By: Heather Seebach
**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S6E2**
The sophomore effort of season 6 comes to us from writer Seth Hoffman (who penned such fantastic episodes as Too Far Gone and Claimed) and Jennifer Lynch (director of Boxing Helena, and yes, David's daughter). Despite lacking in many of the show's core characters (Rick, Michonne, Daryl), "JSS" is an exciting entrance for the next human menace, the Wolves.
The episode opens with a little backstory on Enid, the young lady Carl fancies. After watching her parents (presumably) get killed and eaten, the girl survives on her own in the woods by hiding and eating tortoise. She has this obsession with writing the letters "JSS" in everything from dirt to bones. JSS? More like OCD, amiright?? Her story has little to do with the rest of the episode but it's a creepy opener (I just wish it paid off later on).
Cut back to Alexandria present-day where Carol is dishing out verbal bitch-slaps to a catty housewife, Maggie is trying to make Deanna snap out of her grief, and the new town doctor is having difficulty adjusting to her new role. If you read the comics, that woman's name may sound familiar to you - Denise:
Her side-story in this episode is mostly filler but I give them credit for letting Holly die after all Tara's not-helpful screaming, "HELP HER!!" Sometimes short-comings are exactly that - Denise knew she couldn't do it, they made her anyway, and the patient died. That's a far more realistic outcome than what I expected so kudos to that.
So, the Wolves storm the town and they are bat-shit crazy! One dude is playing in someone's blood while another is chopping off a dead person's limbs! Whaaaaaat?? Thankfully, one-woman army Carol stayed behind and once again shatters any doubt as to who is the biggest bad-ass on The Walking Dead. In no time at all, she's killed one (or five) Wolves, taken up their disguise, and sets out to protect the armory. I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: I love this fucking woman!
I am digging the contrast of Morgan vs Carol on the moral battlefield. Last week's premiere was pitting Morgan's peace-loving ways against Rick, but the latter is still somewhere between stone-cold killer and merciful leader. Carol, however, is the polar opposite of Morgan and therefore a better showcase for the ethical contrast. For every "Wolf" Morgan tries to humanely capture, Carol puts a bullet in their skull without hesitation (as she should)! Don't get me wrong, Morgan is a bad-ass, too, but his pacifist ways will get him killed eventually, as they almost do at the end of this episode.
In Morgan's defense, he did manage to beat and then bluff five Wolves to straight-up run away. Still, that's five breathing Wolves who pose a future threat to the survivors.
Morgan: "You keep choosing this life, you will die."
Wolf: "We didn't choose."
One could say the same about you, M! And what did that guy mean, "we didn't choose"? Simply that this post-zombie world has made their lifestyle necessary, or that someone is controlling them, hmmm? Toward the end of the episode, Aaron finds photographs in one of the Wolves' bag, suggesting they have been watching the town for some time. I'm not sure what to make of that yet but it is unnerving. They probably also knew the town had guns, then. Did they just not care? Were they after the guns? Time will tell, I suppose.
By the way, notice how the Wolves attempted to drive that semi into the town (which crashed and thus came the horn). It's just more proof they have trucks and that is was most likely their walkers corralled in that quarry.
I have four burning questions to discuss this week:
1) Where the fuck is Rick?! I know he sent Morgan back to town to investigate the horn but are they really attempting to control that herd? And would Rick really not go back to Alexandria himself, considering his two children are still there?
3) What was up with the "A" on the house when Carol was sitting on the porch steps?
3) Morgan says he learned his bo staff skills from a "cheese maker." I think he meant cheese eater. It was totally Master Splinter, wasn't it??
4) Did Morgan kill that guy at the end? I assume so, considering he said, "I'm sorry." In the final shot, he and Carol cross paths, both perhaps feeling a little sorrow about their chosen lifestyles. It was a poignant final shot but left me with some questions - namely, what's in Morgan's blue bag?! Is he leaving town??
In the end, we learn that JSS means "just survive somehow." Pretty anti-climactic, I thought. Maybe I just got my hopes up too high for another crazy girl like Lizzie. Why couldn't it have been a recipe for people? "Judith Sirloin Steak"? Just kidding....