AMC’s The Walking Dead
11×09: “No Other Way”
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Corey Reed
* For a recap & review of 11×08, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×10, click here.
The hellfire rains down as Leah lets the fireworks fly. Maggie and the others fight against the Reapers at the same time, trying to survive the onslaught. Zombies and people are getting hit with the firework rockets, exploding into bits all over the place. Maggie’s able to fight off a Reaper and make it to safety inside, where she finds Elijah and an injured Negan. They get to a secret room where they intend to wait it out until dawn; at least Maggie does. Maggie wants to hunt the rest of the Reapers down rather than run off, even with food, because otherwise they’ll keep being hunted. But they’ve got to survive the night first.
Elsewhere we see Lydia and Rosita fighting for their lives, trying to keep back a horde of walkers from making it upstairs in the house where they’ve taken refuge. Back at Alexandria, Judith and Grace are in a flooding basement with another horde of zombies right outside the flimsy door at the top of the basement stairs. And soon, the zombies break through. Outside, the constant rain is pushing everybody indoors. The whole town’s in danger if the windmill collapses, opening a whole in the wall they won’t be able to fix. Soon, Aaron hears little Grace blow her safety whistle.
The Reapers continue to fight and Daryl particularly is being hunted like an animal because he’s been blamed for what happened to Pope. Thankfully Daryl’s a Dixon and he’s survived worse than this, both before and after the zombie apocalypse. He manages to stay alive a little longer, putting down another Reaper before Leah and her friends can find him. Back in Alexandria, Judith fights off the walkers while she and Grace search for a way out of the flooding basement. But she loses her sword and it makes things much more difficult, though that’s never going to stop Rick and Michonne’s daughter. They’re soon helped by Aaron, who breaks out a window and fights off the walkers so the girls can escape. A dangerous moment or two with Aaron nearly being chomped underwater before he crushes a zombie head with his mace hand. Bad ass, man. Aaron gets the girls out and urges the girls to safety, right as a bunch of zombies tumble down the stairs into the basement with him.
Interesting to see Gabriel face off with the Reapers’ resident Holy Man, Mancea. Gabriel takes issue with the idea of “just following orders,” an excuse the Nazis used plenty. He does listen to Mancea, though, who tries to tell him he needs to be saved again through the Lord. Gabriel’s seen and heard enough, putting a blade through him. His idea of God and good v. evil has changed quite a bit since we first saw him in this series.
We find Maggie luring one of the Reapers into a hallway where Elijah and Negan are waiting for them, too. It’s not just an easy defeat with this Reaper fighting back against the three of them pretty well. When the Reaper gains the upper hand it seems like Negan’s going to slip out the back. Instead Negan brings out a bell, using sand in the eyes to distract the Reaper and the bell to knock the guy out. Again, very intriguing to see Maggie and Negan on the same side, out of necessity or otherwise. Then Daryl shows up, insisting they don’t kill this Reaper; not yet, anyway. He wants to use the guy to get them out of there alive. Live to fight another day.
So, Daryl gives Leah a call over the radio.
In Alexandria, things are getting tougher. Aaron’s attempting to crawl over the zombies and the flooded basement using a pipe, only for the thing to come apart and nearly get his legs chewed off. He gets out with a helping hand from Lydia. But the town’s not out of danger yet in general, and the work to keep the place standing must continue.
Daryl takes his hostage Reaper to meet Leah. He wants to make a deal, so everyone can walk away without any more killing. Leah isn’t as thrilled about a deal, having her sniper shoot at the ground as she demands the others come out in the open. Before the sniper can kill Maggie, Daryl agrees to let the Reaper go free. This makes Elijah angry and he’s about to do something stupid when he falls over. The sniper then takes a shot at the Reaper, because Gabriel’s taken over the rifle and he’s calling the shots, quite literally. Goddamn! Maggie doesn’t want to let Leah and the Reapers leave alive, but Daryl still wants to make the deal. So Maggie relents and tells the Reapers to go, except for the now injured Carver. Except a last minute look at Elijah makes Maggie reconsider. She guns down the remaining Reapers, except for Leah who escapes. She’s about to execute Carver when there are no more bullets; she uses a blade instead.Daryl goes looking for Leah, who’s hiding in a bunch of rubble. He doesn’t take her back to Maggie, letting her leave. Is that a mistake? Yeah, probably. At this point it’s hard to judge any of the survivors for their decisions, good, bad, or dumb. They’ve all lost so many people, been traumatised by so many incidents, it’s a wonder that any of them are mentally capable of carrying on more than a day without breaking down. Maggie especially has lost her family and her husband, she’s watched her friends get killed, so it’s no surprise she can’t let every injustice go unpunished.
Right now she’s off alone from the others, taking time to go back to where she had to leave Alden a while back. She finds nothing but death and has to be the one to put down her friend as he crawls around the floor zombified. Yet another sad goodbye Maggie has to experience, another traumatic blow to the psyche. She takes time to bury Alden. When she finishes she finds Negan returning. He thinks she’s still going to kill him, at some point, somewhere, so he’s headed his “own way” for now.
Maggie goes back to meet up with Daryl and Gabriel, telling them about Alden’s death, as well as Negan leaving. Back at Alexandria, the storm’s finally passed and the residents have weathered the extremes. They soon see Maggie and the others return, though they wonder where the rest have wound up. As always, nothing’s ever easy for our survivors, and they’ve got some rebuilding to do after the storm and the fires. Things are far from perfect, but they have more food after the tough journey. And those who are still alive still have each other, for better or worse.
And worse is on the horizon, as Jerry spies Commonwealth guards headed towards Alexandria. Suddenly, Eugene rushes out to the front, announcing himself and claiming the Commonwealth are there to help. He explains to his community what’s been happening and then introduces Hornsby, who’s got an offer for Alexandria.
Six months later: Commonwealth guards, led by Daryl, are at the Hilltop gates. Oh. Shit.
“So many didn’t make it, all so we could survive.”