The East is the penultimate episode of season six, setting us up for the appearance of Negan and the big season finale. With the exception of Michonne and Rick, much of Alexandria seems to be reeling from the loss of Denise. Rick, being Rick is over confidant, certain that they can handle anything that comes their way and that it won't be like when The Governor attacked the prison. Rick's in an ultimate state of denial about exactly how much trouble Alexandria is in. Rick is just happy to be in bed with Michonne. I do however think that shot of Richonne sharing an apple in bed together is sweet and shows us exactly how far these two have come since they first met.
Exit is appropriately titled because people just started streaming through the gates of Alexandria. Darryl is angry that he allowed Dwight to live and thus blames himself for the loss of Denise. Darryl hops on his bike seeking justice and is quickly followed by Rosita, Michonne and Glenn. Tobin gives Rick, Carol's John Doe letter and Rick and Morgan head out in search of Carol.
The juxtaposition between Carol and Darryl is really quite interesting. Darryl is feeling guilty because despite all the reasons he had to kill, he chose mercy and even helped Dwight. His choice to believe in innate good cost him in a way he couldn't possibly have predicted and now his greatest desire is to make it right. Glenn rightfully argues that this isn't about Denise because Denise is dead and that nothing Darryl does outside of the walls is going to bring Denise back. Carol on the other hand is a loving nurturing person (as long as she is not asking you to check out the flowers) who realises that she simply doesn't want to kill again. The problem with loving people in the zombie apocalypse, is that you have to be able to protect them and that means killing. Carol may not want to kill but she will if she has to and it becomes evident, as we watch her sewing a gun into the sleeve of her jacket.
When we see Carol standing outside of her vehicle after having the tires shot out by the Saviours, we know that these men are already dead. Carol's body begins to shake and she's clearly hyperventilating, giving the impression that she is weak and defenseless. Carol begs them repeatedly, saying that no one has to die but it's clear what she really means is that they don't have to die. Carol shoots her weapon, gathers their guns and takes off. Carol is bad ass and while she may not want to kill, she will if she has to. What is perhaps most interesting about Carol facing off against her attackers is that they see her gender and the fact that she is alone to be a sign of weakness. It never occurs to them that a woman who has survived this long in a zombie apocalypse must be capable in some way.
The Rick/Morgan day trip is also quite fascinating. Rick has now decided that he was wrong for sending Carol away, claiming that today, he would have killed Karen and David and that Carol did the right things because Karen and David were beyond hope. The Rick who turned Carol into an outcast still had hope and today he offers no one a chance. Morgan very much still believes in redemption. Morgan explains what happened with the wolf and even stops Rick from killing someone who runs from them. Morgan thinks that even in this horrible environment people can change and come back from the worst. Carol may be family to Rick now but it's Morgan who understands her because he has been her. Morgan like Carol, no longer wants to kill. Morgan sees the entire circle of life.
Speaking about life and death, that brings us to Maggie. In many ways, Maggie has taken over Deanna's role in Alexandria and right now that very much means preparing the community for the inevitable attack. As much as Maggie told Glenn that she couldn't go into battle anymore, she is increasingly aware that she soon won't have a choice. To that end, we watch as Enid cuts Maggie's hair. Maggie knows that time is short and has therefore decided that she is going to do whatever she can now to prepare for the inevitable. When we last saw Maggie, she was crumpled in pain and it very much looks like she might be having a miscarriage. This is telling given that for many of the residents of Alexandria, when Glenn poured the Bisquick to make a pancake, the pancake itself, came to represent hope. Does he potential of a lost baby, somehow represent how hopeless the situation is for the Alexandrians?
Unsurprisingly, of all the people who left Alexandria, Rick is the only one to return. Of all the characters on The Walking Dead, Rick is the only one who is absolutely immune to death. Morgan decides to stay behind and look for Carol, promising to return if he can but warning Rick not to come looking for him. Morgan has a habit of showing up at important moments in Rick's life and so I don't believe we have seen the last of him for one moment. Michonne and Glenn have been captured by Dwight and the rest of the Saviours. Darryl and Rosita try to save them but are quickly surrounded. We hear a gun go off and see blood. It's clear that Dwight shot Darryl but there's no real indication of how badly Darryl is hurt. I firmly believe that Darryl has been shot in the hand and that it will be Darryl, instead of Rick, who will go on to be the one handed warrior.
Everything is building up to a huge battle and the only question that remains is: who is going to meet Lucille (Negan's famous bat)? We know that someone big is going to die, we just don't know who. I desperately want to see Glenn Michonne and Carol make it through season six alive; however, I must admit that I am really worried about Michonne. She has found happiness with Rick and for the first time is actually becoming more than a weapon. The Walking Dead has a habit of humanising a character just before killing them off, particularly when they are of colour. Unfortunately, Carol has the same problem as well. I don't know who is going to die but at this point, I'm pretty certain that unless it's Darryl or Abraham, I'm not going to be at all happy.