“You know how to bite a dick, Eugene,” (Spoilers Ahead)
“Twice as Far” takes the tried and true formula of group members going off on a supply run and along the way characters receive some meaningful development. This is a pretty decent episode where there was a shot of much-needed intensity as soon as the Saviors entered the scene.
It’s fitting that since Abraham, Eugene and Rosita arrived as a team back in Season 4, they are all featured characters in “Twice as Far”. But now the dynamics between them have shifted. In a way, each of them have physically and mentally separated from each other: Abraham has moved out, Rosita is now shacking up with Spencer and Eugene doesn’t believe he needs Abraham anymore.
Compared to the Atlanta Five, the Abraham threesome haven’t received as much attention of late so it’s nice to catch up with them. Whenever a character starts receiving noticeably more screen time and development than before, you can’t help but to wonder if the show is setting up one of their exits. For comic readers, this episode played with that possibility when Abraham and Eugene left Alexandria together, a moment from the comics which played out differently at the end.
At one point Abraham and Eugene’s path and motivation were closely intertwined with each other. Abraham’s mission, his raison d’être, was to get Eugene to DC. And Eugene manipulated Abraham into being his bodyguard / post-apocalyptic escort. Now that the mission has reached the end of the line, this episode explores whether there’s anything remaining in their relationship and if they can be genuine friends moving forward. A friendship where each can see the other as their equal despite having very different strengths and skill sets. Like Abraham said before, he has options now. While he was referring to girlfriend situation it can also be applied to those he chooses as his friends.
Your “services are no longer required” is a harsh line from Eugene as is Abraham’s response to let the man with the mullet find his own way back home. When Abraham was relieved of his services, the manly response is not to be sentimental about it, of course, he reacted in a cold, callous manner.
But Abraham’s actions tell another story. It’s a great character insight that Abraham knew that Eugene wouldn’t be able to handle himself on the journey home so “Red” was looking out for Eugene from afar. This shows what a big heart Abraham truly has beneath that gruff exterior. As fate would have it, this argument which sent Abraham off on his own ended up saving Rosita, Eugene and Daryl’s life.
The writers did a good job of drawing some parallels between the two missions and then crossing these story lines together in the tension filled climax. In a similar way to how Eugene wanted to prove his worth, that he’s evolved into a capable survivor, Denise had a point to prove as well. The point being is that while Denise isn’t a bad ass survivor, every decision she made in “Twice as far” is about confronting her fears. The first was leaving the safe zone which she hasn’t since arriving there. Then she confronted her fear of what was in the back room, even though she tried not to show how affected she was to find a drowned baby’s remains in the sink.
If you choose to, Denise’s story line could relate to living in the real world. Every day life can be monotonous, one day blurring into the next uneventful day. Sure, she could take the quiet, safe life within Alexandria’s walls. But instead she chose to deal head on with the issues that were holding her back in life and in love. She had this idea in her head that getting this one can of orange soda could take her relationship with Tara to the next level, when really the courage to do so was always within her.
Although we can understand where she’s coming from, not all of Denise’s decision were entirely level headed. For example, she almost got bitten when she got the soda cans, similar to how Eugene wanted to kill the walker with solidified metal on its head all by himself. And yes, her speechifying was getting a little too much until that crossbow bolt shot through her eye mid-sentence. A crazy moment!
It’s kind of ironic that it’s Daryl’s lost crossbow which ends up killing Denise. If you go back to episode 6 of this season when Daryl first met Dwight, a chain reaction of decisions have led up to her death. Denise was shaping up to be a likable character with a promising upside. Her romantic relationship with Tara was also a potential story line. It looks like Rosita will pick up the mantle as the town’s medical practitioner, a position with a high turnover/mortality rate. As far as new romances goes, Rick & Michonne’s and possibly Sasha and Abraham’s relationship will be the focus. Spencer is a rebound boyfriend for Rosita, she doesn’t want to be alone after Abraham’s abrupt break up.
The two most noticeable differences since we last saw Dwight is that half his face has burn scars and he appears to be much more malicious. It’s not easy being Negan’s lackey. Speaking of Negan, this half of the season is building up to his epic entrance. Can’t help but to throw out some fun speculation on how this episode’s ending might set up his arrival. It’s possible that while Rick’s group are out looking for Carol they might run into more Saviors and Negan himself. It would be an interesting turn of events if Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria to prevent getting more blood on her hands causes the death of someone she cares about. As far as television writing goes, it’s not the most dramatic to have a voice over of Carol’s letter to Tobin, but she knew Daryl wouldn’t let her leave if she told him face to face. Her decision to get out of town could have benefited from more screen time.
The ending to “Twice as Far” does leave a lot of questions to be asked. Hopefully Tara’s reaction to Denise’s death will be shown next episode and the fallout from Carol leaving should be a focal point. Also, what’s up with Morgan’s prison and his expression at the end? How Morgan and Carol’s arcs will come to ahead isn’t clear either.
“Twice as Far” isn’t as strong as some of the recent episodes, but it does have some solid moments. Eugene’s plan for manufacturing bullets is a good step forward to giving his character a meaningful purpose. And who knew that a crotch bite would be a character defining moment? Way to level up Eugene! Since Denise replaced another character’s death by the same manner in the comics, does this signal that something similar could happen in the finale?
What do you think about Carol’s decision to leave town? How do you feel Denise’s death was handled?