Previously on The Walking Dead: After Lydia is released back into the custody of Alpha and the Whisperers in exchange for Alden and Luke, Henry disappears from the Hilltop to go after them and get Lydia back, and Daryl and Connie both leave to go after Henry and retrieve Lydia. Henry ends up getting spotted, and it takes a herd of Walkers being led into the Whisperers’ camp by Daryl and Connie for some late-night snacking that saves Lydia from having to kill Henry to prove her loyalty to Alpha. Meanwhile, Michonne struggles with both the existence of the Whisperers and continued pressure from Siddiq and Father Gabriel to make peace with the Hilltop in time for the upcoming fair, and Eugene convinces Father Gabriel to stop being an idiot and be with Rosita, who loves him and who wants to raise her child with him, even if that child is Siddiq’s.
THE STORY SO FAR: Daryl, Connie, Henry, Lydia, and Dog are on the run from the Whisperers and head into an abandoned office building (which is also an emergency hideout for Magna and company) to lure Beta and the Whisperers to high ground, which the Walkers can’t get to, and take them out. Jerry and several other members of the Kingdom are attacked by The Highwaymen, a new group of scavengers who demand payments for usage of roads leading to the fair, which spurs Ezekiel and Carol to confront them and decide whether this can be handled peacefully like gentlemen or if they’ll have to get into gangsta shit.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: The statue on display at the Kingdom honoring the memory of Shiva, Ezekiel’s beloved pet tiger. Daryl and Connie going back and forth as they discuss strategy on how to take down the Whisperers and also as they argue as to whether Lydia will be staying with them, which ends when Connie writes on a page from her notepad, gives it to Daryl, and walks away with both pen and notepad. Carol winning over Ozzy (played by Angus Sampson of Fargo fame) and the Highwaymen by asking them when was the last time they’ve all seen a movie, which is only made better not just by Melissa McBride’s delivery of the line — which makes her come across like Marge Simpson offering everyone a big bowl of strawberry ice cream as a peace offering — but by Ozzy’s “Seriously?!” in response to Carol, which comes off as both disbelief that this is the best she has to offer, and joy because the more he probably thinks about it, he’d really like to see a movie. The fight between Daryl and Beta, which is a beautifully brutal sight to behold as both combatants use everything at their advantage to try and take each other down.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Henry, who is still determined to be the Carl Grimes 2.0 of The Walking Dead and do things that make viewers just shake their heads. Yes, it’s honorable that he refuses to let Lydia go back to being with Alpha so she can be physically and emotionally abused by her, but at the end of the day (and thanks to nearly every iteration of Love And Hip-Hop, I can’t speak that phrase without thinking of those damn shows and everyone on them who isn’t named Cardi B), he is a teenage boy standing in front of a teenage girl asking her to love him, mainly because he is very, very horny. Or so I’m guessing.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE? No, he’s not.
CARL?: Still dead, so no.
CAROL?: Yes. And her negotiation skills are quite impressive.
RICK?: No. Whereabouts still unknown.
JADIS/ANNE?: Same status as Rick.
MAGGIE?: No. Much like Heath, she’s still working on behalf of the U.S. government to keep the country safe.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Yes, he’s still alive and reminds us that he’s just as capable of kicking ass and taking names without his trusty crossbow as he is with it.
ARE THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: They most certainly are, and not only are some of them still recovering from the attack by the herd of Walkers, but one Whisperer who was bitten tells Beta that he is actually looking forward to becoming a Walker. That tells you how easy it can be for a Whisperer to end up becoming the mask and liking it much more than expected.
ANY SIGN OF THE BLACK HELICOPTER THAT TOOK RICK AND JADIS/ANNE AWAY?: No.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another superb episode which gives us so many things to enjoy and appreciate: Daryl and Connie’s partnership, the introduction of the Highwaymen (and of course, time will tell whether their presence will only make things better or worse not just for the Kingdom, but for everybody else), and Daryl vs. Beta, with each of them showing why they’re not to be fucked with, and Beta showing that he has much better luck with elevator shafts than Rosalind Shays and will live to fight another day. But the best and most important thing to enjoy and appreciate about this episode is that it was directed by Liesl Tommy, who not only boasts one hell of an exceptional resumé that will only become more exceptional as more people recognize her immense talent, but is also the sister of a somewhat familiar but very proud face here at Pajiba. Which is just one more reason to set off all the reggae air-horns in proud acknowledgment.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Knuck If You Buck” by Crime Mob.
Header Image Source: AMC