“The Walking Dead” sure delivered a Valentine’s Day treat Sunday night with the most intense and jaw dropping episode to date yet.
The AMC series has been on hiatus since November, but returned on Feb. 14 with the midseason premiere, episode 9 of Season 6. When viewers last left off, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was leading a group of survivors out onto the walker-infested streets of Alexandria. Outside the wall, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) weren’t faring any better. The trio was stopped in the middle of their journey back home by a group of men who work for a mysterious man named Negan.
Episode 9, “No Way Out.” begins by reuniting fans with Daryl, Abraham and Sasha. The men who stopped them are certainly not friendly, but they appear to want the same thing that Daryl, Abraham and Sasha want — to get to Alexandria. But will everyone make it back to the safe haven in one piece? After stripping them of their weapons, Negan’s main man in charge commands one of his soldiers to take Daryl and search the rest of the vehicle for supplies. Meanwhile, Abraham and Sasha ask questions, something that doesn’t sit well with their captors. The ringleader pulls a gun on Abraham, and another on Sasha when she yells for him to stop. However, he promises them that he’s not going to kill them.
“Wait, yes I am,” he says.
But before “Walking Dead” fans can even blink, a huge explosion kills every single one of Negan’s men. Thank Daryl for the move. He somehow managed to kill the guy he was with and use the grenade gun they recently found to blow their enemies to smithereens.
“What a bunch of a--holes,” he tells Abraham and Sasha after they process what has happened.
Daryl, Abraham and Sasha dodged a bullet, but what about the others at Alexandria? Rick successfully leads Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge), Sam (Major Dodson) and Ron (Austin Abrams) past the walkers in the street. However, after taking a second to regroup, he realizes that heading to the armory is no longer an option. There are not nearly enough supplies or flares to kill or draw all the walkers away. Fortunately, Rick has a backup plan.
He wants the group to make their way to the quarry to get the cars and drive the walkers away from Alexandria. It’s a good plan, but not one that will work with baby Judith among them. Father Gabriel steps up to the plate and offers to protect Judith at the church. And while Father Gabriel hasn’t been a reliable or trustworthy person in the past, Rick takes him up on his offer. Jessie wants Sam to go with Father Gabriel, but her youngest son refuses. Despite crying out for his mom when they initially got into the streets, Sam promises that he can handle himself and begs Jessie to let him come along.
Elsewhere, Glenn (Steven Yeun)’s trying to find weapons and figure out a plan to rescue Maggie (Lauren Cohan) from on top of the unstable lookout post. Walkers surround her, but Glenn ‘s ready to fight for his pregnant wife. Enid’s prepared to help too, hatching a plan to climb up the post to get Maggie while Glenn draws the walkers away.
Meanwhile, the “W” man (Benedict Samuels) that kidnapped Denise (Merritt Weaver) is trying to figure out how he can get them both past all the walkers. Needless to say, Denise is frightened. But the “W” man surprisingly reassures her that he’ll protect her because he needs her medical expertise and is enjoying her company.
Back with Rick’s group, things fall apart as they start moving towards the quarry. Sam loses his confidence when he begins to hear Carol’s (Melissa McBride) voice telling him how he’s going to get brutally eaten alive by the zombies. With fear taking over him, Sam breaks hold of Rick’s hand and begins to cry and back away from the group. Jessie and Ron try to calmly bring Sam back, but he draws too much attention to himself. In the start of the most jaw dropping moment in “Walking Dead” history, multiple walkers attack Sam.
Jessie begins to scream uncontrollably as she watches her youngest son get eaten alive by walkers. Despite everyone’s best efforts to get her to quiet down, her screams attract more walkers. Walkers quickly overrun her, causing Rick to have flashbacks to the first time he saw her. Rick’s in a complete daze thinking of the first women he grew close to after losing his wife. However, Carl brings him back to reality. Jessie won’t loosen her grip of Carl’s hand, forcing Rick to do the unthinkable. In a move straight from the comics, Rick’s forced to use his axe to hack off Jessie’s arm to save his son. Carl’s free, but they’re far from safe. After watching his mother and brother die, Ron picks up a gun that Carl dropped in the struggle and points it at Rick.
