The ten plagues of The Walking Dead.
The episode begins with Lance walking around what looks to be the aftermath of some battle.
But let’s cut back to 19 hours and one act of God ago. Oh, we’re doing this again. At Hilltop, Maggie is sending Hershel away. He wants to help out, but Maggie assures him that this is temporary. With that, the two, along with Marco and Elijah, head out.
Elsewhere, Lance does his best Harvey Dent and flips a coin. He asks soldiers to call Heads or Tails, and based on the outcome, he has them line up at his side. What their mission is, though, they’ll find out soon enough.
After their lovely night, Max and Eugene awaken, with Eugene calling Max the most remarkable human he’s met in his uneventful life. Hey, what about Rosita? Anyway, Max is still on board with Eugene’s plan, but she can’t stop thinking about what will happen after they do it. The plan, I mean. Commonwealth pushes on people to keep things the same, and Max fears they’ll be pushed until they break.
Daryl, Gabriel, and Aaron, along with some Commonwealth soldiers, explore an mansion. To the chagrin of the three, the soldiers aren’t splitting up yet. Daryl is confident that they will, and they’re in this shit until they find a way out. The plan is to keep heading north, away from their group, and take their moment once they find it.
Then Daryl asks one of the soldiers if they’ve checked Charleston yet. He heard a rumor about folks trading weapons there. Walkers emerge from one room, but the soldiers eventually take care of them. Lance then radios the soldiers and learns that they only have one outpost left to check. With Lance checking in on them, Aaron, Daryl, and Gabriel realize that they need to watch their backs.
In the woods, Maggie tells Hershel that everything she’s done is so they can have choices. Hershel may not like where he’s going, but Maggie knows that it’s the right choice for now. They then run into Lydia, who leads them on.
Leah hears Lance’s proposal: she gets revenge on the woman who killed her family, and he can do his job without interference. After some loud buzzing in the sky gets everyone’s attention for a moment, Lance hands Leah a radio, telling her that he’ll need to see Maggie when she’s dead. Leah promises Lance that he will. She then leaves with a small group of soldiers.
Lydia leads Maggie and company to an underground hiding area where Negan, Annie, and the others from the apartment complex are hiding. Maggie tells Annie and Negan that Lance and the soldiers are still searching for them and have even been spotted near Hilltop. Since Maggie helped him, Negan has no problem returning the favor or watching Hershel.
But Annie is pregnant, and Negan isn’t going to hide in a hole while the others fight to save a shithole of a home that’s not worth saving. Maggie actually agrees- maybe Hilltop isn’t worth saving, but the people are. This fight that Maggie started with Hornsby won’t stop until she ends it.
She doesn’t want Annie and Negan coming with her because she has to be the one to end this. Plus, she needs them to stay with Hershel and the others.
Negan points out that Hershel doesn’t trust him, but right now, Maggie is starting to. Just in time since they have a spin-off down the line. Negan saved Hershel back at Riverbend, and whatever else happens or has happened, Maggie won’t forget that. Negan assures Maggie that Hershel will be fine. Then they all look to the sky like they’re expecting locusts to descend upon them.
Wait, it’s an actual locust swarm? Where the hell did that come from?
Lance radios to Daryl’s group, informing them to return to base after their last sweep. Sounds like smooth sailing, right?
They arrive at what appears to be an abandoned storefront and parking lot. Daryl opens fire on one of the soldiers, kicking off a firefight. He bashes one soldier and hands that gun to Aaron, who really shouldn’t need one since his whole left arm is a weapon. Also, there’s a snake. I only bring this up because the episode feels the need to show there’s a snake. Plus, the gunshots have attracted walkers to the scene…
Daryl asks one of the soldiers where Hornsby is, and the soldier eventually reveals that Lance is about 10 miles out. He wants to clear the field, as in only leave allies behind. When Lance radios for the soldier and hears Daryl’s voice instead, he tells the soldiers to move out.
Over at the Commonwealth, Governor Milton goes over a speech when she notices how absent Max seems. Pamela gets it, having to remain strong and never show any emotion. But if they can’t show it to each other, who can they show it to at all? Max assures Pamela that she’s fine, but she informs the governor that Accounting sent over the Founder’s Day budget and there’s a $50,000 surplus. Well, hot damn.
Max suggests starting a scholarship for less fortunate families and she’s even put together a list- and probably checked it twice. Pamela likes Max’s out-of-the-box thinking, but any extra funds go back into the event. After all, it’s their biggest day of the year. Max them reminds Pamela of an upcoming dinner, and Pamela wonders out loud what she’d do without Max. And how! Max will be right behind Pamela.
When Pamela leaves, Max goes through some files in a cabinet, but she’s interrupted by the arrival of Sebastian, who asks if his mother is upset at him. His timing couldn’t be worse, since his mom is at a work dinner. He then tries to help Max with the files since she’s apparently taking her work home with her, but Max tries to keep him from seeing the contents.
Some of Leah’s team arrives at Hilltop. They explore the mansion, but it’s apparently been booby trapped. Outside, Maggie tells the others to retrieve the weapons and follow their trail back to camp, where they can end this.
You know, it just dawned on me that this is the most we’ve seen of Marco in a long time. So of course he dies because someone has to. Yeah, Marco gets shot by Leah the Terminator, who emerges from the mansion and pursues Maggie, Lydia, and Elijah.
Later, Lance arrives at Hilltop with some soldiers and learns that three of his men were killed. He radios Leah, who tells Lance that she drew out Maggie. She’s doing this her way, and three dead soldiers are just collateral damage. Luckily, other soldiers have been spread out over a 20-mile perimeter.
Elsewhere, Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel make their way through the woods and make plans to take care of any walkers or soldiers. They encounter some traps that Daryl realizes aren’t for the soldiers. The three then happen upon the campsite and, upon closer inspection of an item, Daryl realizes that Leah has returned. He proposes they split up to cover more ground.
Maggie tells Elijah and Lydia to leave, saying that she’ll draw Leah away, but Elijah and Lydia can handle themselves, so they make a plan to regroup later.
Max brings the files to look over with Eugene, Connie, Kelly, and for some reason, Magna. Why Rosita isn’t also here, I don’t know. Anyway, both April and Tyler Davis are on the list. There’s over 200 names on the list. They theorize the numbers on the lists could be coordinates, perhaps to where the people are being hidden.
Connie can’t write about this yet because she needs more proof. Something like this requires a key to crack the code. Until then, she can least write about Sebastian’s heist and hang it around Pamela’s neck. When people find out that the Governor isn’t on their side, they’ll question everything about Commonwealth, which could lead to an uprising.
A knock at the door gets everyone’s attention, but turns out that Magna invited Ezekiel, who has been busy rounding up people for the cause. He’s got a whole network that’s ready to ride at dawn.
Fuck it. Let’s ride.
Anyway, Maggie takes down a walker in the woods while keeping an eye out for Leah. She finally spots Leah and fires a shot that appears to make contact. Maggie pursues her, but Leah gets the jump on her and knocks her out.
The next day, Maggie awakens bound to a chair and a gun pointed at her face. Instead of just, you know, killing Maggie, Leah tells her that she’s been waiting for this moment. Maggie knows what Leah wants, and she’s wanted it herself for a long time. If Leah wanted to kill Maggie, she would’ve done it already. I agree. Leah wants Maggie to suffer and feel the pain that she felt.
But Leah promises that by the time she’s done, everyone Maggie loves will be dead. Nature has a way of handling these things. But to Maggie, it’s not nature or fate. It’s them. Maggie killed Leah’s people because it’s what she wanted. Now, this is what Leah wants.
Maggie goads Leah long enough to escape the rope binding her. A fight breaks out and somehow Leah, the trained soldier, hasn’t finished this in five seconds. She gets Maggie on the ground and punches her over and over again, but then a shot rings out.
Leah’s dead body slumps down and Maggie looks up to see that Daryl has arrived. So has the Commonwealth. Daryl fires out one of the windows, nailing Lance in the cheek, creating an opportunity for him and Maggie to flee. Lance and the soldiers enter the cabin and finds Leah’s dead body, but no sign of the others. To Lance, now it all changes.
Meanwhile, Elijah and Lydia meet up with the folks from the complex, who emerge from underground.
Back at the Commonwealth, an infuriated Pamela arrives at the office and slams a stack of newspapers on Max’s desk. Connie’s story has gone live, and written across the paper in big bold purple letters is “Pamela Milton is Lying to You.”
However, it seems that Lance has gotten busy, as the Commonwealth soldiers have taken up shop at both Alexandria and the Hilltop. That was fast.
For whatever reason, Lance and the soldiers have also hit up Oceanside. More specifically, they’ve taken the residents hostage. Hmm. What to do? What to do? Personally, I’d spare the coin flip and just open fire, but with all of the residents gathered, Lance flips his coin. It lands and he’s just ready to make his call as the episode comes to a close.
You just couldn’t do me the favor of removing Oceanside altogether, could you, Walking Dead?
