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'Tales of the Walking Dead' Episode 6 'La Doña' recap/review

Television

‘Tales of the Walking Dead’ Episode 6 ‘La Doña’ recap/review

‘Tales of the Walking Dead’ wraps things up with yet another great story idea that stumbles in its execution.

Last week’s Tales of the Walking Dead told a mind-bending tale that was definitely confusing, but for all the wrong reasons. This week, the anthology series concludes its first (?) season with an old-fashioned haunted house story.

As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers.

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Fatal Hospitality

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

The episode opens with a couple (Idalia and Eric) running through the woods at night. Mixed in with a chorus of walker groans and human screams, we hear a Hail Mary prayer whispered in Spanish:

Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

The next morning, Idalia points out that a walker named Maria is still following them. She also recognizes where they are and says there might be a place nearby they can use to take shelter for the evening. The house’s owner (Alma) is a bit weird (i.e. really into supernatural stuff), but that’ll be a moot point if she isn’t there anymore.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

That night, Idalia and Eric find the secluded house and let themselves in. As they search the home, Idalia hears more whispered Spanish prayers along with some strange/unidentifiable noises. After walking through rooms filled with crosses and other Christian symbols, the couple is startled by the appearance of Alma, who demands they leave. Eric also begins hearing strange/unidentifiable noises at this point, which should have been a good indicator to oblige.

Unfortunately, Idalia decides to plead their case, explaining that she knew someone named Maria (uh oh) who used to buy candles and tinctures from Alma. When that doesn’t work, Idalia outright begs for shelter, which persuades the woman to let them stay for one night. She then tells them to wash up before revealing that the house has running water, much to Eric’s delight.

As Eric leaves to reacquaint himself with a modern amenity, Alma tells Idalia she has a hard time believing they knew Maria or that she’d tell them where to find her. Idalia unconvincingly explains that before Maria was killed by walkers, she’d been headed to see Alma, who she’d claimed was a healer who could help them.

Alma still doesn’t buy Idalia’s story, but tells her to go wash up, anyway.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Later, Alma feeds the hungry couple dinner. As they eat, she tells Idalia and Eric that they can have some of her spare blankets when they leave. Eric responds by asking why they can’t stay, especially when there’s so much room inside the house. He also points out that sending them back into the cold would basically be a death sentence, but Alma is unmoved.

When Eric continues to press the issue, Alma stands up and demands that the couple leave immediately.

Instead of honoring her request, Eric jumps up and makes an aggressive move toward Alma. Before he can grab her, however, the woman begins choking and falls over dead. Her head also hits the dining table on the way down, spilling blood onto Idalia’s neck.

Sympathy for the Devil

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Idalia goes to the bathroom to clean herself off. While looking at the water in the sink, she has a vivid hallucination of zombie hands wrapping around her throat.

Later, Eric builds a fire in the fireplace while excitedly discussing the safety and possibilities their new home affords them. Idalia responds that just because Alma died doesn’t mean they can take the house. Eric tries to reassure her, explaining that the woman’s death was an accident. He readily admits it was a messed up sequence of events, but the end result is them having the home they’ve been searching for.

Eric is eventually able to put Idalia’s mind to ease after discussing the wonderful life they can finally have together.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Things get spooky again when Idalia finds a picture of Alma as a young woman and says a Hail Mary in remembrance of her. During her prayer, she hears Alma’s voice angrily declaring that this is still her house.

Meanwhile, Eric finds a parrot after it begins squawking “Hello, handsome!” in Spanish. He takes an instant liking to the bird, who seems friendly enough, but also insists on his cage being covered by a sheet when he’s inside of it.

Later, when Eric makes a crude joke about Alma’s death, Idalia warns him that they have to be mindful of bringing bad energy into their home by what they say. She then expresses her discomfort over being inside the house, which prompts Eric to ask why she never told him about knowing where it was during their time together. Idalia responds that she simply never thought about it while they were so busy trying to survive.

I think we all know that’s a lie.

When the couple decides it’s time to sleep, Eric casually hops into Alma’s bed. Idalia is hesitant to do the same, but eventually relents and cuddles up next to him. Before settling in for the evening, the couple temporarily abandons their first real bed in years to take a hot bath together.

Supernatural Warfare

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Idalia awakens in the middle of the night to find a silhouette standing over Eric’s side of the bed. This horrifying discovery is immediately followed by all the candles in the room going out. Idalia assumes that it’s the spirit of Alma and begs her to forgive Eric. She also does a cleansing ritual throughout the house, which is interrupted when she hears the sound of a walker growling near the place they buried Alma. Things get even more weird/terrifying when she goes downstairs to the basement and discovers blood pouring down the walls.

