*Major spoilers ahead
Explosions solve everything
The Walking Dead’s mid season opener ‘No way out’ just premiered, so this feels like the most appropriate time to give my shitty opinions on some of the scenes in a pretty action packed, rocket fulled, advert plagued zombfest. After being absent from our screens for so long, its nice to have the ever popular serious back and they have definitely hit the ground running, with a thoroughly enjoyable start to the second half of the season. Regardless the Walking Dead often gets away with some shoddy stuff sometimes and this episode had a few silly and not so silly bumps along the road.
1. The opening scene was the best part…until it wasn’t
Picking right up from the post credits of the last episode, we are re-introduced to Duke Nukem look alike Abraham and his team the ‘Nukettes’ Daryl and Sasha, (also fuck you that is their new team name now). The trio are still in a pretty bad situation; they’ve found themselves outgunned and out-manned by some bikers (soon to be known as Negans people, The Saviors). It’s actually a pretty intense scene, with some real edge of your seat moments, thanks to some great acting from the creepy biker leader played by Christopher Berry.
The Biker leaders messed up game of ‘will I or wont I put a bullet in you’ actually made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a long time while watching the Walking Dead, actual fear for a characters mortality. Even if you’ve read the comics, the show throws enough curve balls to still make you fear for a characters well being, and after the Glenn fake out death from the first half of the season, we are long overdue an unexpected major character death (like Andrea). Unfortunately, right at the climax of the scene just as things were getting interesting, all the tension was immediately lost as Daryl input his GTA cheat code and pulled out a fucking rocket launcher.
It’s a weird way to end a very slow tense scene, I mean they literally ended it with a bang. I suspect that the writers wrote themselves into a corner and realised that they couldn’t actually kill any of these major characters. So Daryl had to silently kill his armed captor (somehow) and learn how to load and fire some military grade hardware. It literally looks like the stash of rocket launchers the gang found are the walking Deads equivalent of a ‘get out of jail free card’. I felt that this was the moment the episode sort of went down hill a bit. It also helped to highlight a weird issue I had with this episode, instead of the usual dodgy character logic and piss poor reaction times, this episode lent way to far in the other direction; in No way Out all of Ricks crew (bar one) were fucking invincible.
*Bonus: How the heck did Sasha and Abraham get out of the blast unscathed?
2. The gang transform into the fucking Avengers
In a show where characters have a lot of difficulty combating fragile and continuously decaying zombies, that at this point in the series should be struggling to stand up to a gentle breeze, let alone against an 85kg human being. Rick and his crew had very little problems this episode chopping down wave after wave of Walkers.I don’t know what Rick and co were eating in between episodes, but everyone turned into zombie murder machines. Seriously even the other background Alexandrians (Alexandrites?) who have up until this point proven to be useless in a fight, were hacking away with deadly precision. The Walking Dead likes to pick and choose when it wants it’s characters to remember how to kill a Walker and it honestly breaks my suspension of disbelief.
So it’s a little hard to believe that the Alexandrian’s suddenly became competent in the art of undead murder. All because they watched a possibly suicidal Rick Grimes, pick up a hatchet and start comboing zombies like they were fucking paper mache (which I guess they kind of are at this point), Tyreese would of been proud. Rick’s Walker killing spree was apparently so impressive that even the two cowardly Lions Eugene and Father Gabriel gained the courage to step up and join the fight. I have to admit it was actually nice seeing everyone get there shit together, even if it was because of weird reasons.
3. Eye gouging fun with Carl and the Anderson family
So things have been going pretty poorly for the Anderson family; primarily for Jessie who was married to a huge dick ( who Rick murdered in front of her) and has two half dick sons named Ron and Sam. When we last saw the family with Rick and co, Sam was just about to fuck everything up. Fast forward to now and yep, it doesn’t take long for Sam to Fuck everything up and get himself eaten alive.
