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'The Walking Dead' 'Pops Off' A Classic Episode 'Right Off the Bat' (*Wink Wink*)

By Grainger Heavensbee | The Walking Dead | February 14, 2016 |

By Grainger Heavensbee | The Walking Dead | February 14, 2016 |

The Walking Dead returned in a hugely spectacular fashion with its midseason premiere tonight, an episode that finally paid off what the first eight episodes of the season had been setting up all along. The zombie horde broke through the walls, and in the process of fighting them off, Rick gained the trust of Alexandria by becoming the leader they need, and Alexandria gained Rick’s trust by becoming the community he needs. It took the slaughter of hundreds of zombies, but the men and women of Alexandria — or at least, what’s left of them — are finally unified.

It didn’t come without some casualties, however, as the Anderson family will meet their asshole of a father in the zombie afterlife. It’s a shame about losing Jessie — especially for Rick — but no one is going to miss either the weak, whiny Sam or his brother Ron, who clearly inherited his father’s asshole gene. Ron, of course, refused to die without inflicting some damage of his own, shooting Carl’s eye out before Michonne’s katana could extinguish his life.

Goddamn it, Ron.

It was ultimately Carol’s fault that Sam cracked under the pressure. It was Carol’s threat to Sam — about the monsters tearing him apart if he revealed to his mother that Carol took guns from the Alexandria armory — that echoed in Sam’s mind while shuffling through the zombie horde, causing him to freeze up and set off the chain of events that got him, his mother, and his brother killed, as well as Carl’s eye shot out.

However, Carol’s inability to kill Morgan ultimately didn’t have any real consequences, other than the fact that the Wolf who kidnapped Denise died (nice shot, Carol!), but he would have anyway if Morgan had any damn sense in his head. Denise managed to survive her ordeal with the Wolf and, it seemed, the Wolf did change by going back for Denise. See! Morgan was right! Even assholes like the Wolves can be redeemed under the right circumstances (sadly, the zombified Wolf eventually met the other end of Morgan’s stick).

However, I do wonder why Carol can’t kill Morgan. Is it because she’s in love with him?

Meanwhile, Enid also decided to stop running away from Alexandria, putting herself at risk to help Glenn save Maggie. Glenn, in what felt like Scott Gimple trolling us, was cornered and nearly killed by a school of zombies before Abraham and Sasha arrived with a machine gun at just the right moment to save Glenn, Enid, and Maggie (“Can you open the gate? Appreciate it, pal!”) Meanwhile, Daryl — who learned how to kill hundreds of zombies at once from his old friend Dwight — filled the pond in Alexandria full of gas from his tanker, luring hundreds of zombies to their deaths. The rest of the zombies were put down by the remaining citizens of Alexandria over a long night of axe and machete swinging. I bet their shoulders were absolutely killing them the next morning.

Comics Spoiler

Speaking of Daryl, he put a target on his back by blowing up the Saviors with a rocket launcher in the episode’s cold open. “Usually, we introduce ourselves by popping one of you right off that bat,” the lead Savior told Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham before he met the business end of a bomb. Was that foreshadowing the introduction of Negan? Will he introduce himself to the series by “popping” a member of Alexandria right off the bat (wink wink)? And will it be Daryl — rather than Glenn — since it was Daryl who killed Negan’s men? After all Scott Gimple warned of a “hard left turn” in the comics storyline.

End Comics Spoiler

Fret not for now. We’ve still got several episodes to go before Negan arrives. After a time jump, it appears that next week will see the introduction of Paul “Jesus” Monroe in an episode titled, “New World,” referring to that very world Rick had hoped to introduce Carl to at the end of tonight’s episode. I doubt that new world will be much better than the old one, especially with Negan on the horizon.

That’s a hell of a way to kick off the season.