Well, I was being told this was going to be a special episode and as I watched I was thinking well everyone is at the fair and being reunited and it’s all very sweet. I didn’t know the episode was going to be 25 minutes longer than usual because the last 30 minutes is blood curdling. Keeping Lydia was stupid! They all try to convince themselves and us that it was the right thing to do but I have to disagree. This was a pretty epic episode.
THE COLD OPEN
We see a young couple battling some walkers. It’s also their anniversary. “What did you get me?” he asks. She shows him that in the near distance is a safe place. It’s Hilltop. Years later on their 5th anniversary she has made him a wooden coin with an H on it, for Hilltop. The man says it also stands for Hope. Finally, on another anniversary, it’s present day. They’re headed for the fair and she’s prepared a box full of those wooden coins with the H on it. They head out, happy and smiling.
But they never make it to Kingdom. They meet their death at the hands of Alpha who proceeds to scalp the long blonde haired woman as she sings Lydia, The Tattooed Lady” quiet and creepily.
“Lydia didn’t choose where she came from but she chose where she wants to be just like everyone in this room” Michonne
King Ezekiel makes a rousing speech acknowledging Rick and Carl Grimes and with a small assist from Jerry The Fair began! It’s a pretty cool idea. All the communities get together and share their goods and wares and teach each other how to do things like blacksmithing and doctoring. Henry is reunited with Ezekiel and Carol and Carol sees Judith for the first time in 5 years. Everyone is happy to see Michonne there and there’s so much warmth!
Michonne gathers the leaders of the communities in the theater and says that Alexandria is giving Lydia safe haven. Tara is against it but is reminded that she was not trusted at first as well, being with the Governor when they attacked the prison. She relents and they all agree to protect Lydia. They also agree to form a NATO type alliance. If one community is attacked they all are and they respond as one. They seal the deal by signing the charter that Michoinne had created 6 years earlier.
Henry shows Lydia around. Addy flirts with Henry. Lydia gets jealous. Henry reassures her she’s the one for him and they kiss. They plan to have their first date that night at the movie. Carol and Ezekiel smile at the thought of their son going on a date! Rosita and Eugene have a heart to heart and she tells him they can still talk and be friends. Enid calls Alden her boyfriend and wants him to sing with Luke before the movie. Kelly is mad at Connie for leaving without saying goodbye and Connie apologizes but alludes to maybe having lost a baby in the past.
They figure that Alpha will seek revenge but on Hilltop so they plan to send a group of warriors in the to reinforce Hilltop including Daryl, Carol, Michonne and Yumiko. WHY????? They come across the area where Alpha killed the couple from Hilltop but no bodies. Daryl, Carol, Michonne and Rumiko decide to search for survivors while the others go on to Hilltop. Come on! They run into a small herd of walkers and they manage to overtake them but then The Whisperers show up headed by Beta. This is when things start getting really bad.
THE TWIST AND THE PIKES
“I’ve seen how you live. I’ve walked your streets. It’s a joke. Your communities are a
shrine to a long dead world.” Alpha
The last third of the episode is a slow, methodical walk to the inevitable. I kept thinking what the point of the cold open was. We find out when the story rewinds to The Fair and we see Alpha wearing the dead woman’s dress, hair and hat. She’s mingling with everyone and even meets King Ezeqiel. She’s just as creepy in normal clothes as in walker skin. She’s looking for Lydia, to take her back. When Henry tells Lydia to save him a seat at the movie while he checks something out I didn’t think anything yet. But once the movie starts and Henry doesn’t show up I started to get worried. Then Alpha sits down next to her.
We cut back to later that night, Beta and his group have Daryl, Carol, Michonne and Rumiko tied up. I felt that they wouldn’t kill any of them. Alpha appears, back in her natural garb. She takes Daryl with her, wants to show him something. As the sun comes up he walks him to the top of a valley and he sees thousands of walkers gathered. She tells him that her people are amongst them and warns him that his people cross into their land that she will unleash that herd upon them. She says that Lydia is no longer an issue, she doesn’t want her back. Daryl asks if she killed her. We see in another rewind scene that Lydia refuses to go with her and Alpha basically disowns her. She didn’t kill her. But……
She tells Daryl to head back and his friends will be waiting for him. She’s marked a barrier that they are warned not to cross and they’ll know it when they see it. Daryl meets up with the others and they head back. Then they see Saddiq tied up and bloodied. They rush to him. He points. They look and see 10 pikes sitting on the ridge. 10 pikes with 10 heads sitting on top of them. As they draw closer the look of horror appears on their faces. They recognize the faces. Then one by one we see the heads. With each one we see rewind scenes to The Fair and people asking where these people are. What makes it even more horrifying is that the heads are turned into walkers and so their mouths are moving. It’s the most horrific scene in Walking Dead history.
Ozzy and Alek, the leader and 2nd in command of The Highway Men. DJ, an ex Savior that became a trusted Hilltop resident. Frankie, one of Negan’s former wives. Tammy Rose Brett Butler). Addy and Rodney, two of the kids who befriended Henry at Hilltop. Tara (Alana Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Henry (Macsen Lintz).
Daryl tries to stop Carol before she sees Henry but it’s too late. Carol loses another child and just as when Sophia came out of that barn Daryl is there to hold her. Heartbreaking.
Normally, the episode would have ended there but it doesn’t. We see Saddiq addressing everyone back at Kingdom. He’s telling them the story and how Alpha wanted to scare them and intimidate them but that isn’t the story he wants to tell. He’d rather tell a story about a group of people who fought back, who fought for each other even if they didn’t know one another. How Ozzy, Alek and DJ found them and tried to rescue them. They battled valiantly. They were heroes. We get to see this play out as he tells it and it’s very inspirational and injects some hope into the episode. Plus we get to see these characters fighting back as the last images of them on the show and not the images of them on the pikes which helps a lot.
The last scene has Daryl taking Lydia to the pikes that now form the border to Whisperer Country. Lydia places a necklace by the pike that was Henry’s and they walk off.
This was a brutal episode but it was wonderfully done. This is a horror show, people. This show can still terrify and scare and make you feel at the same time. Pretty amazing that after nine seasons they can still surprise and shock.
I am not familiar with the graphic comics so I didn’t know what was coming. The heads on a pike happened in Issue 144 and Rosita was one of the casualties.
Those candied apples did look good.
Daryl and Connie were looking pretty romantic when they said their farewells. Daryl asked her to look after Dog. that’s as good as a proposal.
The Kingdom sure looks like a paradise! Movie theater and all!
From the preview of the season finale it looks like Winter Is Coming!
5 THNIGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Defeating The Whisperers is going to be harder than The Saviors
2 Negan will be needed to do battle with Alpha and Beta
3 Who will now lead at Hilltop? Has to be Daryl.
4 Carol will now be hellbent on revenge.
5 I don’t think we lose any more people in the finale but after this episode I think all bets are off.