The Walking Dead
March 31, 2019
Turns out the fair was the last happy moment for our heroes. After the whole horrific beheading incident, the Kingdom began falling apart: pipes bursting, walls rotting, fires, alligators and snakes filling the moats, whathaveyou, and with winter setting in, King Zeke and the rest decide to pack it in and move to Hilltop. They’re not going to survive otherwise.
So they pack up their shit (including that charter), load up the wagons and head out. On the road, Yumiko informs Carol that they’ve reached out to Maggie but haven’t heard back and that Hilltop is still reeling from losing their other two leaders, Jesus and Tara. (But now that Whiskey Cavalier has been canceled, the chances they’ll be hearing from Maggie again soon have greatly improved. Buy that ticket to Atlanta already, Lauren!)
As they pass some walkers, Nice Savior asks Lydia if they are some of her people, and wonders if they haven’t suffered enough from The Whisperers. Daryl is all, “BACK OFF, DUDE.” Lydia insists that Daryl doesn’t have to protect her, but Daryl’s like, “And, he doesn’t have to be AN ASSHOLE.”
Later, Daryl reminds a still-grieving Carol that Henry wanted Lydia to be with them, and she’s like, “IT DOESN’T MEAN IT DOESN’T SUCK, THOUGH. Every time I look at her, all I see is him … ” To which Daryl wonders who she sees when she looks at him. This gives Carol a bit of a sad, and placing a hand on his shoulder, assures him that she only sees him. King Zeke sees this and is like, “NOPE, NOT OK. I AM VERY JEALOUS RIGHT NOW.”
Jerry notes that the barometer is plunging, which means a huge storm is coming and King Ezekiel decides that they need to find shelter as soon as possible.
Later, Daryl and Carol kill a pair of walkers on the side of the road, and as Daryl goes to retrieve his arrow, King Z follows him, and is like, “Look, bro, Carol and I have had a rough few months, and it would be real cool if you could not be all up in our business at Hilltop. Considering everything we’ve lost and your role in that, it would be doing us both a solid if you lived somewhere else.”
Meanwhile, Lydia wanders into the woods where she finds an ice walker trapped up to his shoulders in what I suppose is a frozen creek? The point is, she kneels down, takes off her mitten, rolls up a sleeve to expose her arm and begins to offer it to our wight friend when Carol walks onto the scene.
Lydia rolls her sleeve back down and is like, “OH NOTHING NEVER MIND EVERYTHING IS COOL WHAT” and returns to the group with Carol.
And then the group takes shelter at the nearest way station: the Sanctuary.
However. It’s a short-lived reprieve as Michonne and King Ezekiel come to the realization that the blizzard might get worse, and they don’t have enough food and supplies to keep everyone alive for an extended period. The problem is, the fastest way to Hilltop requires them crossing some frozen rivers and creeks, meaning they can’t bring along the wagons or horses, and worse, it means they will have to cut through Whisperers’ territory, and Alpha has made it explicitly clear THAT’S NOT OK.
But what choice do they have? And so they agree to leave that night and hope the Whisperers don’t see them. Later, King Z laments to Michonne about losing the Kingdom and putting his people in this danger, but Michonne points out that they wouldn’t be there at all if not for him. In turn, she apologizes for being such a stubborn ass for so long — her refusing to commune with the other groups for so long meant that they didn’t know one another and the Whisperers were able to infiltrate the fair.
Me when she said this:
Anyway, blah blah blah, they still have the charter, his people aren’t just his anymore, they’re all in this together, yadda.
So. They head out into the night in the blizzard on foot (OK BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HORSES? THEY’RE JUST LEAVING THEM TO DIE IN THE SANCTUARY OR WHAT? I DEMAND TO KNOW WHAT THE PLAN IS FOR THOSE HORSES), and after slicing through some frozen walkers, they get to the river that marks the Whisperers’ southern border. That is when that asshole Lydia slips off into the woods by herself AGAIN, so Carol volunteers to go find her, instructing Daryl to get everyone across the river safely.
