Hello and welcome to “Gut Check: The Walking Dead” where I spout off at the mouth about the most recent episode as soon as it is done airing. No thought, no research just the feeling in the moment. Let’s begin.
Tonight on The Walking Dead: Eugene’s Nutcracker Suite
Alternate Title: Red and the Mullet: Friends in Walker World
The Walking Dead
Twice as Far
Hot damn, what an episode! I said they needed to get to something bombastic based of their build and needed to do it sooner rather than later and they came through. Again, an episode that I loved had very little Rick. What it did have was the delightful duo of Eugene and Abraham being as awesome as they can be. I reiterate, a spinoff of just those two would be a dream come true for me.
We start the episode with an interesting mechanic that shows days as they go by, as life is routine and there is a sense of normalcy. At the end they showed us the breaking of routine. We will talk about that more later on.
What we ended up with was an episode of the Walking Dead that led down two separate paths that were different yet complimentary. Two of our more courage-lacking characters decided they needed to grow some spine. That created an episode that highlighted two great characters in Eugene and Denise, it gave a spotlight to their companions as well.
Anytime we get Red and the Mullet I am going to be a happy camper. This was Eugene’s first time to shine all season, and Josh McDermitt made the most of it. Rather than sit back and ride out their supplies until they are in dire straits, Eugene is proactive He is thinking ahead about how they can not only maintain their community, but also how they can thrive and expand.
His grand idea tonight was going to a foundry where he can make ammunition for Alexandria. He also has a chip on his shoulder and is looking to “level up” to take care of himself more and rely less on others. Of course this leads to fun with Abraham as Eugene calls dibs on killing a walker who just so happens to be a metalhead. No, it wasn’t a Slayer t-shirt, his head was actually covered in metal and it was brilliant. The old tactics weren’t working, Eugene was struggling, so Abraham saved him. This ticked off Eugene and he acted like a jerkwad in response. This led to our power couple breaking up. It was a pretty great scene, and had some funny moments as only Cudlitz and McDermitt can do.
Meanwhile, our intrepid Doctor Denise had an idea of her own: a place to find pharmaceuticals. She recruited Rosita and Daryl to guide and protect her along the way. Much like Eugene, Denise has something to prove, and it came into effect more than once.
One of my favorite moments of the episode was Daryl refusing to take the railroad tracks, he didn’t care it if was shorter, all paths lead to Terminus. Rosita didn’t care, which makes some sense, her main memory of tracks is meeting Glenn for the first time.
In the apothecary, Denise hears some noise and decided she needs to show some guts and what she finds is that someone threw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak. It shocked her pretty hard and proved that maybe she isn’t ready for adventures in the wider world. On the way back, Daryl decides to take the train tracks back. Denise later risked her life going after a cooler to find an Orange Crush for her crush. Which led to vomit covered glasses and one of the best scenes the Walking Dead has had.
As someone who has lived behind the walls since things went to hell, Denise could see the psychological effects the outside world has had on the Survivors. As she gives Rosita and Daryl the talking to they need an old friend returns as a crossbow bolt pierces Denise’s eye as she sputters out the remains of her sentence and falls over dead.
As the Walking Dead likes to do, when you get the spotlight, you gunna get got. It was an incredibly well acted scene and major credit goes to Merritt Wever’s work as Denise. You’d expect the episode to end there, but we still had a lot of time to go. Daryl’s crossbow returned and so did his rival, Dwight (with a newly scarred visage), and he had friends in tow. He also had Eugene tied and at gun point.
Our explosive moment finally arrived as Eugene decided to dine on Dwight’s Rocky Mountain Oysters to create a diversion for Abraham, Daryl, and Rosita to lay down the bullets on Dwight and crew. Eugene took a bullet and a mouth full of Dwight’s trouser fiend, but they all survived.
And the episode still wasn’t over! We get back to Alexandria and we go back to that loop from the beginning of days passing by, but routine is broken, it is a new day, a different day. Carol has broken up with everyone and left town. Daryl is hurting inside because he didn’t kill Dwight when he had the chance and it came back to haunt them. Abraham and Sasha are an item now. The status quo was shaken in a big way.
“Twice as Far” was a fantastic episode, it had everything: enjoyable characters that needed spotlight, great acting, comedy, frantic action, and one big bad thing. All of this led to an Alexandria that was very different form the one we started with. This was what the show needed and I am glad we got here. In the end, this may be my favorite episode of the Walking Dead that wasn’t featured around Morgan. Remember to stay off the tracks.
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Tags: Abraham, AMC, Denise, Eugene, rosita, season 6, The Walking Dead, twice as far