I feel the need to begin this review by saying that I actually enjoyed tonight’s episode; it was probably the best episode since the group ended up in Alexandria, though as usual with The Walking Dead, it still had its flaws.
To begin with the beginning, while I was of course interested in finding out about Enid’s past, I can’t agree that this was the best placement for her story. Yes, they did it because she was leaving at the end of the episode, but it was a very slow, quiet start that simply felt out of place.
Sadly, that wasn’t the only character development that was more awkward than anything – Denise seems like a caricature. I hope she grows on me, but we’ll see. I’m already really torn on how I feel about her interactions with Tara and Eugene, which appeared really forced in terms of writing.
Once the Wolves showed up in Alexandria, though, “JSS” took a turn for the better. It didn’t happen right away, but we did at least learn about the horn from the end of the season premiere, and of course the Alexandria residents learned the hard way just how right Rick was about vigilance and being able to take care of yourself.
And yet again Carol showed just how amazingly badass she is. To be fair I’m not a huge Carol fan – I don’t dislike her, she’s just not one of my favorites – but I’m not sure that anyone could see her show up in that Wolves disguise (a la her walker disguise at the beginning of season five) and not have a surge of respect for this character’s ingenuity and survival skills.
Speaking of survival skills, I’m already getting a bit frustrated that Morgan still won’t really talk about how he ended up the way he did, refusing – or not being able to – kill, but also suddenly being so skilled with that staff. I’m still not sure whether he actually killed that Wolf at the end, but I’m going to hope he did, that he’s finally realized that with the way things are now, allowing terrible people to live can come back to bite you.
As difficult as it was to see how upset Aaron was about what happened to Alexandria, him finding the backpack and the photos of their community with one of the Wolves was probably one of the better moments of “JSS” – along with when the timer goes off and Carl takes Carol’s casserole out of the oven right about the time the attack is over. The former raises the question, who was more at fault for the Wolves’ attack – Aaron for carrying around photos like that (and then losing them), or Morgan for allowing the couple of Wolves he ran into to live? And the latter was jarring in a good way, seeing that even after such a terrible attack Carl is still able to calmly turn off the timer and take the casserole out of the oven almost as if nothing happened.
Unfortunately we viewers know that there’s yet another threat approaching, and to be honest I’m kind of on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next week.
I’d love to hear you thoughts about “JSS” – or even about what you think is going to happen next – in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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