Overall I gave this episode a 61.
This could have been great, however for some reason I thought the action at times was very linear. It didn't seem like things were going on at the same time. It moved from one action shot to another; there wasn't a good setup of actions on top of each other, so it lost its realism for me. This could have been achieved better with tighter scene editing and better camera angles and shot direction. This would have added more intensity to the dire situation for the compound inhabitants. Some zombie medium shots they should have used better takes. One take where Rick, Michonne, Deanna, Carl, Ron and Father Gabriel were fleeing from the walkers looked like they took the start of a shot right after they called action. What we get is interleaved actions with no consequences; no one but Deanna dying... Really? If that many walkers are attracted by the smell of human flesh wouldn't this be more devastating?
One thing that has run through the show is what I will just call a chain of 'actions and consequences.'
The overarching chain is that people become walkers which leads to a whole series of chains of actions and consequences. Sometimes those are centered around an event; or it can be just straight up one action leading to a consequence. You can break that up by groups of people and follow their chains or you can focus on an individual's actions and their consequences. I like how the show switches back and forth between the overall chain; the chains of different groups and those of each person. That cannot be an easy thing to pull off, however the show gets it perfect sometimes. This time it fell short for me (See the Bad.)
What counters all these chains is the struggle for humanity to navigate through these chains and forge ahead and get back to some sense of society or civilization.
Cold opening with Sam listening to Tiny Tim singing 'Tip Toe Through the Tulips' on a 45 RPM record player while he colors with crayons. We pan over to the window where small ants have found a way into the room through a crack and are marching to a plate with a half eaten cookie where they are swarming and feeding on it. (Obviously the ants represent the walkers; and the cookie the Alexandrians (more on this; and the potential for a kid kabob for the Walkers later on.)
The Steeple now tears through the wall with an audible crash; walkers pour into the compound.
Rick gets up and orders everyone to get back into their houses.
Ron's drops aim of his gun from the back of Carl's head in front of him.
Tara and Rosita grab Tobin and pull him to safety.
Deanna tries to help Rick shoot away the zombies.
Carol falls and takes a tumble and gets up just before Zombies grab her and Morgan hides her in the place where the Wolf is.
Deanna tries to protect Rick by firing a gun under the chin of a walker and the recoil sends her to the ground pushing her thigh muscle into a circular saw blade and she lands on a walker and Rick helps her up.
Maggie staggers to the safety of the ladder to the lookout position and barely makes it from there up to the perch before being eaten.
Eugene is trying to hide; standing in plain sight, however walkers find him almost immediately and start to swarm him. He paralytically murmurs for help on the walkie talkie (which Daryl hears in the Gas truck) as Rosita and Tara rescue him and bring him to the garage attached to the unit Morgan and Carol are hiding out in and shut the garage door just in time. However the door between the house and garage is locked so they are trapped in the garage area.
Rick, Deanna, Carl, Father Gabriel, Ron and Michonne get trapped in the streets and they are rescued by Jessie and led to her house because it's close and she has Judith. Walkers are making their way to the house and other parts of the compound.
Glenn and Enid watch walkers flooding the West Wall and Glenn says now they can get in the compound through the East Wall. Enid mentions this is how the end happens; where humanity dies; a breach and zombie onslaught. Enid wants to run and Glenn convinces her that the way to lose people is to go; staying is how you keep civilization and preserve humanity. Glenn reminds her about how he running towards his pregnant wife. That appears to have an effect on her.
Back at Sam's room he goes to the door which bursts open with his Mom telling him to shut the blinds and turn off the music. His voice echos as he says 'Because of the monsters' and everything is slowing down because we are in his mind. (He is after all a scared little kid.)
Morgan looks at Carol's wound. He asks her if she trusts anyone and she said he would be the last, however she never thought he was a liar. Morgan urges her to rest and settle their differences later, however she is looking for the person Morgan is hiding on the premises.
The Wolf tries to urge Denise to talk. It's clear the Wolves feel they *free* (kill) people from this existence and then *use* what is left. The wound he has comes from cutting himself on a rusty bumper (like T-Dog in the first season) and he shows his wound to Denise. It doesn't look good. Denise tries to convince the wolf to change his ways while she dresses his wound.
Deanna is lying down in a kids room with Michonne tending to her wounds with Rick and they look at wounds and realize the walker that Deanna fell on had bitten her badly and she was losing a lot of blood and she is infected. Deanna has an 'oh shit' moment.
Rick feels guilty talking to Jessie about how Deanna is cracking jokes. Rick wants to make his way to the armory to get flares to lead the walkers out of the compound. Michonne talks to Deanna about her plans and she got to do what she wanted until the end. Deanna asks a brilliant question what is it she wants? Michonne says for this place to work and Deanna clarifies for herself? And Michonne doesn't know (if you go back to earlier episodes it's pretty clear Michonne doesn't know what she wants. Deanna says 'you better.'
Carl confronts Ron in the garage of his house; Ron thinks Enid is dead and finally reveals his anger has been about Rick; he thinks he is a killer. Carl says so is his father. Ron locks the door and tries to shoot Carl who fights back. Ron breaks a window with a shovel trying to take a swing at Carl. The commotion causes walkers to make their way into the yard. They try to crash through the window. Carl tries blocking the walkers with a shelf, however it's failing and they are pushing their way into the garage. Rick breaks open the garage to house door just as walkers crash through the garage window and they block the door with a sofa inside the house. Rick asks what happened with Ron? Carl says nothing. Carl confronts Ron and takes away his gun and tells him that his dad was an asshole.
