rick it is brutal. To see such a strong, relentless leader as him be crushed into submission by anyone shitty, let alone this dude, is a bit of Shakespearean tragedy. Yes, it’s needed story wise. And I love it. But still a hard pill to swallow when you love Rick, as well as Andrew Lincoln (gives him a proper role to chew into this season though).
Rosita and Spencer (Austin Nichols) head out and find Daryl’s motorcycle in the woods. “This is where Rick got us,” he tells her. Sad that he sees it that way. A defeatist attitude. Rosita then runs into the woods out of nowhere while he talks.
Negan gets his hands on the RPG the gang used – Daryl specifically – to blow those guys off the road last season. Furthermore, he discovers an accounting error in the books Olivia keeps for the armoury. Missing guns. Uh oh. “Two handguns short.” This might cause trouble. Lucille is thirsty for Olivia.
In the church Rick asks his group who’s holding the guns. Nobody speaks up, though Rick and the core few witnessed what happened to Abraham and Glenn. “I‘m not in charge anymore; Negan is,” he tells the people in front of him.
Rosita tracks a couple zombies in the woods and then takes down a group of them like a bad ass. She snags a gun off one of them. No ammo. She wants to make sure Alexandria has some protection left when Negan rolls out. “This is not our life,” she tells Spencer. I love her, and hope she continues to be a bigger character from here on in.
Whereas Rick panics looking for the guns, Gabriel tries reassuring him that things will change for the better. He has faith in Rick, after all they’ve been through together. Aaron (Ross Marquand) searched Rosita’s room, nothing, and there are less places by the minute to check. When Rick steps on a floorboard there’s a hiding place with canned food, liquor, and… you betcha, a couple handguns. A Savior accosts Enid (Katelyn Nacon) outside like a dirty creep. Nobody can do anything except watch on, which doesn’t make Carl happy, or anybody for that matter.
So Negan’s got his guns, for now Olivia is safe. But the bad man and his bat wants Rick to keep a lid on his people. If not, I imagine more head smashing. Oh, I can’t wait to see someone get the upper hand on Negan! I want his villainy to last, but very much looking forward to the tension once he and Rick (or whoever) go up against one another in a more violent way.
The toughest is when Rick has to go to Michonne for her rifle. He knows that she’s been practising. She refuses to let go of her weapon. Rick is done losing people, regardless the price. I understand that, in a way. Upsets me to see these two divided amongst themselves after so much.
When the Saviors are ready to leave, Rick wants Daryl to stay. Seeing as how they’ve given over so much. No dice. Next time Negan comes through he wants “something interesting” or somebody will get fed to Lucille.
With nothing left Alexandria goes on as it did before, only hungrier, less equipped. At least Rosita has a gun. Not sure what good one will do, but one is better than none. Not everything is swell around town, not even mattresses to sleep on. Rick and Michonne are at odds over this new defeated way of living. For the first time in so long he talks about Shane, and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, how Lori got together with Shane, the whole story. He admits: “I know Judith isn‘t mine. I know it.” Although he loves her like his own. He hopes to teach her to survive. Mostly, he talks of having to accept so many things out of his reach. It’s either take this life now, or nothing at all. But for how long?
Back in that field Michonne goes. Up on the rusty truck. On the horizon she sees smoke. In the road are their mattresses, burning. All for the Saviors to have fun with, not for sleeping.
More importantly, Rosita remembers something crucial with no bullets in her gun: Eugene knows how to make ammo.
Lots of good stuff setting up here. Great dialogue and tension between Rick and Negan, as well as the fact we get more Rosita, which is unusual yet welcome, and the other characters aren’t being left behind.
Next up is “Go Getters” and I’m hoping the tune changes from this episode. Really good one, just felt that by the end the Negan-speak was getting on my nerves. I dig the dialogue, the whole smug personality irks me after a while.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 10: “The Next World”
Directed by Kari Scogland
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed
* For a review of the previous episode, “No Way Out” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Knots Untie” – click here
This episode begins with everything settled in Alexandria. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are getting ready for the day. Carl (Chandler Riggs) is up on his feet, bandage over the new hole in his right eye. Outside, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is preparing for a run, while Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) asks him to pick up a few things.
