The Walking Dead 602: Wolfpack attacks and raw tortoise snacks

Katelyn Nacon as Enid, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Katelyn Nacon as Enid, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

In episode 602 of The Walking Dead, various characters fend off the Wolves, and Enid eats a tortoise.

In the aftermath of Pete’s death on The Walking Dead, residents at Alexandria are debating Rick’s role in their community. However, make no mistake about it: This is largely a Rick-free episode. In fact, other well-known characters (like Glenn) are still off wrangling walkers in the rock quarry. Also interesting is how the opening focuses on Enid, and it’s guaranteed that many will find her interesting (and they’ll likely be disgusted by a certain scene where she eats a raw tortoise for survival).

So, to an extent, there are slivers of an origin story here, showing what brought her to Alexandria. Still, that is also not the main focus of the episode. Without sufficient warning, we see those damn Wolves wage an aggressive killing spree! It is a brutal and bloody assault, seemingly out of nowhere, and there’s some payoff in seeing how the characters respond to these attackers, including how Carl tries to protect Enid (is it merely due to an attraction to her or does he also respect her survival skills?).

The Walking Dead and Rick leaving Carl behind (again!)

Meanwhile, Walking Dead viewers might notice something else: This episode absolutely sets us up to question Rick’s ability to be there to protect his son and daughter. By this point, how many times has Rick not been there for Carl or his baby girl? Sometimes he’ll be out on a scavenging trip, maybe out to pick up guns, scout locations, what have you, but it’s been a regular theme throughout the entire series.

In a world where people might eat feral dogs and tortoises for survival, family unity is perhaps more necessary than ever. At the same time, Carl and Rick have had a strained relationship, so Carl likely doesn’t try to prevent his dad from leaving. And when Rick returns, how often is he even the same person? At times, Rick’s become quite animalistic in his quest for survival, barely stopping short of carrying a severed head on a stick in his hand and talking to it for advice (yes, let’s remember the times he’s hallucinated).

Oddly enough, though, on some of these occasions, Rick’s brutality was absolutely called for (such as even biting out a man’s throat to actually protect Carl). While it may seem like I’m off on a Rick-bashing excursion, he is a complex character who, by being a leader, often bites more than he can chew (so to speak).

During his times away, the character no doubt sees it as part of an overall strategy to protect his family, although his strategies almost always backfire or fall short of truly bringing about safety (also, let’s face it: The writers just won’t cut Rick a break!). Maybe the big point is, anyone with so many responsibilities and inadequate support is bound to fail sometimes, whether they’re mentally equipped for it or not.

The Wolf attack and different battle strategies

When Rick and his group first arrived at the walled community of Alexandria, it was with some skepticism and hesitation. Their leader, Deanna Monroe, seemed to not fully understand the struggles of the outside world. Isolation from the chaos granted some illusions of safety, even though they weren’t 100% naïve about the whole zombie apocalypse thing. The more experienced outsiders, like Rick and Carol, were wary of needing to ask for a gun — understanding they might need one at a moment’s notice.

If they need permission for, say, a shotgun, it could be as good as forfeiting one’s life. This issue never disappears when Rick turns around to look away from it. It will always be ready to gnaw at him, or any other survivor in the crazy Walking Dead universe. With Rick and others not around to shoot down walkers or other invaders, Alexandria is left scrambling to bolster its defenses, with Carol being one of the few residents capable of spontaneously (and instinctively) enacting a formidable battleplan.

That’s not to say she’s alone, of course. After a brief stand-off with some Wolves, Morgan proves to have a different-yet-still-effective battle philosophy. Rather than simply killing an opponent, he believes in letting them live when possible, much like Tyreese and his hammer (coincidentally, both Morgan and Tyreese also had some interesting hallucination or vision moments, though one could say that about Rick as well).

Expecting future wars

Although the Wolves are mostly warded off, they seem tenacious enough to come back at any moment, as if they embrace the sheer mania of it. Carol recognizes this, and it has transformed her into what she must be to survive — very much echoing Enid’s sentiments of “Just Survive Somehow.”

What are your thoughts on this Walking Dead episode? Let us know somehow in the comments!

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