This review contains spoilers.
The season finale, well Part One of Three, of The Walking Dead has arrived!
“Storm’s coming up, Ani. You better get home quick!”
Yep, a storm has hit Alexandria and the, already ruined, town is taking one hell of a battering! Windows put through, doors busted off their hinges, a windmill on fire and pieces of the wall floating past the window all this and more as Aaron watches on in horror! It’s going to be a rough night…
This was the secondary plot of the episode and I think it worked for the most part. I loved the mixture of battling the elements along with the Walkers and having a rainy set just makes for an interesting aesthetic overall!
Inside the compound, Pope knows that “the woman” I.E. Maggie is behind all of this and even clicks on to the fact that she has “turned the dead on the living”. Pope seems very confident that the gate and walls will hold… and we soon find out why! BOOM! They have land mines! Elijah takes a hit to the arm and just as he starts to stumble, Negan comes in for the save – that’ll probably go a long way in raising his stock with such an influential Maggie ally! The only thing more explosive than the mines was the tension between Pope and Leah – with the two reaching a clear tipping point. Maybe this is the beginning of her side-switch? Daryl ignores the pair and continues to look through the binoculars. He spots Elijah and then notices Maggie and Gabriel splitting off and heading towards the wall. Daryl intercepts the guard on patrol and distracts him with a smoke, before killing him with a knife and directing Maggie and Gabriel to the back entrance where he weakens the lock for them.
Despite the Walkers getting closer, Pope still looks confident and instructs Leah to “ready the hwacha”. Sounds interesting right? Well, it was! They actually made a hwacha! – Which is a very early projectile launcher that shoots multiple rockets. It looked rickety and makeshift and I loved it! As Pope gives the green light to fire and Leah reminisces about staying together in the cabin, Daryl drops his guard and tells Leah everything – about the food, “his people” and how they are walking with the dead. This was a huge gamble, especially as her allegiances are still unclear. Meanwhile, Maggie and Gabriel press on, with the pair splitting up and setting their plan in motion. Maggie hotwires a pickup truck and sends it crashing into a wall panel, breaching it and allowing the Walkers inside the base. Pope orders the hwacha to be fired into the courtyard, which would also kill his own men. Despite Leah’s protests, Pope orders the go-ahead. As the fuse sparks to life, Leah grabs her knife and stabs Pope through the neck. WOW! Did not see that coming so early! With Pope crawling and bleeding out, Leah dispatches him with a final knife blow (Thank you Ritchie Coster – you gave an incredible performance!). She then grabs the radio and tells the rest of the Reapers that Pope is dead and that Daryl killed him. A bemused Daryl looks on and Leah tells him that she’d do anything to protect her family. I can’t be mad at this! She has good solid motives and it fits for the story. Running off with Daryl and being a ‘good-guy’ all of a sudden would have been bad writing and just undone a lot of things about her character. She’s complex and its best to keep it that way! Leah makes the order to retreat from the courtyard, leaving Maggie and Negan looking bewildered. Why the retreat? Oh, they’ve lit the hwacha and the rockets fire off towards the camera… and here ends the first batch of episodes of the final season of The Walking Dead!
This wasn’t a huge cliffhanger, but then again it wasn’t really supposed to be, as this is just a split up season. But I think there was enough in the episode to keep you satisfied. Leah is now the leader of the Reapers. Daryl is back with the Alexandrians. Negan and Maggie are facing a barrage of rockets. Judith and Gracie and trapped in a watery basement and that’s all before we even get to the Commonwealth storylines. So there is a lot up in the air, but in a positive way.
I think this first batch of episodes have been incredible, I really do. Strong writing, tense, emotional and action-packed with great character performances! I can’t remember a season of The Walking Dead starting this strong, not for a long time at least! Consistency is key, and this is a strong start, so hopefully they return with another batch of great episodes, because if this continues, Season 11 will be the best series of The Walking Dead to date!
Be sure to keep an eye out for our first spoiler-talk article where we’ll be discussing the first 8 episodes of The Walking Dead.
What did make of the latest episode The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.