That would’ve been more than enough to send me tearing out of there, but Idalia decides to investigate a rosary hanging from a nearby light string. She pulls it down, causing a light to blink and sputter to life near some tree roots growing into the basement.

Idalia finally realizes it’s time to retreat when Zombie Maria grabs her from behind one of the nearby walls.

After she runs upstairs and gets Eric, he comes back down with her to find that there’s no sign of Maria or the wall blood (of course). Eric chalks it up to Idalia being freaked out after sleeping in Alma’s bed. He apologizes for pressuring her about it before offering to make breakfast with some eggs from the house’s chicken coop.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

The next morning, Idalia goes through Alma’s things and decides to take one of the deceased woman’s rosaries for herself. This catastrophically poor decision makes her experience a hallucination of every Jesus from the crucifixes on a nearby wall jumping down and crawling on her. Idalia runs into another room, causing the terrifying vision to end. She also notices that the picture of Alma as a young woman that she prayed over before now shows a much more recent photograph.

Idalia recovers from this far quicker than any person should and tells Eric that she’s going for a walk. She also shows a breathtaking lack of awareness about cause-and-effect by leaving the rosary on.

After Idalia departs, Chekov’s Parrot begins summoning Eric to pull the blanket over his cage. He also asks Eric not to hurt him before pointedly asking “What did you do?” Eric gives the bird a menacing/annoyed look before pulling the door closed.

Outside, Idalia predictably hears the disembodied voice of Alma whisper “This is my land.” Her ghostly voice is accompanied by phantom walker growls, which Idalia futilely swipes at with a knife. She’s nearly convinced that the voices/sounds were just a particularly noisy chicken, but that theory is blown to smithereens when the ghost of Alma appears and screams “INTRUDER” while pointing directly at her.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

That evening at dinner, Idalia tells Eric that she’s been hearing voices and seeing things. This leads to her asking if he’s glad that Alama died, which escalates into a tense moment made even worse by Eric’s frustration with the ever-squawking Chevok’s Parrot.

Eric apologizes for his outburst and tells Idalia they can leave if she wants to. Instead of doing that, the couple decides to make out in the haunted house before moving to the bedroom for some makeup sex. Afterward, Idalia sees the bedroom’s wallpaper pattern moving and hallucinates that Eric is a walker biting her neck.

Although it should have happened a few supernatural attacks ago, Idalia finally declares that they’re leaving the next day. She also decides that Eric will be sleeping alone that evening.

Communion of Consciousness

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

No one can sleep the night before a big move, but Eric’s insomnia is exacerbated by Chekov’s Parrot, who somehow escaped his cage and is knocking pictures off the wall. Eric looks in the broken frames and sees a vision/flashback of him killing a bunch of people in the woods as Idalia watches. The visions are interrupted when Chekov’s Parrot asks “What did you do?”

Eric responds by chasing down the bird and snapping its neck. This understandably freaks out Idalia, but also serves as a huge letdown. I mean, how cool would it have been if Chekov’s Parrot started speaking with Alma’s voice or something like that?

But I digress…the next day, Eric is burying the bird when he hallucinates a pre-walker Maria begging to be let inside the house’s exterior gate. Despite realizing that she can’t be real (and noticing her zombified foot shuffling under the gate), Eric is nearly convinced to let the woman in — especially after Ghost Maria declares that Idalia “did this to me.”

Just as he’s about to open the gate, Idalia closes it while simultaneously stabbing the walker in the head with a pick axe. She then drags Eric inside and tries to assure him that what he saw was actually a “sonámbulo,” aka “sleepwalker,” aka an undead walker. She even shows him the blood on her hand from killing Zombie Maria.

Eric remains unconvinced, especially when he continues to hear Maria’s voice calling out to him. Instead, he angrily declares that Idalia is the crazy one and demands that she stop trying to make him think he’s lost his mind, too.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

When Eric’s accusatory rant is interrupted by a massive headache, Idalia takes him into the kitchen for a glass of water. He takes a sip and spits it out before accusing her of trying to poison him. Eric then claims that Idalia can’t be trusted due to her history with Maria, who she apparently had been surviving with before the pair met. He also questions her story about how Maria broke her ankle.

Instead of proclaiming her innocence, Idalia points out that Eric was more than willing to kill Maria’s friends when they came after her. She also tries to use the fact that Eric took their guns as evidence against him, but that didn’t really make sense.

Idalia then has a brief moment of clarity and notes that the house is causing them to turn on each other.

