Episode 15 of “The Walking Dead” was one tense ride. As the last episode before the Season 6 finale, Sunday night’s installment of the AMC series had a lot to set up before the arrival of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — and it didn’t disappoint.
The episode, titled “East,” begins with a bloody encounter on the road. Viewers don’t see any people, but can hear a woman telling a man to slowly show himself. Although the exact threat isn’t clear, the man refuses. The scene ends with a gunshot and Carol’s (Melissa McBride) rosary beads next to a pool of blood.
How exactly did we get to this point? Episode 15 goes back to explain everything.
Last week’s installment concluded with Carol leaving a note explaining why she was leaving Alexandria. This week viewers get to see more of her exit. She packed food and other supplies before sneaking out in the middle of the night. Tobin (Jason Douglas), who was sharing a bed with her, didn’t notice, and neither did the guards on duty.
The reason Carol was able to escape so easily could be because the town is on edge. After Denise’s (Merritt Wever) death in episode 14, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and some of the others want to make sure that they’re prepared for an attack from the Saviors. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) tells Michonne (Danai Gurira) that he’s confident they’ll be able to end the conflict when the Saviors come. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re not nervous about an impending attack. Maggie makes some of the survivors pull out weapons to keep locked and loaded by the gates. She also wants to hide guns in strategic places just in case of a surprise ambush.
It’s a good plan, but they need strong fighters in order to make it work. That’s a problem because a couple of their best ones have gone off the deep end. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is grieving over Denise and angry that Dwight (Austin Amelio) got away. He forces the guards at the gate to let him leave. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Michonne aren’t going to let him kill himself, though. With Rosita (Christian Serratos) accompanying them, the trio sets out to stop Daryl before he does something stupid.
Four of Alexandria’s best warriors are now outside the walls — and no one knows about Carol yet. Once Tobin finds her note, he quickly springs into action and alerts Rick. Surprisingly, Morgan (Lennie James) is the first one to say that he’s going after her. After seeing Carol’s note he knows that she’s struggling with taking lives and wants to change. Rick joins him and leaves Maggie, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) behind to protect their home.
Alexandria is on high alert and ready for a fight. However, the same can’t be said for Carol. She’s driving a car that has spears going through it to protect herself from walkers. But unfortunately walkers aren’t her only problem out on the open road. While leaving Alexandria she passes a truck full of men who begin firing at her.
They may not personally know Carol, but they are aware that she’s coming from the Alexandria safe zone. The men order her to exit the car with her hands up, and Carol plays along. Clutching her rosary beads in her jacket, Carol plays the “weak woman” card again and begs them not to hurt her. And the men agree — but only because they want to take her back to Alexandria and use her as bait. They figure that Alexandria will have to open the gates if they see her. But Carol has no intentions of bringing the men there. She begs them one more time to keep driving, and when they don’t she opens fire on them. Although the men only saw the rosary beads hanging from her jacket sleeve, she actually had a machine gun hidden there.
That brings “Walking Dead” viewers back to the start of the episode. Carol managed to kill a couple of the men, but not all of them. The driver gets out of the truck and charges at her, and Carol is able to impale him on one of the spears. Another guy tries to hide, prompting the conversation from the start of the episode about showing himself. The man lunges at her, forcing Carol to shoot him.
Carol leaves the scene after shooting the man, but she still didn’t finish the job. The passenger in the car was only shot in the shoulder, and he seems bent on tracking her down.
The passenger leaves only moments before Rick and Morgan arrive. They quickly figure out that the dead men on the scene were members of the Saviors. Rick’s proud that Carol was able to take out four of them. However, they still don’t know where she is. A trail of blood going in the direction of the field makes them assume that Carol’s injured and decided to ditch the road. But is it Carol’s blood, or the Savior with the gunshot wound? Rick and Morgan decide to follow it.
Back at Alexandria, Maggie’s pregnancy is finally starting to catch up to her. She’s on guard duty, but Enid (Katelyn Nacon) offers to take her shift so that she can get some rest. Although hesitant at first, Maggie ultimately agrees to let Enid take on some responsibility in protecting their home.
Back on the road, Rick and Morgan have a conversation about some of the things that Carol has done in the past. Rick believes they shouldn’t take chances any more, and that Carol had a perfectly good reason for every person she has killed — including the two sick survivors from the prison. Morgan couldn’t disagree more. He finally comes clean to Rick about the member of the Wolves that he had kept locked up in the basement of the house. He explains that their former enemy was able to change, and it was because of him that Denise lived to save Carl (Chandler Riggs) after his gunshot wound.
Rick doesn’t know what to say, and Morgan encourages him to return to Alexandria. He knows Rick is needed there and promises to come back once he finds Carol. Rick agrees, but makes Morgan take his gun before leaving. He also tells him one last thing in case he doesn’t make it back.
“Morgan, Michonne did steal that protein bar,” Rick says.
“Oh, I know,” Morgan counters.
Rick returns to Alexandria, but the others still haven’t come back yet. Glenn, Michonne and Rosita did manage to find Daryl at the spot on the train tracks where Dwight killed Denise. He wants to go after Dwight by heading in the direction that he last saw him. Glenn and Michonne try to convince him that it’s a dangerous move, but their plan backfires. Rosita decides to go with Daryl, forcing Michonne and Glenn to return home. But the two don’t get far. Walking back to their car, they’re stopped by Dwight and his men.
Episode 15 of “The Walking Dead” ends with a number of jaw-dropping cliff-hangers. Maggie asks Enid to come back over to help her with some more stuff. She gets Enid to cut her hair short, explaining to the teen that the reason for the extreme change is that she needs to “keep going” and doesn’t want anything in her way. Shortly after, Maggie experiences a sharp pain in her stomach that forces her to collapse to the floor in pain. Is she losing the baby?
Meanwhile, Daryl and Rosita come across Glenn and Michonne tied up. With their weapons raised, they’re ready to fight for their friends. However, Glenn and Michonne try to yell for them to stop. Dwight and his group have Daryl and Rosita surrounded.
Dwight has a gun pointing at Daryl, and the episode ends with a weapon going off and blood splattering the camera.
“You’ll be all right,” a man says.
Did “The Walking Dead” just kill off Daryl? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.