Jessica Morris ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer
With its mid-season premiere “No Way Out” having aired this past Sunday, Season 6 of The Walking Dead has finally resumed after a winter break. Although the first half of Season 6 was not without its disappointments, “No Way Out” proved itself to be one of the show’s best episodes in a long while. In fact, the episode may have even exceeded fans’ expectations. Fans were left satisfied by the episode’s conclusion, rather than wishing for more to come from Alexandria’s resident zombie horde.
The episode begins where the first half of the season left off, with Daryl (Norman Reedus), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) running into a squad of the elusive Negan’s cronies. Daryl manages to destroy the gang with a rocket launcher, and he, Abraham, and Sasha escape back to Alexandria. This opening scene demonstrates that when the cast finally meets Negan, there will already be some established bad-blood between the two sides. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is set to become the show’s primary antagonist and will presumably be introduced soon this season.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), and co. are still attempting to survive the zombie siege of Alexandria by masquerading as walkers themselves. Everything is going pretty okay, until Jessie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) sons proceed to ruin everything. In the commotion, both Jessie and her youngest son are killed by walkers. However, Ron (Austin Abrams), Jessie’s oldest, does manage to shoot Carl clean in the eye before Michonne stabs him through the chest. What follows is a panicked scramble by Michonne and Rick to save Carl’s life, and it’s gripping to watch. Thankfully, Carl eventually is shown alive, minus an eye.
Meanwhile, The Wolf (Benedict Samuel) is still attempting to escape the community with Denise (Merritt Wever) as his hostage, but he is eventually shot and killed by Carol (Melissa McBride). Denise is then responsible for saving Carl back at the infirmary. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) formulate a plan to rescue Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who remains stranded atop a lookout tower as walkers swarm around its base. Just when it seems that Glenn may actually die, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham arrive, and save the day. Every key member of the cast, including characters marked as cowards like Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), also participate and fight back against the horde.
Overall, the episode sees the entire main cast coming together to save each other and Alexandria. For the viewer, this bout of teamwork could not be more fulfilling. It seems apparent that The Walking Dead is moving closer to fully embodying the comics on which the show is based, and this seems to be a great thing. For example, Carl losing his eye is almost shot-for-shot exactly the same as the scene in the comic book series. This may mean the show’s pushing the envelope even further in terms of violence and gore, and that the plot may seem more farfetched. But it also means the show will have a story that’ll feel complete, not rushed, and true to the show’s overarching narrative. In the past, many plots have begun in The Walking Dead only to be dropped, ignored, and never reach a satisfying conclusion. The Alexandria narrative so far has not suffered the same fate.
Of course, the episode was not without its ridiculous moments. To be fair, it’s a show about a zombie apocalypse, but that’s still not an excuse. Still, the episode was a thrilling ride from start to finish, and served as a great introduction to Season 6B of the series.