‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Rick and Daryl Battle the Law of Averages

walking dead rick daryl 610 recap
Courtesy of AMC

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Walking Dead” Season 6,  Episode 10, titled “The Next World.”

After a climactic but messy midseason premiere, this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” utilized a time jump to skip over two months of cleanup and recuperation, picking up with our survivors in a new state of equilibrium.

Following Carl’s brush with death and miraculous survival, the episode opened with an unfamiliar sense of optimism — with Rick, Michonne, Carl and Judith living in domestic bliss (or the closest approximation of it you can expect to find in a zombie apocalypse), bantering about toothpaste supplies and listening to “More Than a Feeling.”

As Andrew Lincoln told Variety last week, our fearless leader has acquired a new perspective about Alexandria and his place within it. “The final moments of the [last] episode can almost be day zero, it’s almost [like] civilization begins from this point, for the first time. Because I think the key thing that’s been missing for so long is hope. It’s the first time that Rick, in spite of the trauma and the carnage, [Carl surviving] has given him his first feelings of hope since he was shot two years ago.”

Because of Rick’s change in perspective, this week’s episode — deftly directed by Kari Skogland from a script by Angela Kang and Corey Reed — marked a pronounced tonal shift from the rest of the season to date (and arguably the series as a whole): it was funny. “TWD” has often been criticized for its unrelenting bleakness, but Kang and Reed’s playful script was a perfect demonstration of how charming the show can be when it gives our characters some breathing room and allows those well-defined personalities to bounce off each other.

Rick and Daryl certainly don’t get many opportunities to let off steam, and you wouldn’t generally describe either character as the life of the party, but from Daryl’s bewildered reaction to Denise’s request for soda, to their deadpan bemusement over Eugene’s grain advice, to Daryl’s despairing pleas for Rick to spare him from his musical choices on their road trip, to their Benny Hill-esque pursuit of thieving new character Jesus (you could almost picture Yakety Sax playing in the background as Rick did his best to drive over their nemesis in the truck while Daryl chased him around the field*), the episode had a kind of infectious joy that the show rarely allows itself to sustain — understandably, given the high stakes and even higher body count of living in a world full of walkers.

*And, because the Internet shares a hive-mind, an enterprising fan has already made our dreams a reality:

Skogland’s direction helped maintain that energy — everything from the musical cues to the comedic beats in Rick and Daryl’s banter elicited more chuckles than I can ever remember a “Walking Dead” episode prompting before, even if their repeated run-ins with Jesus were bordering on farcical by the time the supply truck rolled into the lake.

That Jesus apparently managed to slip his restraints and somehow end up on the top of the truck without Daryl or Rick realizing sooner — let alone that he later managed to get loose, get around Daryl standing guard and get the drop on Rick and Michonne while they were sleeping — did strain credulity a bit, but the newcomer obviously has considerable fighting and sleight-of-hand skills, so I’m looking forward to getting to know him further.

Despite the inherent humor, the episode still balanced those flourishes with some of the more poignant, emotional moments that make “The Walking Dead” so potent. We learned that Spencer has been going out into the woods after his watch shifts in search of his mother, Deanna, now reanimated as a walker. While the character has always made questionable decisions that, more often than not, put other characters in danger, it was apt that he was aided in his quest to lay his mother to rest by Michonne and Carl, two characters who are also intimately familiar with making painful choices when it comes to family. Lest we forget, Carl was the one who shot his own mother, Lori, to stop her from turning, and — as he later explained to his surrogate mother figure, Michonne — wherever possible, a walker should be put down by someone who loved the person they used to be. Carl’s quiet admission to Michonne (“I’d do it for you”) helped solidify the fact that the four of them — Rick, Michonne, Carl and Judith — have become an unbreakable family unit, which made what happened next all the more powerful.

As a poetic bookend to the domesticity of the opening scene, the episode ended with Rick and Michonne, both weary from an emotionally and physically taxing day, coming together on the couch to decompress, just like any partners might. While many fans have been rooting for the two to get together for some time, their first kiss and the sex that followed didn’t feel like fan service; their bond has evolved organically over the course of the show, and while in many ways it felt inevitable, given the connection between them, the moment still came as a pleasant surprise. The two have come to trust each other as companions and friends without ever crossing that line, but it’s fitting that now Alexandria has established some semblance of peace, and both of them are finally in a place where they can start thinking about the future (and, as Deanna challenged Michonne on her deathbed, to figure out what she really wants), there’s nothing to stop them from acting on the love and respect they obviously have for each other.

