Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded with the Alexandria group coming face to face with the Reapers. Meanwhile, Eugene & Co. were welcomed into the Commonwealth by
Lisa Loeb Stephanie…or at least a woman claiming to be her.
This week, we get to see just how brutal the Reapers can be. We also check in on Alexandria, where both food and hope are running in short supply.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers. The sequence of events has also been streamlined for the sake of clarity.
Reaping the Whirlwind
The episode opens right where we left off with the Alexandria group under attack. This time, however, the bloodshed has begun in earnest. Cole immediately gets his throat slit while Duncan and Alden suffer grievous injuries. Negan and Gabriel are also injured, with the latter getting stabbed and cut across the neck. Fortunately for them, the wounds were no match for their main character character antibodies.
While all of this is happening, someone on The Walking Dead production crew decided it was a good idea to shine a glaring spotlight on Maggie’s face as she stares in shock at the carnage around her. I’m guessing this was to give the scene a surreal/nightmarish quality.
Unfortunately, it ends up looking like Lauren Cohen attempting to portray what the shredded cheese in my refrigerator must feel like when I open the door at 3:00 AM.
As the rest of the Alexandria group retreats into the woods, Maggie finally gathers herself and stands to fight back. She raises an arm only to have it lassoed by a Reaper, which results in her being pulled down to the ground. Elijah helps cut her loose, but gets lassoed around the neck in the process and is pulled offscreen.
I’m not sure if this means he died or not, but he’s likely too cool of a character for the series to kill off this soon.
Whatever the case, Maggie stands back up to find that she’s alone now except for one random Reaper sneaking up behind her. She picks up a scythe, chucks it at his head, and uses the momentary distraction to disappear into the woods.
Pretty exciting stuff, right? Definitely where you want to keep your focus unless we also take a trip over to the Commonwealth and see what’s happening there. Unfortunately, we first have to cover an entire subplot about catching horses.
Glued to the Mission
Magna climbs down from the wall and asks Kelly why she skipped their shared guard duty shift that morning. Kelly gives the classic “something came up” excuse, but says she’ll be there for the next one.
Magna then asks if she “wants to talk about it,” (with “it” presumably being Connie), but Kelly says there’s nothing to talk about.
Meanwhile, Carol observes Aaron leading a work crew as they install a very weak fortification of Alexandria’s defensive barrier. Instead of offering to help, she goes home. Aaron follows and asks why she didn’t show up to assist despite being signed up to do so. Carol says that she and Kelly were out looking for the town’s lost horses, which doesn’t seem like a major priority when your city is one stiff breeze away from being a zombie buffet.
To her credit, Carol counters with a pretty good point: If they don’t find any horses, then they won’t be able to move or scavenge anything beyond a few miles, thus leading to starvation. Aaron tries to counter this by bringing up what happened to Buttons, a horse he had to put down all the way back in Season 5.
Predictably, this does nothing to dissuade Carol from her equine crusade.
Elsewhere, Judith, Hershel, RJ, and Gracie attempt to stave off hunger by playing cards together. Hershel asks Judith if she ever worries about her mom when she goes away for multiple seasons at a time. Judith responds that grown-ups are always going off on long adventures before mimicking them saying “Love you, see you soon!”
This brief moment of levity is blown to smithereens when Hershels points out that you really can’t trust grown ups anymore when they say they’ll return. Judith attempts to put things in perspective by declaring that her mom always comes back, but RJ doesn’t seem to buy it.
Later, Carol takes Magna and Kelly out to look for horses. They run into Rosita while she’s picking mushrooms and convince her to join Team Equine, as well. The four of them are nearly able to lasso a horse, but it runs off at the last second.
While searching for another steed, Rosita tells Carol that she’s been having dreams about Abraham lately. She also believes he’s trying to tell her something about Alexandria. Whenever she’s about to the receive the message, however, he gets shot in the head.