Anyone who has read the comics would of saw this scene coming, its a big chapter there and it’s a big scene here. Still I was still quite surprised that they actually went with it, there have been countless big comic moments that had slight changes or even drastic ones (just take a look at Ricks still intact right hand for example). It was pretty damn brutal watching Jessie and Sam become Walker food, with Rick having to basically chop a terrified Jessie’s hand off to save his son from the same fate (at least Rick no longer has to worry about all that building sexual tension..right?). This was definitely a highlight of the episode, as we see everything fall apart along the final twist of the knife in Ricks heart as shit dick Ron shoots Carl in the face (right before being stabbed by Michonne). This whole scene was ripped straight out of the pages of the comic (more or less) and you know what it was a pretty strong scene because of it.
*Fun fact: This is the first time since the very first episode where a child has died on-screen
4. Paging Dr. Wolf love
So remember that weird episode from the mid season finale where Carol and Morgan act like idiots and the crazy Wolf guy kidnaps Denise as a result? That was for me the most unexpected event from the last half of the season and it doesn’t slow down on the weird turns here. So Wolf dude needs nurse Denise to treat his gross stomach wound, then just like your average Tinder date things suddenly divulge into creepy waters for poor Denise; lines like “maybe I just enjoy your company” and “I just want to change you” are blurted out. We can only watch poor Denise’s face, as she clearly questions whether or not she should just run straight into the fucking zombie horde and end it all just to escape this dude. In the end this whole Wolf hunt didn’t really pan out; Wolf dudes sudden change in heart made his heroic antics all the more baffling. His antics and death at the hands of murder-bot Carol, fell completely flat and left no real impact on anybody, with Carol looking more confused than remorseful.
5. Close encounters of the Glenn kind
So Glenn hot off the death fake-out fiasco of the first half of the season, continues to flirt with death once more for a second time this season. Teaming up with Enid, Glenn embarks on a rescue mission to save his wife Maggie, who at this point has been stuck an a watch tower for the better half of a day. Honestly I’d say that by that point Maggie was probably in the safest position out of everyone, but hey it would make for some boring telly if Glenn didn’t at least try (he’d probably also be sleeping alone on the couch for the rest of the zombie apocalypse). So armed with a ‘church glock’ and some rope Glenn rushes in to distract the Walkers, while Enid climbs up to Maggie (with the help of a convenient walkway) so that she can…um well it’s not really clear what Enid’s plan was; or more importantly why Maggie couldn’t of used the same walkway to get to safety. In fact the whole plan or rather the lack of one didn’t really make much sense to me, but the watch tower sure made for a good angle to watch Glenn get overwhelmed by walkers. But just when it looked like Glenn was gonna get ‘Glenned’, he got “Glenned” instead (you following me?).
With the precision aiming of someone who’s only ever fired a gun in Call of duty
Nukem and the Nukettes show up just in the nick of time, It was a cool save, but I felt that oh so familiar Walker biting at my face again. I mean how the fuck did they miss Glenn? What so you’re saying they weren’t aiming for him? Fuck you, I don’t think they were even aiming at all. I mean yeah all my points are basically just little nitpicks here and there bu- NO SERIOUSLY HOW DID HE NOT GET HIT EVEN ONCE!? That’s some American Sniper levels of accuracy shit right there. So Glen lives another day and Maggie finally gets off of that damn tower.
6. Daryls a rocket man kind of man
So to finally to end the siege of the dead, Daryl employs some more rocket tactics and creates a large bonfire through the use of some gasoline and you guessed it, a rocket launcher (I guess he was out of matches or something). The fire distracts the walkers allowing everyone to clean up the stragglers and gain the upper hand. So yeah, allot of action in this episode of the Walking Dead; Carl survives his plastic surgery and the population of Alexandra (and cast list) gets a little bit smaller. Ultimately this will help to better draw focus where needed, as some of these characters are likely to become big players once Negan finally makes his appearance.