During most of Season 6 The Walking Dead has been showing us the events over a couple days, and episode 6, “Always Accountable,” continues that pattern. Except for the Morgan-centric episode “Here’s Not Here,” the present timeline started with the practice run at the quarry and has ended with Alexandria surrounded by walkers. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is—was that Glenn calling for help on the radio?
Much has been made about whether The Walking Dead punishes characters who advocate for compassion, morality, or even hope in humanity, with Dale and Hershel as prime examples. Even before Season 6 began there was speculation that Glenn might be killed off this season since he had become the moral compass of the group. He even fixed the RV in “The Distance,” taking on the representational role of Dale. Yet Glenn is not the only core character who believes in second chances. In “First Time Again” Daryl told Rick that he didn’t agree that they should stop looking for people. As Daryl has transformed over the course of the series, he has become increasingly invested in helping others. When he first arrived in Alexandria he was lost because he didn’t have a meaningful purpose. It was only when Aaron invited him to join in looking for others that Daryl became part of the community. In “Always Accountable” we see Daryl’s willingness to give people a second chance and even put himself on the line for them. It didn’t turn out as he’d hoped, but it’s Daryl’s steadfastness to his own moral code that makes him such a compelling character.
“Always Accountable” shows us how psychological damage can bring two people together through Abraham and Sasha. Both of these characters have had some terrible losses that they struggled to cope with: Sasha losing Bob and Tyreese, and Abraham losing his family then learning Eugene didn’t have the cure. We’ve seen friction between them since Season 5, and now it appears that has translated into sexual tension.
We last saw Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham in “Thank You” as they were leading the walker herd away from Alexandria. Though about half had broken off, they were still successfully leading the group away. Daryl had broken off to return to Alexandria at one point, but reunited with Sasha and Abraham by the end of the episode. In “Always Accountable” Daryl is separated from Sasha and Abraham when they are shot at by a group of people in some cars. As Sasha and Abraham wait for his return, Daryl is captured by a group of runaways who are in search of “Patty.”
Plan meet Wrench, again
Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham have led the walkers to the 20-mile mark, as Rick’s original plan called for. They get far ahead of the walkers, and turn to head back towards Alexandria. As they are passing through a town, several cars drive up behind them and start shooting. You never know what to expect in this world.
After driving through a flimsy metal wall, Abraham and Sasha walk out from behind the cover, guns blazing. It’s kind of badass as they walk towards the cars firing. They manage to kill their attackers. Abraham takes out his knife to do some head stabbing, but Sasha tells him to leave it. When she asks what he’s grinning about he tells Sasha, “We won, darlin’.”
Daryl is not so lucky. His motorcycle slides across the road, but he manages to get his bike back up and continues riding in a different direction from Sasha and Abraham. Though one of the vehicles chasing him crashes, Daryl is still pursued by another and must keep driving out of town. Once he gets far enough ahead out on the highway, Daryl turns down a forest path unobserved by his pursuers. He begins walking his bike and finds himself in a burned forest filled with blackened skeletons and burned walkers. Creepy. His bike topples and as Daryl lies on the ground, he looks over at a burnt walker wearing what looks like a motorcycle helmet.
When Daryl stops to tend to a wound on his arm, he manages to get knocked out by a group hiding in the woods—Dwight, Sherry, and Tina. They seem to think he’s someone else. They believe Daryl is with the people who are after them. When he wakes in the morning they make Daryl go with them, telling him that they may trade him if the others catch him: “You see, we’re reasonable people. Everybody’s got their code. You feel you gotta kneel, that’s fair enough.” Dwight and Sherry are the people who started the fire in the forest. They set it when everything started in order to kill the walkers. They assumed that everyone everywhere would be fighting the walkers, “That we’d all win together.” Dwight adds, “We were stupid.” Daryl asks him if he thinks he’s being stupid now. Dwight begins to threaten Daryl, but Daryl doesn’t seem convinced that Dwight will act on his threats. Daryl suggests he can help them, but Dwight just tells him to keep moving. They arrive at their destination—Pattrick Fuel Company. Patty isn’t there and they seem a bit unsure. Tina suggests the other two go back now and blame her, but then faints. Daryl seizes the opportunity, grabbing their bag and running. Once he gets away he finds himself with a cooler full of insulin and realizes that one of the three will die without it. It’s not in Daryl’s character to just let someone die, particularly someone who is just trying to survive.
