After the combo slow burn and low-level intensity of The Walking Dead‘s season 6 premiere, I was expecting this episode to deal with the monstrous herd of zombies heading directly for Alexandria. Which made the show’s cold open featuring Enid’s (Katelyn Nacon) secret origin a little puzzling (especially her obsession with the letters JSS) and out of the blue. Nacon does an amazing job with these scenes, fully inhabiting the character and making the viewers feel every horrible moment of her journey. And that poor tortoise. How many people were more disturbed by Enid eating it raw than they’ve been with most of the stuff we see every episode? It was a nice little thematic juxtaposition, though, seeing her bloody-mouthed and desperate after seeing the walkers in almost the exact same position, feeding on her parents. But then, once the episode got started and we spent some time checking in on various townfolk as they went about their business, it seemed as though the creators were going to give us a quiet exploration of the characters before their impending zombie doom arrived. During these opening minutes, we meet the new doctor, Denise (Merritt Wever), who’s not really a medical doctor and suffers from panic attacks, and we see Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) try to give Ron (Austin Abrams) a haircut. Ron is not having it and storms out, as teenagers do even in the zombie apocalypse. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) also shows up asking advice from Carl (Chandler Riggs) about how to be forgiven. Carl takes pity and promises to teach him how to defend himself before seeing Enid comforting Ron. He heads back home sad-teenager-style. While this is all going on, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) works on helping Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) keep it together, suggesting they start a garden once the expansion of the town is finished. It’s touching and damn, Deanna looks completely shell-shocked. I don’t know how much longer she’s gonna last. The most amusing moments came from Carol (Melissa McBride), first as she snidely puts the annoying Mrs. Neudermeyer (Susie Spear Purcell) in her place with a quip about teaching her make pasta by hand (she keeps asking the scouts to bring her back a pasta maker, but they never do), but she’d have to stop smoking indoors; and second as she returns home with the ingredients to make her Spring Cleaning Casserole to find Sam (Major Dodson) hanging out moping on her porch. Her life advice: “Your dad used to hit you, and then he got himself killed. It happened. Now it’s done. You live with it, or it eats you up. Go home.” Then she puts her casserole in the oven, sets the timer for 45 minutes and settles back to see Mrs. Neudermeyer smoking outside for a change. Maybe she’s not so bad after all… Then a gore-and-filth-covered crazy man leaps into frame and hacks Neudermeyer to death with a machete. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?? Seriously. You could almost HEAR twitter explode in that moment. What follows is the most intense 45 minutes of real-time carnage I’ve seen on television in memory. The Wolves aren’t at the gate, they’re inside Alexandria’s walls and they’re only goal seems to be murdering everybody violently with machetes and axes, removing arms and legs after taking them down. No rhyme or reason. No arguing. No debate. They’ve got one job and they’re doing it with enthusiasm. If you’ve been waiting (like I have) for Carol to finally get to reveal her skills, this is the episode you have to see. She turns into a one-woman killing machine, even though it puts her at odds with Morgan (Lennie James), who has arrived just in time to have his beliefs tested by a group of mad dog killers. Does he spare their lives or does he kill them? Well, when Carol gives him a chance, he’s inclined to stick to his principles and try to talk sense while beating them senseless with his staff. But Carol’s not inclined to give him many of these chances, stepping up from out of nowhere and stabbing the first Wolf he tries to debate and then putting a bullet in the head of Morgan’s first actual captive. It’s stone cold and necessary, establishing Carol as more bad-ass than Michonne, Daryl, or Rick in one simple act. That this follows on the heels of Carol putting one of her new friends out of her misery and then apparently killing a Wolf and stealing her clothes so she can move amongst them easily drives the point home. Seriously. She is the baddest of asses. Which reminds me. Remember this? Oh yeah. I’m bringing that back up. Because I was right. Nyah nyah. This episode was directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch, daughter of David Lynch, and director of the disturbingly interesting films Boxing Helena, Surveillance, and Chained. She’s been working in television a lot over the past two or three years, and brings a decidedly confident hand to the direction of this action-packed episode. The contrast in tone between before the attack begins and after it starts is startling and extremely effectively played, giving us a calm and quiet “day in the life” feel and then, once the killing starts, turns into an unrelenting bloodbath. Thanks to the combined efforts of Carol, Morgan, Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Aaron (Ross Marquand) — who discovers the backpack he lost to the Wolves last season, complete with photos of the town that practically invited them to come kill everybody — the Wolves are driven away, but not before dropping the tidbit that they had no choice in attacking Alexandria, and making off with at least one gun. And what was us with Carol finding an ‘A’ on the porch railing? Was the house marked by someone? And if so, by who? But more on that later, because Carol’s timer goes off and her casserole is done. Perfect. And I didn’t even mention the wringers that Deanna, Jessie, and new Doc Denise were put through. This episode was simply packed to the gills with great character moments that tied directly into the action going on around them. That said, we still don’t know who the Wolves are or what their game is. They seemed pretty poorly equipped and borderline crazy. There’s definitely something cult-like about them, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Speaking of which, another reason the episode might have opened with Enid’s story becomes more clear as the episode goes on, but there’s still enough ambiguity to spark some furious internet debate. It turns out Enid is on her way out of town as the Wolves attack, and she is remarkably nonplussed about the slaughter going on outside of where she’s holed up with Carl. On the surface, we may have gotten her back story just to say goodbye, but as pointed out here, there may have been more to her exit than just not feeling safe or at home. It also may explain why she’s lugging around a giant keyring. Is Enid a Wolf in sheep’s clothing? Did she almost confess it to Carl? They left it open, and once she’s gone, Carl finds her goodbye not, which explains the mysterious “JSS” — Just Survive Somehow. Did she survive by working with the Wolves to time the attack? And if so, does that let Aaron off the hook? We haven’t seen the last of Enid, no doubt. But what role she ends up playing the next time she crosses Carl’s path is up in the air at this point. The Walking Dead 6.02 "JSS"Paul's Rating5.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response The Walking Dead 6.04 "Here's Not Here" - Psycho Drive-In November 7, 2015 […] made it feel more stretched out, but all the current action took place in one day. Then we had the real-time Wolf attack occur while our heroes were out leading the herd away. That was followed by another episode of […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.