‘Walking Dead’ Review: Did ‘Always Accountable’ Confirm [SPOILER] Lives, AND Our New Big Bad?
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Always Accountable”:
Silly as it seems to preface each Walking Dead review with a #GLENNWATCH update (hey, we all do it for Jon Snow, too), let’s get the obvious out of the way. It hadn’t even occurred to me upon first viewing that the walking-talkie voice asking for “help” at the end of tonight’s “Always Accountable” might belong to Glenn, and upon repeat viewings, it still doesn’t quite sound like Steven Yeun to me. The questions then, become who else might potentially possess a walkie-talkie tuned to that specific frequency, what kind of help they need, and why the trio would consider the detour, that the episode needed to present it to us here as a matter of importance.
At the time of writing this, at least, I can’t know if the average viewer also interpreted the voice as a sign of Glenn’s survival, but presuming the suggestion was intentional, a solitary “help” isn’t exactly very much to go on just yet. At the very least, there’s a variety of other significant choices, if not Glenn.
That out of the way, we’re six episodes into Season 6, three quarters of its 2015 run, of which Daryl, Sasha and Abraham represented the last pieces of this particular mosaic without a spotlight episode. And while I still admire the ambition of The Walking Dead to shake up its usual narrative structure, cementing Season 6 among the more memorably distinct stretches, I think we’re about ready to put the fragmented approach behind us, and start weaving these threads into one ensemble story again.
A cast as large as The Walking Dead creates difficulty writing between separate groups over a single hour, at least without devolving into the kind of inch-by-inch storytelling momentum that so often blends Game of Thrones episodes together. Season 6 of The Walking Dead has admirably subverted that by sticking to one group per week, different sides of a small stretch of time, though it’s safe to say that certain predicaments have gone unanswered long enough, and “Always Accountable” didn’t exactly alleviate that.
For one, I’m not entirely sure what was going on in those woods, considering how obliquely the escapees Daryl encounters described their history, the forest fire, fuel depot, greenhouse and everything about the mystery group* keeping them all on the run. Detouring through the forest also gave us our first opportunity to spotlight Daryl out on his own for some time, even as the ending doublecross seemed to set up a more dire situation without a crossbow or a ride, only to quickly double back with another hidden vehicle, and an inexplicably quick reunion with Abraham and Sasha. I’m also a bit unclear as to why the two remaining survivors opted to betray Daryl, other than perhaps the uncertainty of reuniting with his people.
*Spoilers beware, but given the most recent casting announcement, this group was presumably intended to represent comic villains “The Saviors,” given allusions to a bizarre system of rules, kneeling, or the unseen figure mentioning “He only wants ass that’s willing, you know?” Still, given what little indistinct glimpses we caught, it’s hard to imagine book fans or otherwise particularly excited by the appearance. Nothing out of the ordinary from most other sinister groups we’ve come across.
The other side of “Always Accountable” proved largely unfulfilling as well, given that Season 6 hasn’t spent near enough time with Abraham’s increasing recklessness to spotlight it as an issue in need of resolution. The detour to retrieve Chekov’s Rocket Launcher at least brought about some catharsis of Abraham adjusting to thoughts of living out a more peaceful life, though the apparent attraction to Sasha felt notably out of the blue. I’m assuming that’s how the scene was supposed to be taken, with Sasha reminding him he’d need to break up with Rosita first, but either way, the setup again seemed weirdly lacking, amid all the chaos of late.
I’d guess that next week’s outing won’t bring us much closer to consolidating the group in one location, given the voice on the walkie-talkie, or the inability to get inside Alexandria regardless, but hopefully “Always Accountable” marks the last of the more isolated episodes. Between Morgan’s largely unneeded backstory, or a focus on the less-popular Alexandrians, the season has definitely started to feel a bit stagnant.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- It took some thinking, but given what we know of walker physiology, I’ll presume the charred motorcycle helmet prevented the fire from destroying that one walker’s brain, even if the rest of him was a charred skeleton?
- Who, or what was “Patty?” Talk at the fuel depot made it sound like a person, though given the “Patty” license plate affixed to the truck Daryl finds, was that what they were talking about? Who hid the truck then, and why?
- The office walker might have been the show’s first good jump-scare in awhile.
- I would be very interested to know how a rocket launcher-toting soldier ended up impaled on a fence, which was then left dangling over the edge of a highway. Was he on top of the fence before it collapsed?
- What … happened in the greenhouse? Were the two walkers preserved under melted glass? Also, that had to be one of the series’ most brainless ends, for poor Tina. Hey, did the others have names?
- I’d be a bit nervous for Abraham, given his talk about extended mortality, and the dress blues seeming reminiscent of a buried soldier.
The Walking Dead will return next Sunday night on AMC with “Heads Up.”
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