Synopsis of 6×09: The mid-season premiere brings every member of the group back together as they take a stand against the mega herd.
The beginning was kind of a stuttered mess for those who didn’t stay through Into the Badlands after the last episode aired and missed the repeated clip just before this episode started. Regardless, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham get the first introduction to Negan’s group and it is explosive. After ridding them of their weapons and threatening Sasha and Abraham’s lives, the leader of the group foolishly lets one of his own go with Daryl behind the truck to inspect it. Daryl does what Daryl does best, killing the man and using a rocket launcher to get rid of the rest of the threat.
I guess it had to happen that way, but I enjoyed the threat while it lasted. If nothing else, Negan’s man gave us all some good life advice: “If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble. Bite, chew, swallow, repeat.”
With no explanation as to how they shut Sam up, Rick’s group continues their trek through the walkers. For some reason, they think it’s an acceptable time to stop and have a group meeting to change the plan right in the middle of the road. And in a move that makes even less sense than that, they hand Judith off to Gabriel and keep Sam to try to make it to the quarry for cars and guns.
Inside the house, Tara and Rosita are arguing about how to handle Denise’s abduction while Eugene is helping Carol and Morgan recover from their fight – even as the tension between the two of them remains.
Outside the walls of Alexandria, Enid and Glenn are trying to find supplies inside of a church. She has a bit of a freak out about losing people and Glenn stops to explain to her that they’re all still here because she’s still here. He gives a shoutout to Dale, Hershel, Andrea, and Tyreese – leaving out people like T-Dog, Beth, Lori, and Shane (shh, he totally liked Shane). After their talk, Enid insists on helping him get to Maggie against his better judgement. She says she’ll follow him regardless.
The W-Man and Denise have made it to a safe spot where they’re watching the herd for an opening to escape. She’s incredibly afraid and he’s trying to help her overcome those fears and explain his philosophy to her. They’re the most compelling scenes of the episode and deserve a lot of credit for making this episode less predictable.
At this point, we’re almost halfway through the episode and it’s turned to night as Rick’s group continues to move through the walkers relatively undisturbed when things go south. Sam begins to remember Carol’s threats about monsters and starts to freak out. His hushed whimpering somehow attracts the attention of walkers and they take him down even as Jessie continues to hold his hand. Her screaming brings about more walkers that attack her.
She, in turn, won’t let go of Carl’s hand and Rick is forced to hack it off with his axe, dropping his gun during the act. Ron picks up the gun and points it at Rick and Carl when Michonne is forced to put her katana through his chest. The gun goes off and it takes a moment for Carl to turn around and reveal that he’s been shot in the head. He collapses and Michonne is forced to cut through the horde in order for Rick to carry Carl to safety.
Denise continues to talk with the W-Man about how Alexandria put up a fight against the Wolves, that’s why his friends are dead. He agrees and says that they were selfish to attack so soon, but tells her that they’re still going to wait for a gap in the crowd and make a run for it to the wall. He’s insistent that it is safer outside the walls than it is inside.
When they make their move, he tells her to head for the guard post and not to stop. He kills a walker in his way, but she’s stopped by one and when he turns around to save her, it bites a huge chunk out of his arm. She promises to save his life if he gets her to the infirmary.
Rosita shows exactly zero faith in Eugene’s abilities to help them fight their way out of the house while Carol and Morgan have a moment upstairs. She’s still upset with him because she believes he saved the W-Man for himself, not for the good of the group. Carol thinks she should’ve killed him when she had the chance.
The W-Man still seems to be confused about why he turned back to help Denise. She says that maybe he changed and they prepare to make a run for the infirmary. As they leave their shelter, Carol shoots him in the chest from above and he goes down. Denise watches before listening to Carol’s urgings to get to safety. Once inside, she spots the rest of the group watching Rick and Michonne cut their way through the mega herd.
There’s a moment where we see how the W-Man may have helped Denise overcome some of her fears because she centers herself before they bring Carl in and slap him down on the table in front of her. Instead of staying to help his son, Rick goes out alone with the axe and starts fighting on his own. Once Carl is stabilized, Michonne, Spencer, Heath, and Aaron are able to go out and help him to not die.
Other Alexandrians soon rush out of their homes to make the same stand, but they don’t really have names. Gabriel passes off Judith in the church and has a moment of clarity where he tells them that God gave them the courage to stand up for Alexandria themselves. Carol’s group also heads out to join the fray, with Eugene in tow. Morgan delivers the final blow to the zombie-fied W-Man in the melee.
Seeing their (last?) chance, Enid and Glenn rush towards Maggie’s tower. While Enid climbs up to help her get over the wall to safety, Glenn serves as a distraction. He runs himself into a corner and I almost thought he was finally going to bite it when Sasha and Abraham show up with literal guns blazing.
Teamed up with Daryl, the group works on a plan to draw all the walkers to one place. By setting the lake on fire, it produces a big enough flame to attract their attention and drive them away from the Alexandrians.
There’s still a lot of fighting and it lasts through the night, but by the time morning rolls around the only people we’ve lost are Jessie, Ron, and Sam. Rick is having a breakdown at Carl’s bedside, talking about finally understanding Deanna’s plans and ideas, when Carl squeezes his hand and the episode ends on a hopeful note.