The structure of The Walking Dead’s sixth season, or at least this first half, has been entirely structured around the day of the big walker march. Throw in interludes like Morgan’s backstory and the flashbacks from the premiere, and even characters who have been core to the story have had to take a back seat as the longest day in walker history plays out.
And so “Always Accountable,” following in that tradition, finally gives Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha the spotlight after spending the last few episodes (which only amount to several hours) as the grand marshals of an undead parade.
Although they’ve been on the road together for the majority of the mission, “Always Accountable” wastes no time in splitting Daryl from the duo. Having met the required distance for drawing the walkers away from Alexandria, they head back home, only to be ambushed by Wolves or otherwise (these assailants come packing plenty of firepower unlike the Wolves that assaulted the Safe Zone).
In the wake of the attack, Daryl continues riding on his bike as a Jeep chases him while Abraham and Sasha’s car is totaled, forcing them to stand and fight. Because both stories largely play out on their own, let’s focus on one at a time:
Rising From the Ashes
Daryl escapes his pursuers by riding into a burned-out section of the forest, where charred trees and ashen zombie bodies seem to be the only remnants of life. He can’t reach anyone on the radio, and for the moment, his injuries are a more pressing concern.
But he is not the only living soul in the forest. He comes across two women who tell him they earn what they took before an unexpected third member of their party knocks Daryl out. The guy ties his hands and threatens him at gunpoint if he continues to speak. Daryl recognizes they think he’s someone else, but with a gun directed at his head he’s not position to argue for the moment.
At least they’re humane captors, giving him some water as they discuss handing Daryl over to “them.” They’re also a particularly chatty group, the man revealing to the younger girl that they caused the fire to the forest. They lit the match toward the beginning of the end, taking out the walkers stumbling throughout the trees and attracting others from nearby. They thought they were fighting, just like everyone else was. But they were wrong, and the guy does not like being wrong.
He doesn’t trust Daryl and “his people,” though he’s clearly not talking about the Alexandrians by this point. That mistrust almost costs Daryl his life, but this group is more concerned with finding a woman named Patty. Unfortunately, they approach a garage where she would have been. It’s been overrun with walkers, and they believe they need a new plan.
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Chaos descends on their regrouping, however, when the younger of the two girls faints. Daryl picks up their pack and flees, escaping gunfire and making a small pit stop in the forest, where a sole walker has never proved more dangerous to Daryl. His arm injured and his crossbow in the bag, he scrambles to grab, aim, and shoot his weapon with enough time to kill the walker. The more troubling surprise is what he finds in the bag — a case full of insulin.
He returns to the group, knowing they need it for the younger woman, but Daryl is not about to hand it over solely out of the goodness of his heart. He takes their gun and wants something else in return, taking a wooden carving the man made as payment.
The reunion is short-lived, though, when a truck comes bulldozing through the treeline.
NEXT: No one comes between a man and his crossbow