Oh right, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham are out doing things. They’re Always out doing things that they will be held…Accountable for their actions. Hmm? Okay, that was terrible. And this is “Always Accountable.”
The episode begins with Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham still leading the massive herd behind them. They still need to gain some distance before the cutoff. They soon turn onto 642, but then receive gunfire from others. Daryl falls off of his motorcycle while others continue to pursue Sasha and Abraham. Run as fast as they can, they still get chased from every which way.
But Sasha and Abraham soon return fire while Daryl is forced to continue running. One car pursuing him crashes, with another taking its place.
Daryl takes cover in the woods, having evaded his pursuers for the moment. He soon falls off of his motorcycle, but finds a charred and helmet wearing corpse on the ground beside him. Well, that’s unexpected. He soon continues his journey, passing other charred corpses along the way. As Daryl is forced to push his motorcycle, it weighs him down. He radios to Sasha and Abraham, but just gets static.
It appears that Daryl’s fall hurt harder than expected, as he struggles to remove his jacket and glove, his left arm now bleeding. He grabs his crossbow, camouflages his motorcycle, and continues on foot. Daryl soon comes across two women who apparently earn what they took, and that’s when it’s lights out for Daryl.
He awakens bound and finds a man pointing a gun at his face. He’s ordered to follow the three through the woods. The three claim to be reasonable people with a code. That code apparently includes pointing a gun at your captive. The three stop to pick up a Patty. The man recounts how he got to this point. At the start, the forest was full of walkers that walked right into the flames. They thought everyone else was fighting.
Daryl challenges their intelligence, which gets him a gun in the face again. Are they being stupid? Daryl tells them that he has somewhere to be. The man claims that Daryl is one of them and then tells him to keep moving.
The four soon arrive at the Patrick Fuel Company. The three lament that Patty may be gone, while also talking about a fire that they apparently caused, so they need another plan. But then one of the girls collapses.
Daryl uses the distraction to grab the bag and escape. When he’s on his own, he again tries to radio to Sasha and Abraham, but gets static. A walker approaches and Daryl fiddles through the bag for every waking second until he finally retrieves his crossbow. Don’t you love false tension? I’d like to think Daryl was faster than that. Otherwise, he would have also noticed the insulin cooler in that bag.
Anyway, back to Sasha and Abraham, who spot no sign of Daryl. It’s strange. There weren’t enough people for these shooters to just wait for a surprise attack. No, they wanted someone specific. Abraham figures that Daryl went to Alexandria, but Sasha prefers to stay put and wait for Daryl to come to them.
The two head into town. Abraham wants to kill a lone walker, but Sasha advises against that, saying that the two don’t need to leave bread crumbs. Also, the name Dixon is etched on the door of the building they enter. Inside, as the two search the rooms, Abraham finds one room that belonged to a soldier. He wants to kill the walker behind the glass, but the door is locked and there’s no way it can escape.
Abraham digs around while Sasha decides to take a temporary siesta. But Abraham is itching to kill the remaining walker in his new, temporary home. So he wants to give the walker a name. Sasha calls this his fault. She was going slow until he jumped in. Abraham says that Sasha was out of control earlier, though both now claim to be in control. But is that why Abraham wanted to kill the walker? No, it’s because loose ends make his ass itch. If he’s not guiding his psyche, it’s because shit hits the fan without respite.
There was respite, mind you, at the party, but then Abraham reminds Sasha of her outburst. If you have a roof over your head, walls, and such, Sasha counters, then you have choices. Without walkers, bullets, and shit hitting the fan, Sasha figures that Abraham is episode title-I mean Abraham is Always Accountable. Right now, he can stand watch or sleep. He picks the former. They’ll reassess in the morning to figure out what the hell they’re doing here.
Back the forest, Daryl confronts his captors. He takes their gun and asks what’s in the duffel bag. After all, they put him through too much shit just to give it back. It’s a matter of principle. He settles for taking the guy’s wooden figurine and that will do. Daryl returns the bag and heads off.
And then a damn truck bursts through the trees. Men come out and demand what they’re owed. Or rather, what was stolen, not to mention the gas needed to come out and find the three. After all, as a man named Wade says, they know the rules, even if they are batshit. Daryl helps the three find cover and, for some stupid reason, returns their gun to use for protection.