Which he does! But not before the Night King raises a bunch of wights from the snow to attack Daryl and Michonne.
Fighting with the wights, fighting with the wights, fighting the wights, killing the wights.
Meanwhile, out in the woods, Carol finds Lydia in an abandoned cabin where Lydia explains that she can’t cross that river and go to Hilltop with them — everyone is going to always blame her for what happened with the heads and the spikes and the whoozit. Lydia reminds Carol that her son is dead because of her, before taking Carol’s spear and holding it to her throat. There’s only one way to fix with this and it sucks that it had to be Carol, but it is what it is. She’s weak, just like her mother said.
And Carol appears to lunge with the spear, but not at Lydia. Instead, Carol kills a walker behind Lydia. Carol assures Lydia that she’s not weak before taking her back to the group.
The next morning they arrive in Hilltop, where Daryl tells Lydia they won’t be staying — their reservation is at Alexandria.
Elsewhere, Carol informs King Ezekiel that she’s leaving him, and going to Alexandria, too, adding that she’ll “never regret the fairy tale,” and making Caryl shippers everywhere pee their pants with excitement.
Over in our B storyline, Alexandria prepares for the blizzard by splitting the population up between a few houses, those with the biggest fireplaces. And with a heavy sigh, Father Gabe, Rosita, Siddiq, and Dr. Mullett are like “GODDAMMIT, NEGAN. I GUESS WE CAN’T JUST LET HIM FREEZE TO DEATH, RIGHT?”
That night, this group plus the Grimes kids and Negan take shelter in the church, where Negan talks a bunch of shit about the whole messy baby situation, which I will not transcribe word for word, though “Father Not the Father” is pretty funny.
Judith, meanwhile, is worried about Dog, whom she promised to look after for Daryl. Dog is out in the blizzard somewhere and I SWEAR TO GOD, SHOW, YOU’VE ALREADY KILLED A BUNCH OF HORSES, SO IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO DOG …
The church is suddenly filled with a horrible smell, right before the fireplace explodes from a buildup of creosote. Thus, the group is forced to move to another location in the blinding blizzard. To do so, they take a rope and all hang onto it for dear life.
Except, best-laid plans and all that, because once out in the snow and the darkness, Judith hears Dog bark somewhere in the distance and she goes running off to find him. And Negan is the only adult who chases after her. Y’ALL ARE GREAT BABYSITTERS, GUYS. GOOD JOB. I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR HOW Y’ALL EXPLAIN THIS TO MICHONNE. “Well, we were cold and it was dark so …”
At one point, Negan is hit in the leg by a piece of flying debris. Soon after, he hears Dog barking and follows the sound to find a collapsed Judith. He picks her up, and grabs Dog’s makeshift leash from a rope that Judith just had on her?
You know what? Sure. And he brings them both back to Alexandria because redemption arc.
Sometime later, Michonne, Daryl, Carol, Lydia, and the others return to Alexandria where they have a snowball fight.
Yep. A snowball fight.
Michonne then pays a visit to Negan in the infirmary, where he is recovering from his leg wound. Michonne thanks him for saving Judith, and he explains that she’s a special girl, and besides, Michonne has been through enough already. WORD. He asks about King Zeke, noting that he knows how much it sucks to lose a kingdom, and Michonne is like, “Speaking of, the Sanctuary is a shithole now. And about to be filled with a mess of dead horses.”
And in conclusion, Negan tells Michonne that it was a baller move to cross over Whisperers’ territory, a decision that I am sure will have no further consequences next season. Michonne notes that people came together and they made it. Common enemy, common goal, notes Negan. Michonne argues that facing evil brings good people together, but then Negan goes all 9th grade English teacher on her by reminding her that no one thinks they’re the evil one.