“You,” he says to Rick, a crazy look in his eyes. “You.”
The situation looks grim, but Ron completely forgot about Michonne. She uses her katana to stab him in the chest from behind, however, his gun still goes off. Carl has his dad’s sheriff hat covering his face, but when he looks up it’s revealed that the bullet hit his eye.
“Dad?” he asks as he collapses to the ground.
Michonne and Rick immediately go into survival mode. Rick lifts his son off the ground and begins to run with him as Michonne slices and dices any walker that crosses their path. But unfortunately Ron’s gunfire is drawing more walkers towards them. That’s good for the “W” man, though. He uses the opportunity to take Denise and make a run for the wall. The duo is almost there, but Denise gets grabbed. Instead of leaving her behind, the “W” man turns back for her and gets bit in the process. Denise knows they’re on borrowed time and pitches a change of plans – they need to go to the infirmary so she can save his life.
It seems as if the “W” man truly changed, just like what Morgan (Lennie James) was trying to explain to Carol. However, Carol’s not one to take chances anymore. When she spots Denise and the “W” man through the window, she takes the opportunity to shoot him. The “W” man falters, but uses his last ounce of strength to take down one more walker for Denise.
Denise is able to safely make it to the infirmary, where Spencer (Austin Nichols), Heath (Corey Hawkins) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are already waiting. Rick comes busting in with Carl shortly after, begging Denise to please save him. Denise gets to work, and Rick looks on the verge of passing out. But instead of staying by his son’s side, Rick grabs his axe and runs back outside. Absolutely crazed looking, Rick starts doing a “little gardening.” And by that we mean hacking away at any walker he can get his hands on.
Michonne, Spencer, Heath and Aaron run out to help him, and other Alexandria residents watching from the safety of their home join in as well.
“We can beat them,” Rick encourages the others.
The act of bravery even lights a fire in Father Gabriel, who passes baby Judith off on a random woman so that he could fight alongside them.
“God will save Alexandria,” he tells the people at his church before leaving with a machete.
Carol and Morgan join shortly after, along with Rosita (Christian Serratos), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and even Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Meanwhile, Glenn and Enid begin making their move to rescue Maggie. The post Maggie’s on is dangerously shaky, but Enid quickly climbs it to get to her. She encourages Maggie to follow her to safety, however, Maggie can’t take her eyes off of Glenn. She watches as her husband uses gunfire to draw the walkers away from the post. Horrified, Maggie realizes that Glenn’s plan to rescue her is a suicide mission.
Glenn is up against the wall and surrounded by walkers. The situation looks grim, but Glenn has nine lives. Guns fired by Abraham and Sasha take out all the zombies around him.
“Can you get the gate, pal?” Abraham calls out. “I’d appreciate it.”
It’s Daryl, Abraham and Sasha to save the day! Seeing the place completely overrun, Daryl steals an idea from the people in the woods he ran across and empties some of the gas from the tanker into the Alexandria lake. He uses the grenade gun to light the water up, drawing a majority of the walkers away from Rick and the others. One by one the walkers fall into the lake.
After an awesome montage of everyone killing the remaining walkers, the Alexandria survivors finally succeed in killing the horde. But what about Carl’s fate?
Rick returns to his son’s side as everyone else gathers outside the infirmary. Rick tells an unconscious and bandaged Carl that he was wrong.
“I saw what we could do if we worked together,” he explains, telling Carl that everything Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) talked about for the future is possible.
“I want to show you the new world,” he continues. “I want to make it a reality for you. Please, Carl. Let me show you.”
The midseason premiere ends with Carl squeezing Rick’s hand.