We have earned a brief respite from “herdapalooza” as we learn that car trouble contributed to Enid’s tragedy. Sadly, she watches from the blood soaked windows of the family’s SUV while a walker devours what is left of her loved ones. Alone in the woods, she scratches JSS into the dirt, and etches it again into the dirty window of a car in which she finds shelter for the night. We watch a blood soaked Enid use the bones of a turtle she is devouring to again spell out JSS. She finally finds herself outside of the walls of Alexandria, afraid to approach the gates, afraid to go back out on her own. She finally walks into the community with JSS scrawled in the dirt on her hand. The writers know how to build a mystery.
Carol continues masking her irrepressible “kickassness” with talk of recipes stretching the group’s dwindling supplies. She even offers to help the women in the pantry learn to make pasta by hand, most especially Shelley, who continues to complain about no one finding a pasta maker for her. The mask comes off when she gives Sam a “get over it” pep talk. Ron displays his “Pete” gene when he yells at his mother for wanting to give him a haircut, a premise to get close to him. When Jessie reminds him that his father was dangerous, he tells her that Rick, “her friend” is the dangerous one. Her acknowledgement that they are friends is enough to cause him to storm off. That kid was born to be walker chow.
It is a glorious day for pep talks. Maggie is trying to get Deanna back on track. Denise (a psychiatrist who has panic attacks and is the town’s new doctor) is being given a pep talk by Tara and Eugene (especially after learning that Pete didn’t want her there). Fr. Gabriel is trying to pep talk Carl into forgiving him, and asks for help learning how to defend himself. Enid is pep talking and hugging a despondent Ron, leaving Carl to continue his afternoon stroll with baby Judith. Everything seems peppy until Carol, who is later babysitting Judith, watches from her kitchen window as Shelley becomes the victim of a brutal attack by a man we haven’t seen before. Richard, one of the lookouts, is set on fire and thrown back into the city. The city is under siege. Carl grabs his semi assault weapon and is ready. “I feel sorry for them, they have no idea…” are the words playing in my head, right now.
Jessie plans to go search for Ron when she realizes that someone is in the house. She and Sam hide in the closet, gun drawn, ready for what comes next. Enid comes to tell Carl that she is not staying, she is leaving Alexandria. He refuses to let her leave so they sit back to back, prepared to defend Judith. She warns that there are too many blindspots, as Carl tells her if they got inside they are going to die. All of them. He is Rick’s kid, for sure. The Alexandrians are being slaughtered and we get confirmation that it is the wolves. Carol puts down one of the wolves as well as Erin, from the pantry, who is too badly wounded to survive. We finally find out what the blaring horns distracting the “walkers on parade” were. The wolves have brought a semi truck to the compound, to try to smash the walls. The Alexandrian lookout misses the driver and the truck crashes the wall. A walker is attached to the control panel, making it difficult to cut the horn. Luckily, Morgan comes along and takes care of it as the Alexandrian looks too frightened to move.
Rosita is asked to prep an IV to help save Holly, a woman who was wounded defending the city. She does so but then leaves to fight as Eugene makes sure he is not asked to help. Morgan wants to take out the wolves without killing anyone. Carol, who has disguised herself as one of them, disagrees and is taking them out as they come, including the mountain sized ax swinging buffoon who was planning to give Morgan a “slow” death. Carol realizes the wolves don’t have guns and wants to make a break for the armory before the invaders find it. Deanna waits outside instead of going in, afraid that she will be taken and someone will lose a life trying to rescue her. From the look on her face, Rick’s earlier warnings seems to be ringing in her ears. Eugene and Tara talk Denise into setting her fears aside and perform surgery on Holly. She doesn’t want to live with being a coward, Eugene warns her.
Ron, who appears to have been waiting for Enid to run off with him, is attacked but is saved by Carl. He doesn’t take the time to thank Carl and instead runs home in a huff, rejecting the protection offered by Carl. Jessie leaves Sam in the securely locked closet to go downstairs to warn Ron to stay outside when he gets home, warning him there is an intruder inside. Losing her gun, and the battle to shoot the intruder, she is nearly killed but grabs a pair of scissors and takes out the wolf. Ron comes in just as his mother unleashes and repeatedly stabs the woman. Carol, holding Morgan as a “prisoner”, makes her way past the wolves, until he runs off to save Fr. Gabriel. She begins shooting and is followed to the armory. She drops the Betty Crocker act and loads up, killing the wolves and killing the man Morgan restrained, much to his chagrin. He gives his Carol-delivered gun to Fr. Gabriel, who is clueless about using it.
On his own, Morgan is soon surrounded by a group, including the man he defeated in the woods weeks ago. He beats them down and warning them that there are guns, to run and never come back. They will die if they keep choosing this life. The response from the wolf from the woods is that “We didn’t choose.” It is an extension of comments from Morgan’s now dead prisoner that “People don’t belong here, anymore. We are freeing you.” We’ve waited how many seasons for Morgan to join the group and THIS is what we get? Is he is this season’s Fr. Gabriel? He has to know that they will be back.
At the end of the battle, Carol is surveying the dead and stops to pick up Shelley’s cigarettes to take a smoke break. Funny, since she ridiculed a complaining Shelley earlier, for smoking. Aaron finds the dropped envelope from the “Arno Foods” run, the images showing Alexandria and he realizes what happened. Denise is devastated after losing Holly in surgery, sending Eric, Tara, and Eugene away. Carl looks for Enid, who is gone. In her place is a note reading, “just survive, somehow” (JSS). Surreal moment of the evening? The oven timer let’s us know that Carole’s casserole is done. Morgan is doing a final sweep of one of the houses when he comes across a wolf who has been left behind. The wolf realizes that Morgan can’t kill him and begins attacking, telling him he should have killed him. After being repeatedly attacked, Morgan apologizes and then (kills the wolf? We don’t see the final outcome).
Morgan and an unapologetic Carol, cross paths on the road, neither uttering a word. They have survived. Many have not. Will Morgan realize that the world in which he helped a clueless and struggling stranger is far different from the world in which he now lives? What happened to the sharpshooter who was willing to take Rick and Michionne out and booby trapped his safe space? Hopefully, we will learn more of his story, next week. I will see you, then!