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TV Review: The Walking Dead 6.9 “No Way Out” (Mid-Season Premiere)
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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead
Episode 6.9 “No Way Out”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohen, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James
AMC
Air date: Sunday, February 14, 2016, 9pm

Warning – SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 6…

Last November saw the mid-season 6 finale for AMC’s The Walking Dead, where it seemed like the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone were finally getting along, tiptoeing through the tulips so to speak, and planning to secure their future together as a true community. But, as I say in nearly ever review I write of this show, Rick was right once again — Alexandria was not as safe as its original residents believed, and in a blink of an eye, the walls were breached, bringing in a siege of walkers. Last we saw of Rick and company they were trying to get to safety passed a herd of walkers using one of his old tricks — covering themselves in walker guts and quietly walking right through the undead crowd undetected. Meanwhile, right outside the gates, Glenn and Enid were trying to find a way back into Alexandria, while out on the road Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham were finally on their way back home to join the others.

In the preview for Episode 6.9 “No Way Out” of The Walking Dead, the mid-season 6 premiere, we saw that, unfortunately, the latter trio had a run-in with a group of gun-toting men who work for Negan, a new big baddie, who will be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. We learned quickly that these men are not good people, and they will take what they want from anyone who crosses their path.

I don’t know about you, but I was sure that not only was one of the three was going to die in that encounter with Negan’s men, but that the survivors would be captured. Well, that’s not what happened, and damn, was I relieved. As the head guy says he’s going to kill one of them, Daryl comes out with a rocket launcher and blows all those fuckers up!!! Seems like, at this point, the the trio will be back on their way home again.

But, back at the Safe Zone, Glenn and Enid make their way in and search the church for guns/ammo and a way to save Maggie, who’s injured and trapped atop a guard tower; Tara and Rosita contemplate going after the W man, who’s taken Denise hostage; Carol and Morgan come to after they were knocked out by the W man; and Rick and company are still strolling through the Walker herd in their walker guts costume with no mention about Sam’s calling out for his mommy from the mid-season finale.

After the badass rocket launcher scene, there was 15 minutes of not too much going on. I started to wonder how long we’d have to watch Rick’s group walk slowly, especially when night fell and they were still doing this. Let me tell you — I’d rather be bored than see what happened next.

Ok, first asshole brat face Tiny Tim-loving Sam freaks out again, but this time much worse, and he gets attacked, and I was like, YAY!!!!! Then Jessie, horrified by seeing her son being eaten alive, screams and won’t continue on with the group, and that’s when – BAM! – she’s attacked, too. She happens to be holding Carl’s hand at the time, and has a tight grip on him, which forces Rick to hack off her hand to free his son. We sadly see Rick having a quick flashback at their talk at the party when they first met, and we know their was a budding romance between the him and Jessie. Well, that’s over with. Once Carl is free, Ron, another asshole emo little shit, turns his gun on Rick and Carl, obviously still not ready to let bygones be bygones. Man, was I scared at this point! Thankfully, it’s Michonne to the rescue, cutting Ron down, saving Rick and Carl, but not before Carl is shot through the eye!

CARL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please please please, don’t kill Carl, don’t kill Carl. Everyone else had it coming, but not Carl.

Rick carries Carl to the infirmary, where Denise, now free from the W man — who actually SAVED HER from the Walkers — is ready to try to save Carl. Seeing his son in such a state, Rick takes his trusty axe and heads outside to singlehandedly clear away the Walkers. This is one of several pivotal moments in this episode. Once Rick goes out to fight, most of the residents hiding in their respective houses all come out to take a stand and help him fight. This is the first real time that everyone comes together to combat the real threat – the undead. Even Father Gabriel, who had taken Judith to safety at the church, goes out to join the battle. As he leaves his flock, the priest explains that they’ve been praying for God to help them, and that their prayers have been answered because God has given them the courage to save themselves.

AMEN!!!

Ok, back to Maggie. Glenn and Enid make their way to the guard tower where Maggie is trapped. Enid climbs up the tower to save Maggie, while Glenn tries to draw the Walkers away. Once again, it seems like Glenn will be overrun by Walkers, but no, not today!!! Sasha and Abraham made it back, machine gun in hand, to clear away the Walkers and save Glenn. But, their job is not over. There’s still a ton of undead out there, and even though most of the Alexandrians are out fighting alongside Rick, they need a better plan. Thankfully, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham are back with “Patty” the fuel truck, so Daryl pours the fuel into the lake and then whips out the rocket launcher again to set the lake ablaze! The fiery lake draws the Walkers in, which seals the deal and saves the Alexandria Safe Zone.

In the morning light, Alexandria is littered with downed Walkers as most of the residents gather on the porch of the infirmary awaiting news of Carl. Inside, Daryl and Maggie are having their injuries treated, while Rick sits beside an unconscious Carl, whose eye has been bandaged. Carl was always one of the people who had hope for the future, and in the face of adversity and when encountering advisories, he thought people could change. Morgan also thought people could change, since he had, but Morgan’s leeway got others harmed, while Carl’s trusting of crazy Ron got him shot. Strangely enough, while the W man also thought people could change — he wanted to change Denise to be like him — he was sure that he himself ever wouldn’t, yet in the end, W actually did make a change by helping to save Denise several times, even after he was shot and then bit. So, I guess Morgan was right, though I don’t believe that the W man’s life was worth saving over one of the other characters.

But, the person who needed to make a change was Rick. Although I feel that he’s always right and that he’s the smartest and most intuitive on the show, he still has his own lessons to learn. In this episode, Rick makes his final stand against the Walkers to save his new home and its residents. All this season, Rick was resisting settling in at the Safe Zone, because he felt that the existing residents were too complacent and didn’t understand the true dangers of this post-apocalyptic world. He didn’t feel that they could learn and grow and become what they needed to be to protect the community. Before she died, Deanna tried to explain to Rick that the residents are ALL his people now, but he just couldn’t figure out how to embrace them all. After this last stand, that’s not a problem anymore — they are all one people now.

At Carl’s sick bed, Rick tells his son “I was wrong,” referring to the original Zonies, who he thought couldn’t learn. But after that day’s battle against the Walkers, he saw what these people are made of, and knows they can all work together now to build a better future, a future that he wants to give his son. “I want to show you the new world, Carl,” Rick says, “I want to make it a reality for you.” He pleads with his son to awake: “Please, Carl, let me show you. Please, son, don’t die” and that’s when Carl’s hand tightens around Rick’s.

That’s HOPE right there.

This episode featured several major turn of events, but obviously we can’t be lulled into a false sense of security. At this point, I would be happy to see everyone just living their lives at the Safe Zone, no Walkers, no enemies, no nothing; just let them live in a Desperate Housewives scenario for another few seasons before the show is cancelled. I don’t need anything else. But, we know evil is coming in the form of Negan. So, don’t get too comfortable in this new world just yet.

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