Man, I don’t know about the rest of you all, but this episode hurt.
Sure, we’ve seen some longtime characters like Lori, Herschel, T-Dawg, even Beth eventually succumb to this crazy messed up walker world, but tonight’s loss was perhaps the cruelest death of them all.
I think deep down we all knew Glenn keeping Nicholas alive was going to be the death of him. Nicholas was too panicked, too traumatized and too wholly unprepared for this new world to handle life beyond the safety of Alexandria’s walls.
And Glenn, trying so desperately to retain the last shred of goodness that remained after being forced to do some many horrific things while with Rick, wanted nothing more than to help get Nicholas on the right path. In the end, Glenn’s desire to help this unfortunately hopeless case got him killed.
We’d seen Rick lead a crew to get the walker herd away from Alexandria’s limits the first episode and the second we saw the Alexandria onslaught by the wolves. Tonight we learned why Rick and company didn’t come to the rescue. Simply put, Rick’s cavalry got wiped out.
Rick has not been overly optimistic about the Alexandrites’ abilities to do much of anything worthwhile essentially treating them like the toddler that wants to help clean up. Give ’em some busy work and let the adults handle the real work. That philosophy repeatedly is shown to be the correct one.
Even with the air horn blowing in Alexandria suggesting some major problems where he’d left his children behind, Rick stayed focused on the larger objective. Get the walker herd away. Deranged humans are one thing, but as we learned tonight, a walker herd is an unstoppable, unsatisfied force.
As he planned to double back and get the RV, Rick gave two of his most trusted lieutenants Michonne and Glenn a simple command — this ragtag crew can’t keep up and once they start to slow them down, leave them, but get back to him.
Unfortunately, Heath overheard Rick’s edict, which immediately proved prophetic as another Alexandrite became walker food while another panicked and ran off. But not before shooting Scott (Kenric Green) in the leg. And I probably forgot to mention Annie (Beth Kenner) sprained her ankle and another Alexandrite got a soon to be fatal walker bite in his back too. Bottom line, Rick was right and Glenn and Michonne may as well have cut their losses.
The group manages to hide out in a pet store to lick their wounds and keep the herd stragglers from following them. Michonne shut down Heath’s guilt trip big time, but you could tell his condescending “we don’t leave people behind” affected her.
Glenn and Nicholas head to an abandoned building that’s full of flammables to distract the herd, but this plan seems a bit of a stretch. There was a lot of foreshadowing tonight and Glenn looking at Herschel’s pocket watch wasn’t a good omen for him.
Rick was making his way back to the RV when he ran into a trio of walkers — one of which had a blade stuck in it, resulting in Rick getting another dismembered hand tease. In another ominous sign for Glenn’s prospects, he radios Rick and tells him the plan, ending it with a nod to their very first Walky Talkie conversation.
Daryl was having some doubts about Rick’s plan as well, wanting to help the Alexandria situation and drove off leaving Abraham and Sasha on their own.
In the abandoned town, things were going from worse to soul crushing as walkers heard Michonne and her crew just as the herd stragglers arrive forcing a desperate scramble. Annie’s ankle quickly gives out and the herd devours her.
Glenn and Nicholas aren’t faring any better finding the building already burnt to its foundation. Now with a swarm of walkers on either side, they run into a dead end alley and expend their ammo before climbing atop a Dumpster.
If you’re like me, you were trying to come up with some improbable bada$$ last-minute rescue Daryl could make to save Glenn and Nicholas atop the Dumpster, but this was the end of the line for both of them. Nicholas pulled up his gun and thanked Glenn for having faith in him and shot himself … and falling into Glenn and knocking him off the Dumpster.
Watching a relative newcomer like Noah seeing the walkers tug and munch on his intestines was rough, but watching a longtime fan favorite get the same treatment was 100 times worse. Glenn and Maggie were supposed to have the happy ending against all odds here. They were supposed to do what Rick & Lori, Bob & Sasha, heck The Governor & Andrea couldn’t — just survive somehow.
There’s already some discussion that maybe, just maybe the walkers were ripping apart Nicholas and Glenn somehow managed to use him as a shield and escape. I suppose that’s possible, but the show has never really done a “gotcha!” concerning a character’s death and this was too major a scene to try and dupe the audience.
It was a powerful moment in an episode full of them. Director Michael Slovis made the herd more terrifying than anything we’ve seen on the series thus far. Rick and his crew have been so adept at taking down walkers, I’d become desensitized to the threat from walkers. This episode definitely reinforced the threat of a mass of walkers.
Michonne, Heath, Scott and the bitten Alexandrite find a fence to climb, but the bitten guy, who we already knew was a goner, gets grabbed and becomes a meal. Heath now is starting to see the nightmarish world Michonne, Rick and the others experienced daily. Michonne, Heath and Scott make it back to Alexandria to see the burned out building and truck from the Wolves attack.
Ultimately, Daryl returned to Abraham and Sasha and in the wide shot, the importance of this mission was clearly reinforced as the herd extended miles in the distance.
Rick couldn’t reunite with them though as some Wolves descend on the RV and he barely managed to fight them off. But now, the blasted RV won’t start … just as the herd starts walking along. How the heck is Rick getting out of this one?
Rating: 10 out of 10
Season 6 is just three episodes in, but already the showrunners are putting this in the best season ever category. There hasn’t been a letdown yet and with this emotional, gut-wrenching episode, “The Walking Dead” proves it can still surprise and affect viewers like few shows on television.