As if that weren’t dark enough, the group soon finds a large number of their horses dead and mutilated by walkers. Rosita tries to tell Carol that they should give up for the day before it gets dark, but she refuses. Magna then walks up and gives Carol a huge hug, which felt more awkward than it was touching.
It’s also enough to convince Carol that they should go home.
On the way there, however, Rosita spots some of the horses running through a field like something out of a bad romance novel. The group’s luck gets even better when the horses run straight into an abandoned dairy farm with paddocks where they can be penned in.
When the horses still refuse to be caught, Kelly says that she thinks they want to come home and tells everyone to drop their lassos. Sure enough, this is all it takes for the horses to calm down and begin nuzzling them.
*Side Note: It’s exactly as schmaltzy as it sounds.
The group heads into town with the horses, providing the citizens of Alexandria with a badly needed morale boost. After trying them up, Magna confronts Carol and tells her to stop giving Kelly false hope that Connie is alive…which feels really out of left field since that was never even mentioned the entire episode, but whatever.
Carol then takes one of the horses into a barns and kills it right as Aaron is walking in. Turns out she wanted to use the beautiful animal for meat. None of the kids from the card game are thrilled about eating it, but Hershel tells them it’s a lot better than the spiders he had to chow down on while he and Maggie were on the road.
Later, Rosita takes CoCo to see the horses and spots Carol washing the blood of the one she killed from her hands. Following that bit of awfulness, Kelly gives Magna a warm embrace before heading off with Carol to continue looking for more horses and/or Connie.
The day following the Reaper attack, Maggie almost makes it to a mall before one of them attempts to kills her with a thrown knife. She manages to make it inside, where she’s nearly killed by a ninja walker. Following that encounter, a Reaper who somehow snuck into the mall and stayed quiet the whole time waits until the last possible moment to attack. Maggie manages to kill him, too.
After wandering a bit more, she finds Alden only for them to be attacked by a pair of Reapers. She takes care of the one who tackles her with an unexpected assist from Negan. Once that Reaper is down, she picks up a knife and chucks it at the one mauling Alden. It nails him in the back, which he responds to by throwing back a molotov cocktail. Fortunately, Negan and Maggie are able to dive out of harm’s way.
Following the explosion, the pair see a trail of blood leading from where the molotov cocktail Reaper crawled away. They also find that Alden is still alive, but in really bad shape. Despite barely being able to walk, he and Maggie both decide to keep moving toward the supply depot and wait for the others once they get there — assuming any of them are still alive.
At this point, Negan expresses his frustration with how ridiculous Maggie’s plan has become. When she counters that they need food, he points out that as someone who knows how crazy/homicidal people operate, the Reapers are not a group they should be going against — especially with their depleted forces.
Instead of listening to this sound advice, Maggie convinces Negan to help her pick up and support Alden as they limp out of the mall.
Despite the world being a very large place, they eventually run across Agatha taking down walkers and tending to a mortally wounded Duncan. They also just happened to arrive moments before Duncan is about to die.
Maggie apologizes to him, but he waves it off, explaining that the Wardens were lucky for the short time they had living well together. He then makes her promise to get Agatha home and passes away.
From there, the group heads out into the woods, which are now filled with double the number of walkers that there were before. Once again, Negan tells Maggie to rethink her plan. When she tells him he’s free to go, Negan says that he’s changed a great deal in the long period of time she was gone. He can be trusted to now.
Maggie responds by telling Negan he doesn’t have her fooled and to stop trying to be one of them.
Elsewhere, Gabriel recites Psalm 23 and pulls a knife from his leg before continuing to pursue a badly injured Reaper (Nicholls). Despite losing what must be a massive out of blood and suffering from a deep flesh wound, he manages to track the man down in the woods.
Things start getting weird when he hears Nicholls reciting Psalm 23, as well. Upon seeing Gabriel, the Reaper (who has an arrow sticking out of his gut) tells him not to be scared. He also claims to be “blessed” and asks Gabriel to pray for him.
Gabriel responds to the world’s most infuriating prayer request by pointing out that Nicholls tried to kill his friends. Nicholls counters that they did the same to him, which conveniently leaves out glaring difference between murder and self defense. When Gabriel still refuses to pray, Nicholls says he thought the priest was a man of God.
Gabriel responds with the trailer-friendly “God isn’t here anymore” line and kills him.
Forest Through the Trees
As the Meridian groups looks for a way around the walkers, Alden asks Maggie if she’s okay on account of the hostile conditions they’ve found near her old stomping grounds.
*Side Note: I’ll once again point out that Maggie knew Meridian was overtaken by Reapers before they traveled there with a small and destined-to-be-outnumbered crew.
This leads to them talking about Hershel and Adam and the future they want for their children. Meanwhile, Negan finds a walker that’s been burned and tied to a tree. Above it is a sign that reads “Judas.” Before the group can fully process this strange and foreboding sight, they’re somehow surrounded on all sides by walkers. Despite surviving for years and being a total badass, Agatha is swarmed and devoured. Maggie tries to help, but gets pulled away by Negan as Agatha screams for her to go.
Later, the surviving trio takes shelter in an abandoned church. Alden tells Maggie and Negan to go on without him since he won’t much help fighting the Reapers.
*Side Note: Not that two people could do much against them, either.
He also says the reason he left Negan and the Saviors was that he trusted her to do the right thing no matter how hard it was…and right now that means leaving him behind.
As Alden continues trying to sway Maggie to leave him, Negan mentions that it’s getting dark soon and she needs to make a decision. Maggie unloads on him, proclaiming that it’s his fault they’re in this position (after he helped destroy Hilltop while getting close to Alpha). Negan responds by saying that she still has to make a decision.
Maggie gives Alden some supplies and tells him to be there when they get back before departing with Negan on the history’s most awkward road trip.
If you’re going to make us watch a horse get slaughtered, then the episode better at least be good. Unfortunately, “Hunted” did not keep up that end of the bargain.
For starters, the entire horse subplot was terrible. Even if you somehow enjoyed the journey the characters took to find them, there were plenty of narrative missteps along the way. While it makes sense that Carol would want Kelly to continue searching/hoping for Connie’s return, the impact of Magna’s request for her to stop would have been much greater if we actually saw it take place on screen during the hour.
Also, that Magna/Carol hug was all types of weird and unearned, especially with it being the deciding factor that made Carol decide they should go home. That was followed by an even worse moment when the horses simultaneously decided to trust the captors when they put their lassos down.
But none of that was as bad or cringe-inducing as when Kelly touched Magna’s ear to show she trusts her.
About the only “good” thing from this part of the story was that it showed just how dire the food situation had become in Alexandria. Otherwise, it was just ham-fisted tale about how hard trust is in the Walking Dead world.
Gabriel’s brief appearance was a nice bit of foreshadowing about what makes the Reapers tick, but I’m still not sure how he was able to stand after getting stabbed through the leg AND sliced across the neck.
Of course, that feat was nothing compared to Duncan hauling his massive injured framed for what had to be miles (and getting past Maggie to end up at the same location). I initially assumed Agatha helped him, but I’m not sure that’s possible anymore. Once you see a badass survivor get swarmed by walkers despite having extra eyes and fighters around her, you tend to lose faith in them.
And then we come to Maggie, who has either the world’s best or worst timing. I guess it’s nice she got to say bye to Duncan, but how in the heck did she find Alden seconds before an unseen Reaper attacked her. Also, why were the Reapers in the mall already? Why didn’t they get Maggie when she was walking across the huge parking lot in broad daylight?
All nitpicks aside, I did really like her confrontation with Negan — especially when he pointed out that no matter what she said to him, it didn’t change the fact that she still had to make the hard decision in front of them. It may have been a contrived way to set the pair up on a journey, but it worked.
Let’s hope next week’s episode works a lot better than this one did.
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