The burden of the past weighs heavy on some in Alexandria, while others seek to start anew. In “Twice as Far,” Carol continues to think about the lives she’s already taken and whether she can continue as she has. Carol isn’t the only one struggling with past choices, as Daryl finds that no good deed goes unpunished. While these two warriors meditate on the consequences of their actions, Eugene and Denise seek to prove to themselves and others that they are also survivors. The Walking Dead packs a lot into “Twice as Far,” showing us how the characters we have grown to care about have been altered by internal and external forces.
Even after the massacre of the Saviors in “Not Tomorrow Yet” and “The Same Boat,” life goes on in Alexandria. On the surface everything seems the same, but in reality, a lot is changing. Morgan hopes that he can alter the course of Alexandria by helping the community head in a different direction. He’s built a jail cell. When Rick asks why, Morgan explains, “It’ll give you choices next time.”
Daryl has recovered his motorcycle after the raid on the Saviors. In the bike bag he finds the soldier that Dwight, the man he helped in the burned forest, had carved. Carol asks Daryl about saving the group, commenting, “Sorry. It’s who you are. We’re still stuck with that.” Daryl responds, “No, we ain’t. I should’ve killed them.” His response leaves her thoughtful. Daryl can see something is up with Carol. As she leaves he asks Carol what happened when she and Maggie were captured. Carol pointedly tells him, “To us? They didn’t do anything.” Carol’s experience seems to have cemented the doubts and concerns she was already having.
Rosita and Spencer have been sleeping together. He asks Rosita to come over for dinner, which she brushes off, but she gives in when he presses her about the nature of their relationship. It seems like Spencer wants to have the “define the relationship” talk.
Denise asks Daryl and Rosita to go to an apothecary she remembers passing when she evacuated from DC. She thinks they can still find medicines there. Denise insists on going with Daryl and Rosita, telling them she’ll go on her own if they refuse. As the three drive, Denise gives Daryl advice about driving a standard, which he doesn’t seem keen on taking. Denise talks about her brother teaching her how to drive a stick shift.
They come upon a tree in the middle of the road. Looks like a trap to us, but Rosita and Daryl check it out and decide to continue walking. Denise watches from the car. Rosita suggests walking along the tracks, as it will take half the time, but Daryl tells them, “I ain’t taking no tracks.” Daryl has had some bad experiences on railroad tracks and doesn’t want to take any chances.
As they walk to the store, Denise asks Rosita who taught her to fight. This brings Abraham to mind for Rosita, which is still a sore point for her. Rosita tells Denise, “A lot of people taught me a lot of things. Years from now, he’ll just be a name on a long list of names.” They make their way to a strip mall that where they find the Edison Apothecary and Boutique.
Once in the store, Denise is overcome by the smell and throws up a little. The store is full of bad smells, reading glasses, pictures of children, key rings, and drugs. They hit the jackpot! Daryl and Rosita brush off Denise’s offers of help, and start to grab all the drugs they can carry.
They hear a walker in the next room, which Daryl and Rosita ignore. Foolishly, Denise takes out her knife and investigates. In the room she finds an empty crib, boxes, a walker with a cast on its leg, and the words “Hush, Hush Hush” written over a sink holding the remains of a baby. She freaks out, noisily runs into a table, and then stumbles outside.
When Rosita and Daryl come outside they find her crying. Daryl and Rosita give each other sidelong glances. Daryl sympathetically tells her that she did good finding this place. Rosita, on the other hand, tells her that they warned her she wasn’t ready. No one likes being told “I told you so,” Rosita.
Abraham is curious why Eugene seems to be making an effort to change. Eugene tells him, “The key to survival is allowing oneself to be shaped by the assigned environment.” Eugene explains that he’s in Stage 2: “I’ve changed, adapted. I’m a survivor.” Abraham walks on responding, “Keep tellin’ yourself that.” Eugene seems to take Abraham’s unsupportive response literally and repeats his mantra of survival.
Eugene has brought Abraham to a machine shop where he plans to manufacture bullets. Eugene explains, “So not only are bullets vital for defense, but per the law of supply and demand, a full cartridge is now the coin of the land.” Eugene’s a regular entrepreneur. If they can get their hands on some lead and clean up the machinery, he thinks they should be able to start making bullets in the shop. Abraham tells him, “That, my friend, is some damn fine genuine out-of-the-box thinking.” Abraham and Eugene are fantastic together. Their scenes are filled with amazing dialogue and entertaining turns of phrase.
Their conversation is interrupted by an approaching walker with a head full of lead. Before Abraham can kill it, Eugene calls “dibs,” insisting on dispatching it himself. The metal helmet presents some challenges, and Abraham steps in to kill it. Eugene is upset, after having called dibs and everything.
Abraham points out that Eugene’s skill set is using his brain, while his own is killing walkers. Eugene tells Abraham that though he did need him between Houston and Virginia, his services are no longer required. That doesn’t sit well with Abraham, who tells Eugene to find his own way back and storms off.
On the way back to the car, Daryl asks Denise about her older brother, Dennis, who turns out to be her twin. She tells him that her brother was brave and angry—“kind of a dangerous combination.” Daryl tells her, “Sounds like we had the same brother.” Daryl seems to have softened, so he follows Rosita’s earlier suggestion to take the shortcut along the train tracks despite his earlier trepidation.
As they head back, Denise looks in a car with a walker, and sees a cooler inside. Daryl and Rosita don’t think it’s worth the trouble, but Denise thinks otherwise. She goes for the cooler and finds herself in trouble. Though Daryl and Rosita arrive, Denise insists on killing the walker herself. She’s sick afterwards, commenting, “I threw up on my glasses.” She opens the cooler and finds the soda she’d been hoping to get for Tara. Daryl and Rosita give each other looks again.
Both Daryl and Rosita have been in an angry state of mind of late, and this is the last straw for them. Daryl yells at Denise, telling her she could have died. Denise tells him they could have died killing the Saviors, and if you want to live, you take chances. All this yelling out in the open can’t be a good thing. Rosita takes a turn yelling, and Denise responds:
“Do you have any clue what that was to me, what this whole thing is to me? See, I have training in this sh*t. I’m not making it up as I go along, like with the stitches and the surgery and the … I asked you to come with me because you’re brave like my brother, and sometimes you actually make me feel safe. And I wanted you here because you’re alone, probably for the first time in your life. And because you’re stronger than you think you are, which gives me hope that maybe I can be, too. I could’ve gone with Tara. I could’ve told her I loved her, but I didn’t because I was afraid. That’s what’s stupid. Not coming out here, not facing my sh*t. And it makes me sick that you guys aren’t even trying because you’re strong and you’re smart and you’re both really good people, and if you don’t wake … up … and face your …”
Denise never finishes because someone shoots an arrow through the back of her head and it comes out her right eye. Incredibly, she gets out the last few words after being shot with the arrow, then collapses. We’re shocked and stunned.
Daryl and Rosita pull out their guns, but it’s too late. A dozen men with guns come out of the woods. The men are led by Dwight, the man Daryl saved in the burned forest, and they’re holding Eugene. After initially ignoring Dwight’s taunts, Daryl says, “I shoulda killed you.” Dwight responds, “Yeah, you probably should have.” The terrified captive Eugene sees Abraham is hiding behind some barrels next to the tracks, watching them. Dwight threatens to kill them all if Daryl and Rosita don’t bring them into Alexandria, where they will “take whatever and whoever we want.”
Dwight tells Daryl and Rosita they like to start with killing one, at which point Eugene outs Abraham, telling Dwight they that have a companion hiding behind the barrels who deserves to be killed more than they do. As the men look for Abraham, Eugene takes his moment to bite Dwight’s crotch, holding on tight as Dwight screams. Abraham starts shooting, while Daryl and Rosita kill some men and take their weapons. As Dwight and his men retreat, Daryl begins to run after them, but Rosita stops him. We are stunned once again. Daryl recovers his crossbow (yeah!), which Dwight left behind, and Abraham, Daryl, and Rosita carry the wounded Eugene away.
Back in Alexandria Eugene recovers with help of the antibiotics Denise helped to find. Abraham comes to see Eugene.
Eugene: “I was not trying to kill you. I was looking for a moment.”
Abraham: “You found it.”
Eugene : “Do you apologize for questioning my skills?”
Abraham: “I apologize for questioning your skills. You know how to bite a dick, Eugene. I mean that with the utmost of respect. Welcome to Stage Two.”
Eugene: “Don’t need to welcome me. I’ve been here a while.”
If Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene had their own spin-off, we’d be dedicated viewers. When Abraham goes to see Sasha, we realize a dystopian Three’s Company rip-off is never to be. Abraham tells her even if they’re here for 30 years it’ll still be too short. The line has its intended effect, and Sasha invites him in.
Daryl and Carol bury Denise. Carol tells him, “You were right. I knew it when you said it.” The incident impacts Carol in unexpected ways. The next day, Tobin finds a note indicating Carol has left Alexandria:
“I wish it didn’t have to end, not this way. It was never my intention to hurt you, but it’s how it has to be. We have so much here—people, food, medicine, walls, everything we need to live. But what we have other people want, too, and that will never change. If we survive this threat and it’s not over, another one will be back to take its place, to take what we have. I love you all here. I do. And I’d have to kill for you. And I can’t. I won’t. Rick sent me away and I wasn’t ever gonna come back, but everything happened and I wound up staying. But I can’t anymore. I can’t love anyone because I can’t kill for anyone. So I’m going, like I always should have. Don’t come after me, please.”
“Twice as Far” gives us shocks and surprises. We lose both Denise and Carol, albeit in very different ways. The Walking Dead constantly reminds us of the brutality of this world, even when giving us the satisfaction of a win. Most of the Alexandrians we came to know have been killed (better lock your doors Aaron!). We suspect there is more carnage to come as the Season 6 finale approaches. We’ll try to prepare ourselves, but something tells us that you can’t do much to plan for Negan and the Saviors.