AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 9, Episode 11: “Bounty”
Directed by Meera Menon
Written by Matthew Negrete
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Omega” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Guardians” – click here
Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) are having a heart to heart, along with Carol (Melissa McBride). Jerry tells them Nabila (Nadine Marissa) is “preggers.” An exciting prospect now that they’ve got a semblance of a future ahead of them. We see this is a while ago, because Jesus (Tom Payne) is alive, riding up the with Tara (Alanna Masterson) to get medical supplies for the Hilltop. Things weren’t so great between the communities. The pair brought Ezekiel the treaty that was being worked on for their communities. He’d be the “keeper of the path forward” for the foreseeable.
Today, he continues to hold onto their treaty. He holds onto the hope it symbolises for their future. The fair’s coming up soon and there’s a big hunt in preparation. However, at the Hilltop, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the others are dealing with the emergence of the Whisperers, led by Alpha (Samantha Morton). The leader wants her daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy). When Daryl won’t back down, Alpha calls out many other Whisperers in their zombie masks— they are legion. Daryl and Magna (Nadia Hilker) don’t know if their friends are alive, seeing no sign of either Luke (Dan Fogler) or Alden (Callan McAuliffe). What’ll Daryl do? Someone has to take charge.
Connie (Laure Ridloff) is stuck out in the field with Whisperers not far off. Daryl goes to confront Alpha outside the gates. He says they won’t let Lydia go. In the distance, a Whisperer baby squirms in her mother’s arms. The leader says they live as animals do in the wild. She brings out the hostages, prepared to kill Alden and Luke if she doesn’t get her daughter. Luke uses ASL to sign to Connie that the dead are getting closer.
Ezekiel’s trying to hide a “little side mission” from Carol that’s been planned to get something for the fair. They’ve got the theatre locked with walkers inside. Carol looks less than impressed. It’s about getting a projector bulb. The king wants to make sure the younger generation knows about movies and bring “cinema back from the dead.” The gang put on “It’s All Right Now” by Eddie Harris to lure out the zombies in the theatre lobby. Later, Ezekiel tells Carol he wants to get the communities to sign the treaty during the fair. She doesn’t think it’ll happen.
At Hilltop, nobody can find Lydia or Henry (Matt Lintz). Out in the field, the woman can’t keep her baby from crying, drawing the horde of walkers. She’s ordered by Alpha to lay the child down: “To live with the dead means to live in silence.” The leader of the Whisperers is a believer in natural selection. Connie refuses to let the baby die, rushing to save it. She heads back into the rows of stalks, fighting off walkers as they burst out from the silent field. A new aspect of The Walking Dead, to witness a woman who can’t hear experience things and have the audience experience that perspective first-hand. Eventually Connie gets a hand from Daryl and Kelly (Angel Theory).
Enid (Katelyn Nacon) wants to help in any way. She finds Henry hiding with Lydia. She wants to save Alden and Luke, trying to convince her old friend there’s no way they can keep Lydia from her mother. Henry won’t accept that. Enid tells him about losing her parents, as well as Carl’s letter, and stresses the importance of “not letting the bad things change you.” After that Lydia decides she must go back.
“Surely a dreamer could dare to dream of such a place”
Lydia goes with Daryl to where the Whisperers plan to hand off Luke and Alden in exchange. The trade goes well and the pair are returned to the Hilltop, while Alpha receives her daughter back. What does mom do? Slap her daughter in the face for not calling her Alpha, followed by a hug. Doesn’t make Daryl feel any better. Not to mention the fact the group killed their friend Jesus.
At the theatre, Jerry drops the projector bulb after zombies bust in unexpectedly. Carol thinks they ought to make an effort to get what they came to find. More Eddie Harris plays while Carol does archery on them motherfuckin’ zombies! Great kills here.
In the aftermath at Hilltop, Henry can’t justify sending Lydia back to an abusive existence. “The world is just shit sometimes,” Daryl tells him. There are times you can’t do anything about it. There are times when you can, too. All depends on recognising them for what they are, though it’s tough to reconcile ‘good’ with returning a girl to a group where she’ll be emotionally and physically abused by an insane woman who wears zombie skin. No easier when Henry leaves a note for Daryl, going off on his own to help the girl. Daryl heads into the night by himself. Before he can go, he’s stopped by Connie, who won’t let any of this weigh on her conscience, either. Particularly sad to see Daryl have to deal with his past of abuse while dealing with the present, watching Lydia live a life of abuse. Wonder if Connie shares a similar past?
So goddamn excited there’s a deaf character in the mix! And she’s going to get to spend time with one of the lead characters of the series. A perfect moment.
“Guardians” is next time. Can’t wait to watch what’ll happen. Nice to see the cast getting switched up a bit in the wake of Andrew Lincoln leaving, as well as Lauren Cohan and Danai Gurira taking a big step back. Hope to see more of the new characters get a foothold, because some of them are excellent.