As episodes go, The Walking Dead's 14th outing of Season 6 was pretty damn shocking. "Twice As Far" really took the drama, erm, twice as far, with more shock moments and plot twists than an episode of Lost. Just as J.J. Abrams' island mystery TV series was never scared to kill on a whim, The Walking Dead killed off yet another cast member. But it was the way in which it was done that reminded us of a certain shark-related film and a certain shark-related death.
WARNING: Spoilers To Follow!
You remember Deep Blue Sea, don't you? That one where the super-intelligent sharks take over an aquatic lab and cause havoc for Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson? In a side bit of trivia, it was Jane who was originally meant to play TWD's Rick Grimes. What Deep Blue Sea producers must have paid to get Jackson and how they got him on board in 1999 is beyond me, bearing in mind this was before he did Snakes On A Plane. His turn as corporate exec Russell Franklin is easily the best of the film. However, it's Franklin's death for which he is most remembered: When gathering the group together for a rousing speech on how they will survive, he is plucked by a shark and dragged to a watery grave:
"We are going to pull together and we are going to find a way to get out of here..."
As for The Walking Dead? Well, we were promised that this week there would be a death, but it would be the way in which they died that would have us clutching our pearls. It was the ultimate WTF moment as Dr. Denise Cloyd met her demise — admittedly, it wasn't by shark attack, but it was just as sudden.
In true Russell Franklin style, Denise delivers an inspirational speech on how important Daryl and Rosita are to surviving the apocalypse and, in contrast, how weak she is:
You're strong and you're smart and you're both really good people, and if you don't wake up and face your...
Sadly, Denise never gets to finish her speech, as she does a Carl and takes one in the eye. Bye, Felicia — Merritt Wever's acting as Denise was some of the most real of the season, but let's be honest, she was never in danger of going rogue like Carol.
Early signs of the episode pointed to Abraham and his mustache hitting the dirt. Following the comic book chronology, with the Negan death in the finale serving as Issue 100, this marks "Twice As Far" as Issue 98, the one in which we say goodbye to Abraham after he is on the wrong end of a crossbow. Always ready to switch it up (Hershel/Tyreese), The Walking Dead bestowed Abraham's comic-book fate upon Denise and she is the one in the firing line of Dwight's bow. This means Abraham (and mustache) live to fight another day, although I still reckon his time is short.
In typical TWD style, the road to true love never did run smooth, and Denise was clearly marked once she embarked on her relationship with Tara. When Denise, Daryl and Rosita left the safety of the Alexandria compound, the storm clouds were already gathering. Daryl warned them to "stay off the tracks" — as we all know that last time, the tracks led to a cannibal breakfast at Terminus. But the scene in the apothecary was where Denise began to come undone. Just as a pre-apocalypse Carol wasn't ready for the end of the world, the current Denise still wasn't. Overcome with emotion, her actions were always going to get her killed. When her quest to get that elusive can of soda was finally completed, so too was her time on the show.
So there we have it. Dr. Denise Cloyd punches out her time card early and joins the likes of other Season 6 castoffs like Deanna and Jessie. Times are tough for the newcomers on the show — will there really be any of the original Alexandria residents left by the end of this season? And do we even care?
R.I.P Denise 2015-2016.