The Walking Dead: Season 6, Episode 2: 'JSS' Recap

The Wolves, Carol the warrior and more talking points from this week's instalment

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This action in this week's episode was concurrent with last week's opener, and showed what was happening back at Alexandria while Rick and co were out enacting their plan.

You'd have been forgiven for assuming The Walking Dead was taking its foot off the pedal ten minutes in. Instead, what followed was the series' most brutal massacre since The Governor's prison attack.  

Here are the big talking points from last night's episode.

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1 | Is Enid who she says she is?

The opening showed us the story of Enid (Katelyn Nacon), the young girl who arrived at Alexandria eight months before our crew. Left to fend for herself following the death of her parents (who we never see, save for their corpses being munched on by walkers), we see Enid, who after a few weeks goes from innocent teen crying herself to sleep to hardened survivalist, killing and feasting on raw tortoise – before the gates of Alexandria are opened to her. While it was great to learn the background of a character we know little about, I can't help but feel that opening a Wolves-heavy episode with Enid was no coincidence. Merged with how blasé she is about the attack, could she be their spy having joined them before arriving at the safe-zone?

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2 | The Wolves are the scariest group yet
At first, all in Alexandria was calm: Tara was having a check-up at the local docs, Carl took a stroll with his baby sister while Carol (Melissa McBride) prepared a casserole, gently chiding resident Shelly Neudermeyer for smoking in a world "where we don't need something else that kills us." Turns out she'd be euthanising her with a knife in the back of the skull just half an hour later. Yes, The Wolves attacked and what followed was an onslaught of ferocious and unrelenting violence. "If you choose this life, you will die," Morgan imploringly states to one. "We didn't choose," he growls back. With no rhyme or reason to their butchering, by my reckoning, they are the scariest clan we've seen yet.

3 | Carol, the wolf in sheep's clothing

The one person The Wolves never banked on, however, was Carol, who used the opportunity to slip back into her warrior ways we first saw last season. Adorning their get up and etching a bloody 'W' onto her forehead, she displayed zero hesitation to hide in plain sight and take them down – a direct clash with Morgan's ideals; even with merciless murdering occuring around them, he believes killing these savages remains the wrong thing to do. While overtly disagreeing, what separates Carol from Rick (Andrew Lincoln, not present in this episode) is the fact she showcases remorse – the emotion she allows herself towards the episode's end is that of a battle-weary woman who knows what needs to be done to survive but takes no enjoyment from doing it. Saying that, she was very prepared to let Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) die...

4 | Morgan's facing one hell of a dilemma

Morgan (Lennie James) – last week, out in the wild with Rick – heads back to Alexandria to investigate the cause of the honking which ended the premiere episode (turns out it was a crashed van caused by The Wolves which wasn't intended to sabotage the group's plans). Equipped with his staff – think Obi-Wan meets Mr Eko – Morgan's plan is to knock 'em senseless and detain them using chains. Finding himself surrounded by a handful of the group, he takes them down one by one, without killing them, telling them that the Alexandria residents have guns and are prepared to open fire. Sure enough, he talks them down and The Wolves scarper. At the episode's climax, he crosses paths with a blood-drenched Carol; the two refuse to acknowledge one another. Seems the real battle lines are slowly being drawn.

5 | It's Jessie's turn to adapt
Things got a bit Halloween when Rick's would-be love interest Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) was forced to hole up inside the wardrobe (with her young son) when a Wolf broke into her house. Eventually mustering the courage to venture downstairs, she grabbed her hairdressing scissors and stuck them into the female intruder's chest more times than was probably necessary. There's a conversation to be had regarding the fact that the two female characters fending for themselves most successfully (she and Carol) are two former victims of domestic abuse, yet in any case, The Walking Dead provides a solid argument against any claim that all the best TV roles belong to male actors.

Other thoughts:

  • The way director Jennifer Lynch shot the real-time attack (the repeated cuts to black as weapons made their impact) ensured what could have been nastily gratuitous served to heigten the idea that these character's decisions to murder are more important than senseless gore; however, the blood that spattered onto the camera as Carol took out her umpteenth Wolf was a cool moment.
  • For the less devoted watcher, that backpack Aaron (Ross Marquand) finds is the one he lost during the truck ambush with Daryl (Norman Reedus). We're led to assume that the photos of Alexandria inside are what led The Wolves to the safe-zone, hence his tears of guilt.
  • Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) may as well hand the reins over to Maggie (Lauren Cohan); she may be a civilised leader, but she's hopeless in a crisis.

Line of the week:

Morgan: "We don't need to kill people"
Carol: "Of course we do"

– try arguing with that, Morgs.

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