Solid. That's the word that comes to mind after watching “Always Accountable” – particularly following last week's underwhelming instalment. By honing in on just three of the main characters and roving far away from Alexandria, the show gets back to its roots. This is another episode where people run around in the woods, fretting, but it does a decent enough job of setting up various threads for the future.
It helped that the choice of viewpoint characters meant that we got to spend quality time with people we actually like. Daryl has been largely ignored this season, so it was gratifying to see him take the lion's share of the episode. His story was simple, but enjoyable: he's mistaken for a wrong 'un by some survivors who are fleeing another group, wins them over by helping them to escape and is eventually betrayed for his trouble – losing his beloved bike and crossbow in the process. But as the man in the group (who is, by the looks of it, Dwight from the comic) points out incredulously, Daryl helped them even after he had been threatened and abused. It reinforced that he's one of The Walking Dead's few wholly decent characters.
Readers of the comic will be nodding their head in satisfaction at this point and whispering “Saviours” – and it's surely no coincidence that it was announced last week that Watchmen's Jeffrey Dean Morgan will play the notorious villain, Negan, in the back end of the season. The mention of “outposts” also makes it clear that the Alexandrians are about to enter a larger world – whether they're ready or not.
Elsewhere, Abraham also got some strong material. He's never going to be the deepest of characters, but the episode saw him confront his death wish and realise that, actually, he rather likes being alive. As the hour comes to a close, he's looking to the future with a degree of hope. Plus he found a stash of cigars and RPGs and - look - you know we're not getting to the end of the season without those being smoked and shot, right?
Sasha's thread, on the other hand, struggled to make an impression. She's one of the few long-standing characters who still feels vaguely defined. She's angry and she used to like Bob before he died, but er... well that seems to be it. The moment where Abraham tells her that he's into her is very sweet, but it would be nice if the show made more of an effort to give her more to do before hooking her up with another guy.
Still, much better than last week. “Always Accountable” isn't going to be anyone's "best ever!" episode, but it was an enjoyable, tense and even hopeful 45 minutes of television that pointed towards the future without just feeling like setup. Solid.
|Jeffrey F. January
|The one where
|Daryl is kidnapped by three desperate survivors, while Abraham and Sasha bond.