The Walking Dead, Season 6, Episode 7, “Heads Up”
Written by Channing Powell
Directed by David Boyd
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on AMC
The wheel keeps spinning and history just keeps repeating itself. Much like Rick in “Days Gone Bye,” Glenn Rhee is pinned down under a horde, forced to watch a pal be consumed. He crawls under a metal construct, pinned down by walkers left and right, and is helped somewhat by another survivor. Sadly, there’s no real happy ending or salvation for Glenn just yet, as he’s left with a selfish girl like Enid, has no real entrance into Alexandria, and is not even sure that Maggie is still alive.
And did I mention the watch tower crumbling like a cheap house of cards in the final scene? It’s very good to see Glenn’s storyline resolved and in a somewhat plausible manner. Glenn has always been prone to getting out of tight squeezes so I bought him hiding under the dumpster and waiting for the walker herds to recede. What with the walkers blocking his presence, it makes sense they’d eventually walk off, leaving the Nicholas leftovers for Glenn to stay with while hoping for some form of escape.
This is the second person he’s had to watch die before his very eyes, and it’s a wonder he’s been able to keep his sanity for lo these many years. Glenn is a testament to strong constitution, and has surefire motivation to get home in Maggie and his yet-to-be-born child. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a show that’s aroused so much water cooler talk and so many memes online, and it’s a surefire experiment that worked for producers of The Walking Dead, proving that the show is much more than just a passing fad of pop culture.
People were talking for weeks about Glenn. People wanted to know what happened to Glenn. People argued, and bickered, and debated. People probably even fist fought a few times. I exaggerate of course, but the fact is The Walking Dead is still a very powerful and provocative series after six years and the glut of competing horror television that’s arisen since its introduction; it’s nice to see that the series still keeps people stirring in their seats after so long. It also proves that Glenn is the underdog of The Walking Dead and has been since his introduction in episode two.
True, Rick is the every man in this horrendous world, but Glenn has been the underdog, striving and making it out of hell with little to no chance, and always fighting his way out. We saw it in season four after the prison fell and we’ve seen it yet again. The producers were wise to begin the episode by resolving Glenn’s fate, because fans have waited long enough. As a lot of people figured, Glenn wasn’t torn apart and managed to barely make it out of the herd with his body in tact. After being discovered by Enid, he follows her and feels compelled to bring her back to Alexandria, despite her insistence on being alone, and her really idiotic credo of “JSS.”
Glenn is also a witness to a lot of the horrific aftermath of the intended operation, finding survivor David, who is now fence decoration, and discovering his note to his wife. Boyd’s direction is compelling for what is one of the more important episodes of the series yet, honing in on Glenn’s current predicament and the impossible question of how he’s going to be able to get into Alexandria and to Maggie once and for all. Meanwhile, as the Alexandrians find themselves preparing for what is sure to be a tornado of walkers banging down their doors soon enough, there’s enough compelling material to keep their end of the episode tightly wound.
Carol is well aware of what’s happening and has finally discovered for better or for worse that Morgan is hiding a Wolf, Spencer makes a valiant attempt to break out of the town to lure the walkers away, and Rosita (I heart you, Christian Serratos) gives a well-earned scolding to Eugene, who just can’t find it in himself to even think about engaging in combat, let alone wielding a machete (Rosita can scold me anytime). The Alexandrians are really going to have to snap to it and earn their place, as Rick and co. find themselves searching far and wide for some help, any help. I think I even saw Judith swinging a machete.
There are also some small but interesting moments of character development, including Gabriel’s failed efforts to conduct a prayer circle, town doctor Denise boning up on her medical practice, and Ron, who is now locked, loaded, and stalking Carl around the town. Rick also manages to arouse some pure anger out of Tara during the efforts to save Spencer during his disastrous break out. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I just don’t think Tara is going to make it through this season. She can barely shoot anymore without getting a dizzy spell, who knows what’s going to happen now that the town is completely without walls?
The Walking Dead is all about building hope and dashing it immediately, and “Heads Up” is the indication that some hope is right around the corner, but the Alexandrians really have to fight for what they’ve been given, now more than ever. They’ve lived sheltered and in captivity long enough, now it’s time to battle in the wilderness. Now that the characters have had the chance to catch their breath, the deciding factor for the finale will be who responds to the walker invasion and how. I am hopeful Glenn, Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl will come forth and eventually lend a hand, but I also expect many important pieces of Alexandria to fall, and be consumed. With one more episode this year, the series is on track to make season six the best yet.