The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”
Grade: A

“No Way Out” is the best episode of this season. It could be said that “No Way Out” is one of the best episodes of the entire series. It rivals only my favorite episode, season three’s “Too Far Gone,” an episode, like season six’s episode 9, that demands to be watched over and over again (which I have), one that so perfectly sums up what the show is about, and has that sense of a large ensemble all working together. “Too Far Gone” sets off a chain of chaos that has led us here to this episode. In a way, “No Way Out” almost mirrors the mid-season finale of season three: a living threat breaks into their home and creates chaos, dispersing everyone; a Walker threat breaks into their home and creates chaos, banding everyone together.

Let’s start with the opening scene, which started off in the last episode as the final scene. These biker guys, working for a man named Negan, want all of Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha’s stuff and for the trio to lead them back to Alexandria because Negan is interested in their group. The leader of this little band was genuinely a creep who seemed a bit too pleased to be doing this job of stealing from people and killing them. And after he is about to shoot Abraham and Sasha—I was legitimately worried that they were going to be shot (mostly I was worried about Sasha, because she’s one of my favorite characters of the entire show. Sasha cannot die. Please, please, don’t ever kill off Sasha)—Daryl blows them all to hell in one of the best opening scenes of the entire show. A perfect set up for what’s to come with that storyline. Obviously, Negan is likely the type of guy to be pissed that you blew up his men—I haven’t caught up in the comics to where Negan is introduced yet, but I do know what he’s all about and that whole situation by reading up on it online. It’s a great set up for what’s to come.

Immediately following the break, we come to the main group with Rick, Michonne, Carl, Gabriel, and Jessie and her kids, smeared with Walker guts and snaking through the enormous horde, hand-in-hand. In the mid-season finale, I was worried the kid, Sam, was going to be the one to get them all killed, only to be delightedly surprised that he was willing to keep going and not caused any trouble—immediately. Rick showed a huge amount of trust in a man he basically hates, letting Gabriel take Judith, his infant daughter, by himself through the Walkers to the church and I’m greatly proud of Father Gabriel for finally stepping up.

Enid and Glenn working together in the other church, looking for a gun and a way to save Maggie from the watchtower is great. He tells her that she has to stick with people and not go off on her own, naming all the people he’s lost (his parents, Hershel, Andrea, Tyreese, etc.) and Enid, whom I’m really starting to like, decides to stay with him and help. Meanwhile, the Wolf and Denise, whom he took hostage, are hiding out waiting for a break in the Walker horde to get to the wall to climb over.

And for the most intense, insane scene ever: Sam eventually did get them all killed, with Carol’s voice in his head about keeping her secret or the monsters will kill him, he sees a child Walker and freaks out, not wanting to go on. He’s immediately attacked by Walkers, screaming, and causing Jessie—whom I started to really like—to scream and get attacked as well. This moment, with barely any actual sound but the screeching music, plays out like an actual horror film. Rick, Michonne, Jessie’s other son Ron, and Carl can’t do anything. They can’t react or they’ll be seen. Carl is still holding onto Jessie hand and can’t get away. Rick has to chop off her arm to get Carl free, and Ron grabs for the gun and point is at Rick, blaming him for all of it—which has been a storyline I’ve enjoyed, seeing the teenage son’s reaction to Rick killing his father and Carl stealing his girlfriend, that causes a hatred in him for the two that he plans on killing them both—but before he can cause more commotion amongst the Walkers, Michonne kills Ron and the gun goes off. And with a terrible realization, that shot hit Carl right in the eye. All of this happened incredibly fast, Rick picking up Carl and running, Michonne hacking a path for them through the Walkers with such ferocity she nearly leapt out of the TV. Because of the pace of the scene, it felt like a terrible nightmare of Rick’s—my father, watching in the other room, yelled down to us “It’s all a dream!”—but it wasn’t. The entire scene had me on the edge of the couch, gripping a pillow in my arms like crazy. It was the most shocking, intense scene thus far and I couldn’t even comprehend what had happened for the entire commercial break.

