Sunday, 29 August 2021

Review: #TheWalkingDead Season 11 Episode 2: ACHERON Part II

Previously: Review 11x01 ACHERON: Part I

- S 11 x 02  ACHERON: Part II - 

Written by Angela Kang and Jim Barnes

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? 

Aside from anything else, she did exactly what she's just smacked Negan in the mouth for - she didn't kill Gage, she just failed to help him.  

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.

I wonder if it signified anything we will learn about later?  Those remnants from 'before', like a TV, and money ...  it seems so sad that they were clinging onto those things (or chaining a dead person's arm to them), probably after they had already become useless.

Maybe we'll discover Tom and Jesse at some point, or maybe Daryl will give that bank note to Princess, to make up for the one that was taken from her :)

...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!  

'No shit!'

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.'  

How does TWD keep coming up with more and more scary foes, every time?
The Reapers make the Governor, Gareth and the Cannibals (sounds like an 80s band), Bad Negan and even the Whisperers seem merely a tad bothersome compared with how you'd feel if you saw this lot coming towards you - just when you've used up all your bullets in the train car, too.  And there's something so sinister about the word 'Reaper', what with its 'grim' connotations.  Roll on next episode...

- 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!



  1. This second episode was so dark! It amazes me how they get this eerie, dark tunnel feel from the screen under our skin.

    Maggie has changed so much since she entered the series in season two. From a fiery farmers girl to a cold hearted killer....I couldn't believe that she made the choice to let Gage die like this. Rick never would've let this happen and if Darryl made his way back to the group a little sooner Gage probably would still be alive. No matter what happened in the time she was away nothing cam make up for the choice that she made. What really stunned me was Gabriel who stood by and did nothing even thought this wasn't a first for him to shit people out (remember him closing up the church so he could survive).
    I think Maggie was just pissed  because he ran of....she really disappointed me.

    Seeing Gage in front of that window realizing his fate made me think back to Noah and when he got killed in the revolving door. Both of them died because of other people.

    Darryl is such a great man. How he looked at those drawings in the tunnels and taking the note with him gave me goosebumps. I think his character really evolved into someone I'd love to have in my corner if the apocalypse would happen.

    I can't wait to find out what will happen at Commonwealth. The fact that they sent a fake stephanie doesn't give out good vibes...Eugene is clever enough to figure it out without them having a clue. He's a master in manipulation and I hope he meets the real stephanie soon.

    Can't warm up to Yumiko even though I rooted for her when she told the investigators of. Loved that part.
    The ending promises a good and thrilling start of the next episode.
    I see that you already have your review up for this one. Won't be reading it right now since I haven't seen the 3rd episode yet. It'll air this evening in the Netherlands ��.

    Love Anniek

  2. NICE ONE re the echo of Noah - yes, so right. And I agree with all you say about Maggie - Gabriel surprised me too, but I think we've seen how much of a ruthless warrior he's become now - he killed Dante for Rosita, and particularly in 'One More' with Aaron, when he was the realist, and Aaron was the idealist. He's going through some STUFf, for sure!

    Norman Reedus was live tweeting during the episode and said WTF about Gage, and that he would have saved him!

    Yeah, I've always though Yumiko was just a bit 'who cares', Magna too - but you will warm to Magna somewhat in next week's episode.

    I love to read your comments, thank you! x