We start with what is a flashback into what happened to Enid [such a name for a teenage girl!]: after the zombie apocalypse, her parents were eaten in front of her eyes when their car died; then she wandered, for god knows how long, alone, just managing to stay alive by hiding and eating turtles raw and other horrible, traumatic things. "JSS," she writes, in the grime on car windows, in the dirt, constructed out of turtle bones, in the blood and dirt on her hands as she enters the Alexandria gates. At first I think those are her initials and she changed her name when she arrived at Alexandria.
And then we're back in the show's present, just before the horn starts blowing at the end of last episode, as the Alexandrians who remained behind go about their day, not knowing what Rick, Michonne, Glen et als., are doing, not knowing that what was supposed to be a dry run, a rehearsal in the great walker exodus, is actually happening for real. Ron is acting out, refusing to talk to his mom [what's her name again?], angry in the aftermath of his father's death. Father Gabriel asks Carl to teach him how to fight. Maggie tells Deanna that she needs to get back to leading the community. And Carol continues her charade of uber-housewife, making casseroles out of terribly expired cans of things that no one else wants. Little glimpses of the real Carol show through, as when she rather sharply tells another housewife that she should stop smoking cigarettes - "it's disgusting and it'll kill you, and there's more than enough out here that will do that now." Tara and Eugene swing by the infirmary, finding that the new doctor (since Rick killed Pete, the last doctor) was trained as a psychiatrist and is uneasy about her new role. People are living their lives, moving on.
And the Wolves show up, abruptly and without warning. And all hell breaks lose.
They scale the walls, setting the Alexandrian guards on fire. They don't have guns, which is good, but they hack the townspeople into pieces - literally into pieces - and it is HORRIBLE. Zombies eating humans is bad enough, but these feral, violent people, the Wolves, are vicious and without mercy and it is brutal to watch, eviscerations and bludgeoning and all kinds of awful things. Our first glimpse is Carol's point of view: having just put her celery soup casserole into the oven, she watches from her kitchen window as her cigarette-smoking neighbor gets cut nearly in two. And then our Carol, the real Carol, re-emerges and she is, of course, a BAMF.
She wastes no time putting Carl in charge of guarding baby Judith in their house. Enid comes in the back, intending to say goodbye to Carl and then skipping town ("This place is too big to protect, there are too many blind spots"), but Carl's all, no, you're going to help me and you're not going anywhere. Pete's wife Whatshername and her younger son hide in a flimsy closet but she is worried about older son Ron being out and about. Carol, meanwhile, sneaks through the backyards, observing the atrocities (including watching a Wolf smear a W in a victim's blood onto his forehead) before stabbing one of them through the back of the skull. Then, she gathers another gutted, sobbing housewife into her arms and comforts her, before putting a knife into her skull too. Carol pauses. She knows she has to kill these people, these humans, and she'll do it, but it gives her no pleasure. From up in a watch tower, Deanna's son Spencer, is not a very effective shot, missing various Wolves running amok. An eighteen-wheeler comes crashing into the outside wall below the watch tower. After the crash, the horn sounds. This is the horn from the end of E1.
Rosita and Aaron bring wounded folks into the infirmary, then run out to try to help. Spencer climbs down to the crashed truck. He tries to get in there but the Wolves have stuck a zombie in there and he freezes, afraid, as the horn blares on and on. Luckily, just then Morgan shows up (Rick having sent him back at the end of E1). Morgan dispatches the walker and yanks out some wires, stopping the horn. He then climbs over the wall and into the town where he immediately sees a huge Wolf dicing up a body with an ax. Morgan stalks towards the Wolf, telling him to leave town. The Wolf advances, raising his ax, but before they can engage, a hooded, masked figure darts up behind the Wolf and stick a knife into his skull. He drops, dead, and the hooded figure is, of course, Carol. While Morgan bitches about how she didn't have to kill the guy, she kneels down and smears some of the dead Wolf's blood onto her forehead in a W. She looks at Morgan, telling him that the Wolves don't have guns but if they find the armory, everyone in town will be fucked. She asks for his help. Morgan: "You don't have to kill people." Carol: "Of course we do." Morgan: "Carol! You don't like it!" But that's not the point, is it? You do what you have to do. These Wolves are not to be reasoned with.
