- Episode 6 (of 24), 'On the Inside'
- Written by Kevin Deiboldt
- Directed by Greg Nicotero
We follow up on one the last season’s many cliff-hangers, specifically what happened to Connie after she survived the cave of walkers. Though Alexandria assumed she was dead, we know she was found by the one-time villain, Virgil. The episode opens on the pair escaping some unknown threat.
With Connie running on fumes and paranoia, Virgil pulls her into a large house to hide from a walker horde and for her to get some rest, but she refuses. While searching the house, Connie inspects a slot in a medicine cabinet, and sees an eye staring back. Unable to communicate properly and sleep deprived, Virgil thinks it’s all in her head.
She storms off, and he gives chase, when a wall suddenly moves between them, and they're separated from each other. The camera follows Connie. The sound cuts out. Only light vibrations are heard, as the wall shakes and Connie realizes someone’s behind her. She bolts, now being chased by someone running after her in a hunched position.
She escapes to the basement, finding the leftover bones of previous victims of these feral cannibals. Horrified, she escapes into a vent and hides inside the walls of the house. Finding a spy hole, Connie spots Virgil, stuck in a locked room as more people bang on the door.
Connie bangs against the wall, trying to get Virgil’s attention. One of the feral people crawls from a corner and lunges on Virgil. Able to wound them, the feral escapes and Virgil can inspect the banging. Thinking it a threat at first, he stabs the wall, but relents when he sees Connie. Realizing they were herded in this house to be eaten, Virgil says that no matter what, Connie needs to escape, even if it means leaving him behind. Connie refuses the idea, and reiterates that they stay together.
No way out
The feral group begin their attack again, and the duo attempt to escape the house. Virgil is jumped and then stabbed repeatedly, telling Connie to go. She pulls him away, but they are stuck at the front doors. With walkers on the outside and ferals on the inside, things look bleak.
Connie’s quick thinking leads her to put Virgil in a corner, rub herself with walker remains and open the front door. The ferals are overwhelmed by the walkers, and the two escape. Kelly, Connie’s sister, and other Alexandrians who had been picking up her trail throughout the episode, ride in to find Connie. The sisters have their teary reunion.
Meanwhile, the Reapers, now having recruited Daryl, look to their other prisoner for information on Maggie’s group. To prove his loyalty, Daryl is made to torture his ally, Frost, who has already been through a lot of bloody beatings. Frost accepts the pain from Daryl, even to the point of allowing Daryl to take a finger, to keep up the façade. To gain Daryl some cred, Frost openly gives a location for Maggie’s hideout to him. Pope sends Daryl, Leah, and Carver to check it out, tactically approaching the location. Daryl covertly signals their approach to anyone in hiding.
Busting into houses and sweeping the area, no one can be found. Cut to Maggie’s silent group under the floorboards. Carver, the most outwardly skeptical of Daryl, says to Leah that he can’t be trusted and that he’s trying to protect her from him. Leah asks where he was when she was left to burn under Pope’s orders. He notes that Pope has got more extreme recently, and they just need to do their best. Carver spots a gap in the floor and opens it, only to find its empty. The survivors snuck out during the argument, and are free.
Returning to Pope empty-handed and expecting retribution, Pope just laughs. Having continued the interrogation and getting what he wanted, Frost outlived his usefulness, and is shown chained and changed, now one of the dead. Pope walks away, whispering and laughing to Carver, looking over at Daryl every so often. We're left to wonder if Frost gave him up.
Lauren Ridloff’s Connie and Kevin Carol’s Virgil have great chemistry. Connie’s perspective as a deaf character offers such unique and tense visual horror moments in this episode. Her frantically tired movements, her fearful facial expressions, the desperation in her breathing – all of it creates dynamic energy that elevates this already novel and successful premise for an episode.
Even Daryl’s torture of Frost is tense. You’re never sure how far things will go, nor if he’ll be found out when he's trying to hide Maggie’s group from the Reapers. The cleverness and commitment of Daryl is comforting to see, even if his stiffness as a character is something of a drawback.
- Angela Kang says that much of the inspiration for the house Connie and Virgil are trapped in was taken from traditional haunted house motifs, such as sliding hidden walls and secret eye holes.
- The pictures with the scratched-out eyes in the house were made to look ‘super creepy’, according to Angela Kang. However, narratively, she believes the feral residents may be relatives or the inhabitants of the house, and their regression has meant they cross out aspects of what they used to look like.
- Greg Nicotero, this week's director, was also the special effects make-up artist who designed the look of the cannibal inhabitants from the episode.
- When Connie looks at the knife being stabbed through the wall, her eye-opening stare is reminiscent of moments from the slasher horror genre, like Friday the 13th.
- When Daryl lists the number of people, the settlement, and weapons that the Reapers have to Carver, he’s doing so to inform Maggie’s group who are under his feet at the time, so they know what to expect.
- In Connie’s notebook, she notes that she was hiding inside the walker herd from the mine for days, with no light, food, and very little water.
- The notebook looks to have been used by Connie and Virgil to communicate when they met up, as it mentions her time after being found by him, Virgil meeting Michonne and that the ferals were watching their camp.
- According to Kevin Deiboldt, an early version of this episode had Virgil bitten and having to hide it for the episode to motivate her leaving him behind, but this was changed at some point.
- Deiboldt also notes that the opening is a homage to The Night of the Living Dead, where a character runs for shelter in an old, abandoned house.