We are going back a few weeks to consider the consequences of the events that have led up to The Walking Dead season 6 finale. We know that Negan is going to make his first appearance on the show after the teaser that AMC released. Spoilers abound….You’ve been warned.
We left off with Maggie and Carol getting captured in the wake of raiding Negan’s compound. Even though Maggie and Carol’s kidnappers are clearly not joking around threating violence, using military codes when communicating, etc., did anyone really believe that Carol and Maggie weren’t going to make it out? The episode is called “The Same Boat,” and it explores the ways that all the survivors of this world are facing the same circumstances, but also how Carol tries to convince her captors that they are the same in many ways.
This episode is actually really awesome look at Carol and her psychology. Carol is good at manipulating people and controlling situations in order to survive; she has done it for a lot of her adult life having been married to a physically, psychologically and emotionally violent spouse. She has always been a survivor, even before the walkers. Maggie and Carol are as resourceful as they have proved to be in previous seasons and they escape capture. However, they also lived the threat that Rick believed the Saviors posed, in a way justifying the initial action against the Saviors and while they have temporarily triumphed, they have not actually killed Negan.
In the next episode, “Twice As Far,” life seems to have returned to a certain level of mundanity in Alexandria. During some down time Morgan created jail so that next time they have to take action against people they have more options than just violence. Believing Negan to be fully dealt with, the group is now going on resource runs outside the walls.
Abraham and Eugene are out scouting for resources. Eugene is doing his best to “change, adapt and become a survivor,” as he puts it. Although, when confronted with an opportunity to dispatch a walker in the wild, he clumsily pins it up against a wall, forcing Abraham to take action before Eugene gets eaten.
Denise, Rosita and Daryl go out to scout for medicine. They come across a fallen tree blocking the road and they must travel the rest of the way on foot. When it’s suggested that they take the nearby railroad tracks to save some time, Daryl refuses and takes the path off the tracks even though it is twice as far. This is the title of the episode and a moment where we get a brief, but deep look at the way past traumas have effected Daryl. The last time he followed tracks he found civilized looking humans that eat other humans, like the walkers do.
The drug store that they arrive at has handprints ominously plastered all over the facade and inside we find what the walkers were after. Denise finds a corpse in a room with “hush” scrawled all over the walls and a baby drowned in a sink. A dark moment on the show, again highlighting the desperation of humanity in its death throes. On the way back, Daryl suggests taking the tracks, trying to let go of his irrational fear. Except, the fear is completely rational in this instance. In a shocking moment Denise dies in the same way that Abraham does in the comics.
This time on the tracks it’s not cannibals. The arrow was fired from Daryl’s crossbow by Dwight, one of the Saviors; the man that Daryl should have killed when they crossed paths earlier and Dwight robbed him of that very same crossbow. After a brief standoff, Eugene uses some…creative…tactics to spring the ambush that Abraham has been laying in the shadows and the Saviors are forced to retreat. When they return to Alexandria, it’s back to mundanity and the episode closes with a voice over of Carol reading a letter she left the group explaining that she was leaving Alexandria, because she didn’t want to kill anymore.
The next episode, “East,” begins with a very short comic book style opening and it is suggested that Carol has met tremendous violence after she left Alexandria. The episode then flashes back to the panicked fallout of her departure and in various waves Daryl, Glenn, Michonne and Rosita leave Alexandria.
Daryl leaves to chase down Dwight. Glenn, Michonne and Rosita chase after him. Rick questions anyone who may have seen or heard anything, trying to piece together when and how Carol left. Then, Rick and Morgan leave in search of Carol, which is a strange combo given the difference of opinion in how to deal with enemies.
The episode pivots to what happened to Carol. While driving one of the spiked cars that she stole from just outside the walls of Alexandria, she encounters what we can assume are Saviors. It was confusing of her to leave Alexandria if she didn’t want to kill anyone because the first encounter she has with people ends with her shooting them all. Rick and Morgan find evidence of the confrontation and pursue Carol into the woods, eventually parting ways, with Morgan continuing to pursue Carol and Rick heading back toward Alexandria.
When Glenn, Michonne and Rosita find Daryl he is stubbornly in pursuit of Dwight. When he refuses to go back to Alexandria Rosita decides to follow him, also unable to let go of Denise’s death. The irony is that splitting up and allowing Daryl and Rosita to pursue Dwight didn’t matter; Glenn and Michonne, Daryl and Rosita are all captured by the Saviors.
So, we are down to it. Negan will surely introduce somebody’s face to Lucille in the finale, the question is: Who?