Sometime later, she steps outside with a knife and begins screaming at the ghosts to leave her and Eric alone. After a disembodied voice responds by begging her for help, Idalia heads down to the basement (c’mon…) and finds multiple walkers trapped inside the tree roots. When she turns back around, Ghost Alma appears and begins shuffling forward, angrily declaring that the house still belongs to her

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Back upstairs, Eric is trying to sleep off his headache when he’s awakened by the squawking of Chekov’s Parrot, who is definitely supposed to be dead. Before he can wrap his head around that unsettling realization, Idalia returns from the basement covered in walker blood. She tells Eric that the undead folks downstairs are all people they’ve known, including the ones he killed to protect her.

Eric counters by saying that he didn’t kill anyone on his own — they did what was necessary to survive together. Idalia then expresses her belief that Alma is doing all of this to them and that they deserve it. As if to prove her point, the house begins shaking while household items fly around the room. Eric responds by screaming that the house is “just a place” and commanding Idalia to stop causing these supernatural attacks, which isn’t very perceptive or helpful. Idalia then notices that a gun she was taking out of her bag has turned into a glass cross, which she promptly drops on the ground.

The house finally stops shaking, but the couple’s attention is drawn outside, where Alma has clawed out from her grave. Idalia and Eric run into another room, where they discover framed pictures of themselves in which they appear to be dead. The couple flees back into the hallway only to find themselves face-to-face with Walker Alma. They try to run away again, but the irritated homeowner simply reappears in front of them.

Instead of screaming in abject terror, the couple begins to fight over whose fault it is that they’re about to die. Meanwhile, Alma’s undead skin supernaturally moisturizes. She then reminds Idalia and Eric that this is her house before telekinetically hurling them toward the basement. Along the way, the pair continue fighting and blaming each other for what’s happening. They manage to stab each other moments before the tree root walkers pull them in for a gruesome reunion.

The episode closes with a shot of a painted portrait featuring Alma and her parrot.

The Verdict

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

It’s fitting that what might be Tales of the Walking Dead‘s final episode is another great idea that stumbled in its execution.

Despite two terrific leads (Daniella Pineda and Danny Ramirez) and some genuinely scary/unsettling moments, “La Doña” felt more like an uneven series of events rather than a cohesive story. It’s unfortunate because there were some great narrative seeds planted along the way — especially the backstory involving Maria. Unfortunately, that aspect of the episode was too vague and compressed to pay off like it should have.

It also appeared that “La Doña” wanted to add some ambiguity to its supernatural elements, but there wasn’t nearly enough groundwork to make that happen.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

It also didn’t help that Idalia and Eric played into the classic trope of one character being haunted while the other doesn’t believe it’s happening despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. The closest he came to a realization involved blaming Idalia for causing things that he steadfastly refused to accept were occurring

Meanwhile, Idalia continually made decisions that make the characters from 90s horror movies appear smart. I can almost buy her staying in the house after seeing blood on the walls. Following the crucifix attack, however, her relatively calm demeanor was far more unbelievable than any of the episode’s supernatural elements.

And don’t even get me started on her putting on Alma’s rosary — especially after the things she’d already experienced inside the house.

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

Tales of The Walking Dead (AMC)

All that being said, “La Doña” did have some legitimately scary moments. It also did a great job keeping the tension high from start to finish. Add in the fantastic leads, and there’s just enough there so it doesn’t feel like you wasted an hour watching it.

Unfortunately, a series needs to be much better than that to continue.

After Tales of the Walking Dead‘s second episode, I was hopeful that we’d get an anthology filled with stories and genres that weren’t typically found in the Walking Dead franchise. I got my wish for the most part, but the great ideas and fantastic casting choices were seldom accompanied by a strong narrative.

So is it worth AMC renewing Tales of the Walking Dead for a second season? I’m honestly not sure. If they do, let’s hope the show continues thinking outside the box while being a bit more careful and deliberate with how its stories unfold.

'Tales of the Walking Dead' Episode 6 'La Doña' recap/review
'Tales of the Walking Dead' Episode 6 'La Doña' recap/review
'Tales of the Walking Dead' wraps things up with yet another great story idea that stumbles in its execution.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The episode has some legitimately scary moments and does a great job keeping the tension high from star to finish.
The two leads (Daniella Pineda and Danny Ramirez) are fatnastic.
The episode feels like a series of jumbled events rather than a well-constructed narrative.
Eric falls into the trope of not believing in anything supernatural despite a mountain of evidence in front of him. Meanwhile, Idalia's demeanor and decision making skills are worse than a character from a 90s horror movie.
Some of the episode's best narrative possibilities are barely explored until the very end of the episode.
5
Average

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