‘The Walking Dead’ continues to stretch out the events of a day or two into as many episodes as possible this season. This week’s entry takes a look at what’s happening with Daryl, Abraham and Sasha after they lead half of the Walker horde away from Alexandria. Sadly, when all is said and done, it’s hard to think of this episode as more than filler.
Seriously, it might be time for Norman Reedus to call his agent and see what else is out there for him. He plays arguably the most popular character among fans, yet until this week’s episode, Daryl Dixon hasn’t had a lot to do this season. This episode wants viewers to think he’s finally getting his due, but the Daryl we see in this episode is a lot wimpier and more passive than any Daryl we’ve seen previously. What the heck is going on here?
It all starts with Daryl (on his motorcycle) and Abraham and Sasha (in their car) leading the Walkers, although their vehicles seem farther away from the zombies than they should be. (I think this may be because they’ve achieved their goal of how far out they wanted to lead the horde.) Soon, however, they drive through a small town and get attacked by a group of Wolves (at least that’s the implication). Our team gets split up. While Abraham and Sasha take care of their attackers in the town, Daryl is chased out into the woods before he can lose the vehicle following him. Daryl injures his left arm (at first I thought he might have been shot, but if he was, it was just a glancing blow) and is pretty wussy about dealing with it, given that he’s from a family where people cut off their hands to survive (obligatory Michael Rooker shout-out).
Daryl hides his bike underneath some branches and runs into a pair of young women in the woods. Before he can say much, somebody knocks him out from behind. Again, what happened to the tough guy we used to know? We’ll just chalk it up to Daryl being fatigued and injured, as opposed to, say, really bad writing.
Daryl wakes up with his hands tied and a guy pointing a gun to his face. The man is part of this new threesome as well, although I’m pretty sure we only hear one of these new characters’ names in the episode, and it’s not until much later on. The guy obviously thinks that Daryl is part of the Wolves, yet decides to keep him alive. They lead Daryl through the woods – an area that has been burned down and now is full of crispy Walker corpses. They bring him to the outside of a fuel storage facility, but Daryl takes advantage of a distraction, grabs the bag they’ve stuck his crossbow in, and takes off on his own. However, when he gets to a safe area, he also finds insulin in the bag. One of the young women (who we’ll learn later is named Tina) is diabetic and needs it. Yes, of course Daryl will go back… no suspense here.
While all this is going on, Abraham and Sasha have been unable to reach Daryl on their walkie-talkie. The two decide to set up in an abandoned insurance office and wait for him to come back for them. They find one Walker inside, but he’s safely locked behind a glass door. They have a conversation where Sasha berates Abraham for being a little too risky when it comes to taking out Walkers and tells him that he’s accountable for every action that he makes.
The next morning, Abe goes outside to a bridge where he sees an abandoned military Humvee with a case of RPGs in the back. However, the launcher for the RPGs is strapped to a Walker who’s hanging off the edge of the bridge. Abe crawls out to try and get the launcher, but the Walker is having none of it. The Walker snarls and growls at Abe, and Abe snarls and growls right back, but eventually gives up on trying to get the launcher. Not long after, the piece of broken fence that the Walker is impaled on tears right through its shoulder, causing him to fall. In an amazing stroke of luck (or just more lazy writing, you decide), the launcher is left behind still dangling, allowing Abe to go get it.
Abe returns to the insurance office and tells Sasha that they should make a life for themselves here. They have, he claims, beer (in an insurance office?), air conditioning (how is that still working?), and each other… Yes, Abe is making a pass at Sasha, and she doesn’t seem uninterested. Sasha asks him how he knows she’s interested, and Abe replies “A man can tell.”. Well, I guess I better turn in my own Man Card, because I sure never can.
Daryl returns to the group of new strangers and gives back the insulin, but soon the four of them are surrounded by Wolves. They hide, and Daryl uses a distraction to lure one of the Wolves close to a Walker, which results in the guy getting his arm bitten and another Wolf having to chop it off. The four manage to get away from the Wolves, but soon come upon a burnt-out camp that the three tell Daryl belonged to friends of theirs. The trio realize that when they set the woods on fire, they were also responsible for the deaths of their two friends. Tina goes over to look at the burnt bodies, and sure enough, they’re now Walkers and start chewing on her neck. So the one person in this group we finally learn the name of is no longer with us. Well, at least no one needs to worry about that insulin anymore.
While digging Tina’s grave, Daryl asks the male the “three questions” that are used to recruit new people to Alexandria. The man passes the test. (He’s killed lots of Walkers, no humans, and refuses to kill any humans because that would mean there’s no going back… I guess he forgot about the two humans he burned when he set the woods on fire?!) Daryl offers him and the woman a chance to go to Alexandria with him. However, once Daryl goes to get his bike, the man points his gun at Daryl and takes the bike (and Daryl’s crossbow too) for himself, then leaves Daryl there. He tells Daryl he’s sorry. Daryl replies, “You’re gonna be,” which is the first sign of the old, tough-as-nails Daryl we’ve seen all episode. After the pair leave, Daryl discovers an abandon fuel truck. He kills a Walker inside the cab, and then takes off to pick up Abe and Sasha.
This week’s episode concludes with Daryl driving Abe and Sasha (who I guess changed their minds about staying in town once Daryl showed up) back to Alexandria. Abe, now dressed in a military jacket he found back at the office, seems pretty content about his life now. This probably means that if Walkers don’t kill him in the next few episodes, Rosita will, once she finds out Abe has been hitting on Sasha!
Daryl and Abraham are two of my favorite characters on this series, but this is not a very good episode. It almost feels as if the writers had no idea what to do with these characters, but decided that they needed to have at least one episode to show what they were doing while all the fighting was going on back at Alexandria.
Also, nothing new on Glenn this week. Take your bets now on him showing up in the final scene of Episode 8, which will mark the mid-season break.