Abraham and Sasha have found signs of Daryl. They realize the people who were shooting at them must have been after someone in particular. Sasha knows the best way to find a tracker is to stay put. She leaves a footprint near their vehicle and they head towards the buildings in the town. Abraham wants to kill a walker approaching, but Sasha tells him that he’s smarter than to leave behind breadcrumbs. Instead she writes “Dixon” on the door of Sunrise Auto Insurance and goes inside.
Once inside the office Abraham unzips a garment bag to find the uniform of a highly decorated officer and looks at the picture of the man and his family. Sasha is sitting in a chair staring into a glassed-in office where a walker is trapped. Abraham wants to kill the walker, but Sasha says he can’t get out. There is a whiteboard in the glassed-in office that says, “Proud to have provided value. I pray for the world to keep going. Stay cheerful. The bite kills.” This whiteboard, along with the family photo, is a sad reminder that walkers were once people, people who didn’t want to die or to turn.
When Abraham asks, “This is our new home?” She points out that it was his choice to come and asks him why he volunteered. He tells her that she was out of control. She responds that she’s in control now. She does seem to be in control. When he tries to claim he’s in the same state, she points out his desire to kill anything indicates otherwise. They have an unusual conversation, full of idioms and metaphors. Sasha tells him:
“But if you have a roof over your head, you have food, you have walls… you have choices. And without walkers and bullets and sh*t hitting the fan, you’re accountable for them. I mean, hell, you’re always accountable. It’s just with all that other noise, you know people won’t notice.”
Daryl surprises the group of three, with his crossbow in hand, disarming Dwight. He tells Dwight that he wants something in exchange for the duffel, since they put him through all this. He takes the figure Dwight has been carving and gives them the duffel back with the insulin in it. He tells them good luck and begins to leave.
Before Daryl can get far, a truck drives up, so he hides behind a tree. The men in the truck tell Dwight, Sherry, and Tina they’re taking them back, and they will have to pay for the gas and time it took to come out there. Dwight yells, “We’re not going back, Wade. We’re done kneeling.” As they start to run, Daryl grabs the three and takes them behind some brush to hide. Daryl makes a noise to distract the man walking towards them so that he gets bit by a walker. He yells to Wade that he’s bit, and tells him to take off his arm. Wade radios another man saying they’re going to go back, adding, “He only wanted to take this so far. And he only wants ass that’s willing, you know?” After the men leave Dwight tells Daryl that he had thought Daryl was with those men.
Dwight: “We knock you over the head, tie you up, threaten to kill you … why the hell did you come back?”
Daryl: “Maybe I’m stupid, too.”
Daryl realizes the three are just trying to get away from someone and aren’t necessarily malevolent. Aaron did tell Daryl that he had the ability to tell good people from bad in the episode “Forget.” Let’s hope he’s right.
As Abraham walks around town he finds some military-grade weaponry and a box of cigars. A walker who was once a soldier is impaled on a fence carrying an RPG on his back. Abraham attempts to get at the RPG and comes dangerously close to being bitten. As he looks at this former soldier, someone he can relate to, his frustration grows. Even though we know the walker is no longer human, we can’t help but feel for the man he once was. Abraham eventually screams in the walker’s face and gives up. But the walker’s desperate attempts to get to Abraham eventually result in the pole ripping through his body. The walker falls, leaving the RPG conveniently hanging on the pole.
The Future is Now
Abraham is feeling good after salvaging the weaponry and cigars. He wants to share his good feelings with Sasha.