Daryl makes some noise to attract one of the men, who calls out to Wade after he’s bitten by a walker. Wade joins him and hacks off the man’s arm. The two soon head off. Well, the three realize that Daryl wasn’t with them after all. So, after all, why would he return to help them? Well, Daryl figures that he may be stupid, too.
We return to the office as Abraham loads his gun. On a bridge, he finds a walker skewered by a fence. He also finds a van and a container holding a handy-dandy RPG. And cigars in a nearby box as well? The man has hit the jackpot, but he’s gonna need the walker’s launcher. Setting his rifle down, he gets dangerously close to the walker and struggles to retrieve the launcher. He hesitates for some time and eventually falls back. As a consolation prize, he lights up one of the cigars.
But then the fence holding the walker begins to strain and the walker soon falls to the ground. Luckily, the launcher managed to hang onto the pole.
He brings his gifts to Sasha and is confident about the condition of the others. Whatever’s going on at Alexandria is being managed- he knows that much. Here, the two have beer, air conditioning, and walls. The table is set for the rest of their hopefully long lives. He’s been feeling the urge to make some plays before he gives his last breath. Things will go on before that, but that hadn’t occurred to him until now. Abraham admits that he likes the way Sasha calls bullshit on…well, shit, and he’d like to get to know her better.
But, Sasha counters, what makes her think that she wants that? Abraham claims that a man can tell. Regardless, she says that Abraham has some stuff to take care of first.
In the woods, Daryl’s three companions talk of what happened to them when the outbreak happened. People traded anything and everything for safety until you’ve got nothing left but existing. Daryl figures that no one is safe anymore, so you shouldn’t promise that. One of the women, Tina, rushes towards the charred remains of a home that belonged to two people they knew who are now charred corpses.
The walkers begin to reanimate, but Daryl takes care of them in no time. Too late, though. The girl is bitten when she slips and falls right between the walkers. What compelled her to do something so stupid get that close to two corpses when there’s no way of knowing whether they’ll reanimate is beyond me.
As burials are built, Daryl goes through the standard questions the group has developed for newcomers: how many walkers has the man killed? His response is a dozen. As for how many people? None. Why? Because there’d be no going back to how things were. Daryl talks of a place he’s from where people are like the way things were, more or less. The man considers it, but goes back to digging.
He soon retrieves his motorcycle and invites the two to follow him. He has no idea of knowing if Sasha and Abraham are alive, but he’s optimistic. But then he realizes that, holy shit, he can still be double-crossed, and that’s just what happens.
The man then pulls gun and demands that Daryl surrender his crossbow. They test the motorcycle and leave Daryl on his own. Though they claim to be sorry, Daryl promises that they will be.
After finding a panel in the ground that matches the fuel company, he then removes some branches and trees to reveal a truck. The license plate reads ‘Patty002.’ Oh, so that’s why.
Abraham, meanwhile, decides to test the uniform when they hear a vehicle approach. The two join Daryl, who attempts to radio to Rick, but receives no response….at first. Soon enough, he hears one word: ‘Help.’
“Always Accountable” has a strong start. It shows us that while things are still crazy in Alexandria, life on the road isn’t any easier, despite the characters maintaining a good distance from the walkers. This episode may have even worked without running into the other people because we haven’t had much time devoted to Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham ever since the season started.
There isn’t a ton to grab from this episode because the themes and messages are ones we’ve gotten before. While The Walking Dead is generally good with dialogue, there are points where it just spells out what the audience can infer on its own.
Such is the case with Sasha and Abraham. Sasha seems to be trying to convince herself and Abraham that she’s not the unhinged mess that she was last season. If anything, she’s a bit calmer and less likely to swing wildly, as Abraham reminds her, but she still doesn’t appear to be all there.
But she’s learned from Michonne and Rosita’s help, as she isn’t the one going out and looking for trouble. While Abraham has always been one to find a fight instead of letting it come to him, Sasha notices how he goes out of his way to antagonize and kill walkers that don’t pose any real threat to him. Sure, they could be a problem down the line, but if they aren’t bothering anyone, there’s no need to instigate a situation.
