Spoilers to follow.
A storm arrives in Alexandria, beating the defenses and setting fire to the windmill. Walkers from all over are drawn to this spinning wheel of Catherine that spins Alexandria. Snuggled up in Aaron’s house, the survivors hatch a plan. Carol, Kelly and Connie repair the walls, Aaron and Magna put out the windmill fire while the others stay to protect their people.
We follow the action inside the house, where Judith is seated with Gracie and Virgil, the latter still recovering from his injuries. They speak of Michonne and her mother’s love for Judith, which gives her hope and strength. She is committed to protecting the other children, especially Gracie who is adamant she will be strong like the others.
The walkers slip away, reaching the house, where Rosita takes advantage of her moment to shine. She goes out in the pouring rain to free the walkers from the porch and stem the tide of bodies. Despite this, their number swelled and the door could not hold out for long. Everyone gathers upstairs, until all that is left is Lydia to keep the door shut. Judith realizes that Gracie is missing and finds her in the basement trying to grab a gun to help her. As the ground floods, Judith grabs her and they try to leave, but the walkers are already inside the house. Girls can only lock themselves in the basement.
Elsewhere in Meridian, the Reapers spot a horde outside their compound, unaware that Maggie’s party is one of them, but noticing the weird patterns they walk in and how they keep their distance from the walls. Wells is sent to coax the “rotten”, but masked Negan and Maggie surprise him, stabbing him until the walkers consume him. Getting no response from Wells’ walkie-talkie, Pope thinks that proves Maggie is there. Leah is horrified that she sent Wells to die to prove her theory, but Pope explains that they are at war and sometimes sacrifices have to be made.
Daryl, noticing his people among the horde, takes the opportunity to walk around the compound, where he becomes a saboteur behind enemy lines. He secretly takes out a lone Reaper, opens a door, and deflects their efforts, all while trying to open Leah’s eyes to Pope’s paranoia.
As the Reaper’s explosives are unable to disperse the walkers, a secret weapon is deployed. It’s a hwacha: an old Korean artillery piece that fires hundreds of rockets. Directed against the invading horde, Daryl finally tells Leah the truth, that they must stop the hwacha because he must protect the people of Maggie, his people, hidden among the walkers. He also wants her to come with him. Not knowing what to do, Leah remains lost in thought as Pope leads the artillery.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Gabriel sneaked into the compound thanks to Daryl and went their separate ways. Gabriel acquires a sniper rifle to cover Maggie, while she lights a truck and uses it to smash the main door. With their main defense shattered, the complex is filling up with walkers, and the Reapers are on the streets to take them down.
Pope orders the hwacha to be shot inside the compound, Leah warning him that he will kill his own people. He declares himself the voice of God and that he should not be questioned (he is Pope, do you understand?). She exchanges a look with Daryl who takes out his weapons. Leah kills Pope while Daryl eliminates the hwacha operator.
Seeing the many deaths of her people caused by Daryl and his friends, Leah refuses to go with Daryl and the radios since it was he who killed Pope. He asks why, and she says the same reason why he does what he does. To protect his family. Daryl escapes and Leah, now their de facto leader, orders the Reapers to fall back and shoots the hwacha at Maggie and Negan, who are staring at the rockets flying. To cut. The episode ends.
Part A of Season 11 ends. One high-energy episode and great shows amid battles against the living and the dead, this mid-season finale offers no time to catch your breath. Whether it was in the tension of Pope’s growing violent paranoia, Leah’s internal conflict over Daryl, or worry that a beloved favorite would be bitten in Alexandria, it was a relentless way to see the first inning. of the season.
But with both cliffhangers landing in the middle of the action, it feels woefully contrived. Little payoff seems to be the theme for this season. If the narrative continues to be teased in small chunks and offers little closure, the final season of The Walking Dead, like this episode, will ultimately leave a lot of trouble.
Anecdote about this episode
- Part B of Season 11 was recently announced to air on February 21, 2022 in the UK and a day earlier in the US.
- The method Maggie and Negan used to kill Wells is reminiscent of how Jesus was killed in an unconscious ambush during the group’s first encounter with the Whisperers.
- In the Insider episode, Angela Kang says that Maggie noticed the tactical superiority of the Reapers and learned from past enemies to outsmart them, using Whisperer’s tactics against the Reapers in the same way they were used against them. .
- Pope deduces that the strange movement of the walker is led by someone and is impressed. He admires Maggie as a rival to his equal in military ingenuity.
- When one of the explosives hits Elijah hiding among the walkers, Negan backs him up and backs him up. This mirrors the last episode where Maggie did something similar with Elijah, alluding to Negan’s kinder nature and her similarities to Maggie.
- When Pope notices Daryl pulling out his knives, he immediately turns to him, letting Leah attack him from behind. It can be inferred that he never expected Leah’s betrayal until this happened.
- Daryl and Leah’s drama is a bit like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in that their “families” engage in a deep and vengeful fight. Their conflict results in the deaths of their friends, and their love originally blossomed away from their family, just as in the play. Unlike the play, however, they both chose family over their love for each other.
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