The Walking Dead “East": Places Everyone, Places!

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Review of Season 6, Episode 15, of AMC's The Walking Dead

First of all, like the last review, spoilers to come, so consider this is your chance to stop reading and come back after you’ve watched the episode…And here we go…  

This episode, “East”, is an odd bird — a lot of moving characters into position for the finale, bookended by some intense moments.  The pre-credits scene is all spikes dripping with blood, Carol’s rosary on the gravel, yelling, and gunfire, but that’s about as intense as it gets until the final moments.  We’ll start at the beginning of this week’s story though…

It begins with lots of happy couples.  There’s Carol and Tobin, who appear happy even as Carol lies to his face by pretending she’s totally fine and doesn’t have a pack set for her escape from Alexandria stuffed under the bed.  Abraham meets Sasha for the changing of the guard with blushing smiles as she gives him the gift of a cigar and Rosita looks on from her post like their adorableness doesn’t bother her.  Glenn and Maggie take a shower together, which is super sweet aside from unexplained severe bruising across Maggie’s lower back (seriously, where did that come from? Wasn’t Carol kicked in the back by Donny the Savior when they were taken? Maggie should’ve gotten that looked at when it first appeared).  Rick and Michonne cuddle and kiss in bed together without a care in the new world.  Carl examines a gun in the armory that presumably came from The Saviors compound with a bat wrapped in barbed wire engraved on it before tucking it in his jeans.  And Daryl works on his beloved bike as he stews over not killing Dwight when they first met.  Everyone’s way too calm and happy and unconcerned for the war they all acknowledge could come at any moment, so you know horrible things are on the horizon.

First to take off is Carol, which we already knew about from the end of the last episode.  She slips out in the middle of the night, taking a gun, provisions, and a car that looks like it came from the set of Mad Max.  It doesn’t take her long to run up against a stray band of Saviors who shoot out her tires and attempt to threaten her into bringing them to Alexandria.  She starts to shake and cry, begging them to leave her alone, but of course they don’t.  As a result she guns them down with the semi-automatic hidden up her sleeve and those she doesn’t get straight off she eventually kills via spike sticking out of her car and more gunfire.  (Thus the pre-credits scene is explained.)  Her face throughout the standoff shows the weight her rapidly increasing kill tally is having on her mental and emotional well-being.

In the light of morning Tobin goes to Rick with the note Carol left and both Rick and Morgan decide to go after her…not sure why Tobin doesn’t volunteer, but maybe it’s for the best given what happened to inexperienced Denise.  The hunt for Carol is a little awkward for the men as they debate the philosophy behind murder.  Morgan gets it, he gets that Carol is slowly unravelling as a result of having killed so many.  Rick doesn’t, he’s just pleased that Carol is so badass she could wipe out a band of Saviors singlehandedly.  Morgan proclaims that, one day, the callousness with which Rick now kills will catch up with him and Rick doubts it…I suspect Morgan is correct.  Eventually the pair find themselves at a farm where a man is hiding out, looking for his horse, and naturally Rick decides he has to kill the guy.  Morgan stops him and lays out everything that happened with the Wolf to point to the idea that not killing can save multiple lives — he didn’t kill the Wolf, the Wolf saved Denise, Denise saved Carl.  Possibly seeing that Rick still doesn’t get it and might do more harm than good should they find Carol Morgan tells Rick he should probably just go back to Alexandria to prep for the inevitable war with the Saviors.  Rick concedes, insists Morgan take his gun just in case, and heads back.  Morgan continues his search without realizing the one Savior that Carol didn’t finish off is headed in the same direction as him.  I can only hope, if that Savior or others find him, Morgan can and will use that gun to protect himself and others.

Seemingly unable to forgive himself for his roundabout part in Denise’s death Daryl takes off the morning after Carol leaves to hunt down and kill Dwight.  Concerned for him, Glenn and Michonne follow; Rosita also follows, but her reasons seem more in line with Daryl’s.  Eventually they catch up and Glenn and Michonne try to convince Daryl to return, but he stubbornly refuses and takes off again.  Rosita joins Daryl while the others head back home.  Unshockingly, Michonne and Glenn are caught by Dwight-led Saviors and, equally unsurprisingly, Daryl and Rosita end up coming upon their captured friends a little while later.  Despite obvious head-shaking and “no!” grunts from Glenn, Daryl and Rosita walk right into the trap and are quickly surrounded.  Dwight points his gun at Daryl and fires.  Blood splatters over the screen and Dwight declares “you’ll be alright”…and that’s the end of that.

Interesting Asides:

Mixed into the “find your friend” storylines there’s one with Maggie and Enid.  Enid shows some concern for Maggie’s pregnancy by offering to take her watch shift so she can relax during her lunch break and, later, Maggie asks Enid to cut her hair.  Enid does, it’s sweet, there’s bonding for them both, and then suddenly Maggie is doubled over and wailing in pain as she holds her stomach.  …Not sure what’s happening, but the implication is clearly that she’s miscarrying and needs to get to that Hilltop obstetrician immediately.  It also brings up a curiosity for me: what happens when a woman miscarries in the Walker apocalypse?  Do the fetuses become Walkers?  Because, if so, Maggie’s in a heck of a dangerous situation right now.

I confess, Rick’s belief system is really confusing at the moment.  Upon meeting Jesus he wanted to recruit the guy, he let him live even after the guy snatched his truck and beat him (and Daryl) up, and yet now Rick’s trying to kill a man fleeing him as he insists he doesn’t take chances anymore.  Which is it Rick?  Either way, stop being so smug and sure of yourself.  Whenever you’re like this terrible things happen to those around you and Negan’s on his way.

Now the big question of the episode: Will Daryl be alright?  Hard to tell just yet as the blood conveniently obscured the audience’s view and Dwight could’ve been speaking to anyone.  Maybe he was speaking to Daryl, maybe he was speaking to Rosita (who was next to Daryl), maybe he’s speaking to someone else entirely.  The potential state of Daryl varies widely: 1) he could already be dead, 2) he could be injured, but otherwise fine, 3) he could be injured, but still at risk of bleeding out a’la Donny, who Carol shot before being taken hostage.  …On the plus, if Daryl survives being shot I’m pretty sure he’s not getting killed by Negan.

Speaking of Negan…we officially know he’ll show up in the 90 minute finale thanks to the promo.  We still don’t know who he’ll kill yet, though in truth we don’t know if he’ll kill at all in the finale.  It’s very possible The Walking Dead will leave us with a cliffhanger, forcing us to wait until Season 7 to discover who’s actually dead.  Or perhaps who’s still alive given the precarious state of everyone right now.

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