The Walking Dead Episode 6.8 “Start to Finish”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohen, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James AMC
Air date: Sunday, November 29, 2015, 9pm
Warning â€“ SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 6â€¦
Episode 6.8, â€œStart To Finish,â€ is the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, which means weâ€™ll have to wait till February to find out what happened to the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone after the latest Walker attack. Because AMC loves to torture us.
The Alexandria Safe Zone was supposed to be a piece of paradise inside the hell on earth that exists in the post-apocalyptic Walking Dead universe. But, as Tara and Rosita say in this episode, a place like this comes with a price. Many have died already, and now, it seems that their existence at the Safe Zone might, in fact, be â€œover.â€
Rick and his group have gone from place to place trying to find a real home to settle in: First, it was their crude encampment with the RV. Then there was Hershelâ€™s idyllic farm, but it wasnâ€™t a stronghold. The Governor infiltrated the confines of the Prison, and the too-good-to-be-true Terminus turned out to be a cannibal holocaust. The Alexandria Safe Zone was supposed to be their final destination, a true safe haven that was protected against the walkers, as well as a throwback to life before the dead began rising. But, that throwback proved to be a little too much comfort. Without a common enemy to fight (i.e., the Walkers), the Alexandrians got caught up in too much drama. It seems as though the residents let their human squabbles blind them to the point where they forgot that the end of the world had come, and the time for such trivialities was long passed.
Though Rick warned everyone that a breach of the Safe Zone was imminent, whether by Walkers and/or another group of survivors, the original Alexandrians were too complacent to listen to him. It took both an attack by the human Wolves as well as a breach by the Walkers for them to finally realize that theyâ€™ve been living in a fantasy world and that Rick was right. A little too late though because on the last episode, the Walkers congregated along the East Wall, causing the watchtower to fall and break through the wall. When last we saw the people of the Alexandria Safe Zone, Walkers were pouring in.
The mid-season finale picks up with the Walkers still pouring in, as Rick and company try to run to safety. But where is safety now? Even Rick and his original group who are experienced fighters canâ€™t take down Walkers in such large numbers on the fly. They need a real plan.
Rick and a few others make it to Jessieâ€™s house, where her son Sam is still hiding upstairs listening to records and drawing with crayons. Well, playtime is over Sam, time to man up. You too, Ron. Ron has been jealous of Rickâ€™s son Carl since his arrival, and Rick killing his dad (no matter how justified it was) didnâ€™t help matters. In â€œStart To Finish,â€ Ron continues to act like a punk-ass by attacking Carl and pulling a gun on him even as the Walkers were trying to push into the house. Really, Ron? How about priorities? How about some damned common sense? Thankfully, Rick breaks through the door and saves both Carl and Ron from the invading Walkers. Rick and Jessie suspect that the teenage boys had been fighting, but Carl covers, saying that they were trying to ward off the attackers. See, Carl doesnâ€™t blow up Ronâ€™s spot. He realizes that Ron is just going through shit because of what happened with his dad, and also has no experience coping with a life-and-death situation like this. Before Ron pulled the gun, he told Carl that they were all dead, and said â€œYour dad is just gonna get more people killed, your dadâ€™s a killer,â€ to which Carl responded â€œSoâ€™s yours.â€ After their melee, Carl could have told the truth – that Ron actually tried to kill him – but instead he protected Ron. After this, Ron had better be Carlâ€™s best friend.
Ok, so back to that plan. Rick says they need to get to the armory, so he can take out some of the Walkers, and then also set off flares outside the Safe Zone to try to lure the Walkers away. Ok, great. How will they get to the armory? They wrap themselves in bedsheets, which they then cover in Walker guts, so that they can mask their human scent and walk right through the crowd. Hey, it worked for Rick and Glenn in Season 1, so no reason to think it wonâ€™t work now. The difference here is that itâ€™s not just Rick â€” itâ€™s also a bunch of skittish people, some kids, and baby Judith. This is gonna be tough.
Nearby, Carol and Morgan are at the house where Morgan has the Wolf confined. We know that Carolâ€™s mentality is “no enemy left alive,” while Morganâ€™s is that “all life is precious.” This leaves these two strong-willed people at a stalemate. Morgan wants them to put shelve the issue during the Walker invasion crisis, but Carol canâ€™t and wonâ€™t. They donâ€™t want to fight one another, but thatâ€™s what happens. â€œI donâ€™t want to kill you,â€ she says to Morgan, and he replies, â€œYou canâ€™t, I wonâ€™t let you,â€ which is what his old pacifist mentor Eastman had said to him in the beginning. We hear this and we know this wonâ€™t end well.
I was terrified at the thought of losing either Carol or Morgan, hoping that someone would show up to intervene, and thatâ€™s what happened! Tara, Rosita, and Eugene arrive; unfortunately, itâ€™s too late. After Morgan knocks Carol out, the Wolf takes the opportunity to jump up, and knock out Morgan, and then grabs Denise (the communityâ€™s new, albeit reluctant, doctor) to use her as a hostage to make his escape. I was really hoping that Rosita would shoot him in the head while he had a knife to Denise, but that didnâ€™t happen. Instead, he gets away, taking Denise with him. What awaits him outside canâ€™t be good on any level. Earlier, Denise tried to tell the W that he wasnâ€™t born this way, and that he could change (from being a killer), but it seemed like she didnâ€™t get through to him at all. He believes that none of them should be here, and that theyâ€™re all dead anyhow. Surprisingly, the W doesnâ€™t kill anyone on his way out, which he could have easily done, so perhaps heâ€™ll find salvation two seconds before heâ€™s eaten by a Walker or beat to death by Rick in the mid-season 6 premiere (letâ€™s hope).
