Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: Sam goes crazy. Ron goes crazy. Enid goes crazy. (Sigh, millennials . . . )
Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”
Worst contractors: With an $800,000 price tag, ants should not be able to get into that house so easily. Jessie, when all of this is over, go find Aaron (where is he, by the way?), and tell him to get some Borax on the next supply run. Sprinkling a little on the windowsill will clear those ants out.
Best new Walking Dead spinoff idea: If things don’t work out with Fear the Walking Dead, we suggest a new show, set prior to Z-Day, featuring Eugene solving Sherlock Holmes–style mysteries. After all, we now know that lock picking is part of his skill set. This week even brought us a great possible title image.
Luckiest break: Maggie was really tempting fate as she climbed up that ladder with walkers nipping at her heels. Both her father and her sister met their untimely ends in the past two midseason finales. She and Baby Rhee-Greene better watch their backs next November.
Most Alexandrian moment ever: This entire season, we’ve called out the dumb things Alexandrites have done during the zombie apocalypse. This week Deanna took the cake when she decided to see baby Judith one last time after being bitten by a walker. In much the same way that you shouldn’t hop on an airplane after being exposed to Ebola, you probably shouldn’t go see a baby when you’re five minutes away from confusing it with a sub sandwich.
Moment we wish we’d seen: Turns out Glenn already knows Maggie is pregnant. We can’t help but feel a little cheated that we didn’t get to see his surely adorable, overjoyed reaction upon finding out his wife is having his baby, despite the obvious danger. Kind of like how we never saw these two actually marry, either. We get it’s the apocalypse, but can’t we have a few joyful moments?
Worst genetic legacy: Pete—the drunk, abusive, horrible excuse for a person—fathered Ron, a walking trigger warning, and Sam, a human wasteland. Honestly, we don’t know what Jessie ever saw in him.
Biggest missed opportunity: Tara should have taken down the Wolf with a shot to the head, saved Denise, and diffused the situation. (We’ve even got the perfect one-liner: “Looks like you brought a knife to a gun fight.”) Instead, she and Rosita gave up their guns.
Best redemption story: For nearly five-and-a-half seasons, Carl had been one of the whiniest, most shortsighted, useless characters on the show. (Until, of course, we met the Alexandrites.) Everything changed this week as he exited teenage wasteland by taking control over the situation with Ron, even giving Jessie’s oldest an opportunity to rethink his life. Nice to see you’ve grown up, Coral—we mean, Carl.
Best Friends reference: Admit it, who else yelled, “Pivot!” when Rick and Co. were using the sofa as a walker shield?
Best throwback: Hiding under walker guts? That’s a move straight outta the second episode of the series, “Guts.” Lets just hope it doesn’t rain this time.
Most table-flipping moment: Sam losing it just before the episode cut to black. There wasn’t much death in this episode, a rarity for a midseason finale, but that moment hit us right in the gut. When the show returns on Valentine’s Day, the only way you’ll see more blood is if you’re transported to Chicago in 1929. We’re not sure how Rick and Co. will get out of this one, but we’ll bet that Jessie will be there to lend a hand . . .
In case you missed it: Didn’t stick around to see the preview clip that aired during Into the Badlands? It confirmed what fans already knew: Negan is here, and he’s a brand of evil that makes the Governor look like a golden retriever puppy. One plot hole, though: Didn’t Abraham pick up an RPG in a previous episode? We think that could clear out a gang of Saviors pretty quickly.
Deanna: Will you look out for [Spencer]?
Rick: I will.
Deanna: Will you look out for him like you look out for your people? Guess what? They’re all your people, Rick. They are.
Rick: We haven’t had a chance to make it that.
Deanna: But that’s how it is. I didn’t run over to help you out there because I like you. Or because I think you’re a good man, a good father, or that you can grow one hell of a beard. I ran over to help because you are one of us. That’s the right answer.
Best kill: After far too many episodes without any Michonne katana action, she masterfully sliced one of the invading walkers clean down the middle. It’s an art, really.
Most disturbing image: The entire opening scene with Sam coloring himself tied to a tree and surrounded by walkers, while nearby a half-eaten cookie becomes a feast for ants. The accompanying music—a 1920s rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Me”—only amped up the creepy factor surrounding the show’s craziest child since Lizzie. What kind of kid listens to nearly 100-year-old music on a record player? There’s just something so unwholesome about it.
Episode MVP: With her dying breaths, Deanna stole the show. Not since Hershel have we seen a character so powerfully virtuous, illustrated not only by her parting advice to Rick and Michonne, but by her last seconds on Earth. Instead of shooting herself before the walkers could devour her, she shot as many as she could and screamed, perhaps, in order to create a distraction and draw the walkers away from Rick and Co. A true leader right down to the very end—we’re sad to see her go so soon.
And once again, where exactly does Rick fall this week on the special holiday edition of the calm/crazy scale?