Well, that was a surprise. Not that it happened, mind you, but the timing and the target threw me for a loop. You want that in a show like The Walking Dead, though it should be noted again that if we’re spending a good amount of time with a character who normally doesn’t get that much attention, keep an eye out.
Okay, I’m finished.
The episode begins in what could be a tribute to Groundhog Day in Alexandria as the citizens go about their daily routines. Morgan is putting the finishing touches on his jail cell when Rick arrives and asks Morgan why. Morgan responds that it will give the citizens some choices for next time. As Meredith takes inventory, we go about another daily routine. Carol still has the crucifix from the previous episode, even. Rosita heads out, leaving Spencer in bed.
Daryl eyes the figurines he swiped from Dwight when Carol joins him, glad that he got his bike back. She asks him about the people he saved in the burned forest. Carol isn’t upset him saving them because that’s who he is, but Daryl wishes that he had killed them. He then asks Carol about the people who took her and Maggie hostage and what they did. But she responds that they didn’t do anything.
While Eugene and Abraham head out for a run, Rosita tries to cut short Spencer’s small talk and dinner invitation. In fact, she wants to know what the hell they’re doing. Rosita soon relents and agrees to dinner.
Soon after, Denise informs Rosita and Daryl about Edison’s Apothecary and Boutique: a gift shop in a strip mall that may also have drugs. There’s no guarantee of any drugs still being there, but Denise just wants to be sure. As in she wants to also go outside the walls.
It helps that Daryl and Rosita don’t have anything to do right now. Now Denise has spent next to no time out there, and while she may be able to identify the meds, Rosita is against her joining.
Denise may know how to use a machete and have seen roamers up close, but she’s inexperienced. When she offers to go alone, Daryl and Rosita have little option but to play babysitter. I imagine this isn’t how they envisioned spending their day.
On the road, Denise gives Daryl front seat tips about driving stick when the three eventually reach a fallen tree in the road. Daryl and Rosita head out and begin removing the debris while Denise watches from the safety of the truck. The three go on foot, with Daryl and Denise going through the woods while Rosita follows the train tracks. Given the group’s history with train tracks, I’m not against Daryl’s decision to follow the road.
Back to Abraham and Eugene, who make small talk on their run. Abraham is curious about Eugene’s recent change in appearance. For Eugene, like any RPG or electronic, the key to survival is allowing oneself to be shaped by the assigned environment.
In doing so, you acquire a broad range of skills, allowing you to flip the script and use said skills to shape the environment for maximum longevity. Right now, Eugene is in Stage Two as a survivor
Daryl and Denise catch up to Rosita and the three find a rundown strip mall. They head for the Edison store, with Daryl telling Denise to stay back while he and Rosita head in.
At the same time, Abraham and Eugene also enter a building with a lot of machinery. Abraham is lost on why the two are here, but Eugene tells him that they’re going to manufacture bullets here. This has been on his mind for some time. Abraham is skeptical, but with a thorough scrubbing and some lead, Eugene is certain he can do this here. That is some damn fine thinking outside of the box.
Eugene wants to inform Rick and Olivia, but before this, he runs into some trouble with a walker that’s got some melted steel encased on its head. Abraham ends up taking it out, even though Eugene claims he had full control of the situation. Abraham tells Eugene that he needs to learn fast if he’s serious about surviving in this world.
In addition, Abraham believes that Eugene’s skillset lies with ghosting hostilities and making bullets. However, Eugene believes that Abraham has outlived his usefulness to him. With that, Abraham heads off since his services are no longer required. So Eugene can find his own way home.
Rosita, Daryl, and Denise enter the abandoned store and examine every nook and cranny of the shop. Daryl soon finds the pharmacy. While he and Rosita go for everything in sight, they hear a noise that they believe is coming from just one walker. They go back to packing, but Denise arms herself and heads inside. Inside, she finds an abandoned playroom and a walker that’s not worth the trouble. “Hush” is scrawled on the walls.
She rushes out, making a shit ton of noise in the process, so she ends up waiting outside. Daryl and Rosita soon join her, and while Daryl says that she did a good job finding this place, Rosita reiterates that Denise wasn’t ready for this.
On the walk back, Denise tells Daryl that her brother, Dennis, was older than her by a few minutes. Nothing scared him. He was brave, but also angry. A dangerous combination. Sounds a lot like Merle. Daryl elects to walk the train tracks since, as Denise said, it’s faster.
Denise checks a nearby car that is holding both a walker and cooler. She wants it, though there’s no guarantee of anything inside, but Daryl and Rosita say it’s not worth it. True as this is, Denise opens the car door and gets the cooler, but the walker falls on top of her. Before Rosita and Daryl can save her, Denise stabs the walker in the head. And then she vomits on her glasses. And what’s in the cooler? Pop, including a can of Orange Crush.
Daryl is beyond pissed because Denise could have died, but Denise’s rationale is that you take chances to survive. This was a big moment for her because she’s got training in this shit. She asked Daryl to come because he’s brave, and Rosita because she’s afraid. More than that, they give her hope that she can as strong as them.
She could’ve told Tara that she loved her, but she was afraid. That was stupid- not facing her shit. But Daryl and Rosita aren’t even trying.
Denise’s rant is interrupted when, out of nowhere, a bolt goes straight through her right eye. She falls to the ground just as a group of Saviors emerge from the woods. Among them, a slightly scarred Dwight, who has Eugene as a captive. Dwight is, of course, glad to see his old pal. The Saviors disarm Dwight and Rosita, with Daryl regretting that he didn’t kill Dwight. So who brought this on who?
