The action and tension was pushing into overload in last night′s epiosde of AMC-TV′s ″The Walking Dead″. The Mid-Season 6 finale, ″Start to Finish″, had plenty for everyone. Lots of zombies, lots of terror, lots of destruction, anger, hostility and buckets of blood! There was even room for ″Tip-Toe Through the Tulips″! Perhaps even more interesting for the serious fans of the hit zombie apocalypse series came later during the first commercial break for ″Into The Badlands″. A two-minute ′prologue′ for the second-half of the Season 6 shows Daryl, Sasha and Abraham driving back towards Alexandria when they encounter a group of bikers, led by Negan. Fans who read the comic books/graphic novels know all too well who Negan is and his group, ′The Saviors′. But before I give anything else away to those who merely recorded last night′s episode, permit me to warn you of a SPOILER ALERT!
Okay, so you are either a true fan who watched the show already or a true fanatic who just simply has to know as much as possible. The show began in the bedroom of Sam, youngest son to Jesse. Sam has never been wrapped too tight from the beginning. His now deceased daddy, Pete, was an alcoholic and a mean drunk at that. Pete regularly beat on Jesse and terrorized his two sons, Ron and Sam. After the zombie apocalypse, Pete got even worse, sending Sam to hide in a closet much of the time. Then Carol came along and scared Sam even more when she threatened to tie him to a tree outside the safety of Alexandria so he could be eaten alive by ′The Monsters′. Shortly after that, Rick killed Pete and a couple days later, the Wolves attacked the town. Jesse had to kill one Wolf in her kitchen while Sam hid in his closet.
Ever since then, Sam has been staying upstairs in his bedroom, occasionally popping out to the top of the stairway to get a plate of food left by his mother. This time he left an empty plate, then scurried back into his bedroom as ″Tip Toe Through the Tulips″ played on his little record player. Sam laid on the floor and resumed coloring his picture of being tied to a tree. All the while, an army of ants have entered from outside through a crack in the window, swarming over a half-eaten chocolate-chip cookie. Que the opening theme music to remind us all that nobody is ever really safe on ′The Walking Dead′!
After the commercial break, we return to where we left off last week. The church′s steeple or clock tower, weakened during the attack by the Wolves when a truck slammed into it, has fallen and knocked down part of the wall. The 5,000 zombies surrounding Alexandria now have a way in and come pouring through the breach. Rick and the rest go into full panic mode! Maggie scrambles to get back up a ladder to her perch, but a swarm of walkers nearly get her. After a brief struggle, she makes it to the top of the perch and watches the green balloons, a signal from her husband Glenn, float aimlessly by.
Tara and Rosita collect Eugene, who had found a radio and called out ″HELP″ when Daryl tried to signal, and the three scramble into a garage. Rick leads Deanna, Michonne, Gabriel, Carl and Ron through the streets in search of safety. Deanna is now packing a revolver, finally, and is using it. During one scrum with walkers, Deanna gets knocked down, sandwiched between two walkers. Rick saves her and then Jesse saves them all, leading the group back to her house where Same and Baby Judith are. But it is too late for Deanna. She′s been bitten and its only a matter of time before she′ll die and become a walker herself.
Carol, who had followed Morgan and Denise to where Morgan was hiding a wounded Wolf, had confronted Morgan until the new emergency occurred. Now, she and Morgan rush towards the armory but don′t make it. Carol trips and hurts her head, Morgan helps and they wind up in another residence that is unfinished. Carol may have a concussion and is shaky, but she is still determined to fight on, and to kill Morgan′s pet Wolf. Meanwhile, the Wolf plays his mind game with Denise, who winds up treating his wound. Outside the town, Glenn and Enid view the latest disaster. Enid thinks its all over and time to bug out. But Glenn believes that people are still alive and there must be something they can do to help.
Back at Jesse′s house, Carl finds Ron in the garage or utility room. He finds out now that Ron has a gun with bullets and intends to kill Carl. They argue about whose dad is a murderer and a fight ensues after Ron draws his pistol. The life and death struggle results in both knocking each other down. Ron loses his gun but picks up a shovel to kill Carl with. But Ron misses and instead breaks a window on the backdoor, drawing the attention of 40 or 50 walkers who now change course and shove their way into the house. Rick saves them both but he had to chop away a door lock. The walkers can now get in the house proper. More walkers bust their way in through the front door. The group retreats upstairs, but know they cannot hold out for very long.
