This review showcases highlights, interpretations, symbolism, and nerdy theories.
Episode 2 continues the flashback LOST structure the Season 6 Premiere introduced. Gone are the black and white visuals, but the images are just as striking. This episode focuses on Enid, Carl’s teenage friend. She’s always carried an air of suspicion about her. Now, we finally get her backstory.
The episode begins with Enid’s family getting murdered by zombies. She mysterious scrawls “JSS” several times, begging our participation: What does this mean? We get our answers by the end.
These three initials serves as her survival code. This whole opening sequence focused on how Enid survived and found Alexandria, although one gets the feeling this isn’t the whole story. Perhaps some gaps will be filled in later?
The most effective demonstration of Enid’s primal devolution is when she comes across a turtle. It reminded me of the empathy test question in BLADE RUNNER.
In this instance, survival comes first. She dines on the turtle, savagely, like a walker. I hope she got her shots.
The last we saw of our heroes a loud horn blared in the distance, ruining their plans to herd the massive zombie horde. We don’t know who honked the horn yet.
First, the story skips around the timeline a bit, as we return to Alexandria before the horn sounds off.
We meet Carol, in her disguise as Suzy Homemaker. She’s talking recipes, slowly winning over her new neighbours. However, the real Carol flashes through when she tells the young boy who lost his abusive father to toughen up, “It happened. It’s done.” It wasn’t too long ago when she was wearing the same shoes dealing with the loss of her own abusive husband.
Look how she recovered. This kid should take her advice.
Meanwhile, Maggie reminds the Mayor of what her husband wanted. She talks of his vision to expand the town and change it for the better. Maggie shows the Mayor some seeds, and plans to make a garden, like her father, Hershel.
The seeds make a perfect metaphor for the community of survivors.
The premiere introduced some new characters, and continues this trend in Episode 2. We meet Alexandria’s new doctor, Denise, a shy, awkward, and nervous psychiatrist – who makes a perfect match for Eugene. She could be a welcome breath of fresh air and provide some dry comedy.
Her best line was when she checked on the recovered Tara, “I’m pretty sure I can’t kill you.” It’s all in the sarcastic delivery.
This was the calm before the storm. We’ve established what a regular day in New Alexandria is all about. Carol is fitting in nicely. She gets along with most of the women, except for one, who she warned not to smoke.
This is when the carpet gets pulled out from under us. Out of absolute nowhere, the smoker is attacked by a machete wielding maniac.
The Wolves are here… when our strongest warriors are away on the herding mission.
The attack on Alexandria is brutal. These Wolves are totally savage. They don’t just kill, they relish in the act with overkill, chopping limbs off of fallen victims.
Watching the town come together to survive the attack was amazingly enthralling. The excitement was through the roof.
Carol goes into RAMBO-mode. She knew exactly what to do, ditching her Homemaker costume for the Wolves attire, full on with a bloody W on her forehead. Carol is delightful when she’s cunning, but when she enters TERMINATOR mode it is something else entirely.
A nice parallel was when she had to silence a dying neighbour in order to save herself and not be caught from the noise – like Rick in the premiere.
Carol runs into Morgan who has a different philosophy on how to defend Alexandria. The peaceful warrior doesn’t think killing the Wolves is necessary. Carol retorts with, “Of course we do.” She doesn’t like the fact, but she accepts it.
Meanwhile, one of the Wolves chases down Ron (Jesse’s son) in the forest, moving frighteningly quick. We’re used to slow plodding walkers, this really cranks up the tension. Luckily, Carl saves the day.
This shows that Ron could be like him, strong and brave, if he trained to defend himself. Since this rescue happens in front of Enid, it also emasculates Ron, making him feel weak and humiliated. He runs away.
Later, Jesse protects her younger son from a Wolf that entered her house. She uses scissors to defend herself. Jesse launches into a feral attack on the woman, slashing and slicing her over and over.
Then, Ron, comes in and witnesses the violent aftermath. Perhaps he thinks his mom has turned into a monster like the rest of Rick’s crew? Maybe he can’t come to terms with the apocalypse? Alexandria has sheltered him well… to this point.
A crashing truck is the source of the horn. It rockets through the town, crashing into the barrier wall. A zombie is crammed in there, against the horn. Once they silence the truck, the Mayor is shuttled away into protection. She stares out of the fractured window in shock.
NERDY THEORY: The Mayor exiled citizens who broke the rules. These are the Wolves. They want Alexandria back. Perhaps when she looks out at the carnage, the Mayor thinks she caused it?
QUICK HIGHLIGHTS from the attack: Carl with the machine gun, bike wheel spinning over a pool of blood – innocence lost, Enid & Carl sitting back to back protecting Judith, John Carpenter-like intense pounding score, Maggie protecting with a gun, the tick tick of Carol’s baking timer, and Edin leaves a goodbye message for Carl explaining JSS.
The episode ends with Morgan and Carol pulling a Han and Chewie fake captive scenario. Carol’s costume helps the ruse. They spring an attack. Morgan knocks them out. Carol kills and gives a gun to Morgan, he passes it on to the Priest. Now the untrained soldier has two. Is he the best guy to John Woo it?
Morgan’s final confrontation is versus the long haired Wolf he faced at a campfire last season. He apologizes before he knocks him out. Or did he take Carol’s advice and change his Zen ways?
DING! The attack took as long as Carol’s casserole. What an episode! This was a thoroughly exciting episode with huge stakes.
There’s a cliffhanging mystery when Aaron found the satchel full of Alexandrian surveillance photos. Was this an inside job with a secret Wolf in sheep’s clothing? Is it Enid?
Her flashback set the mood nicely and had a big payoff – will it get bigger. Have we seen the last of her? Did she leave the gate unlocked? Check last episode’s review for that nerdy theory regarding Enid’s possible connection with the Wolves.
Looks like this season is adopting the home team and away team approach, while working in flashbacks. I welcome this approach, as it strengthens character development, thus making everything much more frightening.
Next episode should take us back to the away team with Rick and his crew herding the horde.
What do you think?
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