"Start to Finish" is the eighth episode and mid-season finale of the sixth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the seventy-fifth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 29, 2015. It was written by Matt Negrete and directed by Michael Satrazemis.
Multiple problems crash together.
Sam leaves an empty lunch plate outside his room. He retreats back inside, and continues drawing a picture of a child tied to a tree with walkers surrounding him. The camera pans to the bedroom window, where an army of ants is flooding in. They make their way down the wall and onto a plate, where they feast on the remains of a half-eaten cookie.
Outside, the watchtower collapses, knocking down a panel from Alexandria's perimeter wall. As walkers swarm through the gaping hole, Rick orders everyone to run to their homes and lock their doors. Rather than retreating with the other residents, Deanna joins Rick in fighting off the walkers. She saves him from a close encounter, but is injured after falling onto a saw blade. Rick helps her up, and they continue fighting.
Meanwhile, Carol is running down the street when she trips and falls to the ground. In the process, her gun breaks and she injures her head. Morgan helps her up, and they dash into the townhouse with the makeshift jail cell.
Maggie scrambles up to the lookout post, having been shot in the leg by one of Deanna's stray bullets. She narrowly escapes a horde of walkers, who grab at her feet and try to push her off the ladder as she climbs to safety.
Eugene cowers against a wall, trying to stay unnoticed. He spots a walkie-talkie on the ground, and hears Daryl calling Rick's name. Eugene picks it up and fearfully calls into the speaker for help. Just as a walker starts getting close, Rosita and Tara rescue him and flee to a nearby garage. They manage to shut the door as massive group of walkers catch up, and try to force their way in.
Rick helps an injured Deanna walk down the street, where they're joined by Michonne, Gabriel, Carl and Ron. Jessie arrives to help, shooting at the incoming walkers and ushering the group into her house.
Enid and Glenn watch in disbelief as droves of walkers stream in from the perimeter. Enid is pessimistic, and tells Glenn, "This is how it happens." Glenn insists that as bad as it looks, there are people on the inside who care about her. He reveals that Maggie is pregnant, and tries to convince Enid that she is obligated to help rather than give up.
Inside Jessie's house, Rick carries Deanna to an upstairs bedroom and lays her down. Sam opens his door, and catches a glimpse of what is going on. He becomes paralyzed with fear, but Jessie urges him to be brave.
On the main floor of the townhouse, Carol leans back against the wall and refuses Morgan's offer to examine her head. She reveals that she doesn't trust Morgan, despite knowing that he is honest. Upon being told that walkers are filling the streets, Carol tries to get on her feet. Morgan stops her, explaining that she has probably sustained a concussion. He insists that she rest, and Carol complies.
One floor below, Denise sits in the same room with Owen. She keeps her distance from him, but gives in to his attempt at conversation. When asked, Owen insists that he and his group only kill people to "free" them. He mentions the wound on the side of his abdomen, and says that he cut himself while breaking into a vehicle. Denise asks to see the wound. Owen removes his bandage, revealing a badly infected gash. Denise cautiously removes a bag of IV fluid from her pack, and moves closer.
Back at Jessie's house, Michonne and Rick tend to Deanna. While inspecting Deanna's injury, Michonne discovers a bite mark on her side. "Well, shit," Deanna says, as she seemingly accepts her fate.
Rick talks with Jessie, and comes up with a plan to run to the armory after the walkers start huddling in one place. He says that he can draw the walkers away from Alexandria with flares, and get more weapons while he's at it.
Michonne, meanwhile, tells Deanna that she believes in Alexandria, and Deanna's plans to expand it. Deanna asks what Michonne wants for herself. "I don't know," Michonne admits.
Down in Jessie's garage, Carl checks on Ron, who's upset and brooding about his father. They begin to argue while Ron slowly walks to the door. Upon locking it, he turns around reaches for his gun. Carl reacts quickly, and knocks the gun out of Ron's hand before he can use it. As they fight, Ron swings a shovel at Carl, but accidentally breaks a window instead. Walkers immediately follow the sound of the breaking glass.
Rick and Jessie hear the commotion, and race to the garage. Rick grabs an axe, and tries to smash the door open while Ron and Carl continue to fight. Once Rick gets the door open, Ron and Carl run inside the house as walkers stream into the garage. Rick and Jessie shove a couch against the door, with assistance from Gabriel and Michonne. When asked what happened, Carl covers for Ron and says they accidentally knocked over the shelf, which broke the window and attracted the walkers.
Carl follows Ron into an empty room, and draws his weapon. Holding him at gunpoint, Carl demands that Ron hand over his gun. Ron complies, and offers no resistance. He apologizes for attacking Carl, who empathizes with Ron for the loss of his father. However, he points out that Pete was "an asshole".
Rick hears Judith crying, and runs upstairs. He goes to the room where he laid Deanna on the bed, and sees nothing but a blood stain from her wound. Frightened, he makes his way to Judith's room. He sees Deanna from the back, leaning toward the baby's crib. Assuming that she has turned, Rick moves in to kill her. "It's still me!" Deanna calls out. She states she wanted to see Judith one last time, but her legs had different plans.
Seeing that she is even weaker than before, Rick gently lays Deanna on a bed. She gives him farewell notes for Spencer and Maggie, and asks him to look after Spencer as he would his own people. Rick is skeptical, but Deanna insists that, "They're all your people."
In the townhouse garage, Eugene is reading a history book while Tara and Rosita discuss their situation. Rosita suggests that Abraham is dead, but Tara says he is not because, "I haven't seen it." Seemingly convinced that there is still hope, Rosita offers to shoot the door open so they can get out and move on. Eugene intervenes, revealing that lock picking is "within my skill set". He then proceeds to pick the lock.
On the floor above, Carol pretends to be asleep as Morgan peers down toward the makeshift jail cell. When he comes back up, she is nowhere to be found. He begins looking around, only to be shoved aside as Carol runs downstairs. As she enters the room where Owen is being held, she pulls out a knife and orders Denise to back away from him. Just then, Morgan arrives with staff in hand. He gets between Carol and Owen, seemingly prepared for the inevitable confrontation.
Back at Jessie's house, walkers break through the makeshift defenses and start flooding in. Rick blocks the stairs with a sofa, as the most of the group retreats upstairs. He then tells Michonne they're going to need two walkers.
Morgan tries to dissuade Carol from killing Owen. Carol states that she doesn't want to have to kill Morgan and to get out of the way. Morgan knocks the knife out of Carol's hand and after a brief, fight he slams her to the ground, knocking her unconscious. While he's distracted with her, Owen grabs Morgan's staff and strikes him unconscious, hands still tied. He then takes Carol's knife and points it at Denise.
Rick and Michonne lay two dead walkers on the floor, and announce that everyone is heading to the armory. Rick explains that the only way to ensure everyone's safety is to cut open the two walkers, and smear themselves with the innards. That way, they will be indistinguishable from the herd.
Michonne tells Deanna that they have to leave the house, and offers to kill Deanna before she turns. Deanna refuses, preferring to shoot herself when the time comes. She then explains the Latin phrase that she wrote on the plans for Alexandria: "Dolor hic tibi proderit olim" = "Someday, this pain will be useful to you." Deanna then takes Michonne's hand, and tells her to, "Give 'em hell."
Rick's group, sheets now over their clothes, slathers themselves in guts. Sam opens his door and recoils from the gruesome scene. "Pretend you're brave," Jessie says. Sam, though seeming scared, nods. The group continues to slather themselves in guts.
Owen cuts his bonds and just as Rosita, Tara and Eugene charge into the room, he quickly grabs Denise and holds the knife to her neck. He forces them to lower their weapons, then takes a gun and escapes with Denise as his hostage while the three try and tell them not to.
Rick's group, each member now covered in a sheet full of guts, heads downstairs. But before this, Gabriel tells Rick, "I'm not stopping," meaning that he won't stop and help the others if their cover is blown. Rick nods slowly. They calmly make their way in to the herd inside unnoticed.
Glenn and Enid climb a tree to gain a better vantage point. Glenn sees a helpless Maggie on top of the lookout post.
Deanna holds a gun to her chin but stops from pulling the trigger when she hears walkers in the hallway. She flings the door open and fires at the herd while screaming.
