Last week was somewhat of a stumble for an otherwise terrific season of The Walking Dead so far. This week feels like a marginal climb back up the hill of what makes this show successful. On the one hand you have Abraham and Daryl, who are two of the more fun/engaging characters on the show to follow. At the same time, you also have to deal with the generally less engaging Sasha and a lot of characters you are merely introduced to with little to really care about as of now, beyond the inevitable showdown this episode has just set up for a future occurrence. All of that said, at least Abraham gets to play with a rocket launcher.
As we are still dealing with the events of this season that kicked off with the million walker march, this week deals with what is going on with the three characters mentioned. Not too long after this episode starts, it becomes a dual narrative. Abraham and Sasha hang tight in a town, while they wait for Daryl to return. Daryl is stuck in the woods, which have been burnt out and are full of people he’d be better not dealing with. The battle becomes which of these storylines will be more fruitful.
In true Walking Dead form, this episode is not without making a symbolic statement and then making sure you understand it by repeatedly showing you something again and again, with characters riffing on how best to talk around what the message of this week’s episode/character-building moment truly is. Fortunately, as opposed to last week, with the not-so-great performances in Alexandria, you have better actors here (and random idiots in the woods). For Daryl, placing him in a forest that has been burned out is a pretty terrific way to show how things have changed and what it means to be one man against the world and a plethora of other things you can read into.
Abraham and Sasha’s scenario is a little more complex. They get to share a conversation about how far off they have been in trying to reach their goals and it works to hear two fairly intelligent people lay it all out on the table. While I’ve had problems with Sasha in the past, I’d much prefer her speaking than lying down in a grave to make sure you can “see her struggles.” Abraham fairs better, as Michael Cudlitz is a terrific performer and what could be cooler than watching Abe scream into the face of a walker that has been impaled and dangles over a bridge? The best part is the result of that scenario.
We get some insight into Abraham’s state of mind, which boils down to having to become used to a better situation for himself and who he is with. Rather than having to kill every walker in his path, he can finally let the situation sort itself out, until he is called upon. That is exactly what happens with the RPG walker, as he eventually sits back from trying to get a prize and the situation sorts itself out (thanks gravity!). Now Abraham gets the RPG he was after, in addition to some primo cigars. Once he explains all this to Sasha, it apparently becomes a declaration of romance that none of us really needed, but at least that will lead to an awkward conversation with Rosita next week or whenever.
The Daryl stuff is honestly just okay and it would likely be less involving if it didn’t feature Daryl. It’s great to see the guy in his element, even if it is a stressful situation. Sadly, getting caught up in the storyline of some other random people is only compelling in a sense that we will see and learn more about the group the three idiots escaped from in episodes to come. Watching Daryl deal with these bozos who managed to escape a situation they grew out of being fine with, only to see one of them killed and the other two fumble their way into taking Daryl’s stuff felt like a waste of time.
Yes, Daryl gets to a point where he finds a van and can get he and his people back to safety, but it seems like we went on a fairly circular journey, only to have us learn of another (likely to be evil in some way) community out there. At the same time, all the Daryl fans certainly got their money’s worth this week, even if it did mean watching him stumble with a bag holding his crossbow, while a walker came at him (really?).
For the character work given to Abraham and Sasha and some fun moments in the midst of some silliness with Daryl, “Always Accountable” is an acceptable episode. We don’t get to see the show at its best this week, but it is engaging enough for a middle of the road episode. Now it comes down to what we will learn is really going down on the other end of that walkie-talkie.