WARNING: Spoilers for 'The Walking Dead' TV and comic series ahead. Proceed with caution.
Well, it felt like Season 6 of The Walking Dead had just begun, and we're already at the mid-season finale. Time really flies when you're battling a giant incoming herd of walkers!
After Season 6 got off to a spectacular start with truly some of the best episodes we've seen from the entire series, I can't help but feel like the mid-season finale was cut off before it should have been. Perhaps it was a 90-minute episode that was cut short at late notice, or perhaps AMC just really wanted to tease viewers for what is surely going to be an unforgettable mid-season premiere in February. Whatever it was, 'Start to Finish' made for a good mid-season finale, but in my opinion not a great mid-season finale.
But, despite what my opinions may be, there's no denying the episode still captured your attention right from when the eerie version of 'Tiptoe Through The Tulips' started playing, through to the end when we got that post-credit scene we've been dreaming of for years. But in between that, there was a ton of stuff that happened, and I do believe that it's in my skill set to point out some of the finer things you may not have noticed in The Walking Dead episode, 'Start to Finish.'
1. Carl narrowly escaped death
In episode 7 we saw Ron following Carl through the town with his gun loaded and ready to wreak havoc, but fortunately in episode 8, 'Start to Finish' Carl was saved in the nick of time by the falling tower. Seriously, check out the GIF above, Ron was ready to bust a cap in Carl's ass! As we saw later in the episode, Carl confiscated Ron's gun, however gathering by the look on Ron's face, he still seriously hates the Grimes family.
In earlier articles it was predicted that Ron would take over from Douglas (the 'Deanna' character from the comic series) for a big moment from the comic when Carl is seriously injured (read more about that over here). Unfortunately, that didn't happen in the mid-season finale as I thought it would, but judging by a lingering camera shot focusing on Jessie's loaded gun at the end of the episode, there's still plenty of time for young Ron to get ahold of another weapon and fulfill that prediction when the series returns for episode 9 in February.
2. Eugene was the mystery caller
Following the Daryl, Sasha and Abraham-centric episode 6, the Internet was thrown into a fit of speculation as it tried to uncover who exactly had radioed Daryl asking for help. While top theories included new characters Dwight or Wade, it turns out we all should have listened to Norman Reedus who told us two weeks ago that it was "probably somebody at Alexandria with all we know that’s happening there." Yep that's right, it was someone at Alexandria -- poor, helpless Eugene.
In the end Daryl could do nothing to save Eugene, but thankfully he had Rosita and Tara watching his back. While the whole walkie talkie mystery might seem to serve no purpose other than a big ol' tease, it actually really nicely tied together the timeline for us viewers. After this scene we knew that while the herd invades Alexandria, Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are still quite a distance away as they drive the fuel truck back to the town.
3. Carol's threat to Sam is coming true
Back in Season 5, episode 13, Sam caught Carol taking guns from the armory and swore him to secrecy in return for a batch of cookies. To ensure Sam's silence she basically scared the shit out of the poor kid telling him:
"You can never tell anyone, especially your mom because if you do one morning you'll wake up, and you won't be in your bed...You'll be outside the walls, far, far away tied to a tree. And you'll scream and scream because you'll be so afraid, but no one will come to help because no one will hear you -- well something will hear you. The monsters will come, the ones out there, and you won't be able to run away when they come for you, and they will tear you apart and eat you up all while you're still alive, all while you can still feel it. And then afterwards no one will ever know what happened to you."
At the time it sounded like nothing more than a rather menacing threat from middle-aged lady to young boy, but then episode 8 opened with a mentally fragile Sam drawing a picture of what looked like Sam tied to a tree surrounded by 'the monsters.' And, by the end of the episode it looked like a twisted version of Carol's threat had actually come true, with Sam being held between his mother and brother as the group walked through the herd, trying to get to safety. As the episode ended with Sam saying "mom, mom, mom" it seems likely that in episode 9 we might see the end of Carol's threat come true.
4. It was full of call backs to previous episodes
Over the years The Walking Dead has become the master at including nice little call backs to former characters and Seasons in its episodes, and 'Start to Finish' was no different. Of course the major call back was the one that Rick himself pointed out -- covering people with walker guts to blend in with the herd. This tactic was first used by Rick and Glenn way back in Season 1, episode 2 'Guts,' as a way to escape the department store and get access to vehicles.
Another call back was also Glenn-related. At the very beginning of the episode it looked as though Maggie was in big trouble as she fought with a group of walkers as she tried to scramble onto a watch platform on the edge of the wall. The shot from above as she collapsed onto the platform, safe from the walkers (for now at least), looked very similar to the scene back in Season 4, episode 10 'Inmates,' when Glenn awakened after the attack on the prison on a ledge just above the mouths of hungry walkers.
Redditors Daily_Newspaper and Nappy0227 also pointed out that Morgan made a callback in 'Start to Finish' to something that he himself had said twice before in the series. While Carol is pretending to have a concussion, she stands and pretends to get faint, seeing this Morgan tells her, "you should sit down before you fall down," which just happens to be the same words he said to an injured Rick, shortly after his son Duane whacked him over the head with a shovel in the series premiere, as well as to a fatally injured Eastman in Season 6, episode 4.
5. Negan, baby!
Ok, now some of you may have missed this, but following the end of the mid-season finale and part way Into the Badlands, there was actually a post-credit type scene involving Sasha, Abraham and Daryl. Obviously they were absent for the entirety of 'Start to Finish' (except for Daryl's voice over the walkie talkie), but this scene, which AMC is calling a "prologue to the next chapter of The Walking Dead,' shows exactly what has happened to them – Negan's men have stopped them and demanded they hand over everything.
For comic book readers, this is basically what we've have been waiting for for years, and the TV series played it off extremely well. After Negan's men (the Saviors) spread out over the road, complete with guns (which is a slight deviation from the comics when we don't learn the Saviors have guns for some time), they demand that Daryl, Sasha and Abraham hand everything over, and the leader tells the trio, in a line that is straight from the comics, that "your property now belongs to Negan."
Because this scene is so similar to the comics, I can't help but wonder if we'll see a similar response from Daryl, Abe and Sasha to what goes down in the source material. Basically, for those who don't read the comics, the gang murders the group of Saviors, save for one who is left to return to the Saviors' base as a message to any others that Rick's gang is now in charge. Given that we already know that episode 9 will probably open with some carnage in Alexandria, can we expect to also see major carnage outside of the town walls? I can't be sure, but I can certainly hope. What do you think will happen?