Don't read this if you haven't already seen "JSS."
Just survive somehow is the second episode of the season, and it's the abbreviated mantra for Enid, who writes JSS on her hand and arrives at Alexandria before Rick's group. This is a powerful way to draw out last week's tension, which ended with a massive herd of walkers making a turn towards the compound.
This episode accomplishes two things. First, we get Enid's backstory, which is as tragic as you would imagine and, second, it removes a significant number of secondary extras from the Alexandrian population. Purely from a logistical standpoint, it makes it possible for this group to coalesce a little better. If there were any Alexandrians who had the idea of throwing Rick and his group out, they're now chopped up by crazy people. It's hard to tell a story when thirty or forty people are running around.
Is there anything rational about the wolves? Nope. They are not looking to take over Alexandria. They're there for the mayhem and the five finger discount. They're bedraggled and disorganized and don't even have guns. They are merciless and manipulative and, when injured, will beg for mercy in order to get the upper hand. This is a group that will have to be hunted to extinction. The fact that Morgan left a handful of them alive means they're going to be a factor in future episodes. Mercy is what you find in civilization so I cannot fault the character for having it. But, in The Walking Dead, you don't leave an enemy alive. We saw that with the Governor and we saw that with Terminus.
There seems to be a running gag with this season, and it involves being indifferent to the fate of Father Gabriel. Last week, when he tried to volunteer to help, Rick dismissed him with a "no." This week, it's Carol's turn to leave the Father for the Wolves. We also see the possibility of a love triangle with Ron, Carl and Enid. Teenagers in love is a possibility that will not end well for anyone during an onslaught of walkers.
This reminds me of how poor I am at predictions. Guess what? Who saw the wolves attacking in broad daylight as a plot twist? We are treated to Carol, staring outside at a neighbor and then we have hacking and cutting and mayhem. Carol has just put on the timer for one of her spring cleaning casseroles and, for the next 45 minutes, we get to see Terminus Carol dress up like a wolf and clear them out. She gets significant help from the rest of the B-list cast, including Rosita and Aaron, as well as Morgan, who delivers far too much mercy for this episode. I thought it would be Ron or Enid that would betray the group to the walkers. Nope, got that wrong.
And what did we learn? Well, the walls of Alexandria are remarkably strong because a semi-truck is able to ram the place and bounce off. Deanna's remaining son Spencer is all but useless as a sniper or a gate guard (although he did spray the semi with automatic fire) and Deanna herself is a non-entity. Who is she going to lead now? What good is she? Maggie is going to feed everyone once they get the perimeter expanded. She already has the seeds and the know-how to make it happen.
We also learned that Carol should have been the focus of the show from day one. There is no other character who has saved more people and accomplished more than Carol. If you counted Rick's setbacks and mistakes against him, you'd have to conclude that everyone should be on Team Carol and doing whatever she says. The fact that Melissa McBride does not already have at least one Emmy is a crime against the Humanities.
A new character, Dr. Denise Cloyd, was treated to more hijinks from Eugene and Tara and was revealed to be anxious and nervous about performing surgery on people. They should have started with an amputation, but that's neither here nor there when you're reducing the population and getting rid of the C-list extras. Dr. Cloyd is a welcome addition along with Heath, who was introduced last week and overexposed to Eugene.
I'm not even going to bother making another prediction about this season--man, what a lot of twists and turns so far. This is what TV is supposed to do--it's supposed to keep you guessing and keep you interested. Anyone who says that these first two episodes are slow or off is using major amounts of delusion pills.