Each week, we’ll give every episode at least 24 hours to breathe…and for you to get caught up. After that, you’re clicking at your own risk. Spoilers ahead.
In “East”, the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead’s 6th season, things go awry in a hurry. Johnny Cash’s song playing during the montage following the opening credits told you everything. The relationships, the security, the confidence…”It’s All Over.” It setup some powerful symbolism to Rick and Michonne biting the apple in bed.
Like Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit. They thought they had the world to themselves, and it all changed quickly after
It’s a difficult episode to watch as we see some of the strongest characters we’ve come to love make some very foolish choices that put everyone else in danger. You know a fight is coming. You know the vengeful Saviors are knocking at your door. Yet, well..
A quick, “we hardly knew ye” goodbye to Jiro and his Savior posse.
Funny how Jiro’s voice sounded very similar to Paula’s when confronting Carol. He knows the community is called “Alexandria” and he knows how close they are to it. Obviously Negan’s men have been doing their homework.
Now for this week’s Power Rankings:
1. Rick Grimes (Previously 2nd)
What I appreciate about Rick’s leadership is his willingness to go head first on missions. It was smart of him to go with Morgan to find Carol and get intel along the way of how close the Saviors are and what they’re carrying. It was even smarter of him to take Morgan’s advice to head back to Alexandria as soon as possible.
We also see another side to Rick. He’s out looking for Carol because she’s family. Rather than react badly to Morgan’s “Wolf” admission, he wants him back at Alexandria. You wonder how much more Rick can grow, and here’s more evidence.
“Michonne did steal that protein bar” was Rick awesomely trading a confession for Morgan’s. Hopefully it isn’t the last thing he gets to tell him.
2. Negan (Previously 3rd)
I understand that’s from the finale’s teaser, but Negan is holding all the cards right now. He has at least 4 of Rick’s people in his captivity, an infinite number of henchmen (apparently), and a barbedwire bat named Lucille.
Right now, this man holds to keys to your heart as a viewer. There is going to be blood, but who among your favorite characters will be shedding it?
3. Dwight (Previously 18th)
NOBODY MAKES DARYL BLEED HIS OWN BLOOD!
Oh, Dwight did. The rivalry between these two is one of the most compelling aspects of this story. Dwight is in Daryl’s head, has the group reeling after taking out Denise, and has captured 4 of their best warriors. It’s too impressive not to give credit to.
4. Maggie Greene (Previously 4th)
Michonne mentions at the start of the episode that Maggie has her and Rick on a tight schedule. That suggests Maggie is as much in command of Alexandria as anyone, even as much as Rick. Although she’s in a bad spot toward the end of the episode with her baby, there’s an obvious arc change for her as she asks Enid to cut her hair.
“I don’t want anything to get in my way.” This harkens back to when Shane shaved his head after killing Otis, who pulled on his hair and was weighing him down as they fought off walkers. I don’t think Maggie is turning into a complete asshole like Shane, because she has endured even more than he had to this point and remained strong. With Glenn in danger and apparently her child as well, how does she stay poised?
5. Morgan Jones (Previously 14th)
We’ve been waiting a few episodes now to see what Morgan will do in the next time of crisis. It’s huge that he springs into action to chase after Carol. The woman wanted to kill him not long ago, and here he is chasing after her when there’s apparent danger EVERYWHERE.
There was a lot of references to Morgan’s “standalone” episode with Eastman. Literally, he and Rick were traveling east and the episode was called “East”. Then Morgan explains the “circle of life” process of him saving the Wolf, who kidnapped Denise, then saved Denise, who eventually saved Carl. It was interesting justification of his decision making. Now he’s helped bring back some humanity in Rick in this episode alone, and Carol has all of a sudden found hers again too…just like he did.
6. Glenn Rhee (Previously 7th)
The group’s moral compass is currently in trouble. Glenn knows that the group is significantly stronger when it’s together rather than separated. That’s been proven MULTIPLE times like at Terminus, fighting the horde, and raiding the Saviors camp. It’s amazing that he still has to be the voice of reason to convince characters like Daryl and Rosita in the toughest of times.
7. Michonne (Previously 6th)
Michonne is right there with Glenn, having to play babysitter to other members going rogue but also tied up among Saviors. If there’s anyone you can feel better about getting out of this pickle, it’s Michonne.
There’s also something that Jesus said a few episodes ago that I think motivates Michonne, “You have to know what you’re fighting for.” She’s fighting for Rick, Judith, Carl and their community now. She even says so after taking a bite of the apple in bed toward the beginning.
8. Daryl Dixon (Previously 1st)
I’m sorry, friends, but Daryl was acting a fool in this episode. He’s been regularly at the top of our rankings since we began keeping them, but right now he has put at least 3 other characters and himself in harm’s way.
As Dwight said after shooting Daryl, “You’ll be fine.” Will he be by the end of the season finale?
(He’s booked to be on Talking Dead that night. That makes everyone nervous but I think Daryl has more of a score to settle with Dwight to go out anytime soon)
9. Jesus (Previously 5th)
Jesus doesn’t get any face time, which was why he slips here, but his abilities and intelligence on the Saviors are going to be crucial in the inevitable fight with Negan. He and his Hilltop community are referenced twice in the episode, which leads me to think they have to be a variable in the finale.