Now itâ€™s time to turn our attention to a very upsetting reality: During the Walker attack, Safe Zone leader and consummate optimist Deanna doesnâ€™t run for safety. Instead, she stays near Rick, shooting the invaders. But, of course, she gets bit. When she realizes this, she says, â€œOh… shit,â€ but I was more like â€œFUCK!!!!â€ Deanna is so awesome. In a world so hopeless and desolate, Deanna was a beacon of light. AND, she wasnâ€™t delusional. She wasn’t living in a fantasy world like the others. Plus, she was smart, capable, and most importantly, logical. What a refreshing character!!!
But, Deanna served her purpose on the show, which was to make the main characters search inside themselves to find the person they want to be and the person they still can be. For Rick, itâ€™s to be a fair, just, and trustworthy leader to not only his original group, but to ALL the people of the Safe Zone. On her death bed, Deanna also gets through to Michonne, who has been guarded since the minute she appeared on screen. In a world like this one, a person has to have a reason to live. Deanna, although her death is untimely and unfortunate, lived her life the way she wanted right up until the end. She was happy and fulfilled, attributes that people like Rick and Michonne do not possess, but they still can. Now, she wants Michonne to find that within herself. Iâ€™m sure later this season, we will finally learn what Michonne wants out of life.
While thatâ€™s happening, the infected Deanna doesnâ€™t take Michonneâ€™s offer to give her a quick and painless death. Instead, Deanna opts to stay behind, showing Michonne her gun, saying sheâ€™ll end her life when itâ€™s time. Not surprisingly, she doesnâ€™t use the bullets to off herself; she uses them to shoot as many Walkers as she can, having a final, guttural scream. Deanna lived life as she wanted, and now she dies the way she wants as well. She leaves off with Michonne telling the sword-wielder to â€œgive ’em hell,â€ but itâ€™s Deanna whoâ€™s gonna give ’em hell right till the end.
Outside the walls of the Safe Zone, Glenn and Enid watch as the Walkers breach the compound. Enid, much like Ron, thinks everything is hopeless, that theyâ€™re all dead. Glenn, on the other hand, knows what it is to survive, and he does have something to live for â€” his pregnant wife Maggie and the family theyâ€™re going to have. He wonâ€™t give up. And surely Maggie wonâ€™t either. The beginning of the episode saw Maggie running for safety and nearly falling into a pit of walkers â€” much like what happened with Glenn earlier this season (when we presumed that he died). She eventually makes her way to the top of one of the watch areas, but is trapped there, laying exhausted at the top looking up at the sky, seeing the green balloons float by, signaling Glennâ€™s survival. This mirrors what happened with Glenn after the prison battle, where Maggie eventually finds him. Glenn sees his wife at the watch area, and comes up with the idea to go around to the West wall, but this is yet another plan weâ€™ll have to wait to see come February with the season returns.
Meanwhile, thereâ€™s another plan in action: Rick and company in their zombie guts attire. Before the group left the house in their new threads, Father Gabriel – who had been a huge disappointment and who has a lot of redeeming of himself to do – promises Rick that he wonâ€™t be the weak link in their chain. He wonâ€™t turn back no matter what happens, he promised Rick, who believes him. â€œI know,â€ Rick soundly replies, which gives the rest of us the confidence in the wayward priest, too. While standing on the porch, you can see the glimmers of hope on everyoneâ€™s face â€” the plan is going to work!
BUT, of course thereâ€™s a weak link in the chain!!! As the guts-covered group makes their way eerily passed their undead attackers inside the house, they all join hands outside. Itâ€™s time for them to really walk among them now. As they start, it looks like itâ€™s working, untilâ€¦ stupid Sam, whoâ€™s holding his mother Jessieâ€™s hand, starts calling to her, â€œMom?â€ Shit!!!!!! He calls out to her three times. Even baby Judith is keeping quiet, yet there goes fragile little Sam and his big mouth. How old is this kid? 10, 12? â€œJust pretend youâ€™re brave,â€ his mother had said to him several times. Iâ€™d like to think that a kid this old after all this time would be wiser than this, and that his mother would have prepared him for some harsh realities. But, apparently, sheâ€™s kept him very sheltered (she used to have him hide in the closet when her husband used to beat her). We saw in the beginning of the episode that young Sam was still a bit unhinged, hiding out upstairs in his room too afraid to come down â€” and this was before the Walker breach! Now, heâ€™s not rising up to this latest challenge. Instead, mommaâ€™s boy is about to be the death of everyone, as he calls for his mommy.
Thatâ€™s the last we see of the Safe Zone in this mid-season finale.
But, during the next show (Into The Badlands), AMC did air a 2-minute prologue to the mid-season premiere. The prologue centers on Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham, who are driving back to the Safe Zone in â€œPatty,â€ the truck Daryl recently acquired in Episode 6.6 â€œAlways Accountable.â€ They are stopped by a group of men on motorcycles, who tell them to join them out on the road, warning them not to resist or try anything. â€œWe will end your asses,â€ the group leader says, â€œWeâ€™ll split you in two, straight through to the sinuses.â€ Knowing theyâ€™re outnumbered, the trio step out of the truck. The leader then asks for their guns. When Daryl asks â€œWhy?,â€ the leader responds that all of what they have is not theirs anymore. Guns, food, the trunk – everything – is not theirs anymore. But who does it belong to? â€œYour property now belongs to Negan,â€ the leader replies, foreshadowing whatâ€™s to come for the second half of Season 6 when Jeffrey Dean Morgan arrives as the new villain, one who will make The Governor seem not so bad in comparison.
Oh, and I forgot a revelation that was a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment: Who was the person who whimpered “Help” on the walkie talkie? Turns out, it was the ever-cowardly Eugene inside the Safe Zone during the breach of the East Wall by the Walkers.