The Walking Dead 11×19: “Variant”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
11×19: “Variant”
Directed by Karen Gaviola
Written by Vivian Tse

* For a recap & review of 11×18, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×20, click here.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Walking Dead - Dead SebastianMore flashbacks before we return to the chaos at the Commonwealth. Eugene and Max are trying to get through the crowd but they’re separated briefly. Eugene runs into Daryl and they get inside to try and ride things out. But Max is nowhere to be found. Elsewhere, Pamela looks over her son’s dead body while Mercer stands guard. She isn’t exactly crushed by the death of her son because she knew “what he was,” yet it isn’t easy for a mother to see her child die. She and Mercer both understand: “Family is a complicated thing.” Pamela wants to make an example of somebody to remind the Commonwealth there is justice; she suggests Eugene is the one to be captured and used as such an example. Anybody connected to Eugene is being taken in and questioned about the chaos during Founders Day and Sebastian’s death.

Mercer sits down in the interrogation room with Rosita. She’s not playing his structured little games. She answers his questions, though. Mercer asks about Rosita’s last conversation with Eugene, which was about Max and her wanting to stay to change the Commonwealth “for the better.” He asks her to tell Eugene to turn himself over to the authorities. If not, Mercer says it’ll only make things much worse than they are already. Is he really someone Rosita and the others can count on being on their side ultimately? Or is Mercer basically like everyone else at the Commonwealth underneath it all? Hard to tell anymore, honestly.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Walking Dead - Rosita and MercerLater on, Rosita meets Daryl back at the church, where they’ve been hiding Eugene for now. There’s still no word on where Max has gone, either. Eugene apologises to his friends for putting them in a bad spot, but Daryl makes it clear: “The prick had it coming.” While Daryl and Rosita are ready to head out, Eugene doesn’t want to leave without Max, or, at the very least, finding out where Max ended up. Rosita offers to go looking for Max. At the same time, the entire Commonwealth is on the lookout. Nowhere inside that place is safe. But that’s never been too much of an issue for these folks.

Out on the road, Aaron, Jerry, Elijah, and Lydia have their wagon stuck. They’re trying to haul it out when Jerry hurts his knee. They see a place not far off that has walls, so they get themselves there slow and steady; it’s an elaborate stage of a massive renaissance fair. It’s at least a momentary stop with a bit of safety. Might even be a good spot to call home? Jerry calls it “The Kingdom 2.0.” Lots of land and space and, y’know, the walls!
Pamela continues to mourn her son. She cries over his dead body. Then, Sebastian reanimates as a zombie. She leaves him to be taken care of by one of the soldiers. Simultaneously, Mercer and his soldiers keep on doing what they have to do. Princess goes to see Mercer about Eugene. She wonders how he’s fine with Eugene getting captured and killed. She cares about Eugene, who never judged her. She knows he’s a good man. Mercer doesn’t care about any of that.

Aaron asks Lydia about her and Elijah. She says the pain of losing Henry makes her not want to get too close to anybody anymore. So Aaron talks about his former husband and the “happiest moments” of his life. He talks of losing him. And he says that we will always lose people; it was that way before the zombie apocalypse, and it’ll be that way forever. He’s urging her not to let things get in the way of happiness, and he’s right to do it.
Back in the Commonwealth, Rosita finds Max, but so do the Commonwealth soldiers, too. They immediately take Max to the interrogation room with her brother. She has a confession to sign to receive a pardon, claiming she’s off her medication and all sorts of things. She refuses to sign it and lay blame on Eugene, especially since he saved her life. Mercer doesn’t want his sister to be executed “for treason.” Max doesn’t want to succumb to an unjust Commonwealth; she wants to make the place better.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Walking Dead - Jailed Hornsby

“Most folks are trying to make the best
of what’s in front of them.”

Father Son Holy Gore - The Walking Dead - Evolving ZombieHornsby’s in his cell on his knees when Pamela comes to visit. She blames him for what happened to Sebastian; he did create those walkers after all. Hornsby says he never meant for that to happen. He blames the “dissent” and the “chaos” on everyone from Alexandria and Hilltop. But what will Pamela decide in the end? She wants to play a little coin game, making Hornsby choose a palm. Hornsby chooses correctly, then Pamela brings in zombie Sebastian to be fed, along with Calhoun’s corpse. Goddamn. Simultaneously, Princess tells Mercer she has to leave. He says things can be a lot worse out there and it’s at least better at the Commonwealth. But Princess sees that as returning to old ways of thinking, back when she was being abused and mistreated at home by a stepfather/stepbrother. She won’t go back to that kind of thinking again; not for anybody.

The renaissance fair grounds are overrun now with walkers, who managed to get through the wall. Aaron and Lydia find themselves surrounded, joining back up with Elijah and Jerry before they get themselves inside. Though they’re not quite all the way inside. And there are likely some Whisperers out there amongst the undead, too. Jesus! So they start heading upwards for now and then they’re stuck with zombies swarming everywhere below, making it impossible to go anywhere, at least for the time being. Elijah and Lydia make a jump for it, clearing the zombies, so they can try to flank the horde and sort out the Whisperers from the walkers. But they realise that there aren’t any Whisperers; somehow there are zombies opening doors and picking up rocks to bash heads. Is it “an aberration” or is it evolution in zombies? Aaron’s heard stories. Perhaps there are all kinds of different walkers out there.

Rosita and Daryl are ready to go again, now that Max is in custody. Eugene doesn’t want to go. He stills thinks there’s something he can do to help Max, even though Rosita begs him to think differently. She knows he could die if he stays. And it seems Eugene understands that well enough. He’s not changing his mind. Right away, Eugene goes to the precinct and hands himself over, confessing to playing a part in Sebastian’s death and everything else. He claims he “acted alone,” absolving Max. But this certainly doesn’t make Max happy, having Eugene locked away in a cell facing treason charges that may likely see him executed.
At home, Rosita gets attacked by two men who abduct her.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Walking Dead - Eugene's Gift to Rosita

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