After last week’s downer of an ending, Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead brings us the fallout from Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria…which as you might have guessed, leads to something bad.
The episode opens with quite the steamy montage.
- Glenn and Maggie enjoy some time in the shower together (which turns a bit sad when he notices how hurt she is from their last encounter with The Saviors).
- Abraham and Sasha share a smile while she hands him a cigar (heh). Nearby, Rosita gives them both a well-deserved stink-eye.
- Rick and Michonne enjoy some cuddle time in bed together. Michonne declines his offer of having relations to go take her shift guarding the gates. Rick says she shouldn’t worry because they’re totally in control of everything now…which of course means the poop is going to hit the fan sooner than later.
Meanwhile, Carl gets a gun from the armory that was originally taken from The Saviors—and just happens to be adorned with a barbed wire etching.
We also get to see the moments before Carol leaves Alexandria. Tobin comes in to talk to her about his day, but his voice in her head is reduced to sounding like the teacher from Charlie Brown while she smiles and nods at him. The next morning, Carol is gone.
Also leaving Alexandria is Daryl, who is all types of pissed that the dude he didn’t kill back in episode six shot Denise through the eye with an arrow. Rosita, Michonne, and Glenn follow behind him. Rick and Morgan take off after Carol.
Huh. Lots of people leaving town all at the same time. I wonder how that might turn out for the town’s safety and well-being.
Mad Carol, Road Warrior
On the road, the stupidity of Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria so she wouldn’t have to kill anymore is proven correct. Her badass zombie-proofed car is stopped by a group of Saviors, who proceed to threaten her and demand that she lead them back to where she came from. Typical Carol shenanigans ensue:
- Carol makes up a fake name/identity.
- Carol pretends to be helpless and scared, luring her captors in.
- Carol unleashes the fury and mows them all down with a machine gun…
…except one, who manages to escape into the woods.
As cool as this scene is, it also unequivocally proves how short-sighted and out of character Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria was. This is a woman who once killed innocent people because they were plague carriers, but now feels that she can’t stay in a community that desperately needs her because she’s had to kill people who were actively trying to do them (and her) harm.
Making matters worse is that the two things she didn’t want to have happen (putting Alexandria at risk and having to kill again) happened within a few hours of her departure. Did Carol really think she could just strike out on her own and be free of any issues?
On the Trail
Rick and Morgan search for Carol. This allows them time to have a lot of painful dialogue about their differing philosophies…although to be fair, Morgan scores a good point. After finding the aftermath of Carol’s destruction, Morgan points out that when Rick agreed to hunt and kill The Saviors for the Hilltop community, he essentially started a war.
As they walk away, the lone survivor of Hurricane Carol’s massacre comes out from hiding, picks up her rosary, and strikes out into the woods.
Meanwhile, Rosita directs Glenn and Michonne to the railroad tracks where Denise was killed—and wouldn’t ya know it, that’s exactly where they find Daryl. I gotta say, the knack these characters show for finding each other is uncanny. I can’t even keep track of my wife when we’re in Target.
But I digress…Glenn tries to convince Daryl to come back with them. Daryl refuses (ugh, that’s not a good sign). Then, in a somewhat surprising twist, Rosita ditches Michonne and Glenn to hunt with Daryl, too.
Glenn and Michonne head back toward their car, where they’re predictably captured by Dwight and some fresh Savior red shirts.
Rick and Morgan come across a farm and find a walker that at first glance looks like Carol. Thankfully, it’s not her. Then a man who claims to have been looking for his horses sees them and tries to run away.
Rick tries to shoot him. Morgan stops him. (Aren’t these two adorable together?)
In the ensuing argument, Morgan confesses to Rick about the Wolf he saved. He also tries to justify it by saying that the Wolf ending up saving Denise—who in turn saved Carl after his eye got shot out. It would be a nice ‘full-circle’ theory if it didn’t conveniently gloss over the fact that the Wolf wouldn’t have taken Denise hostage in the first place if Morgan had killed him the first two times they crossed paths.
Anyway, Morgan tells Rick he’ll go look for Carol on his own. This seems like a catastrophically bad idea, but for some reason, Rick is cool with it. Before heading back, Rick tells Morgan that it really was Michonne who ate his protein bar back at the beginning of the season.
When Rick returns to Alexandria, he and Abraham have a manly discussion about being scared to lose people and wanting to kick bad guys’ asses.
Meanwhile, Maggie asks Enid to give her a haircut. When she’s finished, Maggie glances in the mirror and screams in anguish at how horrible it looks…or starts having complications with her pregnancy. It was hard to tell.
Riots are Imminent
Back on the road, Daryl and Rosita walk right into Dwight’s trap. Dwight says hello to Daryl and shoots him. Blood splatters across the screen. The screams of a few million female Walking Dead fans (and more than a few males) shatter the night air.
As the screen goes to black, we hear Dwight mutter “you’ll be alright.”
As a setup for the season finale, this episode works. On its own, however, it’s pretty flat.
First of all, we know that Daryl’s not dead. Aside from Dwight’s creepy reassurance, Yvette Brown nailed it on Talking Dead last night when she said that Daryl’s death was too big a deal to be handled that way…or by Dwight. If Daryl’s gonna die, it will be by the hand (and barb-wired baseball bat) of Negan.
Also, like I said before, Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria feels like such a contrived setup for her to be killed in the finale. Yes, it will be heart-breaking if that happens, but I really wish the writers had found a better way to do it. There’s no way that the Carol we’ve come to know and love (and fear) would ever do something this stupid.
I did like that Rick and Morgan finally came a little closer to an understanding, but something tells me that Morgan’s resolve is going to get strongly tested next week.