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The Walking Dead Semi-Finale Threw Out the Old to Make Way for the New (Craziness)

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comforts Lydia (Cassady McClincy), outcast to outcast.

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comforts Lydia (Cassady McClincy), outcast to outcast.
Picture: Jace Downs/AMC

Once we last saw The Walking Dead, our survivors have been holed up in an assortment of buildings surrounded by the insane Beta, his remaining Whisperer minions, and roughly 4 kazillion zombies. How can Daryl, Carol, Judith, and the others survive such an awesome onslaught? I’ll offer you a two-word trace: Speaking Heads.

It’s been greater than 5 months since The Walking Dead was on the air; the penultimate season 10 episode aired on April 5. Like a lot different TV, the arrival of covid-19 delayed the season 10 finale, which, in the course of the interim, ceased being the season 10 finale. As a part of AMC’s more and more byzantine plans for its mega-franchise, The Strolling Useless is getting six extra episodes added to the present season, at the moment set to air in early 2021.

“A Sure Doom” is an episode that was clearly supposed to be a season-ender, however I believe that works in its favor. Now that we all know that there are six extra episodes to come back, it takes a number of the stress off this one to blow our minds, as season finales ought to. That is good, as a result of whereas the episode was enjoyable, mind-blowing it was not. That stated, there’s a lot to love about how “A Sure Doom” begins.

Illustration for article titled iThe Walking Dead/i Semi-Finale Threw Out the Old to Make Way for the New (Craziness)

Though they’re surrounded by Whisperers and a zombie mega-horde, the survivors have a plan. Truly, they’ve had a plan for a short while, betting that finally, Beta would chase them to this little complicated the place Luke has a wagon stationed on the outskirts of the annex, simply out of sight within the woods. If a couple of individuals can by some means make their manner by the horde whereas carrying some tools, he can rig the wagon so it’ll blare music and the noise will draw the zombies away. The wagon may be pulled by horses, and lead the herd proper off a large, conveniently situated cliff.

The issue, in fact, is the kajillion or so zombies they’ll need to wade by to get to the wagon—zombies with Whisperers hidden amongst them, able to sneak up and stab any dwelling being they see. Sadly, there’s no different possibility. After a little bit of enterprise (Negan says he can’t go as a result of he’s so hated by the Whisperers his mere presence will tip them off; Oceanside received’t go if Lydia comes; Carol has a second with Lydia the place she tells her to search out her personal manner, and many others.), Daryl, Carol, Kelly, Magna, Luke, Jules (whose sole distinguishment is being Luke’s gal pal, I consider), Beatrice from Oceanside, and some others douse themselves with guts, pull up their hoodies, placed on zombie masks, open the door, and enter the horde. Truly, only some of them wore zombie masks regardless of it being immeasurably safer, which I believed was unnecessarily pertinent.

That is the episode at its greatest. Director Greg Nicotero does a wonderful job packing an unbelievable variety of zombies across the forged, even throughout close-ups, making their trek really feel terrifying and claustrophobic; suppose Recreation of Thrones’ “Battle of Bastards,” and also you get the concept. What’s higher is that it seems the survivors have a plan—a rattling good plan—past pushing their individuals right into a zillion zombies and hoping for the most effective. They’ve spotters capturing arrows into any zombie that strikes unnaturally (which implies they’re a Whisperer, natch). They solely wound these Whisperers in order that they cry out in ache…which grabs the eye of all of the close by zombies who uncover lunch has simply been delivered to them. Even higher, Lydia stays for some time, serving to level out her former cult-mates which helps preserve Daryl and the others secure.

Though Beta and the Whisperers finally determine what’s taking place, the plan truthfully works nice. The one named character who doesn’t make it’s Beatrice, who’s principally been relegated to the background anyway (like 70% of all TWD characters). She dies effectively; stabbing the Whisperer who stabbed her, begging the close by Carol to not rescue her however to seize her backpack, which incorporates some wanted elements. However earlier than Carol can retrieve it, it’s grabbed…by Lydia, who’s come to assist destroy her mom’s horrible, putrefied legacy.

Issues preserve transferring shortly, however after the primary eight seasons, I’m nonetheless delighted when the present doesn’t dawdle. Daryl & Co. rig up the wagon, hit play, and blast “Burning Down the Home” by Speaking Heads, and crack the reins. Then the group takes a leisurely journey with the wagon, a couple of driving on high, the others offering an armed guard round it. They get fairly far earlier than the Whisperers assault, and even then, Daryl n’ Palz just about kick ass till one of many Whisperers manages to tug a wagon wheel off with a sequence. Oh no, the plan is fully screwed—oh, no, by no means thoughts, it’s advantageous, Lydia volunteers to guide the horde off the cliff; her mom Alpha taught her how, in fact. All good! So Daryl and the others return to the bottom to start out killing off any loitering Whisperers.

At this level, three foremost Whisper Conflict storylines must be wrapped up. Negan (who appeared to have run away earlier within the episode however seems not to have run away, shocker) challenges Beta to a battle proper in the course of the horde. In mere seconds, Beta’s knocked Negan to the bottom and is about to ship the killing blow when Daryl pops up and stabs two fight knives very, very deeply into Beta’s eyes. Admittedly, the battle’s so fast and perfunctory it’s form of disappointing after their huge, knockdown, drag-out brawl in season 9, but it surely’s mitigated considerably by Beta screaming as he pulls the very giant, very lengthy knives out of his goddamn eye sockets, then putting a messianic pose whereas his truest followers (precise zombies) eat of his flesh.

Beta (Ryan Hurst) gets an emergency call on his Zombi-TEK Two-Way HeadRadio.

Beta (Ryan Hurst) will get an emergency name on his Zombi-TEK Two-Method HeadRadio.
Picture: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Contained in the compound, Gabriel has stayed to single-handedly guard the evacuation route from the Whisperers making an attempt to interrupt in. The Whisperers use a flashbang and break down the door; Gabriel takes out a couple of with a shotgun and pummels some others, however the Whisperers have knocked Gabriel to the bottom and once more, are about to ship the killing blow when a bizarre masked dude wielding scythes pops up and cuts the Whisperers to shreds. (As individuals on TWD are wont to do, clearly.) We don’t know who this man is or why he thinks he’s a Mortal Kombat contestant, however he’s touring with Aaron, Alden, and Maggie, so he should have one thing going for him. Maggie and Gabriel have a heat and extremely transient reunion. There are nonetheless issues to do!

Lydia leads the horde to the cliff however Carol grabs her a couple of yards away from the sting. In her conventional, self-hating method, Carol calls for to do it herself, pushes Lydia away, and walks as much as the sting. However then Lydia grabs Carol and pulls her behind a small rock outcropping the place the zombies go by them and they’re completely secure. That is very crappy as a result of it proves neither lady wanted to die to destroy the mega-herd, which retroactively makes their self-sacrificial posturing meaningless, ruining any rigidity the scene was alleged to have. At the least when Carol asks why Lydia got here again, Lydia will get to say, “I selected my very own manner.” It’s a nice-ish second.

And thus, the terror of Beta and the Whisperers and Their Very Many Zombies ends not with a bang, however two knives, a boombox, and a Speaking Heads cassette. It’s an unceremonious manner for the present’s large new post-Rick menace to go, particularly given how terrifying they have been when they were first introduced, and the way a lot physical and emotional damage they’ve wreaked on the assorted colonies since then. I can simply see viewers being dissatisfied with the battle’s fast, straightforward decision, and I get it.

But on the different hand, The Strolling Useless has had a horrible behavior of drawing these closing battles out lengthy, lengthy previous the purpose that they cease being entertaining. If the selection is between the six-episode-long closing struggle with the Saviors, and our heroes taking good care of the Whisperers in two-thirds of a single episode, I’ll—and have—fortunately settle for the latter. Additionally, I believe the Whisperers had simply barely worn out their welcome on the sequence, so I’m completely advantageous with The Strolling Useless shooing them out the door to organize for no matter’s subsequent.

What’s subsequent appears to be like very attention-grabbing certainly. I don’t simply imply the return of Lauren Cohan as Maggie, though it will likely be good to have one of many sequence’ greatest and largest characters again. I additionally don’t imply the mask-wearing, scythe-wielding fellow, though I’m curious to listen to what impartial superhero comedian from the ‘90s he hails from. I don’t even imply Connie, who lastly reappears on this episode! She appears to be like like shit—really, the present does a strong job of constructing her appear like she’s been zombified earlier than it reveals she’s alive however barely hanging on—and collapses on the ft of Virgil, who…long story.

What I’m referring to is the tip of Eugene and crew’s odyssey to Charleston, West Virginia, which they embarked upon in hopes of assembly his radio pal Stephanie at their scheduled rendezvous time. Alas, Eugene busts up his bike on the best way (he could have ridden instantly right into a stationary automotive?) which ensures they’ll be late. Eugene says they need to quit, however Ezekiel provides considered one of his pep talks and convinces Eug, Yumiko, and their new pal Princess to go there anyway and hope for the most effective. On the assembly place, nobody’s there, so the 4 wait round till lengthy after darkish. It’s okay, although; the try has given Eugene a newfound function. He declares he is aware of Stephanie and her persons are on the market, and he’s nonetheless decided to search out her and new “like-minded” teams to kind communities with, so he’s going to maintain looking unti—

AND THAT’S WHEN THE FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPERS COME OUT.

Okay. They aren’t precisely Stormtroopers, however they’re faceless troopers sporting distinct white plastic armor over head-to-toe black, designed in an aesthetically related model. I’m not saying Lucasfilm may sue AMC for breaking copyright legal guidelines, but when I labored for Lucasfilm and noticed these guys, I’d shoot a fast e mail to my authorized division simply in case. In true Stormtrooper trend, they shortly encompass Eugene and friends, maintain them at rifle level, and demand they drop their weapons.

I don’t know who these Fauxtroopers are, however that is precisely the form of bananas twist The Strolling Useless can pull, which makes watching it worthwhile. The truth that the present can pivot between a bunch of weird cultists who put on pores and skin masks and a few fascists who turned an Apple Genius Bar into an armory is simply unbelievable. God assist me, I believe I may very well miss this present when it’s gone.

That, or I simply had an enormous break from watching TWD so I’m not almost as aggravated with it as common. Both/or.

Assorted Musings:

  • When Lydia goes out of her approach to confront Carol—who’s been avoiding her for the reason that loss of life of Alpha—she tells her not solely is Carol forgiven, however Lydia is grateful to have lastly escaped the clutches of her horrible, horrible mother. Now Lydia needs to be pals. About 40 seconds later Carol provides Lydia some very motherly recommendation, and Lydia has to tug the breaks onerous: “I’m not searching for one other mother.” Greatest to nip that proper within the bud, Lydia.
  • At one level Negan calls Beta “Payment-Fi-Fo Asshole.” It isn’t Negan’s most interesting work.
  • Let’s give a salute to actor Briana Venskus, who’s performed Beatrice since season seven. You can even give her a salute for taking part in Agent Piper on Agents of SHIELD throughout seasons 3-7, one thing I lastly realized halfway by this episode after watching her in each sequence for actually years.
  • If there’s some particular which means or allusion or thematic connection between the episode and Speaking Heads’ “Burning Down the Home” I can’t discern it, which I respect! Generally the present goes too far out of its approach to be intelligent, so it’s good to have a break from that.
  • After Daryl provides Beta his new knife-vision goggles (not sorry), the zombies pull Beta’s masks off. Negan acknowledges the enormous Whisperer because the nation music famous person, and asks, “You realize who that asshole is?” Daryl replies, “Yeah. No person.” It isn’t Daryl’s most interesting work.
  • I additionally don’t know what Gabriel advised Judith to inform Rosita or why “half-oranges”(?) appear to be concerned. Can anybody enlighten me?
  • SERIOUSLY GUYS WHY DIDN’T ALL OF YOU WEAR MASKS IT WOULD HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT HELP PROTECT YOU.

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Author

Rob Bricken on io9, shared by Kaitlyn Jakola to Gizmodo