Talking Out The Dead: “Twice As Far”

Thomas Crawford: So we start off with a little round of the same old day happening again and again. Not going to lie, I thought the show was on some weird loop for a second. Then we find out Daryl felt he should have killed the friendly folks that stole his motorcycle and crossbow… maybe some foreshadowing I didn’t pick up. We see Carol struggling with being a killer after “The Same Boat”. Morgan finished his jail. At the beginning there seemed to be a lot of things pointing to a filler episode. I might have been wrong.

So out of the blue Denise wants to go on a run. She wants to go out and get some medicine. She also wants Daryl and Rosita to take her out. Does this really sound like a good idea to anyone? I mean come on. I know she has had some moments. She survived the walls coming down, saved Carl, and made herself practically indispensable as a doctor.

Why would Daryl and Rosita agree to this? I got to admit, I think they are slipping a little. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like a nice and easy trip. However, this was asinine that they agreed to do it. Did anyone talk to Rick about this? Did they consult Maggie? How about Michonne?

Don’t get me wrong, I know this isn’t like a police state. It is a Ricktatorship when it needs to be. However, taking the one person with medical training outside the walls on a run? Why didn’t they think maybe take a couple more bodies along just in case?

I guess I am a little confused. Do they think they are safe from the Saviors? Maybe they think that they are taken care of and all they have to deal with now are the walkers. Still, I think these two characters faltered a little too easy.

We know Daryl is still ticked about what happened trying to help and getting taken for a fool in “Always Accountable”. I am also betting Rosita isn’t in her right mind after Abraham dumped her. By the way, I don’t think I really like Spencer at the moment. Do you think he notices how Rosita really isn’t into him? He probably does, but at the same time, I don’t think I’d care if Rosita were using me for some comfort and to warm her bed.

Moving on to Abraham and Eugene. What is this, “take out folks least able to defend themselves on a field trip day”? To be honest, I love the dynamic of Abraham and Eugene. Abraham seems to tolerate Eugene’s continuous babble with good humor and amusement.

Eugene actually has a good idea. Turn an old shop into a factory for bullets. Of course, I think he is kind of mistaken. He thinks that surviving the walls coming down somehow grants him the ability to handle any dangerous situation. Enter the metal head walker. Eugene of course calls dibs. Then gets mad when Abraham steps in and saves his ass. Really?

This was actually a really cool scene. Eugene thinks of himself as an equal to Abraham, a partner. Abraham agrees, but thinks Eugene still needs a protector. While I think Big Red is right, he was pretty blunt when he told Eugene that he needed Abraham’s help, and wasn’t ready to handle the trouble.

What really struck me was when Eugene told Abraham that his services were no longer needed. I think you can see that Abraham was pissed, however he was also hurt. I think he saw protecting Eugene not as a service, but as something he was doing for a friend. Maybe this was the one time he fully realized that he considered Eugene a friend, not a mission or a charge needing protection. Way to go Eugene; piss off one of the few friends that likes spending time with you. I love the character but he is a dope.

So we have two of the least able bodied characters, when it comes to fighting, outside the walls. Oh this doesn’t seem like a recipe for disaster at all. Again, does anyone talk within the walls? Did nobody even stop to ask them where they were going? I guess it just slipped everyone’s minds.

At the end, Daryl, Rosita, and Denise find the apothecary and the medicine. All is going good so far. Then they leave Denise to collect the medicine? What is going on here? This has become bad decision day apparently. Luckily, Denise doesn’t get into too much trouble. All she does is find a maimed walker, and what looks like a drowned baby. Okay, kudos to the writers because that scene was shocking. Just another little tidbit of the world outside the walls and what people have gone through in TWD world.

Denise even manages to show some skill. She is almost taken by a walker while she is trying to grab a cooler. I got to admit it was pretty cool seeing her kill the walker, grab the Orange Crush for Tara, then puke on her glasses. It wasn’t the cleanest kill, but got the job done.

Sadly, the moment was short lived. During a rousing speech, explaining why she needed to come out, she is shot through the eye by Dwight with Daryl’s crossbow.

