The Walking Dead: 614 “Twice as Far” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
This was a surprising episode for many reasons, firstly because of its attention to certain characters, i.e. Denise and Eugene. Both of their narratives followed the structure of them trying to prove themselves beyond their already existing skill. I found this to be quite investing and wanted them both to have a happy resolution.
Eugene has been a character of much debate due to his strange attitude and behaviour. He resembles a machine more than he does a person, especially with his monotone voice and coded sentences. This is where his character becomes un-relatable. There’s very little that makes you want to invest time and effort into liking his character. Throughout his early days he was deemed important because of his secret information. Once the cat was out of the bag he was revealed to be a liar, as well as a user. I actually appreciated Abraham lacing into him because he deserved it.
It became clear that he was just sort of there and was quite useless. In many ways he was a liability. But come Season 6 he has tried his best to showcase his usefulness and wanted to learn how to fight walkers. Come this episode he wanted to showcase that he had more to offer than his intelligence. It was pretty impressive to see him suggest making their own bullets in order to supply safety to both Alexandria and Hill Top.
However, Eugene sort of crossed the line by telling Abraham straight up that he was no longer necessary as a body-guard. This was a low blow, considering everything Abraham did for Eugene, but at the same time it was Eugene’s way of trying to show his independence. Alas it didn’t last too long but he wasn’t without hope.
Denise, on the other-hand, wanted to experience the outside world and understand what it took to survive by taking risks and showcasing she wasn’t defenceless. With the oncoming threat of Negan, Denise felt her skills as a doctor weren’t enough and wanted to add more to the community. I liked this story aspect of seeing lesser characters trying to rise to the occasion.
I will admit that I do really like Denise. She’s a fun, loving character that has already proved herself useful on more than one occasion. This is from learning how to become a doctor and saving lives to actually convincing a psychopath that “there is always another way”. It was great to see a character who was unaware of the outside world experiencing it for the first time. It was almost like seeing Rick experiencing the aftermath of the walker’s onslaught in the pilot episode.
Of course we had moments of hesitation due to Denise encountering walkers that held grotesque imagery and reminders of the world that was lost. We also got to see her bond with Daryl and Rosita which proved to be touching moments within the episode. “Twice as Far” nearly reached a happy ending by having Denise prove herself both through her actions and poetic speech, but sadly this was quickly shot in the head. Literally.
Poor Denise was killed and led to another tense encounter with the Saviors. I was actually shocked by this moment. I didn’t see it coming and the sudden nature of Denise’s death is what made it all the more powerful. It was literally out of nowhere.
I’ve heard that Abraham was supposed to die in her place, like within the comics, but sadly this didn’t happen because of executive decisions due to his character’s popularity. As much as I like Abraham, I would’ve preferred him dying in place of Denise. It still would’ve fit with the episodes narrative, i.e. his tension with Eugene, and a shock death still would’ve happened. I simply felt she didn’t deserve to die.
Having said that, Denise’s death felt even more shocking because of her innocence. She had no real part in the battle between Rick’s group and the Saviors. This brings up the brilliant conclusion that Rick has condemned Alexandria with his presence. Ever since he arrived, albeit through his invitation, he has brought nothing but death and chaos to the people of Alexandria. It’s fair to say that their chances were still slim given the nature of the problems around them but we can’t be sure that without Rick’s presence they may have recieved a more peaceful outcome. Either way, Denise remains the latest outcome to this theory.
Despite Eugene somehow being captured by the Saviors (it’s never explained) and used as leverage, he rose to the occasion by chomping the balls out of Dwight. Daryl appeared the most affected by this episode as his vulnerability continues to spill to the surface. Earlier in the episode he avoided following a railway line possibly due to the remainder of Terminus or the fact he lost Beth during this journey, ultimately resulting in her death. Seeing Denise perish so suddenly made him want to chase after the Saviors and kill them all.
The conclusion of the episode resulted in Carol deciding to leave Alexandria because she felt she could no longer fight for those she cared about. This a strange turn of events, especially given Carol’s progression as a character, and leaves the next episode in shaky territory due to the risks Carol’s absence will cause. It seems Daryl insists on going after her but I can imagine that this will quickly backfire as the Saviors close in and use this as a perfect opportunity to attack.
It’s the penultimate episode next week and the Saviors ruthlessness is bound to be shown. It’s simply a question of “who will survive”.
A solid episode that has many touching moments and scenes of progressive character development. I very much enjoyed the surprise twist near the end, you will be missed Denise, and how the season is pushing towards an explosive conclusion in a couple of weeks. I feel as though the war for survival will soon be upon us.