Off go Daryl and Rick, as they hit the road in a nice car. “Today‘s the day,” says Rick. They’re going to find food, maybe people, too. For his part, Daryl isn’t so sure finding people is a great thing. For now Rick throws on a bit of Ronnie Dee and they travel.
Daryl and Rick go to look at an agricultural depot that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) marked on the map for them. The “law of averages” works out after Daryl and Rick find a truck filled with supplies, which they then head back with towards Alexandria. They stop at a rundown gas station where they find a vending machine tipped on its front. After they turn it over, a man runs out of nowhere and slams into Rick. Guns are drawn. The man says he was “running from the dead“. He introduces himself as Paul Rovia a.k.a Jesus (Tom Payne), asking if they’ve got a camp somewhere. But he doesn’t seem interested in them, taking off behind the station. When Jesus creates a distraction, they realize he’s leaving with the truck. Now, Rick and Daryl are left with no supplies, as well as no wheels to get themselves back home.
Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) is out in the woods walking, shovel in hand. Michonne notices him from the lookout and follows. She helps him discard of a walker coming at him. They talk of his mother a little, but Michonne mostly wants to know why he’s out there. So she keeps on going. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) are out in the woods, too. It seems Carl is going back to wanting to be a kid, after his injury. Although, Enid scoffs: “We‘re not kids.” She knows the difference.
But kids they are, at least for a moment, eating and reading comics. Enid says she doesn’t want to go out to what looks like their own little spot anymore. Carl agrees and walks off back towards town. On their way, they come across a zombie Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) in the trees. A terribly unfortunate turn of events.
On the road, Daryl and Rick finally catch up to Jesus, who stops to fix a tire. They sneak around flanking him then Jesus breaks some mad karate out on them. After a brief fight, Rick and Daryl both draw their guns. They tie Jesus up and get the keys back. Then they plan on leaving him in the road, heading for Alexandria again; finally.
A ways down the road, they discover Jesus made it onto the roof of the vehicle. They toss him off when Rick stops hard, then Daryl chases him down through a field. One thing leads to another and the truck ends up in a lake, sinking to the bottom. However, interesting to note Jesus saves Daryl from an oncoming walker, before he gets himself knocked out by the truck’s door. Daryl doesn’t want to help him, but Rick suggests they ought, seeing as how Jesus never drew a weapon on either of them the whole time.
Michonne is still busy following Spencer, who wants to have a new life in Alexandria yet has things to do first. In the woods, Michonne ends up spotting Carl being pursued by the undead Deanna. This is what Spencer came out there to do, he needs to put her to rest. A difficult, emotional scene, as Spencer puts a knife into her brain. He only wants to bury his mother, which is obviously why he brought a long a shovel for his walk. Michonne helps carve a D on a nearby tree where Spencer buries her in the soil.
Daryl and Rick go home. With Jesus in their care. Rick says he “finally listened” to what Daryl, Michonne, all of them were saying as they first reached Alexandria, so it’s only natural he now wants to try faith instead of fight at every turn. For those of us who’ve read the comics, you’ll know who Jesus turns out to be, but for those who haven’t? Stay guessing for now.
Michonne scolds Carl for not leaving or killing Deanna. He doesn’t like that, though. He says it had to be someone close to her who killed her once and for all, a person who loved her. For all that’s happened to him, to his mother and his family, Carl still has a lot of humanity. He tells Michonne: “I‘d do it for you.”
In Alexandria, Rick and Daryl bring Jesus in to be cared for, leaving him a little note and a glass of water. Lots of comedic bits here in this episode, which is fun after the intensity of “No Way Out“.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the final scene. Michonne and Rick sit together in the lamplight on the couch, chatting about their day like normal people might; like a family. Their relationship has progressed a ton since first they met, back when Rick almost sent her to The Governor, to a certain death. Now here they are together – and I mean together. They embrace one another, holding hands and kissing passionately. Maybe they’re exactly what the other needs, especially at this point in time.
Jesus has gotten out and broken into Rick’s place. He says he needs to talk.
Excited for the next episode and what will come after. Jesus is going to prove to be an interesting character, hopefully leading us further and further towards our date with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
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” as of now. The three survivors are disarmed by the bikers, otherwise known as The Saviours. Of course, Abraham doesn’t immediately hand over his weapons, but after a tense moment he relinquishes his handgun. The Saviours don’t actually give up any information about themselves right away. Mostly they’re concerned with who Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are, what they have to give over, and so on. “Ding, dong, Hell‘s bells,” taunts the main biker after Abraham asks “Who‘s Negan?”
