AMC’s The Walking Dead Heads Up TV Show Review. The Walking Dead, Season 6, Episode 7: ‘Heads Up,’ may have been a little short-handed with its title. I imagine the full title ran something like ‘Heads Up, Rabid Fans, He Lives (Other Cast Members: Just Look Out).’ In case you missed it (or simply chose to ignore this thing that the showrunners did), Glenn (Steven Yeun) did, in fact, survive the other (Piece of) Shoe dropping. That simply had to be gotten out of the way. The rest of the episode, however, served as a set-up to the mid-season finale; with immediately present players taking positions that could matter a great deal, after an even bigger ‘other shoe’ dropped.
Considering how many online speculators got it right, the Glenn reveal was every bit the easy out as some of us had feared. It gave a lot of hope to Glenn fans, and must have come as a huge reward for their support. On the other hand, to some, the bait & switch cheapened a genuine WTF moment, or worse, was just a lazy cop-out. I was left leaning to the latter, on this – not just because I wanted to believe the show could commit to such WTF moments, but also because the out seemed too obvious (hence, no eulogy). In any case, I reserve final judgement until I see what Glenn does with his second chance.
Well the first thing he did was make Enid (Katelyn Nacon) out to be a bit less than previously suggested, by comparison. My first impression of Enid was damaged goods – the feral cat that’s willing to come inside, for a quick meal, but refuses to be a house cat. ‘JSS’ made her out to be a survivor with an eye on the big picture – seeing survival as being something beyond any one means to that end (like Alexandria). Her dealings with Glenn, however, made her out to be more of a self-centered brat – less concerned with the art of survival, than just not allowing herself to be bothered by other people’s problems. Either her fatalism contradicted the inherent optimism of her own JSS mantra (be hard to just let the World die, while you’re still in it, and live), or I just read into it wrong. Either way, her lone wolf shtick was getting annoying.
I’m prepared to blame Ron (Austin Abrams), for being a bad influence (assuming it wasn’t the other way around); but I’ll get to him soon enough….
As it stood, Enid allowed Glenn to get right back into rescuer/ redeemer mode (something he valued more than salvaging her first attempt at getting him water, apparently); motivating her into reluctant tag-along action, even if only to exercise his own need to hope there was something to get back to.
Back at that something, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was wrapped in her own sense of hope; holding out for a sign from beyond the besieged walls, while other Roadies tried to get the Townies up to code for the new normal. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) had a hard time getting hard with the times, and Rosita (Christian Serratos) seemed too preoccupied to accommodate him. Tara (Alanna Masterson), on the other hand, turned out to be a much better shot than I remembered; but I guess that was beside the point. That point being Spencer (Austin Nichols) as the gift that kept giving, regarding Rick (Andrew Lincoln) maintaining a distinction between the Roadies & Townies. Spencer has lost some capital, since his turn manning the watchtower; but here, he was symptomatic of Rick’s view of the Townies: big on heart & ideas, low on survival sense & competency. Frankly, I was a little disappointed that Rick didn’t whup him – instead snapping a Tara, for putting herself out to help Spencer survive his hapless hero play. He did make peace, later; but his real in-house concern was Morgan (Lennie James).
It should have been Ron. Killing weight Ron was walked through hand-gun handling 101, by Rick & Carl (Chandler Riggs). Carl should have noticed the stink eye he drew from Ron, every time he directly responded to him. If the showrunners really wanted to telegraph Ron’s intentions so badly, I’ll have to assume that Carl has noticed, and has some kind of plan in mind – either to prove something to his dad, himself, Enid, the Townies in general… it better be something useful. I suppose Rick was preoccupied with broader concerns to notice – with the Morgan matter needing to addressed, and all.
Even as Morgan made overtures towards Denise (Merritt Wever), on his captive’s behalf, he found himself caught in an intervention, conducted by Rick & Michonne (Danai Gurira). He had to defend his pacifist ideals, of course; but I found his argument circular. Rick’s patience with Mad Morgan allowed Monk Morgan to save Aaron & Daryl (though I’m pretty sure the Wolves would’ve found Aaron’s pack had they died); but Morgan’s catch-and-release Wolves nearly nailed Rick. For the moment, it seems Rick & Michonne were left making allowance for Morgan’s method; but his current baggage has left him at odds with Carol (Melissa McBride). Carol is not nearly as lenient as… well, anyone; and the one person Morgan should know to be well wary of. Should, anyway.
With a Wolf still in among the sheep, Carol confronting Morgan, and Ron now actively stalking Carl, you’d think a bit of wish-fulfilment for Maggie would be a good tension breaker to end on. Well it was – but with a mid-season finale on tap, TWD doesn’t do happy endings.
It wasn’t just Spencer left in sorry shape, after the truck vs watchtower action. With all eyes on Spencer’s state, however, no one noticed the other problem looming over them all; so it came down to them – allowing for a pretty terrifying mix of crisis & opportunity for everyone present.
So the episode pretty much ended on an appropriately titular note. Taken as a set-up episode (for the Fall finale), it did its job: lighting a flame under the kettle, and turning a hopeful moment into a hopeless scenario. The sort of turn that added some extra weight to Deanna’s (Tovah Feldshuh) earlier words of encouragement.
“One way or another, there’s going to be an after this.”
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