In the cold open of “Attacked,” we got a peek into the back story of Enid.
You might remember Enid from her jaunt with Carl in the woods last season, but aside from that, we haven’t see much from her. She, like many of our heroes and anti-heroes, has witnessed members of her family killed by way of zombie-eating. But Enid's presence in this episode is more about some of our other main characters than it is about her. 
Like many characters, we watched her face the depths of desperation -- in this case, dining on some succulent raw turtle meat. Her mantra: J.S.S, or Just Survive Somehow, which she etched into the ground and her mind.
This theme provides the bookends to the episode, and insights into several characters.
We pick up just before where we left off, with Rick guiding the hoard of walkers last week, but in Alexandria. We see what caused the horn to blow as a group known to us only as the Wolves attacks the compound from inside the walls.
The duration of the episode involves several characters coming to grips with their own survival techniques. Everyone has to Just Survive Somehow, somehow.
It’s a very basic idea for a show that’s all about survival, but as the episode unfolds, we see how several characters have had to forge their own paths.
For Jessie, it’s similar to Carol. Years of living with an abusive husband provided for Carol the spark to re-invent herself way back in the second season (after Sophia died, which I’d argue is what enabled her to survive up to this point … more on Carol later). Jessie was able to use some of the skills she likely picked up from her marriage to Pete to protect herself and her children.
When she tussles with the invader in the kitchen, she pretends to have been knocked out cold. It’s possible this was a tactic she learned when trying to prevent Pete from further abusing her. And it worked, as Jessie was able to grab a nearby pair of scissors and go to town on the she-Wolf.
(I am glad, by the way, that they went with a woman for the invader in this scene. It’s clear that Jessie is taking out her pent-up Pete aggressions on her when she goes overboard on the stabbing, but if it were a man it would have been too literal.)
I think it’s also important to remember how little death the Alexandrians have seen, at least comparatively. Jessie might not have killed anyone before. Ron probably hadn’t watched his mother kill anyone before. It’s been a much different upbringing than, say, Carl.

Carl has learned to survive because he’s watched his parents kill, and because he’s had to kill. To him, Just Survive Somehow is find a big gun with a lot of bullets and don’t miss. I would have said that includes don’t let them grab your gun barrel, but I guess Carl’s still got some learning to do.

For Morgan, it’s the opposite. I had actually thought Morgan was coming around to the new way of thinking a bit more last week than what we saw in this episode. But, like Tyrese, he won’t kill, even when he should.

We don't know much about what Morgan has been up to since his run-in with Rick, Carl and Michonne toward the end of Season 3, other than that he left his booby-trapped stronghold in Georgia and headed north tracking Rick and Co. But Morgan has survived, in his own way, just like Enid.

And ultimately at the end, it appears that both Morgan and Enid decide to leave Alexandria. For Morgan, Just Survive Somehow doesn't have room for losing one's humanity. For Enid, I'm not sure what it is, but I think the loss of her family has made it difficult for her to be around other people. That's why she goes outside the wall into the woods to get away. Enid's Just Survive Somehow is, perhaps, loneliness.

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Back to Super Carol, who once again saved the day by going straight "Rambo: First Blood Part II" in this episode. I was expecting her to go full mud camouflage, but she just dressed up like the Wolves. At this point, we expect this from Carol. In one of my favorite all-time episodes (0509), she saved the group from being sliced, diced and dined on last season in Terminus.

She took down the Terminites in their stronghold; we know she can handle the Wolves. And it is so gratifying to watch.

Up until this point in Alexandria, Carol has played the sweet housewife. We get a reminder of that early on when she talks about making her own pasta in the food pantry with a few other women. To Carol, Just Survive Somehow is never letting anybody truly know what she’s capable of -- which of course, is more than anyone expects.
And at the end, with her cold shoulder to Morgan, we see both ends of the survival spectrum. Carol, under her disguise, is actually more extreme than Rick in following the kill-or-be-killed creed, and she proved it with the knifed brains of several Alexandrians and Wolves. With Morgan, it’s what you see is what you get, and what you see is a man who has seemingly transcended.
Having her and Morgan walk past each other easily symbolizes their diametric opposition.
We did learn a bit more about the Wolves this week, but not enough to fully understand their motives. We learned that there’s a lot of them, they don’t use guns, only blade weapons (and apparently molotov cocktails) and they seem to be skilled fighters, although no match for Morgan and his cheese-maker stick-fighting skills.
Before being killed, one of the the Wolves offers the alternative, “We’re freeing you …”, which, again, doesn’t provide much insight, but will keep us guessing and thinking about it until we come back next week. You’ll have to J.S.S. until then.
Rating: 4/4 katanas. I really liked how this week, combined with last week, broke from the format of the explosive premiere followed by the quiet aftermath episode.

Afterthoughts:

  • style="font-weight: 400;">"The Walking Dead" seemed like it was getting a little political tonight. I bet the anti-smoking and anti-gun lobbies enjoyed the not-so-subtle references.
  • style="font-weight: 400;">I don’t like when we see blood splatter hit the camera lens. It’s supposed to make you feel like you’re in it, but to me, it just reminds me that I’m watching a TV show ... too self-aware.
  • style="font-weight: 400;">Gabriel is by far my least favorite refugee from "The Wire" to end up on "The Walking Dead." Why is he the only one still around?
  • style="font-weight: 400;">Denise did not have a good first day on the job as Alexandria’s only doctor.
  • style="font-weight: 400;">I wonder if Aaron will later admit that his lost backpack with photos inside at least partly led the Wolves into the camp.

Quotables:

  • style="font-weight: 400;">“I made some miracles happen with water chestnuts.”
  • style="font-weight: 400;">“Come by around 3. We’ll start with the machete.”
  • style="font-weight: 400;">“They got in the walls, they’re going to die. All of them.”
  • style="font-weight: 400;">“Quick... or slow?”
  • style="font-weight: 400;">“From a cheese maker.”
  • style="font-weight: 400;">“All I was going to say is, ‘Make sure you get her brain.’”

Lingering questions:

  • style="font-weight: 400;">Will we see more of the Wolves next week? Will we find out more about what makes them tick?
  • style="font-weight: 400;">Are Morgan and Enid gone for good? Will they travel together?
  • style="font-weight: 400;">What happens when Rick returns to see the aftermath of the attack, with the world’s biggest “told ya so” on his lips?
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