Mid-Season Finale, Leah, Daryl, Maggie

Mid-Season Finale, Leah, Daryl, Maggie

The leather-clad Daryl (Norman Reedus) stares at the back of the unhinged commander Pope in AMC's The Walking Dead.

Daryl (Norman Reedus) gained’t lick Pope. In case you have been questioning.
Picture: Josh Stringer/AMC

Generally, not usually, The Strolling Useless will get it precisely proper. Tonight’s episode—the ultimate of the primary eight-episode chunk of season 11—lastly pitted Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and her herd towards the Reapers at Meridian, with an incognito Daryl (Norman Reedus) caught within the center. There have been rants. Motion. Silliness. Demise. Homicide. Betrayal. A bit extra silliness. A twist I didn’t see coming. And never one however two cliffhangers, though a kind of cliffs is considerably shorter than the opposite.

Image for article titled The Walking Dead Wages the Battle of Meridian With a Bang, a Stab, and a Betrayal

I didn’t anticipate “For Blood” to be as satisfying because it was, primarily as a result of I attempt to not get my hopes up an excessive amount of with AMC’s The Strolling Useless nowadays. However apart from the large fumbles of the primary two episodes, this primary third of this last season has been stable. Tonight’s battle for Meridian got here at precisely the best time, not so quick that there aren’t any stakes apart from a trophy within the type of meals provides, however not so sluggish as to really feel padded out. Plus, Maggie, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), and their giant herd of zombies versus the outmanned however well-armed Reapers seems like a good struggle that both facet might win.

Goodbye, Pope (Ritchie Coster), you big, dumb, beautifully mustachioed, murdering idiot.

Goodbye, Pope (Ritchie Coster), you massive, dumb, fantastically mustachioed, murdering fool.
Picture: Josh Stringer/AMC

It’s so well-structured that the primary little bit of the episode’s silliness doesn’t detract from it within the slightest. It seems that for no matter cause, the Reapers had gotten their fingers on what appear to be a number of million mines, and so they’re all positioned immediately in entrance of the zombie herd. Daryl’s excessive concern that his pals might explode at any second retains issues tense, even because the episoode overindulges itself by displaying zombie after zombie after zombie explode. The second little bit of silliness is Pope (Ritchie Coster), who has misplaced his thoughts to a level that really makes you marvel why anybody would have ever adopted the maniac for a day, not to mention years. Keep in mind, that is the man who freaks out anytime one in every of his troopers will get killed, though he’s the one who places them in peril, whether or not by sending them into battle for no cause or by setting them on hearth himself. This time Pope sends a man to attempt to lead the herd away… however primarily as bait to test and see if his nice adversary Maggie is on the market.

Leah (Lynn Collins) is justifiably appalled Pope would throw their comrade’s life away to only affirm a hunch. Her day solely going to will get worse, however first, extra silliness: Somebody on the Reapers has managed to construct a A number of Rocket Launcher, chock stuffed with…properly, they give the impression of being much more bottle rockets than missiles. It’s all very ludicrous, however presumably, the machine will take out quite a lot of the zombie horde, together with Negan and Elijah, who’re nonetheless milling round on the market. In the meantime, Daryl spies Maggie and Gabriel sneaking round Meridian’s partitions. He kills a Reaper, lets them in, and returns to Leah, the place he confesses the whole lot—the individuals attacking are his individuals, they’re good individuals, he lied to her as a result of she was working with a licensed lunatic, and he asks her to affix him, and go away the licensed lunatic behind.

Leah (Lynn Collins) decides who her people are.

Leah (Lynn Collins) decides who her persons are.
Picture: Josh Stringer/AMC

Maggie tells Gabe the place to discover a hidden rifle, then she hotwires a truck and makes use of it to knock down Meridian’s entrance gate, permitting all of the unexploded zombies entry to the colony. Pope arrives on the rocket launcher, and orders it fired in the course of the courtyard at his hated enemy, Maggie. The issue, as Leah factors out, is that there are lots of, many Reapers preventing within the courtyard who shall be killed as properly. As Pope begins screaming about how his God speaks by way of him and his will is God’s will and yadda, yadda Leah stabs him by way of the throat. Sorry, God! It’s the proper time for Pope to die—he lastly grew to become too ridiculous for even The Strolling Useless and exited proper earlier than he wore out his homicidal, imbecilic welcome. However his loss of life additionally units up that twist I discussed earlier than, as Leah stares Daryl straight within the eye, she grabs her walkie-talkie and tells the Reapers that Daryl killed Pope. Daryl needed to guard his individuals, however so does Leah. She needed to defend them from Pope, and now she wants to guard them from the individuals attacking them.

Daryl runs off to assist Maggie with the all-out brawl within the courtyard, solely to listen to Leah give the Reapers orders to fall again. However Maggie and the others haven’t gained. Leah simply needed to verify her comrades have been gone when she fires 80 rockets into the courtyard, proper at Maggie and Daryl’s heads. (They positive sound like bottle rockets, for the file.) Leah’s heel flip is nice stuff, and if she decides that Maggie et al. have to die to guard her individuals (nonetheless a bizarre determination, simply go away) I like the thought of the Reapers being led by somebody who isn’t banana-pants, who actually cares for her troopers, and who has an immense quantity of emotional baggage with Daryl. They’ll primarily be a completely new foe, and hopefully they’ll cease sporting these silly masks, too.

Whereas the episode might need ended with a bang (or a number of of them), this nonetheless seems like a small stakes story, which is a wierd selection for the present’s last season. However it’s working, and I’m grateful for it. I’ll take an excellent, centered, small stakes Strolling Useless story over a bloated, supercilious one any day of the week. However I’m additionally nice if we simply hang around with the Pack for the ultimate 16 episodes and check out to determine the place their pants went.

“Make sure to capture my good side.”

“Ensure to seize my good facet.”
Picture: Josh Stringer/AMC

Assorted Musings:

  • Oh, yeah, Alexandria. A large storm is wreaking havoc, having by some means began a fireplace regardless of the rain and blown off chunks of the swiftly reassembled wall, permitting zombies to get into city. Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy) are tasked with holding down the home the place Judith, Gracie, and the opposite youngsters are. Rosita will get a very badass second the place she steps exterior and simply beats the hell out of a crap-ton of zombies.
  • The second cliffhanger is that when zombies lastly break into the home, Judith and Gracie get trapped within the basement, with solely a skinny barrel-bolt lock holding the door in place. I’m not notably anxious.
  • In case you missed it, The Strolling Useless season 11 continues on February 20, 2022. See you there.
  • “Don’t fear. I ain’t gonna lick ya.”

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