“Look, man, I get it. My dad killed your dad but you need to know something. Your dad was an a**hole,” says Carl (Chandler Riggs) to Ron (Austin Abrams) after disarming him of his pistol after he tried to kill Carl, causing so much noise that now zombies are attacking Jessie’s house in the mid-season six finale of AMC’s horror/drama series The Walking Dead.
After the wall was destroyed by the collapsing church tower, a huge opening now exists, letting the large group of walkers wander in and seek out the citizens of Alexandria. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) quickly recovers after being knocked down by the collapsing wall, yelling for everyone to get back and go find somewhere safe to hide while he begins to shoot the closest walkers in the head. Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) comes running to back up Rick while many of the others do exactly what Rick told them to do. Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) find safety in the house where Morgan has a Wolf tied up in the basement. During the race to the house, Carol takes a bad fall and hurts her head but tells Morgan it’s nothing and she’s fine. Morgan says to her, “You really don’t trust anyone, do you?” to which she replies, “I trust some more than others but you dead last.” Morgan smiles and says back to Carol, “Well, at least you’re being honest.”
In the most suspenseful scene of the episode, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) uses her machine gun to cut down quite a few walkers coming after her but unfortunately her gun jams. With way too many zombies now closing in on her, Maggie makes a run for it and scrambles up a ladder to a watch platform with very aggressive and hungry walkers shaking the ladder and grabbing at her feet. Losing the ladder and dangling just above the hungry mob of zombies, Maggie uses all of her strength to pull herself up to the platform and lies there exhausted as more walkers surround the platform effectively trapping poor Maggie up there with no immediate or foreseeable escape.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) save Eugene (Josh McDermitt) from another group of walkers, and then all three run and find sanctuary in a garage. This leaves Rick, Carl, a wounded Deanna, Ron, and a few others to try and fight their way through the ever-growing marching mob of zombies until Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) comes out of her house, shooting, and telling them all to go in and that she has Rick’s baby in there already.
Meanwhile outside of Alexandria, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) watch in horror as the army of walkers keep pouring into the town making the once safe haven a zombie suburbia. “This is how it happens – and it always happens,” says Enid to Glenn, indicating the situation is hopeless and it’s time for them to leave. Glenn at this point is fed up with Enid’s fatalistic attitude and tells her the other walls are still standing and that people they care about are still alive. “I need to find my pregnant wife,” Glenn says to Enid who reacts surprised by the news. He tells her to go on if she wants but warns her that’s really how you lose the people you care about…by walking away, and not just the ones living but the ones who are no longer alive. Glenn walks off toward the town with a shaken Enid looking after him.
Back at Jessie’s, it’s discovered that Deanna didn’t just get injured during the fight with the walking dead but also got bitten. She responds to the news by saying, “Well, sh*t.” The group puts her in one of the bedrooms to rest while Ron and Carl end up in the garage. Ron uses the opportunity to try to shoot Carl. Not being experienced and Carl FINALLY getting a clue about Ron’s real motives, Carl is able to get the gun away from Ron and the two end up in a wrestling match, breaking windows and making so much sound that it draws some walkers to the house. The house is not built to withstand a zombie attack and everyone is forced upstairs where they attempt to barricade themselves in the bedrooms. Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) use a dresser and couch to help block the stairs, killing the two closest walkers with Rick telling Michonne they are going to need them.
Carol and Morgan are reluctantly keeping each other company when Carol finally gets past Morgan and heads down to the basement to see who he has been keeping down there. She discovers the wounded Wolf and Denise (Merritt Wever) down there and moves to kill the Wolf with her knife but gets blocked by Morgan who tells her she doesn’t have to do this. Carol is adamant and will not be stopped, telling Morgan she will kill him if she has to in order to kill the Wolf. Morgan says he won’t let that happen and the two end up fighting with Morgan knocking the already shaky Carol out. This is just the opportunity the Wolf has been waiting for and he knocks out Morgan. He then grabs Carol’s knife and uses it to cut through his bonds and heads toward the terrified to the point of being once again useless Denise. She begs him not to kill them and he just laughs as he points the knife at her. This is when Tara, Rosita, and Eugene enter after picking the lock of the door that led from the garage they were hiding in to the basement of the same house Morgan was using. The Wolf puts the knife to Denise’s throat and tells them to drop their guns and kick them over. Even though both Rosita and Tara have him dead to rights in their sights they obey….REALLY! OH C’MON! Tara could have easily shot him in the head without hitting Denise. Also, not to be picky but why didn’t Carol just use her gun on the Wolf when she saw him in the basement?! One shot and done. The scene ends with the Wolf leaving the house with Denise still at knife point out into the parade of walkers.