In the infirmary, psychiatrist Denise is afraid to try to do surgery on the wounded woman; Tara and Eugene urge, encourage and yell at her and she finally agrees to try. Sullen teenager Ron is chased and almost offed by a Wolf but Carl kills the man, saving Ron's life. Ron is not appreciative and Carl is shaken by having killed another human. Pete's wife Whatshername hears footsteps downstairs and summons her courage, telling her younger son to lock the door behind her. When she goes downstairs, a female Wolf is in the kitchen. They fight, the Wolf slamming her head into a wall. Little does the Wolf know that Whatshername is used to that, having lived with an abuser. Whatshername pulls herself to her feet, grabs a pair of scissors off the counter and throws herself at the Wolf, stabbing and screaming and stabbing and screaming. That's how Ron finds her when he finally comes home, his mom covered in blood and stabbing another person to death on the kitchen floor. Damn.
Carol and Morgan head towards the armory, Morgan splitting off when he sees a Wolf attacking Father Gabriel. Carol gets to the armory, killing several Wolves as she goes, and then loads a bunch of guns into a bag. God, I love bad ass Carol. Out on the street, Morgan saves Gabriel by knocking the Wolf down and tying him up. The Wolf looks at them, saying, "We're freeing you. You're trapped. People don't belong here anymore." Morgan and Gabriel looks at each other, confused, but then BAMF Carol strides up and just shoots the Wolf in the face, cutting off any further soliloquy. She hands a gun to each of Morgan and Gabriel; Morgan, who really does think this can be solved without killing, is speechless and horrified and gives his gun to Gabriel. Carol knows better, despite how much this is costing her in her soul, and stalks around, shooting Wolves. Morgan gets cornered by five or six Wolves. He beats the crap out of them with his stick and warns them that his people have guns and if they don't leave right now, they'll all be killed. "You keep choosin' this life, you will die." Wolf: "We didn't choose." And then, incredibly, they run off, Morgan slamming the gate closed behind them. I mean, Morgan isn't wrong in theory - it should be people banding together against the walkers. But that's not the way of the world any longer.
After the place is cleaned out of Wolves, Carol sits on her steps, looking at the bodies on the street. She rubs at the W on her forehead and for a moment, just a moment, tears well up in her eyes before she manages to clamp down again. Aaron walks through the town, pausing by several dead Wolves. He rolls a body over and picks up a messenger bag. When he opens the bag, he pulls out a bunch of photographs of Alexandria: I don't remember this but I guess he lost that bag on one of the runs he and Daryl did? And the Wolves found it and thus found Alexandria. Oops. In the infirmary, Denise has been unable to save the woman she was working on. Tara tries to say something comforting to her ... and then reminds her to "get her brain." Don't need no zombies walking around now that the massacre is done. Inside his house, Carl stares at the Wolf he killed, lying out there on the lawn. Then he turns, calling for Enid. But she is gone, leaving a note behind her: "just survive somehow." JSS. And then the timer goes off and he takes Carol's casserole out of the oven. This whole horrible attack happened in nearly real-time, in just the amount of time it took to cook dinner.
Finally, Morgan walks through the streets, making sure everything is safe. He sees the door to Deann's house is open and goes inside to investigate. There is one last Wolf in there, hiding, and he nearly gets the best of Morgan. But Morgan fights back, with all he's got, giving the Wolf an ass-kicking. The Wolf pulls away, realizing that Morgan is just beating on him, and grins, "You can't, can you? You should have." The Wolf lunges again and Morgan drops him. Then Morgan grimaces and says, "I'm sorry," and then he kills that Wolf. Out in the street, he and Carol pass right by each other, neither saying a word to the other.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
1 hour ago