It’s the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead! Our last new episode until Valentine’s Day. It’s bound to be a doozy. A tower fell, taking down some of Alexandria’s wall. Walkers are flooding in. Home is no longer safe. Jessie’s youngest son Sam has barricaded himself in his room, drawing pictures of someone tied to a tree as walkers attack (ie: what Carol threatened to do to him earlier in the season). Ants are invading his room, swarming a cookie he left uneaten. While Tiny Tim sings “Tiptoe Through The Tulips,” the ants reenact what the walkers are doing to Alexandria right outside the window. Rick screams at everyone to get into the houses. He starts shooting and we quickly realize how ridiculously outnumbered the humans are. Deanna tries to get Rick inside but when that doesn’t work, joins him in attack. She’s a terrible shot but she’s finally fighting. Damn, that’s a lot of walkers. It was scary enough when they were outside the walls but seeing them in Alexandria is downright terrifying.
Everyone is running. Carol falls. Morgan helps her make it inside. Rick is getting overwhelmed by walkers so Deanna throws herself in his path (finally becoming the protector instead of protectee). Maggie’s only choice is to run back to her lookout perch. She has to fight to get there but makes it. She’s safe for now but that rickety platform doesn’t look like it can withstand the group of walkers trying to reach her. Eugene is frozen in terror. He hears voices from a walkie talkie someone dropped. He grabs it and let’s out a meek “help” right before Rosita and Tara rescue him. As my friend Charlene pointed out, we now know who Daryl heard a couple of episodes ago. Rick, helping a wounded Deanna, is joined by Michonne, Father Gabriel, Carl and Jessie’s other son Ron. Jessie calls them into her house where she has Judith. All of our people are separated but safely inside: Carol with Morgan at the jail; Tara, Rosita and Eugene together in a garage; and Rick, Deanna, Michonne, Carl, Judith, Jessie and Ron at Jessie’s house.
Glenn and Enid watch the wall fall from just outside. Enid wants to give up. Glenn won’t. He mentions that Maggie is pregnant and that moves Enid more than anything else has.
The group invades Sam’s safe, creepy little space. Deanna is wounded and needs attention. Sam is freaking out about the “monsters” (thanks, Carol). Jessie tries to reassure him but she doesn’t really have time to deal with his type of crazy right now. At the jail, Carol seems to have a concussion. Morgan tries to help her but she wants to fight through it. In the actual jail cell, Dr Denise is alone with the wolf. He tries to manipulate her. Luckily, it doesn’t seem like it’s working. She’s too scared to think of anything else. To distract herself, she treats his wound. She seems to be on team Morgan. She keeps telling the wolf he can change. While checking Deanna’s wounds, Michonne finds a nice big walker bite. Deanna’s take on the situation? “Well, shit.” Shit indeed, Deanna. Shit indeed. Michonne talks to Deanna about her plans for the expansion. They have quite a moment. Deanna sees how much Michonne wants to make Alexandria work. Deanna may be dying but her dream will live on.
Carl follows Ron into the garage. Ron’s not handling things so well. “Enid’s dead. We’re all dead.” Carl tries to reassure him that Rick will figure something out but Ron is too far gone. And then they do the “your dad’s a killer” “so is yours” dance. Read your audience, Carl! You can’t argue with crazy. Ron locks the door back into the house and grabs his gun. Carl attacks him and knocks the gun out of his hand. So Ron smashes a window, getting the attention of walkers, and tries to push Carl into them. Rick and Jessie hear the commotion and try to break down the door. Carl gets away from Ron and instead of grabbing the gun, tries to block the walkers from coming into the garage. He’s unsuccessful but Rick breaks down the door and drags the two boys back into the house. The only problem now is the door is broken and walkers are surging. Oh, and Ron has the gun again. As they’re fighting to keep the walkers out, Rick asks Carl what happened. Carl lies. He’s no snitch (even when he should be). But he’s also not stupid. The minute they’re alone Carl pulls his gun on Ron and disarms him. Attaboy! “Look man, I get it,” Carl tells him. “My dad killed your dad. But you need to know something: your dad was an asshole.” Yes! You tell him, Carl!
