Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “No Way Out”

In which Shawn & Kim nibble on the return of The Walking Dead and Daryl’s arms.

Shawn: So we start off the second half of Season 6 with a bang (too soon?) and in some ways I have less to say about good episodes than I do about the crappy ones. All of these comments are preceded by the note that I love this show.

1. ) No lie, it was worth a “Hell yeah” and a loud “That’s right!” when Daryl shot the smelly (my assumption) and unwashed biker gang with the rocket launcher. Welcome back, Daryl. It was also the least suspenseful part of the night. I knew logically that none of those characters were going to be shot and killed – and certainly not in the first minute of the start of the second half of the season. Is there any other more tired cliche than the crazy “I’m going to shoot you – pysch, no I’m not – but I really am – no, I’m really not not going to for sure not shoot you not right now.” Didn’t we just have Dave Grohl pull some crazy “trust me – ha, you shouldn’t have trusted me” crap? Write better.

2.) So the last nine episodes including this one are just two days? We started with the Zombie Walkathon and the Quarry and Glenn’s “death” and the kidnapping of Daryl and all of that crap just two days ago in story time? The flashbacks and sidetrack episodes really lost that flow. When I watched 24, one of the strengths of it was that ticking clock. All of the stories moved forward at the same time. That realization of the timeframe has really taken me out of the flow. I think we have been used to episodes taking place over the course of a day, maybe two or three. This has slowed it down without really making me feel the tension of it. It gets back to my original observations from the start of the season that we could have digested this in linear order and felt the suspense more.

3.) Sam’s death. Welp. I don’t even know where to start because it wasn’t significant and yet was played off as some major character death. Certainly this was where his character was headed. But there’s not a valid point in doing it here. There’s no redemption of his character and there’s no way in that it changes the lives of those who knew him. He didn’t die after bonding with Carol. His death didn’t spur Jessie on to be some kind of surrogate mother for Carl or becoming a super-duper zombie revenge hunter. It only got her killed. Then caused her son to shoot out Carl’s eye (finally) and die himself. So the whole family is gone and they really did nothing except give Carl some depth-perception issues. I have always loved how important the deaths have been. I watch Game of Thrones to see meaningless deaths of main characters. And can’t someone just drag his ass out of there? Put him on Michonne’s back and run his scared butt to safety? Also, where were they going that took so long?

4.) I don’t trust Nurse Denise. There’s something going on there. And I can’t tell if she was really falling in love with Dave Grohl and his bad teeth or if she was acting the part knowing that Carol would probably pop a cap in him once they got outside. Can someone get her a better cardio program too – she doesn’t have any awesome moves to get away from the zombies and I think that makes me most tense. She did save Carl though so we’ve got that to hold against her the rest of the season.

5.) Hope. The episode did end on a good, if not hokey, moment. I loved Rick’s speech. It sets up a very interesting change in his attitude from pissed-off Rick at the end of Season Five. This Rick won’t shoot your husband and then eventually just lead your whole family to their death. I think there’s a chance we deal with the very real “ideal” of what Rick wants and what “reality” really is going to be. Optimism hasn’t been something that’s been rewarded in this show. But the words were so powerful that they brought Carl out of his coma or whatever for the emotional “yeah, Dad” hand squeeze.

Like Eugene – I’m not “clocking out” for this show because it is one that people will be talking about. I’m just hoping they don’t get lazy.

Kim: I’m going to go ahead and offer you my thoughts on your thoughts and be the T to your A. Your “hell yeah!” and “that’s right!” were actually a “No talking, but FUCK!”, caps and all, and I have the text to prove it. I didn’t care for the way lead biker dude talked nor carried himself. His greasy hair was weird, his eyes did odd things, and he kind of pranced around like a reindeer in a Santa movie. I’m pretty happy that Daryl RPGd them.