Abraham needs conflict in order to keep moving from day to day. He’ll get antsy if he’s calm and complacent, all just waiting for the world to take him. So he constantly puts himself in danger not just to rid the world of a few more walkers, but also just to feel something. That kind of adrenaline rush, putting ourselves in harm’s way and having a brush with death, is an intoxicating feeling.
When, at the brink of death, you come out of a situation alive, it’s like you’ve tested the fabric of human nature and bested it. Abraham always needs to challenge himself, but in Sasha’s mind, he’s losing a bit of himself with his reckless actions. While Abraham brings great strength to the group, he could be of more use with some control.
But now, more than ever, Abraham needs to keep himself active. With the Alexandria Safe Zone, there’s a chance to slow down and plan for the future instead of living One Day at a Time. He has to keep himself busy. As a sergeant, he knows what it’s like to lose yourself in combat, and we nearly saw him do that when trying to retrieve the launcher from the walker. How that walker ended up like that is another question altogether. But Abraham would rather suffer through insomnia than get some sleep because he can’t bring himself to fully relax. At the very least, it looks like he’s found some companionship in Sasha.
I imagine Rosita probably wouldn’t be too pleased with that, but hey, maybe she’s just a fuck-buddy.
Then there’s Daryl, who, despite his rough, gruff exterior, searches for the good in people. It’s what made Aaron pick him to help with recruiting because Aaron saw that Daryl has a good heart. However, what separates Daryl from someone like Rick or Carol is he’s a bit quicker at letting down his guard around a stranger.
While I don’t approve of Rick punching out Aaron, claiming ownership of his food, and attempting to separate him from Eric, I get why he would do that. Dick move, but as Rick told Morgan in this season’s premiere, he doesn’t take chances anymore, even if the person he encounters does end up having honest intentions. Plus, Rick is just a paranoid ass.
Here, though, I would think that Daryl is a bit more careful than he is. He was knocked out cold, threatened at gunpoint, and had his crossbow stolen. Once he got the upper hand, he should have kept the gun until he knew the three wouldn’t pose any threat whatsoever. Instead, he let his conscience get the best of him and tried to recruit the three for Alexandria. And now he’s without his motorcycle and crossbow.
For this episode, it feels like Daryl has learned not to be so trusting. Given his line to the two after being robbed, I’m certain that this won’t be the last that he encounters them or his crossbow and motorcycle.
The three newcomers- well, two right now- really aren’t all that interesting right now, if I’m honest. They’re not Wolves, as far as I can tell, because their first instinct isn’t to kill, just to plunder. They know about the forest fire and are concerned about this larger group that deals in exchanging good and services for protection. And given how one needed insulin, we at least see that they take care to protect their own, no matter how weak, instead of leaving them to die.
We’re not told much about them or the men who come to them, and I’m fine with that because this feels like setup for something greater down the line. Though I do hope that there’s another confrontation, if only for Daryl to get some form of justice for being so damn gullible. And given how his crossbow was stolen, I could be wrong on this, but I’m willing to guess that the man who stole it is Dwight. Who? We’ll get to that later. He’s not identified, as far as I can tell, but that’s the comic reader in me wanting to speculate.
My only issue is that I feel Daryl was written without the full extent of his survival skills and abilities. He spends so much time trying to fish out his crossbow that it was laughable. He could easily have just run off for a bit to gain some distance, but to struggle with it until the last second was ridiculous. And again, even if he is a caring individual, he should have held onto that gun until he knew that the two weren’t an immediate threat.
Again, I think the start of this episode was great. The shootout with Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham being attacked and almost cornered from all sides felt very reminiscent of Rick and the others being herded in Terminus. But Sasha had a point: there wouldn’t be many people coming that way, so these attackers had to be waiting for someone specific. Another point I’m guessing will be addressed later.
“Always Accountable” was good, but not great. It gave some screen time to our folks on the outside, but it gave us character beats that we’ve seen before with much better writing, which was easily the weakest part of this episode. It did manage to set up a new potential conflict not just with these men talking about the rules, but the two who made off with Daryl’s crossbow and motorcycle. In addition, just who is the one pleading for help on that radio?