Things get off to quite the explosive start this week, as we see Daryl, Abraham and Sasha, still out on the road, hundreds of walkers still trailing behind. Our heroic trio is looking to create some serious distance between themselves and the undead, and it looks like (and sounds) like a good plan, until they find themselves suddenly under fire. There are a group of men perched on the side of the road in vehicles, armed to the teeth. They open fire on our protagonists. As a result Daryl finds himself separated from Abraham and Sasha, and it looks like he may have taken a few bullets in the ambush; he collapses in a quiet wooded area. Regardless, all parties seem to have ditched these unknown assassins, for the time being.
Daryl manages to get himself up and moving, but that doesn’t last too long. He’s walking through the woods, hears noise and discovers two women, who declare, “We earned what we took!” Okay, strange enough. But things go from strange to ugly in an instant as a man creeps up from behind and knocks Daryl unconscious. Daryl comes to in the morning with a gun in his face. The man who knocked him out orders him to follow along, and warns him that any chatter will bring about a bullet to the head.
While these three mysterious figures traipse through the woods Daryl is drug along against his will. The trio seem to be terrified of someone, and the gut instinct says it isn’t The Wolves, but The Saviors, Negan’s clan. Only time will tell, but time isn’t on Daryl’s side, so he seizes the first opportunity he gets to grab the bag they’ve been carrying, which holds his crossbow, and get to running. The man – leader of the small group – unloads a few rounds at the fleeing Daryl, but he gets away, gets himself free and gets that trusty crossbow out of the bag, in his hands – just in time to put an arrow in a dangerously close walker. He also learns that within that bag is insulin, which is obviously a necessity for one of those three scumbags who caught him off guard.
We cut to a look at Sasha and Abraham, who return to the last spot they saw Daryl. That realize his bike is gone, and they know they’re out to find him at all costs – he’s a crucial piece of the puzzle, and a very, very resourceful and resilient dude. While these two are moving about, looking to stay quiet and keep their heads, they also attempt to leave Daryl messages, to let him know they haven’t abandoned him. They find themselves in a small building holed up, and here we get some amazing character excavation. Both Sasha and Abraham push one another’s buttons, but there’s a bond growing beyond all that, and there’s an honesty in their conversation that gets the attention of the viewer. It’s a slow but tense scene.
Back to Daryl’s struggles; we see our dirty, long haired hero make his way back to the three who took him captive. He returns the duffle bag with the insulin to the group and heads off. But just as he’s leaving we see a rig come barreling through the brush, presumably looking for the three desperate survivors. In moments Daryl realizes they’re surrounded. He returns, yet again, to the three and makes an attempt to get them out of harm’s way, as these guys clearly mean big business.
Through a strange set of circumstances, Daryl is able to ensure the safety of these three, as more pressing issues have the group hunting them retreating. This is an interesting moment, because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen full-on hero Daryl in action. Now that we get to see that once more, it’s easy to realize just how much we missed this amazing character. Hopefully from here on out we’ll see Daryl return to the paramount club. He needs all the screen time he can get. The man deserves it.
Abraham has an interesting moment. He’s out walking the area directly outside of where he and Sasha holed up for the night. He comes across a military vehicle that’s still got some heavy artillery in the bed, as well as some tasty looking cigars. There’s something strange about this entire scene, as it’s impossible to shake the idea that something very, very terrible may be on the cusp of happening to our burly friend.
Surprisingly, Abraham makes it out okay, and he returns to Sasha with a lot of extra firepower and some stogies. He’s even feeling himself a bit more, throwing out some flirtation in Sasha’s direction. And Sasha, another troubled, desperate soul in this screwed up world doesn’t exactly shy away from that flirtation. Something interesting could very well be brewing here. In an episode that’s thus far been loaded with tension, this is a nice little swing in the tone.
Back out in the woods we see that Daryl is getting to know his new acquaintances a bit better. The fear of one another has dissipated after Daryl’s rescue, and that’s a good thing. How long these three new faces will survive is a story yet to be told, but they could potentially become something closer to regular faces of the show, rather than cameo characters doomed to an immediate death. We may find that truth out by the end of the episode.
And just as I type that, one of the three, the girl in need of regular insulin injections finds herself becoming a meal for a pair of walkers. Well, one down.
After helping the man bury his friend, Daryl offers the two survivors a chance to return to the safest place he knows, and it looks like they’re willing to take that offer. Daryl leads them back to where he hid his motorcycle earlier in the episode, and then these douche bags pull a 180. The man draws his weapon and demands Daryl give them his bike and crossbow. He betrays a man who just saved his neck, and it’s a disgusting thing to see.
“I’m sorry,” says the woman.
“You’re gonna be,” says Daryl, who’s now left to fend for himself with no weapon, on foot.
Where is the decency in this world?
Daryl, knowing exactly how to live, and track, in the world of The Walking Dead soon finds a rig of his own to drive. A fuel rig. And before we know it he’s located Sasha and Abraham. The next shot we see is of the three barreling down the street in that truck. If you’ve ever had doubt about what kind of man Daryl Dixon is, it can no longer linger in your mind. The man is a certified, selfless hero and he cares deeply about those he now knows are his true family. This man is amazing.