I have a confession to make: when it comes to scenes of characters looting through the remnants of a once thriving society, the magic is gone. These scenes have always been one of The Walking Dead’s most essential pleasures, a kind of muted, post-capitalist fantasy of scrounging your way through the world, taking what you needed where you found it, and not giving a damn about cash or credit. The only currency that mattered was what you were willing to do to protect what you had. That’s a brutal metric, but it’s also a freeing one, especially when we’re not the ones engaging in it. No one on the show has to worry about saving for college.

That’s still more or less true even with Alexandria, but the novelty has worn out. “Always Accountable” has Sasha and Abraham making their way through a town, finding what they can find, and when their story began, I had a certain sinking sensation. As good as the show has become at telling silent stories with the artifacts of a bygone age, there are only so many times you can see words scrawled on a wall, or a half-packed suitcase, or an overturned tricycle, before the symbols lose their impact. Our heroes are living in the graveyard of the world. That’s a potent, powerful idea, but it’s been there since the start, and at a certain point, being sad about all those dead fictional people we never met is just not enough to hold my interest.

Thankfully, Abraham and Sasha had a bit more to do than just grave-rob, and even more importantly, Daryl was off having his own adventure, one which tangentially introduced us to what’s sure to be the series’ next big threat. After successfully leading the main zombie herd twenty miles away from Alexandria, the three are ready to head home when an ambush (or else a run in with somebody else’s car chase) throws everything to shit. Sasha and Abraham total their car in the ensuing fracas, and Daryl is separated from the other two, ultimately crashing his bike in a burned out forest.

And when I say “burned out,” I mean that literally. There’s a story here, and everything that happens to Daryl in the woods feeds into that story. This episode is meant to tell us why it’s taken Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl to get back to Alexandria, but if it that was the only thing it accomplished, it would be wasted time. So we get some character building for Abraham, a potential new romance between him and Sasha, and, perhaps most importantly, we get an introduction to what’s sure to be a major foe in the weeks ahead.