I did not want to watch this episode. “No Way Out” really tested my tolerance for this show because everything bad happens in it. The Walking Dead has been struggling with its storytelling for quite some time. It’s clear that the writers are having trouble coming up with new and interesting conflicts, because they’ve resorted to rehashing older storylines. Except it’s somehow even worse than that—those storylines have lost all meaning and are damn near impossible to get invested in anymore. The Walking Dead has devolved into a pointless mess of plotlines that it’s not at all committed to keeping up with, and “No Way Out” illustrates that perfectly.
Our episode opens with the characters still attempting to survive the walker horde that has infested Alexandria. After suffering multiple losses and injuries, the residents eventually band together and kill all the walkers. Just like that. Most of what happens in the episode before the fight at the end was just pointless drama designed to pick off expendable characters. For all the buildup to Alexandria and struggles they’ve put up with, our main group hasn’t changed or lost anything this season.
Recently, The Walking Dead has had a problem with too many characters, and it was very clear that a few of them needed to die. The season just doesn’t have enough time to do justice for every single one of them, and as such, Season 6 has been really weak. Sadly, most deaths in the recent episodes have been nothing but shock value. When The Walking Dead first aired, it was exciting—we never knew who was safe, whether we liked that character or not. The show was willing to kill off just about anyone, and being in the main cast was not a guarantee of survival. When the show introduced secondary characters, those characters still felt like real people and played a role in their interactions with the main cast. “The Grove” is still one of The Walking Dead’s best episodes, even if it’s the hardest one for me personally to watch. The way both little girls died served a purpose. They showed us the moral quandaries the characters had to deal with and that sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. The episode talked a lot about mental illness, guilt, and forgiveness. The two girls were minor characters, and even though the one was a psychopathic murderer, “The Grove” managed to both humanize her and inform Tyrese’s and Carol’s characters.
Now, it seems that The Walking Dead is too afraid to kill off another main character and can only use secondary characters for walker fodder. Throughout the season, the story kept teasing us by almost but not actually killing Glenn—at one point Glenn literally fell into a crowd of walkers and still didn’t die—and that’s not something the narrative seems to be letting up on anytime soon. “No Way Out” also tried a hand at making us worry for Glenn, only to once again not kill him. I found myself wishing he would just die already, so I wouldn’t be subjected to any more fake-Glenn-deaths. When the story isn’t busy not killing Glenn or any other main cast member, it spends its time on filler minor characters, such as Pete’s remaining family—his battered wife Jessie and their two abused sons. The Walking Dead has made a new habit of taking secondary characters and spending an episode or two on them before killing them off—and unlike the two girls in “The Grove”, those characters and their deaths serve no purpose outside of shock value. Whereas “The Grove” used the deaths of children to teach us a lesson about humanity, “No Way Out” did it… because it’s edgy to kill off known characters, I suppose. This is nothing but lazy storytelling.
Both Jessie and her sons pointlessly die this episode. I guess the storyline about abuse victims and recovery was too much for The Walking Dead, because their deaths are some of the most contrived shit I’ve ever seen. To start with, the youngest son has clear psychological issues, and despite that, our characters still think it’ll be an awesome idea to take him through a walker horde—they’re all covered in walker blood so the walkers can’t tell they’re still alive—instead of sending him somewhere safe when they had the chance. Shit hits the fan when he breaks down, draws attention to himself, and gets eaten. This naturally causes Jessie to freak out, and she too is devoured. And then, because we’re just reusing old storylines, Jessie’s remaining son Ron attempts to kill Carl and Rick. Michonne kills Ron in order to save them, but Ron’s gun still goes off and shoots Carl in the eye and I can’t even with this show anymore.
So to recap, we have one child ripped apart, another sliced apart, and a third shot in the fucking eye. Carl survives the wound thanks to Denise, the town doctor, but I literally have no idea what the point of anything that happens is anymore.
To be honest, if things don’t start looking up, I’m probably going to just stop watching The Walking Dead altogether after this season. The rehashing of older storylines just makes me feel as though the show has lost all direction, and it doesn’t help that all the characters annoy me with their poorly made decisions.