AMC’s The Walking Dead
11×01: “Acheron Part I”
Directed by Kevin Dowling
Written by Angela Kang & Jim Barnes
* For a recap & review of 10×22, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×02, click here.
And so begins the final season…
Some of our survivors are headed into an old military hangar. Inside are piles of dusty soldier zombies lying all over the floor. The brave few who head inside include Maggie, Carol, Kelly, Lydia, Magna, and Rosita. They make their way through the hangar space itself into some connected offices. They find what they’re looking for in a supply room. They get the supplies back out, though the bag nearly falls until Daryl manages to snatch it. Except a few drops of blood off Daryl’s arm land on a single zombie, waking up the rest of the horde. The women inside fight against the now awake and hungry walkers, using some of the guns available from all the dead soldiers. Daryl and Jerry offer cover fire from the roof so the women can get to their rappel ropes. Carol’s the last one left and she manages to get out of there before the remaining undead can make her into lunch.
Things back at Alexandria are tough. Maggie’s living next to Negan in the same community. There’s little food left. Tools and buildings are falling apart. Daryl wonders if they should look for “new territory,” yet Father Gabriel reminds him they need food immediately; they can’t build or do too much searching anymore without sustenance. So Maggie suggests Meridian, where she and her friends lived previously. She tells her other friends there about going on a mission to lead walkers away from the community. They wound up stuck on the road and suddenly there were “screams in the distance.” When they rushed back to Meridian most of their people were murdered. They’d been attacked by people who come at night. These people are still at Meridian, where there’s lots of supplies, and there aren’t many of them. But how do you fight “ghosts“? Aaron’s concerned that if they go to fight these people they’re leaving Alexandria weak, and Rosita calls it “a suicide mission.” Doesn’t stop Daryl from being the first volunteer, before more agree to go, too.
A crew heads out on the road at the worst possible time with a storm beating down on them. It gets so bad they decide to find a place to ride out the weather. They head into a metro station, Shady Grove; that puts them in Maryland. They have to take directions from Negan, not that any of them want to, and the guy has to take all the abuse the group wants to give him considering who he is, after all. Nevertheless, the group keep on moving, heading down a subway track into unknown territories. Also, C. Thomas Howell is back as the guy from Hilltop, though I wonder how long he’ll be sticking around. The group go on through the subway and they start hearing scary groans from the walls. Negan warns about the flooding and nobody wants to listen, so on they keep walking.
Elsewhere we see Princess and the gang in the Commonwealth. Eugene’s taken to be interrogated, guarded by more Stormtrooper-like people. A woman begins questioning Eugene, claiming they’re “auditors.” She asks Eugene about his parents. We see Princess and Ezekiel and Yumiko questioned the same way, discovering more than we ever knew about some of these characters, such as their family lives, their education, their vaccination records, and a bunch of other things, as personal as how they wipe their asses. Eugene hilariously reels off the various zip codes where he’s lived over the years, as well as mentions the “negative encounters” his group has had in the wastelands. At one point, Ezekiel taunts one of the Commonwealth guards and his “pumpkin–coloured space suit,” sure that the man was a cop before the fall of society. Sadly we also see the King’s health is getting worse. The group of friends aren’t sure what to do. Eugene thinks the Commonwealth could help them, but they see things that suggest otherwise, like a couple who’ve been stuck in those cages for 9 months, and the “reprocessing” that occurs when people don’t pass the assessments. Soon he realises this is not a good place.
In the subway, the survivors come across all sorts of bodies wrapped in plastic. They see one of the zombies has its throat cut, so it didn’t make any noise when trying to chomp on Daryl. They go on through to kill all the plastic-wrapped zombies, as Maggie refuses to stop. Not good when all the zombies are quiet, and one sneaks up on a survivor, nearly biting the kid before Negan makes the save. Things between Negan and Maggie continue to fray; he says she’s been “playing dictator.” He thinks she’s leading them into potential trouble on a “death march.” He doesn’t want to go any further. The kid he saved agrees. Maggie doesn’t want to get rid of Negan because he knows the city, but he doesn’t believe that, he’s sure she brought him out there to die, at some point. He offers to die there and now. He goes too far, evoking Glenn’s name and getting a punch from Daryl. Maggie tells Negan what’s what, and that the good part left of her after all this time is the only reason he’s still alive.
“And as for killing you, it’s always on my mind.”
Princess has been keeping an eye on the social situations at the Commonwealth, like who’s banging whom, and that could just provide the survivors a way out if they can exploit one of those relationships. They’re able to get a couple of the guards’ suits as Eugene and Yumiko lead Ezekiel and Princess through the facility. On the way out they see “the wall of the lost,” with pictures of all sorts of people who’ve been there; who knows what’s happened to them. They also see a note referencing “my sister Miko” and she doesn’t want to leave. Oh, wow.
Back down in the subway, some of the group’s split up. Daryl and the others start to hear zombies coming so they’ve got to get working to clear the tunnel and find a way through. They’re blocked by a subway car and this new horde headed their way is too much for them. They’ve got to climb on top of the car, but they’re further split up when dog runs off on Daryl and he goes after his furry buddy. Maggie and Negan end up in a tight spot when she’s nearly pulled into the approaching horde and he leaves her instead of helping. Holy shit. Not unexpected, yet I thought maybe he might actually take this chance to help her, ingratiate himself.
Will Maggie survive? She goddamn better.