“You keep choosing this life, you will die,” says Morgan (Lennie James) to one of the killers who mark themselves with W’s on their foreheads and call themselves Wolves. “We didn’t choose,” replies the Wolf as he quickly leaves the compound but not before taking a discarded handgun in the second episode of season six of AMC’s horror/drama series The Walking Dead.
The massive group of hungry walkers that Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the others were leading away from the town of Alexandria have turned towards it after hearing a loud horn continuously blaring at the end of the last episode. Episode two titled “Just Survive Somehow” begins by focusing on Enid’s (Katelyn Nacon) past, on how she lost her parents to a group of walkers, found a way to survive in the woods on her own avoiding hungry zombies, and fed on small living things (including a turtle) for weeks before coming across Alexandria. During that time Enid kept making the letters JSS on car windows and in the dirt almost obsessively.
Flash forward to Alexandria with the residents going about their normal business making dinner, patrolling, going for walks, etc, when Carol (Melissa McBride) sees her neighbor getting bludgeoned to death by one of the Wolves. It seems a group of the Wolves have invaded Alexandria with the intent to murder, steal, and take hostages. Carol doesn’t hesitate; she quickly grabs a knife and heads to Rick and Carl’s house to check on them and tell Carl (Chandler Riggs) what’s happening. Carl locks himself inside with his baby sister and swears to protect her.
Meanwhile, Morgan has made it back to Alexandria just in time to get involved in the fight and takes on one of the bigger killers. Just as the Wolf seems to be getting the better of Morgan in the fight, a cloaked figure quickly comes up from behind and stabs the Wolf to death with a huge knife. Morgan, both surprised and annoyed because he believes he could have won the fight without killing the hulking man, is surprised once again when the masked figure turns out to be Carol who’s in disguise and has put a bloody W on her forehead so the Wolves will believe she’s one of them. Carol tells Morgan they need to get to the armory and load up with guns before the Wolves find it. The Wolves don’t have guns, just knives, machetes, and axes.
Back at Rick’s, Carl is just about to shoot a shadow near the front door when he sees it’s Enid. He tells her to get in and be quiet. She tries to tell him she only came to say goodbye to which Carl tells her to sit down and keep an eye on the front door and to let him know if she sees anyone. Enid does as she is told. As Carl and Enid sit with their backs to each other watching the two main entrances to the house, Carl says, “And don’t tell me goodbye,” to which Enid replies, “All right, I won’t.”
During the killing strike at Alexandria, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) were outside the walls going over new areas for farming and growing crops. They come running back but Deanna knows she doesn’t know how to fight and admits to Maggie she’ll just be someone else who needs to be saved. Maggie turns to her son, Spencer (Austin Nichols), who just a few minutes before almost got bit by a walker while trying to get the walker out of a crashed truck and off the truck’s stuck horn (eureka! that’s why the horn went off when Rick and the others were trying to lead the massive group of walkers away from the town) and tells him to keep Deanna safe. Spencer puts Deanna in the very same truck which is now quiet thanks to Morgan coming along, killing a walker, and turning off the horn.
Meanwhile, at Jessie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) home a Wolf breaks in and manages to wrestle Jesse’s gun away from her. But when the Wolf goes to get it, Jesse attacks her with a pair of scissors, screaming and stabbing her over and over again while her whinny, useless older son watches in shock.
Carol finally reaches the armory after discarding four more Wolves, gets loaded handguns, and gives them to Morgan, Maggie, and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) to use. She hurries off to take out more Wolves and Maggie does the same. Gabriel looks down at the gun in his hand and says to Morgan, who just saved him moments ago from a wolf, “I’m not very good with guns,” to which Morgan replies, “Neither am I,” as he hands the handgun Carol gave him to Gabriel and walks off.
Morgan comes across a group of Wolves led by one of the men he beat up with his mighty staff. He tells him to leave and that his friends have guns and the Wolves don’t. Morgan takes down four of the Wolves with his staff and tells the leader he has seconds before they open fire. Believing the bluff, the lead Wolf runs off with a few of his comrades and leaves Alexandria but not before he picks up a discarded handgun and looks back at Morgan and smiles.
Morgan, checking out a house that looks to be empty, gets tackled by a Wolf who was left behind. As the two fight, the Wolf realizes Morgan doesn’t have it in him to kill. Fight, yes, but kill, no, which he says to Morgan. Feeling as though he can’t lose, the Wolf gets a second wind and tries again to kill Morgan who finally puts him down but not before saying he’s sorry.
The episode ends with Carol and Morgan checking on the wounded and dead and with Carl realizing Enid is gone and has left him a note which reads, “Just Survive Somehow.”
Brutal, shocking, and full of violence, The Walking Dead season six’s second episode titled “Just Survive Somehow” ups the action and violence with the citizens of Alexandria being attacked and murdered by the vicious people known as the Wolves. It’s this episode where once again Melissa McBride shines as Carol, the tough, no nonsense, do whatever is necessary to survive, member of Rick’s group who is mostly responsible for stopping the Wolves from killing everyone in Alexandria. She makes Charlize Theron in the film Mad Max: Fury Road seem like a pushover the way she cons the residents into believing she’s just a simple ex-housewife and good cook and then comes out wielding knives and firing guns killing most of the invading Wolves. The fact this actress has been denied an Emmy nomination is truly criminal.
Lennie James also delivers a stand-out performance as Morgan, the experienced fighter with his staff who’s completely willing to take on the invaders but is still hesitant to take a human life, especially once the opponent is down and beaten. It’s obvious Morgan is now the moral compass of Rick’s group and that’s concerning because usually the characters who become the voice of reason, aka Dale and Hershel, don’t make it. One difference in Morgan’s situation is that he is armed and trained to fight where the other moral compasses of the group were not.
The special effects, sets, and action scenes are all first-rate and the pacing and direction of the episode is both tense and suspenseful. This is perhaps one of the most thrilling episodes in the run of the series.
With a massive herd of hungry walkers headed to Alexandria and only Rick and his small band of friends between them and the already shocked and overwhelmed town, here’s looking forward to another terrifying and possibly gory episode next Sunday night.