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: When last week’s episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet,” ended with an anonymous voice coming over a walkie talkie announcing the capture of Maggie and Carol, two things instantly came to mind. One: Crap, how are the Saviors going to use the women to manipulate Rick and the Alexandrians? Two: Oh, hey, it’s a woman’s voice on the other end! Both thoughts proved relevant to this week’s episode, “The Same Boat” but for reasons I didn’t expect. Contrary to the robust body of storytelling constructed over centuries around the damsel in distress, the two kidnapped women in this episode weren’t just instruments or pawns in some larger plot machine. And there wasn’t one woman on the other end of the walkie talkie, but three.
No surprise, then, that “The Same Boat” was The Walking Dead’s most overtly feminist episode thus far. The vast majority of screen time went to women, who over the course of the episode discussed issues of particular concern—childbirth, domestic violence, the sexism of the old and new world. There were fun lines like, “You should be lucky she doesn’t have a sack of gonads to trip over,” and, “Guys can’t handle pain,” but for all the awesomeness of seeing a truly female-dominated story, it came with an important caveat: In another lifetime, these tough, smart women might have been friends. But in this lifetime, they were all destined, in one way or another, to kill each other.