Credit goes to ‘Twice As Far’ for being an episode of The Walking Dead that started in a way that didn’t quite set me up for what to expect. We get some neat montages from the onset, before realizing this is something of a road trip episode, blocking off a few major characters. Between some solid character work and very aggressive survival tactics, there is a lot to admire, but I only wish the ending didn’t feel so out of place.
Before jumping to the very end though, let’s give a round of applause to Eugene for his extreme handling of a ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ situation. As we all know, Eugene has a way with words, but this week he definitely bit off more than he could chew, after telling Abraham to get lost. In what has to be the worst reunion ever, Daryl has the chance to meet back with the man who stole his stuff, only to have the situation come to a breaking point by Eugene taking a big bite out of crime.
Yes, this climax is a later place to start at, but ‘Twice As Far’ is an important episode for two of the series’ more naïve characters, who are quite skilled at non-walker killing related things. Eugene has been trying to prove himself worthy of something since the end of last season and now he has his chance. While on a scouting mission with Abraham, he locates a facility where he believes he can start producing ammunition, which is a brilliant plan for all the reasons he lays out.
Of course, Eugene is so confident in being ready for more that life throws at him, he battles Abraham over the usefulness shared between them. Following an extensive use of creative metaphors between the two, Abraham ditches Eugene and we later get to the show’s big firefight/member-biting moment. By the end of this episode, as we see Eugene lying in a bed, having been grazed by a bullet, he is still as confident as ever, but he and Abraham at least seem to be an understanding.
Dr. Denise was the other character earning some respect (despite some goofy choices), but a completion of her arc sadly did not mean taking her to the next level. To her credit, Merritt Wever made good use of her time on this series. In the midst of seemingly unkillable main characters and red shirt Alexandrians we don’t care about, Dr. Denise actually seemed human. This week we got to hear some of her backstory, while she journeyed with Daryl and Rosita on a mission for medication. It was just enough to somewhat understand her silly ‘going it alone’ moments that nearly got her killed.
Nearly getting killed is nothing compared to actually getting killed though and after having this episode watch Denise get into some danger twice and survive, the third time was the charm. Some may have seen this coming, as The Walking Dead often rewards kindness, big acting and monologuing with random death, but the situation did get dark fast, which brings us back to the whole Eugene and his big mouth incident once again.
Surrounding these two character arcs though, we do get some work with the others. Rosita is somewhat lost, after Abraham abruptly dumped her. Daryl finds himself at a place of regret for not getting rid of Dwight, the man with a burned face and a new injury below the belt. Additionally, we now see that Abraham is carrying on with his plan to get to know Sasha better.
Apparently Carol was also supposed to be a key part of this episode, which is where ‘Twice As Far’ lost me. Despite being a key factor in the previous two weeks, there was not much indication that she would be ready to leave Alexandria. However, because of what went down this week, we are apparently supposed to feel for Carol enough to be emotionally pulled by her relationship with Tobin and sudden departure. Sadly, this feels more like a contrived move for the sake of future episode plots, rather than an organic development.
It is a shame, as I wanted to see more of her interactions with Morgan. Morgan must have felt the same way, given how this episode ends on his facial reaction to Carol being gone. What this show is planning in its next few episodes, I cannot say, but it really does feel like we missed something to bring us to the ending ‘Twice As Far’ provides. Given the repetitive montage-themed opening, with a closing bookend as well, the potential was there for everything to add up, but then the show through in this random twist.
There will be some sort of resolve, obviously, as Daryl will not likely leave this alone. I just hope this move results in something more interesting than seeing the Saviors suddenly get the drop on our heroes through the results of this Carol situation. However, putting the main story arc aside, it is good to see a couple supporting characters get some strong development. Obviously it worked out better for Eugene than Denise, but having this show help us to care about who lives and dies is always more useful than randomly knocking off the dead weight.