By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
I’ll admit it, the moment I realized this would be a non-Rick episode, I got disappointed. We’ve seen too many of these the past couple of seasons. The writers want to explore other characters, which is great, but it’s been done in some of the most boring ways possible (looking at you, episode where Beth just wanted to get a drink). Tonight was not one of those instances. While I don’t really enjoy the absence of Rick Grimes, we finally got an episode where I didn’t miss him. From the moment the Wolves first attacked, the action didn’t stop. While I still found myself waiting for Rick to pop in and show the Wolves just how big a mistake they made, I was fine with Morgan and Carol getting all the action in this episode.
Carol finally came out of her self-imposed shell tonight. While it was fun seeing her play the introvert for the Alexandrians, we all know what Carol is capable of. Tonight she showed everyone who she really is in a big way. This was a continuation of everything we learned about her when she raided Terminus to save her people. She’s both ruthless and capable. Now that the people of Alexandria know that, it should be fun to see how they react to learning that Rick is actually not the craziest person in his group.
Last week, Morgan told Rick, “I’m a killer.” However, he doesn’t want that to be who he is. Morgan is a reluctant warrior. Even when surrounded by five Wolves, Morgan chose to merely run them off. He’s trying to act in a way that will allow him to look at himself in a mirror and not be disgusted with the person he sees. That makes what happened at the end of the episode all the more compelling for the character. That Wolf looked at Morgan and knew right away that he could kill, but he made the mistake of thinking Morgan wouldn’t. Now Morgan has to reconcile the person he wants to be with the person he needs to be to survive. The town is under attack from a vicious enemy. Morgan has to know that he can’t find the peace he so desperately wants.
I love how the writers took their time teasing this storyline. We saw references to the Wolves all the way back in the mid-season premiere of season five. Then we started to see walkers with the “W” carved into their head. Then we actually met two of them in the season finale. We came into this season not knowing how many there were, or what their intentions towards Alexandria, or any other survivors, are. Now we know that there are many, and their intentions are not good. I got kind of a cult vibe from the one saying that the Alexandrians were prisoners who needed to be freed. I don’t know where the writers are going with that, but it could be a captivating story. We’ve seen a sadistic politician and a group of cannibals; why not a delusional cult? Whatever they are, they’re both violent and a formidable threat to Rick and his group.
What is Father Gabriel doing? Now he wants to learn how to fight? I guess it’s better late than never, but no one trusts him. He’s probably too far gone for a redemption arc, so I’m keeping him at the top of my list of characters who are walker bait.
Thanks for reading!