This scene passes by slow and steady, until Daryl finds an RPG and blows the whole crew into the sky with one of its rockets. It almost appears an act of God at first before Daryl steps from behind their truck. A 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?
Biker: “If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble: bite, chew, swallow, repeat. Goes quicker.”
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 walkers and hoping to make it through. As you remember, Jesse’s son Sam (Major Dodson) wasn’t doing so well mentally in “Start to Finish“, but none of them are particularly doing so hot now. Rick tries to get a new plan in order, as they cross through Alexandria, packed full of zombies, every which way. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) offers to do his best on his part and takes little Judith: “I want 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) are still stuck inside, as well as a banged up Carol (Melissa McBride) and a knocked out Morgan (Lennie James), the latter of which wakes up not long after.
They’re all worried for Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) who was taken at the end of the last episode by the Alpha Wolf (Benedict Samuel), who moves her along through Alexandria, headed who knows where; a sinister air surrounds these two making Denise’s time alive a fickle thing at this point.
Meanwhile, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) end up at the church to take a moment and try regrouping their strategy. Enid’s trying to hold herself together and be strong, as Glenn tries keeping her hope up. They end up on the same page soon enough; I love the chemistry between Yeun and Nacon, they make a great and unlikely team.
With Rick, Carl and their small group heading past hordes of walkers in the streets, the group is no closer to safety than they were. 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, only a walker bites into his arm, another munches on his skull. Then the screams begin, as Jesse wails for her dead son still holding his hand. It all devolves. Jesse is taken next, as the zombies swarm. The rest of them try staying silent, but it is a tough thing to do. With Jesse’s dead hand still gripping Carl, axe in hand Rick is forced to chop her arm off to get them going.
Then Ron (Austin Abrams) pulls a gun on Rick. But before he can shoot, Michonne kills him with her sword. Everything’s fine. Or is it? Carl turns mumbling “dad” – his right eye shot out, blood spurting. He falls to the ground and Rick picks him up, as he and Michonne run for safety; somewhere, anywhere.
Everybody is in hiding except for Rick, Carl and Michonne. In a basement, the Alpha Wolf looks longingly out the window at the zombies crowding, pushing towards the gunfire. He seems pretty confident about himself, though, Denise reminds him their group is the reason why his “friends are dead“. Every moment that passes I worry for Denise. There’s no telling what this Wolf will do with her or to her after they escape; if they even do. Except right after that he gets bitten. And Denise tells him: “Come with me… I‘ll save your life.”
With Alexandria falling faster every frame, the group is in tatters. Carol and Morgan are inside debating the situation concerning the Alpha Wolf, how Morgan didn’t do anything to benefit the group, but only thought of himself. In turn, Carol believes she should have killed Morgan. These are two hard characters, each in their own right. They’ve both lost children, lots their loved ones, and now they are confronted with one another, at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Carol ends up saving Denise, shooting the Alpha Wolf in the streets and allowing her to get inside one of the houses where others such as Aaron (Ross Marquand) are hiding. Finally, Rick makes it inside with Carl and Denise begins to start makeshift surgery, doing the best she can to save the boy. At the same time, poor Rick Grimes constantly loses people in his life; he and Jesse were just starting to get close, now she and both her boys are gone. Worse, though, 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. Soon, 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. We can beat ‘em.”
I waited for an episode like this, in terms of a few things. For one, I wanted Father Gabriel to do something to redeem himself – first, he takes Judith to safety; second, he takes up a machete and tells the others God wants them to save Alexandria themselves, he has given them the strength. I mean, I don’t believe in God, but I love that Gabriel takes this stand! 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, Glenn 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. Daryl picks him up then things start to take shape. On the streets, Rick and the crew continue fighting. Tara, Eugene and Rosita are out, too; ole Eugene does his damnedest to redeem himself like Gabriel.
Daryl empties a ton of gas out of the army truck and sets a massive blaze with an RPG. The flames start drawing walkers away from the inner part of Alexandria. Rick and Co., with Carol and Morgan in addition, keep killing and 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 as a whole. Really impressive.
Once the smoke clears, both figuratively and literally, the group remains standing. Zombies lie smashed, chopped, lifeless (again) in the streets. At one of the houses, everybody waits to see how Carl is doing. Rick sits by his side, his son bandaged and resting asleep. The father talks to his boy about “rebuilding the walls, expanding the walls” and he realizes “everything Deanna was talking about… it‘s all possible.” He realized the potential of the group in that town; they are not weak, they are in fact strong, they can band together. “I wanna show you the New World, Carl,” says Rick. “I wanna make it a reality for you. Please, Carl – let me show you.” And then Carl’s hand curls around Rick’s hand, he wakes up. For now everything is fine.
Let’s see how things go in the next episode, titled “The Next World”.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 5: “Now”
Directed by Avi Youabian
Written by Corey Reed
* For a review of the previous episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Always Accountable” – click here
After a GREAT Morgan (Lennie James) centered episode, the series moves on with Episode 5 of the sixth season – “Now”
We start with Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh). She goes to the place where her husband Reg put up the first panel of Alexandria’s walls. After reminiscing shortly, sadly, she looks out towards the road where the walkers are shambling towards their safe haven. Meanwhile, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) comes barreling through, screaming for the gates to open. One of the more intense slow motion scenes yet on The Walking Dead. Even worse, Deanna looks as if the entire world has collapsed around her. In a sense, it has.
Once the credits clue up, Rick is lining everyone up. He’s saying things to reassure them, trying to keep the morale high. They’re going to band together, seal Alexandria up and make it safe, quiet, subtle. Can they do it? Will the people of Alexandria step up? Aaron (Ross Marquand) puts his hat in the ring for Rick, speaks highly of Daryl (Norman Reedus). He admits to, essentially, not knowing as much as Rick, Daryl and their entire group. But still, Deanna appears to have gone off the edge.
Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is busy cleaning up her house. There’s a pile of dead Wolves out in the yard she plans to bury. Though, Rick shows up and tells her: “We don’t bury killers inside these walls.” At the same time, Olivia (Ann Mahoney) has troubles with everyone over at the food dispensary. All the residents say fuck it, taking what they will. Spencer (Austin Nichols) lays down the law and tells them going down that sort of path will make them the type of people they don’t want to become.
I really feel for Aaron. It took me a rewatch of a couple episodes lately to revisit some of his great moments. The fact those pictures ended up in the hands of the Wolves is such a tragic misstep. You can see how horribly it hurts him to have inadvertently played a part in The Wolves’ assault on Alexandria. Maybe redemption is coming for him? He and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are heading out together in search of Glenn (Steven Yeun), whose fate is still not set in stone.
Then we watch as Deanna scribbles away, noting on a big map places for ALFALFA, BARLEY, all sorts of crops, and buildings for education, et cetera. Furthermore, she jots down an Ovid quote: “dolor hic tibi proderit olim” (Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you). Afterwards, though, she and Spencer have a clash. They’ve got all sorts of rations over at their place, so Spencer only did what he did earlier to make it appear proper. What a snake.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) is hoping to find Enid (Katleyn Nacon). He has a bit of a showdown with Jessie’s son Ron (Austin Abrams). Little Carl has grown up. He knows his shit, while Ron is a dummy who knows nothing only that danger exists out there. Unlike Carl, he’s never had to shoot his mother, who just gave birth to his sister, right in her head.
A very sad yet empowering scene at the same time comes when Jessie finds a neighbour in a house nearby. The woman slit her wrists, trying to escape the zombie apocalypse coming down on their heads. But of course she came back. So it’s a depressing zombie moment, yet Jessie proclaims – after putting the lady zombie down for good: “This is what life looks like now; we have to see it, we have to fight. If we don’t fight, we die.” Excellent moment, which not only gives Jessie more power, she impresses some of the others. Namely Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever); she’s been wavering a little, such as in an earlier scene with Tara (Alanna Masterson). A look runs across Denise’s face that speaks volumes.
Back to Aaron and Maggie, making their way out of Alexandria on their quest to try and track down lost Glenn. AMAZING ZOMBIE EFFECTS! In a sewer, they run into a couple soggy living dead specimens. Such perfect makeup works, love the practical work here, as always. Even further, I find Maggie and Aaron have a nice dynamic going already. I’m excited for more of them, they’re both damn tough.
Ron goes to Rick and starts telling him about Enid, who’d sneak out from inside the walls to explore the outside world. The little shithead. He’s not doing this for any other reason than to stir things up. Not sure exactly what is going on with him, but I don’t like the way Ron acts. Rick starts teaching him how to shoot. I just do not like where this kid and his attitude are heading.
Surprise! Dr. Cloyd gives Tara a big smooch for helping out with a patient, giving her the confidence to keep going and push through the fear.
Then we finally get confirmation from Maggie: she is pregnant. At the last moment, she stops Aaron from opening the grate to head out into the wilderness outside Alexandria. Passionate speech from Maggie, great acting by Cohan. This entire scene is so intense and I found myself near tearing up. At the same time, I’m devastated because Maggie doesn’t have much, if any, hope left at all. She’s seen too many people die, especially her own family. No wonder. But she and Aaron embrace, they’ve got a bond. I feel as if he’s going to be a good friend to her from now, watching out, helping where he can. He is a good man who wants to do right by others. Again, their chemistry is awesome.
Deanna stumbles through the streets, hearing voices of past arguments, all sorts of things. Out from under one of the houses comes a Wolf zombie, one Carol (Melissa McBride) couldn’t find after she killed him in the attack. Deanna GOES TO TOWN on the zombie with a broken bottle, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Finally, Rick rushes out of the darkness to kill it off. She looks at him dead in the eye and says: “I want to live.” So this episode has really been a turning point. Seeing Rick and his group go through traumatic events alongside them, the Alexandrians have hit a corner, they’re coming through to discover they do have what it takes. At least when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it all.
My favourite scene comes when Maggie hops down off the wall with Aaron. They go to the panel where all the IN MEMORIAL names have been marked – of which Glenn is one, as is Nicholas. While we know the latter is dead, Glenn – I don’t think – is actually finished. But Maggie wipes his name off. In contrast to what I said before, Maggie does have hope. Aaron proves to be that good friend already by adding to her hope, encouraging her.
The finale sees Deanna getting her groove back, as well as Rick and Jessie getting much closer. And a final drip of blood running through a hole in the wall closes things off.
Excited to see the next episode, “Always Accountable”. Stay tuned for another one next week!
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 3: “Thank You”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Angela Kang
* For a review of the previous episode “JSS” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
Back at it again, we’re coming round to see where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang are on their way home to Alexandria from the quarry.
He and Glenn (Steven Yeun), plus a bunch of their crew, run through the woods frightened for what is coming behind them, all the walkers loose from the quarry. Rick radios back out to the road where Daryl (Norman Reedus), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are slightly unaware of the trouble at hand.
Naturally, former Sheriff Grimes has a plan. He makes it very clear they need to only worry about themselves. Problem is the original Alexandrians are a bit uneasy about things. Michonne (Danai Gurira) does her best to quell the fears, though, Rick is fairly vocal about things and many of the others, such as Heath (Corey Hawkins), are pretty worried for their safety. Off Rick goes on his own like the superhero he is, or wishes to be. Everyone else heads back towards home.
In the woods, Glenn and Michonne try leading everyone back. Unfortunately a couple people are overcome by zombies, bitten or otherwise. An errant shot by a scared group member hits someone else creating more mayhem.
Back out on the road, Daryl has a plan of his own. Always thinking, always ready. He speeds off leaving Abraham and Sasha driving in the car. “I’ll be back,” he yells driving up the road.
It’s too bad David (Jay Huguley) was bitten. He and Michonne talk on the road, he tells her about the woman he’s with – Betsy – and how they met, so on. Touching moment made even worse by the fact we know he’s going to turn, or die before that happens.
Then Glenn tells Michonne how badly he has to get home. I feel bad because something is going to happen, all due to Nicholas (Michael Traynor). Earlier on there’s a moment when he almost goes into shell-shock, PTSD, something; he quakes and his vision went blurry. Each time he comes into the frame I can’t help wonder: how will he fuck the group over this time? I hope he proves me wrong, in the best ways, but I doubt it. Highly.
Super creepy scene when Glenn-Michonne group stumble into a pet store. All the animals are dead in their cages, starved and likely dehydrated. One of those strange hit you in the chest moments. You imagine all the different little situations people (and animals) found themselves in after the zombie apocalypse came raining down. Sad, tragic, chilling.
