WARNING – MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
We all know that things can’t be calm for too long in The Walking Dead, and indeed, they have been for just that.
For a show that prides itself on us never knowing who’s gonna bite the dust next, it’s been an inordinately long time since anyone we cared about has died. Midseason last year, in fact, when we had to deal with both Beth and Tyresse in the space of two episodes (albeit with the midseason hiatus in between, but not the point!). I’m not counting the entirety of the Anderson family earlier this season, because I know I’m not alone in having cheered when that bunch of annoying whiners finally bought it.
As such, it’s about time the show starting shocking us again. Recently, we’ve had tears and cheers, laughter and silliness, so it’s good to see that in the countdown to the big Negan reveal (two more weeks!) no one is safe. And, of course, who better to prove that point with than cuddly, lovable doctor, Denise.
This week’s episode is all about stepping out of comfort zones. The opening montage shows Gabriel on patrol with a rifle slung over his shoulder (a strangely smile-inducing image… Could it be that I’m actually starting to like Gabriel???), Rosita in post-Abraham rage sleeping her way around town, and Morgan building a prison, “So there’s another option next time”. Personally, I don’t quite understand why Morgan doesn’t just leave Alexandria; if he’s so averse to Rick’s politics, why not move up to the more pacifist Hilltop? Or just die already? Meh.
And so two of our more unlikely heroes decide it’s time for them to prove their worth. Denise insists on Daryl and Rosita taking her outside the gates for the first time so that she can help stock up on medical supplies, and Eugene takes Abraham on a trek to an abandoned forge, telling him of his plans to start making bullets, as they are “the currency of the new world”.
Eugene is a character that has polarized audiences since his first appearance on the show, but whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that his speech to Abraham about no longer needing protection is his finest moment to date. The interaction between McDermitt and Cudlitz during the scene in the forge might just be my favourite moment of the season so far.
The first half hour of Twice as Far is typical season-6-so-far fare, and at times it’s hard not to feel a little frustrated at the return to the lulled pace, especially after last week’s spectacular episode. Lots of talking, lots of being on a supply run banter, little bit of highly emotional character development…
And then the arrow hits.
In the middle of a great speech about power and bravery, it seemed that Denise had finally grown a pair, finally “leveled up”, as Eugene would say. And then the writers proved that we’ve become complacent.
The final ten minutes are The Walking Dead at its best. After the utter shock of Denise’s demise, we are left in such a state of panic that anything could happen next. And it does. And it’s Eugene that does it. His apparent ratting out of Abraham, before biting off the penis of the vengeful Dwight is inspired, and then his possible death…
Never get complacent in the zombie apocalypse folks.
Oh, and Carol’s gone…?
Dir: Alrick Riley
Music: Bear McCreary
Episode Number: 14 of 16
Run time: 45mins