Dwight laments that Denise wasn’t the one he was aiming for, but he’s still getting used to the crossbow. He tells Rosita and Daryl that they’ll be letting him and the other Saviors into Alexandria so they can take whatever and whomever they want or they’ll kill Eugene. Dwight doesn’t want it to come to that. Eugene gives up Abraham’s location, saying that he deserves to die more than them.
Eugene makes his move by biting Dwight in the crotch. Abraham springs into action as he, Daryl, and Rosita open fire on the Saviors and approaching walkers. The remaining Saviors fall back, but Daryl does manage to retrieve his crossbow. The three take Eugene back with them while Denise’s lifeless body rests on the train tracks.
Back in Alexandria, Eugene will live to see another day due to a bullet just grazing him. He tells Abraham that he was just looking for a moment. Abraham apologizes for questioning Eugene’s skills. It helps that Eugene knows how to bite a dick, and Abraham means that with the utmost respect.
Abraham meets with Sasha to tell her that they both have choices. It could be 30 years for them both in Alexandria, but that’s still too short. Sasha invites him inside.
Daryl and Carol, meanwhile, bury Denise’s body. Well, Daryl digs, with Carol admitting that he was right about what he said earlier.
We then overhear Carol’s narration in a letter to Tobin as she ends her relationship with him. There’s everything they need to live within the walls, but what they want, other people want, too. If they survive this threat, there will be another. She loves everyone, but she won’t kill for them. Rick sent her away, but she wound up staying.
Now, she can’t love anymore because she can’t kill for anyone, so she’s going, like she always should have. Also, don’t come after her. Morgan watches the now empty porch swing drift in the wind as the episode comes to a close.
Well, that happened. “Twice As Far” was a good episode. It advanced the plot for several characters, gave us development for Abraham, Eugene, and Denise, put the survivors in another conflict with the Saviors, and pushes up closer to Negan’s first appearance.
With two episodes left and Negan yet to appear, it was a given that a character would be meeting their end. Not just because of Negan’s reputation, but to tip the scales and make things a bit more balanced. As is, once again, our survivors found themselves in a confrontation with the Saviors and, for the most part, came out on top. Yes, they lost Denise, but they still ended up forcing the Saviors to retreat.
But not without a major loss. Like Bob before her, the second we started learning more about Denise and her becoming more outspoken, it was a red flag. Unlike Aaron or Heath, Denise hasn’t spent a lot of time outside the walls, so this was a big change for her to prove her worth to herself and Daryl and Rosita. It allowed her to vent. We dug a bit into her past as well, with her upbringing having similarities with Daryl’s.
Like other Alexandria residents, Denise looked up to the new survivors because they have next to no fear of walkers or living outside of a safe zone. That’s what they’ve known for so long, but Denise had the advantage of being sheltered in Alexandria. For Daryl and Rosita, taking a chance on a supply run is nothing to them at all. Denise, though, lacked experience to survive for long, but given the chance, she proved she could eventually hold her own.
And then she dies. In addition to Eugene biting Dwight’s crotch- more on that in a minute- I didn’t expect the show to adapt the death by crossbow to the eye. Or, at least, I didn’t expect it to be Denise. I still thought it would have been Abraham, given the time we spent with him and Eugene, but then boom, Denise takes a bolt to the eye. Like the comic, it was a gruesome sight to watch her try and keep talking despite the mortal wound.
Brief-aside on Denise’s death. People apparently are taking issue with this because Denise is a lesbian and, based off what happened on The 100, is another case of television shows killing off a gay character. First off, no. Second, no. Denise was the doctor. Her sexuality was not her defining character trait.
And really, anyone can die on this show. Not sure why I’m making this point because it’s not like I’ve got any sort of audience.
Then there’s the argument that Carl managed to survive his eye injury, but Denise did not. Here’s the difference: once Carl had been shot, Rick and Michonne immediately abandoned their escape plan and rushed to the infirmary so Denise could save his life. Here, Denise is the doctor, so who else has the medical expertise to save her life? In addition, the group wasn’t in the Safe Zone, so there was no immediate way to save her.
Another side-note, why does Denise think that Rosita is alone? The two don’t seem like the closest of friends, and Rosita has been out with the others to ambush the Saviors. The breakup with Abraham hasn’t been that long, so how would Denise infer this? Though I guess an argument could be made that Spencer is just a rebound.
Anyway, then you’ve got Eugene, who the show is setting up in a great way when it comes to his plan of manufacturing bullets. This could end up having a big payoff, but I’ll leave it at that for now without getting into comic territory. Eugene’s arc has also been about proving himself, which he’s had to do even more after admitting that he lied. He aided the others during “No Way Out,” so he has what it takes to survive.
So it’s refreshing to see him change his appearance and demeanor for the sake of adaptation. The world is changing and bullets are valuable, so he’s showing how he can be of use to stockpile ammunition. And he’s a quick thinker for biting Dwight in the crotch. He allowed Abraham, Rosita, and Daryl a moment to take care of the Saviors and proved to Abraham that he has valuable skills. Even if they involve his mouth and a man’s dick.
As for Carol, it feels like we’re missing something. It’s not unlike her to just vanish without a trace. And I get the feeling that her talks with Daryl confirmed what she experienced in “The Same Boat,” but maybe a short conversation with Rick or someone else would have been nice instead of just having her explanation spelled out through a letter and closing narration.
“Twice As Far” put our survivors in another winning battle against the Saviors, but that came with a price in Denise’s death before Tara could admit her feelings for her. It gave Abraham and Eugene a bit of growth as both made bold steps to adapt in the ever-changing world. Not everything worked, as Carol’s decision to leave felt a bit odd, but with two episodes left, here’s hoping we get an explanation of where she’s headed next.