Thoughts on No Way Out (The Walking Dead 6.9 Meta)

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This is a continuation of those several writings on the latest episode of The Walking Dead, No Way Out [6.9].

SPOILERS to follow.

Language is not censored.
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I spent the entire episode on the edge of my seat, alternating between screaming and cheering, holding my breath and exhaling. As things happened, even the expected was turned upside down on its heels.

When Negan’s henchman held up both guns, I knew he wouldn’t shoot them because I expected a commercial. No commercial. Oh shit. Then he said he wouldn’t and I breathed the same sigh of relief that Sasha did. When he sat straight up and decided to kill them…I thought that was the end of them; he’s done playing with them. To be fair, I’ve predicted that Spenser and Rosita will get together, so there needs to be that break and that doesn’t work with Sasha dead, but at this point, I freaked. (Not that my predictions this season have been all that accurate.)

And then the motorcycle gang exploded and we had lived through our first WTF moment. How were they going to top that?

Well, they did.

They’re going to kill Glenn again?! Noooo! Oh! They’re really going to kill Glenn this time! Nooooo! Walkers exploding and Sasha and Abraham to the rescue! That shit-eating grin of Abraham’s…and then ‘open the gate, much appreciated,’ I might be in love.

I have written before that I had hoped Ron would survive to create a love triangle with Carl and Enid and to deal and force Rick to deal with the aftermath of taking care of Jessie’s son while Ron still harbored intense feelings against him and Carl for the loss of his Dad (first) and his family.

I’ve also written that I saw no chemistry between Rick and Jessie and fully expected him to turn to Michonne at some point, maybe into season 7. (Again, a reminder that I don’t follow the comics. In this case, I’m following the chemistry.) I see it the way they interact. Her kiss on Carl’s forehead when she went to help Rick with the walkers while Denise attempted to save his life was so much. It was a little thing, but it was something we’d never seen her do before, and it was such a familial thing to do – kiss him like a mother does, and then go and help Rick not to get himself killed. She’s been acting as Carl’s mother figure since the Claimed episode followed by A.

The Anderson family carnage sequence was heartbreaking. Not because they were particularly good characters, but at that point I thought with Father Gabriel leaving with Judith,  they had dodged a bullet. Then Sam goes down and his mom freaks out, drawing more walkers. You could see Rick’s thoughts – do I kill the kid and shut him up? Then Jessie goes down, and Carl is hoarse whispering “Dad! Dad!” That pulls Rick out of his reverie. For anyone suggesting that his reaction was because he was equating Jessie to Lori are out of their minds. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t have gotten to that place given time, even in zombie abridged time, but not yet. Even if they’d had sex after their kiss, sex does not equal his marriage to Lori. If it did, he’d already have had sex with any one of the available women in the group. Ron did seem a bit out of character, but shock and trauma makes us all out of character in those moments. Without the onslaught of walkers it might have been possible to talk him down from threatening Rick with the gun, but there was no time.

Michonne to the rescue, gun goes off.

I thought it was over. It was over.

And then Carl turns around, and his eye, and the blood, and the holy shit, Carl, what the hell is happening?! I would have sworn they wouldn’t have done that plot point. At least not with everything else going on. This episode had so much; it was insane!

The Wolf. Not saying he was turning into a good guy, but he spent too much time with Denise and didn’t kill her. It seemed that her panic made him want to protect her. He had changed with her in a similar way that Daryl changed without Merle by his side constantly. Who knows what would have happened if Carol didn’t kill him.

I will admit that I’m not sure Denise could have saved Carl if she hadn’t gone through the psychological drama with the Wolf. I think his death might affect Carol. I know she thinks she did the right thing, but she always does. And certainly after the carnage of the wolves in the earlier episode he didn’t deserve saving because of one selfless moment, but I think Carol has gone a bit too far. you could see it when she was threatening Morgan and asked him not to make her kill him. Their philosophies need to meet in the middle.

I’m glad Tobin survived. I think he’s a good liaison between the original Alexandrians and Rick.

Rocket launcher to the rescue again. I have to say there’s something quite awesome about traditional stunts and special effects. I wasn’t sure until I saw a behind the scenes video that showed a lot of what went into that sequence. Greg Nicotero is a genius in his role as director and special effects makeup. I loved the real fire. I loved the direction to the walker-stunt people that if they got too hot, they should go into the water. It would keep them cooler and it would add to the shot.

This was a perfect set up to the rest of the action packed season (from what I hear). I’m very excited to see what they have in store for us, but I’m also dreading the season finale. From what I’ve heard (Norman Reedus: you’ll be screaming at your TV, Andrew Lincoln: I was angry and frustrated; I was late to work, I’ve never been late to work, Lauren Cohan: I was sick; I didn’t want to go to work that day) it’s going to be something else.

I have my long-awaited Daryl meta still being worked on, and I’ll probably be back with more thoughts as they come to me.

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