FoCC Review: TWD Episode 1116 – Acts of God

by Transmute Jun

Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 16.

This episode was the midseason finale (the final part of the season will be aired this fall) and as such, had to both bring the main storylines to something of a conclusion, and set up the end of the series in Season 11C. While both goals were achieved, it felt unsatisfying, and the ending left much to be desired.

It was understood that Lance’s secret war against Maggie had to end in this episode, and it did. Lance’s assassination attempt failed, yet Commonwealth troops took over Hilltop and Oceanside, and solidified their hold on Alexandria. Yet as a ‘cliffhanger’, it failed, in that the final scenes of Commonwealth banners draped across walls were not compelling, since they were long expected. There was nothing new brought to the table, to excite viewers as they wait for the final episodes. There was no excitement, such as the death of a major character (and I don’t count Marco, or even Leah) or complete reversal of fortunes, no unexpected twists or interesting story elements. All in all, the progression of Lance’s attacks against Maggie went about as anticipated.

The only thing that surprised me was Leah’s death. Not so much that she died (although I think that there could have been some interesting plot elements had she stuck around and been a thorn in both Lance’s and Maggie’s sides) but that it was so perfunctory. She was struggling with Maggie on the floor (and there was zero tension there, since we know that Maggie must survive to be in her spinoff show with Negan) and then Daryl shot her. No drama, no angst, nothing… it was as if she was a throwaway character whose life meant nothing in the landscape of the show (like the aforementioned Marco). Given how much time had been spent building up her character, her relationship to Daryl, and her shift to a villain, I think that Leah deserved better.

And while we’re talking about Leah… how did she end up being so stupid? If she really wanted Maggie dead, Leah should have killed her then and there. Leah is not dumb enough to keep an enemy alive so that they can ‘suffer’. I just didn’t buy that. It was a plot device designed purely to have the ‘showdown’ between the two, which in the end, was meaningless and rote. I would have been okay with it if that scene could have been the beginning of a redemption arc for Leah, but that was certainly not the case.

Of course, Leah wasn’t the only person making stupid moves this episode. Daryl, Aaron and Gabriel started a firefight in the worst location possible (and while surrounded by their enemies). Maggie refused Negan’s assistance (and clearly, she could have used it). And everyone was splitting up. Why was everyone splitting up? Haven’t they all learned by now that they are stronger together?

Surprisingly, the underground movement in the Commonwealth was the more interesting plotline. While their screentime was brief, I enjoyed seeing Eugene become a true leader, pulling his group together and organizing the printing and distribution of papers denouncing Governor Milton. I was also glad to see Ezekiel brought into the mix, since it is consistent with his actions running the underground medical clinic.

Also, I didn’t get the ‘plague of locusts’ metaphor. Clearly, it was meant to refer to something bad/punishment, and is tied to the title of the episode (Acts of God). Yet it didn’t really feel like it had any relevance to the story.

Season 11C is scheduled to air this fall, with 8 episodes concluding the television series. I’ve been with The Walking Dead’s ups and downs for many years now, and I am hoping that the show’s ultimate conclusion will be worthy of this once-groundbreaking series.

For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season mission features Daryl and Maggie on the run from Lance’s troopers in the woods.

Do you watch The Walking Dead? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!

Transmute Jun

Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.

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