Poor Sam is now really terrified! His whole, little world is coming to an end. Down the hall, Rick finds Deanna with baby Judith. At first, Rick thought that Deanna had changed into a walker already, but she tells him, ″I′m still me!″, before he chops her in the head with his ax. Rick grabs Judith and joins the rest across the hall from Sam. He and Michonne kill two walkers and drag them upstairs. They have to leave and their only chance is to cover themselves in walker blood and guts and try to sneak out, mingling with the walkers. Deanna will have to be left behind. Nobody likes this idea, especially Sam. He hasn′t even been on the first floor for the past few days being too afraid of the big, mean world outside his bedroom.
Back in another location, Rosita prepares herself for the end. Tara tries to instill some hope while Eugene has nothing better to do but read a book on world history. He finallys offers a ray of hope by trying to pick a lock on a door which may lead them to safety. Meanwhile, Carol and Morgan return to the ′jail′ and confront each other over the Wolf. Carol wants to kill the Wolf, Morgan won′t let her. Denise tries to defuse the situation, but even the Wolf tells Morgan to kill him! Carol delivers one of her best lines ever as she tells Morgan, ″I′ll kill you and him so nobody else has to die.″ Morgan and his recently acquired Asian ethics fail miserably.
Carol, armed with her lovely trench knife, makes a move to stab Morgan, but he counters with his staff. They both lose their weapons as they battle each other hand-to-hand. Morgan gets an edge and body slams Carol on the floor, knocking the wind out her. But the Wolf makes his move and clubs Morgan with Morgan′s own staff! The Wolf grabs Carol′s knife and threatens Denise just as the door opens. Its Rosita, Tara and Eugene! The Wolf gets behind Denise and holds the trench knife to her throats. He orders Tara and Rosita to drop their pistols, which they do. The Wolf leaves, taking Denise as a hostage. Across town, Glenn manages to shimmy up a tree and look over the wall. He sees Maggie, still alive, stuck on top of a guard tower on the far side.
Back at Jesse′s house, the group is ready to go. Michonne has one last chat with Deanna, prepared to off her. But Deanna says she isn′t ready to die just yet. When she is, she′ll do it herself with her revolver. Deanna offers one last piece of advice to Michonne. Set a goal of finding happiness for yourself. Seems odd when you′re being overrun by thousands of flesh-eating zombies. But this is the universe of The Walking Dead! The gang don blood soaked bedsheets, even Sam, who is so terrified he′s ready to burst. They march down the stairs carefully, among dozens of walkers. Even Baby Judith is staying quiet in Carl′s arms, hidden under his walker-gut-covered, toga-bedsheet. They make it on to the porch and see a sea of walkers on the street. Its worse than shopping on Black Friday!
Deanna summons up her last once of strength and opens her bedroom door. The second-floor hallway is loaded with walkers. She aims her revolver and starts shooting. Instead of using a bullet to kill herself, she′s creating one last distraction to save the others. As the walkers close in on Deanna, she lets out one, last, loud yell of human defiance. Rick leads the rest down the porch stairs, taking advantage of Deanna′s sacrifice. But will his plan work? Will they reach safety? Maybe not as Sam starts calling for his mom. This is certainly not the right time for a conversation! Will Sam get them all killed or only a few?
So that is how ″The Walking Dead″ mid-season finale ended. From ″Start to Finish″, the 8th episode of Season 6 was loaded with excitement and drama. Too bad we must now wait until February 14th to learn if it will be a Happy Valentine′s Day or a massacre? We will also have to wait to find out more about the encounter between our other group of heroes with the sinister Negan. He wants their truck, supplies, and weapons, including the RPG launcher and four rocket grenades that Abraham found. The word from the show′s producers is that we may not see much of Negan and the Saviors until Season 7. If you are familiar with the comic books, you know that a whole lot of bad stuff happens.