the walking dead, daryl, daryl dixon, 606, always accountable, walking dead season 6 The lies we tell ourselves can be the most dangerous lies of all, and such untruths have taken center stage this season on "The Walking Dead." The people of Alexandria isolated themselves in their small community, clinging to Deanna's "pie in the sky" ideals and remaining blissfully ignorant of the real state of the world -- and are now woefully unprepared to deal with it. This week, Daryl meets three strangers who've escaped from a group promising security to anyone and everyone, provided they give up anything and everything for it. This trio, this mysterious sect, and the people it purports to protect are all unaware that safety is only an illusion -- something Daryl and the rest of our core group of survivors have learned the hard way.

While the show continues to ignore the question of Glenn's fate (what, you really expected answers before the midseason finale?), tonight, viewers finally found out what happened to Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham as they continued on their zombie parade quest. No worries here -- they all survived. But their run-in with the aforementioned mysterious (and dangerous) group suggests that that may not be the case for long. (I should note that I've had a few things from the "Walking Dead" comics spoiled for me recently, so I know, roughly, who these people are. I'll refrain from ruining that for those who'd prefer not to know, though that does make it a bit more difficult to talk about this week's events without spelling out that context. Apologies for any obtuseness that follows.)

The episode, "Always Accountable," opens with Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham completing their drive to draw the walkers away from Alexandria. They make it 20 miles out from the community and break away from the horde, leaving the zombies in their dust as they finally turn toward home. As soon as they do, though, they're ambushed by a large group with guns, who shoot at them from the side of the road and pursue them in several vehicles. Daryl skids off his bike, hit by a bullet, but eventually recovers, zooming off into the woods and easily evading the Jeep that follows. (It's interesting how comically bad these baddies are at catching their prey, considering how skillfully they snuck up on our survivors in the first place. Apparently, you're only a talented marksman and tracker until it's convenient for the story to say otherwise. This is proven true again later in the episode when the group catches up with Daryl and his would-be captors, then immediately loses them again.)

Abraham and Sasha crash their car, but come out guns blazing, easily mowing down the men in the sedan behind them. When the smoke clears, Abraham wants to empty a few more rounds into the vehicle, though Sasha dissuades him, since it's superfluous, not to mention wasteful of bullets. (And while that's theoretically true, it's also been proven throughout the show's run that you should probably make 100 percent certain that your wounded antagonist is dead. This episode made a point to portray Abraham as overzealous, but I don't disagree with his desire in this case.) They hole up in a nearby building and wait for Daryl to return, though, again, Abraham butts heads with Sasha over this decision. He's still harboring some suspicions following Sasha's psychotic break last season in the wake of the deaths of Bob, Tyreese, and Noah, which led him to jump in her car at the start of the zombie parade and keep a close eye on her as they completed their mission.

Sasha didn't appreciate the babysitting, though she doesn't deny she needed it, either. But she's also quick to call Abraham on his own B.S., especially when it comes to his seemingly-unquenchable bloodlust. He's visibly agitated as they sit in that insurance office and watch the zombie behind the locked glass door. Sasha, in a Zen-like state, says there's no point in killing it; Abraham counters, "Loose ends make my ass itch." Well said. But that's not the only thing that has his knickers in a twist, Sasha says. It's easy to do the wild and crazy thing (like jump out of their car at the start of the zombie parade and taking out errant walkers) but far harder to own up to those actions when someone else is around to notice -- like, say, an entire community waiting for them back in Alexandria.

"If you have a roof over your head, you have food, you have walls -- you have choices. And without walkers, and bullets, and s--t hitting the fan, you're accountable for them," she tells him. "Hell, you're always accountable. It's just with all that other noise, you know people won't notice."

Lone wolf Daryl was once in the same boat, though he's been trying to reform his ways. His interest in joining Aaron's Alexandria search party suggests that he's optimistic about the future of not just that community, but the world at large. But then he meets that trio in the woods, and he discovers that even if you do everything right -- returning Tina's diabetes medication, handing over a gun, inviting them to join his people -- you can still wind up on the other side of a barrel as a feral twosome steals your bike and your bow. Bummer.

