Did last week’s cliffhanger — with Rick’s plan to lure a quarry’s worth of walkers away from Alexandria going south real fast thanks to a blaring horn — leave you desperate to find out what they’d do next? Well too bad! Perhaps you’ve forgotten how big this ensemble is. This week, it’s back to Alexandria to get us caught up on what’s going on with Carol, Carl and the folks who stayed behind. And not to get too ahead of ourselves, but it’s not so tranquil. But at least we find out what caused all that honking.
We start things off with some quick flashbacks fleshing out where Enid came from — namely watching from inside an SUV as her parents got chowed down on by some zombies. Then she set off wandering, adopting a cryptic set of initials — “JSS” — as a sort of totem. She eventually stumbles into Alexandria with the letters scratched into the dirt on her hand.
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Back in the now, we find Carol flexing her Martha Stewart skills in the pantry and really winning over her new female compound-mates with the homemaking skills. She even gets nice and maternal about one woman’s smoking. You almost forget what a superhuman killing machine she’s become over the last few seasons.
That is, until she heads back home and finds young Sam sulking on some steps and gives him the kind of tough love only a domestic abuse survivor turned Chuck Norris-level badass can: “Your dad used to hit you and he got himself killed. It happened and it’s done. You live with it or it eats you up. Go home.”
This is a great place to point out how awesome of a character Carol is and please don’t do anything bad to her this year, “The Walking Dead” gods, OK? She’s come too far.
You know who else is awesome? Merritt Weaver, who plays Denise, who’s just been promoted to head doctor for Alexandria and is not too pleased about it. She also will hopefully stick around for a while.
But a whole lot of other people won’t as these domestic scenes are interrupted by the absolutely terrifying arrival of a pack of Wolves, the demented killers who tried to give Morgan a hard time at the end of the last season. They slip in quietly and start hacking people to pieces. I tried to keep track of how many Alexandrians bought it onscreen at the hands of the wolves but gave up after 12 or 13 — and sound effect suggest a lot more were killed off-screen.
Of course, the whole point of Rick’s plan was that the folks in Alexandria don’t know how to protect themselves, so obviously it’s up to Carol, Maggie, Rosita and … Carl? I guess? to fend off the attack. Eugene, predictably, is useless.
Eventually a tractor trailer comes barreling through, but the driver is picked off by Alexandria’s trusty lookout and it crashes into the wall, activating the horn that screwed up last week’s plan. But that at least gets Morgan back into the compound, and he pretty much turns the tide against the Wolves — though he and Carol pick a really awkward time to have a debate about the use of lethal force.
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The attack winds down, Jessie gets to unleash some pent up rage on an intruder using some scissors and a lot of screaming, Denise botches her first day as a doctor and Enid decides to exit the whole teenage zombie apocalypse love triangle with Carl and Ron — and exit Alexandria altogether, leaving Carl a note saying, “Just survive somehow” — in case you were wondering what the title meant.
And at the end of it all, a kitchen timer goes off and Carl goes back to what he was doing before the attack: baking. Like nothing happened. The nerve of that kid, sheesh.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick