The Walking Dead returns from its mid-season break with a non-stop zombie bloodbath.
Happy Valentine's Day from The Walking Dead! OK, so there wasn't exactly flowers and chocolates on show, but there were hearts. Sort of. Hearts spilling out of the decomposing walkers as Rick and the remaining Alexandria residents took on the horde filling the streets. That counts, right?
No Way Out has to rank as one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead to date. It was most certainly action packed and suspenseful, it gave pretty much every character the chance to shine at least once, it killed off a few we maybe weren't expecting to go out just yet, it offered an eye-popping surprise and the most explosive pre-title sequence we've seen so far.
We began with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham confronted by some of Negan's men. These goons didn't last long as Daryl got to upgrade from crossbow to bazooka and blew them to bits. The trio then resumed their looooong journey back to Alexandria (seriously, didn't they just lead the heard 8 miles away or thereabouts? Yet it seems to have taken them half a dozen episodes to drive back).
Alexandria was were it was all going down, and it didn't really stop for the whole 45 minutes. Even in the quieter moments of conversation the surrounding horde of walkers made for suspenseful viewing, not knowing if one of them was going to lunge in for a quick scooby snack. I have to say, though, that I was initially a little upset as it appeared that the show was going to cop-out on the mid-season cliffhanger. Sam's calling out to his mom seemed to have been forgotten. Surely at least one of the nearby walkers would've heard him and been on the youngster like the Colonel on a stray chicken? But no, Sam had learned to hold his tongue..... that was until the anxiety of it all overwhelmed him and it was bye bye to the whole Anderson clan.
As much of a shame as it was to say farewell to Jessie, her kids had to go. Sam could have, so easily, got them all killed and I don't think that was ever going to change, and his brother Ron was just a freaking psycho. Ron had had beef with the Grimes since pretty much the moment they arrived in town. Now, obviously this wasn't helped by Rick offing his dad, but it was clear Ron was never gonna be able to keep his teenage angst in check.
With Sam as the starter and his mom as main course, Rick had no choice but to cut the arm off his new love to release Carl from her death grip and stop young Master Grimes becoming desert on the zombie menu. This was all too much for angsty Ron who pulled a gun on Rick, blaming him for all the carnage in his life. Michonne was then forced to 'clam the situation down' by ramming her katana sword through Ron's chest. That'll work Michonne, that'll work.
Yeah, but it sorted didn't. As Ron still managed to fire the gun, the bullet hitting Carl in the eye, narrowly missing his brain by 2 feet!
Now, if you read the comic books you'll know that Carl also lost an eye in the source material, albeit in quite different circumstances. You can't help but wonder though, is Carl indestructible? He was shot in the stomach in season 2 and lived to tell the tale. Now he's managed to survive a major head injury after being patched together with vinegar and brown paper. Is Carl the key to it all? Will his indestructible blood be the source of the cure to save the world? Likely not, but he does seem to be blessed with miraculous healing powers.
Someone else who has more lives than a cat is Glenn, who may just be the luckiest son of a bitch left on this apocalyptic Earth. After his fake dumpster death in the first half of season 6 this time it seemed he was a gonna for real as he heroically saved Maggie by luring the walkers away from her tower. As a dozen or so of the decomposing diners gathered round to chow down on him, the cavalry arrived spraying the crowd with bullets left right and centre. None of which hit Glenn. Oooo-kay then.
Whilst this was going down all the other residents of Alexandria finally decided to take a stand and go on the offensive, following Rick's lead to reclaim their bruised and battered town. Even Father Gabriel grew a pair and joined in the fight. Of course, he credited God for supplying him with the necessary testicles, but whatever gets you through the apocalypse, right?
So where does No Way Out leave us? Well, there are clearly more discussions to be had about Morgan's actions, or rather inaction, even if he did finally kill the Wolf in the big battle. Thankfully we've got the core group back together again after the drawn out separate shenanigans that occurred during the first 8 episodes of this season, and it couldn't have come at a better time as they've got a lot of fortifying to do if they are to rebuild the walls and strengthen Alexandria.
Rick gave an impassioned plea at the close of the episode hoping for a better tomorrow, but I don't think this show will ever go down the happy endings route. Plus we all know that the Saviours are still out there, and with Negan's arrival slowly being teased I have a feeling the build up to this event across the next few episodes is going to be nothing short of intense.
Welcome back The Walking Dead, we've missed ya.