‘The Walking Dead’ Delivers Its First Grisly Death of the Final Season (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 2, “Acheron: Part II.”]
It was only a matter of time before blood was spilled in The Walking Dead’s final season, and in “Acheron, Part II,” death comes for a member of Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) group in a scene that echoes one of the gorier deaths from earlier seasons. The leader herself is trapped by the dead, while Daryl (Norman Reedus) explores the rest of the tunnels — and Team Eugene (Josh McDermitt) tries a new tactic after the revelation that Yumiko’s (Eleanor Matsuura) brother is at the Commonwealth.
In the tunnels, things go from bad to worse for Maggie’s team, which is now without Maggie herself. They can’t go back because of the dead, and they can’t go forward because the train car doors are rusted shut. But thankfully, their leader did manage to survive; in a sequence reminiscent of the infamous “Glenn-crawls-under-Dumpster” scene, she crawls under the cars to escape the dead and winds up reuniting with the group… much to Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) dismay. Obviously, she’s none too thrilled with his actions, and Maggie winds up being a nod away from ordering her people to kill him.
Then they’re interrupted by cries for help — from Gage (Jackson Pace), who took off during the last episode after listening to Negan’s foreboding (and accurate, in the end) speech about the danger of the tunnels. He’s on the opposite side of the doors. The dead are hot on his heels. Alden (Callan McAuliffe) wants to help him, but Maggie says there’s nothing they can do; if they help Gage, the walkers behind him will get into their car and kill them all. Horrified and resigned to his fate, Gage stabs himself so he doesn’t feel the teeth tearing into him and, in what seems like a callback to Noah’s (Tyler James Williams) grisly revolving door death in Season 5, the group watches through the window as the walkers rip him apart.
It’s chilling when he reanimates later, and the sight of him leads Maggie to share a story. When she left Alexandria, there was a period of time when she and Hershel were starving. She happened upon a group of men, who she killed, but then she heard a noise coming from the attic. There, she found several women with their limbs cut off, with something “moving in their stomachs” — presumably, unborn children who’d turned into walkers. Maggie killed them, too, and got the food for herself and her son. “I lost something out there,” she explains to the group, in an attempt to justify why she didn’t save Gage and risk their mission failing. “And I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I did.” Eventually, the walkers burst through the doors and begin pouring into the car, and the group has no choice but to fight.
Meanwhile, Daryl heads through the tunnels a different way. He winds up in a passage that survivors had been using as a shelter and finds food, along with a sad note scribbled on a dollar bill from siblings to their missing parents. He and Dog keep moving along, and they eventually find the other traitor who ran off with Gage, saving him from a walker. They all keep going, and Daryl winds up on the opposite side of the walker-infested train car that’s blocking Maggie’s group’s way. In one of the cooler moments from the show in recent years, the camera tracks him as he’s framed by the train car windows, shooting through the dead to save his friends.
At the Commonwealth, Yumiko demands to speak to the manager. No, really! She thinks the group’s best chance is to talk to whomever is in charge and demand to get through processing. And with Ezekiel (Khary Payton) missing, that’s exactly what she does — she goes before the interrogators and says she’s been questioning them, too, and she lists off everything she knows about their society: They operate using U.S. currency, they have a strict government and set of laws, and they’re only interrogating them to determine whether her people will be a “waste of resources.” After she’s done, red-armored tough guy Mercer (Michael James Shaw) offers her coffee, so that seems like a good sign.
But maybe it’s not a good sign for poor Eugene, who winds up being the last of his friends waiting in the Commonwealth’s questioning area (Yumiko and Paola Lázaro’s Princess both go missing). Eventually, he’s brought in, and Mercer demands Eugene tell the truth.
Teary-eyed and trembling — tremendous acting from McDermitt here — Eugene tells the most believable kind of lie: One based in reality. He says he made contact with Stephanie and wanted to meet her (true), but he lied to his friends about the reason they were going on the trip because they wouldn’t come with him if they knew it was only to meet a woman (false). And he lied to Stephanie, he says, because he didn’t know whether her intentions were pure and if they weren’t, she might be deterred if he said he was from a large community. Mercer buys it, and in the end, Eugene’s taken to a train car where he meets his friends, and they’re welcomed into the Commonwealth. He even gets to meet Stephanie!
As the episode ends, Maggie’s group gets out of the tunnels. She says they need to make a stop at an outpost before heading to Meridian, but they don’t make it that far — just as they arrive, they’re brutally attacked by the Reapers.
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