Jessie’s house is getting swarmed. Judith starts crying so Rick rushes to her crib. He finds Deanna slumped over it, reaching for her. No! Rick is about to kill her when she yells out, “It’s still me!” That’s a clever way of putting it. Deanna wanted to see Judith “one more time” before she died. I get that but it’s very selfish. She doesn’t know when she’s going to die. If she had turned, alone in the room with Judith, she would have eaten that baby. Selfish. Deanna asks Rick to look out for Spencer “like you look out for your people.” She explains that they’re all his people now. The walkers break into Jessie’s house. They can’t hold them back any longer. Everyone runs upstairs and blocks the stairway with a couch. Rick tells Michonne, “I got this one. You get the one behind it. We’re going to need two.” Rick has a plan. They’re going to cover themselves in walker guts to disguise their scent and walk through the walkers to the armory. Everyone looks squeamish and scared but they have no other option.
In the garage, Rosita isn’t doing very well. She’s not sure they can survive this. Tara talks her out of it while Eugene reads a book. They decide to go into the house & see if anyone is there. Eugene picks the lock (finally participating). Inside, Carol is “resting her eyes” (which seems dangerous with a concussion but whatever). Morgan checks the status outside and Carol uses his distraction to grab his keys and run down to the cell, intent on killing the wolf. Morgan isn’t far behind and they face off, ready to fight. “This could have waited,” Morgan says. “It could have. Now it can’t.” It’s Carol vs Morgan, kill vs save. They argue back and forth, wishing they didn’t have to come to blows but knowing that neither is changing their mind. The wolf joins the conversation, proving Carol’s opinion and egging the fight on. “I don’t want to have to kill you, Morgan,” Carol pleads. “You won’t,” he responds. “…I won’t let you.”
Michonne visits Deanna to let her know the plan and say goodbye. She offers to kill her but Deanna isn’t ready. “And when I am, I’ll do it myself. It’s my life. Start to finish.” She finally tells Michonne what she wrote in Latin on the expansion plans: someday this pain will be useful to you. Michonne can relate. She joins the others as they prepare their walker-covered sheet ponchos. Sam walks into a scene that must be straight out of his nightmares. Jessie explains that it’s their only choice and that he has to pretend to be brave. I don’t think Sam has it in him. I don’t know if I would have it in me, either.
In the jail, Carol and Morgan continue to argue. She explains that she needs to kill the wolf so no one else will die. “You should kill me,” the wolf adds. “But you’re all going to die. You don’t belong here.” Here being the zombie apocalypse. Carol asks Morgan to step aside so he knocks her knife out of her hand. She gets it back and they’re wrestling. She’s wearing a gun but she doesn’t really want to kill Morgan so instead they fight mano a mano. Morgan gets frustrated and slams Carol down to the floor. She’s knocked out (hopefully…it was a hard body slam). As he’s staring with regret at what he’s done, the wolf grabs his stick and knocks him out. Before Dr Denise can do anything, the wolf grabs Carol’s knife and takes total control of the situation. Dr Denise begs him to not kill them. “You said they were already dead. You said that I was. You don’t need to kill us.” Rational doesn’t work on wolves so instead he puts the knife to her throat. Just then, Tara, Rosita and Eugene burst in. Tara and Rosita point their gun at the wolf but he is shielding himself with Dr Denise, knife at her throat. He gets them to give him their guns and then backs out with Dr Denise. All Tara, Rosita and Eugene can do it watch.
The poncho crew is on their way. They successfully make it past the walkers in the house. Glenn and Enid climb a tree and peer over the wall that’s still standing. They see Maggie on her precarious perch. Deanna prepares to shoot herself. Then she hears the walkers coming. She starts shooting, determined to go out in a blaze of glory. When her bullets are gone, she screams. Her final words are an angry scream. The poncho party makes it’s way to the porch. They’re surrounded and yet ignored. It’s eery. They gather their strength, link hands and head into the horde. The only noise is walker grunts and Sam calling, “Mom! Mom! Mom!”
Tune in Valentine’s Day, 2016, for the second half of season 6 of The Walking Dead. The preview they gave us seriously ramped up our cliffhanger: Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are driving home when they see something on the horizon. It’s a gang of motorcycles blocking the road. The motorcycle guys force them out of the truck and explain that everything they had now belongs to Negan. Does that extend to their lives? We have 2 ½ months to think about it.