It’s been an exciting few weeks of “The Walking Dead.” From meeting Jesus (Tom Payne), to confronting the Saviors, the group at Alexandria has had their hands full. However, episode 14 of Season 6 slowed things down a bit.
The latest installment of the AMC series kicks off with the good folks of Alexandria on guard. Everyone is pulling their weight now, including Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt). But Morgan (Lennie James) isn’t stepping up to take a gun and guard the walls. He’s got his own plans — he’s building a cell so that next time they face an enemy they’ll have a “choice.”
Meanwhile, there are some personal things going on. Carol (Melissa McBride) has engaged in a romantic relationship with Tobin (Jason Douglas), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) has found someone else to warm her bed after her breakup with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) — Spencer (Austin Nichols)!
Although everything seems like it’s back to normal, a lot has actually changed. Carol is continuing to have regrets about killing people and doesn’t want to have to take another life. Daryl (Norman Reedus), on the other hand, has hardened his stance. After going through the contents that were left on his recently reclaimed motorcycle, Daryl admits to Carol that he should have killed the people who stole from him in the woods. Rosita’s not doing any better. Despite hooking up with Spencer, she’s still hurting from her split from Abraham. Spencer’s thrilled to have a shot with Rosita, but Rosita couldn’t be any colder to him.
Denise (Merritt Wever) sees what’s going on with Daryl and Rosita and asks for their help in going to an apothecary. She wants to check the boutique for drugs, but Daryl and Rosita aren’t interested in bringing her along. Denise hasn’t ventured outside the walls of Alexandria, and has only recently started training. Rosita thinks that it’s a baby-sitting job, but agrees to go along if Daryl accompanies them.
The trio hit the road, with Daryl struggling to drive stick. Although a little afraid to say anything, Denise gathers the courage to tell Daryl what he’s doing wrong. She reveals that she had a twin brother who taught her how to drive stick. Daryl doesn’t say anything.
It’s an awkward car ride until they find a large tree blocking their path. Then it turns into an awkward hike as Daryl and Rosita disagree on what route to take. Rosita thinks it would be quicker walking along the railroad tracks. Daryl, on the other hand, wants to take the road. Instead of somebody caving in and ditching their route, the two split up, forcing Denise to pick a side.
Denise follows Daryl and eventually the two meet back up with Rosita, who was right about the tracks being a shorter walk. But there is no point in arguing about it now. The trio find the apothecary and break in.
Elsewhere, Eugene and Abraham are on their own mission. While everyone is worried about food and other supplies, Eugene leads Abraham to a factory. He tells his companion that he’s changed and adapted since the zombie apocalypse.
“I’m a survivor,” he says. Abraham doesn’t fully believe that just yet, but then Eugene drops a bombshell. He took Abraham to the factory because he plans on manufacturing bullets there. After procuring some lead and cleaning up the place a bit they should be able to make bullets from scratch.
It’s a genius idea, and even Abraham admits that he’s happy that Eugene is thinking outside the box to make a difference. But everything goes downhill from there when a walker comes out of the shadows. Eugene wants to kill the walker himself to prove he’s a changed man. However, the walker is covered in melted metal, which stops Eugene’s machete from cracking through its skull. He struggles with the walker for a few minutes before Abraham takes a stick and jams it through the walker’s head.
“Walking Dead” fans might think that a thank-you would be in order. But Eugene’s not grateful for Abraham. In fact, he’s extremely upset that Abraham killed the walker when he already called dibs on it.
Abraham tells Eugene to get over it, and that his skill set is creating bullets, not fighting walkers. Eugene couldn’t disagree more, though. He angrily tells Abraham that his “services are no longer required.”
“You outlived your usefulness to me,” he angrily tells his companion.
Abraham sees red, but he decides to walk away instead of physically taking it out on Eugene. The two came there together, but he tells Eugene to find his own way back.
Back at the apothecary, Denise is not ready for what she sees — and smells. Upon walking into the building she immediately starts gagging from the odor. It’s something that Rosita and Daryl are used to at this point.
