Previously: Review 11x01 ACHERON: Part I
- S 11 x 02 ACHERON: Part II -
Directed by Kevin Dowling
Wow, that was so, so good, the sort of horror that usually comes later in a season, built up to over the weeks. Brilliant writing, acting, lighting, structure, atmosphere, and a real shocker of an ending.
I'm now even less keen on Maggie's Meridian crew, and I don't feel that well-disposed towards Maggie right now, either, after she made the call to leaving poor Gage to be eaten by Walkers - would she have done so if it had been Hershel? Cole? Agatha? Only Alden fought for the poor lad's life, though Negan looked like he wasn't too pleased about 'Sasquatch' barring Alden's way; he must have known it was pointless to fight against Headgirl Maggie, though.
Let's stop and think: can you imagine Michonne leaving someone behind like that? Or Rick, Daryl, Rosita, Sacha, Abraham, Carol - any of them? Glenn? Picture it, and you can hear him saying, 'Maggie, it's still who we are, it has to be'.
Do you remember Michonne and Heath in the pet shop in 6x03 Thank You, agreeing that no one would be left behind, even though there were fewer of them, Scott, Annie and David were injured, they had very little ammo and there were far more Walkers?
One could argue that Gage should have been smart enough to shut the door behind him, that by not doing so he put them all in danger. Yes, he did that. But they've all made bad decisions and mistakes, and I bet if Daryl had been there he would have rescued him, forgetful or not. He'd have popped the nearest Walkers, and wrenched him through.
I really hoped that when Gage turned, he would sink his jaws into a stray Meridian. Any one of them would have done, apart from Elijah. No such luck though.
I can't help wondering, though, if the writers are setting Maggie up to be the bad guy and Negan more humane, only to turn it on its head later on! Meanwhile, there were some great Negan gems this week:
Alden: You tried to kill her
Negan: No, she was in trouble and I didn't help - there is a big difference.
'She was just talking about murdering me, sooner rather than later, and yet somehow I'm the big old asshole because I didn't risk my nuts for her?'
Maggie's fall into what seemed like certain death, then re-emergence - I felt echoes of Glenn emerging from under the waste bin in 6x07 Heads Up (thank you, Anniek, for reminding me!). Sorry though, Maggie, your grisly tales of life on the road didn't excuse what you just did. They've all seen unspeakable horror, now.
Thank goodness for Daryl and a nice bit of grenade love from injured Roy - doing a Carol (it's a 1x06 TS19 thing)!
Speaking of our intrepid archer, that long-defunct spooky underground camp he found was so poignant ... it brought to mind cave paintings by prehistoric civilisations, showing their stories to those who would arrive and wonder, millennia later.
For the dead both ancient and modern, perhaps it's also about leaving a mark to say 'I was here, I existed, even if a sabre-toothed tiger/bunch of Walkers gets me tomorrow', a way of expressing themselves when they have no other medium on which to do so - and for something to do on those long, dark, quiet nights.
...which leads me nicely onto storyline #2
Yumiko is not a favourite of mine, but I did enjoy her tearing a strip off the two stuffed shirts behind the desk at the Commonwealth holding camp, and how she made them aware, in no uncertain terms, that she knew exactly what they were up to. Nothing like showing a behavioural psychologist that you've sussed out their game - great speech!
And Princess ups her game every episode - yes, really - toilet paper!
Then we come to Eugene - why have the writers had him revert into the shaking craven of years ago? I get that he was embroidering his story about Stephanie to make him look more ineffectual than he is, a fool for love and little else, but he was doing the quivering lip thing when he was alone with Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess, too. Where's all that confidence and strength he acquired, over time? He wasn't gibbering and quaking when they were fighting Alpha's horde, or when he was double-crossing Negan, or climbing to the top of water towers. And this certainly wasn't the Eugene who talked to Stephanie over the radio.
|He went to West Point. He wasn't a beat cop. Honest.|
You never know with Eugene, though. Always gotta remember that secret smile when he walked away from the truck he'd just written off, in 4x11 Claimed.
Our friends are reunited, and at last Stephanie appears ... except that it's not Stephanie at all, but Eugene doesn't know this. We do, because we know she's supposed to be played by Margot Bingham, and this is most definitely not her.
Has Mercer assigned a fake Stephanie to wheedle out some information about their camp? I bet Eugene begins to suss out that it's not her. We'll see!
Let us not forget, incidentally, that Ezekiel, Eugene and Yumiko left just after the destruction of Hilltop, before Beta's horde decimated Alexandria, so they don't know there is very little to go home to at the moment.
So to the last few scenes... and one of the best episode endings EVER.
'This place sure has gone to shit since last time I was here'
'By the time you see them, you're already dead.'
- RIP Gage -
Have fun and games with Laura, Addy, Rodney and Henry up in TWD Heaven:)
- RIP Roy -
Nice to have known you, if only for a couple of episodes!
And here's the trailer for Episode 3... Alexandria, Carol and Aaron!