by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 13.
Daryl has a new nemesis, in the form of Beta. Dwight was a thorn in his side, but Beta is a more significant enemy. Physically, Beta is a huge man, and when he and Daryl were brawling in the apartment building, it looked to me like Daryl was getting the worst of it. Sure, they were pulling out multiple knives in some weird kind of one-upmanship, but in the end it came down to slamming each other into walls, onto the ground and (in Beta’s case) into an elevator shaft. Naturally, Beta did not die from this fall, which was evident from Daryl’s confidence as he barely glanced down to see what he had wrought. That overconfidence may be Daryl’s undoing. Certainly, we have not seen the last of Beta. What we learned this episode is that Beta is a threat in his own right. Alpha keeps him under control, but on his own, he’s unrestrained. If Alpha were out of the picture, who knows what Beta might do?
Lydia made more inroads this episode, impressing Daryl with her willingness to remain shut away during the battle (even if she predictably changed her mind partway through the fight) and finding Connie’s approval as well. To be fair, it looks like Connie may have a soft spot for children/young people, given her desperate rescue of the Whisperer Baby (still nameless, but revealed to be a boy) in the cornfield. Of course, Lydia also wormed her way in further with Henry by kissing him. He’s a teenage boy overflowing with hormones, and unlike Enid, Lydia actually seems to reciprocate his affections. At this point, I think that Henry is ready to die for Lydia, although I hope that it won’t come to that. I don’t think that Lydia would go that far for Henry, but she does seem to care for him, and even more, be impressed by how far he is willing to go to help her. Certainly, that seems like something she hasn’t experienced in a long time. Lydia does still have an attachment to ‘her people’, asking Henry not to kill them, but that’s understandable, given how long she was living with the Whisperers. At the same time, she was waiting out the fight, holding her Hilltop coin like a talisman. Lydia is a confused teenager figuring out what she wants, acting primarily on instinct, and honestly, given her background, who could blame her for that?
In a surprising turn of events, the pink pi symbols turned out to have nothing to do with the Whisperers, but instead be related to the Highwaymen, a roving band of marauders who were really just bored out of their skulls. In a way, it was refreshing to have another group of people with whom to tangle (not to say that there wasn’t plenty of Whisperer action this week), especially when it was resolved so amicably. The leader of the Highwaymen has a kind of pirate air about him, with his bushy black beard, tipping his hat to the Queen, and riding in on his horse to rescue Tara and the Hilltoppers. He appears to be a bit of a scoundrel, but good at heart. While he and his men asked for food and water during the negotiations, in their letter they asked for books and comics, and they were won over when Carol offered them a movie. This character intrigues me, and I’m hoping to see more of him in the future.
While it was a brief glimpse, I was glad to see the Hilltoppers, including the teen crowd, as well as Earl, Tammy and the baby. They can handle themselves, and even had a convenient chest for the infant, to protect it from the walkers. In our world, if someone locked a baby in a chest, we would call it child abuse, but in the Walking Dead universe, it’s good parenting! I also had to smile when I saw the Shiva memorial statue at the Kingdom. They have some good artists there!
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Our World salute to ‘iconic heroes’, features Daryl. No Man’s Land’s season mission this week focuses on the Kingdom, with King Ezekiel, Queen Carol and Jerry fighting through walkers on their way to meet with the Highwaymen.
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