In “Start to Finish” The Walking Dead gives us the massive walker invasion we’ve been waiting for. It’s not just a crazy walker herd Alexandria has to deal with, but a conflict between two killers, a teen fight, and a Wolf in their midst. It’s not clear how many will make it out alive.
Sam plays in his room while listening to Tiny Tim sing Tiptoe through the Tulips on his record player. We use the word “play” loosely, because he’s drawing pictures of himself tied to a tree with walkers coming to get him. The cookie monster Carol has messed that boy up. He hasn’t even finished his cookie as a trail of ants from outside invade the plate.
Elsewhere, the collapsing watchtower crashes through the fence at Alexandria. At first all you can hear are the birds singing and see the dust, but then the walkers come pouring through. They seem to be lumbering faster than normal. Rick yells to everyone to get inside the houses. Rosita and Tara grab Tobin. Rick shoots at the walkers as the others clear out.
Deanna comes forward, shooting walkers with her gun. When did Deanna get a gun? She tries to get Rick to move back with the others. Despite Deanna’s sudden transformation, she manages to trip and fall into a saw blade as she fights with a walker and has to be helped away by Rick.
Carol and Morgan are being chased by walkers. Carol trips over some bullets lying on the street. How did those get there? She scoops up the bullets and she and Morgan get inside the house.
Maggie is in the heart of the walker action, closest to the fence. Her only escape is to climb the ladder to the watch platform along the fence. She struggles on the ladder as the walkers grab at her legs. The ladder falls and she hangs off the platform. She manages to pull herself up to the platform. She’s one tough pregnant lady. She lies on the platform, exhausted, and sees the green balloons flying overhead.
Eugene has walkers all around him, so he backs into a wall. He sees Rick’s radio lying on the ground and picks it up when he hears Daryl’s call. He responds, “Help,” just as Tara and Rosita pull him into a garage. There’s no sign of Tobin, but perhaps he broke off towards his own house. So it turns out it was Eugene we heard on the radio at the end of “Always Accountable.” Calling for help in desperate circumstances—classic Eugene.
Rick is helping Deanna down the street as the walkers chase them. Michonne, Ron, Carl and Father Gabriel run towards them. They find themselves surrounded, but Jessie comes out with a gun and makes a path for them. Apparently Jessie’s shooting lessons have gone very well. They all go inside the Anderson house. As the camera pans out, we see walkers all around Alexandria.
Glenn and Enid are watching the walker incursion from outside Alexandria. Glenn tells her once the West fence clears they can get inside that way. Enid is not interested in going into the walker-filled community. And it does seem a little crazy to run towards a herd of zombies. Glenn tells her the people are still alive in Alexandria. She says, “This is how it happens. And it always happens, Glenn.” Glenn reminds her that there are still people inside Alexandria that care about her. He tells her that his pregnant wife is inside. Glenn tells Enid, “You want to run away, be afraid, forget about this? Just go. But that’s how you lose people even after they’re gone.”
Sam watches as Rick and Michonne bring the bleeding Deanna upstairs. You can feel the panic. Jessie tells Sam he needs to shut off the music and shut the blinds. He asks if it’s the monsters. Uh … yeah it is, but his mom doesn’t tell him that. Instead, Jessie asks him to just try to pretend he’s someone who’s not scared.
Michonne sews the wound on Deanna’s leg and finds a bite on her side. Downstairs, Rick tells Jessie that Deanna’s fever is setting in and she doesn’t have long. Rick is planning on trying to get to the armory and then draw the walkers away with flares.
Michonne has been looking over the plans Deanna made. Michonne believes that they can work, even now. Deanna tells Michone that she feels lucky because she got the opportunity to work with her family to create a better future. She asks Michonne what she wants for herself, but Michonne doesn’t know.
Carl follows Ron into the garage to see if he’s all right. It’s part of his new patronizing attitude towards Ron. Ron believes Enid is dead and that they’re all going to die. Carl believes that his dad will figure something out. Ron isn’t so convinced. He believes that Rick is only going to get more people killed. Ron tells Carl, “Your dad’s a killer,” to which Carl calmly responds, “So is yours.” Ron continues to say they are all going to die, but Carl tells him they will make it. But Ron doesn’t seem to want to make it, so he locks the door and begins to pull his gun on Carl. Carl can see what’s happening and stops him. Ron tries to hit Carl with a shovel and breaks open a window, attracting walkers. As Ron and Carl fight, walkers begin to gather outside the door. Jessie and Rick try to get in the garage, but Rick eventually has to break the lock to get in. Once the lock is broken, they have to hold a couch up against the door to stop the walkers trying to get in.
Carl doesn’t tell Rick and Jessie about Ron pulling a gun on him. Instead, Carl follows him upstairs, pulls his own gun on Ron, then takes Ron’s gun. Angst-ridden teenagers pining for an ex-girlfriend shouldn’t play with weapons. Carl tells Ron, “Look man, I get it. My dad killed your dad. But you need to get something. Your dad was an asshole.” Patronizing Carl has turned into badass Carl.
Baby Judith starts to cry, which never, ever happens. Crap. Is Sam killing Judith? It turns out that it’s Deanna who has crawled into the room with Judith. She’s not actually killing Judith, but trying to see her one last time, even though she’s close to dying and turning into a walker. Rick is surprisingly sympathetic to Deanna. Deanna has written something for Spencer and Maggie. She asks him to look out for Spencer, like he looks out for his people. He hesitates.
Deanna: “Guess what? They’re all your people, Rick. They are.”
Rick: “We haven’t had a chance to make it that.”