Okay, I know I was shocked. This was a crazy kill for the show. I did get caught up in the moment and couldn’t believe that she was dead just like that. Just when I started thinking her character had some hope… done. Ugh, I’m going to go more into that later.

So the Saviors are still around, they have Eugene, good going on him, and now they have Daryl and Rosita. It is a little fortuitous that Big Red seemed to show up out of the blue. My money is that he doubled back to check on Eugene, and caught up to them after they captured him.

I will admit, I thought Eugene really was betraying Abraham when he told the Saviors where he was hiding. Should have known Eugene had a crazy plan. Okay, I didn’t expect him to go to down on Dwight’s junk with his teeth. It seemed to work though. All hell breaks loose, and the Saviors ended up on the retreat.

I know I can’t be the only one that worried when it showed Eugene had been shot. Luckily, they didn’t drag it out. They showed him and Abraham reconciling after Eugene got patched up. Although, Denise is still gone.

Out of the blue, Tobin finds a letter. Carol says she is leaving because she can’t kill anymore. She knows if she stays to protect the ones she loves she would have to continue to kill. She also apparently doesn’t want anyone to follow her. What the hell is going on?!

Alright dude, I’m going to throw this over to you. This show definitely wasn’t filler. However, there was more than a little that I was mad about. You have Eugene saving the day, sort of, at the same time as losing Denise. You have the whole thing starting because people are going outside the walls that shouldn’t. Then out of nowhere Carol up and leaves? What do you think man?

Kelen Conley: Man. The only thing I can think of to sum up this episode is a quote from Mr. Ford. “Son of a dick!”

First, Carol did the only thing she could do after last episode’s events. Her logic is stupid considering no one in Alexandria is going to let her leave without coming after her. But if she really wants to stop killing people, she needs to strike out on her own, find a safe place (similar to the setup Eastman had), and then live out the rest of her days there. She’s no longer built to be a part of the team if all the bodies she’s racked up keep weighing on her mind all the time. I just wish she would’ve gone to Tobin, Rick, and Daryl before leaving. If they couldn’t have changed her mind, they wouldn’t have stood in her way. Now more valuable bodies will be leaving trying to find the woman who doesn’t want to be found.

Son of a dick!

I was upset with Denise dying as well. I didn’t see this coming. I thought her, Rosita, and Daryl would all head back to Alexandria. But no. That fucking snake Dwight put a fucking arrow in her eye. I know I was hard on Denise when she first appeared but guess what folks? I’m a cautious person. I don’t let real people in easily and I don’t let characters on my favorite shows in easily either. As I said in “Not Tomorrow Yet”, Denise more than proved her worth with her growing confidence and how easily she saved Carl’s life after that fucking snake Ron shot him in the head (move faster next time Michonne). With Denise gone, we now have our answer to the riddle of who will survive the Tara/Denise relationship. Alexandria now has no doctor, which means the nearest doctor to help Maggie would be Harlan at Hilltop. I can see some foreshadowing there as well.

So yeah, Denise, Daryl, and Rosita’s excellent adventure turned bogus journey. Daryl let his growing sibling-like feelings for Denise overcome the smart of idea of making the doctor stay. Denise let her desire to find Tara some Crush soda (there was more to it than this but let’s get down to basics here) overcome the smart idea of staying in Alexandria because she’s a doctor. Rosita couldn’t care less because Abraham dumped her and she’s pity fucking the weakest and not to mention, the last living surviving member of the Monroe family in Spencer.

I do like Denise’s true motivation of trying to get Rosita out of her funk and trying to replace her lost brother with Daryl. All those things are important: Daryl has been a little lost since Merle died. I was never sure if he thought of Beth as a little sister or a love interest. Who knows what the hell he and Carol have since that borders on mother/son/brother/sister/friend/lover all the time. Daryl stays grounded thanks to the people around him. But why couldn’t this be done within the friendly confines of Alexandria? Rosita is obviously distraught after her breakup with Abraham; she’s sleeping with Spencer of all the people. But Denise realizes her value to Alexandria as well. Wasn’t Rosita doing gun training with the remaining Alexandrians before? That alone makes her someone who is defined by more than her relationship. And yes, Rosita probably doesn’t feel that way (she’s sleeping with Spencer of all people!) so Denise is absolutely right to try to build her back up. But why couldn’t this be done in Alexandria?! There are plenty of houses. Abraham won’t come looking for her to talk things out at an inopportune time. Now Denise is dead.

