Out of the Ashes was a somewhat frustrating episode. Not because of some stupid spotlight on an unkillable character or ridiculous decision. No, this one was frustrating because it showed how great the series could have been in the post Michonne era.
A wall of Alexandria fell and walkers stumbled in and managed to kill at least one person. If only Alexandria had people on lookout posts so Jerry wouldn’t have to discover them while making his morning bathroom stop. Also, it’s been at least 10 years. Why don’t these communities just wholesale create long spears to keep whittling down walkers at their borders?
Judith shows her dad’s psychotic streak by pulling a knife out on some bullies. It’s effective, but won’t help her make new friends. Rosita helps talk Judith through her emotions of everyone dying/leaving her. This was a nice scene and gave Rosita a purpose as she’s felt somewhat aimless lately.
The whole Michonne leaving Judith (and RJ) was absolutely one of the writers’ dumbest decisions, but at least they finally spend a few seconds examining how that would affect her. And again, a spin-off looking at a grown-up Judith, Gracie, RJ and Herschel seems like a far more interesting Walking Dead show than the further adventures of Carol and Daryl.
With supplies running out almost as quickly as the food, Aaron, Jerry, Carol and Lydia travel to Hilltop in search of some blacksmith material. Did they really just think of this now? That seems like that should have happened as soon as they cleared out The Whisperers. Speaking of, the gang encounters one to explain Lydia’s role in this expedition.
Lydia assures Aaron this guy, Keith (Brad Fleischer) is harmless, but he quickly makes a liar out of her as there’s more Whisperers in the old makeshift prison. Keith takes a slash at Aaron to create a distraction for the rest of his crew to escape. After Aaron gets the upper hand (pun not intended), he says “my turn.”
This turn involves stringing Keith up and letting a walker bite his fingers. Ouch! Aaron has quietly been one of the show’s biggest bada$$es since Rick died/left. It’s been a shame he so rarely gets the spotlight as he’s evolved into a fantastic character.
Carol (take a shot) goes rogue and kills the walker. Given her history with the Whisperers, it’s weird she would come to the defense of one even if it’s in the name of stopping Aaron from going down the dark path she traveled. Seems like that didn’t have any major repercussions for Carol and protecting Alexandria against a potential new salvo from The Whisperers makes a lot of sense.
Sparing Keith had a minor benefit while showing he was still intentionally withholding information. His mini Whisperer crew saw a girl come out of the cave, clearly referencing Connie, who must be eternally grateful to be back on this season.
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Negan and Maggie make it to her old community’s headquarters and he already is set to head out to bring the supplies back to Alexandria. Maggie is ready to fight him on this and she starts wailing away at him until Elijah and Gabriel arrive.
The bad thing here is Negan is right — they need to get out of dodge and get these badly needed supplies back to Alexandria. Nothing good is going to come from waiting on more stragglers. And if the teasers are correct it’s just gonna be Daryl and Col. Nutjob’s Reapers.
Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) — a Troy McClure style character — introduces Ezekiel, Eugene and Princess to The Commonwealth with an orientation video approved by Pamela Milton. The Miltons apparently set up this community years ago and even have buildings named in their honor.
Eugene goes on a date with Stephanie (Chelle Ramos) through Pleasantville where they’ve even got ice cream trucks, a train station and bakeries. The latter is where Yumiko finds her brother, Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale, Hawaii 5-0), who ditched his surgeon identity to explore his passion for baking. In fairness, that cake looked really good. Also, given the show’s shoddy treatment of doctors over the years, Tomi made the right call to change professions.
Yep, the Commonwealth folk are living the good life, which is why it’s understandable they have such an intense vetting process. The Fear the Walking Dead crew would have destroyed the Commonwealth in about three days. It’s hard to blame Mercer and his security guards for quickly arresting Eugene the second he communicates with Rosita.
Our heroes have a bad habit of messing up good things for people. In the case of Terminus, that was a good thing, but Hilltop, the Kingdom and Alexandria would probably argue their life was way better before Rick and company arrived. So far, I’m strictly Team Commonwealth on this one.
Out of the Ashes showed how fast-paced and exciting a final season episode of The Walking Dead can be when the focus is on multiple under utilized characters and a clever means of revisiting an old threat.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC
Check out the comic version of The Commonwealth in The Walking Dead Vol 31: The Rotten Core.