‘The Walking Dead’ Gets Its Own ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 11, “Morning Star.”]
Regardless of how you felt about Game of Thrones’ eighth season, most agree the second episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was great. It tugged at just the right heartstrings to make you feel for the characters who were (presumably) about to head to their deaths. And hey, Podrick’s haunting rendition of “Jenny of Oldstones” certainly didn’t hurt.
This week, The Walking Dead gives its characters at Hilltop similar treatment. Alpha and her horde are coming for them, and they know they’re trapped and don’t have the manpower or resources to win. With what they believe could be their final moments, they choose to make amends, reminisce about old times and hold the people they love close until the dead come for them.
A Cancelled Search
Ninety-nine percent of this week’s episode takes place at Hilltop, so there’s very little location-jumping. Kelly still wants to go look for Magna and Connie, and Yumiko understands her need to find her sister (and she herself wants to find Magna), but Daryl and Lydia’s arrival drags in some bad news.
Alpha’s horde is on the way, so there’ll be no heading back to the cave. As the unfortunate Hilltoppers find out, there’s also no way to leave: as Alpha and her followers closed in, they blocked all the roads leading out of the community. So, how many able-bodied fighters do they have? “A few dozen, maybe,” Yumiko says during the inevitable community meeting. Those odds aren’t great, to say the least.
Eugene’s New (Girl)friend
But do you know what is great? Eugene, for once in his life, seems to be pretty happy. He’s been communicating with Stephanie on the regular throughout the past few days (apparently only a few days have passed since that episode in 10A, which is wild), and they’ve grown quite close. She asks him to sing her a song from one of the records he found, and he politely declines.
They realize they’re relatively close, distance-wise, when they figure out they both saw the same satellite crash. With that in mind, they start making plans to meet in person, although Stephanie says she needs to talk to her people first — she still wants Eugene keeping their talks private.
That gets complicated when Rosita arrives and, upon hearing Eugene’s radio pal, picks up the receiver. Eugene freaks out, and when he tries to talk to Stephanie she won’t answer. Given the longevity of their friendship he can’t stay mad at Rosita, and as they prepare Hilltop for battle, she teases him about his feelings for this new woman… and his lack of game. “Do you want to kiss me?” she asks, adding, “Come on, kiss me. Hurry before I change my mind.” He leans in but can’t seal the deal, proving his feelings for Stephanie are real.
Speaking of feelings, Carol’s all over the place, emotionally. At the start of the episode she goes to Daryl’s camp, and Ezekiel finds her and brings her back to Hilltop. Later, she walks in on him looking at Henry’s old armor, and she kisses him. One thing leads to another, and after they’re done, Zeke asks her if this would’ve happened any other day, or if she only did it because they were going to die. “We’re going to die tonight?” Carol asks sarcastically, and they laugh.
She then goes to see Lydia, and notes that she should hate her. “That’s hard,” Lydia says, “you seem to hate yourself so much.” Carol asks if when she kills Alpha if Lydia will hate her then, and the kid says she won’t much be thinking about her. This leads them to chat about honesty — which Lydia most certainly was — and Carol eventually tearfully reflects that she “had a whole life” before Alpha. “I know,” Lydia tells her.
Eugene’s Big Ballad
After that, she stops by Anne’s paintings to look at the faces of the people she lost… and finds Daryl at Glenn’s grave. “Please don’t hate me,” she says, emotional. Daryl turns to her and responds, “I’m never going to hate you.” He walks away.
As the rest of Hilltop spends what might be their last night with family and friends, Eugene sings his song to Stephanie (hello, Podrick!). This gets her to come back, and she gives him a place to meet her. Rosita comes to get him for the battle, and he says they might as well get this over with, because he “has a date.” Awwwwwwww!
As Part of the Horde
The battle itself is a string of bad luck. Earlier in the episode Negan tried to convince Alpha to get the communities to surrender and join her, and he thought he’d changed her mind. Not so much. She says they will join her, “as part of the horde.” Yikes.
For all their grossness and weirdness, the Whisperers’ battle strategy is pretty solid. They send the horde first, and neither Hilltop’s electrified cables nor the makeshift fence can hold the dead back. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Beta and his pals start flinging body parts filled with liquid at the fighting folks. What liquid? It becomes abundantly clear once they start shooting fiery arrows, and one of the Hilltoppers catches fire. It’s gasoline.
Daryl, Ezekiel, Jerry, Luke, Yumiko, Kelly, Aaron and presumably Carol (although it’s hard to find her in any of the battle shots) turn around to head back inside the Hilltop gates, but the Whisperers shoot fire-arrows at those, too, trapping the group between walkers and a flammable fate. What’s the group to do? We’ll find out next episode, hopefully.
- Has any other character read Carol so accurately after having spent so little time around her? Lydia has her figured out: Carol hates herself, and pretty much all of her issues stem from that self-hatred. It hurt seeing her resort to self-destructive tendencies this episode, like smoking and using sex as a distraction (whether or not Zeke and Carol get back together, it’s worth noting she did this type of thing before when she was emotionally in a bad place, with Tobin).
- I am so happy to see Eugene happy. The dude deserves it. Hopefully Stephanie is who she says she is, and they get along just as well in person as they do over the radio.
- I felt bad for Mary this episode, although I do understand the reasoning behind being careful — after all, she’s a former Whisperer. But dang, Alden really didn’t have to be so mean to her.
- Hilltop had a better battle plan than Winterfell. Also, who knew Josh McDermitt could sing?! That was gorgeously eerie.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC