In “Twice as Far,” The Walking Dead reminds us that you can never escape your past, but you can try to shape your own future. Daryl faces the consequences of his earlier choices, while Carol struggles to live with who she’s become. Rosita and Abraham find themselves in transition, while Eugene and Denise consciously strive to evolve. “Twice as Far” feels like a thoughtful character study with a slow pace, up until the end when it smacks us in the face. The Walking Dead continues to balance thoughtful character-driven scenes and gripping action sequences, along with occasional moments of humor and warmth.
“Twice as Far” was directed by Alrick Riley (MI-5, Hustle) and written by Matthew Negrete (“Indifference,” “Spend,” and “Start to Finish”). Matthew Negrete previously co-wrote some fantastic Abraham dialogue in “Knots Untie” (“pouring the Bisquick”) and helped create well-remembered quotes for Eugene in “First Time Again” (“I fully respect the hair game”). The cadence and idioms used by both Eugene and Abraham are unique and contribute significantly to the characters and the series. The well-written dialogue between the two, who are coming to terms with the changed nature of their relationship, was both entertaining and emotional.
The Transformation of Eugene and Denise
Both Eugene and Denise want to prove themselves as being more than just clever. Though their cleverness is still pretty great, with Eugene’s idea to start manufacturing bullets and Denise’s identification of an apothecary full of drugs. As well as being smart and resourceful, Eugene and Denise have transformed into brave people who are willing to fight. As Eugene says, “I’ve changed, adapted. I’ve become a survivor.” The evolution of characters in The Walking Dead is what makes the series so engaging well into Season 6. Eugene embraces his new survivor identity to the fullest. Denise manages to survive a couple iffy moments and overcomes her own self-doubt, only to die as a result of the random brutality of life in The Walking Dead.
Denise needs to take action and be bold after being too afraid to go with Tara or tell her that she loved her. Denise devises a plan to raid a pharmacy for medicine, and then insists on joining Daryl and Rosita for the run. This narrative felt much more contrived and less coherent than that of Eugene and Abraham, but we always enjoy a storyline that involves Daryl on the road.
Though Denise has a moment of terror in the pharmacy when she finds the remains of a baby and its caregiver, she redeems herself by singlehandedly taking care of a pop-carrying walker. More importantly, she opens up to Daryl and Rosita about her twin brother Dennis, her fears and hopes, and what she sees in each of them. This makes her death by an arrow through her eye that much more shocking.
After the confrontation between Abraham and Eugene in a machine shop, the two go their separate ways, which ends with Eugene being captured by Dwight and the Saviors. We have a moment of doubt where it appears that Eugene is acting out of cowardice by outing Abraham, but he quickly shows that he’s made of sterner stuff when he takes on Dwight in a scene right out of the comics. Eugene’s bold action, as well as his faith in Abraham, Daryl, and Rosita, allows them to escape from the Saviors.
Rosita attempts to make sense out of what’s happened by pointing out that the antibiotics Denise discovered may have helped to save Eugene’s life. Sure, they have a lot of drugs now, but no doctor. Doesn’t seem like the best trade off. Post-apocalyptic tip: Never take your doctor out on a run.
Endings and New Beginnings
The end of the relationship between Rosita and Abraham has germinated into new opportunities for both of them. The friendliness we saw between Rosita and Spencer early in Season 6 has led to them sleeping together, while Abraham has finally decided to approach Sasha about making a future together. Meanwhile, it appears that Carol’s romance with Tobin is to be short-lived.
Now that Carol has unveiled herself to the rest of Alexandria and doesn’t have to put energy into playing a role and spying on her neighbors, she’s become more pensive. She’s made difficult choices and lived with them, but it’s catching up to her. Once she comes to terms with not wanting to kill anymore, she realizes she has to separate herself from the people she loves. She knows if she stays she’ll continue to do anything she must to keep them safe, including killing more people. Carol doesn’t want to become a killer like Paula.
Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst
We see little of Rick during this episode except his shock at finding Morgan building a jail cell. Morgan wants to give the community some choices, but Rick’s mercenary behavior is taking Alexandria in another direction. “Twice as Far” reinforces that the remaining Saviors, however many of them are left, are targeting Alexandria. Though Rick was probably right when he said that Negan would eventually come for them, Alexandria is now in imminent danger.
In “Twice as Far” we say goodbye to Dr. Denise, whom we’d come to embrace as a character thanks in part to outstanding acting by Merritt Wever. Denise’s willingness to try despite her fear showed us a human vulnerability we rarely see anymore, six seasons into The Walking Dead. Despite the loss of Denise, it feels good to see Daryl get his iconic crossbow back. They need every weapon they can get at this point. Just as Alexandria is preparing for a potential attack by the Saviors, they lose one of their most valuable assets with Carol’s departure. Season 6 of The Walking Dead comes to an end in two short weeks, and we suspect it will go out with a bang.
Read our full recap of “Twice as Far” here.
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