The third act of The Walking Dead‘s 11th and final The season has begun, but it doesn’t seem like anyone notified the show. Other than a quick montage of familiar faces at the start, with a bit of narration by Judith (Cailey Fleming), it’s an unceremonious continuation of the last episode. Which isn’t a bad thing! But it’s not exactly a good thing, either.
When we last left our zany pals, Daryl, Maggie, Aaron, Gabriel, Negan, and his new wife Annie were being hunted by Hornsby and about a million Commonwealth troopers. Back in the Commonwealth, Yumiko was Governor Pamela Milton’s lawyer, Carol was watching over the kids while also doing jobs on the side for Hornsby, and Eugene, Max, Magna, Kelly, and Connie were fomenting rebellion against the city’s wealthy elite, which culminated with Connie writing an article about Pam’s son Sebastian’s habit of sending the city’s “undesirables” out to die on various errands on him. It is very important to me to note yet again that the newspaper shown in the previous episode looks like a terrorist manifesto, and an especially poorly designed one at that.
Although it’s repeatedly said that the article offers no proof that Sebastian caused the deaths of so many missing people, “Lockdown” reveals everyone in the Commonwealth believes it and has begun protesting outside Milton’s office, demanding that “Give Sebastian to us!” so… they can murder him, I guess? There’s a court system in the Commonwealth, so I’m unclear why they think this is an option. Although to be fair, Sebastian—now and forever Kingsley St. Buffingsworth of the Cape Cod Buffingsworths—is the most awful person in the zombie apocalypse, so I can see why they’d love to skip a trial and get directly to the execution.
Honestly, I’m going to go ahead and admit there was a great deal that was unclear to me in “Lockdown.” It has some nice action but not enough to distract me from the plot, which often gets The Walking Dead into trouble. I’m fine with Daryl et al. and Hornsby hunting each other for half the episode, although I don’t know if they realize Hornsby has taken over Alexandria, Hilltop, and Riverside yet. I’m equally fine with Negan being sent to the Commonwealth to warn Carol and the others that Hornsby will almost certainly be radioing home and sending his secret goons to kidnap the kids. Carol already had a secret attic hideout where Jerry’s been stockpiling food, of course. It all seems smart!
It’s what everyone else is doing in the Commonwealth that bugs me, because everyone seems to be working at cross-purposes. Connie is delighted—delighted—to have riled up the proletariat to rise against the upper-class/demand the death of an asshole, but Kelly worries things have immediately gotten out of hand. Magna hates the upper class and wants a revolution but somehow feels the need to protect them from the inevitable warfare that inevitably comes with a revolution, but also wants to leave. Yumiko feels like she needs to stay in the Commonwealth even though as Pam’s lawyer the revolution will in all likelihood go poorly for her, and then Magna says she’ll stay if Yumiko stays. While bother toppling the Miltons if you’re just going to leave? Why start a revolution if you’re worried about it putting everyone in danger, because of course it will?
Likewise, Connie’s newspaper specifically targeted Sebastian’s crimes… despite the fact the paper’s (bananas) headline only says, “Pamela Milton is lying to you,” which, uh, she isn’t? She truly seems to have no idea what Kingsley’s been doing, although perhaps she’s lying about other things. But Carol and Negan hunt down Kingsley hiding in a secret room, passed out drunk and urinating into mason jars, so they can safely escort him back to Pamela in exchange for the governor bringing Hornsby to heel. Carol even says they should blame Hornsby for the deaths, which would take the heat off the Milton family entirely and squash the revolution in its tracks.
I feel like everyone would have benefitted from having a team meeting and figuring out what their goals were and how best to achieve them, partially because they’re all working at cross-purposes, but mostly it would be a lot more exciting to watch these people work together. At the very least it would lend the conflict with the Commonwealth has a more epic feel, which would be nice given that there are only seven more episodes to go.
To be fair, I don’t think the bad guys have a plan either. Hornsby seems to have conquered Hilltop, Alexandria, and Oceanside for the immense power and untold riches it will bring him, both of which are non-existent. Pamela Milton just wants to stay in charge and live her life of luxury by exploiting the working class (which sucks, but is unfortunately no more a crime in the zombie apocalypse than it is in reality), but when faced with protesters, she initiates something called plan “B14,” which the show indicates is the following:
Putting the city into lockdown, forcing all the residents to return to their homes. But then, somehow, telling them that anyone caught out after curfew will be arrested “for their own safety.” But… since they’ve already ordered everyone to return to their home, why wouldn’t you just arrest everyone who’s outside regardless of what time it is?
And then it turns out there actually is a giant zombie horde heading towards town, so the lockdown is a perfectly good and smart thing to do, regardless of how it’s stifling public unrest. But did Pamela have a truly giant horde of zombies waiting for this exact situation? How would she get them and contain them? Did she somehow have someone send the zombies to the Commonwealth, endangering everyone including herself, when she could just have her minions lie and say zombies were on the way?
Furthermore, the zombies get through several lines of defense before Mercer, Rosita, and a very small team of Commontroopers head out to stop them. It’s implied that someone, presumably Milton, told the advance soldiers to let the zombies through, but… why? Wouldn’t at least one of the soldiers get suspicious that he was being told to leave his post when zombies are on the way? They’re still out there, by the way, when the episode ends—and Daryl has his knife to Hornsby’s throat, the group surrounded by Commontroopers who very pointedly do not put their guns down.
Here’s the thing about all these questions and plotholes—I don’t particularly care? I don’t have any expectations that The Walking Dead will pull out all the stops for these final eight episodes, and I will be pleasantly surprised if the show manages to surprise me at all in its homestretch. It could, if the show decides to wrap up this Commonwealth business sooner rather than later and start laying the framework for the next several TWD series; maybe by showing us one of these evolved zombies we’ve heard so little about it, or giving us hints of how or why the hell Daryl ends up going to Europe in his spin-off. But somehow, I don’t expect the show to do this for another six episodes at least. Until then, I guess, viva la revolución. Until you don’t want it to viva. Either way.
- For some reason, AMC has started uploading behind-the-scenes photos on a regular basis TWD stills and this was too cute not to share.
- How did the jeep flip? There are only two answers: 1) The driver somehow messed up incredible badly, given that he was on a practically flat field, or 2) the zombies did it. Silly either way.
- Carol’s look when Negan tells Kingsley about how he’s seen her pull rabbits out of her ass, as a metaphor for her ability to fix difficult problems, is perfection. Pleased at the compliment and completely annoyed that Negan put it that way.
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