AMC’s The Walking Dead
11×10: “New Haunts”
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Magali Lozano
* For a recap & review of 11×09, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×11, click here.
A very unique opening to this episode as Daryl leads the kids through a haunted maze in the Commonwealth. It’s Halloween! So weird to have a haunted house full of zombies in a post-zombie apocalypse. But that drives home a sense that something’s not quite right in the Commonwealth, despite its appearances. Beneath the shiny exterior there’s something rotten at the core, no doubt. Plus for those who’ve seen the other spinoff shows in The Walking Dead‘s universe we know the Commonwealth are dangerous. There’s something compelling about the Commonwealth in the age of COVID-19, seeing a community of people insisting on living ‘normal life’ while a virus rages all around them.
Our survivors have been among the Commonwealth for 30 days now, obviously through the month of October. As Daryl says, it takes something getting used to, but they’re all doing okay. Pamela Milton even graces the Halloween celebrations for a little while to hang with the working class.
Carol’s concerned about Ezekiel. His condition isn’t getting any better. He’s giving away one of his most sentimental artefacts from his former Kingdom. Yet he pretends he’s fine when Carol comes asking. We know she isn’t going to sit with that, so next we find her sneaking into the Commonwealth hospital to look through patient files, determined to find out more about Ezekiel’s condition. Carol runs into Yumiko’s brother Tomi and he tells her that Ezekiel’s low on the list for a surgery. Not good.
Mercer’s giving people military training, which now includes Daryl and Rosita. He stresses that people must “work as a unit” and pairs everyone up. Daryl wants to work with Rosita but gets put with a random dude. Then the teams are sent inside houses to clear them working together. Daryl has to do most of the work for his partner while Rosita must do the same. Amazing moment when Rosita stabs a zombie in the eye with its own leg bone. Her partner does a pretty good job after a while, whereas Daryl’s partner can’t hold up his end. Mercer takes Daryl with him now.
We can already see the divide in Commonwealth’s society as Judith hangs out with her new friend Kim. Money is a thing again. But there’s also the crafty mind of Judith. She takes a receipt for the record Kim gives her and you can be sure she’s going to use it for something clever. Elsewhere, Carol’s snooping on Hornsby and she finds her way back to a wine cellar. There, she almost gets chomped on by zombies until she uses a cork to put one of them down.
Mercer, Daryl, Sebastian, and Rosita head into the woods. They’ve got a bunch of weapons to choose from and Little Lord Sebastian takes his time being a weirdo choosing one for himself, only to struggle with a zombie before Daryl has to kill it. Mercer sees that Daryl’s a lone wolf sort and tries to impart a little wisdom. But a Dixon isn’t about to trust just anybody.
Daryl, RJ, and Judith are basically living in a slum with loud music, people banging, and kids crying. It’s a tough existence. Poor Judith wants an allowance like her friend, and bless Daryl’s heart for trying his best. Across town, Carol’s brought some wine for Hornsby. What’s her angle? Is she hoping to get Ezekiel bumped up the list?
Again, the class issues rear their head, which we see further with Magna as she serves a fancy party thrown by the Miltons; one of the other servers mentions that her kid doesn’t even know what a mango is and likely never will. The lower classes get to have a glimpse of how “the other half” lives. Hornsby and the Miltons and Mercer are treated like royalty, complete with paparazzi snapping photos and a red carpet. Hilarious and depressing that this is how society would be rebuilt after it fell, and quite realistic, considering how much people love capitalism. Some of the Alexandrians are privileged enough to attend the party. Others only get to work at the party, from service to security.
Pamela gets up for a speech at the party, talking about her father, a former POTUS, when a young man starts yelling at her about the Commonwealth. The man takes a young artist hostage, making everyone know his name: Tyler Davis. He was once a trooper for the Commonwealth until he made a mistake and got stripped of his rank. He slices up the artist’s painting of Pamela’s father, demanding Pamela give him attention, then he runs off into the night forcing Mercer to call his security troops. Daryl sees Tyler run into the haunted maze, following him inside. He confronts Tyler and the kid puts a knife to his throat. Tyler made one mistake and lost everything, showing how much class is involved in the lives of the Commonwealth’s residents. A terribly unfair system.
Now things are getting touchy, because we’re seeing our survivors split in half between the people working for the upper class and the people who are part of all the rest. Rosita has to do her job, asking Magna questions, and Magna has her own question: why go back to the way things were before? Are Daryl and Rosita going to ‘just follow orders’? Last episode’s 6 month jump suggests things will get far more divided between the survivors. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
Carol and Ezekiel get together for a drink and he brings another precious item that he wants her to have: a box marked Henry (ashes? Henry’s belongings?). They share a tender moment for the first time in a while, then they share a drink, as well. “To fresh starts,” Carol toasts.
Awesome moment as Judith puts on Motorhead’s “Eat the Rich” before we see the Commonwealth Storm Troopers searching for more class traitors. A truly brilliant moment.