Son of a dick!

I’m actually all for Eugene being outside of the walls but mostly because he had Abraham with him. Unlike Denise, Eugene didn’t go wandering out just so he wouldn’t be scared; he actually was making an attempt to do something that would help Alexandria. If he was able to manufacture bullets, Alexandria (and by extension Hilltop) would be ahead of the game when it came to trading and attacks. He would be one of the most valuable people alive if he was the only one who was able to successfully make bullets too. It would make him a giant target too, but I digress. It would really, for the first time, give Eugene something to do in the apocalypse.

I also believe that Eugene wanting to separate from Big Red was coming. After having dealt with the walker invasion of Alexandria, he too had some new confidence. In fact, I think he was doing weapons training with Rosita too. Why wouldn’t it make sense that the guy who thinks he’s the smartest guy in every room he walks into (let’s not kid ourselves, he probably thinks he’s one of the smartest that’s left in the world) want to strike off on his own and away from the only reason he’s made it this far? If it didn’t happen in the machine shop, he was going to stand up to Abe down the line and more than likely at a far worst time.

His issue comes from his false confidence. He was about to get bitten and he was too stubborn to realize it. There comes a time in everyone’s life (especially men) when they have to swallow their pride and admit to themselves that they can’t do something, even when they thought they were 100% capable of doing said thing before they started out. Eugene isn’t stupid but he also wanted to show Abraham how far he had come in the short time they had been in Alexandria. It was the classic little brother/big brother predicament: anything you can do I can do better… and I’ll refuse help even when I face certain death.

Son of a dick!

The true beauty of this is that despite being sent away, Abraham is still loyal to his friend, despite his stubborn faults. While he can’t save Eugene from getting yanked up by Dwight and his 12(!) Saviors (TWELVE?! That seals it, the Alexandrians didn’t put a dent into the Saviors ranks, they are so fucked), he still has the presence of mind to keep close. When things looking bad for Eugene, Daryl, and Rosita, he springs into action to save the day once Eugene gives him “the signal”. So while Eugene did end up with a non-life threatening bullet wound, it was Big Red who proved to be the smarter of the two friends on that day. But even that could have been avoided if Eugene hadn’t pouted and let Abraham help him at the machine shop.

But then again, that could have resulted in both of them being caught by the Saviors and then things would’ve gotten really bad. So I guess Eugene’s misplaced determination still worked out.

I really hate that we lost Denise like this. You would think that I’d be more used to death befalling characters at any given moment, but it’s not easy, even for this TV show. But you kind of had the feeling when Denise decided to get on her soapbox. In the middle of nowhere, outside the walls of Alexandria…

Son of a dick!

TC: Ah you got it man, the best motto for this episode. Son of a dick, it just surrounds this episode. The best part, is it PG, or perhaps PG-13? Who can keep track of it these days?

Rosita and Spencer. I said it before; I wouldn’t mind a woman like her using me for a while. By that, I mean as a rebound. Again, maybe I’m a pig; there is probably one person we know that would agree.

On a serious note, she is going through a rough breakup. She doesn’t have a close friend to sit on the couch and eat ice cream with. She doesn’t have her sister or mom or best friend to talk about what the hell happened. She gave her heart to Big Red and he broke it.

Scratch that, he ripped it in two and spit on the pieces. Damn, I don’t like breakups but this one was hard. I felt like letting her hit me after Abe dropped her like a ton of bricks. Luckily, Spencer was there to pick up the pieces. I think?

Denise, Denise, damn Denise wow. I mean I was just starting to like her. I will admit I have gone on and on about the lack of buildup or chemistry between her and Tara. Son of a dick though, an arrow through the eye. I wasn’t expecting that. I think I’m in the majority because no one was expecting that. If you called Denise getting killed with an arrow through the eye, you should play the lottery.

