When there’s No Other Way…there’s No Way Out. Welcome back to The Walking Dead: The Final Season; Part 2 of 3: Hyper Edition.
The episode begins right where “For Blood” left off, as the hwacha fires rockets into the courtyard. After landing in some walkers, the rockets detonate. After grappling with a Reaper, Maggie storms the facility.
Here, she reunites with the struggling Negan and Elijah, the latter of whom has a wound on his leg. The three enter an infirmary and hide in a hidden room behind some supplies. From here, the three will wait until dawn and then hunt down the remaining Reapers. Against Negan’s suggestion that they leave right now, Maggie is staying put to minimize the risk of being followed home.
Carver soon enters the infirmary and reports to Leah on the radio that he’s searching for Maggie. Leah pledges that none of the intruders will get out alive.
We return to Alexandria as the episode tries its damnedest to recreate “No Way Out.” Walkers continue streaming into the house where the survivors are holed up, while Lydia and Rosita take out as many as they can. Dianne informs the two that they can’t find Judith and Gracie.
Yeah, the girls are still trapped in the basement. They try to reinforce the door, but the dead soon break it down.
Elsewhere, Aaron and Jerry conclude that the weather isn’t helping them. Not to mention that the wind keeps stoking the flames of the fire still raging in the windmill. Aaron calls over Carol, Connie, Magna, and Kelly. They managed to close one breach, but with so many walkers out there, there must be another breach. Aaron is adamant on stopping the fire. If the windmill falls, it could create an opening too big to close.
So Magna and Connie will find the breach, while the others take care of the windmill. Suddenly, Aaron hears Gracie’s emergency whistle, so he goes off to find her, leaving the others to the windmill.
Where did Aaron even find a whistle?
Anyway, dawn has broken at the Reaper compound. One Reaper, Austin, almost has a shot at a moving Gabriel when the Reaper is intercepted by Daryl. The two have their knife fight in a classroom, and though both get cut, Daryl soon gets the upper hand and tries to strangle Austin. When a walker outside the door is shot down, an approaching Reaper, Wash, calls out for Austin.
But Austin is already down for the count. Daryl swipes Austin’s weapons and hides behind the chalkboard just as Wash and Leah enters to see their fallen comrade. Leah vows no more of this as she and Wash leave. Why they didn’t check the classroom is anyone’s guess. It’s not like Daryl had the best of hiding spots.
Back in Alexandria’s most flooded basement, walkers make their way across the water towards Judith and Gracie, who are trying to get to the window. Judith cuts down any walker that she can, but she drops her blade into the water. Truly the daughter of Rick Grimes, this girl.
Aaron arrives at a window and puts his morningstar to good use as he breaks down the glass. He leaps into the water and bashes down the walkers, even smashing one’s head like a grape.
It’s rare, but this show can still come up with creative ways to kill zombies. Aaron lifts the girls up to the window and the relative safety of outdoors. He implores Judith to get Gracie to safety first, but he might regret not leaving with them as more walkers soon head downstairs…
Over at the Reaper compound, Gabriel arrives at sanctuary. Or at least, the sanctuary of the Reaper priest, Mancea, played by Dikran Tulaine, who informs Gabriel that he knew he was with him at the graves yesterday. Or at least the Lord did, but he told Mancea that he had nothing to fear. How comforting.
Gabriel can’t believe that if Mancea hears God, that the Lord would tell him to defend the Reapers. But God’s hand guides Mancea’s every steps. Gabriel points out that the Reapers massacre communities without provocation. How could God speak to a man who would defend them? Mancea counters that his role is to serve, not to question.
True faith requires doubt, and Mancea has his. Violence isn’t the path he’d take, but blood has been spilled in God’s name for centuries. His will is not known to us, but Mancea can just trust in him. As far as Gabriel is concerned, God wouldn’t allow the Reapers to murder his friends. So he demands that Mancea stand aside.