My one take away from that whole opening scene? Daryl smiled. You could parade a bunch of walkers right past me and have them include T-Dog (one of my original favorites) and I wouldn’t have noticed because Daryl smiled. Also, for the record, it would not surprise me one bit if they had killed Sasha and Abraham right off the bat. I am actually ready for that to happen, as I struggle to see their characters’ purposes in the show. Well, except to come back and open fire on a herd of walkers trying to eat our buddy, Glenn.

Time in The Walking Dead…I can honestly say I have zero concept of how long anything is. In fact, I never have. I judge time based on the length of Daryl’s hair and how much bigger his arms get. I used to base it on Rick’s beard, but that’s a thing of the past. At least for now. Speaking of time…

I do want to spend a little bit of time talking about Sam and Jessie and Ron. Because while you don’t see any importance there, I do. First off, I am irritated as all get out that the cliffhanger at the end of the first half of the season involved that little twerp with huge bags under his eyes yelling out “Mom!” the moment they left the house. I don’t think they were even off of the steps on the front porch. How’d they shut him up? How’d they get past the group of walkers like that? Where did the bags under his eyes go? I need some makeup help like that and I’ll pay big bucks to know how to cover those circles quickly. But I digress.

So, let’s talk about this all important time factor for a minute, because you mentioned it, but kind of glossed over it. When they leave the porch and Sam is all, “Mom!” It’s daylight. Not dusk, not the pink clouds obscuring the sun, bright daylight. By the time we get to the family-style meal, it’s dark as shit. You want to know where they’re going (I think it was to the quarry), I want to know how big that town really is. I think I can be a good ways from my house when the sun starts going down and it’s not going to be dark by the time I get home. That was the one thing that bothered me (aside from Abraham in the dress blues, which I still think is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen).

Sam’s death just had to happen. He had no point other than to be a burden. Jessie and Ron, however, I see things in their loss. For Rick, it’s a reminder to not get too comfortable. It was eluded to earlier when everyone was worried about Alexandria making our gang soft. It’s the old, “you don’t get the girl” spiel and I think it’s important, because Rick doesn’t get to know happiness like that anymore. Ron’s purpose is to shoot out Carl’s eye, but his death is once again showing you that this group is Michonne’s family. If you try to hurt one of them, she’s going to run you through with her sword. ‘Atta girl! That poor family, that whole whiny family (including Porch Dick) was put there to remind us all what happens when you get comfortable and try to “be normal” in the apocalypse – you die. Plain and simple.

I think what you’re missing about Denise is that she’s the closest thing that town has to a doctor, and what’s a doctor’s job? Saving people. I don’t see any issues with her. I think she helped the creeper because he came back and saved her. I think she honestly believed he could possibly change, if he was just shown kindness. I believe that’s all that was. So she gets back, she realizes she has a job to do and is the only person who can do it and gets down to business sewing up Carl’s eye hole. I do believe she just has found her sense of purpose.

My happy moments in the show: Daryl’s smile. Daryl’s arms. Daryl using the RPG. Daryl standing on top of the truck. I’m also excited that Eugene found his balls, and I’m sad we didn’t get to see him whacking away walkers. Daryl getting stitches like a boss. Daryl being Daryl. The fact that Daryl was in the show at all. And finally, Daryl.

I have nothing to say of Rick’s speech. I think he’d have been better off leaning in, and whispering “Carl Poppa” in his ear. We’ve heard that speech from Rick several times. This isn’t any different, and while he doesn’t know that for sure, I know that for sure.

Having said all of this…this was obviously my favorite episode of this season so far. In fact, I’d rank it in my Top 3 of all time. Maybe even Top 2. I watched with my heart pounding in my chest and a lump in my throat. I kept my hand over my mouth for the entire time. “Oh my God” was uttered in my home more times in that hour than I have said it in the entire last year. I’m really excited for what’s to come. I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy the back end far more than I did the front end, and you will never hear me say that again. Nibble on that.

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Shawn Bourdo

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