After an action packed opening episode, Rick-centric and all, we got a smaller scoped story in “JSS,” the setting confined within the walls of Alexandria. Episode 602 diverge a little from the regular TWD formula – one epic episode followed by a few slower ones. “JSS” wasn’t a blockbuster, but it was important in setting up the new big threat to our heroes: The Wolves.
One immediate stand out in “JSS” was the abundant lack of Rick Grimes. He is nowhere to be found. Not even as the Wolves show up to ransack the community did he swoop in to save the day. But this was a good thing. As I said in my thoughts on “First Time Again,” Rick comes off as kind of an asshole regarding his fellow community members. He’s like that strict dad that no one wants to look in the eye and everyone feels awkward around when he’s in the room. We see the non-combative characters of Alexandria have room to breathe, really setting the scene for what daily life is like, something we haven’t seen since Rick and the group first stepped foot in Alexandria.
One such character that we got to know better is Enid. We learned more about how she came into the community, stumbling upon it after a long time in the wild. She was traveling with her parents at first, but one thing led to another and they were soon zombie chow. Her time alone in the wilderness gave her a feral state of mind. One of the more gruesome scenes in TWD history was of her killing a turtle and eating it raw, scooping its guts right out of its shell. After helping Carl defend his home from The Wolves, she leaves the community, not saying good-bye, but leaving a note to Carl, from which the episode gets its name: “Just Survive Somehow.” We knew Enid had a weird obsession with being alone from previous episodes in which she snuck out unattended or refused to talk to anyone. She clearly knows how to survive in the wild and after The Wolves attacked, we have to wonder if she has something to do with them. Since we didn’t explicitly see her die, I have to assume she’ll be back in some capacity later this season.
It was a damn good thing Carol stayed behind in Alexandria while all the other heroes went off herding zombies. At the start of “JSS,” we see her casually conversing about recipes and food stuffs with her fellow housemaids – a disguise she’s kept up to gain trust from the community. Previously, we saw her boast about her ability to become invisible, indistinguishable among other community members. Her disguise is shattered from this point on as she jumped into action against the Wolves, killing any and all of them that she saw. Her ferocity in killing each
and every one of them was not unlike Rick’s. Carol has shown multiple times in the past could seasons that she’s every bit the killer Rick is. This detail is pronounced when she kills a Wolf steals his uniform to blend in with the other Wolves. The juxtaposition of housewife Carol, a sheep if you will, in Wolves’ clothing which give her the ability to go unseen by killers contrasts with her earlier disguise which allowed her to become invisible among normal folk. Now that Alexandria is probably going in a more militaristic direction, Carol should keep the killer disguise handy.
We’re leaning more and more about Morgan every episode he’s back. Upon Rick’s request last episode, Morgan was able to get back to the community before everyone else. Using more pacifistic means than Carol (specifically his big stick), Morgan sought to take down The Wolves without killing any of them. He’s averse towards Carol’s use of guns telling her over and over that she doesn’t have to kill people. When Carol give Morgan a gun, he refuses to use it. We haven’t yet learned much about Morgan, only being featured in four episodes so far. Last time we saw him outside of the Alexandria storyline, he was heavily fortified, locked up in his own fortress. He’d gone crazy since Rick left him and his son Duane in King’s County. In season 3, we saw him try to kill Rick first shooting at him then trying to stab him with a knife. As season 6 goes on, we’ll hopefully see why the self-described “killer” changed his ways to drastically and why he’s so against killing even when it seems so necessary.
As for other Alexandrians, Deanna is still in shock, unable to guide her people through The Wolves’ attack. She stays completely on the sideline as Maggie rushes in to save the day. It’s clear, like in the comics, that Maggie will be a great leader in time. Deanna’s son Spencer is dumbfounded after everything went down. He asks Rosita if the world is actually like that, questioning why he’d want to live in a world like this. Jesse made big strides in becoming the killer Rick wants her to be. Going completely momma bear on one Wolf lady, she stabs multiple times with a pair of dull clippers and continues to stab her out of frustration after she’s dead. It seems Jesse is perfectly ready to accept Rick’s new order.
I think “JSS” will prove to be a pivotal point in not only season 6, but in TWD series going forward. Even if The Wolves don’t stay around long, their presence in the world shows might Rick is right – letting other people into Alexandria is dangerous. Knowing what I know from the comics, there are definitely more threats for our heroes to meet. There is a larger world than anything we’ve seen before.