Speaking of the Whisperers, it’s suddenly spring? I guess? And Alpha has Beta whip her arm with a vine to make her “strong for what comes next” because they’re all kinds of FUCKED. UP.
Finally, King Zeke and Judith chat over the radio, and he’s all philosophical about how even though they lost their house they didn’t lose their home. They sign off, and then, a few moments later, a voice comes over the radio, asking if there’s anyone out there.
A few very quick notes about this episode: So, while it was an interesting change of pace to have an episode take place in the winter rather than the sweaty, sweaty, oh-Jesus-I-can-smell-these-people-through-my-TV-set summer, my first thought was about the novel (not the movie) World War Z, in which many people move far north to escape the zombie apocalypse since the undead can not survive in wintry conditions. And in fact, there is a classic Cracked.com piece (that is now missing from Cracked’s site? but you can read it here) that explains the seven scientific reasons a zombie apocalypse could never happen, and reason #5 is the cold:
After enough exposure, a dead body is going to be frozen solid and not chasing down any screaming victims, no matter how delicious and Rascal Scooter-bound they might be. It’s also safe to assume that zombies wandering around in a wintry wonderland are not going to be wrapped air-tight in plastic like we do with food, so freezer burn becomes an issue. Seriously. The same thing that ruins your ice cream also ruins the Undead Onslaught. The freezing of the flesh at night, combined with partial thaw during warmer days, then refreezing again sets up the perfect conditions for the onset of freezer burn, which results in the cells dehydrating as water evaporates, even when frozen solid. Freezer burned meat isn’t just dead, it’s destroyed.
Actually, the entire piece is like a guide book for how to survive the zombie apocalypse (stay in high buildings! wait for the winter — or for that matter, the summer! or just wait or the insects to set in!) but the point is, those zombies hiding under the snow at the riverbank? Wouldn’t be able to happen.
UNLESS. Unless they are wights, which are magic ice zombies, but I don’t think the Children of the Forest live in Virginia. But points for getting to snow zombies ahead of Game of Thrones‘ series finale, The Walking Dead.
Another little thing that I wrote down in my notes was “Rubicon” — that basically the river in this episode served as both a figurative and a literal Rubicon for Lydia, her point of no return.
Quick reminder: during the Roman empire, the river Rubicon served as an important border between Rome and the rest of the empire — basically, Roman generals were not allowed to bring their troops south of the Rubicon River, as it was considered a potential threat to the capitol. To cross the river would be considered treason, insurrection and an act of war. Hence, it was a pretty big fucking deal when then General Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his troops, thereby instigating the Roman Civil War and ultimately making him dictator of the Empire. As such, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has come to mean to pass a point of no return, as Lydia does when she chooses to stay with Carol and Daryl. But there is also this other meaning, this original meaning, in which you turn on and declare war upon your own people, which in her own way Lydia also does by crossing that river.
This moment in which Lydia chooses to live, and to stay with our heroes, it’s also an important moment for another reason, which goes back a couple of episodes, this issue of motherhood. Just as the episode “Scars” was a contrast in mothering styles between Michonne and her friend who I flippantly called “Tara,” this is a contrast in parenting styles between Carol and Alpha, but also Carol and Carol. Where Alpha is cruel, abusive and dismissive, Carol overcomes her own grief and anger to embrace Lydia. But this reaction is not exactly natural or expected from Carol. After all, when she’s grieved before has found herself in a place of anger, and has withdrawn and isolated herself. Now, to some degree, Carol does isolate herself by walking away from the one happy and stable relationship she has ever been in. But with Lydia, I think Carol sees that old, scared, abused, self-loathing and suicidal version of herself, which is why she is able to forgive her, protect her, and assure Lydia that she’s stronger than she ever knows — because Carol, she’s been there and she knows just how strong they both are.
ALRIGHT! CAUGHT UP! And ready for tonight’s premiere! Which I do hope to recap in a timely fashion and not six months from now. BUT WHO EVEN KNOWS, RIGHT?
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.