The Walking Dead continued its excellent, intense opening to its sixth season, “JSS” (Just Survive Somehow), which pulled all the action away from the zombie heist and placed it squarely in Alexandria, where the so-called wolves made an unannounced drop by. The wolves — a group of unnamed characters who are basically feral humans — have been lurking in the shadows of The Walking Dead since midway through the fifth season, killing for the sake of killing. The wolves were responsible for the zombie trap that nearly resulted in the deaths of Aaron and Daryl last season. Daryl and Aaron were saved from certain death by Morgan at the last minute, but in the chaos of the zombie fight, Aaron left his backpack behind.
In that backpack, Aaron also left photos of Alexandria, which were recovered by the wolves and led and them right into Alexandria, where the wolves went on a murdering spree (but not before crashing an 18-wheeler into the wall, which was responsible for the blaring horn we heard last week). The wolves are the worst kind of threat: They have no motive beyond indiscriminate, animalistic murder. The Alexandrians — without their strongest fighters, who were busy diverting zombies — eventually managed to snuff out the threat, thanks to the efforts of Carol and Morgan, but not before a lot of blood was shed. Unexpectedly, the philosophical difference that many expected to create a rift between Rick and Morgan sprung up between Morgan and Carol, who hasn’t been shy about killing anyone since her days in the prison.
Morgan, on the other hand, still values life too much to kill, even if it means allowing murderers to survive. In the end, it was Morgan who allowed several of the wolves to escape, one of whom managed to get away with a gun. Don’t be surprised if that gun doesn’t result in a character’s death down the road. It wouldn’t be the first time that Morgan allowed outside threats to survive against his own self interest (and the interests of his allies). He couldn’t kill his zombified wife (who killed his son) and he also couldn’t kill those two wolves last season, both of whom managed to get inside Alexandria and murder a few people.
Where did the wolves come from?
One of the big questions to come out of the episode is, “Who are the wolves?” We may have gotten a clue near the end of the episode, when Morgan warned them, “You keep choosing this life, you will die.”
“We didn’t choose,” the leader of the wolves responded.
What did he mean by that? The answer may lie in the bloody “A” that Carol saw scrawled into the bannister while she was contemplating smoking that cigarette.
Where have we seen that “A” before?
What does that “A” have to do with the wolves? Recall in the cold open of the fifth season premiere, “No Sanctuary,” that Gareth, his brother, and several other Terminus members were inside that train car. The implication of that scene was that before Gareth and his brother were left inside the rail car, that they were good people directing others to Terminus to help them. It was only after spending time in the railway car that they became cannibals.
Leaving a bloody letter “A” seems to suggest that the Wolves also spent time inside the railroad car, and that’s why they are the people they are now. “We didn’t choose,” the leader of the wolves told Morgan. They were made that way by someone who shoved them in the railroad car and left them until they went mad. When Carol spotted that “A,” she seemed to implicitly understand.
The question is: Who put the wolves inside the railway car? Was it Gareth? Or was it the same people who put Gareth in the railway car? Is there an “A” train puppet master we can expect to see in the future of The Walking Dead?
Alternatively, it’s just Sam’s letter “A” stamp and it has now added meaning, which is a much less interesting explanation (the show certainly likes the letter A).
Items to Note
— Was the note that Enid left to Carl — “Just survive somehow” — a goodbye for now letter, or a goodbye forever letter?
— The moment when Morgan tied up that guy’s hands rather than kill him is the moment Morgan lost the philosophical battle with the audience. We appreciate his respect for human life to a point, but not killing the wolves when you have the chance? That’s negligent.
— I’m not yet sure what to think of Denise, the new doctor played by Merit Weaver, except that I liked her character in New Girl a lot (she played Schmidt’s college girlfriend). The fact they’re introducing a lot of new characters this season suggests that we’ll probably be seeing several characters die along the way. There are over 25 name characters on the show right now — the series cannot sustain that for long.