What can I say; I am sort of ticked at the writers. It is a lazy way to deal with things don’t you think? They had a time jump and she and Tara were together. They didn’t have to worry about building a relationship, just had to show the final product.

Then they have this episode. They show Denise building a character, showing what she’s got. Then showing what she has. Then BANG, she is gone.

I was taken with this episode, I can’t lie. Though looking back and thinking on it, I feel cheated. We didn’t get to see much more than a clumsy kiss, and then Denise trying to save a murderous bastard.

I think right now, this was just one of those couplings they did just because it would draw some viewers. I can’t explain it but that pisses me off royally. There was no buildup, no real emotions shown, aside from Denise saying she would tell Tara she loved her when she got back from her rum.

Nope, we got a meet, a live together and oh we are a sweet couple, and BAM! One is dead. Can anyone else see lazy creativity here or is it just me? I am honest, but maybe I am being too critical.

Ah Eugene, sweet and simple Eugene. I’ve mentioned what I thought before about his relationship to Abe, though it still bears repeating.

They are friends. At least that is my point of view. The fact is that Eugene the character is so good; he even had me fooled when he pointed out Abe’s location. I will admit for a second I thought he was betraying him. I am glad to be wrong about it though.

I think this build, and the dynamic between Abraham and Eugene is just gold. I mentioned how Abe just smiles at Eugene’s ramblings, how he doesn’t seem bothered. They could have their own show honestly.

In the end, they are friends. At times both seem to fight it, but it is true. Even when they argue and fight as they did in this episode, it seemed a more friendly fight than actual argument. This is something I think the writers should focus on more, the interaction between two characters and the development of the relationship. The question is, are they going to live long enough to build this partnership?

On to Daryl. Okay, the guy has some issues right now. I think his weapon being used to kill Denise is going to make things worse. We are talking about a character that has grown and changed over the seasons. However, he knows that his mistakenly lost his crossbow. Now, his weapon has killed someone in his group.

I won’t say he cares about Denise, at least not how he cares about Rick or Carol. That is different. However, he has become a man that takes his responsibilities seriously. That means he feels in charge of Denise’s protection.

The fact she was killed while he was in charge of protecting her was bad enough. However, the added insult of it being done with his weapon is even more severe.

We all expect deaths in TWD. Yet they are supposed to be out of control, things the characters can’t control. This is a big problem with Daryl.

His weapon of choice was taken from him. He showed a moment of weakness and was taken advantage of because of it. Then his stolen weapon was used in the murder of a friend, and a fellow member of the community.

Will this lead him to further self-doubt, maybe regret about past actions? That is hard to tell. I’d be surprised if the issue didn’t come up in the near future.

The fact that another person in the group was killed is bad enough. The fact it was partly due to him is going to have leave a nasty taste. What do you think this will do to his psyche? I don’t know, but I think this will have some serious repercussions in the near future.

So what do you think? Am I looking too much into what happened? Will Daryl start to have a meltdown about the murder of Denise? Is it possible that Abe and Eugene can find that place where they both openly respect each other? There are a lot of questions this episode left.

KC: I hadn’t begun to think about the repercussion Denise’s death will have on Daryl. She mentioned that he reminded her of her brother Dennis and I think they were already on that brother/sister level before they made this ill-fated trip. It happened during that time jump you hate so much. Two months is a long time, especially when you’re stuck in a small makeshift town as the world falls down around you. Relationships and friendships start and end and whether they like it or not, the Alexandrians have spent a ton of time together.

I think this will affect Daryl deeply for all the reasons you listed. If he hadn’t tried to help Dwight, he wouldn’t have gotten his motorcycle and his crossbow stolen and just maybe, Denise would be alive. But who’s to say that she wouldn’t have met her end from some other weapon? I think the thing that is going to bother Daryl the most is the fact that he was unable to protect her. There are so few victories to be had in TWD world, so Daryl is used to not coming out on top all the time. The thing that will gnaw at him is allowing himself to get close with people and then failing them when they needed him the most. He still beats himself up over Beth and he’ll probably kick himself for letting Denise come outside the walls. But he has so little downtime that I don’t think this will lead to a breakdown for him.

