FoCC Review: TWD Episode 1117 – Lockdown

by Transmute Jun

Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 17.

While the end of the last mini-season was anticlimactic, this final set of Walking Dead episodes began with excitement. Lance and his soldiers were coming after Maggie and Daryl. Connie, Ezekiel and Kelly were encouraging protests in the heart of the Commonwealth. Mercer was dealing with a swarm descending upon the settlement. I can’t recall the last time a Walking Dead episode had this much action throughout the entire episode, and it all feels like it is coming together.

The Commonwealth is going to end; that much is obvious. The when and how (and who) might be in question, but this society is going to crumble. This is evident both in the number of ‘incidents’ with which they have to deal, and the obvious ineptitude of their personnel. Yet what they have to their advantage is numbers. The Commonwealth holds thousands of people, and has a huge number (relatively, in the post-apocalyptic world) of military. And while those soldiers seem to be incompetent (clearly, they cannot deal with walkers in the field unless they can use a rifle from a safe distance) there are many of them, and (at this moment) they are easily replaced. Even Lance’s group, which suffered many losses in this episode, still produced a large troupe of soldiers to surround Maggie’s and Daryl’s group in the sewers. It’s a little unrealistic to think that Lance has that many people, but then, right now he has as many as the plot demands. It’s clear that Lance will continue to be a threat for a while, and he’ll need the backup to hold that position.

To be fair, Lance seems somewhat competent on his own. Besides his devious mind, he is able to use a firearm and was right in front when running to catch Daryl on the street, rather than hiding behind his men. And Lance’s smile at the end of the episode, when Daryl was holding him as a hostage, was chilling.

Back at the Commonwealth, it is difficult to see the real threat. Pamela Milton is clearly losing her tenuous hold on the population, and it is only the military that keeps her in a leadership position. And with Mercer having doubts, how long will it be before even the military deserts her? Yet the people of the Commonwealth are soft, and were clearly terrified at the thought of the swarm approaching. They do not know how to defend themselves, and it is this deficiency that will cause them to waver. Benjamin Franklin is attributed with the statement, ‘Those that give up freedom for safety deserve neither.’ The Commonwealth citizens are heading directly into this impasse, discovering that the people who were ‘protecting’ them are corrupt, and even if they did keep people safe from one danger, those leaders compose yet another threat. The discovery of Sebastian’s crimes has blown the lid off of this volatile situation, and the former Alexandrians are stoking the flames.

This is obviously not without risk, as it became especially clear in this episode that Milton’s people won’t hesitate to use children as leverage for ‘good behavior’. Jerry’s flight with the kids was a little unbelievable, but the point was made: no one is safe.

Into this mix came Negan and Carol. Negan talked his way inside the Commonwealth, and wants to help people get out. And as always, Carol has her own agenda. I’m not certain exactly what her game plan is, but it feels as if she is intending to sacrifice the people of the Commonwealth for her own. Carol appears to be willing to let Sebastian go free (setting up someone else to take the fall for his crimes) if she can ensure the safety of her friends. Or does she have something else more devious up her sleeve? I certainly hope so… I would hate to think that Carol was willing to prop up Pamela Milton for her own ends.

It was clear in the last mini-season that Mercer was questioning the motives of the Commonwealth, but in this episode, as he let Negan inside, and told Rosita that he’ll have her back if she leaves, we can see that Mercer is on the verge of outright revolution himself. Mercer genuinely wants to ally himself with the ‘good’ people, and he can see that the Miltons are not those people. Yet Mercer appears to be aimless, not knowing whom he should trust.

The threads laid out in this episode certainly have the potential to carry the series to its conclusion, and I hope that they will be developed into a realistic and interesting plotline.

While there wasn’t much humor this episode, Negan kept up his barrage of insults, my favorite being the ‘Clamshell Brigade’. I also liked that the episode tied in the many faces of Negan. Not only was he cracking jokes, but he referenced his old position as leader of the Saviors (Do you know who I am?), he used the Whisperer skills that he learned from Alpha, and he openly acknowledged his newfound worry for Annie and his unborn child.

Daryl also referenced the past, telling Maggie that he was looking after her because Glenn would have wanted him to do so. I am guessing that we will see many more such references as we approach the series finale.

Yet my biggest nitpick from this episode has to do with the walkers. When did they become so strong? They were tearing apart Commonwealth armor on the street, and then they literally pulled a man apart as Mercer was trying to rescue him. I’m finding it hard to believe that rotting corpses are capable of such feats.

For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season mission (still to be released) will feature Daryl.

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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