The Walking Dead “East” Review (Season 6 Episode 15)


Previously on The Walking Dead . . .
Eugene proved to all that he officially arrived at Stage 2 of survival. Denise braved her fears and went out on a run with Daryl and Rosita. During the run, she helped the group score some medicine, found an orange Crush soda for Tara, gave her run mates a little counseling and unfortunately, became another sign of the danger of Negan’s crew when she received a fatal bolt to the eye from Daryl’s stolen crossbow thanks to Dwight. Carol left the group and said her goodbyes in a “Dear Tobin” letter.

On to this week’s penultimate episode of the season, “East.”

Conspicuous Coupling
In the opening moments of the episode, we saw lots of intimate moments between couples. Maggie and Glenn showered together, Sasha gave Abraham a cigar as he arrived to work his shift and Carol and Tobin exchanged some couple-like small talk (before the former departed). The scenes were set to Johnny Cash’s “It’s All Over,” which was very effective at creating an uneasiness about the future for the respective couples. The montage ended with Michonne and Rick sharing an apple in bed together. By the episode’s end, most of the couples were in disarray – Michonne and Glenn were captured by Dwight, Maggie was back at the Alexandria Safe Zone (“ASZ”) in extreme physical pain and Carol was still missing in action with only Morgan left to look after her after he wisely advised Rick to return home. Aside from a hateful glare from Rosita, Sasha and Abe were the only pair to make it to the end of the episode without facing any danger. Here’s hoping this does not spell trouble for Sasha and Mr. “My Freckled Ass” in the season finale.

Nancy From Montclair
Carol’s mission to be alone was briefly disrupted by a group of men that appeared to be part of Negan’s Saviors. Once again, the writers used the confrontation to show just how much the Saviors knew about the ASZ, which was a whole hell of a lot more than what Rick’s crew knew about them.

I had to watch the episode a few times before I truly appreciated Carol’s actions when confronted by the Saviors. Initially, I thought that Carol killed them because she was trying to spare her own life. Although I do not think Carol is suicidal, I believe that her desire not to kill anymore is genuine and sincere. In my opinion, Carol killed the Saviors because they shared how much information they had about the ASZ. As Carol stated in her letter to Tobin, she loves the family and will kill to protect them. Once the Saviors revealed how much they knew about the ASZ, Carol knew she would have to kill again and I think it’s why Melissa McBride played that scene with so much exasperation, as Carol knew that she had no choice. It would have been interesting to see what choices Carol would have made had the men not revealed how much they knew about the ASZ.

As an aside, I was pretty peeved that Tobin did not join Rick and Morgan in the search for Carol. What the hell, Tobin? With Tobin back home doing whatever it is he does, we got some long overdue bonding with Rick and Morgan. I am eternally here for Lennie James and Andrew Lincoln being great onscreen, so I loved that part of the episode. The parting moment between the pair was great, as Morgan came clean about his stow away wolf and Rick spilled the beans on Michonne stealing Morgan’s protein bar.

Do We Riot?!
Like many fans of The Walking Dead, I consider myself a card carrying member of the “If Daryl Dies, We Riot” club. I know that there is a contingency of fans out there who would not mind seeing Daryl die, but I do not consider myself one of them. In fact, I’m definitely a member of the “Can’t They All Just Live” club. Ha!

Upset over Denise, our favorite archer set out after Dwight. Understanding the risk involved with such a move, Michonne, Glenn and Rosita went after Daryl. Daryl ignored Glenn and Michonne’s pleas and continued on his mission to kill Dwight with Rosita in tow. What did Glenn and Michonne get in return for trying to get Daryl to listen to reason? Captured by Dwight’s crew.

Daryl and Rosita find Glenn and Michonne and the rescue attempt is cut short, as Dwight shoots Daryl and says “you’ll be alright.” I’m sure a few passionate fans have already viewed the scene over and over in order to gauge Daryl’s prognosis going into the finale. It looks like Dwight shot Daryl in the shoulder, which should not be life threatening – barring infection and other complications. We won’t know for sure until Sunday! I think there were a few more hints given on Talking Dead, but I will refrain from sharing them here for those that prefer to keep things suspenseful.

Let Them Be Great!
So here’s the thing, I’ve enjoyed the last two episodes of The Walking Dead, but I’m admittedly a little frustrated with some of the writers’ choices.

Our group is road tested, battle ready and just an overall group of bad asses who are smart and strategic in what they do. The take down of Negan’s satellite location was a thing of beauty. Because of what we know about our group, it is frustrating when the writers have them act impulsive or out of character or just outright stupid in order to generate drama for a plot.

As I mentioned last week, Carol knows this group well enough to know that asking that no one follow her in a letter would not be an option. In having Carol leave in the manner that she did, she appears short-sighted and a little selfish. Do I think Carol is any of these things? Absolutely not! The Carol we’ve watched develop over 6 seasons, would have no problem in having a face to face conversation with Rick about her departure.

And then there’s the Daryl of it all. Indeed, Daryl can get a bit emotional at times and impulsive in his actions. And although Daryl has escaped close calls with deaths nearly as much as Glenn, I have a hard time believing that he would just impulsively go off alone to kill a man that he knows full well is in a larger group of armed men. It makes no sense. Like Carol, Daryl also knows this group well enough to know that they would never let him make such a rash decision, particularly when the group is facing a very real threat.

Simply put, I want the writers to work on creating drama in ways that feel more organic to the characters’ growth and development. Carol and Daryl are too smart and have too much love for the family to let their impulses rule in such troubled times.

Stuff, Thangs and Other Observations . . .
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– It was nice to hear Rick refer to Carol as a “force of nature.” Indeed, Carol is. However, I was surprised and disappointed to hear Rick say that he agreed with Carol’s decision to kill Karen and David. Of all the Carol kills, that’s still the one that I simply cannot get behind. She killed two defenseless people who were part of their group because they were sick. Their illness undoubtedly posed a threat to the group, but a simple conversation with Hershel – who had some knowledge of how disease spreads (at least among animals) – would have given some much needed insight as to how effective killing Karen and David would have been at stopping the spread of the flu. It was baffling to hear Rick say that he would now have done the same thing. Nothing about the direction that the group has taken now squares with the murder of Karen and David. At least for me it does not.

– I wish the writers would have taken advantage of the opportunity to have Michonne appeal to Daryl from her perspective as someone whose sword was used to kill Hershel. Michonne knows firsthand what it feels like to not get an opportunity to kill someone who then comes back and uses your favorite weapon to kill a member of your family. Daryl was out there looking for the Governor with Michonne and that shared experience could have made for an interesting moment between two characters that I wish interacted more with each other. That aside, I liked that Glenn made the appeal to Daryl. It would be nice to see those two share more scenes together as well.

– Speaking of pairs I’d like to see interact more with each other, the scene between Abe and Rick so delightful and refreshing. It was such a quick moment, but so fun to watch.

– Who was the mysterious figure in the homemade armor looking for a horse? I’ve got my suspicions, but I will reserve them for now because they involve comic book spoilers.

Survivor of the Week
The award this week goes to Morgan. Look, I’m just as tired as most people of hearing Morgan waxing philosophical about the consequences of taking so much life – regardless of the circumstances in which it happens. I happen to think that Morgan has very valid points that unquestionably tie into what we’ve seen our favorite group of survivors experience over the course of 6 seasons of The Walking Dead.

That aside, I’m giving the honor to Morgan this week because of the actor who brings him to life on screen, Lennie James. The writers gave James a whole heaping portion of exposition to handle this week and he did it with aplomb. It was a little frustrating to hear Morgan tell Rick about how he’d gotten to know the people at the ASZ and that others told him about Carol’s banishment from the prison. I would have loved to see Lennie James interacting with other cast members and to see him talk to Carol about what happened at the prison. Instead, we had to settle for it all happening off screen. I’m frustrated with the writers’ choice, but James did a great job at dishing out the exposition while still keeping me engaged.

Until Next Week!
What did you think of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead? Are you ready for next week’s finale? I’m not!!!

*Gif from giphy