‘The Walking Dead’: Carol Steals the Show (Again)


After an awesome season premiere, AMC’s The Walking Dead gave us an equally incredible follow-up with episode 602, JSS.  After all of the havoc that took place with the zombie mega-herd, it seemed like we were going to take some time to relax with a slower episode back in Alexandria.  Viewers learned by the first commercial break that this was not going to be the case (spoilers ahead).

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First of all, I loved the flashback intro of the episode, which dove into Enid’s background (Carl’s new girlfriend, if you haven’t learned her name yet).  We didn’t know much about her beyond being a mysterious loner, and it was nice for the show to provide us with a few new pieces of the puzzle.  It was interesting to see her completely on her own out in the wild before arriving in Alexandria, but I couldn’t help but feel badly for the turtle she found.  I was hoping to finally see someone adopt a pet on the show, only to see those dreams were dashed with a crunch— but I guess they gotta eat.

After the flashback, the episode established its setting back at Alexandria, apparently sometime before the horn started blaring at the end of the previous show.  Things seem normal and all is well, so I naturally thought we’ve be getting one of those slow-paced episodes that The Walking Dead pumps out from time to time.  That was when Carol saw the first of many random surprise attackers, hacking up one of her new friends with a knife.

Alexandria was under siege from the Wolves, the W-carving gang of grungy hooligans.  I knew they were headed in that direction after we saw one of them looking over the pictures of the safe zone after Aaron dropped his bag last season.  It was just surprising to see so many of them infiltrating Alexandria at once, slaughtering every unnamed extra they came across.

Morgan continued his badassery by way of taking thugs down with his staff.  In true Batman style, though, he refused to kill anyone, despite the fact that they were an immediate threat to the entire town (including baby Judith).  While I still like Morgan, I was kind of annoyed to see him taking the time to meticulously tie the hands of a Wolf he had knocked out, with so many murderers running around.  Morality’s nice, but remember people like Tyreese and Dale?  It’s only going to get him killed.

On the flip side was Carol, who completely stole the show once again.  I have to admit that I laughed when she immediately put a bullet through the brain of the raider Morgan had tied up, while she was passing out guns retrieved from the armory— I had to rewind it multiple times.  Noticing the Wolves weren’t carrying guns, she took the chance to gun down as many as she could.  I guess with Morgan going soft and most of the Alexandrians acting like wimps, someone had to take the bull by the horns.  There was simply no time to screw around, and if it wasn’t for Carol’s counter-attack, Rick and the others would surely be coming back to a ghost town.

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Amidst the chaos, Enid took the time to split town for unknown reasons, leaving Carl only with a note reading, “Just survive somehow.”  Apparently that mantra has gotten her to survive all the way up until this point, as we saw her spelling out ‘JSS’ whenever she was in distress earlier in the episode.  She seems to care about Carl, at least to the extent of leaving him a farewell message, but of course we’ll see her again.  It was a little off-putting how she didn’t seem very disturbed with the Wolves killing all of her neighbors, but I don’t know if that means that she knew about them beforehand, or if she just keeps all of her emotions bottled now— just like how Michonne used to be.

The Walking Dead has done an excellent job of hooking me pretty quickly this season, as there’s so much craziness going on with only a couple episodes in.  Morgan spared a pack of the Wolves by way of convincing them to leave, which is probably going to cost some lives later.  We also know that the humongous herd is still heading towards town, which is only going to be a much worse situation after the Alexandria massacre.  Comic readers also know that a major villain from the books is due to show up any second now, and things are only bound to get even worse once that happens.

In any case, you can bet your ass I’ll be watching the new episode of The Walking Dead this Sunday night at 9/8c on AMC.

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