The Walking Dead – The Rotten Core review S11 E14

Sorry, this one got super delayed thanks to all the Oscars drama.

Like last week, The Rotten Core was another really strong episode. I almost wonder if it couldn’t have made for three strong/great episodes though. There was certainly enough material to make both subplots separate episodes.

At the tenement, Maggie, Aaron, Elijah and Lydia start making the rounds to clear out Toby’s armored goons and run into Annie. Negan calms the situation down, which is somewhat ironic given the constant tense nature of his dynamic with him and Maggie.

But it’s the dynamic with Negan and Annie that’s even more interesting as they’re married and she’s pregnant with his kid. How long has Negan been away, again? Annie knows about Negan’s past, which is making it even more complicated for Maggie.

With the wolves (no, not those guys) revealed, Lydia says the Commonwealth is just like the Whisperers with different masks. Fair point.

Negan spots something from the window and ends up saving Herschel, who stowed away to follow Maggie. That’s a twist. Maggie now has to rely on her husband’s killer to keep their son safe. And to further complicate things, Herschel pulls a gun out on Negan after learning he killed Glenn.

the walking dead - the rotten core review - herschel

The older, wiser Negan manages to convince Herschel not to kill him as it would just alert Toby’s men to where everyone is hiding. In the post battle wrap-up, there was a very intentional Kill Bill vibe with Negan telling him to find him when he’s older and they’ll finish this conversation.

Aaron and Gabriel manage to lure Toby and his men to the rooftop just in time for Elijah to kill the backup. This was serious ninja killer Elijah as he had his mask back. Aaron gets to have the final conversation with Toby.

the walking dead - the rotten core review - toby

Well, it’s not much of a discussion so much as Aaron shooting him off the roof. Not a head shot mind you, just enough to ensure he can’t run off. And to be food for all the walkers Toby created by shoving the apartment dwellers off the roof earlier. Karma truly will bite you sometimes.

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Back at The Commonwealth, Sebastian forces Daryl and Rosita to go through a horde to get him some cash in a safe room. This felt a little weird as it seems like even if Pamela cut him off being the governor’s son should probably afford him any luxury he’d want anyway, like the loyalty of two of Mercer’s troops.

Minor quibble aside, it was good to see Daryl and Rosita — a pairing that hasn’t been done countless times — in action. They make it to the safe house and encounter a woman named April. This isn’t the first time Sebastian has sent people to retrieve this big payday and she’s the last of her crew. That means there’s a fresh batch of 11 walkers added to the mini horde.

Daryl and Rosita try and get April and the money out, but the odds aren’t great…until Carol and Mercer arrive. Daryl and Carol had a lunch date and when he didn’t keep it, she got worried. Again, Carol seems to be the most sensible character this arc. This isn’t always the case as sometimes Carol goes rogue just to keep things interesting, but I’m firmly #TeamCarol this arc.

the walking dead - the rotten core review -rosita

Rosita gives April her armor, but there’s a catch literally as it snags on a walker prompting a fight with the walkers in the house. This doesn’t end well for April sadly. Mercer doesn’t take kindly to traitors in his ranks and kills the two dudes that dragged Rosita and Daryl in this mess.

Mercer gets the way of the land and convinces Daryl and Rosita to keep playing along with Sebastian for now. Nobody’s happy about it and it seems like Mercer is losing his patience for the Commonwealth higher ups.

Carol visits Hornsby, who was in on this money grab scheme with Sebastian. Hornsby gave down on their luck Commonwealth members a chance to make good with the second chance money grab. Smartly, Carol doesn’t overreact. She knows the value of letting things play out in this kind of scenario.

So, who actually stole Hornsby’s guns? Time for one final flashback two weeks ago. Leah was the killer though it’s unclear if she acted alone or had any of her crew. That’s a nice turn of events and one that could prove very intriguing if Leah manages to round up The Reavers Reloaded. It never seems to be a good idea to leave an enemy alive in The Walking Dead, does it?

the walking dead - the rotten core review - annie and maggie

This was a terrific one-two punch of episodes for The Walking Dead just as this arc needed some serious momentum. There’s only two episodes left for this arc and things finally seem to be progressing in an encouraging direction.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: AMC

Pick up The Walking Dead Vol: 31 – The Rotten Core trade paperback for the comic take on The Commonwealth on Amazon.

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