10. Abraham (Previously 11th)
I love Abraham’s “Ready to tear the world a brand new asshole” attitude right now. It’s huge considering how he was spiraling not too long ago and things looked bleak for his arc. That isn’t to say we’re being set up for tragedy with him, but Abraham is much more on his game when he’s happy and has something he is invested in…that being Sasha.
11. Sasha (Previously 12th)
I know…where Abraham gets ranked, Sasha isn’t far away. They are a team right now and a pretty good one when they are on point. If we’re talking defense, Sasha is key as a sniper. She has also come a long way since losing Bob and Tyreese. It’s hard not to feel happy for her. It’s also interesting that she maintains her chill when having to stand her post right next to Rosita. I loved the glare she gave after Abraham climbed up to take her place. It silently screamed “Don’t mess with this.”
12. Father Gabriel (Previously 10th)
Speaking of defense, Father Gabriel is definitely someone we can trust more. In a sneak peak to the finale, Gabriel pledges his service to keeping Judith safe when the war comes to them. I think his development has been critical to the narrative that “People can come back.” As someone who tried to sell out Rick and his people not long ago, after giving them shelter a season before, Gabriel is proof of what Morgan has preached this season.
13. Aaron (Previously 13th)
Aaron will be a character Rick needs in the confrontation with the Saviors in the Finale, and probably after. Someone we love is likely going to die, and I would like for Aaron to take on that role that fills their place. He is the most proven out of the original Alexandrians and trusts Rick more than most.
14. Carol Peletier (Previously 26th)
Welp, Carol’s “no kill” policy lasted all but 1 episode.
She’s out of my doghouse though because her leaving didn’t result in Alexandrian loss…yet. This was the first time she seemed really upset about having to kill Saviors, so she’s obviously still very conflicted. Rick and Morgan tracking her reminded me a lot of the group’s search for Sophia in season 2. I’m a little worried that Morgan will find a similar result because of that.
But she still pulled off a ridiculously impressive standoff against Jiro and the Saviors.
15. Carl Grimes (Previously 15th)
Some serious foreshadowing as Carl checked out the Savior gun with the “Lucille” carving in it. I think we currently have the strongest version of Carl to handle what is to come. His experiences and learning from #Richonne have him more than prepared for a Savior attack.
Also, if we’re keeping score…
Carl – 2
Daryl – 1
…when it comes to being shot.
16. Eugene Porter (Previously 9th)
“Phase 2” Eugene is also prepared for the worst case scenario. You wonder if his bullet making plan will be beneficial more in the short term or the longterm though.
17. Enid (Previously 20th)
Hey look!…It’s Enid!
And she’s not being a brat! That’s so awesome. Seriously, I was worried for quite a while since her and Carl had their momentary spat in the woods.
What I hoped sort of came true. You could tell that she and Maggie were growing closer, and it’s nice to see her step in to fill in for duties when possible. Right now, she’s most responsible for keeping Maggie safe while she deals with something going wrong in her belly too.
18. Doctor Harlan (Previously 19th)
Only doctor between Alexandria and The Hilltop. Yeah, he’s kinda important while Maggie has pregnancy problems.
19. Heath (Previously 16th)
In a 90 minute finale, there could be time for a look-in on Heath and Tara on their run. Maybe the come back in time or show up while the 6 characters (Carol, Morgan, Glenn, Michonne, Rosita and Daryl) are on the outside. His presence would certainly be helpful.
20. Tara Chambers (Previously 17th)
Oh Tara…Like Carol, I have no idea how she’s going to react when she finds out about Denise. Maybe she’ll get some revenge. Maybe she’ll join her lover. I guess we’ll see, but it seems like something that should be resolved by the end of the season.
21. Tobin (Previously 21st)
Heavy sleeper, that Tobin.
I still think he looks like the love child of Craig T. Nelson and Bill Fagerbakke from the TV show Coach. He’s going to get a moment to fight, but I still don’t think it’s going to end well for him. PROVE ME WRONG, TOBIN. Your fling with Carol was already shocking enough. Do it again!
22. Spencer Monroe (Previously 22nd)
So which Spencer are we going to get when shit hits the fan again?
The one who nuts up or the one who shuts up?
23. Roman (Newbie)
The lone survivor of Jiro’s Savior crew that was blown away by Carol, and he’s on the hunt. I think he’s going to represent a crossroads moment for Morgan and Carol. Will one of them kill him? Will he kill one of them? Now I’m nervous…
24. Olivia (Previously 23rd)
Ready your jars, Olivia.
25. Andy (Previously 24th)
Saviors probably want to get some revenge on this dude, right?
26. Eric Raleigh (Previously 25th)
Similar to Spencer, nut up or shut up time is coming for Eric.
27. Baby Judith (Previously 27th)
Keep doing you, Judith.
28. Gregory (Previously 28th)
You wonder if Gregory will stand in Jesus’s way to help the Alexandrians against Negan. He seems shifty like that.
29. Cal (Previously 29th)
Sit on it, Potsy.
30. Freddie (Previously 30th)
What would you say, you do here?
31. Craig (Previously 31st)
…and you too.