While it would be easy to dismiss this episode as pure scene-setting, the emotional closure and symbolic renewal seen in those quieter, character-driven moments made it one of the most emotionally satisfying to date. And while Alexandria’s newfound peace might be shortlived, given the threat of Negan on the horizon, it’s nice to see the first rays of hope emerging after so many dark days.

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

What did you think of Rick and Michonne taking that final step in their relationship? Can Jesus be trusted? Share your reactions and theories below.

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  1. Davincci lane says:

    I love your show I think carol is my friend.can you tell me where you live?I am nine years old

  2. Saflower says:

    I found it a fun and refreshing break in the bleak nature of their lives. You can pick apart anything. Its a tv show make for entertainment. Big deal the guy got on the truck. Rick tied him loosely. And they don’t just kill everyone and never have. That’s the whole thing they don’t WANT to loose their humanity. Daryl was the advocate for getting more people. Hes been screwed over a few times and is not so much now. Its a fun show. Seems like so many people just want to get behind a computer and rip apart anything they can. Lighten up !! Its written from comic books. It dosnt have to be completely correct. Its entertainment and that’s all. Its not WAR & PEACE.

  3. Farfetched says:

    I don’t understand how a hog tied stranger got untied and on top of that 11′ tall truck without being detected by Darryl and Rick. One second we are seeing the new dude hog tied on the side of the street. Two seconds later Rick looks out the side of his mirror sees the guy bound, starts the ignition, and drives off. Suddenly, we’re driving into pasture land, Jesus is on top of the truck, before he falls off and a chase pursues; Rick parks the food supply truck on a downward slope just feet from a large body of water, and now nothing makes sense. For me it was yet another ridiculous and idiotic episode. Deanna comes back from the dead without any bite marks, no missing limbs, or bloody clothes despite being surrounded by hungry Zombies. Carl is largely unaffected by the loss of sight in one eye, even taking the time for a little leisurely reading outside in the wilderness. And the goth looking guy with fighting skills is able to outwit Rick and Darryl at every turn, first stealing the truck keys, then getting untied and then teleporting himself onto the top of the truck. LOL! Why didn’t Rick and Darryl just kill him from the start? By now they have the know the consequences of trusting outsiders.

  4. Shahirwan says:

    Wow. They’re replacing Andrea with Michonne(not sure what they’re gonna do with Ezekiel) & Enid with Sophia.

    • Saflower says:

      Have you watched this show. Rick was never with Andrea. Sophias been dead for a few yrs now. I think he was with Andrea in the comics but not on the show.

  5. Negan has to be Jon Hamm. No one else. His dialogue is going to need reworked as his favorite word is Fuck. It’s a verb, a noun, and past participle, ect ect.

  6. Thebeast says:

    Jesus happens to be a character out of the comic and he’s very skilled, he prefers hand to hand combat when dealing with enemy’s or uses a knife. So yes “ninja Jesus” would be the right words to use. He has had some sort of training..maybe military no one is really sure. You haven’t seen anything yet, this guy is crafty..just wait.

  7. J.P. says:

    Agree, terrible episode. 2 months later, One eye Carl seems unaffected at the loss of his eye. The domestic parts seem like they took place out of the Zombie Apocalypse, to clean, to light. Ninja Jesus. A road side store that was unlocked and untouched with a fully loaded truck also unlocked and untouched. Why are those Zombies tied down at the Benny Hill farm? And the dialog in most of the scenes, horrible! Felt like it was made by a director of Teen Shows, bad ones. First truly bad episode of TWD!

    • Batgirl2779 says:

      They didn’t even find that truck at a store, it was at a farm in a barn with Sorghum on the roof. HELLO! Were you even watching? Maybe that’s the trouble, can’t pay attention. I can’t even take you seriously so many grammar mistakes.

  8. Mary says:

    Actually, it was a terrible episode – plot and character development.

  9. The romance between Rick and Michonne is a bad idea and now one of them has to die because I can’t take this show turning into another Days of Our Zombie Lives with Rick and Michonne as the star crossed lovers. But, I think one the main reasons it is a mistake is because it is just not very believable. Rick and Michonne (or maybe the actors who play them, Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira) just dont have any chemistry. They feel to me more like brother and sister at this point rather than lovers. Intellectually speaking , and thus based on what they have been through and the bond they share , I can see why a romance, a deeper relationship, could be the plausible outcome, but the chemistry is just not there, which makes this match awkward and unbelievable. It was really odd and awkward imagining them romantically. It was like trying to imagine your parents being in bed or something.

