Mar 212016
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

In Episode 6.14, Twice as Far, The Walking Dead proves that it is no longer the “kill the black guy” show. Now it’s “kill the gay”. I’ve praised this show for depicting gay relationships in a healthy way, but if they’re the ‘token first to die’ people now, I object. Aaron’s partner, whose name I forget, is still alive, but he was injured and then shuffled off to the side, neutering Aaron by having him always appear alone. Yes, yes, I’m over-sensitive on the issue. The Professor and I don’t get to see many people like us on TV, we’re happy when we do. This is a show on which killing off beloved characters is something of a stock-in-trade, therefore deaths that might otherwise be cliché are bound to happen, because there are so many deaths. I get that. I also get that killing the lesbian first is almost more than a cliché, it’s almost a requirement. There’s even a hashtag: #BuryYourGays.

And yes, I was shocked by the death. Shocked. Upset.

Nothing scared him, he was brave. He was angry too, kind of a dangerous combination.—Denise

Sounds like we had the same brother.—Daryl

The Walking Dead has a tendency to leave a character as a total cipher, and then let them have some back story, a real strong character moment, and then BOOM they’re dead. You can almost predict when someone is going to die based on when they suddenly get a really good scene. And certainly, this was Denise’s Really Good Scene episode. But the thing is, she’s been a real and fully-fleshed character since her introduction. We’ve watched her grab herself by her own fears and learn to transcend her own bullshit in order to live in this new and ugly world. I didn’t see this death coming because even though she got the traditional Character Moment, it was by no means her first. In part, this was Merritt Wever’s excellent work, but she was an unusually well-written character.

Rest in Peace, Denise. I’ll miss you.

I assume Alanna Masterson’s advanced pregnancy was the reason a two-week trip was written in, and we don’t get to see Tara bury her beloved. Poor Tara.

A lot happened this episode. A lot more than Denise’s death. But I’m reeling, so I had to talk about her first.

It’ll give us some choices next time.

The episode was beautifully directed by Alrick Riley, who is a newcomer to The Walking Dead. The opening shots, of a day, and a day, and a day, in Alexandria, were very effective and touching. Gabriel and Eugene have joined the patrols. Alexandria is more secure. Morgan builds a prison. Rosita grieves. Carol smokes and contemplates her rosary—perhaps praying, perhaps not.

It’s who you are, we’re still stuck with that.—Carol

No we ain’t, I should have killed them.—Daryl

Morgan’s prison is foreshadowing. He knows there will be a “next time”. Professor Spouse pointed out that Daryl’s “I should have killed them” was also foreshadowing. Dwight is the guy who stole Daryl’s motorcycle and crossbow. Denise was killed with Daryl’s crossbow. Not killing comes back to haunt him. Killing and not killing: Equally haunting. In the end, it’s what drives Carol away.

I can’t love anyone, because I can’t kill for anyone. —Carol

Both road trips were good ones. Denise’s plan was smart, a gift shop with the word “apothecary” in its name is less likely to be picked clean than a pharmacy, both because looking in the window shows you the pretty gifts so you just move on, and because most people don’t know what “apothecary” means. Eugene’s plan to make bullets is even smarter. Clearly he researched where he’d find a metallurgy facility that could do the trick.

Both groups, though, failed to understand that Alexandria has made itself a target. They’ve underestimated the Saviors, of course, because what seemed like their headquarters must have been just one of many. They should have figured that out when Paula’s group moved so easily to the slaughterhouse last week—these people are maintaining multiple safe locations for themselves. They’re a frickin’ army.

Per the law of supply and demand, a full cartridge is now the coin of the land.—Eugene

Eugene’s statement is probably also foreshadowing. If there’s a war coming between the Saviors and our folks (and I think there is), then ammunition is a crucial determinant of who might win. That means a lot of things. It means that Eugene’s idea really is genius (although I think that was obvious to everyone in the audience the minute we saw it), it means that protecting a location that is some distance off-site from Alexandria has to become a priority, it means that Eugene himself has become very valuable, and it means that it matters a lot if Dwight and the other three guys (by my count) who escaped from Daryl et al saw and understood what Eugene was doing before they captured him.

Here are some bullet points for your pleasure:

  • I’ve always felt that people in the apocalypse should hook up faster and more frequently, so it was good to see Carol and Tobin go from smiling at each other to living together with lightning speed.
  • Equally good to see Rosita having some meaningless post-breakup sex with the first pretty boy she sees. I’m not going to feel sorry for the fact that Rosita is going to break Spencer’s heart, because he’s an asshole.
  • I could do nothing but Abraham quotes this week: “That, my friend, is some damn fine, genuine, outside the box thinking” would have been the line of the week if it weren’t for “You know how to bite a dick, Eugene. I mean that with the utmost of respect.”
  • That is a really nice leather backpack Daryl picked up.
  • Daryl “ain’t taking no tracks” because tracks led him to Terminus. And that was more foreshadowing.

  4 Responses to “The Walking Dead: Twice As Far—Bite a Dick”

  1. All I can say is ~ God, I love your reviews of Walking Dead. And this one was stellar!

  2. I don’t know why I don’t comment more, but I am a weekly reader of your dead reviews & love them. this was spot on. the death of Denise was so shocking & so sad, I really didn’t now what to think. then carol’s good-bye letter about made my head explode. only 2 episodes left & the fear is real for Negan’s appearance.

  3. Deb,

    Great review!

    I happened to catch “Twice As Far” again during the marathon. With the twice theme (repetition of images, the garage door, so on) and twins theme (Denise and Denis), I think it may be the twin of the finale. Just like the finale, a group leaves Alexandria for medical reasons, hits roadblocks, is ambushed by Saviors who’ve already captured some of their group, and someone is killed. And the episode may not only be the twin, but foreshadowing, a theme you mentioned in your review.

    And since the episode focuses on the psychiatrist of the group (Denise) it may symbolically go into the subconscious of the story. So when Denise goes to the apothecary/pharmacy (where Glenn and Maggie first hooked up), she goes into the back of the pharmacy (subconscious) and sees a dead woman and remains of a child with “hush” on the wall (Neagan’s telling everyone not to interfere when he Lucilles someone). So Glenn and Maggie’s relationship may end with Maggie and their child dying. The episode itself has a woman dying unexpectedly from a head wound. And it ends with a woman leaving the group (Carol).

    Also, with Denise dying by losing an eye, it could be a reference to Tiresias, the blind ancient Greek prophet (again foreshadowing) who was both man and woman (Denise being lesbian) and died from an arrow wound. Interestingly, apothecary is the Greek twin word for pharmacy.

    But the person who’s Lucilled takes a few hits, and a sick Maggie couldn’t do that. In “Twice as Far” Denise talks about her brother dying before her. So may be a male of the group gets the bat and Maggie later gets shot with the Lucille carved gun. And since Eugene tells Abraham he’s no longer needed, my guess it’s Abraham who gets the bat. Moreover, Denise says that her brother taught her how to drive stick shift and made her feel safe, and Abraham is the driver for Maggie’s trip to Hilltop and he’s there to protect her.

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