* SPOILERS, CHARRED BIKES AND THE WEIRDEST PICK-UP LINE EVER AHEAD *
“Always Accountable” saw The Walking Dead back out beyond the walls where the deer, the antelope and the walkers roam – though likely not together given the former would find themselves on the menu of the latter – as we rejoined Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) tapping their sparkly red shoes together and trying to get home.
OK, it’s safe to say The Wizard of Oz allusions were fairly thin on the ground as the newly reunited merry threesome sped away from the zombie horde they had been so carefully shepherding away from Alexandria, and put pedal to the metal.
But the best laid plains of mice, men and apocalyptic survivors came horribly undone under a hail of gunfire from a posse of gun-toting thugs in the bushes, most likely Negan’s Saviours, the next Big Bad to stride onto The Walking Dead stage o’ death and mayhem.
And there began a tale of two groups of survivors, Daryl left to push his bike through a charred forest full of BBQ’d walkers while the other were forced to hole up in, of all things, an car insurance office, the main tenant still in residence and rather keen to not much sell coverage for banged-up Buick as you know, EAT THEM.
It was a low key episode, high on life lessons and conversation, and low on walker-dispatching action, but it worked perfectly as a vehicle for exploring where some people in Rick’s group had got to under the civilising effects of old, peaceful Alexandria.
(Shhh no one tell them it’s been shot and hacked to bits please; though Abraham seemed none too keen to rush back, essentially proposing to Sasha that they stay put in Insurance Land and make sweet beautiful love and live on beer and air conditioning drafts … yup swoon-worthy romantic.)
Daryl, poor, long-suffering I’ve-had-better-apocalypses Daryl, got the worst of it, raced away from his attackers willy-nilly ’til he reached the aforementioned burned-to-a-crisp forest and the dubious company of two sisters, Tina (Liz E. Morgan) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) and their companion Dwight (Austin Amelio) who promptly whacked over the head.
When he came to, he was trussed up like a turkey and forced to walk through the woods with his new “friends” who seemed ill-at-ease with playing the role of mean, nasty captors but were desperate to escape a tyrannical community, who it turned out were the very people who used Daryl, Sasha and Abraham as target practice.
In what increasingly looked like a case of mistaken identity on quite a few levels – they though Daryl was one of Negan’s henchmen; Daryl though they were; it would have been hilariously farcical if, you know, guns and survival at all costs – they trudged through the forest until Daryl got a chance to take them by surprise and take back his crossbow and get the hell out of Dodge.
Only he didn’t get far before realising that Tina is a diabetic and he has all her insulin – frankly how she got this far is a miracle; they must have found a series of mysteriously un-rifled through pharmacies at some point – and so being at heart the Good Guy that he is, found them, saved them from being blown to pieces by Negan’s pursuing thugs before they turned on him and raced off on the bike WITH THE CROSS BOW.
Of all the ungrateful … the sad part about all this is that goodhearted, idealistic Daryl, who for all his bluster and mumbling dissatisfaction with the universe actually does give a damn about people, had his trust in humanity ripped to shreds right royally.
Thinking that everyone would welcome the chance to be ensconced in the warm loving embrace of Alexandria, he was justifiably shocked when Sherry and Dwight – Tina fell victim to the zombiefied remains of the two girls she used to babysit when they came across their toasted cabin – turned on him, the two Negan dissidents more than a little burnt by their former lord and master’s twisted idea of rebuilding civilisation, and made for the hills.
We all know they won’t get far but the achingly sad part was seeing Daryl, the man who has come so far and begun to believe where so far have given up the faith, left standing with his renewed faith in humanity torn into tiny motorcycle-shaped bits.
I don’t think it’s the unmaking of him but it’s hardly going to make him an enthusiastic member of Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) Alexadnria Recruitment Squad.
You can only hope Daryl doesn’t see this as a bad decision but simply the right decision with good people too desperate to realise how good an offer they’d been handed.
Don’t lost the faith Daryl!
Mean while Sasha and Abraham found themselves on foot and having to take shelter in the gorgeous surrounds of a strip mall insurance office (yes every bit as un-beautiful as you might imagine).
Taking care to scrawl Daryl’s surname on the door of the office, and cautioning Abraham not to kill stray walkers lurching past, newly emotionally-leveled out Sasha did her best to amp down Abraham who appeared ready to take down the world around him and anyone in its vicinity.
Abraham was in fact scary amped up and against that kind of frenetic jitteriness, it became patently obvious that Sasha now had her shit together and Abraham most definitely did not.
In fact Sasha had to give her new cubicle companion a pep talk, reminding him that he still has choices, even in an apocalypse and is responsible for them.
“You have choices. And without walkers, and bullets, and shit hittin’ the fan, you’re accountable for them.”
No surprises that Abraham didn’t immediately embrace that advice with reformist zeal, choosing instead to wander through town, where he found not only a zombified soldier impaled on the edge of a bridge, a cache of RPGs and some cigars but a quickly-arrived at “Life is worth living!” epiphany.
So enthused was Abraham about his Saul/Paul-like encounter at the bridge that he came back and all but proposed love sweet eternal something to Sasha who, not surprisingly looked a tad askance at her bunk mate’s new enthusiasm for not being reckless, and specifically not being reckless, with her.
The key thing is that Sasha is back, and so it seems is Abraham, kind of, sort of maybe.
There’s still a wired-up coil inside the man and if I was Rick I’d be keeping an eagle eye on him and um, Sasha, don’t even entertain the thought of anything for a second, please dear non-zombified god in heaven.
Oh and that voice they all heard at the end on the walkie-talkie after Daryl found a truck and scooped his insurance office-dwelling compatriots up ?
Not Glenn apparently according to Norman Reedus which is kinda sad and also kinda good.
On that score, the agonising wait continues …
- So take that trust in humanity, relationship fidelity and emotional stability – it’s the apocalypse thank you! Maybe things will improve in next week’s ep “Heads Up”? Aaaah, who are we kidding?