The Walking Dead, Season 6, Episode 6, “Always Accountable”
Written by Heather Bellson
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on AMC
“Always Accountable” is a change from the tone of the first half of season six, while continuing to chronicle how Rick’s group are dealing with the feces hitting the fan. Oddly enough, we also get a taste of major events to come in future seasons. It’s a damn fine spoonful of chaos that’s yet to rear its ugly head. There is so much foreshadowing in this episode, it pretty much exists as a sign post of a larger path our characters are about to walk down.
That said, “Always Accountable” is very reminiscent of the season five episode “Consumed,” in which we garnered some insight into two really good characters. We’re in good company, as Norman Reedus is still compelling as the flawed anti-hero Daryl, while Michael Cudlitz and Sonequa Martin-Green really play well off of one another and simmer with tension. As the other shoe drops, walker herders Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha find themselves confused and basically without direction. Anxious to head back to Alexandria, they’re shot at by a group of gunmen and barely make it out alive.
Relying on quick footwork and dumb luck, the trio survives and split up behind enemy lines. The episode takes advantage of this to give a much-appreciated further look at the mentality of Abraham and Sasha . The pair are like-minded individuals with a taste for risking their lives, true blue warriors of the apocalypse. I love how Sasha has become the character that Andrea was supposed to be, and Martin-Green owns the persona well.
It’s still a disappointment that Andrea was so completely botched, but Sasha is really carrying the torch as a broken woman who has found a reason to keep going, and has grown significantly stronger and more skilled as time has gone on. Abraham seems much too eager to get himself into danger, and it’s funny that he spends most of his time chastising Sasha for her brushes with death while he spends most of his alone time dangling from bridges. Deep down they both want to die.
Daryl’s subplot is the most important turn of events of the season and gives a taste of what will be coming in future seasons. Though writer Heather Bellson doesn’t completely explain what’s happening, Daryl is a witness to a menace that’s worse than the Wolves. When he stumbles upon two survivors, he’s knocked unconscious and taken hostage by two women and a man who insist on trading him for their own survival, and who are anxiously trying to free someone. They have a plan that has also fallen to pieces, and Daryl struggles to find a way back to Alexandria while also showing some pity for the trio.
We get small glances at the army that comes barreling down on Daryl and co. and we learn a lot about them in this small window. They’re organized. They’re ruthless. They have a code that this trio could not live with, and sure enough, they’re not the Wolves. They also have a considerable knowledge of survival, as Daryl lures one of the nomads right into a walker, getting him bitten and prompting the leader of their group to amputate his arm and head back to where they come from. Daryl isn’t quite sure yet where that is, or where they’re going, but as always, the situation becomes dire enough for the trio (by then, pair) to choose to go back to it, rather than living outside on the scorched Earth, where death lurks all around them.
That said, what is up with the production behind tonight’s episode? The editing and green screen feel sloppy and rushed, particularly the scene with Abraham on the bridge. Hopefully January will step up his game next time he directs an episode. There’s even one awkward scene of Daryl fleeing where January cuts to woods for about five seconds before Daryl enters the frame running. It cuts the pacing like a knife, but thankfully doesn’t hurt the episode too much. With only two episodes left this year, I’m anxious to meet more of the army lurking around, to see how Daryl will get his crossbow and cycle back, and to discover who the voice is at the other end of the radio that Daryl reaches in the final scene.
“Always Accountable” is a tense and exciting episode and one that sticks out in the first half of season six. Daryl’s subplot adds a ton of significance and sets the foundation for impending doom, while Sasha and Abraham hold up their end of the episode very well, examining their current state of being in a situation that seems hopeless.