“You made the choice to kill for someone else, to have them own you, for a roof over your head and three squares,” explains Dwight (Austin Amelio). Stand-alone character episode check; aftermath episode check; transparent set-up filler episode check; yep, The Walking Dead season six is in full swing, as we approach the midseason finale. Episode six, Always Accountable, moved at walker-speed, as we finally touch base with our lonely travelers, Daryl, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green). The trio make the left turn on marker 642, “Believe me we want to get back there too,” says Sasha… shots fired! Queue the music and suddenly I am watching a 80s-inspired action sequence. The attackers chase after Daryl into the woods, while Sasha and Abraham try to pick off the assailants from behind. Our trio is split apart after the attack, because that’s what happens about every other episode; Always Accountable, fails to counter-act the human retrospective with action. The writers could have taken the two plotlines from this episode and mix-matched them with the storyline from episode three (Thank You). I understand how the thematic paralleling between Sasha and Abraham’s PTSD clarity fits well with Daryl’s forest encounter of a different kind… but the story suffered from a lack of drive.
“You found us okay, here we are, we earned what we took,” states Sherry (Christine Evangelista) before Dwight knocks Daryl out with the butt of his gun. Before I continue let’s rewind back to Daryl spinning out on his bike in the woods. He lands flat on his back, takes a breath, then hears a short, creepy walker breathing and looks to his left. Cut to a wide-shot. There’s Daryl lying on the ground; this notable frame is like a painting. A walker to Daryl’s left, and the bike to his right; I can barely make him out, as his all black attire blends in with the fire-scourged forest he finds himself in. These are not the same woods where Morgan found peace in episode four, Here’s Not Here. No, something else happened in these woods. Thankfully Daryl’s captives will explain, “Human nature kicked in and it became a truly, unique shit show,” states Dwight. So, there we have it… our trio found themselves making a left turn that lead them right into crosshairs of a violent group tracking three ex-members. Dwight, Sherry, and Tine (Liz E. Morgan) take Daryl hostage as they try to evade their captors. An interesting perspective shift, coming on the heels of an episode that focused on the walkers being the number one threat, “We got most of them, thought we had ended it for us… we thought everyone was fighting them wherever they where,” explains Sherry. She and Dwight burnt the forest to the ground in an attempt to extinguish the walkers, and then they found themselves in a group of another kind… the Saviors kind, if I may.
Negan is coming and clearly has a presence in this episode, without even making an appearance. Only a few days ago AMC announced that Jeffrey Dean Morgan would play the infamous The Walking Dead villain. Negan will make his first appearance during the season sixth finale… hmm I wonder if Lucielle will be his plus one? Back to episode six. We only encounter Wade (Darin Cooper), who is quick to cut off Cam’s (Matt Lowe) arm after being bitten by a walker. The Saviors‘ trackers turn around after the incident because, “No, he doesn’t want us to waste too much time on it, and he only wants those who are willing,” explains Wade. Daryl and his new friends are free from their human foes, but the writers are quick to remind us that the walkers still haunt this land… Tina gets attacked by two walkers and dies. “How many people have you killed?” asks Daryl to Dwight. This is my favorite moment in the episode, awe how I have missed the three-question game, “Why haven’t I killed anybody, because if I did there’d be no going back… no going back to how things were.” Seems like somebody would fit in really well at Alexandria, how things were; sorry, but the world has changed in this universe. Ironically, Dwight and Sherry turn against Daryl after he reclaims his bike from where he hid it.
“But if you have a roof over your head, you have food, you have walls, you have choices, and without walkers and bullets and shit hitting the fan… you’re always accountable for them.” - Sasha
After, watching Dwight and Sherry ride off to an unknown destination, Daryl finds himself looking down at that same, ash-charred walker. Then he uncovers a vehicle hidden within the bushes. Daryl returns to the open… picks up Abraham and Sasha along the way. They anxiously awaited Daryl’s return and spent the time calling bullshit… at least Sasha did. She called Abraham’s bluff, as he continues to wreck his life due to his fear of living… choosing to live. Abraham did do one thing right and picked up some RPGs while rummaging through town. Throughout the episode we hear both Daryl and Sasha use the walkie-talkies in attempts to communicate with either each other, or their other groups members. All they ever received in return is white noise… until the trio begins to drive home; Abraham looks out and acknowledges that the walker heard is no long on their tail; all the noise is gone… then over the radio chatter we hear an indistinguishable voice cry, “Help.” Who the hell?