Rosita and Daryl don’t waste any time. They break open the pharmacy gates and find that it’s completely full of drugs. Denise just wants to take what she’s looking for, but Daryl and Rosita agree that they should swipe absolutely everything. The two start filling up their bags when a bang makes them come to a stop. After listening for a few minutes they decide that it sounds like a single walker who is stuck somewhere. They go back to work while Denise slowly creeps toward a door.
Denise finds a crib inside the room, but no baby in it. The word “hush” is carved over and over again on the wall. A closer look reveals a decaying walker on the ground, as well as the feet of a small child dangling out of a basin.
Horrified at what she has discovered, Denise runs out of the room and waits while Rosita and Daryl finish the raid. Finding Denise distraught, Daryl shows her some kindness, telling her that she did good by finding the apothecary.
The journey back home is a lot less tense. Daryl agrees to take Rosita’s route, and Denise opens up more about her life pre-apocalypse. But things take a turn when Denise decides that she needs to remove a cooler from an abandoned car on the side of the tracks. Daryl and Rosita tell her to keep moving, saying that it’s not worth fighting with the walker inside the car. Denise disagrees, though. Ignoring her companions, Denise musters some courage to open the passenger door to steal the cooler. Of course the plan backfires. She accidentally pulls the walker right on top of her while trying to grab the cooler. Rosita and Daryl race over to help her, but Denise yells that she has to be the one who does it. After a bit of a struggle, Denise succeeds — and then throws up on her glasses.
Denise is happy with herself, but when Daryl sees what’s inside the cooler he begins to yell at her. She nearly got killed over a six-pack of soda. But Denise thinks it was worth it, because one of the cola’s inside was the very same soda she asked Daryl to find for Tara a few weeks before.
Denise turns the lecture around on Daryl and Rosita. She argues that if you want to live in this world then you need to take chances. She continues to tell them the reason she asked both of them to accompany her instead of someone else. She tells Daryl he reminds her of her brother, and encourages Rosita that she’s stronger than she thinks she is, despite being alone for the first time in her life. She adds that she admires them because they’re so strong and willing to take risks. But her speech is cut short when an arrow pierces the back of her head and goes straight through her eye.
Daryl and Rosita look up to find a large group of men emerging from the woods — and they’ve got Eugene with them. This isn’t just any group. Their leader is Dwight (Austin Amelio), the man who stole Daryl’s bike and crossbow and abandoned him in the woods. However, Dwight’s changed. Half of his face is severely burned.
“Well, hell,” he says when he sees Daryl. Daryl’s quiet for a few minutes, but then finally tells Dwight that he should have killed him.
“Yeah, you probably should have,” Dwight fires back.
Fortunately it doesn’t appear as if Dwight is interested in killing Daryl, Rosita and Eugene. But he does want something from them. He promises to let them live if they let his group into their complex and allow them to take whatever and whoever they want. If they don’t play along, Dwight promises to kill each of them.
It’s a tense standoff, but fortunately Abraham is hiding behind some barrels nearby. Or at least he was until Eugene threw him under the bus. Calling Abraham a “first class a------,” Eugene begs Dwight to kill Abraham because he “deserves it much more” than the three of them.
Nervous about an ambush, Dwight sends one of his men over to inspect the area. Eugene takes that opportunity to bite down on Dwight’s crotch — hard.
The distraction allows Daryl, Rosita and Abraham to leap into action. They manage to kill a couple of Dwight’s men before Dwight yells for them to fall back.
Daryl wants to chase after them, but Rosita yells for him to stop. Eugene’s shot in the gut and they need to race him back to Alexandria.
The good news is that the bullet only grazed Eugene. Thanks to the antibiotics that Denise helped them get, he’ll end up being fine. But Denise’s death weighs heavy on all of them. Abraham finally apologizes to Eugene, and then seeks out Sasha. He tells her she has a choice to make, and that even if they have 30 years at Alexandria it will still be too short. Sasha invites him inside.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol bury Denise’s body. But Carol has a lot more on her mind. Episode 14 ends with Tobin finding a note from her. The note says that people are always going to want what they have, and that she’s going to have to continue killing to protect that. But she adds that she can’t continue to kill. Rick had initially sent her away and she ended up coming back and staying. But she adds that she can’t stay any longer.
“I’m going like I always should have,” the note ends. “Don’t come after me.”