‘The Walking Dead’ Kills Off a Main Character & Splits Up the Group (RECAP)

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Spoiler Alert
Jace Downs/AMC

The Walking Dead

What's Been Lost

Season 11 • Episode 20

rating: 3.0 stars

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 20, “What’s Been Lost.”]

Really…Hornsby? Really?!

With four episodes left to go in the monster-big series, The Walking Dead killed off one of its main villains — although the way it happened seemed a bit silly. It also paired up Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) for a new mission — although they didn’t spend a great deal of time together. And Pamela (Laila Robins) gave Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) a new case — one she really, really didn’t want to take. Here’s how it all went down.

As the episode opens, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) goes to visit Carol at the bakery. When he abruptly disappears, she’s suspicious — and her suspicions are confirmed as she narrowly escapes capture herself, and then finds Daryl in danger. The duo survives the mysterious attack, but they discover their friends have all been removed from the Commonwealth. In such desperate times, who does ‘Caryl’ turn to?

Josh Hamilton as Lance Hornsby

Jace Downs/AMC

Hornsby (Josh Hamilton), that’s who! They find him drenched in blood in his cell, murmuring about how there’s “always a way out.” (Side note: Hamilton did the whole “oh, he snapped” thing well enough that for a few minutes, I honestly thought Hornsby had checked out.) Carol and Daryl snap him out of it and break him out of his cell, since he promises he can lead them to their friends. But they’re unable to get his ankle monitor off, so they attract unwanted attention from some Commonwealth guards. Pinned down amidst a storm of gunfire, Daryl stays back to allow Carol and Lance a way out.

Hornsby briefly becomes the most relatable character in the show as he showers praise upon Carol for being a complete and total badass who’s always “ten steps ahead.” (Don’t we all think Carol’s a complete and total badass?) He leads her into a tunnel to throw some more Commonwealth guards off their trail, and there’s a brief scuffle where three things happen: 1. She saves him from a walker that almost kills him, 2. She almost gets killed by some walkers that randomly show up behind her (are silently appearing walkers some of the new “variants?”) and 3. She glares up at Hornsby, who timidly held the flashlight the entire time she was fighting for her life. Cool.

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Khary Payton as Ezekiel

Jace Downs/AMC

They get out of the tunnel only to find the Commonwealth guards waiting for them. At first it seems all hope is lost, but Daryl rides up behind the soldiers and takes them all out. (Where did he come from? How did he know where to find them? Oh, well.) After that, Lance makes the grave mistake of giving away too much information. He tells Carol and Daryl that their friends are on a train. That’s pretty much all they need to know, and although Lance tries to argue otherwise, they decide they’re done with him. They tell him they won’t kill him, but he’s not coming with them, either — in short, he’ll have to live outside the walls. Hornsby panics, saying he’s not cut out for life outside the Commonwealth. At first it looks like he’s leaving, but when he snatches a gun and points it at them, Carol shoots him in the throat. He dies, and Carol and Daryl drive away. It’s hard to believe a guy as methodical and strategic as Hornsby would’ve gone out like that, but it looks like that’s it for him.

Back in the Commonwealth, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) continues taking a version of Michonne’s storyline from the comics. Pamela (Laila Robins) tells her she has to prosecute Eugene (Josh McDermitt) for his crimes, but Yumiko’s not too fond of that plan. Unfortunately, because it’s Pamela, she threatens the lives of everyone Yumiko cares about if she doesn’t go through with it.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko

Jace Downs/AMC

While Pamela discovers Hornsby’s gone and her son’s walker has been put down (Hornsby putting his coin in dead-Sebastian’s splattered brains was a nice touch), Yumiko goes to see her brother at the hospital. He argues she should just do what Pamela wants, but then, surprisingly, she runs into Connie (Lauren Ridloff). Connie tells her she got away from the man who tried to kidnap her and stabbed him in the leg, and she snuck into the hospital to try and get some information about him. They make a plan for Yumiko to follow him once he’s released, but that goes bad quick as the guy realizes what she’s doing.

In the end, Yumiko does end up attending Pamela’s big speech where she’s meant to announce her prosecution of Eugene Porter. Instead of doing that, Yumiko draws attention to her brother in the crowd — thus highlighting his importance to the Commonwealth and saving him from Pamela’s wrath — and then announces her defense of Eugene Porter. As she leaves, she throws Pamela’s speech on the ground.

On the train, we see many of the main characters, including Ezekiel, being given shots in their necks (a sedative, most likely). There’s nothing saying where they’re going or why, but it’s probably not good.

Other Observations

  • Okay, I’m mourning Hornsby. While I didn’t think he’d make it through the season, I’d hoped TWD would do more with him. I enjoyed his whole Littlefinger-esque schtick, which I thought was a unique spin on a post-apocalyptic villain. We still don’t know a whole lot about his endgame, nor do we know if he had CRM connections. Josh Hamilton played him so well. I would’ve gladly sacrificed some (or all) of the Reaper-centric episodes to give Hornsby more screen time.
  • At least we got an explanation for the weirdness between him and Pamela. If I understood what he told Carol correctly, he’d known (and had feelings for) Pamela for most of his life, but she never returned them because he was her chauffeur’s son and thus, in her eyes, “beneath her.”
  • One more point about Hornsby and then I’m done — we didn’t see him die. I’m fairly confident he’s not surviving an arrow through the neck, but he wasn’t stabbed in the head, so…walker-Hornsby is not out of the question.
  • Given that the opening narration focused on Carol and Daryl’s connection this week, I was expecting a little more ‘Caryl’ in this episode; a la “Consumed” or even “Lines We Cross.” Instead, she spent more time with Hornsby than with Daryl. Bummer.
  • Last week I said I didn’t think that One Big Death from the comics was happening because Sebastian isn’t around to pull the trigger. After seeing Pamela’s sanity start to unravel this week, I’m pondering the likelihood that she’ll do it instead.
  • Rating: 3/5. It’s not that there’s nothing to appreciate in “What’s Been Lost.” Carol and Hornsby’s dynamic, like Carol and Negan’s dynamic, was fascinating. (Hornsby being her No. 1 Fan had me cackling.) But with four episodes left, it suffered from a lack of suspense or narrative progression. Nothing was tied up here, and nothing much came to a head. We still don’t know what happened to Oceanside. I’ve been saying it every week, and I’ll say it again: I hope the show picks up soon.

The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC