After last night’s explosive The Walking Dead premiere, Jessica Chobot and Dan Casey are looking to the comics to predict what will happen next. Listen to their predictions in today’s Nerdist News, let us know what your favorite moment was in the comments below, and make sure to read our full review of “No Way Out”!
Warning: The following review of The Walking Dead contains SPOILERS. (With every capital letter fully justified.) If, for any reason whatsoever, you have not seen this episode, then by all you hold holy, please leave and go watch it now. We’ll be waiting for you right here (promise) when you come back.
It’s appropriate that this week’s midseason premiere of The Walking Dead falls on Valentine’s Day. Because “No Way Out” is, in many ways, a love letter to the fans who’ve followed the show’s survivors through five and a half seasons. Those who’ve cried and sweated and suffered alongside our heroes, mourning their losses and rejoicing in their victories. That it manages to be just that without getting all sentimental on us is even more reason to love it. But then The Walking Dead has become as welcome in our homes as any family member on Sunday night.
Picking up exactly where November’s midseason finale left off, “No Way Out” begins with Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl apprehended by Negan’s people, led by a smug sonuvabitch who for one moment I genuinely believed was going to take out Abe and Sasha. Which led to the first of at least three fist-pumping moments in this episode — the whole miserable gang obliterated before Daryl’s new boomstick. A toy that more than makes up for the loss of his bike last year. Mr. Dixon caps the moment with his trademark understatement: “What a bunch of assholes.”
Back at Alexandria, Rich, Carl, Michonne, Jessie and her sons are still, drenched in zombie guts, making their way through the apparently endless horde of walkers that have taken over the town, when Rick decides their best course of action is not to go to the armory, but instead, get to the vehicles. The one thing he can’t foresee, however, is Sam complete losing his shit at the sight of so many walkers. It’s one of the most gruesome images The Walking Dead has ever given us when the kid’s head is eaten, causing the episode to go into maximum overdrive. In no short order, Jessie falls, Ron blames Rick and Carl, then pulls a gun on the two, and Michonne runs her sword through the brat. (Fist pump number 2.)
Rick’s grief over Jessie (beautifully rendered in a series of quick flashbacks) is halted when he sees Carl’s eye has been shot out by Ron. After racing to the infirmary (to which Denise has returned after her wolf captor is shot and killed by Carol), he decides to take out his rage on every last stinking zombie in Alexandria. It’s a thing of beauty as he turns into a one-man wrecking crew. Though, thankfully, the other Alexandrians join him before he can be overwhelmed, and a long night of slayage begins. With the cavalry arriving just in time to prevent Glenn from dying before Maggie’s horrified eyes mere seconds after she finally learns he’s alive. (Fist pump number 3.)
Amidst all the action–and let’s give a big round of applause to director Greg Nicotero for helming what may be the show’s most action-packed episode ever–The Walking Dead still finds time for the ongoing ideological duel between Carol and Morgan. A duel from which neither party emerges unscathed. Here, for example, it’s made clear that Carol’s anger at Morgan is born in part out of a resentment that he hasn’t sacrificed his soul to the extent that she has. “You saved him for you,” she says of his sparing the wolf’s life. “Not us.”
As usual, the show’s grace notes prove every bit as satisfying as its carnage. The way in which Enid and Glenn’s conversation in the church (“Faith without works is dead”) is mirrored in Father Gabriel’s epiphany, which prompts him, at long last, to take up arms. Or the fact that the wolf’s words to Denise (“I’ve changed, and now I’m gonna help you change”) are as unsettling as any physical harm he could possibly cause her.
As for the action, what’s most impressive is that “No Way Out” so thoroughly interlaces all of it with dread–the secret sauce in unforgettable horror stories. But then director Greg Nicotero is expert enough to know that no jump scares are necessary when every second of your tale is soaked in fatalism.
— “Nibble on that.” Abraham is in full Schwarzenegger mode this week.
— I love the look of Michonne’s face when she realizes Rick has gone on a suicide mission. After months of doubt, the bond between them has never been stronger.
— Ah, the visual poetry of the walkers marching into a lake of fire.
— “No one gets to clock out today. And hell, this is a story that people are gonna tell.” Eugene, we’ve missed you so much.
— There’s no better sign of how far this show has evolved than the sight of Rick at Carl’s bedside. When a similar scenario played out back in season 2, after Carl was shot in the woods, my eyes immediately rolled when I realized weeks of handwringing with Rick and Lori would follow. But this time around, my only concern was for a father and his son.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Image Credit: AMC