X-Geeks

The Walking Dead: S11 E3 – Hunted

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review contains spoilers.

Well, this episode spent no time hanging around or building tension did it?

We have a cold open to a massacre in the woods! Cole has his throat slashed, Duncan is hit multiple times by projectiles, Elijah is hit (with his fate unknown), Negan and Gabriel both take hits to the leg and neck respectively. Luckily, and the only one I care about right now is Dog, who manages to escape with Daryl into the darkness of the treeline. The group are now separated, and as the title aptly indicates, those that remain are about to be hunted! – What a frantic and chaotic start to the episode!

With the group separated, the episode follows a range of different characters. Maggie heads into a mini-shopping centre, which features a stunning shot of some escalators in the darkness, and takes out a walker and one of the Reapers in the process. She quickly bumps into Alden and Negan, both of whom are attacked by yet more Reapers! As the dust from the smoke gredande settles, we find that Alden has been badly hurt. Maggie wants to press on to the safe house, while Negan tells her that he’s in no condition to move. We get a nice line from Negan here regarding The Reapers – “I know theatrics” – but Maggie insists they push on regardless. On the road, they are reunited with Agatha and Duncan, but Duncan is too far gone and succumbs to his wounds. Maggie finishes him off, which is a smart move, as trust me, the last thing you want is that hulk of a man coming back as a Walker!

With Alden slowing the group down, they come across a tied up Walker beneath a ‘Judas’ sign. They must be going the right way then! He has a nice exchange with Maggie, but this feels very much like a swan song conversation and sends out a huge red flag to he’s not long for this world. The Walkers finally catch up with the group and Agatha is bitten and brutally ripped apart. Negan has to drag a screaming Maggie away, who refuses to leave her behind. Wait, but Gage was fine to be left? Hmm. Anyway, they stumble upon a church to rest up in, but Alden urges Maggie to leave him behind. This leads to the best scene in the episode, a three way conversation between Alden, Maggie and Negan. I loved this dynamic and it was such an enjoyable and emotional scene. They leave Alden some supplies and promise to come back for him – but my gut feeling is that, while they will make it back, by then it will be too late and he will have turned, forcing Maggie to finish him off. This would just further add weight to the conversation they had before Maggie left. So while I don’t want to lose Alden, in terms of the story it makes sense. Outside of the church, Negan kills a Walker, covering his crowbar with blood, in a call-back to ‘the incident’ and Maggie looks at it before the pair move on. This was a great scene to end the episode with, and indicates that Maggie and Negan will now be forced to work as a duo to ensure all the sacrifice is not in vein.

Away from Maggie, Negan and Alden the only other member of the group we follow, albeit briefly, is Gabriel – who hunts down an injured Reaper. He finds him preying and when confronted about being a ‘man of God’, Gabriel coldly replies “God isn’t here anymore” and kills him. What a brutal moment this was.

I liked the ‘on the road’ stuff in general. We lost most of Maggie’s group, luckily for Negan, and while they were probably one level above being a ‘red shirt’, it was Maggie’s emotional response to these deaths that made them feel like they had a much bigger impact on the show, despite their only recent introduction. I think next week, we’ll see how Negan and Maggie get along and find out what Daryl and Dog have been doing while all of this has taken place. I think they will bump into a familiar face…

With all the death and drama, we must remember why this group are out here in the first place – for Alexandria! But man, Alexandria is on its knees…

Aaron is still desperately trying to secure the walls, while Carol is off tracking down horses with Rosita, Kelly and Magna. They come across half the herd by a river, only to find them massacred. With Carol eager to push on, more through emotion and Connie guilt more than necessity, Magna convinces Carol to return back to Alexandria. But before they can head back, the rest of the herd appear and they manage to secure them safely and return them back home. These scenes were a good way to break up the intense action and drama of the episode. With so much death, it was nice to have moments of hope to enjoy, and the music really elevated these little moments to greater emotional heights. I also enjoyed having an all-female group to follow and really appreciated how much they are incorporated the use of sign language during these scenes.

With the horses back, Magna tells Carol to stop giving Kelly false hope about her sister. I mean, I get it, but she’s going to be alive, so I think with the hindsight of knowing this, Carol is right to keep looking. Carol takes her horse into the stables and kills it, thus providing food for the community. Screw you Carol. Go eat grass of something. No need. But that just my ‘real world’ opinion. In terms of a story within a zombie apocalypse TV show, sure, it makes sense and has merit.
Finally, we get a nice, short, scene with the kids talking about the adults always going away, which was nice to hear things from their perspective.

While probably the weakest episode out of the three so far, it was by no means a bad episode. Likewise, there wasn’t a huge dip in quality or enjoyment. It was a strong episode and especially with the Maggie and Negan stuff, helped to lay the ground work for the weeks to follow. The split between Maggie’s group and Carol’s crew was a nice blend which helped break-up the episode and aided with the episode’s pacing. We lost a fair amount of secondary characters, and with the group’s numbers reduced, we can now focus on the drama of the main characters without additional distractions. Overall, another highly enjoyable episode of The Walking Dead. The signs look good for Season 11 to be one of the strongest series to date.

There will be NO review next Monday as I am taking a much needed holiday! Our next TWD review will be on the 20th of September.

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