We’re two thirds of the way through the final season and things are unraveling even more now. Whether it’s Lance’s plan, the Commonwealth’s mission, or our survivors staying out of someone else’s crosshairs, shit hits the fan in this episode. Some of these things they can control, others they can’t because there are powers greater than them that take control.
I don’t know if The Walking Dead invoking the plagues meant to pay off or if it was just to say “Hey, some elements are out of the character’s hands.” That’s fine, but unless it’s going to factor into the episode, I don’t see the need to show us a snake in one shot or a swarm of locusts in the sky. If they aren’t going to do anything, they don’t need to be in the episode.
Let’s start with Leah. I thought before that her return would be an interesting X-factor. Instead, she does the typical villain thing of not killing her foe when she has the chance. Maggie didn’t hesitate when she killed the Reapers alongside Leah, so it’s insane that Leah didn’t just kill Maggie and be done with it. Of course Maggie’s life was never in danger, but the stakes here were so low that I kept waiting for Maggie to escape.
Given Leah’s combat background, I’m surprised that she struggled with Maggie as long as she did. We saw how well Carver could hold off three people in an enclosed space. So why Leah didn’t finish Maggie is anyone’s guess. She has no reason to underestimate Maggie or let her live. We know Leah isn’t stupid. Is it lazy writing? Or just an excuse to finally kill off her character?
Still, with Leah’s death, we can completely close the door on the Reapers’ storyline. It begs the question of why it was reopened to begin with if Leah was going to get a death as underwhelming as Laura’s, though. She had the potential to be a terrifying force, more so given her hatred for Maggie. But her return was wasted.
The decision to bring Leah back could’ve had a more interesting finish than it did. I’m glad that Daryl got the kill because of his bond with her, and I like how, like with Morales, he didn’t hesitate to kill someone that he knew, despite their bond. I just wish that if the show was going to bring back Leah instead of just have her be out there, let her do something more impactful than killing Marco.
Don’t get me wrong- I liked Marco and it was nice to see him back. But there’s the problem. Marco’s been out of the picture for so long that for him to return and suddenly get screen time spelled his doom. The characters don’t even dwell on his death. This is the only big death to come out of this episode and it’s barely a blip on anyone’s radar.
Talking about things out of your control, Lance has a big problem on his hands. He’s losing soldiers left and right and his plan to enlist Leah failed, but he still has to keep this under wraps. As in, Pamela can’t know what he’s doing or it’s his ass on the line. He’s trying to be strategic, but also relying on luck that’s as random as a coin toss. His odds are as good as anyone else’s: 50/50.
Again, I appreciate how proactive Lance is. Sure, he’s forced to change tactics when his soldiers are killed, but he’s not just sitting and waiting for things to happen. More than that, he escalates the situation when put on the defensive. Him planting his flag at both Alexandria and Hilltop are big moves. Plus, I’m guessing all the residents of both communities have fled, making it even easier for him to do so.
I’m very curious to see what he does with Oceanside, and I hate how the episode ends with their fates unknown. You want a shocking ending? Have Lance order the soldiers to open fire. Ending with the coin flip is about as unsatisfying as Negan killing the cameraman at the end of Season 6. That and I’m just over Oceanside at this point since they contribute little.
At Commonwealth, Pamela realizes that there are, in fact, more people who dislike her rule than she realized. It’s much more than just Tyler Davis. Sure, Sebastian’s actions have amplified this, but Pamela hasn’t shown herself to be caring of the little guy, as seen by how quickly she brushed aside Max’s suggestion of a scholarship for less fortunate families.
It’s nice to see these characters involved and starting the uprising, rather than it just beginning out of nowhere. Connie and Kelly write the article, Max gets the files, Eugene and Rosita supply the information and their experiences with Sebastian, and Ezekiel…has been rounding up people. A bit out of nowhere, but with all the work he’s done at that clinic, plus his enthusiasm, I’d believe he could rally people to the cause.
So things are heating up as we’re now two-thirds of the way through the series. The Governor doesn’t have the backing of the people, while Lance is making big moves at the other communities. Now we’re left to wait and see what happens to the people of Oceanside.
As we await the final eight episodes of The Walking Dead, I still find this season to be a bit uneven. Some episodes have been quite good, while others have been just decent, but nothing truly great. Still, it’s had some interesting twists and turns and developed the Commonwealth storyline in a way that the comic did not, so I’m all for changes that spice things up.
That said, more so now that the series has wrapped filming, we wait for the fall and the final eight episodes of The Walking Dead. See you then.