That’s adorable. Daryl thinks that he can kill Beta.
The episode begins right where we left off as Dog, Daryl, Connie, Henry, and Lydia make their way through the dark woods, but they’re not going to Hilltop. Lydia wasn’t going to betray her own people, so Daryl suggests that she go back to her own people. However, Lydia refuses, so Daryl won’t be playing babysitter for her.
Henry suggests that he and Lydia just disappear. He wants to fix this mess, but Daryl won’t have him going off on his own. Either way, they keep going with Connie leading the way.
Back at camp, Beta and a few Whisperers find one of their members bitten. The man realizes that he’ll soon join the dead, but Beta reminds the man that he will always be one of them. He tells some of the other Whisperers to let the man’s wife know that the change is coming. Another Whisperer tells Beta that they’re on the trail of the others, and Beta is confident that Lydia will return to their side again.
At the Kingdom, preparations are underway for the upcoming fair. Carol and Nabila go for a walk and discuss how they’ve fought for this- a chance to be different people, not warriors. They can’t possibly give up now. The two then see that Jerry’s got a bit of a scratch and he isn’t wearing his armor. Dianne suggests that they talk to Ezeikel.
He tells the King that he got jumped on the road and had his items stolen. He presents Ezekiel with a note- the group calls itself the Highwaymen and they warn that a toll must be paid. Along with this note is a symbol- the same symbol we saw on the sign by the movie theater. Jerry figures that these people heard him talking about the fair, but it’s hardly a secret. The Kingdom is low on supplies, so they can’t exactly pay.
Dianne suggests that Jed’s group or some rogue Saviors could be these Highwaymen, but Carol figures that’s not the case. Plus, the Saviors don’t write letters. Jerry says that the invited people count on the Kingdom to keep the roads safe, so they have to do something. Carol agrees- this fair could be their last chance. So Ezekiel wants every fighter gathered.
Elsewhere, Tara leads Magna’s group and some Hilltop residents on the road when they find a tree blocking down their path. While Earl says that the baby deserves a better family than him and Tammy, she’s confident that they can find the child a good family.
Kelly asks Tara if there’s anything she can do, as she’s worried about Connie. But hey, she is with Daryl. Tara and Yumiko believe that the two can handle themselves.
Speaking of, we return to the foursome as they approach a building. Connie suggests that they head in, considering this spot a choke point. Roll credits. If they go up, the walkers won’t be able to reach them and they can separate the living from the dead. Lydia believes that if they go up, they’ll be trapped. Alpha won’t send an army if she doesn’t have to- she’ll just send Beta.
Daryl, though, is sick of running. Lydia informs Daryl that Beta is their best, so Daryl wants to kill him first. Oh Daryl, you really have no idea what you’re getting into, do you?
So Dianne, Carol, Jerry, Ezekiel, and a group of Kingdom warriors spy on these Highwaymen and contemplate taking them out before there’s a shootout. Ezekiel still hopes the fair can be seen as a hope for a better future, but violence seems to be the only way to get a point across. He sees no point in talking things out- after all, they took Jerry’s sword.
But Carol thinks talking things out could work. It was grammatically correct, after all. Ezekiel worries that Carol may be wrong, but if she is and they don’t listen…then they’ll kill the Highwaymen. Fair enough, I suppose.
Back at the choke point, the four explore the building, with Connie finding a cache of supplies. She reveals that her group stayed here once, and this stash was in case of emergencies. There are only two ways up, and some spots are already barricaded. Daryl realizes that this plan could work, but after that, they’ll have to run.
Connie writes that Lydia stays with them- she even underlines it to punctuate her point- but if they do, Daryl knows that friends of theirs will die. Though Connie points out that they have friends, but Lydia does not. That’s not exactly an argument, Connie.
Ezekiel, Carol, and Jerry meet with the Highwaymen, even though they only wanted to talk with the King. They won’t pay a toll, but want to propose alternative solutions. If the Kingdom won’t pay to use the roads, maybe they’ll pay for the three of them instead. The Kingdom does have food and clean water, so the Highwaymen will help themselves to that.
But this standoff comes to a quick close when the Kingdom fighters enter. Ezekiel tells the Highwaymen that they will fight to protect what they have. With that, Ezekiel offers a job to the Highwaymen- keep the roads to the Kingdom clear. Also, Jerry wants his sword back. As for what the Highwaymen get in return, they will be granted access to the Kingdom and the fair.
The leader, Ozzy, played by Angus Sampson, laughs at this proposal, but what good are the things they steal if they can’t trade?
Ozzy takes out Jerry’s sword and tells Ezekiel that he will have to do better than that. Okay, so Carol asks when they last saw a movie. This piques their interest.
Lydia and Henry set up barricades at the building when Henry informs her that he made a spear for her. He figured a spear would be easier for her, but Lydia is hesitant against killing the people who looked out for her. Henry, though, will try not to kill any of them. Lydia asks why Henry is helping her, as her not wanting to go back is no reason for him to risk his life. Still, Henry wouldn’t just let the Whisperers take Lydia back.
Lydia says that Henry’s actions made Alpha look weak, so she will retaliate. Even if they ran, Alpha will find them. Lydia asks if Henry meant what he said about going with her wherever she went, and he did. She then asks why he came for her- and she wants the truth. His answer is that he cares for her. Lydia goes in for the kiss, but Daryl breaks it up, telling them that they’re headed up to keep watch.
Back on the road, Magna and Yumiko inform Tara that walkers are headed their way. Indeed, roamers make their way out of the woods, and the survivors make sure to keep an eye open for any of the walkers carrying weapons.
One walker manages to get Earl on the ground, so Tammy heads over and gives him a hand. Then, all of a sudden, the cavalry arrives in the form of the Highwaymen, who immediately help the Hilltop residents clear out the rest of the walkers as a show of escorting them to the Kingdom. The Hilltop folks are a bit dumbfounded by this, but accept the help nonetheless.
Henry and Lydia keep watch when they spot some walkers headed their way, and indeed, the Whisperers are among them. On the ground, Beta whispers for another Whisperer to spread out. As Daryl takes out a few Whisperers from above, Beta looks upward.
The walkers and Whisperers soon force their way into the building. While some of them head one way, Beta heads another way. He realizes that the barricade is meant to be a trap, so he and some Whisperers make their way upstairs.
Daryl tells Lydia to stick close to him, and she does after giving Henry a goodbye kiss. But then he orders Lydia into a closet since she’s no good if she won’t fight. Also, Dog will stay with her, which seems unfair. Either way, Daryl locks the two of them inside.
Henry and Connie take out a few of the approaching Whisperers, while Daryl finds himself confronted by some other Whisperers, Beta included. While in the closet, Lydia hears the pained yells of her fellow Whisperers being killed, so she gets a crowbar and gets to work on the door.
One Whisperer manages to stab Henry in the leg. He gets mauled by Dog for that until Henry knocks him out. When Lydia comes to Henry’s side, she and Connie examine the new injury to his leg.
Daryl continues taking out as many Whisperers as he can until he comes face to face with Beta. A fight breaks out as Beta breaks out his two blades. He brings Daryl close to a circular saw, and while Daryl is able to break away, Beta is still able to overpower him, blow for blow, even knocking him through a wall or several. Beta tells Daryl that his people mean nothing to him. Their world is already dead. He just wants Lydia.
Daryl rushes from behind and shoves Beta down a shaft. Thinking that it’s over, he heads off, grabbing a blade in the process.
But enough about that. Let’s jump back to the Kingdom as the Highwaymen help keep a close eye on things as preparations for the fair continue. Earl and Tammy show Nabila the baby, with Tammy saying that she’s not going to give up the baby anytime soon.
Carol and Ezekiel join Tara, who now wonders where Daryl and Henry are, as they should have been back by now.
Well, let’s rejoin them. Connie fires shots at nearby cars to distract the walkers. Daryl tells Henry that they aren’t staying. They’re headed to Alexandria so Henry can get patched up there After that, the four of them will keep on moving.
While the four head off, though, Beta recovers from his nasty fall atop the elevator. Though he’s in pain, he is not down for the count. Far from it.
Well, I suppose Daryl should count his blessings because Beta is just getting warmed up. “Chokepoint” finally introduced us to the real threat that is Beta in a very good episode that put the survivors on the run from the Whisperers. All the while, it pushed forward the storyline with the Kingdom, managed to weave in the Hilltop for a bit, and even introduced some new players as well.
Let’s start there, for one. The Highwaymen, from what I can tell, don’t seem to be based off of a group from comic lore, and I’m sure many would find it distracting that we’re introduced to yet another group of characters. But right now, they seem harmless. It was a fun distraction that provides the Kingdom with some much needed security.
Sure, the Highwaymen could also serve as cannon fodder for the war, but I think it’s possible that some of them could stick around for a bit. You don’t get a recognizable actor like Angus Sampson just to kill him off soon. Even Jeff Kober stuck around for a bit as Joe when we got the Claimers on the show.
But I like that, aside from Jerry’s off-screen beating, the showdown between the Highwaymen and Kingdom went off without a hitch. Given how much the Hilltop is struggling, a firefight would’ve just hurt their numbers, even if they had the advantage. Yet Carol’s proposal of watching a movie was a fun way to break the tension and actually build on Ezekiel’s mission of getting that projector bulb.
Admittedly, the Highwaymen could always turn on Carol if the Kingdom doesn’t have good movies- if any– to watch, but at least they ride in to help the Hilltop when necessary. Since the Kingdom vouches for them and because they’ve already met the Hilltop residents, perhaps the Highwaymen will integrate themselves into the communities quite well.
As for the main plot, we continue with Daryl and Connie on the run with Henry and Lydia. Well, more like Lydia is the stowaway since Henry refuses to leave her with Alpha. I liked the setup of the choke point and how it was revealed that Connie and the rest of Magna’s group used to stay at this place. It’s more believable than Connie miraculously stumbling upon a cache of supplies.
She and Daryl continue to make a good pair and I like how she keeps on putting her foot down. She’s not being demanding, though, with her request that Lydia stay with them. I think Daryl understands that sending Lydia back to Alpha would be a horrible fate, but he’s not keen on bringing her back to Hilltop or taking her to Alexandria, even it looks like that might be what happens.
I get that Henry cares for Lydia, and I don’t want to just say that he’s thinking with his dick instead of his head. At the same time, he should really listen to Lydia when she says that Alpha will come after them, especially after what Henry did. Hell, Henry just watched Alpha decapitate one of her own followers. He doesn’t think she’ll royally fuck up the survivors to get back at them?
Or maybe he does, but just figures that the survivors, for all they’ve endured, can win this war with the Whisperers, too. Doubtful. At least, in the immediate future. Remember what happened when Rick and Daryl figured that they could overtake Negan no problem. Then they met him.
But this week, they also met Beta, who is a damn force to be reckoned with. Maybe too much of tossing and crashing through walls as opposed to just a straight up beatdown. I would’ve been fine if Beta battling and following the survivors got more screen time than it did, if just so we could get a better sense of how dominating he is.
Not that Daryl was ever in any real danger because the show wouldn’t do that, but I do wish that the fight had lasted longer and that Daryl walked away a bit more bruised than he did. Hell, he didn’t even check to make sure that Beta was dead. A fall down an elevator shaft probably would kill anyone, but you’d think that Daryl would want to make sure.
Either way, Beta isn’t dying today. If anything, that fight didn’t even count. Beta is now ready to strike back even harder when he catches up to the survivors. “Chokepoint” was solid. The introduction of the Highwaymen was a fun plot that should provide some extra security for the upcoming fair, and hopefully they aren’t just meat shields.
As for Daryl’s group, they may be out of the woods for the moment, but the Whisperers are far from done with them yet. But one step at a time. First they’ll have to see what happens when they pay Alexandria a visit.