Denise convinces Rosita and Daryl to take her to an apothecary located in an abandoned strip-mall to find pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, Eugene takes Abraham to a nearby metal shop and informs him he intends to contribute more by making bullets for the group. After attaining the medicines, Daryl learns Denise had an older brother named Dennis whom she misses. On their way back, she confronts a walker, kills it, and counters Rosita’s criticism on her recklessness as a means to grow stronger. During her convincing words, she’s shot through the head by an arrow and dies. A group led by Dwight (The man who stole Daryl’s bike and crossbow) appears with a captured Eugene who intends to storm Alexandria. Eugene causes a distraction allowing a watchful Abraham to intervene creating a crossfire. Dwight escapes with some men leaving Daryl, Rosita, and Abraham to tend a wounded Eugene. Later, Eugene recovers and Daryl buries Denise which prompts Carol to say her goodbyes and leave town no longer able to protect the group because she’s no longer able to kill. Morgan watches Carol’s empty bench, pondering intently.
Ripped right through the comics, though with a different character in mind, The Walking Dead once again creates a strong meaningful character with aspirations to survive and kills them on the spot. This isn’t a new lesson as heroes fall in this show as much as any zombie show would do, but leaving the town without its resident physician is a bolder move than simply killing someone for the sake of ratings. Alexandria will have to be careful the next time someone sustains a life-threatening injury, because there’s no one left capable of learning on the fly like Denise could. Aside from the fire-fight at the end, I was rather bored of tonight’s episode, not for a lack of trying to stay interested. I enjoyed Eugene’s ever-flowing mechanical dialogue and am glad he’s still on the team, but the wrong pieces resonated here. Abraham had the joke of the night though, I’ll give him that.
Building up Denise was important, it sold the death and the way of it with such a sudden and abrupt way that her overcoming the fear of killing walkers was squashed, but she was not remotely prepared to handle real villains with murderous intentions. It’s almost taboo that new characters be given radical advances in their way of thinking, and Denise was left with just enough practical sense and longing that her death made sense in a horrible and simplistic way. The arrow was meant for Abraham, that’s who takes it in the comic and now that Denise took that scene from him, we won’t truly know Abraham’s fate. This could be both good and bad depending on one’s view of the man, but all in all, I find it fascinating how they never truly deviate from the comic, they just warp it with a different intention.
Dwight’s entourage felt strangely out of place. Notwithstanding the surprise death, but in doing so offered no continuing arc on Negan’s presence. He wasn’t mentioned, yet comic fans will know why Dwight had half his face scarred as a similar character under Negan’s thrall went through a same thing. Here though, we’re given no context as to why he’s scarred, why he’s leading a new group, why tried to “kill” Daryl and whether or not the group truly belonged to Negan. It’s obvious to us they are from his group, but Daryl and the others don’t know that yet. Rick may question it later, but for now, everyone is still in the dark. It was generously awkward given the timing left in the episode and no questions were answered tonight on the matter at hand.
When Eugene attempted to kill the shielded walker. I thought that was brilliant as they continue to come up with new ways to showcase the same old walker. The dialogue between Abraham and Eugene can only exists for those two and for that reason alone I think it’s imperative that Abraham stick around so we can enjoy more nonsensical jargon from these two.
Denise had the moments she needed to really elevate herself and I’m glad she at least got her walker kill before they ended her on the show. We only briefly got to know her past and her relationship with her barely older brother who must have been taken out during the outbreak. It might have been a tale-tell sign that her quick growth meant she was due to receive harsh treatment from the writer’s but I do think she had many points to offer Rosita and Daryl regarding strength and what it means to survive and experience things for one’s self. Rest in peace, Denise. You were leagues ahead of other’s from your town.
Eugene deciding to make bullets is also a comic plot-point as he wants to contribute and knows he’s not a fighter. What’s interesting here is Eugene is doing both, he wants to be useful and intends to be efficient enough to kill walkers and help the team when they’re in a bind like they were tonight.
I speculate that Morgan may go after Carol now that she’s gone again. In a strange way, they’re are more similar because killing is no longer in their ability. I don’t expect them to come to an understanding, but I’d say there’s enough left unresolved between the two that there should be some kind of closure before one of them eventually gets killed.
A lot of major characters didn’t make an appearance tonight, and this kind of rotation is hard to keep track of sometimes, considering I can’t remember for the life of me where Tara is and why she wasn’t present during Denise’s burial. No doubt Tara won’t be opening up to anyone anytime soon after this incident.
Another speculative theory is that Dwight received his scar because of his friend that was with him when they stole Daryl’s bike. She could have belonged to Negan and in taking her it was a harsh infraction which quickly turned Dwight back to his side. How that earned him a lead role in the group that went after Daryl I have no idea. But he’s still alive, so I imagine we’ll find out soon.
I’m truthfully not that interested in Sasha and Abraham’s new found interest in each other, but it does create another connection that can easily be severed if one of them is hurt or even killed. It’s what we’ve come to expect and I surmise one of them may be taken out by this finale or shortly after.
7 out of 10. This was an A-typical small group scavenging the local shops episode with a supporting character death and a short fire-fight. This might have scored higher but I think Denise’s death worked against that rating for me because it was an attempt to create a shocking death, one duplicated from the comic with an arrow through her eye, unnoticed for a moment which is the exact way it happened on paper. Normally I like how the comic translates to the show, but I wasn’t a fan of using it on Denise. I don’t think it was her time and if anything being short a doctor-type in town just makes it all the more stressful when more injuries occur. Rosita was also a focus and I didn’t really feel we got to know her any better considering how reserved and guarded she was. If anything, Denise’s death will only continue to keep her as guarded as ever. Dwight’s group was clearly under Negan’s command, but the character’s don’t know that yet, which leaves a lot of skirmishes like this to go without resolution. Some creative walker designs and Eugene made some great saves tonight, but only brought this episode to slightly above average. Here’s hoping for a colossal two-parter next week. Thanks for reading.
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