Season Six, Episode Six — “Always Accountable”
By Jarrod Jones. It’s a perplexing thing to consider what The Walking Dead has in store for Daryl Dixon this season. Here it’s been six whole episodes with the world’s favorite biker sitting on his tuchus waiting for something — anything — to happen, so he could finally get off that bike of his and get to walker smashin’. (And we got close to “something happening” back in Episode Three, where Durral took a momentary powder away from Abraham and Sasha to do… well. Nothing.) But for the most part, The Walking Dead has been working overtime to stretch this one, crucial day for Alexandria all the way to its midseason break, and for the most part, it’s been an arduous haul.
For the patient, I can only presume that the payoff for all this methodical character growth will be supreme. But for those who casually tune in every Sunday only to forget most everybody’s name by Monday morning, this perceived inertia could be considered a problem. And for those of you out there who really love Daryl Dixon, this week’s episode must have felt like one big kick in the leather pants. But there’s a whole lot of world growing around our lovable ruffians in The Walking Dead, and this week’s gigantic tease was — for the initiated, anyway — more than enough to sate us, at least until next week. Thankfully, Daryl’s subplot was nowhere near the best thing “Always Accountable” had in store for us.
WHAT WORKED: If you go back and watch last week’s preview of TWD, you’ll notice that Abraham and Sasha are almost entirely missing from it. That’s a shame, especially when it’s now obvious that their subplot was the strongest part of “Always Accountable”. If I had to make a list of all the sentences I never thought I’d piece together during my recap series of The Walking Dead, “Michael Cudlitz and Sonequa Martin-Green have beautiful onscreen chemistry” would have been right at the top of the list. And that’s not for nothing: Sasha has been trying to stay Abraham’s hand all season long (in the brief, fleeting moments we’ve seen them together, anyway), and it looks like she finally got through the big lug’s dopey brain.
As a matter of fact, Abraham saw a considerable amount of growth this week. Setting his almost grotesquely macho “a man knows” line aside, Abraham’s episode arc — where he goes from a man of action to a man of well-considered action — may not have gone the extra narrative mile the show gave Morgan two weeks ago (in the astounding “Here’s Not Here“), but it never had to. Abraham is a primal man living in a primal time, and it’s that lack of psychological complication that makes his growth so enormous. His faceoff with a dangling walker got precariously silly for a second there, but the emotional payoff that came soon after was tremendous. Now, having said that…
WHAT DIDN’T: … Keeping Sasha stashed away for the entire episode felt wholly unnecessary, especially when the rest of the show only had the numbskullery of The Ineffectual Dixon Brother to offer in between the sequences featuring Abraham’s epiphany. Giving Sasha a place during those scenes would have brought the whole point of this burgeoning subplot home, and would have likely had me anticipating fireworks between Sasha and Abe a hell of a lot more than I am right now. (“A man knows“, Abe? Slow your role, son.) For your penance, show, let’s give the same treatment to Sasha sometime this season. It’s only fair that you give her the same care and diligence you’ve already supplied to all these dudes.
Well. It finally happened. Daryl got off the bike. But in doing so it appears he’s stumbled head-first into some kinda Dead spin-off nobody asked for. (I’m calling it Country Rube and the Cleavage Twins.) Sure, there are implications that come with this subplot — primarily that there’s yet another group of survivors out there in the Virginia woods on a crash course with Alexandria — but for the most part, we watch Daryl knock himself dead trying to help three people who visibly can’t be trusted. Chris Hardwick asked the question during last night’s Talking Dead: “Has Alexandria made Daryl soft?” I can only presume that was meant to be rhetorical.
“I ain’t who you think.” – Daryl.
“Loose ends make my ass itch.” – Abraham.
BEST MOMENT: Abraham looks back. It’s a brief moment, and if you couldn’t hold your bladder for the two minutes left to the episode you might have missed it, but the look on ol’ Abe’s face as he glanced into the rearview mirror as he left the disastrous “Walker Run” behind him was a fit ending to an episode featuring solid character growth. As a matter of fact “Always Accountable” made me like Abraham so much that he’s our…
EPISODE’S MVP: Sgt. Abraham Ford. Yeah, Durral finally got to stretch his legs, but it was Michael Cudlitz’s performance as The Walking Dead‘s salty vet that made me stand up and salute. And while I’m not entirely sure why the show gave Abe some cigars to chomp on while he flexed his new rocket launcher (of all things), I’m glad it did, if for no other reason than to see Abraham become the Commando we always knew he could be. (And that moment where he models his new officer’s jacket to Sasha, with his face beaming with pride… yeah.)
BRAY OF THE DEAD:
– Seen a lot of shit on this show. Never once seen a walker with a damn helmet on it.
– Hellooo, conveniently placed brush.
– “Sun’s out? GUNS OUT.” – Daryl Dixon.
– Dude’s arm’s gonna get tired pointing it ever’ which way.
– Who was that guy hidden in the brush demanding that Daryl’s new traveling companions turn themselves in? Well, following this casting announcement, I’m willing to jump to at least one conclusion.
– To all you kids who think it was Glenn on the other end of that walkie-talkie before the credits roll, I have this to say: NOPE.