TV Review: The Walking Dead – Series 6 Episode 2: ‘JSS’

The Wolves are in the walls and Alexandria is in for its first encounter with the chaotic outside world. reviews


Image: Gene Page / AMC

Image: Gene Page / AMC

The Wolves are in the walls and they’re just as psychotic as we first imagined! Not only do they hack people to bits with their machetes, but they also take a great sadistic pleasure in smearing their victim’s blood onto their foreheads in the shape of a ‘W’. This feral group just seem to come out of nowhere in what is one of the most sudden and jaw-dropping moments in the show’s history. In stark contrast to the walker filled first episode, ‘JSS’ shows that The Walking Dead is much more than just a show about zombies; it is about the extreme lengths that people will go to in order to “Just Survive Somehow”.

‘JSS’ is simultaneously the episode’s title and the newly introduced calling-card for the troubled young girl, Enid, who is given a much greater backstory this week. The opening scenes not only show how she has been affected by the cruelty of the outside world – the moment when she is hiding in the car and watching her parents get devoured by walkers is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen for a long time – but also leaves enough to the imagination that we still aren’t able to quite place her pre-Alexandrian life. The popular theory at the moment is that she is operating as a spy for the Wolves. I’m not so sure about this because so much doesn’t quite add up about the current theories surrounding her. She is certainly not trustworthy, but she could also be being used as a red herring to throw off the viewers.

The Wolves’ choice to attack Alexandria whilst many of the group’s heavy-hitters such as Rick, Daryl and Michonne were busy elsewhere might suggest that they have an informer in the walls relaying this information to them. Either that or they have just been keeping an eye on the gates and have been assessing the group’s capabilities before the attack… Obviously Enid would be the first person we’d expect to be informing somebody on the outside world – we’ve already seen her scale the walls of Alexandria, for example – but I think that is a too obvious link. Her comment last series on how it is the walker’s world and that they are just living in it doesn’t seem to match up with the philosophy of the Wolves. The Wolves use walkers as nothing more than components of their traps and clearly don’t have the same kind of bizarre melancholic feeling towards them that Enid’s comment suggests. Moments in this week’s episode, like the one where she is sat talking to Ron, are choreographed so that it looks like she is a part of some conspiracy, but I think that is merely an attempt at misleading us.

Then there is the fact that Enid, as the Wolves are already inside the walls, calmly and collectedly goes to say Carl just to say “goodbye”. Her levelheadedness throughout all of ‘JSS’ is unsettling and confusing to say the least. When she is looking on at the fight between Carl and a Wolf, she doesn’t seem to move an inch. It’s almost as if she doesn’t care who wins. Could this be because she knows she’s safe if either the Wolf or Carl succeeds or was it just a poor performance from Katelyn Nacon? Her choice to depart right at the moment of the Wolves’ arrival could suggest that she is about to return to her ‘true group’, but it could also be a part of her philosophy to “just survive somehow”.

We need to unpick this new catchphrase of hers to try and understand the motivations of her character. It is fundamentally about the one thing that matters the most to the majority of people on The Walking Dead: survival. This could explain her desire to flee when the Wolves are in the walls and her disinterest in Carl’s fight with the Wolf without necessarily aligning her with the Wolves. Ever since she watched her parent’s be killed right in front of her, her goal became to look after number one and this would suggest that she tries to not get emotionally attached to anyone anymore because it may come to the point where she has to leave them behind. This totally would explain her willingness to leave all of the Alexandrians, including Carl, to die in ‘JSS’. She has survived alone in the wilderness before, she probably thinks she could do it again.

If only Carl didn’t interrupt her when she was about to explain some of her backstory to him, we wouldn’t have been left in this state of speculation! Oh well, it only made the already intense episode more tense throughout. Next week, we likely going to see the walkers reach the walls of Alexandria and if the writer’s choose to stay close to the comic book source material, we should be in for another amazing episode!