TV Recap: The Walking Dead, ‘The Same Boat’

Walking Dead Season 6 Poster
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

The Same Boat Plot Summary

Carol (Melissa McBride) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have been taken hostage by a group of Saviors including: the leader Paula (Alicia Witt), an injured Donnie (Rus Blackwell), Molly (Jill Jane Clements), and Michelle (Jeanneanne Goosen). Paula and crew wait for back-up at a walker infested safe house, while Maggie and Carol try to figure anyway they can escape.

Women have never shied away from violence on The Walking Dead. They’ve given as good as they got on this series — there’s no damsels in distress here. These are women who are fighting for survival and will stop at nothing to protect their tribe, and themselves.

However, there’s never been an episode that’s been as female-centric as ‘The Same Boat.’ What’s interesting is that all the female characters in this episode are, you guessed it, ‘in the same boat.’ They’re all fighting to stay alive in this crazy world – with both sides maintaining the other is the villain in the situation.

Often episodes that stray from our main characters tend to underwhelm. They come and go and we tend to remember them as filler episodes, or just moments that help flesh out supporting characters. Remember when there was so much focus on Aaron (Ross Marquand) a season or two ago? Yeah, nothing special there right. However, we’re given two major female characters – one of whom has had plenty of starring screen time (but has been cut dramatically back), and one who’s been a mainstay of the show but hasn’t always got her fair share of the spotlight.

Carol and Maggie have been the backbone of the series for years, however they are not constants. Follow me here. Daryl is a constant — he’s a constant bad ass who on the occasion shows some heart. Carol and Maggie are constantly evolving in this series. Carol was an abused wife who practically had “walker bait” stamped on her forehead in season one. Since then she’s evolved into a woman unafraid to kill, and has become just as deadly, and commanding as Rick (Andrew Lincoln). Maggie went from a farmer’s daughter to a capable soldier, to the moral compass of the tribe, to basically the tribe’s politician.

Tonight we saw two different shades of these characters. First, we saw the bloodthirsty, stone cold side of Maggie. Despite her “delicate condition” she was an absolute warrior in the episode. She took no prisoners and was not afraid to kill anything that came her way…or at least tell Carol to kill anything that came there way. Carol, who became quite the killing machine, showed more reluctance than ever to kill. Could this be some of Morgan (Lennie James) rubbing off on her, or has the blood on her hands become to hard to scrub off (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The action, and violence in this episode seemed more brutal than even last week’s phenomenal shootout. It was more personal, more driven by fear, hate, and the desire to survive. Maybe that’s why it felt more uncomfortable, more visceral than ever before.

A big part of why this episode worked was the guest spot from Alicia Witt as the Savior leader, Paula. A veteran TV actor, Witt has never had to get this intense in a role before (at least on the small screen), and she handles it with visceral ease. Witt is not unlike Carol and Maggie, and unlike her other Savior running buddies, you feel for her. She’s a woman who was stuck at work when all hell broke lose, and lost her husband and daughters, while having to stay with her overbearing boss who nearly killed her when things got tough. She’s a fighter, a person who has been through tragedy, and someone who will stop at nothing to keep going. Unlike many “villains” on this series, Paula is a character you actually respect the hell out of.

This is what makes this half of season six so interesting — the bad guys have redeeming and admirable qualities, while our heroes are showing their darker, more detestable side. It’s an ugly situation the viewer is put in. We see the warts on our heroes, and we’re seeing it for an extended period of episodes. This isn’t a killing that we can justify, or a mercy killing to end the suffering of someone. This is war. War isn’t pretty. And sadly, you have to chose sides.

It’s going to get real interesting once Negan finally appears. Yes, all the Saviors are saying, “I am Negan” or “We are Negan.” But, we all know Negan is one man, and that man is going to turn this series on its ear.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites