It’s been a long few months since we were last in Alexandria. Season 6A left us on one of The Walking Dead’s typical mid-season cliffhangers, with the team spread thin and walkers tearing down the walls of our newfound safe-haven. The future seemed uncertain for a number of key players, with Maggie laying unconscious atop a crumbling watchtower, Denise being dragged into the fray by Morgan’s wolf, and Rick and the gang precariously ambling through a hoard of walkers protected only by bloodied rags.
The second half of the season kicks off with Daryl, Abraham and Sasha being ambushed by a group of biker punks known as the saviors. After a brief pissing match, however, the antagonists quickly fall foul to the business end of Abraham’s RPG (well, haven’t we all been waiting for that to come into play??) and the fans favourites continue their journey back to Alexandria, blissfully unaware of the chaos going down back home.
Rick meanwhile decides to try and get his posse to the parking lot in order to use the cars to round up the walkers, leaving the ever-trustworthy Gabriel to take baby Judith to safety. And then shit gets real.
Unstable cry-baby Sam finally has the freak-out we have all been expecting, leading to the death of not only himself, but also his mother, Rick’s new bit of fluff, at the mouths of the walkers. Whiny Ron naturally blames Carl (as he does for everything) and, in one of the series’ most shocking moments to date, meets his end by Michone’s blade, but not before blowing off the side of young Carl’s face with his shotgun.
No Way Out does what The Walking Dead is typical great at; giving us a season opener that really is just the season finale that never happened last time round. Remember Terminus? Of course, had the first half ended where this episode does, there wouldn’t be the ridiculous amount of loose ends.
One of the tensest episodes in a very long while, No Way Out has some wonderful dialogue, with the highlight coming in Glenn’s inspirational “they’re still here ‘cause you’re still here” speech to grumpy teen Enid. It also sees a lot of characters who had been rather hiding in the shadows finally stepping up to the plate, and others that have, quite frankly, been annoyingly hogging screen-time, getting their much-deserved comeuppance. The final battle for Alexandria is tense and desperate, and whilst our heroes seem able to relax for a while now, we, the audience, are well aware that things are not going to remain calm for long. After all, “your property now belongs to Negan”…
Dir: Greg Nicotero
Scr: Seth Hoffman
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Michael Dudlitz, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green
Music: Bear McCreary
Episode Number: 9 of 16
Run time: 45mins