The previews for “Always Accountable,” tugged on the emotions of fans everywhere. They implied that Daryl’s life may be in trouble. Although many view his character as sacrosanct, no one on this show is impervious to zombies or to bullets.
Since Glenn’s supposed death, every moment on this show is tense. Anyone can go at any moment. That intensity was there for all three of the central characters of the episode – Daryl, Sasha and Abe. They all saw some character development and not all of it is interesting.
There are spoilers from this point forward. Do not read unless you want to know much of what happens in the episode.
We immediately find out what kind of trouble Daryl is in, as people start shooting at him, Sasha and Abe in the opening scene. This causes the latter two to crash their car, but they are otherwise unscathed. Daryl is at a higher risk because he is relatively unprotected on his motorcycle. In his attempt to flee, he ends up far away from his friends and injured.
He hides in motorcycle in the woods and takes off on foot. He encounters two young women, who clearly believe he is after them, perhaps as a member of the group from which he narrowly escaped.
They tell him:
“We earned what we took.”
Before he can ask any questions, a man comes up behind him and knocks him over the head. They take Daryl as their captive, but they don’t show any real interest in hurting him. We don’t know much about them, but we know they aren’t Wolves. They are running from someone, maybe it’s the Wolves. At this point we don’t know.
Though fans of the comics have an idea.
We do know that these three are resourceful and they used to believe in the good in man. When the outbreak began, they started a huge fire to lure and kill as many walkers as possible. They thought that everyone in the world was fighting just like they were. They believed that everyone would fight and they would all survive together.
They were wrong.
They take Daryl with them as they go in search of their friend, Patty. When they get to her location, it’s overrun with zombies. They assume that she’s dead. In their panic and confusion, Daryl see the opportunity for escape. He runs away, taking their bag, which contains his crossbow, with him.
Sasha and Abe’s journey in this episode is an introspective one. Sometimes these arcs are the best storylines. Not this time. Both of their emotional journeys fall a bit flat. In fact, there’s very little to say about the evolution that occurs. It hardly feels like evolution at all. We learn that Sasha is finally at peace with the demons that haunted her last season, but she tells Abe this hardly without any emotion. Then she launches into giving Abe some advice about his own issues. According to her, Abe is still struggling with his demons. He has very little hope for the future and avoids real relationships because he fears connecting with, and thus being accountable to, someone.
This straighttalk is a revelation to him, but to the audience, it’s hardly groundbreaking.
Daryl’s story is the only one that has any real emotional resonance. That plays out in how he deals with his former captors. He could keep running from them, but something in him realizes that they need help. He goes back to them and returns their bag, which contains insulin, to them. He has every intention of leaving, but then a truck drives up, the occupants of which terrify the three other survivors.
They yell at the men:
“We’re not going back. We’re done kneeling”
Daryl’s protective instincts kick in when he sees that these three are escaping from tyrants. He helps them hide. Once they escape, Daryl starts to talk to them. He seems them as potential recruits for the Safe Zone.
The guy, whose name we still do not know – though there’s plenty of comic book speculation happening, says that people will trade anything for safety. We know that’s not true of everyone. Indeed, these three prove that. But we do know that compassion comes with a heavy price.
That’s a price Daryl is willing to risk when he invites his former captors to Alexandria. When he turns his back to lead them home, they pull a gun, take his crossbow and his motorcycle, but leave him alive.
We know they didn’t do this to hurt him. We know that whatever they experienced from the men who were hunting them has left them too terrified to trust anyone. For all they know, Daryl is leading them into a trap where they will be forced to kneel, metaphorically or physically, for another egotistical dictator.
Daryl is left weaponless and without transportation, but he still has his wits and he doesn’t need much else to survive.
Abe’s wits aren’t quite with him this episode. He’s shaken by Sasha’s words. While scavenging for supplies, he finds several rocket propelled grenades – and a box of cigars – in the back of a humvee. He also finds a zombie soldier hanging from a bridge. The soldier has an rpg strapped to his back. A weapon like that is invaluable in this apocalypse, but to take it from the zombie means putting one’s life in imminent danger. We know Abraham is a soldier, something which this episode not-so-subtly reminds us of, so we know that he knows how to weigh costs and benefits. That knowledge loses out to his emotions and he wrestles the zombie for the weapon.
He fails but manages to not be bitten. What follows is an emotional breakdown of Abe screaming into the zombie’s face – or, what should have been an emotional breakdown. It wasn’t. You know he’s yelling at his past – the loss of who he was, and the life and family that should have been his present and future. Yet, like everything else with his arc in this episode, it didn’t resonate. It also seems to be a journey that happened too quickly. After one moment of screaming at a zombie, he returns to Sasha and presents himself as someone who is clear of his baggage.
If all it takes to be clear of one’s baggage is to scream at a zombie for 10 seconds, then someone bring me a zombie right now.
Meanwhile, Daryl finds a truck and drives until he finds Abe and Sasha. As they head back to Alexandria, Daryl tries to contact Rick over the walkie. At first it doesn’t seem to work, but then he hears one word:
Rumor on the internet is the voice behind that “help” is Glenn. Are fans hoping in vain, or could it be him? Let us know in the comments and check out a preview of next week’s episode below: