This review contains spoilers.
We begin the episode at Riverbend, where the investigation is underway as to what happened to Toby’s squad. Hornsby is grilling Gabriel and Aaron on the rooftop about their story that they were just overrun by violent religious fanatics. Lance isn’t buying it, but he plays along and tells them that they will be heading to Hilltop, which is a clear way of testing Aaron and Gabriel’s lie. Looks like we are finally getting the confrontation at Hilltop that we saw in the flash-forward!
On the road, the squad comes across a group of Walkers, and Hornsby, wanting to make a point, tells Aaron and Gabriel to handle it alone. Daryl decides to also help out too and they clear them with ease. The telling thing here was Hornsby’s reaction throughout the scene. He watched on menacingly and then flicked the switch to that false smile of his. I really love Josh Hamilton in this role, he is so good in what he does. He has the ability to smile but keep that sinister and threatening look in his eyes. It’s not an easy skill to pull off but Hamilton nails it! Hornsby continues to rise up my list of best villains with each passing week. So good!
We reach Hilltop and Daryl convinces Maggie to let them in to search for the ‘religious fanatics’. After failing to catch Maggie out with the truck, Hornsby turns to Hershel, and after returning his hat, which they found at Riverbend, Elijah steps up and pins Hornsby to the wall causing a tense stand-off between the Commonwealth and Hilltop. Even as Hornsby ‘apologises’ for this “miscommunication”, the way he stares at Maggie with his eyes tells us that this is far from over!
Night has fallen, and in the woods at their makeshift camp, Daryl informs Aaron and Gabriel that they are not returning to the Commonwealth until they have retrieved the weapons. Hornsby gets word that a camp has been spotted nearby and we see Leah enter her tent. When the troopers open the tent, there is no one there. Wait, but she just went in? Leah springs her trap and injures two Stormtroopers before Hornsby calls a truce and entices Leah out of hiding. He offers her a job… well, he needs a new Toby! Leah could be a useful weapon to have and given her beef with Daryl, Maggie, and the others, she is just the perfect ACE card for Hornsby to play as and when he needs it.
Back at the Commonwealth, Princess and Mercer are in bed together, and in between the romantic and humorous moments, Princess brings up the fact that she never sees Mercer sleep. Clearly, something is weighing on his mind, and we’ve seen those cracks appear in previous episodes. Is it the fact that his belief in the Commonwealth is straining? Or is there another, hidden, reason for his wandering thoughts?
Eugene and Rosita meet Kelly and Connie, and they bring them up to speed with last week’s money heist ordeal. Remember that list of names from a few episodes back? April’s name is on that list! While it doesn’t match up with all the missing people, due to the number of names on there, they conclude that there is still a connection with the Miltons that ties all of the pieces together. Eugene convinces Max to help, but only when the Milton’s name popped up, so again it makes you think there is something she isn’t telling us? Is she part of the worker’s uprising? Remember that line when she was taken hostage – “I’m one of you”? Max visits Mercer at the gym (good lord, Michael James Shaw is JACKED!) and we get a little peek into their relationship and the politics both of them are having to adhere to. I’m glad we had this scene as they have instantly elevated both characters thanks to this extremely well-written and fantastically performed scene. Following this, Mercer comes clean with Princess about what has been keeping him awake. Honesty is always the best policy, and he could not be in safer hands to deal with all of this! Get that man a lasagne!
Carol drops Edith and RJ off at school and then catches up with Ezekiel and as you’d expect, the two have a great conversation and you really feel so many different layers every time the two interact. They just have such good chemistry on-screen. Carol has ‘a job to do’, but at this point, we don’t know what, however, you know that it will be connected to Hornsby in some way! Meanwhile, Ezekiel has his own mission. He needs a doctor! Tomi is upset and has taken to drinking at his desk, but Ezekiel convinces him to help him with his friend’s medical problem. However, they get caught with the stolen supplies, and just when you think things are going to get worse for them, Carol arrives flexing her pull with Hornsby, and gets them both released without question. Ezekiel takes them to his ‘zoo’ where we find that he has set up a ‘free clinic’ disguised as a veterinary hospital. This is his way of paying back the world for the extra time that he has been given. It’s such an Ezekiel thing to do and if it ever gets exposed, then you can see how this could link into the worker’s uprising plot they have seeded previously – us versus them, rich versus poor – it’s a tale as old as time!
I really enjoyed that this episode was able to build up Max and Mercer and push them to the forefront, along with keeping Carol and Ezekiel involved. With so much going on outside the Commonwealth walls right now, it is very important that they keep all the storylines progressing week to week. I think the show is doing a great job with this and nothing is overcomplicated or underdeveloped. As for what happens next? Hornsby and Leah make a deadly combo and with Mercer on the verge of no longer being the Commonwealth’s poster boy protector, the winds of change are coming…
What did you make of the latest episode of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments or on social media!