Negan leaving one of our heroes for dead – who’da thunk it? Last week’s season premiere climaxed with the ex-Saviors head honcho ignoring Maggie’s desperate pleas to be pulled to safety from an advancing walker horde. Presuming Maggie can save herself, might this latest betrayal be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Maggie taking out her ultimate revenge on Negan?
And what of the Commonwealth? Yumiko’s discovery that her brother resides in this secretive community has seemingly given our heroes a fast-pass in – but now they’ve got to convince the gruff soldiers and unfriendly auditors that they’re worthy of being granted entry…
What happened in The Walking Dead this week?
- Wait, where’s Maggie? We’re back in the murky subway tunnel as Maggie looks, well, doomed as she’s set upon by walkers. Inside the train carriage, the other members of her group start to wonder where she is (Negan lies through his teeth by claiming that “she was right behind me”). Assuming that Maggie is a goner, Gabriel takes charge and decides that they need to keep moving through the train. During their travels, they hear a rhythmic banging from below one of the carriages – it’s SOS in Morse code, and a panel is forced open as a furious-but-still-very-much-alive Maggie emerges, having somehow survived the walker onslaught. Understandably, she’s not happy with Negan for leaving her to die, and smacks him across the chops with her pistol as everyone gangs up on him. Negan pleads his case (he killed Alpha, remember!) and claims that he’s “trying” – sure.
- Gage bites the dust: Negan’s impromptu trial is interrupted by cries for help from Hilltop survivor Gage, who went AWOL in the last episode when the shit hit the fan but has now found himself trapped in the next carriage along with the walker horde fast approaching. Both Negan and Alden want to save him, but Maggie forbids it – even if they managed to open the door, the group wouldn’t have enough ammo to take out all of the advancing zombies. A mortified Gage brands Maggie a “liar” and stabs himself just as the walkers are set to tear him apart, which they do anyway as the group watches on, horrified. Gage later reanimates and growls at the door as our shell-shocked survivors struggle to break through to the next carriage.
- Daryl’n’Dog reunited: Daryl, meanwhile, has found his pet pooch somewhere else in the metro system and stumbles on a makeshift shelter, where more troubling graffiti (“It comes for us all”, “truth lies”) and wall art (including renderings of the Capitol and people fighting over gold crowns) are daubed on the walls, while one corpse is eerily seen handcuffed to a briefcase of money. Daryl finds one map showing where the “demons” are, and, right on cue, screams are heard as Dog goes off running into a tunnel, forcing Daryl to follow him. After briefly tussling with some crawling walkers, Daryl comes across Hilltop’s Roy, who ran off with Gage in the previous episode and is now gravely injured. Lesson learned: don’t run away from your group!
- Escaping the subway: After an almighty struggle, Maggie’s group finally get the next carriage door open, but the way through is blocked. The walkers are battering down the door behind them, so our survivors have no choice but to await the onslaught. Gabriel kills zombie-Gage with a shotgun as they proceed to mow down the walkers one-by-one, but just in the nick of time, Daryl flanks the walkers and helps free the blocked door. He then stuffs a grenade in the mouth of one poor zombie and slams shut the carriage door before it explodes, killing the remaining horde. Phew!
- Fear the Reapers: Finally emerging from the subway onto the road, Negan leads the way to a supply depot that Maggie knows about. The group, however, are stopped in their tracks by a disturbing sight: dozens of dead people strung from trees upside down, lining the road like parade flags. Before anyone can really comment on the sight, poor Roy gets struck by an arrow as the group comes under heavy fire. We’re then treated to our first glimpse of the Reapers, who, like the Whisperers, seem to have a penchant for scary masks and ultraviolence. Consider ourselves formally introduced to this new enemy.
- Meanwhile, at the Commonwealth: Yumiko, armed with the knowledge that her brother is residing in the Commonwealth, demands to speak to someone in charge (“I was a lawyer, it comes naturally.”) Panicky Eugene comes over to Yumiko and Princess to report that Ezekiel is gone, which handily accelerates Yumiko’s demand for negotiations. Granted her request, Yumiko turns the tables on the auditors in the interrogation room by claiming that she’s been assessing them and the Commonwealth’s set-up, before then deriding the bureaucratic process they use to screen people who come seeking sanctuary (“You have to trust your instinct that the person across from you will or won’t murder you in their sleep.”) Finally, she plays her trump card, revealing that her sibling is a Commonwealth resident and demands expedited processing. Mercer, the no-nonsense orange-suited commander, comes in approvingly and offers her coffee.
- Eugene, meet Stephanie: With Ezekiel now AWOL and Yumiko and Princess each taken off by the guards somewhere, Eugene goes into full meltdown mode as he’s left all alone. Eventually dragged in for questioning, Mercer tells him not to lie: “Use your words… I know you’re holding back.” Once again, Eugene is asked where his settlement is and why he was at the train station when he was caught by the Commonwealth guards (“If you lie, I’ll know.”) Eugene finally reveals all about his radio endeavours at Hilltop, how he came across Stephanie (“a beautiful voice… she was not repulsed by my musings… we sang Iron Maiden”) and why the quartet ended up at the station – he was always thinking of Stephanie (possibly “his one true love”). Mercer says nothing, and we then see Eugene being transferred – with a bag over his head, naturally – to another train car. But, thankfully, it’s here that he’s reunited with Yumiko, Ezekiel (who has been treated at the infirmary) and Princess. Enter Mercer, who is passed a document which declares that all four have been granted asylum into the Commonwealth. A woman – it’s Stephanie! – then steps into the car and asks for Eugene, who, understandably, looks overwhelmed.
Most explosive walker kill of the week
Daryl force-feeding a grenade into one zombie’s mouth, which produced some predictably gory results in the train carriage as Maggie’s group escaped almost-certain death.
This week’s biggest question: can we finally see inside the Commonwealth, please?
Now that Yumiko, Princess, Eugene and Ezekiel have been formally welcomed into the Commonwealth, we’ll soon be granted our very first view of the supposedly idyllic society. With order, laws and even the US dollar in circulation, the Commonwealth does sound like it offers some sort of normalcy in this mad, mad world of The Walking Dead. It’ll be intriguing to see what the show does with this new setting – you can be sure that all won’t be well within the walls…
‘The Walking Dead’ season 11 airs weekly on Mondays in the UK on Star on Disney+