With the first exhilarating part of The Walking Dead’s last-ever season done and dusted, what thrills and spills await us in this next eight-episode block? We’ve already gone full-speed-ahead in season 11 in terms of getting acquainted with both the enigmatic Commonwealth and the deadly Reapers, while tensions are running higher than ever among our trusty survivors as vital supplies and morale remain lower than your average zombie’s blood pressure reading. Something’s got to give, right?
Let’s dive straight back into it, then – because you’d better believe, given its sparkling recent form, The Walking Dead is itching to get back to the action.
There’s no turning back for Maggie.
— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) February 14, 2022
What happened in The Walking Dead this week?
Leah rains down hell on Meridian: ‘No Other Way’ explodes into life by hurling us back into the brutal walker-filled battle at Meridian between our survivors (led by Maggie, Daryl and Gabriel) and the Reapers, who are now led by Leah after she, er, relieved Pope of his command in ‘For Blood’. Leah’s first action as Head Reaper is to continue firing explosives at our survivors, forcing Maggie, Negan and a badly wounded Elijah to take cover. Gabriel, meanwhile, has his bacon saved by Daryl, before he then encounters the Reapers’ creepy priest, Mancea. Gabriel doesn’t buy Mancea’s justification for the Reapers’ murderous ways (“Just following orders, huh? Where have I heard that before?”), and, as Gabriel is wont to do now, he dispenses of his fellow clergyman in brutal fashion.
Sniper rifles at dawn: Reaper Brandon Carver almost manages to upset the odds by collectively felling Maggie, Negan and Elijah – until Negan smartly knocks him out cold with a fire bell, that is. Daryl convinces Maggie to keep Carver alive and use him to secure their much-needed supplies from Leah. Out in the open, Daryl tells Leah during a tense stand-off that the bloodshed needs to stop. She counters, though, by revealing that she has a sniper watching overhead, giving her the upper hand and compelling our survivors to release Carver unharmed. An enraged Elijah isn’t having it, though, and launches himself at Carver, who is then shot in the leg by Leah’s sniper – or so they think. Leah gets the cold-blooded response “call me Gabriel” over the walkie-talkie when she asks for her now-dead sniper, shifting the momentum once again. Leah claims that she and her remaining Reapers will walk away, but Maggie has other ideas as she vengefully shoots two Reapers dead, wounds Leah (who escapes) and murders Carver with an axe.
Farewell, Alden: Shortly afterwards, Daryl calls out to a hiding Leah that she could have had a second chance, but he still lets her go – she’ll be back, no doubt. While the others load up their cart with Meridian’s supplies, Maggie makes a detour to the nearby church where she reluctantly left a wounded Alden in ‘Hunted’ to fend for himself. Once there, she’s greeted with a somewhat inevitable sight: a walker and… a reanimated Alden. After putting Alden out of his undead misery, Negan finds Maggie and they exchange further tense words, leading Maggie to nearly draw her weapon. Negan, though, walks away before it can escalate, and, later that day, Maggie reunites with Daryl and Gabriel to reveal that Negan has gone for good. We’ll believe it when we see it, though.
Getting soaked in Alexandria: Meanwhile, a torrential rain storm and an unrelenting walker horde has forced Judith and Gracie into the basement of a house in Alexandria, which is rapidly filling with rainwater. Aaron, though, saves the day in the nick of time as he manages to free the girls from their watery grave. Despite having only one working arm, he then manages to evade being zombie supper by lifting himself up onto the ceiling where he’s eventually rescued by everyone’s favourite Whisperer-turned-goodie, Lydia. Phew.
Here comes the Commonwealth…: Maggie, Daryl and co. finally return home to Alexandria with the supplies, but at what cost (“So many didn’t make it,” Gabriel reflects, clearly overlooking his own body count)? This brief bit of respite is interrupted, though, by some visitors at the gates: why, it’s the Stormtrooper-like Commonwealth soldiers… and Eugene! He implores his friends to listen to Deputy Governor / Keir Starmer lookalike Lance Hornsby, who impresses on the stricken group that while they’ve done well to survive so far, they’ve clearly fallen on hard times. An offer to join the Commonwealth is therefore extended. But, before we can even digest this significant development, the story skips forward six months into the future and we’re back at what appears to be Hilltop. Here, Maggie is sternly facing down a group of Commonwealth soldiers who are demanding to be let in. One soldier steps out of line as Maggie refuses, and takes off his helmet to reveal that it’s… Daryl?!
Wettest walker kill of the week
Aaron’s underwater tussling with the walkers in the basement brought back some Deep Blue Sea memories, but his initial flying jump into the water to connect his hand-mace with walker skull was particularly spectacular.
This week’s biggest question: will the Commonwealth turn our heroes against one another?
Well, who saw that twist coming? While it seemed inevitable that the rest of the survivors would eventually join Eugene and co. inside the seemingly serene walls of the Commonwealth, we didn’t expect the dynamic to shift so dramatically with this episode’s Big Reveal that Daryl has already become “one of them”. Judging by that final scene alone, the salvation offered by the Commonwealth will clearly come at a price for our gang of survivors (a Daryl vs Maggie showdown is particularly tantalising) and looks far more likely to tear them apart than keep them together.