The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 15: “East”

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 15: “East”
Grade: B+

The penultimate episode of the season, “East,” had one of the best cold opens of the season. Strangely, it was about ten seconds long, but it had a large impact. Even hearing those opening words, hearing Carol, and seeing the images of blood, I was worried for her. Everything worked well in this episode as its own yet clearly setting things up for finale.

First, a few things: Rick and Michonne naked in bed (which I will never get tired of seeing) had interesting symbolism—both nude, the woman takes an apple and eats it, then gives it to the man to take a bite. I can’t help but see the Biblical meaning to this, the reference to Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. And then Maggie said, “Jesus came through,” talking about the character, not actual Jesus. It seemed to be on purpose for them to show, because eating apples in bed isn’t that common of a thing to do. Since the Saviors are aptly named and they seem to have a warped sense of religious following with Negan with the “We are all Negan,” this seems to be a nod to that. Are they going to be making a mistake, or “sin”? Michonne and Rick making the decision together to go after the Saviors?

Glenn and Maggie in the shower: one of them is going to die. Or something bad is going to happen. I’ve stopped having hope that they’ll live happily ever after. Seeing that moment between them set it off the edge. They’re dying. Probably both of them. Carl steals a gun, which someone later pointed out had a bat with barbed wire, a nod to Negan, which seems like a significant detail somehow, even though they don’t come back to him in the episode, probably setting something up in the finale.

In the previous episode, Carol took off leaving nothing but a note behind. She’s shown getting ready, packing food and sewing something into her jacket, leaving Alexandria in the middle of the night. The next day, Daryl takes off on his own, followed by Glenn, Michonne, and Rosita, who knows where he’s going (to track down Dwight and the Saviors who killed Denise in the previous episode) while everyone else learns about Carol’s disappearance, prompting Rick and Morgan to go after her.

Carol has taken one of the cars in front of the gates of Alexandria, wooden spikes all through it to catch Walkers and keeping them from the walls. As she is driving, she meets another vehicle, a truck that shoots at her and causes her to crash. The men in the pickup truck are headed to Alexandria. Carol does her rosary, panic attack trick—though it’s partly real as she doesn’t want to kill anymore people, the reason she’s leaving—and guns them down when they attempt to grab her—using a gun sewn into her jacket sleeve. Three survive, one she kills with a spike after he comes after her with a gun, and the second, hiding, lunges at her with a knife. She kills him and takes off, not to be seen for the rest of the episode. The third survivor, still in the truck, hides in the trees.

Rick and Morgan find the crash scene and follow a trail of blood through the fields, hoping it might lead them to Carol. The third surviving Savior watches them, then follows—though again, setting up for something coming, as he’s not seen again this episode. Rick and Morgan find a farm and a man claiming to be looking for a horse, but Rick doesn’t trust him, going to shoot him as he runs from them. Morgan stops him. They then have a talk about letting people live, Morgan telling Rick that all life is precious. He explains about keeping the Wolf, who’d taken Denise hostage and later saved her life, allowing her to be there to save Carl—it’s all a circle. Rick understands—as best as crazy-Rick can—and tells Morgan to continue to look for Carol and that he’s going back to Alexandria, as everyone is preparing for the Saviors to likely come attack.

Back at Alexandria—left several people down, thanks to everyone leaving all at once to find Daryl and Carol—Enid takes Maggie’s shift to let her rest, then gives her a haircut (prompting a collective sigh of relief from fans that there’s a chance Lauren Cohan’s haircut in real life didn’t mean Maggie was going to die). Afterward, Maggie feels awful pains in her abdomen and collapses, meaning something is wrong with her pregnancy and she may lose the baby.

Rosita, Glenn, and Michonne go back to where Denise was killed and find Daryl’s bike hidden, then following where the Saviors had run off to, as they suspect Daryl had done. They catch up to him and they attempt to convince him to go back, but because he feels responsible for letting Dwight live and that it was his crossbow used to kill her, stolen from him, he can’t do it. He has to find them. Rosita joins him when he refuses, leaving Michonne and Glenn on their own to return back. On their way, they hear whistling and find themselves surrounded by the Saviors, led by Dwight. Later, we’re shown Michonne and Glenn are tied up. Daryl and Rosita, having been following the Saviors, attempt to save them but are snuck up on by Dwight and another. At the end of the episode, Dwight shoots Daryl—but we hear him say, “You’ll be all right.” We’re led to believe that he may be all right or he might be dead—no one will know until the finale.

This episode definitely felt like the first half of the finale, dropping hints and starting storylines that don’t yet go anywhere, really making me want the next episode soon—even though I don’t at the same time, because that would mean it’s the end of the season. Overall a good episode, interestingly structured and well-written.


HIGHLIGHT

The cold open
and the scene following Carol’s confrontation with the Saviors in the truck was really well done. Melissa McBride is such an incredible actress and the entire set up was interesting, especially starting with this intensity in the first half of the episode, then shifting to the other characters, made for a great watch.

MIDTONE

With an interesting structure,
this episode started with Carol leaving, then became two different rescue missions, no longer following Carol, who’s now completely missing. The way the three stories sort of worked together was interesting, not really done before on the show. Instead of a continuous story, it felt like a lot of the episode was chopped together, which I didn’t necessarily enjoy, but it worked for the story.

LOWLIGHTS

Stupid mistakes
made by the characters felt too out of sync with the show. They’re getting ready for a potential attack, yet go off on two different rescue missions? Leaving Alexandria without some of their best fighters? It seemed ridiculous and made for a lot of things that could have been avoided: Michonne and Glenn getting kidnapped, Daryl being shot. Sometimes the characters aren’t thinking like they should be—it’s hard to tell what’s creator error or just character error.

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