This review contains spoilers.
Season 11 of The Walking Dead has, so far at least, gone from strength to strength as each week passes, so naturally the excitement and expectation levels always kick in on a Monday morning before watching the latest episode! Reading the Disney+ synopsis, on the surface it sounded like a pretty straight forward episode, but what we actually got was something truly more terrifying!
We saw at the end of last season that Connie was alive and that she had bumped into Virgil. As we start the episode with the pair running away from a bunch of Walkers, it was clear that we’d finally get some answers in regards to what Connie has been up to, especially since the revelation in last week’s episode that she is alive! (At least in terms of our characters knowing this).
The pair make it to a rather fancy and large house, now surrounded by Walkers. With Connie holding back the door, more and more kept coming. Talk about a tense opening! Now, with the news that Connie has been spotted, Carol and Aaron try to formulate a plan as to how best to proceed, unfortunately that news is of no use to Kelly who, unbeknown to the rest of the group, has already taken a horse and is frantically riding out to find her sister. She finds her camp and when Carol catches up with her explains the situation from her note pad. Now, when we cut back to Connie it is now daylight. At this point, I felt as if the story seemed to imply that these two narratives were concurrent, given that both Connie and Virgil seem to have an understanding or history, plus Connie is no longer covered in filth like when we last saw her. I was also preparing myself for them to play the audience and have it as two separate time periods, but I’m glad they didn’t as it makes what happens next all the better for it.
At the house, Virgil does a sweep and deems it secure and tries to get Connie to get some rest, but she refuses. Connie explores the house herself and spots an eye looking at her from behind the wall, which sets her off in a panic. Now, at this point it’s hard to say if it was really there or if this is some sort of trauma, which had already been hinted at. Now, I say that, but before I can finish that thought, a door slides in the hallway, separating Virgil and Connie. It’s all gone a little House on Haunted Hill hasn’t it? I loved how silent these scenes were, and it made what happened next ten times scarier! Connie feels the rumbling and all of a sudden, the silence breaks and some sort of crazed Gollum man scrambles along the floor chasing her. At the time, my gut feeling was a crazed-person rather than a Walker, given the way they moved. This was a fantastic horror sequence and just like everything else inside the house, it was genuinely scary. Still being chased, Connie ends up in the walls – and with see another eye, but this time get a much stronger indication that she is having trauma flashbacks on top of the crazed man crawling around the place. The next terrifying sequence see’s Connie banging at Virgil from behind the wall who, with his back turned, does not see the crazed man slowly entering the frame from the floor, subsequently attacking Virgil. The man shouts that he’s hungry, but before he can grab a bite, Virgil stabs him and the man crawls away.
Despite Virgil pressing for Connie to go on alone, Connie refuses and the pair begin to make their escape. The thing is though, we soon find out that this is not the work of just one feral man. Very soon, more ‘ferals’ start to charge towards them, with one female feral jumping onto Virgil’s back and stabbing him multiple times. With Virgil wounded and Connie surrounded, it was very much a case of drastic times call for drastic measures. Connie covers herself in Walker guts and just as the ferals approach her, she opens the door, and in some sort of portals moment from Avengers Endgame, the Walkers come to the rescue and flood inside, with the two enemies now taking each other out. Seriously, I hope someone on the internet puts the Avengers theme over this because it really felt like a similar moment! The hopeful music continues to play as Connie and Virgil make their way out of the house, but they are not home and dry yet! Two ferals have made it outside too, but before they reach them, Kelly appears and dispatches them with two slingshot kills. Connie and Kelly embrace in a touching reunion. This was a nice moment and it felt earned, which just made the whole thing mean so much more.
As for the Reapers segment of the episode, we start with some good old fashioned nail torture – Nice! Pope continues to test Daryl as he forces him to torture Frost, who looks inches away from death already! I mean, credit to Frost here, because he knows Daryl is on his side and he took his finger loss like a champ! They now have a location, and Daryl is on the team to scout it out. Well played!
They reach the empty house, but after a wider search they find the safe house. It’s empty, but Daryl spots a trap door and we then see that Maggie and everyone else are hiding out downstairs. Good job Daryl pre-warned them by shaking those wires! Daryl lets slip more info about the Reapers so that those under the floor get a better understanding of their enemy’s numbers. But just as Daryl looked like he was going to get away with it, Carver spots the trapdoor and opens it, luckily, Maggie, Negan and the others had already slipped out the side. When they finally return to the Reaper’s base, they are greeted by Pope who says that he continued to have ‘a chat’ with Frost after everyone left and now he’s knows everything he needs to know – all the time smiling sarcastically at Daryl – does he know Daryl’s secret? Pope puts his arm around Carver and he whispers something to him, forcing Carver to laugh and turn around to look back at Daryl. Now, all this suggests that they know Daryl is not really with them. Likewise, it could be a fake out and we are meant to think that. Either way it’s had the desired effect as now I am desperate to find out what happens next! As for Frost? He didn’t survive and is now a Walker, tied up to a tree outside the base. RIP Frost, you were a good man!
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode, especially the horror aspects of the ferals inside the house. The way they utilise Connie’s deafness and work it into the episodes always makes for intense and horrific moments, like back in the cornfield and with the baby. But here it was just really well executed horror sequences and tropes and caused some genuine anxiety moments. The tension and suspense was incredible and as a one-off episode, the concept was unique and memorable.