Abraham: “You see, I know this group and I know Rick. And whatever happened back there is being managed and kicked right up into it’s own ass one way or another. I know that. We got beer … and air conditioning … and walls. The table is set for the rest of our lives, and I hope those years to be long and fruitful. I see that time before me … and I’ve been feeling the urge to make some plays … before the great cosmic Pete comes to cut my throat unceremoniously and I gurgle my last breath. Well, things are gonna go on for a while before that, and that hadn’t occurred to me before. I’ve been kind of living check-to-check on that point. I like the way you call bullshit, Sasha. I believe I’d like to get to know you a whole lot better.”
Sasha: “That one of your plays? What makes you think I want that?”
Abraham: “A man can tell.”
Sasha: “Well … you got some stuff to take care of.”
And by stuff, Sasha of course means Rosita. Awww, poor Rosita. Maybe Rosita will get to act on that flirting that’s been going on between her and Spencer. Unless Spencer fell off the wall or something.
Daryl walks with Dwight, Sherry, and Tina through the woods. Dwight tells him about the place they had been staying, how desperate people are for something safe, and how people started to take advantage of that. Tina finds the kids she and her sister Sherry used to babysit for. Tina brings flowers to where they lay, seemingly embedded in the glass that must have melted onto them as the fire burned. As she kneels, one walker sits up and Tina falls into the other walker. One takes a chunk of out Tina’s neck before Daryl can get to her. As her sister holds her, crying, Tina dies.
As Sherry sits in a daze, Dwight and Daryl dig graves. Daryl asks Dwight the three questions. Dwight says he hasn’t killed any people. When Daryl asks him why, Dwight says it’s because if he had there’d be no going back to how things were. Daryl tells him, “I’m from a place where people are still like they were … more or less, better or worse.” Dwight looks over at Sherry and her dead sister.
Expect the Unexpected
Daryl, Sherry, and Dwight walk to Daryl’s motorcycle and he tells them they can walk to where his friends are from there. Dwight asks how many friends and Daryl replies that there’s two of them. Dwight asks how he knows they didn’t get taken and Daryl replies he doesn’t. As he’s pushing his bike, Daryl realizes that their silence has gone on for a second too long and looks in his mirror. But he’s too late, Dwight is holding the gun on him. They take his crossbow and motorcycle, leaving him only bandages and the carving Daryl still carries in his pocket. Sherry tells him, “I’m sorry,” and Daryl responds, “You’re gonna be.” We believe him. It’s definitely being stupid to get on the bad side of Daryl Dixon.
Daryl walks through the woods and sees the walker with the motorcycle helmet from earlier. He realizes there’s a sign on the ground nearby and when he uncovers it, he finds it says, “Pattrick Fuel Company.” He looks around and finds a truck hidden in the brush with the license plate “PATTY002.” Patty is a fuel truck.
Abraham has put on the officer’s uniform and it’s a tad small, but Sasha doesn’t say anything. They are happy and relieved when Daryl drives up. The three start to drive back to Alexandria in the fuel truck. Let’s hope it’s full of fuel. That would sure come in handy. It might even be worth losing a motorcycle for. Well, maybe not. Daryl tries to radio Rick or anyone. He hears a garbled voice, and asks them to repeat their call. A man’s voice comes over saying, “Help.”
“Always Accountable” brought viewers of The Walking Dead to many lows and highs. Daryl and Dwight played an unexpected game of cat and mouse, full of surprises. And just as we breathe a sigh of relief that these three are heading back to Alexandria with a working truck, the call for help brings back our anxiety about Glenn. The Walking Dead leaves us in suspense at the end of each episode this season. And you know what? We like it. Season 6 of The Walking Dead is starting to remind us of a little of a soap. We have so many questions. Who is on the radio? Is it Glenn calling from under the dumpster? Is someone from Alexandria on the radio to warn them about the walker moat? Did Dwight realize what a foolish mistake he made ever having left Daryl’s side? Does Abraham have the guts to break up with Rosita? Are the walls of Alexandria still standing? These questions—and many others—will be answered in the next episode of … The Walking Dead.