The Walking Dead – Season 11, Episode 14: The Rotten Core

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

This review contains spoilers.

We start this week’s episode at Riverbend, with the aftermath of last week’s attack! Toby updates Hornsby with the ‘good news’, but a Stormtrooper soon shatters that illusion by updating Toby that they have guards down – cut to Aaron and Maggie sweeping their way through the building, guns at the ready! Wow! Super short opening this week, but I like it! We’re not hanging around after last week’s cliffhanger, we are heading straight back into the action!

Aaron and the crew encounter Annie and Negan and are reunited with Gabriel too! There’s a big suggestion that Negan and Annie are ‘together’ here and that Riverbend most certainly did not have anything to do with robbing Hornsby’s convoy. Annie orders them to sweep each floor, rescuing any remaining survivors. As Aaron and the others catch up with Negan, we learn that Annie and he are now married and that she is pregnant. Also, Lydia’s previous desire to join the Commonwealth is now finished, stating the Commonwealth is just like the Whisperers, only with different masks – this was a great line!

What I didn’t expect to happen next was learning that Hershel had stowed away in Maggie’s truck, and he was now captured! Luckily for him, Negan comes to the rescue! The next scene was incredibly tense as Negan and Hershel have a one-on-one, which ends in Hershel pulling a gun on Negan. This entire scene was incredible! I dared not take a breath throughout the entire thing, but thankfully it ended relatively peacefully!

Annie and Maggie continue to sweep and clear the floors, meanwhile, Toby is getting impatient – and also drunker by the minute! Just before Toby finds Negan’s hiding place, Aaron and Gabriel cause a distraction, leading them to be trapped on the roof. And when I mean trapped, I mean Toby and his troopers are trapped, as Elijah springs it and the troopers are taken out, leaving only Toby left standing. Despite calling for backup, none is coming, as the rest of his forces are engaged with the others! In a move straight out of the Rick Grimes playbook, Aaron blasts Toby off the roof with multiple gunshots! Somehow, he survives the fall, crushing everyone bone in his body, but the Walkers, who were the people he killed previously, rip him apart as he screams loud in terror! Brutal!

With Riverbend saved, Negan tells Hershal that they have unfinished business and tells him that one day when he’s bigger, he needs to come and find him so they can finally settle this! Could this be Negan offering his life as payment or is he hoping that Hershal can see the man he is now and look beyond his evil past? Hopefully the latter, but I do think we are going to see this scene one day, most likely in a flashforward, and see how this plays out! Aaron tells Maggie that he has to go back to the Commonwealth to report what happened, but with Riverbend no longer safe, the people need a new home! Then we come back around to what this has all been about, the missing gun shipment!

We have a flashback to two weeks previous, with the caravan ransacked and all the Commonwealth guards killed, bar one! As the woman crawls along the ground, pleading for her life, another woman grabs her and slices her throat. The camera pans up and we see a dead-eyed Leah, full of rage and deadly intent. Huh, did not see that one coming! I was probably hoping for a bigger twist here, but with so much going on storyline-wise right now, I think you don’t want to stack it too story-heavy in this regard, so it’s fine!


Inside the Commonwealth, Rosita and Daryl are at the trooper precinct. Despite Colonel Vickers putting the pair on patrol, Alves catches up with them and informs them they are now to clear out a swarm of Walkers instead! Turns out this isn’t a task from Vickers but Sebastian Milton, who wants them to break into a mansion to get him some money since his mum has cut him off – using the kids as blackmail. I mean, this is the sort of petty nonsense that we just don’t need right now! But it does build Sebastian up as an antagonist albeit a whiny annoying one!

Daryl and Rosita make it inside with ease, but upon finding fresh dead bodies inside the mansion, it suggests they are not alone! Inside the panic room, they meet a woman, and we learn that twelve previous Commonwealth citizens were sent in to get the money, and the woman, April, tells Daryl and Rosita that she is the only one left! With the generator out, there’s no power for the door, so first up Daryl needs the restore the power. Upon doing so, he is attacked by Walkers! I loved how they had the light flashing throughout this fight, it just really added to the tension!

With the power now back up, Rosita and Daryl make their way inside and try to crack the safe, but an alarm is set off, drawing in more Walkers inside the mansion. With the money secured, they are now trapped inside the office! As they plan their escape, there is shooting from outside and we find Mercer and Carol! Rosita updates them with what happened, but they don’t have enough ammunition to take them all out, so it’s back to using the ‘covered in Walker blood’ trick to escape! Everything was going well until April’s borrowed armour gets caught on a Walker, which forces the group to switch up to manual weapons, but April does not survive and is killed by Walkers.

Back up on the hill, they hand over the money to Alves and Castle, and we learn that it wasn’t just twelve people that were sent in, it was closer to forty over a period of time. Mercer doesn’t take too kindly to this and without blinking, he shoots them both dead. Again, another character bringing that ‘Big Rick’ energy to the episode! Mercer says Sebastian still needs to be paid, otherwise, he’ll come after them. Back at the station, they hand over the money, much to Sebastian’s delight!

In his office, Lance is getting worried! But before he can get too hung up on Toby not answering the radio, Carol arrives and tells Lance about what Sebastian has been doing. It comes as no shock to us that Lance is very much in on it! Carol clearly disagrees but allows Lance to continue to think that he has her on his side. But you don’t mess with Carol, EVER! This is one to watch!

Overall, another great episode of The Walking Dead! I really enjoyed both storylines and feel there was plenty of resolution and a sense of moving on to the next part of the different arcs! Is Negan going to be housed at Hilltop? You could see it, especially given Maggie’s interactions with Annie and the fact that she is twelve weeks pregnant! Carol now has one eye on Lance, and how that links with the attack at Riverbend, you can just see all these separate threads starting to join together which is a credit to the planning and writing of the show.

What did you make of the latest episode of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

2 replies to “The Walking Dead – Season 11, Episode 14: The Rotten Core

    1. ***when Toby was sent off the roof. Negan’s redemption story tugs at my heart strings and Annie says it all when she describes why she’s with him.

      Liked by 1 person

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