Warning: the following review contains spoilers. Proceed at your own risk!
The Walking Dead has a lot of fans on this planet. So I imagine that for every thousand who are frustrated that this week’s episode, yet again, does not reveal the fate of Glenn since we last saw him pinned beneath a pile of walkers several episodes ago, another thousand are thrilled we get to spend some time with Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl. While only hours have passed in their world since their story left off, it feels like forever in ours.
“Always Accountable” begins where we last left our heroes, with the three of them corralling the main herd of walkers away from Alexandria. It turns out that Rick, Michonne, and Glenn weren’t the only ones to run into trouble trying to carry out their mission that day. For their friends soon find themselves fired upon by a group of humans, forcing Daryl to crash his bike in a nearby forest and Abraham and Sasha to seek shelter in an abandoned building. Each of the three are given a moment to consider their fates and their mortality. Daryl finds another biker crashed nearby, now a walker, but still wearing a helmet. Abraham finds the office and dress uniform of a career officer, along with a photo of the dead man’s family. And Sasha… I’m not sure exactly what Sasha sees as she gazes curiously at a trapped walker through an office window, like an animal in a cage. But of the three, she’s far and away the most self-aware due to the recent losses she’s suffered.
I didn’t realize just how much Sasha had grown since the deaths of Bob and her brother Tyreese, until her conversation here with Abraham as he takes watch. Clearly content with their situation, he wants to name the trapped walker like it’s a new pet. He reveals that he came with her on this mission because she needed the backup, since she was so recently out of control. She in turn tells him that his actions are demonstrating he too is not in control, and that it’s easy for someone to feel like they are when they’re fighting for they’re life. Food and a roof give one choices, she says, and one is just as accountable for those choices in times of peace as they are in times of crisis.
At first, Abraham is angered that she sees right through him. And Michael Cudlitz is terrific in these scenes, making it evident with little dialogue his uncertainty over whether he can live with this woman under the circumstances. Then he puts on the dead officer’s uniform, promoting himself as he realizes Sasha’s a greater reason to live than any he’s found in a long time. I was actually disappointed when Daryl showed up to rescue them.
As the for the archer… If his story is less interesting than Abraham and Sasha’s, it’s only because he lacks another member of the core cast to react to. The most silent of the group, he tends to react more than he acts. The three people he comes across in the woods are escapees from another Woodbury. He initially calls them “stupid,” then is taken prisoner by them, makes off with their bag, proves he’s on their side by giving them the insulin the bag contains, accompanies them to their destination, stands by them when one of them is killed by a walker, and, just as he’s leaving on good terms (after they answer the usual test questions), loses his bike to them. It’s the inverse of his time with Rick and co., told in miniature. But as a Daryl story, it’s not quite as satisfying as his two episodes with Beth. Even if his new frenemies’ actions serve to further prove Sasha’s theory.
After Daryl finds a truck and picks up Abraham and Sasha, “Always Accountable” ends with the three of them receiving a one-word message on their radio — a familiar voice crying, “Help.” Will they be able to provide it in time? Will they themselves encounter further trouble? Whatever happens next, I suddenly find myself worried for Abraham. He’s wearing a big grin in this episode’s final moments, indicating he’s found a kind of peace — which never precedes a long life on The Walking Dead.
— “It’s ours. We earned what we took.”
— The final words on the wipeboard — “Proud to have provided value” — are as good a sign-off as any for a military man. I just don’t want to hear them used by Abraham any time soon. Especially now that we’ve seen the chemistry between him and Sasha.
— Cigars and a rocket launcher. Schwarzenegger would be proud.
— Abe does wear a uniform well. I’ll give him that.
— “I like the way you call bullshit, Sasha. I believe I’d like to get to know you a whole lot better.” Southern gentility at its finest.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Image credits: AMC