There’s only one thing to be said after watching “JSS”. I pledge allegiance to Carol.
The second episode of Season 6 follows the events of what happened inside in Alexandria, while most of the team players were out diverting the 700 billion walkers. It starts off with a documentation of how Enid came to be at Alexandria, following her parent’s really stupid death (you’d have to be complete idiots to die like they did) to her killing a turtle and wildly eating its meat (this was probably the most disturbing scene for me to watch during the entire episode). While leading up to her arrival at Alexandria’s gates, she leaves a motif at every instance: “JSS”. Enigmatic but already very profound.
All the moms have congregated in the kitchen for what seems to be a cooking meet-up. Carol, charming as ever, hides her fierce warrior self behind a façade of domesticity. This becomes very evident when she’s explaining how to make pasta, then telling a moping young Sam two minutes later “your dad hit you and now he’s dead. Move on.”
Meanwhile, the state of affairs throughout Alexandria are continuing as usual. There’s a strain between Jessie and her son Ron as she states she and Rick are indeed friends, despite the fact he killed Ron’s father. Maggie motivates Deanna to push forward and continue to grow Alexandria, as it’s what Reg would have wanted. Tara and Eugene meet Denise, the newly appointed doctor with frequent panic attacks. It’s not the most convenient time to be appointed doctor, given the previous state of affairs.
While Carl is walking baby Judith around, he sees Enid and Ron hanging out and hugging. Chills of jealousy and suspicion, akin of teenage angst, no doubt spiral through him. He later encounters Gabriel, for whom he agrees to teach how to use weapons later that day.
Carol is perched at her window, spying on her friend Shelly. Previously, Carol told Shelly to stop smoking indoors, and to generally stop smoking in general: there were enough things trying to kill them all anyway. Turns out, Carol was right! A deranged man sprints onto the scene and suddenly and bluntly murders Shelly.
It’s suddenly chaos in Alexandria as a wave of demented and barbaric people storm the walls and begin killing without thinking. These are the wolves, who have finally made their grand appearance. Marked by a scar in “W” form on their forehead, they show absolutely no mercy.
It turns out that the only competent ones in trying to fight off these wolves are the non-Alexandrians. Deanna’s own son, who sits perched at the watchtower, contributes very little to the fight. Even as a truck storms onto the scene and hits the wall, starting the massive horn sound (the one that closed off the premiere last week), he is rendered useless to stop the noise. Why? He can’t kill the walker sat inside. Luckily for him, Morgan arrives on the scene and saves the day – well, he stops the horn sound.
I’d have to say the award to saving the day goes unequivocally to Carol, my hero. Ditching the kitchen garbs, she emerges from the depths of her house masqueraded as a wolf, and takes out multiple wolves by the second. Her role heavily juxtaposes Morgan’s, who tries to avoid killing as much as possible. In fact, we see the same disappointed expression he gave frequently to Rick in last week’s episode, except now directed at machine-Carol. Her plan is straightforward. Go to the armory and defend the guns, and also kill anyone who isn’t them. Simple!
While Carl is defending baby Judith at home, Enid arrives at the scene and tries to say bye to him before escaping once more. Suspicious? I think so. Carl manages to guilt-trip her in saying he needs help defending Judith, and so they both stand guard at the home. In between this time, Carl ends up saving Ron from a wolf outside. Carl invites him to join him and Enid indoors, but Ron casts a glance and Enid and angrily runs off.
Back at Jessie’s place, it’s become quite evident that crazies are on the loose, and so she takes Sam and barricades them both inside a closet. Once it seems like the wolves have left her home, she leaves Sam in the closet and runs down. Turns out not everyone’s left, and soon she’s faced against yet another crazy Wolf. She ends up gaining the upper hand, using the scissors that were supposed to be used to cut Ron’s hair earlier that day. But she doesn’t stop there. Something seems to have been released inside Jessie, and she absolutely loses it, stabbing the scissors into the wolf’s face well beyond what was needed. Ron arrives on the scene just as this is happening, and watches in disbelief.
Carol truly is the rock-star of the show. In her “wolf” garb, she throws off many of the wolves who approach her right before delivering a swift end to their lives. She arrives at the armory to defend the weapons, and finds Olivia hiding in the closet. In about two seconds, Carol teaches Olivia how to point and shoot the gun in case intruders come in. I was half expecting Olivia to freak out and not listen, but when Carol’s telling you what to do, shit kicks in really quickly. Olivia bounces up and she’s ready to fight.
This isn’t quite true for everyone, unfortunately. Inside the “ER room”, newly knighted doctor Denise suddenly has to face a crazy influx of patients. She tries to save one patient with non-surgery attempts, but nothing works. Tara and Eugene urge her to use surgery to try and save her life. It’s better to be brave than to not try after all. She listens to their advice and starts up the procedure, after much coaxing. Unfortunately, it’s too late to save the patient. Fully dejected, she requests everyone to leave the room. Before leaving, Tara mentions “make sure you aim at the brain.”
As per his non-violent tactics, Morgan manages to make his way around Alexandria defending and attacking the wolves with his staff (it’s very reminiscent of Gandalf, to be honest). It is 6 vs 1 at a point, but Morgan keeps his cool. He actually recites poetry on the use of gun violence while swiftly knocking out each wolf, and his point is clear: leave now. Otherwise, every other skillful Alexandrian will show no mercy and shoot each of them dead. The wolves listen to him and all run away.
The naysayer Carter seems to be the only Alexandrian who is competent at killing. As he’s walking alone down a street of slayed wolves, he finds one of the wolf’s backpacks and digs in. Inside are detailed photos of the structure of Alexandria, photos that unfortunately could only have been taken by an Alexandrian. Carter realizes this and starts to cry.
Back at Carl’s house, Enid is nowhere to be found. Carl finds a note at the foot of the door however, and written on the note is the answer to Enid’s enigmatic JSS: “Just Survive Somehow”. Carl shrugs this off and goes to the oven to pull out a cake that he’s been baking. This is perhaps the biggest reveal and surprise of the entire episode.
Morgan faces one more almost-deadly encounter in a seemingly abandoned house. Just as things begin to go badly for Morgan, he turns it around. The wolf seems to realize that Morgan has a distate for killing, but Morgan soon surprises us all and kills him. Right before he does that, he murmurs “I’m sorry”.
Carol sits herself on her steps opposite Shelly’s house, and holding Shelly’s cigarettes beings to tear up. It seems like the aftermath of all the events finally seems to sink in.
As the dust seems to settle and all things come to a close, Carol and Morgan cross paths at a crossroad. With not so much as a glance towards each other, they continue walking, knowing what they need to do next.
I gotta say, this episode had even more suspense and intrigue compared to the last episode. There was so much more happening and so many more huge reveals that will no doubt affect the path of the next several episodes. Carol once again proves that she is, in fact, the real MVP. Morgan seems to be drained following these events, but is a thoroughly efficient and much needed player in Alexandria.
To be honest, I thought the horn might have been coming from Gabriel, alluding to the biblical story of Gabriel’s horn. The appearance of the wolves was a viable answer, but it was still a surprise once they arrived on the scene and began to slaughter. Honestly, the wolves were all that I were expecting. I do believe that Enid was the spy for the wolves, as she had been taking photos and slipping out quite often. Her disappearance from the episode was not tied up quite properly, so I fully expect to see her once more in the future, perhaps on a very different side.