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'The Walking Dead' midseason finale recap ('Start to Finish')

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Sunday November 29, 2015

Remember season one when Rick and Glenn stuck zombie guts on themselves to disguise themselves from the walkers - until it rained?

The producers finally brought back that gambit five seasons later. You'd think they would use it more often.  It seems surprisingly effective - in dry weather.

The walkers have entered Alexandria in the hundreds now that the church beacon has fallen over a fence. All of the survivors manage to escape into various homes but in the mayhem, Deanna gets bit. She's doomed.

Fortunately, she dies in good humor and gets to say goodbye to Rick and Michonne, who really believed in her vision. And before killing herself, she even shoots a few walkers approaching her bedroom.

Deanna is the only official death of the hour (and even then, we don't actually see it) but you can't say Denise or the Wolf are in good shape to survive either.

Let's summarize what the heck happened:

Kill Ron already! Peter's idiot son Ron has had it out for Carl for ages. He was about to shoot Carl before the walkers came in. Now after lamenting Enid's death (wrong!), he tries again to shoot Carl but Carl fights back. Unfortunately, while battling each other, they break a window and draw walkers in. (Thanks Ron!). They expose Rick, Judith, Deanna, Michonne, Sam and Jessie to imminent danger. At the same time, "The Walking Dead" writers are giving them horrible dialogue. Ron is officially the most hated person on the show now that the writers have worked triple time to redeem Gabriel as a full supporter of Rick.

Hiding only works for so long: Sam had been sequestered in his bedroom, refusing to leave since the Wolves ransacked Alexandria a couple days earlier. But like the ants who attack Sam's leftover half cookie through a window, the walkers find a way in the house and he no longer has a refuge. His mom convinces him to wear a sheet of walker guts to escape. She has him pretend to be brave. Can he?

Tara, the optimist: Tara and Rosita save Eugene and hole up in a garage. Eugene reads a history book while Rosita wonders if they are going to die there. Tara, again the optimist, believes Alexandria can still be saved in some way. Eugene finally makes himself useful by picking a lock, enabling them to escape - and basically save Morgan and Carol.

Morgan vs. Carol: Before the walkers entered, Carol had been trailing Morgan, wondering who he is hiding in the basement of one of the homes. She does not trust him - for good reason. Unfortunately, she hit her head tripping and falling trying to escape the walkers and may have suffered a concussion. For a time, she rests. But when Morgan isn't looking, she runs downstairs, where Denise had been trying to reason with the Wolf. The Wolf, of course, believes most people should be killed, almost mercifully, given the circumstances. He also claims his injury is not a walker bite but an injury scraping into a rusty bumper of a car. But he may still be dying. Carol wants to kill the Wolf. Morgan says he will not let her. They fight and he knocks a weakened Carol out. Then the Wolf frees himself and knocks Morgan out. He is about to kill Denise, Morgan and Carol when Rosita, Eugene and Tara show up, guns up. But he places a knife to Denise's neck so they let him out of the house with Denise. Tara, of course, is truly upset by this since she and Denise are an item now. Amazingly, the Wolf did not kill all five of them. He could have. So maybe Denise did talk "some" sense into him. Then again, his departure is quixotic to say the least given what's going on outside. What is he going to do? And could Denise be any less prepared?

Maggie and Glenn: Maggie barely escapes the walkers by clambering up a ladder onto an overlook just moments after seeing the green balloons Glenn had released to tell her he's okay. Good news, bad news. Glenn climbs a tree with Enid and sees her. We presume a reunion is imminent.

Whither Spencer, Aaron and Heath? AMC PR providing photos of Spencer, Aaron and Heath and marked them as photos from episode eight. (The shot of Spencer and Heath is below). But they must have been edited out. I presume they are still alive and well.

Prologue, after the first "Into the Badlands" commercial break: Sasha, Abraham and Daryl run into some sort of motorcycle gang before they could get back to Alexandria. After the lead gang member goes through a long-winded speech about how everything they have is no longer theirs, he gets to the kicker: "Your property now belongs to Negan." For folks who read the graphic novels, Negan is a truly evil dictator and part of a group called Saviors. ( Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan.)

The show returns February 14 for another eight episodes.


"It's my life - start to finish." - Deanna.

"Thank you." - Michonne to Deanna

"For what?" - Deanna

"For believing." - Michonne

"Someday this pain will be useful to you. Give them hell!" - Deanna

"Just pretend you're brave." Jessie to her son Sam. Words to live by!

"You should kill me. But you're all going to die. You don't belong here." - Wolf to Morgan, Denise and Carol


"I'm really sorry they got me." - Tovah Feldshuh, who played Deanna.

"Deanna's legacy is everything she taught Rick," said Robert Kirkman, the creator. "To bring more humanity back in him."

"Deanna and Rick’s relationship is incredibly respectful, two different types of human beings but great leaders in their own right... She's a very smart adaptable tenacious and authentic person. When she comes and starts fighting with him, it's heartbreaking for Rick [when she gets bit.]" - Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick.

eshes’ a very smart adaptable tenacious and autehtnic person. When she comes and starts fihting with him and strats fithing it’s heartbreaking with rick.

"This kid needs to die. I'd kill him myself." - Jason Alexander, on Sam

Kirkman explain why the walker guts strategy is not used more often. He says it's not hygienic. "It's not going to last," he said. It would have to be replenished. And he said it's going to smell.

That begs the question: shouldn't the walkers stink to high heaven? It never seems like survivors ever react to their odor!

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.