Every week for the sixth season of AMC’s post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, Lenika Cruz and David Sims will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show’s increasingly hardened band of survivors.
Lenika Cruz: David, if I had to sum up the episode into four words it’d probably be: Boom, chomp, chop, bang.
“Boom” being the heavy-metal, face-melting explosion that opened the episode and wiped out a dozen new characters mere minutes after they were introduced. “Chomp” being, really, two sets of zombie death-chomps: Sam (good riddance to him and his haircut) and Jessie (sad-face emoji), both of whom got eaten by the Alexandrian walker horde. “Chop” being the horrific amputation of Jessie’s hand via a few messy axe swings by Rick, in an attempt to free Carl from her dying grasp. “Bang,” of course, refers to another big moment comic fans have been waiting for: the gunshot that left a gaping hole in Carl’s face where his eye used to be. Crazily, three of these things took place within a roughly 90-second span.
Which, when I write it all down, sounds pretty cool! As far as midseason premieres go, this episode could have done a lot worse: It had plenty of action, lots of critical plot shifts, the demise of important characters (R.I.P Yellow-Teeth Wolf), suspense, and character development. And yet I couldn’t help but feel largely unimpressed by an episode that I think was intended to leave me with my jaw on the floor for an hour. I wasn’t a fan of how the show executed that climactic scene with Jessie, Sam, and Carl—it was poorly paced, and I found Rick’s flashbacks to be both tacky and unnecessary. If the show needs to remind viewers of how much he liked her, it probably didn’t do a great job of setting up their relationship in the first place. (On the bright side, Rick-Michonne shippers, rejoice!)