Rick's group stands on Jessie's front porch, looking out at the sea of walkers. They hold hands and make their way through the herd, however, as they walk among the herd, Sam starts to call to his mother, saying, "Mom" multiple times, which slowly gains the attention of a few of the walkers around them and as the screen goes black, walkers now start becoming attracted to them.
Elsewhere, Daryl, Abraham and Sasha are still headed back to Alexandria, but are stopped by a group of bikers blocking the road. One of the bikers tells them to give up all their supplies and their truck, to which, Daryl asks, "Why should we?". The biker then claims, "Your property, now belongs to Negan".
- Mandi Christine Kerr as Barbara (Does Not Appear)
- Katelyn Nacon as Enid
- David Marshall Silverman as Kent (Does Not Appear)
- Chloe & Sophia Garcia-Frizzi as Judith Grimes
- Brian Lancaster as Timmy
- Matt Bolick as Savior
- Brian Farmer as Savior
- Deanna Monroe (Alive, Off-Screen)
- First appearance of Timmy.
- Last appearance of Deanna Monroe. (Alive)
- This is the third time that a main character has died whilst been credited as 'Also Starring' and she becomes the twelfth main character to die.
- This episode continues the tradition of killing off a female character in the mid-season finale.
- The title of the episode, "Start to Finish", comes from Deanna's final words to Michonne.
- Deanna references what she said to Rick after he saved Spencer in "Heads Up", when Rick states he helped to save Spencer because he was Deanna's son. She says Rick saved Spencer because he was "one of them", hinting that this was the "right answer" to the question she asked Rick.
- In Sam's room there are figures that resemble characters from Robert Kirkman's Invincible comic.
- Sam's drawing, a kid tied to a tree with walkers coming for him, is a reference to Carol's threat to him back in "Forget".
- Two versions of the song "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" were played in the episode. Nick Lucas' version played in the beginning and Tiny Tim's version played at the ending.
- The ants around the piece of food on the plate in Sam's room is used to show that the ants are the "walkers" and the food (Alexandria and the residents) is rapidly being overrun.
- This episode takes place the same day as "Always Accountable".
- It is also revealed that the person who said "help" at the end of "Always Accountable" was Eugene.
- This episode has the second fewest living character deaths of any mid-season finale with only one confirmed death, just behind "Pretty Much Dead Already" from Season 2, in which no living characters died.
- Despite appearing in promotional photography and being credited, Heath, Spencer, and Aaron do not appear in this episode. Additionally, despite being credited, Barbara and Kent do not appear in the episode as well.
- The Season 1 episode "Guts" is called back to when Rick says, "I've done it before", in reference to covering Glenn and himself in walker guts. Carol also used the same trick in "No Sanctuary" to infiltrate and destroy Terminus.
- This episode marks the first mention of Negan Smith, although he doesn't make his actual first appearance until "Last Day on Earth".
- This is the fourth episode to contain a post-credit scene, after "No Sanctuary", "Coda" and "Conquer".
- The herd invading Alexandria is adapted from Issue 82.
- Several residents hiding in different places around Alexandria is adapted from Issue 83.
- Carl and Ron's final confrontation is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 80, where Carl threatens Ron and scares him instead.
- Deanna giving a speech to Michonne is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 81, where Morgan gives a speech to Carl instead.
- Deanna choosing to face a group of walkers inside the house is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 83, where Douglas exits his house and starts shooting walkers on the street instead.
- Rick and the group using walker guts to escape through the herd is adapted from Issue 83.
- Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl encountering a group of Saviors on the road who demand their stuff for Negan is adapted from Issue 97.
- Despite Owen's teeth being rotten and yellow in his previous appearance, his bottom teeth are white in this episode. This was most likely an oversight on the part of the production department.
- When Deanna and the group reach the house, there is some blood on the edge of Deanna's revolver. One scene later, the blood disappeared.
- In the previous episode, Carl is seen running from the spot he was observing the tower from before the tower had fully collapsed, however, in this episode, he is not seen running from that spot until walkers are already flooding inside under Rick's orders.
- The revolver that Deanna uses is a Ruger SP101 which is a .357 Magnum that holds five bullets. When she uses it in the episode however she fires six shots.