Previously on The Walking Dead, ‘Start to Finish’
No way out? This episode should have been called No One Knows.
Because they knew the final moments of the mid-season finale pissed off a lot of folks, so much so that viewers most likely didn’t bother to watch the special scene embedded in Into the Badlands, The Walking Dead decided to make a longer version of that scene the cold open for the mid-season premiere. Four minutes of it was also made available a few days ago, but I didn’t watch it because I’m petty and was still pissed about the finale.
Anyway, Claimed Crew 2.0 want everything Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham have and they want it for some guy named Negan.
Everything. The weapons, any food, napkins in the glovebox, loose change in the center console, the fuzzy dice in the mirror, EVERY-THANG. Apparently, Negan is a greedy son-of-a-bitch.
The leader instructs one of his men to take Daryl to the back of the truck to see what they’re hauling, while he threatens to shoot both Abraham and Sasha. After he monologues for a bit, he prepares to do the deed but gets a rocket up the ass instead.
Daryl is so over everyone’s shit. It’s been a long two days.
Jessie & Sons
Remember how the mid-season finale ended with a few of the characters we care about the most forming human sausage links with people we kinda hated like Gabriel, Jessie, and her offspring, all while wearing guts ponchos and quietly navigating through a herd of walkers? And remember how Sam, out of nofuckingwhere started calling out to his mom and we were like, “Oh, my God! Someone eat this kid already!” but then it faded to black and we hated the world?
But then we were all, “Man, that mid-season premiere must start off with carnage!” so we were excited again?
Well… it didn’t pick up where it left off. It picked up a few feet away from where it left off and everyone is still linked and walking, but Sam is no longer calling for his mom.
Uh. What happened?
Did he change his mind and realize now was not the time nor the place for whatever the hell he had to say? Did Jessie hit him with that black mother side-eye when she’s in the store with her kid and he fixes his lips to ask for something but she already told him in the car not to ask for nothing because he wasn’t gonna get it?
No one knows!
Everyone moseys to a quiet spot to make a plan. They’ll head to the quarry, get the vehicles, and come back to lead the walkers away. Everyone’s on board, but Jessie doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Judith to tag along because babies gonna baby. Gabriel offers to take Judith to the church and keep her safe until they return. And even though FIVE MINUTES AGO Rick wouldn’t have pissed on Gabriel if he were on fire, he hands over his child. I mean Shane’s child. Desperate times and all that.
Sam should probably go too because he’s a child, but more importantly, he doesn’t know how to keep his damn mouth shut, however he refuses to leave his mom. Jessie hasn’t been a good parent to these kids before and she ain’t about to start now: She agrees to let Sam come with.
Carol v. Morgan, Part 2
Tara is ready to race out after Denise and that Wolf, but Rosita tells her to have a damn seat. They need to make sure Carol and Morgan are okay. They need a plan. The Wolf needs Denise so she’s probably safe for now.
I was just nodding and fist pumping. I’ve not heard a character on this show string together five sentences that made sense in a long-ass time.
Carol and Morgan wake from their naps to discover the Wolf took Denise. If there were no witnesses, I’m thinking Carol would have slit Morgan’s throat right there. Later, when they’re alone, she straight up says she should have killed his ass when she had the chance.
Glenn and Enid to the Rescue
Glenn and Enid have made it into the subdivision and locked themselves in the church. How? No one knows! They’re searching for hidden weapons so they can rescue Maggie from her perch, but first Enid needs a pep talk. I mean, I thought we were done with this? I thought she was on board. Glenn dispenses some Hershel-level sage words of wisdom and motivation, they find a gun and some fabric, and they’re off.
I hope Gabe has a key.
A Wolf in Creep’s Clothing
Denise and the Wolf haven’t gotten far. They’re chilling by the door, waiting for the walkers to thin so they can make a run for the guard tower. Denise tries to get him to leave her, but he likes her now and wants some company.
EXT. NIGHT, FOR NO DAMN REASON
Suddenly, it’s nighttime and everyone is still exactly where they were when it was broad-fucking-daylight five minutes ago. But the episode got 199,283 times more awesome so I’ll allow it.
First, Sam gets eaten because he starts remembering all the awful shit Carol told him about being outside with the monsters at night.
Then Jessie gets eaten because she won’t let Sam’s hand go and she’s also screaming her fool head off. Though, this had to be devastating for her so, again, I’ll allow it.
THEN, Carl almost gets eaten because Jessie has a death grip on him, but Rick ain’t bout that life and breaks out of his Didn’t We Almost Have It All daze long enough to hack Jessie’s dead hand off so his son may prosper.
Buuut, he doesn’t prosper for long because Ron has finally lost his ever-loving mind and picks up Carl’s gun and aims it at Rick. The last time a crazy man was about to kill Rick like that, he got Michonne’s sword through his back. And that’s exactly what happens to Ron. The gun discharges as he dies, and Carl catches a bullet in the eye.
Denise and the Wolf almost make it safety, but he turns back to help her when she’s cornered by a walker. He gets bitten in the process and she convinces him to follow her to the infirmary so she can save his life. When they pause to catch their breath, she points out that he threatened to change her, but he’s the one who changed. As they proceed to the infirmary, Denise is cornered yet again and the Wolf saves her… again, but this time he’s shot in the back by Carol. And still, after being shot twice, he continues to take on walkers and yells for Denise to run.
And 15 seconds after making that Wolf the most interesting new character we’ve had in awhile, the show kills him.
Once Rick and Michonne have taken Carl to the infirmary, he heads back out into the fray with only a machete. After Carl is stable in Denise’s care, Michonne joins him. As does everyone else from their respective hiding places and that includes Eugene and Gabriel. Whaaaat? I know, right?
Glenn and Enid make it to Maggie (another trip that inexplicably took all damn day) and he leads the walkers away so Enid can climb up the ladder and help Maggie down the other side of the wall. Just when you think Glenn is dead – Just kidding! NO ONE thought Glenn was going to fake die again – Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham arrive with automatic weapons, a truck full of fuel, and rockets. Daryl lights the pond aflame, luring most of the walkers to their fiery re-deaths, while Rick and the others savagely kill walkers.
The next morning, Rick pleads with Carl to live so that he can show him this world. Well, half of it anyway.
The Walking Dead S6E9
The fact that the cliffhanger had no consequences when the premiere began makes it an even shittier cliffhanger. When Sam freaks out the second time, it would have been nice to have Jessie murmur something like, “Remember what I told you before, Sam.” But nope. It’s like it didn’t even happen, which feels like the show writing for these OMG moments instead of writing what makes sense and letting the tension happen naturally.
My only other major complaint is the shitty time continuity. To find out that they knew from before they started shooting the season that they wanted to set the pond on fire only makes it worse. That means they were well aware there’s this ridiculous time jump, but didn’t care because they wanted something to look cool. Hey, just set the events to take place at night to begin with or as the sun is going down. I’m sure some of you will find that a nitpick, but it speaks to how much care is going into the show – at least to me it does – and that’s part of what determines how much I respect and enjoy it.
Other than those things, everything else was great: Rosita dropping bars, Denise handling her business, and Daryl was the real MVP. The best, though, was the death of Jessie and her sons. It was time. Rick’s attraction to Jessie never made sense and always felt rushed. Good riddance.
I didn’t expect to care about what happened with Denise and the Wolf, but damn if it wasn’t one of the more interesting parts of the episode. How far could his redemption go? Though, the way it played out, the payoff will be if Carol is aware that the Wolf was helping Denise and then uses his death to question her kill first/ask questions never way of doing things.