‘The Walking Dead’ Brings the Fight Home & Eugene Goes to Trial (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 22, “Faith.”]
Hey, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) made it through this one, too!
Earlier in Season 11 when “Acts of God” aired, plenty of fans figured it might be curtains for “Father Not the Father.” Then, this close to the end of the AMC series, with an episode titled “Faith,” speculation bubbled up again — and again, Gabe beat the odds. But just because he’s not in too much danger in this episode doesn’t mean there’s safety for all the survivors; in fact, this installment involves a decent amount of peril for the main group, especially Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
While the whole “faith” aspect of the episode centers around Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and his ability to inspire others to do the right thing, Negan eventually winds up staring down the (metaphorical) barbed-wire baseball bat. Still a member of the work camp even in Alexandria, he and Ezekiel have cobbled together a plan to overthrow the warden and free the prisoners. But when Negan lashes out and gets himself captured, the warden suspects him of being part of an uprising… and offers him a reward. If he rats out the would-be revolutionaries, he and his wife can live in peace.
Outside the gates, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), and Gabriel figure out how to get into Alexandria. Gabe and Rosita stay behind to serve as sharpshooters and lookouts as the teams of Daryl-Connie and Carol-Maggie make their way inside. After some tense sequences of sneaking around and a heart-to-heart about whether it was “selfish” of Maggie to bring her son Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) into the world (no way, says Carol), they do locate the missing child. However, the other children, including Judith (Cailey Fleming) and Rosita’s baby Coco, are nowhere to be found.
Negan, instead of giving anyone else up, takes full credit for the uprising to prevent the warden from getting to the others. For that, he faces a firing squad. He doesn’t bother begging for his life, but that changes when his pregnant wife Annie (Medina Senghore) is pulled from the group of fellow prisoners and onlookers. The warden plans to kill them both, thus thoroughly brushing out any spark of rebellion. Negan pleads for mercy for his wife, the soldiers aim, the air takes on a deadly charge — and Ezekiel steps forward, putting himself between Negan, Annie, and the yet-to-fly bullets. Inspired, more of the prisoners join them, including Nabila (Nadine Marissa) and Kelly (Angel Theory). Ezekiel turns to the soldiers. “You don’t have to do this,” he says. “This world is broken, but we don’t have to be.” Convinced, they turn on the warden. But before they get a chance to take out the officer, Daryl comes up and stabs him from behind.
By this time, Rosita’s made her way into Alexandria. She’s desperate to know where her daughter is, and she’s not above resorting to torture to find out. Dangling a walker in front of the warden’s face, she asks the question — and he won’t answer. She allows it to tear into his flesh, killing him.
Also, we do finally find out what happened with Oceanside in this episode… kind of. It’s not shown onscreen, but Luke (Dan Fogler) and his girlfriend, Jules (Alex Sgambati), appear as Team Aaron (Ross Marquand) heads for the community. They tell their friends that Oceanside’s been taken over by the Commonwealth and that at Rachel’s (Avianna Mynhier) request, they got out to warn the others before it got worse. They decide to use the ol’ guts trick to blend in with a horde of walkers, thus going undetected by the Commonwealth soldiers. When one of them drops a knife, a variant walker picks it up. Yeah, that’s bad news.
At the Commonwealth, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) proceeds with Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) defense. One problem though — the trial is pretty much rigged. What a shock! Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) lies on the stand to turn the tide in her favor, and it seems Eugene’s fate is sealed. Their last best hope is Mercer (Michael James Shaw), but he won’t publicly testify against Pamela. Unsurprisingly, the guilty verdict is handed down, and Eugene’s led down a dark hallway… where he meets a revolution-ready Mercer. “Time to f–k s–t up,” the soldier tells him with a grin.
- It’s good to know what (might have) happened to Oceanside, but given how long it’s taken the show to get there, I still wonder if there’s something more going on. Was this really just a Commonwealth takeover, or was the Civic Republic Military (CRM) involved somehow? I keep pondering Lance Hornsby’s (Josh Hamilton) line about “alliances,” but maybe he was only referring to Oceanside.
- …or did it just take this long to get here because Fogler was filming the latest Fantastic Beasts film?
- AGAIN, MAJOR 11C SPOILERS: I thoroughly regret having seen the 11C trailer. The major question the episode leaves is, “Where are Coco and Judith?” but we already know Rosita gets her daughter back (she’s seen with Coco in a yet-to-air scene from the trailer) and we know Judith returns (she’s also seen in a yet-to-air scene from the trailer).
- I enjoyed the courtroom scenes more than I thought I would. Pamela is truly a snake, and while her son Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson) made it out alive in the source material, I’m doubting she’ll take that storyline.
- I’m betting nothing happens between Daryl and Connie until the finale, which is baffling considering how long the show has teased their relationship. Unless she goes with him to France — didn’t sound like it, from the show description — their romance could truly begin and end in a single episode. Oh, well.
- Rating: 4/5. “Faith” marks a step up from most 11C episodes so far. The scene with Negan in the “lineup” was excellent, although the tension sank because we knew he’d survive. Ezekiel gets another good moment, and Rosita exhibits frightening badassery. The Commonwealth storyline holds its own, and at last, we’re given answers about Oceanside.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC