Friday, 4 March 2022

Review: #TWD Season 11 episode 11: ROGUE ELEMENT #TheWalkingDead

  Previously: Review: S11x10 New Haunts

            - S 11 x 11  ROGUE ELEMENT -

Directed by Michael Cudlitz

Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

So I was wrong about Eugene having sussed out Fake Stephanie, then... I wonder if Mr Cudlitz was assigned to direct this episode because it starred his old buddy?  And if he's tempted to leap in and become Abraham again, to show him what's what? 😄

A month has passed since the last episode, so everything has moved on ... Eugene and Fake Stephanie's relationship, Connie establishing herself on the Commonwealth Tribune, Carol getting friendly with and being of use to Lance Hornsby, no doubt to slowly and secretly further a future cause or two down the line, in the way we know and love so well.  Already she's made an ally out there: double-crossing opium grower Moto's lieutenant with the bandaged wrist.

Hornsby talked about giving them a 'raise', but I wonder what form that payment takes?  

For a while, when they were riding out and dealing with the Moto situation, I thought Cheesy Video Guy seemed not so bad; I almost started to like him.  The conclusion I've come to, with all his scenes this week, is that whether or not he likes Pamela Milton or agrees with her strategies isn't the issue; his primary objective is looking after Number One, and he will do whatever is necessary to keep himself in clover.

Despite him coming clean to Eugene, I don't think we've learned anything like the whole truth; what exactly was the motivation for this plan to get them all to the Commonwealth?  It can't just be that they need more workers, and I'm sure altruism doesn't have a great deal to do with it.  

I liked how Eugene's 'lame-brained misadventure' was played out a bit like The Hardy Boys, with the spooky foreshadowing music, etc, and him seeing conspiracies where Princess thought he was simply unable to accept that Stephanie had just dumped him.  However, many so-called conspiracy theories have their root in truth, and of course Eugene ended up being at least partially right.

...and my guess is that Roman Calhoun has other responsibilities aside from those of a plumbing nature.

Princess was great this episode - I like her more and more all the time, especially how supportive she was when she tried to explain to Eugene the workings of the world and affairs of the heart, without being too brutal; I loved this: 'You can think you know someone then find out you never even met them'.  What a great line.

Poor Eugene reacted so typically to his first experience of heartbreak—the obsession, the reluctance to accept reality, going totally off the rails.  I hope he's got another copy of that novel.  Or that Shira (as we now know she is called!) made one. least Real Stephanie has show herself at last!  And she appears to be Mercer's sister; didn't expect that.  I wonder if they're both being kept in some kind of stranglehold by the Miltons.  It gets more and more clear all the time that Mercer is not happy with how things are.  He doesn't seem like the type of guy to put up with BS in order to have a safe roof over his head; maybe he just accepts it for his sister's sake.

As for Connie, I was a little unconvinced by her actions this week.  She's smart as well as intelligent and a warrior for justice—as the new kid in town I thought it unlikely she would have been so outspoken with her boss, insisting that they reveal the true story about Tyler and investigate what's really going on.  She's no timid flower, but her style is usually one of diplomacy, charm and subtlety, especially as she doesn't yet know exactly where the other woman's loyalties lie.

Anyway... who do you think put the list of names under Connie's door?  I think it was Mercer.  I imagine that Eugene, Carol and Connie's investigations and questions will come together at some point to show us what goes on behind closed doors at the shiny happy Commonwealth - but not for a while.

And here's Rosita looking fabulous ;)

Other stuff I liked:

  • Connie's boss's comment implying that the 'news' is nothing more than a paraphrasing of Pamela Milton's press releases - how art imitates life, eh?
  • Eugene's totally OTT, Carrie Mathison type wall, with all the pins and connecting threads.

  • Mercer splitting the Walker's head in two!

Next week: back to Alexandria - and Hilltop and Oceanside


  1. I think this was the worst episode in a long while. Slow pace for a reveal we already knew was coming and while I appreciate the Carol-Cheesy Video Guy (I call him "Guy Smiley") connection it was also too little payoff for such a long set up. Connie is way to smart for this in-your-face tactic, I agree with you on that--they are all quickly getting hip-to-the-scene and she is likely to get herself disappeared the way she is going at it. The one really interesting note for me was what you hinted at--Cheesy Video Guy (Guy Smiley) is becoming a real character and while he is clearly looking out for number one, he is also a human with some clear soft spots, which I appreciate. I think he might be an ally in the long run. One other note: why do they keep making the sons of strong women so weak? Both of Deanna's sons were losers (and she had a wonderful husband as well, so I don't get how that happened). Pamela Milton is not a good person, so you think she'd be thrilled with the spineless jackass she raised. But what gives with that?

  2. First of all, I loved Reg Monroe, too!! Hadn't spotted that - the strong women, weak sons thing. At least Aidan and Spencer were actual people, though, not cartoons - the whole Sebastian thing is too pantomime for me; I believe I mentioned this the first time he appeared. 'Slow pace for a reveal we already knew was coming' - I never thought of it that way, but you're right.

    When I was writing about this episode I found I didn't have much to say about it, which says a lot - but yes, it is listed for me under some episodes of S8, 6 x 5 Now (memorable for being the only weak episode that season), Rick's Ghost Lori hallucinations ... and that's all I can think of now.

    Generally, I hate to be negative about TWD at all, because I love it and I write these for myself and others who love it, but I am in agreement with you about all this!

    1. I am the same way--I am an insufferable WD snob and I roll my eyes and huff at anyone who doesn't appreciate the genius of it, but like anything it does have some "bad hair days", so to speak. This was one of them. HOWEVER I will note that weak episodes have a tendency to become stronger in retrospect, as the story continues to unfurl, so this may have been setting up great things--time will tell!

  3. You're so right about that - I've found that about so many episodes. Even whole seasons - I didn't think S7 was all that the first time round, but I love it now. Especially #4 Service and #13 Bury Me Here. Of course I always loved #12 Say Yes, when Richonne goes to the fair!!!!

    I've seen #12 The Lucky Ones ... I think you'll like it!!