WARNING: MASSIVE spoilers ahead for the midseason premiere of 'The Walking Dead.' Do NOT read on if you have not seen Episode 9, 'No Way Out.'
Well, this was it, the one we've been patiently waiting for since November. And boy, oh boy! It did not disappoint.
Right from the first five explosive minutes it was evident that this was an episode which was going to be impressive, and it was. The body count was high and the gore levels were off the chain, but among it all the show somehow found time to pack an emotional punch (Glenn reeling off the names of all the characters we've lost? Oof) and even deliver a multitude of character development — all in the space of 44 minutes!
The episode was once again directed by Greg Nicotero, who continually knocks it out of the park (keep an eye out for Episodes 12 and the finale, Episode 16, which he's also directing) and, in my opinion, boasts some of the best acting of the entire series. But what about some of the finer details? Let's take a look at the five things you might have missed from The Walking DeadEpisode 9, 'No Way Out':
1. Carl's eye: straight out of its socket, and straight out of the comics
Who'd have thought that AMC would have had the (eye) balls to pull this one off?
That's right, after years of comic book fans praying for this moment — but still not convinced it would ever happen — AMC came to the party and delivered, showing us exactly what the inside of Carl's eye socket looked like. While the circumstances of Carl receiving his injury weren't exactly the same as what happened in the comics (in the books it was Douglas Monroe, a.k.a. Deanna, who accidentally shot Carl), what was eerily similar was the camera work, and the single word that Carl uttered before collapsing: "Dad?"
2. That motherdicking explosion
Question: Who else jumped out of their seat when Daryl "rocket power" Dixon blew away an entire group of Saviors? Because it can't have just been me.
Things didn't look great for Daryl, Sasha and Abraham at the end of the first half of Season 6, and things were looking even worse just minutes into this episode, right before Daryl blew away the threat. But after the explosion and making it back to Alexandria, it looks like the three are once again safe. Or are they?
While this particular scene doesn't happen in the comic series (Daryl and Sasha aren't even characters in the comics), there is a similar massacre of Negan's men (led by Rick), which eventually leads to full-scale war between the two groups. So, despite how amazing the rocket launcher scene was, has Daryl basically declared war between Alexandria and the Saviors? It's a definite possibility, especially given the fact that Dwight and Honey are still racing around somewhere unknown on Daryl's chopper. Who knows who they might run into?
3. Father Gabriel and Eugene went from liabilities to ass-kicking assets
I don't think I'm out of line in saying that, prior to this episode, everyone was pretty much hanging for Father Gabriel to bite the dust. However, after the midseason finale, Gabriel finally proved himself. Firstly, he took care of Judith (talk about a leap of faith from Rick!), and then rallied the troops in the name of the Lord to hand some zombies their own asses. He still did it on his own terms — as a servant of God — but at least he did it.
But Gabriel wasn't the only character to finally grow a pair. Eugene also showed that when push comes to shove he will go to bat for the group. Never one to leave a good line unsaid, Eugene accepted his fate, telling Rosita, "No-one gets to clock out today, and hell, this is a story people are gonna tell." Damn straight, mullet man!
4. Morgan was redeemed and unified the town
After multiple episodes of Morgan and Carol butting heads over their conflicting philosophies, Morgan (who, let's be honest, was getting on everyone's tits over the whole "don't kill" thing), was sort of proven right. At least in the case of the Wolf.
I have to give massive credit to Redditor RisenLazarus for pointing out all the nuances of this one, but there were so many moments last night that only happened because Morgan protected the Wolf from being killed. Y'see, because the Wolf was initially let go with his life, Dr. Denise was able to make it to the infirmary alive (and with an added confidence boost!). Once Denise made it to the infirmary she was able to take care of Carl, and because Carl was taken off his father's hands, Rick was freed up to go out and starting killing walkers. Because Rick began killing walkers, he showed the other Alexandrians that they too had the power to take back the town, leading to this amazing montage symbolizing the moment the town finally became unified.
It's been a long road, but it finally feels like all the people of Alexandria are on the same page.
5. There was a great callback to knowledge learned earlier in the season
Right at the very end of 'No Way Out' it looked like chaos in the safe zone, with the townsfolk fighting a seemingly never ending stream of walkers. That is, until Daryl used his smarts to flood the pond with gas. It was a bit of a gamble using all of that precious petrol to try to draw in the walkers, so how did Daryl know for sure it would work? Well, as it turns out he was explicitly told it would by Dwight back in Episode 6, 'Always Accountable.'
When Daryl is with Dwight in the burnt-out forest, Dwight tells him the story of how they used the gas tanker to make a trail of fuel then dropped a match, setting a huge part of the forest alight. Dwight then revealed the beauty of this plan, saying, “The forest was full of [zombies], and the other ones in town were drawn to it. They just walked into the flames."
You might also recall it was revealed earlier in Season 6 that Morgan used this same method to "clear" out walkers before he met up with Eastman (RIP Eastman and Tabitha), leading to a very cool scene involving a flaming walker.
'The Walking Dead' returns to screens with Episode 10 'The Next World' next Sunday, February 21 on AMC.
What did you think of the midseason premiere of 'The Walking Dead'?