    Also, I found it amazing that Rick who had a thing for Jessie – a woman whose life he upbend, whose husband he killed, whom he purused and was, for the first time since Lori, developing genuine feelings for and who just recently was eaten in front of him by a horse zombies and whose arm he hacked off to free Carl – just seems to have moved on so quickly. He doesnt mourn her death one bit and she is not even mentioned. That was pretty unbelievable too. It is unrealistic to assume that people can so quickly over something so horrible as the slaughter of a loved one and her children in front of them. If the characters are not dealing with the fall out of such a loss in any way, then it makes the loss meaningless. Zombie Apocalypse or not, it is inconceivable that the death of someone one has cared about could become so ordinary for anyone and so easily forgotten as it seems to be the case with Rick and Jessie.

    I also just realized that Rick and his group are actually directly responsible for every member of Jessie’s family being dead.

    • Batgirl2779 says:

      They don’t lack chemistry, you think they lack chemistry and you are wrong. Jessie would have gotten him killed, she almost did as it is. Good riddance.

    • Actually Lincoln and Guira have shown great chemistry for some time now and one would have to be blind not to notice the special bond that had formed between them. Michonne has been especially protective of Rick during his rather crazed period upon arrival at Alexandria and she was the one character that Rick always confided in even when he was keeping things from the others.
      This episode really didn’t concentrate on Carl and his adjustment to losing his eye but to not notice he was a bit more emotionally closed and even wanting to do things because it was what kids do (he hasn’t wanted to be considered a kid since season one) shows he is keeping things bottled up inside. Even his interaction with Enid was much more matter of fact than it had been previously.
      It is just totally unreasonable to not allow for the human dynamics of relationships to be explored as part of the stories being told. Do you honestly believe if this were happening in real life that relationships would not develop be they simple friendships or romantic entanglements? It isn’t soap opera. It’s reflective of real life.
      If you have been watching the show from day one you should understand by now what these people have been through which would allow you to recognize that, yes, they can and must move on from the most horrendous losses without what was once a normal grieving period. There is no other choice. Jessie got Rick back in touch with his feelings and the feelings that defined the Rick he was before the apocalypse. Her loss and the getting back in touch with his emotional center is what finally awakened feelings he had suppressed for Michonne.
      All in all, a wonderful and revealing episode, one of the very few that showed a glimmer of hope for our survivors.

      • Saflower says:

        Robert I totally agree. Jesse and Rick never even kissed. He liked her that’s it. I didn’t think there was a lack of chemistry at all. And it didn’t feel like they were brother and sister at all. It was a light fun episode and ive been rooting for the 2 of them to get together. I loved it and its a tv show for entertainment. So its not correct according to people that post nothing but negative feedback no matter the topic. Great fun and a nice change of pace. Will it last who knows ? She may die tomorrow. And that was the point you made. And the Lori thing. Rick was never able to put that back together after Shane. No way. Didn’t even bother me to see her go ! LOL..talking about moving on. !! And the comment that Rick caused
        their deaths. He was trying to save them . That kid SAM caused the deaths. Those people were the kind that wouldn’t make it . At all. So fun times ahead. A new world !

      • Having a special bond with people and having gone through enough still does not make up for lacking chemistry. You will note that I did acknowledge that Rick and Michonne have gotten very close since they first met and they have certainly come very from that time when he was considering handing her over to The Governor. They went through a lot. Still, no matter how many hurdles, they do not make up for an utter lack of chemistry between the two.

        Yes, of course people in the ZA will learn to cut their losses and move on, but so quickly? One thing that always annoys in TV shows, and subsequently gnaws away at believability, is actually how little people feel losses, from one episode to another. Was the same thing when they all got separated after the Governor’s final assault: Maggie spent the rest of the season and half of the other season not even ONCE thinking or talking about Beth. When they later found her and she turned up dead and Maggie collapsed in devastation, it just felt fake because she wasnt talking about her at all for about a season. Realistically depicting how people handle such things is not soap opera. The only time a loss really had a lasting effect that had to be worked out was when Lori died.

        And regardless, maybe I could stand behind the Michonne-Rick romance if there was at least an ounce of chemistry and spark between them. A single look of attraction. This was total coming of left field. Watching this two make out felt like watching two siblings make out.

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