I must say, I haven’t been this queasy watching an episode of The Walking Dead in a long time. No, not because of excess gore, I can handle that any day of the week, it was because of the extreme sense of foreboding that this episode carried through it. We all know Negan is right around the corner and that his arrival is going to seriously upset the harmonious balance that the Alexandrians have built, thus, when Daryl, Denise, Rosita and separately, Eugene and Abraham went on a scout, my alarm bells went off.
From the quietly paced opening which repeats itself to show a progression of time without any real progression of time, to the scenes where our characters walk around empty buildings, I held my breath knowing that at any second gunshots would ring out and somebody would buy it.
As it happens, it wasn’t a gunshot but rather an arrow and sadly, it was poor Denise that bought it. Damn, I liked her.
Though the end result of the episode was a bit less than explosive we still got a sudden death, that was only precursed by the winding tension of the previous 30 minutes and a serious of awesome moments that built up characters and set up a potentially even more awesome finale.
Until her untimely demise, Denise had learnt about the struggle of living outside the walls, coming across the leftovers of a small child and almost dying at the hands of a walker. Whilst it was nice to get some more development for her character it was, in fact, Eugene who got a character upgrade to last.
He took Abraham to some sort of a metal works factory, formulating a plan to make bullets and pretty much becoming this episode’s MVP. He got into an argument with Abraham, but when he had a gun to his head as Dwight and some saviours pointed their guns at Daryl and Rosita, just after the death of Denise, Eugene stepped up by biting Dwight right on the crotch and giving the other 3 a chance to turn the tables.
Sure, some of the saviours escaped and Eugene got a flesh wound, but it was a pretty ballsy tactic, pardon the pun, and got Daryl his crossbow back.
Still, there’s a part of me that is disappointed with the sudden death, I’m not quite sure it was necessary, especially as Denise has become a well-developed character of her own. It was also the show’s most prominent non-heterosexual relationship and though I doubt the writers aimed to take out one-half of the only lesbian relationship on the show purely out of spite, it was indeed a shame to see it happen.
Other than this big death the other biggest moment was Carol leaving Alexandria because she didn’t want to do any more killing. We didn’t get to see this but we heard her letter and saw Alexandria after she left as weapons were prepared and Morgan looked like he was going through his own crisis after having finished the jail.
It was, overall, a tense half an hour with some nice character development, punctuated by a shocking death and even more of a terrifying sense that something big really is about to go down. Can Alexandria stand without Carol?
Two to go.