Previously: Review S10x22 HERE'S NEGAN
- S 11 x 01 ACHERON: Part I -
Directed by Kevin Dowling
Acheron - the 'river of woe' in Greek mythology, one of the rivers of the underworld. More about it HERE.
Fabulous start to the new season (I can't quite bear to say 'final'), with the daring scavenge of MREs from the long-lost military base, filled with the 'lurker' brand of Walker - those dormant until something wakes them, and this time it's a drop of Daryl's blood. Of course, Carol takes the mission a step further than most, with a risky rescue of the last box as the Walkers are closing in, but this time she's bringing back dinner, so no one tells her off 😉. And of course it was she who found the functioning AK47s to save their asses. Glad to see we're starting as it should go on - go Carol!
I notice that all the main and secondary characters featured somewhere in this first episode, which was a joy to see. And that Jerry and Alden are now listed in the 'main character' titles at the beginning. Judith and RJ running to be with Uncle Daryl was something of a touching moment :)
Sad to see the old Alexandria sign tossed into the rubbish as the group returned ... and how Maggie's Meridian friends will shape up remains to be seen. I already don't like Cole and Agatha (seem to think they're a bit too important), not sure about the handsome Frost (below), though Elijah and Duncan (the big chap who put Hershel Jnr on his shoulders) seem cool.
I think Cole and Agatha are both going to be trouble. You mark my words....😉
'If we don't have food it's not going to matter anyway' - Daryl's call that seals the decision to send a party out to Meridian to reclaim supplies for the starving Alexandrians. Only trouble is that it's taken over by the Reapers, who sound even worse than the Saviors and Whisperers: 'By the time you see them, it's too late.'
Along for the ride is Negan, their 'DC Tour Guide', and what better place to shelter from a storm than an ancient, spooky, flood-ready subway that happens to be filled with bodies that Maggie assumes were wrapped up in plastic sheets during the fall? Except that Negan susses out that their demise may have been more recent....
'That is God telling us to turn around,' says Negan, as the pipes creak and groan and the stink of bodies becomes more pungent. Gage and Roy agree. Good to see C. Thomas Howell appear once more - his only other episode was as an unnamed 'Hilltop Resident' in 9x07 Stradivarius. As Walkers emerge from the open end of the tunnel, thought, it is discovered that Gage and Roy are missing. Which is, of course, seen as Negan's fault, for stirring them up.
I doubt very much that they just sneaked off, especially as they were carrying the supplies. That just isn't what Alexandrians do, right? I am sure we will find that they've been taken... by the Reapers?
The main feature of this episode was, of course, the conflict between Maggie and Negan. The trouble is that, most of the time these days, Negan is reasonable, helpful, and kind of likeable, whereas Maggie seems a tad dictatorial and bolshy. The Maggie of Seasons 2-6 is no more. I find myself wanting Negan to be accepted, so that the chap who cared for dying Lucille (not the bat 😆) can come back. Then again, he smashed Abraham and Glenn's heads to pulp in front of them all, and laughed about it. It is so hard to move past that, despite our new understanding of him.
I don't imagine for one moment that Maggie actually had plotted for Negan to die an untimely death during the Meridian trip; as she said, the little bit of Greene Farm Maggie that still exists does not allow her to do such a thing (though it didn't stop her giving Gregory a public execution, it has to be said).
However, Negan's paranoia was fuelled when he fought off the Walker from whom he'd just saved Gage, and no one helped him. Understandable.
I believe Negan's right about her not thinking straight while he's living rent-free in her head - though he was so, so wrong to taunt her with Glenn's death. It's always the same - just when you're starting to see his point of view, he says or does something that makes you remember that fateful night. Then again, Maggie wasn't around to see him do stuff like saving Judith in 9x16 The Storm. Or getting rid of Alpha in 10x12 Walk With Us.
I loved the ending. I wondered for a moment whether he might put his hand down to help Maggie, but maybe it's too early for that sort of turn-around. And it would have been a bit on the cheesy side. Obviously Maggie will survive her fall from the subway car, so I wonder how he's going to explain that one away?
Next week shows everyone in the subway car, and Daryl and Dog further below ground to discover... what?
And so to the Commonwealth - if Negan and Carol were the stars of storyline #1, then Ezekiel and Princess absolutely nailed it in storyline #2. I LOVED how Ezekiel stood up to the man in the 'pumpkin-coloured space suit' (Michael James Shaw as Mercer); maybe he feels has little to lose these days, or it could be that, post Saviors and Whisperers, he's just had enough of being pushed around. In this, he felt like the king again - or the big-hearted, honest zoo keeper who talked to Carol in the Kingdom garden, years ago.
Most interesting was the discovery, on the 'lost board', of a message from Yumiko's brother Tomi - I read on a site called Looper that his existence will 'continually impact them in ways none of them can imagine, or avoid'. 😱😱😱 I have a feeling they're going to wish they'd escaped when they could, Stephanie or no Stephanie.
Something I'm wondering - what happened to the Whisperers who didn't die? Did they carry on being Whisperers, or did they take off their masks and look for another way to survive? Don't suppose we'll ever find out!
Until next week, here's a picture of Carol and Aaron, from episode 5...
....the trailer for Episode 2...