The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 2 Recap (Spoilers)
If you would have told me that this week’s The Walking Dead wouldn’t resolve the season premiere’s incredible cliffhanger which had a horde of zombies approaching Alexandria, I probably would have been a little disappointed. But “JSS”, turned out to be a really good episode, providing a strong one, two punch to start off Season 6.
“JSS” made good use of what The Walking Dead has effectively done in previous seasons: turning back the clock to show events from other character’s perspectives. The alternating story line format works both from a television production perspective and on giving screen time to develop other characters.
That was the case for a number of Alexandrians. Jesse’s conflict with her teenage son Ron bogged down the slow first act. What worked better is not only seeing her sheer will to survive when she repeatedly stabbed the wolf but in releasing an unexpected amount of pent-up aggression. She’s a mother protecting her young cub and defending her home which brought out a fierce, primal side in her.
I also liked how the writers went against stereotype when Spencer, the young tall guy with the biggest gun, didn’t play the hero when the opportunity presented itself. Neither did the new doctor Denise who failed her first surgery. What mattered was that she was able to face her self-doubt and prevent a panic attack with the help of her friends.
By far, the strongest aspect of “JSS” is the contrasting approaches to Carol and Morgan as they raced to save the town from invaders. On a side note, how Morgan came back way before the rest of Rick’s crew is a mystery we’ll probably solve next week. However both Carol and Morgan stole the show. And both their approaches had positives as well as some shortcomings.
Morgan’s value for every human life ultimately saved Gabriel which wouldn’t have been a huge loss for fans of the show, but had it been someone like Rosita or Tara I believe Carol would still have sacrificed the one for the many as she has done in the past.
Morgan’s pacifistic approach, which is effective in tricking the wolves to leave town (albeit with a gun), nearly came back to bite him at the end when the wolf he spared in last season’s finale almost got the better of him. He’s a more refined version of Tyreese, except that the writers appear to have a good handle on the direction they want to take with him.
Carol’s survival tactic to blend in with the enemy is very clever; her take no prisoners approach is ruthless. The way she smothered the mouth of her neighbor and stabbed the head mirrored how Rick dealt with Carter last episode. It circles back to the idea that the weak are destined to die one way or another if they cannot see the bigger picture of how to survive in this world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be proficient with firearms or knives, take for example Deanna is alive because she recognized her own weaknesses and avoided putting herself in further danger than necessary.
As for the wolves, they were smart enough to strike Alexandria when the town was least capable of defending itself. However, after seeing how ingenious they can be with elaborates traps, it’s disappointing they didn’t have a coherent strategy to over take the town once they got inside. Carol was ahead of the game in defending the armory, something that the wolves clearly did not know or think about. In a way, this take away from the wolves as this big, mysterious threat. What happens when they have to face the rest of Rick’s gang and not the feeble Alexandrians?
The farewell note that Enid left for Carl brought things full circle. Enid decided to join the community because it would help her survive but now that the town is a huge target she’s gone with the wind. This episode does what The Walking Dead does best which is putting characters in life or death situations and then examining the different choices they make to survive another day. There wasn’t anything overly philosophical about the episode which worked for me.
Going into this season there was a lot of speculation that Morgan would clash with Rick. That could very well be the case, but as many differences Morgan may have with Rick it’s really Carol that is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. The dynamic between Morgan and Carol played out in a big way and made for an exciting episode after the weaker first act. Season 6 is shaping out to be solid one so far, let’s hopefully see what’ll happen next with the horde of zombies.
What do you think about the Wolves as a significant threat after this episode? Are you on Team Morgan or Team Carol? Who made the better choices?