The Wolf and Denise make a break for it, but after she nearly gets taken down by a Walker, he goes back for her. And after they get through, attempting to get to the infirmary, he saves her even after getting shot by Carol. Denise is able to make it to the infirmary safely. Denise taking on the job of DOCTOR BADASS, quickly instructing everyone—to help with the incoming Michonne and Rick carrying Carl—proved to everyone that she can do it, that she has what it takes within this world, even just as the doctor, and I loved every second of it. (I really like Denise, y’all.) Rick rushes outside to go on a rampage, taking down every Walker in his path. And then everyone follows suit, the entire town banding together to fight. The moment with Michonne, holding Carl and kissing him on the forehead before joining Rick made me burst into tears. Her love for Carl and treating him like her own son—after losing her own—calls back to the moment when she held Judith and cried back in the prison. And then I cried. A lot.

Speaking of crying—sobbing—the scene where Glenn and Enid go to save Maggie, with Enid climbing up to help her climb down the wall and Glenn distracting the Walkers had me in tears. They hadn’t even been reunited yet and we nearly lost Glenn—again. Maggie tearfully calling for Glenn, trying desperately to distract them away from him was one of the most heartbreaking moments (my heart can’t take anymore Maggie/Glenn separation). And like Glenn does, he gets incredibly lucky by the arrival of Sasha and Abraham—possibly too luck? I never want him to die, but these close calls with Glenn are getting a bit tired. I just want him to stay alive. With all of them reunited, they use the tanker Sasha and the Boys were driving to fill the lake in the center of Alexandria with gas and light it up, distracting the Walkers and letting most wade through the fire, and the rest being taken down by the Alexandria crew.

Everyone banding together and fighting off the Walkers—even the Alexandrians who have proven to be unsuited for this world, having spent most of their time inside the safe walls of the town—was one of the best parts of the entire episode. They were against a horde that should have—would have, any other time—taken them all down, but they were able to do it together. The montage of the Walkers going into the fiery lake and everyone taking the rest of the Walkers down (though it looked a little like a promo for the show in style, all black background with a single person hacking away with quick cuts) was great.

Against all odds, they killed every Walker that had made it into the walls of Alexandria. The people of the town proved that they can handle themselves. In an emotional scene, Rick talks to Carl, lying on the bed with one eye and possibly not going to make it, telling him that he’s seen the possibility of Deanna’s dream to rebuild and he wants to show that to Carl, show him a better world. And with that, Carl curls his fingers around Rick’s hand.

Overall, the episode was incredible. That scene walking through the horde brought the intensity way up to going forward with the rest of the season and I can’t wait for it.


HIGHLIGHTS

The best opening scene
of the entire series with the introduction—and quick demise—of Negan’s men coming to take what they’ve claimed is theirs. It’s setting up something big and that’s exciting.

The tragic break of the chain,
lead through the enormous Walker horde by Rick that results in a silent chaotic horror show. Honestly, one of the best scenes of the entire series.

MID-TONE MOMENT

The hacking montage
that looked like a promo TV spot for the show, but worked well with quick-cuts and shots of the Walkers entering the lake of fire just enough that I could let it slide.

LOWLIGHTS

Glenn nearly dying again
needs to end. Both for my heart, and because it’s getting tired. But I’ll let it slide because he didn’t die, so at least there’s that.

The pace of the other
storylines (Denise and the Wolf, Carol and Crew in the house) slowed down the episode a bit with them basically doing nothing for a lot of the episode, just sitting and waiting. I think one less quick scene of them just waiting around would’ve done a lot for the episode’s pace, making it much more exciting—even though it already was and I’m basically nitpicking here because I really loved this episode a lot.

NOTE: Since starting this blog, I decided to stick to science fiction/fantasy things that I’m into. So I’ll be reviewing the episodes from season 6, episode 9 onward (unless I stop writing here altogether).

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