The Walking Dead has really turned the corner this season. Its dramatic turnaround can best be summed up in an episode like Chokepoint. This was the kind of set up previous seasons would have botched tremendously by dragging out the Communities vs. Whisperers war long past the point it was interesting. That’s not the case this season as we got the first of what’s likely to be several marquee drag out battles. And this episode paid off what I considered one of the season’s weakest subplots to the point that it won me over tonight.
Daryl still hasn’t fully come on board with Lydia. For now she’s just a means to get Henry to get back home. But Connie won’t abandon her either and in a fun twist, TWD rarely does, even Dog goes against Daryl.
We get some creepy insight on the Whisperers’ perspective as Beta speaks with a dude who got a nasty walker bite. He’s ready to join the walkers, but Beta assures him that he’ll always be one of them. Apparently Whisperers get recycled. I’ve gotta give it up for them being the most environmentally conscious folks out here. The New Daniel Bryan would be proud.
Who’s ready for a fair? I don’t see a cotton candy or funnel cake machine so this one is already coming up lame for me. Jerry and Dianne got jumped on their way back to The Kingdom and were given a note to take back to Ezekiel. It’s a message from the Highway Men, the group with the painted symbol The Kingdom passed on their way back from their last run.
They want a toll paid otherwise no one’s getting to the fair. This is a solid plan and a respectable one in terms of getting supplies without becoming murders. Carol isn’t too worried thanks to the impeccable grammar in the letter and gets Ezekiel to hold off on his kill ’em all plan. The group leader, Ozzy (Angus Sampson, Insidious: The Last Key), isn’t sold on Ezekiel’s offer to give them access to the fair and The Kingdom in exchange for keeping the roads to the fair safe. Until Carol sweetens the deal by mentioning they’ve got movies at the fair.
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Tara is trying to get to the fair with her convoy, but a tree is blocking the way. Before they can clear it, a gang of walkers arrive. The threat of The Whisperers makes every walker encounter that much more suspenseful now, which is great to make them more menacing again. Earl and Tammy Rose do their best to fight off the walkers while doing a spot-on Jonathan and Martha Kent impersonation with the Whisperer baby they saved/stole(?). Before the situation gets too out of control, The Highway Men arrive to turn the tide.
I kinda loved this subplot because it gets a little tiring seeing every group being psychos. The Highway Men just wanted some supplies and were a random group trying to get by without going full crazy. I’m also intrigued about the talk of this Renegade Saviors faction. They could prove to be a nice quasi-menace for an episode or two.
In escaping from The Whisperers, Connie wants to go Obi-Wan Kenobi and go to the top of an under construction high rise. I like the way Connie thinks. Lydia warns Alpha won’t send an army, she’ll just send Beta. Daryl is hardly worried and is more concerned with blocking Henry from kissing Lydia than fortifying their new base.
This made for a fun setting as Beta and his squad arrived with the walkers. Connie is a complete bad a$$. Who knew a slingshot would be this effective a weapon? I’m glad they held that out for her as she is making it just as major a weapon as Michonne’s katana and Daryl’s crossbow. Even Henry is amped up for this battle as he knocks out a Whisperer in a way to make Morgan proud.
Connie isn’t going pacifist with these clowns and is slingshotting them to the herd. The sheets and drywall made this such a fun location. Daryl only thought he was ready for Beta, but the big boy gave Daryl his first real competition in years. I legit thought they were gonna blow all our minds and have Beta maim Daryl at certain points. Daryl used Connie’s escape hatch to get the jump on Beta and send him tumbling down an elevator shaft. Since Beta is an awesome villain I’m going to allow his superhuman survival from that height.
Now convinced she’s not a liability, Daryl agrees to let Lydia come with them to Alexandria. Chokepoint introduced a new faction, paid off a weaker subplot and delivered on a big league Beta/Daryl encounter. Hard to ask for much more out of this hour.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC