Sunday, 20 March 2022

Review: #TheWalkingDead S11x13 WARLORDS #TWD

 Previously:Review: X11x12 The Lucky Ones

- S 11 x 13  WARLORDS -

Directed by Loren Yaconelli

Written by Jim Barnes and Erik Mountain

My goodness.  Best episode this part-season, I think.  Anyone else feel nervous before a new episode?  I always do, and more so these days - it's ALWAYS a surprise, NEVER what we think.  Loved loved loved the structure of this episode - starting with a situation then going back to show how it came to be.  This format was used to an extent in 8x10 The Lost and the Plunderers and 4x10 Inmates, but Warlords was a different scale.  The continuity worked like a dream. 

Back to the beginning, the alert call of 'Rider!' at the walls of Hilltop always makes me think of Saxons protecting York from being sacked by Vikings, or a messenger arriving from Wessex with news of an invasion from across the Channel.  21st Century medieval.

Poor wee Jesse, the Commonwealth lad who didn't sign up for this; his last words were delightfully ambiguous: 'Devils - they're slaughtering them - liars - '.  Just the thing to make Maggie wonder about the identity of the devils, who they were slaughtering, what they were lying about and why, and leap into action.

As Maggie, Elijah and Lydia left Hilltop, muted sunlight highlighting the dilapidation of the place, I got a 'Greene farm, 12 years on' vibe (wouldn't it be great to go back there and see it now?). I don't think Maggie's story about Hershel Snr resisting an offer from developers who wanted to buy them out, many years before, quite resonated with her younger friends as she'd hoped.  Which is understandable - with all they've suffered over the years you can see why they want better times NOW, not the promise of an extra turnip for dinner and maybe a couple of pheasants if they're lucky.

Can't you just imagine Hershel shouting at the developers to get off his land?!

Maggie was spot on once more, though - she's been through as much as anyone possibly could since the world changed, and even though she has moments when she feels almost alone, she's sticking to what she knows in her heart is the right path.  This time it's not Maggie-being-stubborn-and-stroppy.  It's Maggie knowing about people.  However hard that might be, right here, right now.

'What's easier isn't always better.'

...and, as she said, the Commonwealth people have not been tested for 10 years.  'Do you want to be there when they are?'  Because they will be.  It always happens.

A couple of 'hmm' moments (though I always suspend my disbelief)

  • How come Maggie has a vehicle still running, if Alexandria doesn't?  Where does the fuel come from?
  • If food is so scarce, how do some people look noticeably rounder in the face?  


Gabriel was the shinest star this week - thumbs up to the greying moustache, and that he's found his calling once more.  His sermon said so much - the observation about how out there on the road, stranger helps stranger without discrimination, echoing Maggie's philosophy that going back to how things were before the Fall might not be so civilised after all.  'The way we were before the world fell cannot be the way we are moving forward'.

Much though I love Aaron, I felt that the scouting for new people and bringing them into the glory of the Commonwealth smacked a little of European missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries bullying perfectly happy African and South American tribes into behaving like obedient Victorian subjects, or white settlers 'civilising' the Native Americans and indigenous people of Australasia.  Like those native communities (who actually knew what 'civilised' meant, because they'd been doing it for hundreds of years), others in TWD world don't need the guidance of Cheesy Video Guy.  What right does the Commonwealth (good name...) have to rule over them?

As we saw in 10x19 One More, Aaron's idealistic side still believes, deep down, that everyone is honest, open to negotiation and working towards the good of all.  

Again, Gabriel is more realistic ...

Toby Carlson: 'Better not spook the natives' ... 'Abort?  Just because of some pre-game jitters?'

Gabriel: 'No, because your plan is shit and I don't want to die'. 😂😂

... while Aaron got out his satchel and photos, like he did in 5x11 The Distance - didn't work out so well that time, either, at first.  

Lots of throwback moments this week - the skull collection in the Riverbend HQ made me think of The Governor's heads-in-tanks feature at Woodbury, except that this time, though equally macabre, there was at least a good reason for it.

Another laugh out loud moment:  Gabriel to Ian the Riverbend governor - 'What do you have that we would want?  This place is a shithole, why would we want it?'

I just love the friendship of Aaron and Gabriel.  Their personalities are so very different but mesh together so well.  I hope there is more of them as a duo to come.

Jason Butler Harner (loved him as the ghastly Roy Petty in Ozark, and Varick Strauss in Ray Donovan too!) is spot on as sadistic psycho Carlson.  Unlike Deanna, who understood that her Alexandrians did not have the skills to face the world outside the walls and, thus, needed the experience of our gang, Hornsby and Carlson think themselves superior, and have much to teach them.   

Pope and The Governor fused, spontaneously combusted, 
and Toby Carlson rose from the ashes. 

Before we knew that his terror was fake, that his aim was to decimate the Riverbend settlement in order to retrieve weapons and supplies he believed they stole - rather than to entice them into the Commonwealth with promises of ice cream - one would have been forgiven for thinking he was just a general dick, but then the demented demon within the reformed CIA assassin's clothing was revealed. Every time a new TWD foe is revealed I think, ah, they can't produce anyone worse than this - but Carlson is something else.


I heard myself utter a whimper of excitement at the return of Negan - little does Carlson know what he's dealing with: you don't try to overrun a community that boasts the man with the leather jacket and nutsack made of steel amongst its member.  And Annie seems cool.

It's notable that Negan knew Maggie was the person to help.  He didn't send Jesse to Alexandria - is this move, showing his faith in her, a forerunner to their spin-off?  However ... how did he know she was at Hilltop?  That there was anyone there at all?  I hope there will be an answer to this, and that it's not a plot hole.  Or that I haven't missed something, which is always a possibility.

The final flashback gave us a few answers to Commonwealth questions  - you don't hire a former CIA assassin to peacefully bring in other communities unless you have a more suspect agenda.  

Like Pope and The Governor, Toby Carlson is a nutter who would kill anyone who gets in his way - anyone, and on impulse.  As for the Riverbend victims of his insanity, it was so awful to see what happened to them - to have survived that long, only to die in that way, for something they didn't do.  C'mon, Carlson, wouldn't they have given up the guns rather than be pushed off the top of a high building?.  So much for Pamela's comment last week about the Commonwealth being a better idea than hundreds of small communities all killing each other for resources...

I can't begin to imagine what's going to go down next week - will 'The Rotten Core' be exposed?  I don't think it will, especially as we now have yet more insight into that 'six months later' scene - below, for your further recap.  It means more and something different after every episode.

Is Maggie about to be hauled in for killing Commonwealth soldiers?  If this is the case, it looks like Daryl believes it to be true.  Or is he just playing along, for another reason?  Will Aaron and Gabriel be blamed?  Has Carlson wrongly accused our people of the deaths?

I hardly dare watch - especially as there are no more episodes listed on Wikipedia after 11x14, though IMDb has 11x15 listed for 27 March, and 11x16 for 10th April - a two week wait for the final one in Part B - does this indicate that it's going to be BIG???


Next week:  11 x 14  The Rotten Core


  1. Isn't it funny and ironic how comforting it was to see Negan?

    1. Ha ha, yes, I know!!! Almost how it was when you'd see Rick coming back through the gates of Alexandria!!!!