Season Six, Episode Eight — “Start to Finish”
By Jarrod Jones. “This is how it happens,” Enid says as she watches Alexandria become overrun with absolutely famished walkers. “And it always happens.” What she actually means by “it” is certainly open to interpretation, but the expression on her face isn’t: Enid knows that Alexandria is doomed. Whether the quiet hamlet is consumed whole this afternoon, tonight, or next year, it’s only a matter of time. But Glenn keeps holding out hope.
Of course, Glenn has something to hold onto. The hope that he will see his wife alive once again is what drives him forward, but all Enid has to keep her alive are three small letters. So no matter if you’re a glass-half-full or half-empty sort of person, in The Walking Dead, it’s likely your worldview is reflected in this moment. Unless you’re a born contrarian, in which case you can go sulk in the corner with Ron and Sam.
“Start to Finish” is an episode about letting go. Glenn won’t let go of hope. Morgan won’t let go of his ideals. Carl lets go of his spite. And poor Deanna… well. She has a husband out there somewhere waiting for her. As we watch our intrepid group file out into the swarming walker horde (and away for a midseason break), there occurs to us a daunting thought: will Rick only ever lead Alexandria to certain doom? Is their fate immutable, like the determined ants marching in Sam’s room? Will they ever be able to let the last vestiges of their little society go?
WHAT WORKED: Deanna’s final stand didn’t come as a surprise, and it shouldn’t have. Her time with Rick Grimes lent Deanna a titanic might within her tiny frame, and we finally got to see the glory of it all in her final moments. Listen closely as she uses the last of her bullets — each one meant for her — on the hallway full of monsters just outside her final resting place. You can almost hear these words echo through her mind: “One less walker. One less walker.” Deanna may have relinquished control of Alexandria to Rick, but she never stopped being a leader.
WHAT DIDN’T: Anyone else getting really sick of Carol’s shit? Watch as she drops another spat of dubious logic at Morgan’s feet: “I’ll kill you to kill him because I don’t want anyone else to die.” That’s extremist talk, make no mistake. As Carol continues to walk among the dead, it’s becoming more and more apparent that her humanity left her long ago, to say nothing of her common sense. With all Hell breaking loose just outside her door, when the needs of her people are great, what does Carol do? She decides to start some shit with Morgan over the wounded Wolf he’s keeping tied up in the basement. “This could’ve waited. It should have,” Morgan says to nodding heads the world over. You got that straight, buddy.
“Well… shit.” – Deanna.
“Look, man… I get it. My dad killed your dad. But your dad was an asshole.” – Coral.
BEST MOMENT: Morgan vs. Carol. Actually, no. Scratch that. The best moment to the first half of this season to The Walking Dead wasn’t anything you saw in “Start to Finish”, it was what came afterward. Five minutes into AMC’s latest debacle, Into the Badlands, you get a sneak peak at the second half of Season Six, and holy shit just stop reading and click the video below already.
EPISODE’S MVP: Deanna. She went out in a blaze of glory, with dignity and grace. And in true Walking Dead fashion, it happened just as I was getting attached to her. Serves me right. Tovah Feldshuh’s performance was a lovely interlude in the middle of all the episode’s in-house bickering, and her Talking Dead bow offered us all a better understanding of Alexandria’s sheep amid the slaughter: “They’re not idiots; they’re innocent.” I’m gonna miss you, Deanna.
BRAY OF THE DEAD
– Cute Invincible minifig. Now I know that Image Comics exists in this show’s universe, which means that out there somewhere there’s a walker stumbling around who looks conspicuously a lot like Todd MacFarlane.
– Heh. CGI balloons.
– So the feeble “help” at the other end of the walkie talkie last week came from Eugene. Of course it did.
– Now where did Maggie get those boots, exactly?
– Careful! That’s probably the first time somebody’s affectionately touched Rick in a long while.
– Even though I had to trudge through five minutes of the god-awful Into the Badlands, it was totally worth it. The second half of this season has thrown one hell of a gauntlet in the form of five tremendous letters: N-E-G-A-N.