Upstairs at Jessie’s, Rick tells the group they need to cover themselves in the guts and blood of the two lifeless zombies he and Michonne killed and brought up with them. “I’ve done it before. It works,” says Rick as he opens one of the walkers and removes the guts and blood. Jessie’s son Sam (Major Dodson) is horrified by the idea of leaving his room and covering himself in guts and blood of the zombies. Jessie tells him he has to and that their home is no longer safe. She tells him to pretend to be brave and she begins to help him cover himself in blood.
Deanna, who has accepted her fate rather well, making jokes and telling Rick he needs to look after everyone as his own, is visited by Michonne who tells her that they have to leave and she offers to help Deanna die but Deanna says she’s not ready. When the time comes she will do it herself and holds up her six shooter. She holds Michonne’s hand and tells her, “Someday this pain will be helpful to you,” which is a Latin phrase her husband would use when things got really bad. Deanna tells Michonne to figure out what she wants, not just for the town but for herself. She stresses that it’s the most important thing of all knowing what you want out of life and what you want your life to be. Rick, Jessie, Michonne, Carl, and the rest of the gang go downstairs and out of the house, untouched by the herd of walkers due to their being covered in walker blood and guts. Deanna decides to go out fighting and instead of using her gun on herself opens the door to the hallway and puts down six walkers headed for her. She then yells in anger at the rest of the zombies coming at her.
Back outside of Alexandria, Glenn and Enid (who wisely decided to stay with him) have climbed a tall tree to see what’s happening inside. They see Maggie up on top of the watch platform, still surrounded by walkers. Glenn and Enid look at each other concerned and not seeming to have an idea how to help.
The episode ends with Rick, Michonne, Carl (carrying his baby sister under a walker blood-soaked bedsheet), Jessie, Ron, Sam, and the rest of the group walking out into the herd of zombies in the streets of Alexandria. Rick’s plan seems to be working as they slowly make their way through the mob of walkers when young Sam, looking more in shock than in terror, starts to say out loud, “Mom.” The grunts and snarls from the walkers gets louder.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 8 Review:
The mid-season finale of season six titled “Start to Finish” brings the horror series to its cliffhanger close, with the fate of the remaining survivors of Alexandria not looking good and the loss of the town’s original leader, Deanna. The fate of Rick, Michonne, and Carl is left hanging, Maggie’s stuck on a platform, and we didn’t catch up this episode with Daryl or any of the group still outside Alexandria.
The stand-out performance in this episode goes to Tovah Feldshuh as Deanna. She injects the terror in the episode, as well as a little humor and soul. The best scenes feature Deanna and Rick as she instructs him to look out for everyone and that he’s the leader for both her people and his. Deanna and Michonne’s scene in which Deanna tells Michonne she must find purpose for herself and to find something to want for herself because that’s what life is all about is also one of the more memorable moments from the mid-season six finale. Feldshuh’s performance is touching and funny, and a fitting farewell for Alexandria’s original leader.
Another really strong yet short performance is delivered by Lauren Cohan as Maggie in her race for safety up the ladder to the watch platform. The scene is hands-down the most suspenseful of the entire episode in large part due to the direction and Cohan’s wonderful work showing Maggie’s fear and determination to survive.
The scenes between Carol and Morgan – especially the fight – were more frustrating than anything, with usually smart characters making silly and dumb choices. Why didn’t Carol just use her gun to end the Wolf and how could Tara and Rosita just comply with the Wolf’s demands when they had him at gunpoint? It was a frustrating scene that didn’t make much sense.
With Sam calling out for his mom in a herd of zombies, it will be interesting to see how many of Rick’s group get out alive and where they all end up.