More walkers swarm and try to enter into Jessie's place. Rick goes over to where Deanna was lying and she's gone. He hurries to Judith's room where he finds Deanna with her back turned hunched over Judith's crib. He raises his axe and she turns and yells it is still her (SEE the Good.) Rick tells her she can't be kept alone from now on. Deanne gave Rick notes for Spencer and for Maggie. He promises to give the notes to them and take care of Spencer and reminds him that *all* of the people are his; not just his people and that is the right answer.
Jessie calls to Rick and he leaves Deanna.
Eugene is reading a history book by lighter and Rosita asks Tara if Alexandria is over and Tara says they have to fight for it (there's a price to earn it though.) Rosita feels like Abraham is dead, however Tara reassures her he's not to keep her going. They agree to get into the house through the locked garage door. Eugene gets to work trying to pick the lock.
Back to Carol pretending to rest and Morgan asking if she is alright. He rests his staff and looks downstairs and Carol disappears. He looks around the corner and she appears out of nowhere pushing him down and she makes a break for the basement door behind which is the Wolf and Denise.
Walkers push their way into the house from two doors forcing Gabriel, Michonne, Rick and Carl to go upstairs and block the stairwell with a sofa.
Carol makes her way into the room with the boarded up door and orders Denise away from the wall. Morgan appears with Bo Staff and squares off with Carol who is holding a trench knife.
Rick and Michonne kill two walkers and drag them up the stairs. The plan (just like in an episode in Season One) is to smear everyone with walker guts to blend in with the Walkers and make their way to the Armory where he will get a flare gut that he will use to lead the walkers out of the compound.
Morgan tries to get Carol to drop the knife and not kill the Wolf. He refuses to let her near the Wolf and is prepared to drop her if he has to.
Michonne goes to speak with Deanna one last time and Deanna says she will end her own life. She has revolver for that purpose. She repeats the line "Someday This pain will be useful to you" and tells Michonne to go. Michonne thanks her for believing in the future of humanity. Deanna asks her what does she want again and to figure it out. Michonne promises she will and she leaves.
Rick's group covers themselves with guts. Jessie tries to convince (her sheltered boy) Sam not to freak out and pretend to be brave and to disguise himself with them.
Back to Morgan and Carol. He disarms her and he knocks her out and the Wolf knocks out Morgan and takes Denise at knife point.
Rick's group begins to leave the house covered in guts (Father Gabriel shows surprising courage.)
Denise begs the Wolf not to kill them and to let them die with the Walkers.
Tara, Rosita and Eugene get through the door and try to subdue the Wolf, however he forces his hand by holding a knife to Denise's throat. They surrender their weapons and he leaves with Denise. Tara has a look mixed between fright and devastation.
Rick's group leaves the house full of walkers.
Glenn spots Maggie across the compound on the look out point.
Deanna begins to kill herself and then decides instead to take out walkers in the hallway with bullets ending in a silent scream.
On the porch of Jessie's house Rick's group begins to make their way out into the street full of walkers.
At that precise moment Sam decided to call out for his Mom (Not too smart son...If Jessie tells him to shut up then they are both done.)
Darryl, Sasha and Abraham are stopped by 7 bikers fully armed in the road. They order them to get out of the truck and surrender their weapons because now they are all the property of leader...Neagan.
Thoughts (and some unknown):
I actually loved the walker ant analogy in the cold opening along with the music and Sam coloring. It spoke so much with just quick visuals.
I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't officially meet Neagan until episode 10 or later. My money is on episode 9 being all about the consequences of the wall breach and to those within the compound.
* Echoing slowed down inner monologue approach with Sam was well done. They have finally found another way to put us inside of the mind of a character; seeing the other characters from their perspective.
* (Greatest Moment): Deanna yelling at Rick that 'it was still her' at Judith's crib was hysterically scary and funny at the same time; loved that moment!
* They did drop into place Eugene being the one radio responding to Daryl for help which did give us a simultaneous instance of knowing where Daryl, Sasha and Abraham were at the time of the breach.
* Great fallout from the show's "chain of actions and consequences" for the Alexandrians and also Rick's group's personal "Chain of actions and consequences", however certain obvious ones are missing (SEE the Bad).
* The introduction of potentially another Governor type...Neagan (pronounced Kneegan).
* As action packed as this episode was, I felt this episode was just used to build suspense, however I don't really feel a lot of suspense because it's pretty clear what's coming. Really only one Alexandrian loses her life?; their leader; Deanna? That's kind of weak sauce. There's no doubt the mid season opener will be a Juggernaut of character deaths to shock us all as much as possible. A better way of presenting things in this fashion would have been a two hour show with a suspenseful ending so you can more intensity of the devastation (that is to no doubt come.)
* The chain of actions and consequences that started off with Morgan letting the Wolves go which lead to Rick getting attacked and having a disabled RV, which in turn lead Rick to leading more walkers on foot back to the compound than the truck horn blast doesn't have the Alexandrian loss of life that I would have expected or was anticipating. With Sam shouting Mom! it is certain to happen now at this point. Kind of an odd choice to do all setup in one episode and potentially nearly all the devastating consequences in another episode.
* As mentioned earlier the action felt very linear; moving from one action to the other. I felt a loss of simultaneous action a number of times.
* Who is Neagan? How bad of a foe will he be? (He has to be bad if everything Sasha, Abraham and Daryl own now belongs to him.)
* Will they escape these bikers or be taken to Neagan?
* How far away is Neagan's camp (if he has one)?
* How big is his group?
* Where is the tremendous loss of life that should be occurring with the Walkers now in the perimeter? I supposed the next episode will be nothing but carnage consequence with actions to try and stop those from occurring. If there isn't tremendous loss of life, that would be kind of odd TV show physics right?
* Will Glenn and Enid reach the Armory to be able to help everyone out?
* Rosita and Tara had grabbed Tobin and I would imagine pulled him to safety. Where the heck is he?