Previously: Review 11x08 FOR BLOOD
- S 11 x 09 NO OTHER WAY -
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Corey Reed
Gabriel and Maggie were the stars of the show this episode, the decisions they made leaving them in a similar place. Yes, they've done what must be done, but they're both having a hard time reconciling themselves with it.
Maggie ignoring Daryl to go after Leah and her soldiers and kill Carver was so much the right thing to do. Not just for the Alexandrians, but for anyone they might meet in the future. Reminded me of Rick killing Gareth in 5x03 Four Walls and a Roof, when he said, 'Yes, but you'll cross someone else's path, won't you?' (or words to that effect).
It's not just about what they've done.
It's also about the misery they may cause if left alive.
During that scene by Alden's grave when he left, there was so much conflicting emotion on Maggie's face, too - did his words make her think, 'Am I really no different from him?' (as was clearly illustrated in 11x02 Acheron II when she chose not to save Gage)? 'Is this what I am now, a ruthless killer?'
I've never been keen on the character of Maggie, but Lauren Cohan really is outstanding. She scarcely needs dialogue!
I believe I detected regret, too. Like she knows there's a connection. She saw how he protected her and Elijah with the bell and sand ('Well, ding ding!'), and she is beginning to understand his pragmatism, intelligence, and benefit to the group. In another dimension of the same world, they could even have been a power couple like Rick and Michonne.
As for the tragic death of Alden (see end of post) —I so hoped he was going to be just gone, and on his way back to Alexandria, or heading off to join them at Meridian, anything but a Walker. So, so sad. And who will look after Adam now? Another one for Uncle Daryl's nursery? Aaron, maybe...
...talking of whom, when he dived in to save Judith and Gracie from the water and Walker-filled basement, crashing his mace hand down on a Walker's skull, it occurred to me what a far cry today's Aaron is from Season 5's nice middle-class aid worker who chose his house in Alexandria according to its 'kerb appeal'. I don't think Rick would have even considered thumping the Season 11 Aaron.
There must be few things better than standing at the main look-out at Alexandria and seeing those you care about coming down that long road, after you've spent days wondering if you'll ever see them again, terrified you won't, but with a deep down belief that they'll make it through - again.
The reunions can be added to all the greats in the annals of TWD; Daryl and Connie's was particularly joyous, and I loved Carol's face, filled with emotion. Like fate had forgiven her for the events of 10x09 Squeeze.
Alas, there were to be more arrivals at the gate. When the shout came, Gabriel looked like he was thinking, 'Seriously? More crap to deal with?'.
I did NOT expect to see Eugene—and I can't help thinking that there is more to this than meets the eye. He looked happy, but that could have been that he was just pleased to see his old friends. When he left Alexandria with Ezekiel and Yumiko, it was before Beta's herd trashed the place, and don't forget last time we saw him he was in a cell, being given ultimatums. Does he think something might be afoot, and needs Daryl, Rosita and co to help him fight it?
I loved the stony faces of our gang as Cheesy Video Guy gave them the pitch. Hated the way he talked to them, like he had it all figured out and was the person to rescue them. I'd like to see him out in the wild for a day or two...
We know from the ending that most of them decide not dying of starvation is the incentive they need to leave Alexandria, but I hate the thought of them being there under the jackboot of the Commonwealth. That clip of Magna in the 11b trailer when she says, 'This place is like a city from before. When people who can't fit in get cast out' - I suspect there might be quite a lot of that. Right from the start.
We also know from the OMG WTF six month time jump ending that Maggie, Elijah and others choose not to go, but to return to Hilltop. I think I might have gone with her to Hilltop, rather than head for the Commonwealth; how can they go back to living according to someone else's rules, after all this time? It's like giving up and going backwards - though of course not dying from starvation is indeed a great motivator!
Original Hilltop inhabitants like Bertie, Eduardo and Kai have not been seen since Season 10; maybe, if they're still alive but out of view, she'll have got them to go with her.
So much to look forward to, not least of all seeing RJ, Judith, Hershel and Gracie having their first taste of ice cream, but also finding out about Rick - see the trailer breakdown further down. I wonder if the big reveal about where Rick and Michonne are will come during the finale of 11b...
Other stuff I liked:
- Gabriel's observation: 'Doubt's important but it doesn't make you wrong'. I was of the opinion that Mancea was delusional in thinking that he could hear the voice of God. That, or it was the devil in God's clothing....
- That Maggie saw Negan saving Elijah—unlike us, she has never seen 'good Negan'.
- Negan's face when Gabriel started shooting from the roof—was like he thought 'so Gabey the creepy-ass priest came good' !!
- Echoes of Season 3: when Daryl was fighting Reaper Austin in the schoolroom/nursery - the stuff on the walls reminded me of when Daryl and Maggie went to look for formula for the newborn Judith in 3x05 Say The Word.
- ...and that amazing music when Maggie surged forth to kill Leah and her companions. It gave me goosepimples, and reminded me of the end of 3x13 Arrow on the Doorpost (music: Warm Shadow by Fink) when both the prison and Woodbury are getting ready for war.