Glenn has a plan, and I do not like it – he wants to go light a building on fire. Can’t get any worse? Nicholas offers to draw a map to a feed store, something best fit for a blaze. I’m just not at all sure of this guy, I know he’ll eventually either die or cause death because of his messed up mental state. When Glenn pulls out Hershel’s watch, I cringed a bit. A bad, bad omen. Off on his own and everything, like some ritual.
Another lone wolf on the road, Rick meets up with a small crowd of walkers. He pulls out a knife, nonchalant, then the animal Rick is back in his eyes. He takes them down bloodily, easily. I love Rick Grimes.
Heath and Michonne have a confrontation. Out comes the truth for Heath, the hard reality. She impresses on him the fact sometimes you have to do things which “make you afraid of yourself“. And it’s true, Rick and Michonne, most of their group, they’ve all had to terrible things, awful and unspeakable actions that changed the very fiber of their DNA. None of them are the same, and those people in Alexandria have not experienced anything close to that.
Gunfire starts to ring out back in Alexandria. This sends Glenn and Nicholas, who tags along despite my best hopes, on the run a bit faster. Meanwhile, walkers are on the move down the street, so Michonne and everyone in the pet store have to stay put at least for the time being. But soon enough a few zombies appear in a closet, Michonne chops them and causes a bit of noise. Outside, a wall of walkers keeps lurching towards them literally covering the entire street. They begin a fight to move forward, blasting out the doors and heading down the street. One of the girls gets nabbed by the living dead, her guts chomped into and fed off eagerly, zombie after zombie.
Rick made it back to the big camper near one of the sheet metal walls. His intensity is unmatched in “Thank You”. Even when he bit into that man’s neck near the end of the fourth season, even in many of the insane moments he’s found himself, Rick has never been so primal. Each time we see him, he’s getting more and more vicious. Might as well be frothing at the mouth.
The intensity in the episode rises further, as the separate groups – Michonne and friends, Glenn and Nicholas – rally to corners of the small town they’re in, trying to discover some way, any way out.
Glenn and the idiotic Nicholas end up trapped in an alley, backed up against a fence and awaiting the onslaught of walking corpses. They each fire into as many brains as possible, then haul out their knives for close combat. Can it get ANY SWEATIER? Shit, man. The suspense and the tension had my heart racing. Not to mention their moments are inter-cut with Michonne nearly getting swamped and bitten. Though, luckily she makes her way up and over a fence. The already bitten David is eaten alive by the horde and everyone else makes it out alive.
But Glenn and Nicholas have to get up on top of a dumpster in order to keep away from the rabid walkers. It’s at this moment when the PTSD swells up inside Nicholas, everything slowing down, his hearing just about gone – he tells Glenn, “Thank you“, and shoots himself in the head. They both topple into the zombie crowd and immediately find themselves engulfed.
It’s tough to tell exactly because there’s a possibility it was Nicholas… but the scene as it stands makes us see/believe Glenn is being eaten. Blood spurts out, guts are ripped with hungry hands into hungrier mouths, and Glenn screams into the air. Heart wrenching scene. I almost couldn’t take it. Is this truly the end for Glenn? If so, I don’t know… I’m pretty broken, honestly. His character has been great, amazing dynamic with several of the others, and it’ll be sad if this is his fate.
Later on, Rick calls on the walkie back to Glenn, not knowing what’s happened. Of course, he gets no answer. In fact he gets no answer from anyone, except for Daryl and the road crew. He tries instilling them all with more courage, telling them not to be afraid; Abraham confirms over the radio they indeed are not. Tough bunch of people. They basically have to trust, as Rick says, the fact everyone back at Alexandria can handle themselves properly in such a situation.
Out of nowhere Rick is attacked in the camper. Two men are on in him, after wild gunshots he knocks them down, pumping two shots of his own into them respectively. He finds a jar of baby food on one of them in a sort of bittersweet moment. Then up along the side of the camper he spies people sneaking. Firing an assault rifle through the sides he annihilates them, presumably anyways. In the side mirror, it looks to us like at least one of the dead people is a kid. Things get mentally worse for Rick before the vehicle won’t start, and out of the forest come a ton of walkers.
And then, with zombies coming from every which way, an aerial shot shows the scene from way above, we come to an end.
So god damn excited for the next episode, titled “Here’s Not Here”. Head back over here next week and I’ll have a review queued up. Until then, Walking Dead-ites!