If AMC keeps up this pace, they’re going to have to start handing out blood pressure medications as viewing party favors. So please excuse the audible thumping of my heart while I state the obvious: This post is filled with spoilers. If you haven’t watched the midseason premiere yet, avert your eyes.
For those of you who were watching, hey, Happy Valentine’s Day! Now, join me in marveling over just how mind-blowing this episode was and thanking AMC for making this a romantic holiday none of us is likely to forget anytime soon.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this was one of the best episodes in the series’ six-season history. From beginning to end, the suspense was nonstop. The art direction was amazing, and the special effects (including zombie makeup) will haunt my dreams.
Of course, of all the shocking moments, the one none of us really saw coming was the death of Jessie.
Sure, we expected she would die at some point in the show’s future. But she and Rick had essentially just started shipping, and she was really establishing herself as a viable member of the tight-knit group of survivors. Plus, Alexandra Breckenridge was so bloody brilliant in the role — at this point, I was kind of rooting for her to stick around, despite my long-harbored hopes that “Richonne” would happen.
Let’s be real, after all… we were all 97 percent certain that Sam was going to wind up a goner.
The kid just wasn’t cut out for the zombie apocalypse. Based on his previous behavior and the teaser clips coming in tonight, it seemed like a safe assumption that he might wind up zombie chow.
What we absolutely didn’t see coming was the fact that Jessie would be so paralyzed by his death that she would basically let the zombies engulf her, too. I don’t think my jaw left the floor for that entire five-minute sequence of events.
And that’s saying a lot, given how many insanely shocking moments there were in the midseason premiere. Relive the heart-pounding terror with me, won’t you?
1. Daryl’s blaze of glory
Um, hello — Daryl with a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG*? So much “yes” to that. Admittedly, I love that man slinging his bow and rapid-firing arrows into zombie craniums, but seeing him blow up an entire biker gang of Negan’s cronies was pretty damn hot. Pun enthusiastically intended.
2. Gabriel the babysitter
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I respect the fact that Rick was in a unique predicament, but I could not believe he willingly handed Judith over to Father Gabriel. Is this a thing? Are we trusting him now? I must have missed that memo.
3. R.I.P., Sam… and Jessie
For a few dizzying moments, I had actually convinced myself that this was some sort of dream sequence. I blame my optimism-slash-confusion partially on the fact that I’ve been binge-watching a lot of Lost lately, and I honestly have no idea what’s real anymore. But once I realized this was, in fact, happening, my mind was blown over watching Sam’s tiny head get chomped — and seeing Jessie follow suit.
4. Oh, did I forget to mention Ron?
R.I.P. to Ron, too. Yes, The Walking Dead just killed off an entire family in the span of one scene. Ron’s death was particularly explosive, given that Michonne straight up samurai-shish-kebabed him while he was trying to shoot Carl to death.
5. Carl’s near-death experience
It’s all fun and games until someone shoots Carl’s eye out. If you read TWD comic series, you knew this was coming — Carl loses an eye and winds up rocking an eye patch. Somehow, though, I just didn’t dream that it would happen tonight — or in the midst of the deaths of three major characters.
6. The Wolf’s sacrifice
No one wanted to see Denise get hurt, but the odds seemed high when she was taken captive by Morgan’s rogue Wolf. When the two found themselves surrounded by walkers, though, the Wolf came back to save Denise — getting bitten in the process. He even basically saves her a second time after being gunned down by Carol. Who knew the Wolf would wind up a softie?
7. The lake of fire
The episode ends in a reckoning like we’ve never seen on The Walking Dead. Rick and the other survivors go full assault on some walker ass, fighting off an entire army. And Daryl uses his trusty new RPG to set the lake on fire (which soon fills with flaming zombies) giving these guys a major advantage in their war against the walkers.
*Writer’s Note: Dear impassioned fans of TWD, I stand corrected. ‘Twas not a flamethrower. ‘Twas a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG (which, upon Googling, I now know exists). Thanks for the heads up, fellas.