It’s that time again, time to recap The Walking Dead’s newest installment Twice As Far. If you haven’t yet caught up with the latest episode I don’t recommend reading further as this post will recap the entire episode and will include spoilers.
This week we start off with the idyllic scenes of Alexandria – people going about their day, their duties and then we cut to Carol, still holding the prayer beads from last week. I’m still reeling from the acting from last week’s episode, Melissa McBride was brilliant at playing the little bird but what effect has it had on her in the short term? Morgan has built himself a jail in case we have another Jesus situation on our hands and Rick asks the question we’re all thinking and Morgan claims it’s there to “give them more choices next time.” Are their ulterior motives to this new project? Does he feel guilty for the Wolves guy who almost killed so many just because Morgan didn’t fancy killing him?
The new badass Gabe is wandering around with a gun strapped to his back. I like the way his character is going – he’s not losing himself to the apocalypse but he’s molding himself to become better at being in this world. Carol approaches Daryl who’s now gotten his beloved bike back and they share a cigarette. Carol asks about the circumstances of the bike abduction and finds out he was just trying to help the thieves. He wishes he’d have killed them which upsets Carol and she walks away. We have a little bit of groundhog day stuff going on here – the same scenes – people changing posts and Carol sat on her porch swing with Prayer beads tangled in her palm. I assume it’s an effect they’re using to show the passing of uneventful days.
Rosita seems to have a new love interest with Spencer and they set up a date to have dinner. Denise approaches Daryl and Rosita to let her come on a scavenging mission to an apothecary which she saw last time she was outside of the walls – which also happens to be quite a while ago. They reluctantly agree to let her come along with a machete to protect herself and they set out on the road. Denise lets us in on a bit more about herself being that she knows a bit about cars – specifically trucks like the one Daryl can’t seem to get the hang of driving. Not wanting to take the train tracks (flashback to Terminus) they follow on the road after being waylay-ed by a rotten out fallen tree.
Eugene and Abe are on a little scout down an alleyway as Eugene confesses he’s adapting to becoming a survivor, something Abe isn’t too sure about. Back with Daryl’s group, as they approach the apothecary, Denise inquires who taught Rosita how to fight. We don’t get a direct answer but I’m guessing it has something to do with Abe – her ex. Abe and Eugene break into a factory and announce the whole point of their mission is to manufacture bullets for the group – specifically him. They discuss the project and that they should obviously run it by Rick first. Eugene calls ‘dibs’ on a metal headed walker which he struggles and fails to put down. Abe steps in and kills it – all to the annoyance of Eugene who claims he had him and that Abe has outlived his usefulness to him.
Back at the apothecary, the guys have broken in and are searching through the shelves as the tension in the music increases. Rosita spots the pharmacy sign and Daryl tries to open up the shutter. Denise stands back, clearly feeling useless and unable to help. You feel her anguish of trying to help but not being allowed to as she flicks through key-rings on a rack. A walker bumbling about can be heard and Denise wanting to help goes to try and investigate. Its sounds like it’s stuck somewhere so she arrogantly approaches the back room. Finding a cast laden zombie with the word HUSH scrawled all over the wall, she looks into a freezer and sees a child’s shoe. Realizing the gravity of her surroundings she rushes out and breaks a vase – making noise and the attention of the two other members of her party.
Rosita scolds her and tells her that she knew she wasn’t ready, something I think Denise didn’t really need to hear. On the way back she opens up about her brother Dennis – apparently her mum and fad thought of the Denise / Dennis twin names on one of their alcohol infused benders. They follow the train tracks back as Denise finds a car which has a cooler inside. The car also happens to house a very unhappy zombie. With the other two deciding it’s not worth it, she goes it alone which ends in the zombie being pulled out on top of her. As the others come to her aid as she struggles, she tells them to not shoot is as she wants to kill it herself. Stabbing the zombie in the head she gracefully stands and almost immediately throws up – onto her own glasses none the less.
Rosita and Daryl scold her for her stupidity until Denise turns around and owns them with her sharp words. She tells them she only asked to come because Daryl makes her feel safe and Rosita because she’s alone for the first time in her life. I loved this moment because it showed how powerful she had become and I literally had a smile on my face at how she was trying her hardest not to be scared, to not be afraid, even noting how she was too afraid to tell Tara she loved her which is why she went to the trouble of getting the soda can out the cooler (the same kind of soda she asked Daryl to get a few episodes back – because it was Tara’s favourite). Next thing we know Denise has an arrow shot through her eye. Denise tries to carry on her speech about being brave as she collapses. I really liked Denise – she was funny and such a genuine person which is hard to find in this new world. TWD built up her character all season with her relationship with Tara and then we lost her on a very Denise-centric episode in such a sudden and harsh manner.
The rest of the group are surrounded by the culprits of Denise’s demise who we assume to be Saviors. With Eugene already in their captivity, we see the face of Denise’s killer, a blond male with facial scars. A familiar face to be precise – it’s Dwight – the one from the burned forest who stole Daryl’s bike and crossbow. A quick 2+2 shows that not only is Denise now dead but she was killed with Daryl’s beloved weapon. If you are a comic book reader you’ll know that the person who dies of an arrow to the head is Abe, not Denise, which has me worried for what is to come for the rest of this episode.
“You don’t talk much,” Dwight shouts to a now speechlessly angry Daryl who confesses he should have killed them when he had the chance. You can see the pure hatred boiling up inside of him when Dwight tells him that he wasn’t even aiming for Denise whose now face down on the ground. Dwight suggests a deal of sorts to let the Savior group into their compound or Eugene will get his head blown up, swiftly followed by them. Eugene outs Abe’s location in the bushes which I first thought was a dick move. You could call it that because that’s exactly where Eugene bites Dwight as the other saviors are distracted. Hilariously badass boy! Daryl and Rosita pull their guns in the distraction and the Saviors fall back with maybe a little less between their legs. Rosita stops Daryl from chasing them down and we get a sad shot of Denise lying down with the arrow.
Eugene was injured in the firefight and the guys help him to his feet to get him to safety, passing Denise as they go. Eugene now resting in the hospital and the good doctor now dead – he’s having to have antibiotics to save his life (the ones Denise lead them to). Even in death – she’s saving people. A short moment is shared between Abe and his love interest Sasha who invites him inside. Carol is burying someone who I assume to be Denise with Daryl at her side – shovel in hand. You can tell Carol has had enough, she’s done with this whole death business.
Tobin is in shot reading a goodbye letter from Carol who has apparently upped and left after the burial of Denise, whilst more groundhog day style shots are shown with a Carol voiceover. She writes she can’t love anyone because she can’t kill for anyone anymore and pleas for them to not come after her. I thought this was a strained and didn’t fit in with the episode. It also didn’t feel like a very Carol thing to do. She fought tooth and nail to get back after Rick banished her – she came back hardened and worse for wear – surely lone wolfing it out there means she’ll possibly have to kill more just to survive.
It’s not a logical step and I think TWD writers have done it just so she gets another homecoming again – maybe in the form of saving the group from Negan’s clutches or in the form of her capture and death also by Negan’s hand. Whichever it is to be – I find it an unnecessary and illogical twist to end the episode on. There will no doubt be a focus on this abrupt departure next episode which will detract from the main storyline and / or distract the Survivors from the real threat who is fast approaching – Negan.