These characters were so poorly written/acted that it was difficult to figure out exactly how or why they decided to escape from their mysterious group, only that they were determined not to kneel, they earned what they took (the insulin?), and they were on the hunt for their friend Patty. They initially mistake Daryl for a member of their former crew (a group so sprawling, apparently, that not everyone knows each other after years together) and take him hostage, though after Tina collapses, he makes an easy break for it. (Again with the plot holes: If his ties were secured so poorly, how did they manage to keep him captive in the first place? And what about his severely-injured arm? That thing healed miraculously in just a few hours' time.) Of course, since he's a good guy, he decides to return her meds, and then gets a glimpse of the men who are after them, led by a fellow sporting skinny jeans and black boots (his face is obscured for now). I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of them. (And I suspect that the crackling "Help" that Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham hear over the walkie at the end of the episode may be a trap set by them.)

Before he's double-crossed, Daryl has a discussion with the escapees in which they explain that they initially joined their former group at the start of the apocalypse, describing that community as "as good a place as any."

"Then things got harder, people got harder," Blonde Guy explains. "Human nature kicked in, and it became a truly unique kind of s--tshow."

That s--tshow, he continues, includes coercing people out of their possessions for the promise of safety, until "they've got nothing left, just existing."

"Ain't nobody safe anymore," Daryl interjects. "Can't promise people that anyhow."

"You can promise the people who want to hear it," Blonde Guy responds.

It turns out that Blonde Guy and Brunette Girl are just such people, and they eventually dump a defenseless Daryl to return to their gang.

"We're sorry," Brunette Girl says weakly as they take his stuff and leave him stranded.

"You gonna be," Daryl growls.

I can't wait to see him make good on that promise.

Other thoughts:

- Abe's unrepentant desire to destroy every zombie he sees was proof enough that he was a bit unstable, but "TWD" really wanted to drive that home by having him crawl out onto a precariously-perched fence and scream in a walker's face for seemingly no reason. It's meant to be an intense scene, but it just made me laugh. We get it, guys -- he has issues.

- Also a bit laughable was the fact that a fully-equipped military vehicle – complete with grenade-launchers, tons of ammo, and a box of exotic cigars – has gone undiscovered this long. Surely the group that jumped Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham would have found this long ago, right? Then again, it's yet another example of the classic Chekhov's gun trope that the series loves so much. No RPG can go unlaunched forever, right? I'm sensing it's going to be set upon our new antagonists soon enough.

- I really enjoyed seeing the box in the insurance office marked "2008 TAXES!!!" A reminder of the simpler things that used to cause stress in a pre-apocalypse world.

- There seems to be a romance brewing between Abraham and Sasha, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your opinion of Rosita. (Whose only appearance last week featured her crying worried tears over Abe. Her boyfriend may be alive, but he may not be her boyfriend for long.) Their tense interaction while waiting for Daryl leads to Abraham admitting that all his bravado is a mask for what really terrifies him: Living a long, healthy, happy life. "We got beer, and air conditioning, and walls," he tells Sasha, laying out Alexandria's luxuries. "Table is set for the rest of our lives, and I hope those years to be long and fruitful. I see that time before me, and I've been feeling the urge to make some plays before the great Cosmic Pete comes to cut my throat unceremoniously and I gurgle my last breath. But things are going to go on for a while before that. That hadn't occurred to me before." He then tells Sasha that he'd like to get to know her "a whole lot better," smirking and moving toward her in such a way that I can't help but think he's using the Biblical definition of "know." "You've got some stuff to take care of," a wary, but smiling, Sasha replies. I'm curious to see where this will go in the weeks ahead. (And again, how Rosita will handle it. Methinks not well.)

- Daryl asks Blonde Guy Rick's patented Three Questions, bringing back the constable's rubric for assessing suitability to join their gang. Unfortunately, Blonde Guy and Brunette Girl don't want any part of Alexandria. (At least for now. They just may pay the community a menacing visit sometime later this season.)

- Blonde Guy and Brunette Girl didn't find Patty, but Daryl did: As a zombie, in an abandoned fuel truck. He hijacks it and goes to rescue Abe and Sasha.

- Abe looks dapper in that military uniform he finds, and the smile on his face as he dons it is infectious. His happiness continues as he peers in the truck's sideview mirror, and doesn't see a single zombie. Their plan seems to have worked -- for now, anyway. As Blonde Guy and Brunette Girl reveal, they tried to firebomb that forest, and the results were only somewhat successful. The zombie parade may prove to be a similarly-middling accomplishment, especially once Abe and co. realize that there are still dozens (hundreds?) of walkers surrounding Alexandria's gates.

Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC