SEASON 9; EPISODE 13
Whilst last week we spent a lot of time in the company of Alpha and her posse, this week she was nowhere to be seen - instead her second in command, Beta, provided the main threat throughout the episode. We saw bits and pieces of him last episode and he seemed like a bit of a bad ass mofo. Well now he's a confirmed bad ass mofo who is going to be looking for payback. A rather terrifying thought...
After Daryl, Henry, Lydia and Connie escaped the clutches of The Whisperers at the end of last week's episode. they decided to hole up in a five story building because a) Daryl didn't want to lead them to Hilltop and b) Connie and her chums used the building as an occasional hideout, back in the day. Connie informed Daryl that the stairs are barricaded, so only the whisperers will be able to make it past the ground floor. Clever eh? Once inside they set about planning the destruction of the inevitable Whisperer search party. Unfortunately this isn't Straw Dogs and they didn't have shotguns and gin traps to hand but still. Lydia and Henry are obviously becoming even closer (gotta love Daryl interrupting them as they were kissing) and Daryl knew that if he didn't allow Lydia to return home with them that Henry wouldn't be coming back either. The potential risks involved are huge obviously but Daryl made a judgement call (something he's doing a lot of nowadays) at the end of the episode which ensured the four of them stayed together, but at what cost to the communities as a whole?
Two other characters who seem to be developing a rapport are Daryl and Connie. The two of them work well together and the way he kept looking at her when she was writing stuff on that pad...well, we know that look! Daryl has never had a proper relationship story thread during The Walking Dead but it looks as if this might have some potential. Watch this space.
Most viewers will have been expecting some kind of showdown between Daryl and Beta at the end of this episode and it didn't disappoint on that front. Beta is a character who just brings a sheer physical presence to the mix and we've not quite had someone of this stature as a bad guy yet. Daryl is no slouch but the sheer size and strength of Alpha's right hand man posed quite a problem. The way he was throwing him through walls and stuff was like something out of a Hills Have Eyes movie or something. However, in the end, brains won over brawn and Daryl pushed him down an elevator shaft. There's no way that anyone watching thought that was the end of Beta though – and the final scene showed us that he is very much alive and kicking. Daryl may have won round one, but I think that a second bout might be a bit more tricky...
In other news, Carol and Ezekiel headed off to confront a new gang who had ambushed and robbed Jerry and some other Kingdomites when they were out on the road. They sent Jerry back with a 'grammatically correct' warning: travel along those roads at your peril. Despite Ezekiel being up for a fight and seemingly jumping to the conclusion that the only solution was violence, Carol uncharacteristically championed the idea of negotiation, something she's not really been a fan of before. The group, calling themselves The Highwaymen, laugh off their offer of access to The Kingdom and The Fare. But just when it looks as though we're headed for bloodshed and violence, Carol steps in and turns everything around by offering something so life-changing, so vitally important, that there is no way The Highwaymen can refuse. And what is that exactly? Access to movies. Yep, you heard it right. The prospect of 'movie night' saved a full on bloodbath. Insane. They didn't even check what movies that were on offer. I'd be at the VERY LEAST ensuring that Die Hard was in there. And maybe a couple of Alien movies. I wonder what the guys at the Kingdom are watching every week anyway? 28 Days Later? Dawn of the Dead? My Best Friend's Wedding? It's also a technique that perhaps Daryl should be trying on The Whisperers. I can just picture the scene:
Alpha: Give me my daughter back. Daryl: No way. Alpha: If you don't. we'll kill you all. Daryl: What about...if I offered you these instead? Daryl tosses a box over to Alpha, she opens it. It's filled with 'West Wing' Box sets. Alpha: DEAL!
I realise that The Walking Dead is keen to mix in a bit of humour with all the gory stuff and depression but it just feels a little needless at this point in the series. Plus, the Highwaymen just seems like a bunch of assholes to be honest. I'm not sure we need another group of characters introduced when we're still trying to get to grips with the recent additions to the show.
Anyway, as the series draws to a close it seems inevitable that everything will come to a head at the fare that everyone keeps going on about. Expect a battle of epic proportions.