by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 6.
Remember back when zombies were actually the stuff of horror films rather than character dramas? I had almost forgotten that, since The Walking Dead has been far more of the latter than the former during its 11 year run. Yet this episode brought in a big dose of horror, in the form of a haunted house occupied by feral human cannibals. This was the first time in a long time that I actually felt the creepiness and unease that come with a good horror film. When Connie walked down the hallway where the portraits had their eyes gouged out, I was uncomfortable, but when it became evident that these creatures were actually real (and not Connie’s sleep-deprived hallucination), it became far more disturbing. While we have seen cannibals on the show before (in the form of the Termites), and we have seen humans regressing in their way of living/evolution (like the Whisperers), never have we seen people who have regressed so far back to an animal-like state. I was reminded of the quislings in World War Z (the excellent book, not the terrible film): humans who had regressed to such a feral state that they actually thought that they were zombies.
The scenes with Connie and Virgil trapped in the house were some of the best so far this season, particularly when the scenes switched to silence, to mirror how Connie was experiencing the situation. The terror on Connie’s face was real, and the setup with her sleep deprivation had me guessing until the big reveal.
While Kelly’s scenes were far more boring in comparison, they made a nice bookending for Connie’s story, as they set up Kelly’s group’s arrival toward the end of the episode. Kudos to the Walking Dead team for bringing Connie (and Virgil) back in such a memorable way.
In comparison, the Daryl/Reaper/Maggie storyline felt a bit dull, but it certainly moved the plot along in an interesting direction. Maggie’s group now knows that Daryl is working with the Reapers, but not truly with them, and Daryl understands that Pope isn’t truly rational. Even more, Pope implied at the end of the episode that he had gotten more information out of Frost before he had killed him, but we don’t know what that information might be. After the lengths Daryl had to go to (unfortunately, for Frost) in order to maintain his cover, is it now blown? We may have to wait an episode or two to find out.
It was also good to have storylines converging again, rather than having everyone run off in different directions. While it’s nice to see everyone have something of their own storyline, when there are too many plots going at once, it can be a bit tedious for viewers. It would be good to have things settle down to the point where there are only the Reapers vs Alexandria and the Commonwealth storylines.
While this was a compelling episode, I do have one major nitpick. When Connie and Virgil were approaching the house, there were maybe 4 walkers out in front. In the beginning of the show, this would have been a big obstacle, but this far into the apocalypse, it shouldn’t have been any trouble at all for 2 people to silently take out 4 slow-moving walkers. Connie may have been weaponless (having left her slingshot behind at her camp) but Virgil had a knife. And speaking of Virgil’s knife, why didn’t he use it out there on the porch? Instead, he struggled with that walker like a complete rookie. This led to a loud scuffle that attracted many more walkers. Of course, that may have been done on purpose as plot setup for Connie’s trap at the end of the episode. It certainly was an effective plan, but it required the knowledge that the walkers were waiting outside of the door.
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season episode features Carol and Rosita looking for traces of Connie in the forest.
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