Mancea, however, holsters his blade and concludes that Gabriel doesn’t hear God’s voice anymore. He asks Gabriel to listen. God is with them right now and asking Gabriel to hear Him. Either that or Gabriel can cut down a man that God has placed in his path. The path to peace is hard, but together, the two can take the first steps together, for the sake of their flocks.
Now, Gabriel can renew his faith because no matter what any of them have done, no one is above saving. So what does Gabriel do? Of course he guts Mancea, telling him that he doesn’t believe what the priest is selling.
To be fair, no one ever accused Gabriel of maintaining his faith.
Carver corners Maggie, but this turned out to be a trap, as the Reaper is soon surrounded by Maggie, Elijah, and Negan. To Carver’s credit, he puts up a damn good fight and holds off the three for a good amount of time.
Soon enough, Negan grabs his secret weapon: a bell…and some sand that he gets in Carver’s face before knocking him out with said bell. Before Maggie can land a killing blow, Daryl arrives and stops her, deciding to knock Carver out instead. Elijah wants Carver and the others to pay for what they’ve done. Daryl doesn’t disagree. But if they go scorched earth, then none of them are making it out alive.
Right now, the best option is to use Carver as leverage, get what they want, and get the hell out of here. Daryl isn’t doing this for Leah. She wants them dead, but not more than saving her own family. Negan is done with them getting out of this alive, while Maggie promises Elijah that the Reapers will pay. Daryl takes Carver’s radio and tells Leah that they need to talk.
Talk about what? We’ll find out later. Rosita, Dianne, and Lydia keep taking out walkers. As Lydia heads to the cellar to find the source of that whistling sound, Aaron hangs for dear life on a pipe that surely can’t support his weight. Nonetheless, he shimmies across the swimming walkers and towards the window.
The pipe groans from the pressure and soon breaks, but Aaron remains on a portion of the pipe still attached to the ceiling. Lydia soon arrives and gets a rope to save Aaron. The two then head off to help with that damned windmill.
Daryl and the others bring Carver as a hostage and meet at least six feet apart from Leah. He tells Leah and two others that if they throw down their weapons and head north, there won’t be any problems. Once Daryl and the others are far out enough, he’ll leave Carver go. Leah has no reason to trust Daryl, but he counters that they’ve survived all of this to end up fighting and killing each other anyway.
Leah is willing to risk it all, but Daryl is giving her one chance to protect what’s left of her family and his.
Yeah, Leah isn’t falling for this bullshit. She orders a Reaper in hiding to fire a warning shot and demands the others come out of hiding. They do, and Daryl is forced to release Carver. Elijah still wants revenge for his sister, but he stumbles and falls before he can exact his revenge.
Before Carver can attack, he gets a bullet in the leg. Not from Jenson, but from Sergeant Carver- I mean, Father Gabriel, who orders Leah’s cohorts to back off.
Leah wants to know if the deal still stands, but Maggie’s past that point. Leah would’ve killed her and the others, so now Gabriel gets to do the same thing to her. Gabriel doesn’t have a hwacha, but I suppose Maggie’s point stands. Leah’s willing to take that risk. Sure, Gabriel has the rifle, but the Reapers could pick off some of Maggie’s friends in the process. Still, Leah opts to save her family, while Daryl saves his.
But Leah will be leaving without Carver. She promises to see him soon, but like the rest of us, Maggie has had enough of this plot. As Leah and the other two Reapers retreat, Maggie follows them and kills two, while still landing a shot on a fleeing Leah. Before Carver can defend himself, Maggie kills him as well.
Daryl follows Leah’s blood trail and, without coming face to face, finds out where she’s hiding. He tells her that he didn’t want it to go down this way. They could’ve had a second chance. He then tells her to leave before he changes his mind.
He and Dog soon return to the others, who are packing up. Maggie’s planning to head out, but she’ll catch up with Gabriel and the others soon.
She returns to the church where Alden was holed up, but upon entering, all she finds is a walker. Two, actually, because one of them is Alden. Well, that’s unfortunate.
As Maggie lays Alden to rest, Negan approaches and tells Maggie that he knew she was going to do what she did. He doesn’t blame her, but when it come to him, promise or not, it’s just a matter of time before she makes the same call. Negan won’t give her that opportunity because he’s leaving on his own, merry way.
That night, over a campfire, Gabriel brings up with Daryl said. Daryl’s been thinking about the choices they’ve been making and whether they matter. But to Gabriel, that comes down to who’s making the choice. Doubt is important, but it doesn’t make you wrong. Yeah, Gabriel’s telling Daryl to have a bit of faith, while the pastor is trying to find it himself, too.
Maggie arrives and, considering that she came alone, the others soon realize Alden’s fate. Not to mention that Negan has left.
The next day, the four return to Alexandria and reunions are abound. Daryl even drops a whole basket of apples when he sees Connie. Never mind that those apples are now dirty. Gabriel informs Aaron that Alden didn’t make it. A lot didn’t make it home, all so the others could survive.
Then again, is anyone crying over losing Maggie’s friends?
However, we’re not quite done yet. Jerry spots a convoy of armored soldiers arriving at Alexandria’s gates. Before a firefight can break out, Eugene rushes forward to inform everyone that the soldiers are here to help.
He then informs Alexandria’s residents that he, Yumiko, and Ezekiel set out a journey to find help. He then introduces the residents to Lance Hornsby, who thanks the residents for allowing them into his home. He’s impressed by what he’s seen and heard, but it’s clear that they’ve fallen on hard times. This is where the Commonwealth comes in. If they remain, the Commonwealth can provide labor and materials to help them rebuild.
But if any are interested, Lance has another potentially more interesting offer.
We then cut to…six months later? What the hell? Anyway, we rejoin Maggie and Elijah at Hilltop as they watch a squadron of Commonwealth soldiers outside the walls. Maggie tells the soldiers that it doesn’t have to be this way, but one soldier disagrees, saying that it does, in fact, have to be this way.
The episode comes to a close as the soldier unmasks himself, revealed to be Daryl.
Well, if you want to close out one plot thread, a time jump would be the way to do it. So we’re back for the final season of The Walking Dead and the second portion of the season gets off to a good start, even if it does raise some questions by episode’s end.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the Reapers are done. The six month jump all but rules out the possibility of seeing them again unless Leah amasses a new army on her own. I said before that the show did some interesting things with the Reapers, but didn’t go far enough. Obviously that was being saved for this episode.
Though I’m not fond of the Reapers, they have proven to be formidable in combat, no doubt through their years as soldiers. The fights in this episode were great to watch. Both Daryl’s fight with Austin, and Carver’s fight with Negan, Maggie, and Elijah both taking place in close quarters made them feel more claustraphobic and in your face. Not just great scenes to watch, but the characters making good use of the space they had.
Hey, credit where it’s due: the Reapers may have been dwindling in numbers, but they put up a damn good fight to the very end. I was impressed to see Carver hold off three people on his own. Despite being outnumbered, he made Negan, Maggie, and Elijah defend themselves. Had Negan not gotten bell, or if Daryl hadn’t arrived, Carver probably would’ve killed at least one of them. Maybe Elijah.
I still think we were robbed of an encounter between Maggie and Pope. Leah doesn’t have the same presence as him, but I did like her seeing through Daryl’s plan, even if it was thwarted by Gabriel. More on him in a moment.
Even though they’ll never see one another again, I do think part of Daryl wanted to work things out with Leah. Despite being on opposite sides, they did still care for one another. He did her a favor by not killing her when he had the chance. The idea of Leah just being out there leaves the door open for her to just pop back at any time, but again, with the time jump, I doubt we see or hear from the Reapers again.
Now then. Onto Father Gabriel, the MVP of the episode. First off, him responding to Leah on the radio was a boss move. But his conversation with Mancea was the real highlight of the episode. Since his introduction, we’ve seen Gabriel’s faith tested and rattled by everything around him. With all that’s happened, how could anyone still have faith in a higher power?
It’s not a crisis of faith because Gabriel isn’t questioning God’s actions, but in Mancea, he sees how he could turn out had he kept his faith. Or if he responded to God differently. Sure, Mancea lives and works alongside people who are killers, but are these actions much different than Rick and company storming a Savior compound and killing people in their sleep?
The world makes a lot less sense now, and with all he’s seen, Gabriel has no reason to believe anymore. He hasn’t abandoned his faith altogether- he does tell Daryl that he’s trying to find it- but he doesn’t just accept everything happening around him beause of it apparently being God’s will. How could God allow the world to end up as it did, yet still speak to people to serve His will? Is His will even worth fighting for anymore?
These are no doubt questions swirling through Gabriel’s mind in his talk with Mancea. In the end, I’m sure Mancea probably would’ve tried to kill Gabriel, so Gabriel did what we expected him to do. He’s gotten this far while having his faith rattled. Killing someone who believes in a higher authority isn’t going to break him. He did say in “Hunted” that God isn’t here anymore, after all.
Sticking with this group for a second, Maggie killing the Reapers with Leah shows her continuing down a dark path. Her doing this makes sense. If given the chance, Leah would no doubt return to finish the job. Removing any loose ends is something that Rick or Negan would do.
Given what we know about the Reapers, no doubt Maggie would want them all gone. This makes it all the worse that we don’t get a scene between her and Pope.
Anyway, so Alden’s dead. Thus, his actual send-off was in “Hunted.” It’s not surprising that he’d succumb, though I did think he could maybe regain his strength and leave. It’s an upsettng moment for Maggie, given how she bonded with him over time when he was still a Savior. He proved that the antagonists could redeem themselves and came through when needed, so Maggie finding him as a walker is upsetting for her, no doubt.
As for Negan, I’m curious when we’ll see him pop up again now that we’ve jumped forward a few months. Him going on his own was a long time coming. With how much he and Maggie have been at odds, things between them would not improve. They’ve begrudgingly worked together, but Negan knows that no matter what he does, he’ll be an outsider. So why stick around?
The survivors braving the walkers in the storm was fine, but it wanted to be “No Way Out.” I did like Aaron bashing the walkers in the water, as well as Judith being a badass when the walkers approached her and Gracie. I never felt these folks were in danger, and they weren’t, but I’m all for seeing the residents rally together to protect their home.
The reunions were sweet, but had to be short-lived because these people just can’t have a few seconds to catch their breath. Hell, Gabriel looks exhausted by the mere thought that there’s someone else to deal with after the Reapers and the storm.
However, Eugene bridging Alexandria with the Commonwealth was nice to see. For one, he’s no longer in holding, but he’s the one who held onto the hope that Alexandria could find other communities. There was genuine optimism in his voice when he introduced Lance Hornsby and explained the Commonwealth to the others. With all they’ve been through, they really need a lifeline.
At the same time, these people have been here before. Aaron describing the Safe Zone to Rick and company seemed like a dream come true. Terminus seemed too good to be real. Now, this man in a suit shows up with armed soldiers and talks about a new opportunity? Sounds nice on paper, but it’s natural that there’d be hesitation on everyone’s part.
Just based on Tomi’s talks with Yumiko, not to mention how much of a jerkass Sebastian was in his introduction, there’s something that just doesn’t seem right about the Commonwealth. Then again, unlike when the survivors arrived at Alexandria, someone among them has actually seen the Commonwealth firsthand. And surely they trust Eugene. We’ll no doubt learn about that in the episodes to come.
Again, the time jump raises some interesting questions. Why is Maggie seemingly at odds with another community yet again? Has Daryl become a full fledged Commonwealth soldier, or is this him going under deep cover? Hopefully we find out about this and more down the line.
So the second part of The Walking Dead’s final season gets off to a good start. The Reapers arc, though not utilized to its full potential, ends on a pretty good note with some great fight scenes and character moments for Gabriel and Maggie. The arrival of the Commonwealth citizens at Alexandria and the time jump set up the beginning of a new status quo that I’m interested to see develop.
See you next time.