Merle would come back to life if he knew Daryl Dixon wasn’t being strong (as in real back to life, not walker back to life).

I didn’t think for one second that Eugene was giving up Abraham. While I spoke about Eugene’s stubbornness back at the machine shop earlier, one thing he knows is when he’s in over his head. Being surrounded by Dwight and the rest of the Saviors was enough wake-up call for him to realize that sending Big Red away was foolish. As you said, this wasn’t an “I never want to see you again” argument. This was a disagreement between two men who have seen some serious shit.

All these big moments for Abraham lead me to think that he’s not going to make it out of this season alive once more. Breaking up with Rosita, starting something new with Sasha, watching the Gilligan to his Skipper grow into his own man… it all feels like things that happen to someone who is about to die on this show! Speaking of spin-offs (a Eugene/Abraham show would be way better than the bore Fear The Walking Dead is), can you imagine these characters in a sitcom or procedural setting? Law & Order: Alexandria? At least we would know they wouldn’t be dying in regular fashion. Ugh, losing some of these characters feels like losing actual family members sometimes.

I think Tara and Denise’s relationship would have meant more if we got to spend some more time with them. Alanna Masterson’s pregnancy might have had something do with this, as she was wrapped on Season 6 after “Not Tomorrow Yet”. If she was able to film, maybe we would’ve gotten to explore their relationship more. But regardless, this relationship isn’t why I liked Denise.

Denise won me over because she stood out from the crowd. She could have been another Alexandrian that was fed to the Wolves or the walkers but instead, she stood up in the face of adversity. Morgan asked her to help Owen the Wolf and despite her reservations, she was fully prepared to do it. When Owen took her captive and threatened her with the good time of becoming his prisoner, she didn’t break down and cry or beg or plead. She calmly went with him. When she had the opportunity to escape, after he had been bit initially, she told Owen she could help him, despite how he had treated her. She was taking a page out of Morgan’s book without being so preachy or extreme about it. And it paid off when Owen, the Wolf who didn’t care about anyone or anything, saved her life.

When Rick carried a wounded Carl into her home during the walker invasion, Denise didn’t fumble or doubt herself as she had done earlier in Season 6. She barked out orders and saved Carl’s life. Carl didn’t have a minor wound; he had lost an eye and a good chunk of the front of this skull. And yet, Denise stood up and handled business when others would’ve said they couldn’t do it.

The thing that ultimately sealed her fate was that she was trying to be sweet to Tara. While she was motivated by wanting to tag along with Daryl and Rosita, she really was just hoping to run across some orange soda for the lady who she had fallen in love with. Just a nice welcome home gift whenever Tara and Heath made it back from their scavenging trip. And now, Tara will come home to find out that her girlfriend is dead and those same Saviors they thought they killed are responsible. All because Denise was trying to be sweet.

I do feel bad for Rosita. She was with Abraham a long time and for Abe to just tell her that he doesn’t care about her anymore is stone cold. Maybe Big Red didn’t expect to live long enough to find another woman he was into; he certainly has seemed to have a death wish pretty often (which makes sense considering how he lost his family). Top that with the fact that she and Abraham slept together just a few days prior to their breakup and she’s probably more confused than anything else. What does Sasha have that she suddenly doesn’t? Why is she not good enough? How did Abraham stop loving her? That’s really a lot to deal with normally; add in an apocalypse and it’s no wonder she hasn’t done something dumber than just sleep with Spencer so far. Maybe I’m too in touch with my feminine side here, but I can’t feel anything but sympathy for Rosita right now… even when it comes to a worthless piece of shit like Spencer.

So now we know the Saviors are far from dead, Alexandria is down a doctor (and Dwight may be down a body part), Eugene is ready to start restocking the ammo in the armory, and Carol is ready to check out on the only remaining family she has left. I really wish the Alexandrians would stop shooting themselves in the foot; because they still have to meet the real Negan and if they’re not all on the same page… it won’t be pretty for our heroes.

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