Deanna: “But that’s how it is.”
Rick: “I didn’t run over there to help you because I like you. Or because I think you are a good man or a good father. Or that you can grow one hell of a beard. I ran over because you’re one of us. That’s the right answer.”
Tara, Rosita and Eugene remain hidden in the garage. Tara points out that most people have gotten inside their houses. She’s always looking on the bright side. Rosita wonders if the community at Alexandria has come to an end. Tara doesn’t think so. She tells Rosita, “A place like this has gotta have a price, right?” Rosita feels like Abraham is dead, but Tara disagrees. This sunny-side attitude makes people quite contradictory. Rosita wants to see what see what’s on the other side of the door. Rosita is going to shoot the lock, but Eugene says he can pick the lock. At least Eugene is good at something besides being rescued.
At the cellblock house, Morgan and Carol are in a standoff. Carol is injured and Morgan asks to look at the wound. She refuses.
Morgan: “You don’t trust anybody, do you?”
Carol: “Some more than others, but you’re dead last.”
Morgan: “Well, at least we’re being honest.”
Carol: “I don’t trust you, but I never thought you were lying.”
Carol wants to see what Morgan has hidden in the basement, but he points out that she probably has a concussion. He tells her whatever they have to settle, that it can wait.
Dr. Denise is alone in the basement with the Wolf. The Wolf tells Denise that he doesn’t think Morgan is coming back. We wonder about that as well. Has Morgan left Denise alone with the Wolf, just to keep him safe from Carol? Who’s keeping Denise safe from the wolf?
Denise asks him if he belongs there after the things he’s done, after he’s killed people. He describes killing as freeing people, adding that they just used what was left. The Wolf describes how he got his cut and espouses more Wolf philosophy: “It’s not unfair or just. Nothing’s unfair anymore. It might not kill me, but it might. I’ve done my part. the world will take care of the rest. It won’t change.” Dr. Denise bravely asks to see his wound. It’s really infected. She tells him, “You weren’t born this way. You changed. You can change.” She takes out what she brought to treat the wound.
Carol has her eyes closed and Morgan is worried about her, or suspicious of her, or maybe both. We’re starting to worry about her too. Nothing had better happen to Carol. Morgan pretends to walk away to see what she does. She turns the light off. When Morgan comes back to see what she’s up to, Carol knocks him out and runs downstairs. This doesn’t seem like the best course of action for either of them.
Once downstairs, Carol finds Olivia treating the Wolf and tells her to get away from him. Morgan comes downstairs and tells her that this could have waited. Morgan says that killing makes them no better than the Wolves. Carol says she had to stop it. Morgan says that with life, there’s possibility, even if they never let him out. The Wolf jumps in, “I’d get out.” Carol tells Morgan that she doesn’t want to have to kill him, but she will. Morgan tells her that he won’t let her.
Carol tells Morgan to kill the Wolf because she doesn’t want anyone else to die. The Wolf tells them, “You should kill me. But you’re all going to die. You don’t belong here.” He’s really making Carol’s case for her. Carol tells him to step aside, but Morgan knocks the knife out of her hands. They fight for the knife. Morgan throws Carol to the ground and knocks her out. The Wolf hits Morgan in the back of the head with the staff, and knocks him out as well. He picks up the knife and holds it on a very scared Denise.
Rick is going with the old-school plan of covering oneself in walker guts so they can all get to the armory together. We’re surprised we haven’t been seeing this plan being used a lot more often. Sam continues to play Tiptoe through the Tulips from his room. Why does no one stop him? And more importantly, where’s Judith?
Michonne tells Deanna that the rest of them need to leave. Deanna isn’t ready to die yet, but says she will do it herself when she’s ready, “It’s my life, start to finish.” Michonne thanks Deanna for believing. Deanna tells her, “What do you want? Now you figure it out.”
Sam comes out of his room and finds them all covering themselves in monster guts. Naturally, he’s horrified. Jessie tells him that they’re not safe in the house anymore. She keeps asking him to pretend he’s brave. Seems like Jessie should have spent less time chatting with Rick and more time preparing her scared young son.
Father Gabriel tells Rick, “I’m not going to give up back there. I will not turn back, no matter what happens.” Rick says, “Yeah, I know,” but what he’s really thinking is, “Nobody cares, Gabriel.”
Denise begs the Wolf not to kill them. When she calls him out, the Wolf laughs and says, “You’re what I like about people.” Does he not think he is people? It looks as if he’s about to kill her, but Eugene, Tara, and Rosita come inside the room. For a moment we are excited that the cavalry has arrived, but then they turn over all their guns to him at his command. Just shoot him! Didn’t you see how bloodthirsty these wolves were when they attacked Alexandria? He takes Denise as a hostage and leaves.
Carl puts baby Judith under his walker-stained sheet. They move the couch and slowly make their way through the walkers. How is Sam not freaking out? We are freaking out just watching it.
Glenn and Enid climb a tree and look over the wall. They see Maggie trapped on the platform with increasing numbers of walkers gathering beneath her.
Instead of using her remaining bullets on herself, Deanna opens the door of the bedroom and begins shooting walkers. This time she gets some head shots. She screams at the walkers. Will we be seeing Deanna as a walker in the next episode? Will Spencer?
Rick, Carl, Jessie, Sam, Ron, Father Gabriel, and Michonne walk outside in their walker gear. They pause, grab each other’s hands, and begin to cross into the road. The terrified Sam begins to call out to his mom.
The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale, “Start to Finish,” leaves us with a pretty intense cliffhanger.