“No Way Out” is part of the handful of episodes that I wish I hadn’t read the comics for. As I scrolled through my Twitter timeline and Facebook feed that night, all I saw was a lot of exclamations, expletives and jubilations that Carl might be dead. Having read this story already and knowing that Carl gets out relatively unscathed (save for the whole no right eye thing) I felt relieved that it actually happened. I wasn’t sure if they’d permanently scar a main character or avoid it like they did with Rick not losing his hand. I’m super happy they did though as Carl’s badass eye patch look is iconic to TWD comic.
But this describes a larger conundrum for me: “surprises” from here forward won’t be surprises, but more corner stones and comparative junctures. I envy the average fan who has no idea about Negan or The Saviors or The Hilltop or Jesus, because they were such a surprise for me when I read about them. I can only imagine now how awesome seeing them for the first time in live action will be. But enough of my complaining…
Three big events happened this episode: Carl’s eye get’s shot off, the Alexandrians get some balls and we have our first encounter with The Saviors.
The Saviors are no joke. They make The Governor’s crew looks like a bunch of zombie kittens compared to what hell they can and probably will bring. We got a bit of fan service right out of the gate with Daryl shooting a mother fucking BAZOOKA at them, blowing up the seven dudes in one fell swoop. Awesome of course. Daryl brushes them off as common scavengers saying, “What a bunch of asshole,” I guess his equivalent of “Astalavista, baby.” Little does Daryl know, he just kicked the hornets’ nest, and the queen been is on her way looking for revenge.
Presumably this isn’t our first encounter with The Saviors. Back in “Always Accountable,” the group of people Daryl meets look like they’re running from The Savior’s compound. Their pursuers aren’t shown a great deal, but what we saw is a group of organized, military-looking guys. So if by the end of the season Negan comes knocking on Alexandria’s door looking for an applicant to work with Lucille, Daryl already has some good experience on his resume.
We begin this half season directly where the previous half left off – Rick and friends covered in zombie guts headed into the walker horde. Now if I had my druthers, this episode would have ended last half season, leaving us on a cliff hanger if Carl is dead or alive.
But let’s work with what we have here.
Sam gets nervous, begins to bitch to his mom IN THE MIDDLE OF ZOMBIEVILLE and ultimately gets chomped in the face. Of course Jessie (I just now realize that I’ve been spelling her name “Jesse” in all previous posts) is paralyzed with grief, which is bad because she’s got a death grip on Carl’s hand who know’s better than cry in the middle of a zombie shit storm. She becomes dessert, and Rick hacks off her arm to save Carl. Ron, a.k.a. Porch Dick Jr. grabs a gun ready to shoot Rick until Michonne stabs him straight through the chest. He does, however, squeeze off one inadvertent shot, which is the bullet that catches Carl in the eye area. Rick abandons all subtlety, grabs Carl and sprints to Denise, who just got back to the infirmary after Carol killed Denise’s Wolf captor.
The whole sequence was well done give the story elements we have in place. It’s not precisely like the comic, but it’s pretty close to and Carl’s eye-gash is almost perfect from the page. I wish we got more set-up of Rick and Jessie’s relationship to get a deeper feeling of loss when she’s attacked by walkers. We get a corny flashback thing that I guess is supposed to make us feel nostalgic for her, but she didn’t ever play a large part in Rick’s life on screen so it ended up laying flat. I feel bad for Rick because Alexandra Breckinridge is pretty hot, but anyone who gets close romantically to Rick has to die, so say TWD gods.
I actually like better how Carl gets shot in this episode compared to the comic. I think it’s more meaningful knowing Ron and Carl’s tumultuous history than the leader of Alexandria just being a dick and firing wildly into the horde (which happens in the comic). I predict Carl will be out for a few episode, maybe coming back by the penultimate or final episode to counteract the dread that Negan’s presence will bring.
When Rick know’s there’s nothing more he can do for Carl in the infirmary, he does his “my family member just got killed” thing and starts wildly hacking up zombies. Seeing Rick’s all alone out there, the Alexandrian jump into action proving Rick wrong, that they can survive in this new world. When all’s said and killed, Rick’s surprisingly optimistic about the future. He sees what his new people are capable of and wants to build a better world for Carl. He’s not thinking on a moment to moment basis, just trying to survive to the next day, but rather he’s thinking long-term; thinking about a viable future where they don’t have to worry about zombies or people or food or anything. He’s looking towards a larger world.
Predictions for next week
Rick wants to start building his new world immediately. Him and Daryl go out to scout the area and find Jesus (not in the religious sense) who they think is hostile. That’s great because Jesus, a.k.a. Paul Monroe, is a fantastic character who, in the comic, becomes a Daryl-like soldier in the war against Negan – another reason I think Daryl only has until the end of this season.
We still have to see how Rick is going to handle the Morgan situation because undoubtedly Carol ran straight to Rick as soon as the last zombie fell. Maybe Rick’s new sunny disposition has left him more understanding of people’s flaws or specifically Morgan’s distaste for killing.
I’m happy we don’t have to worry about the Alexandrian’s bumbling mistakes as a plot point anymore. They’re all truly Rick’s people now, people he’ll need in the coming fight.