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The Walking Dead (AMC)


‘The Walking Dead’ season 11 episode 21 ‘Outpost’ recap/review

Other than one very compelling scene, ‘Outpost’ is a serious episode trapped within a comedy of errors.

Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded with the long-awaited death of Lance Hornsby. Unfortunately, the cathartic victory was tempered by most of the Coalition members being taken prisoner by the Commonwealth Army. Now it’s up to Carol and Daryl to find a way to save them.

Meanwhile, Governor Pamela Milton has become even more vengeful after the death of her zombified son, Sebastian. Her plan to prosecute/punish Eugene also hits a snag when Yumiko publicly declared that she’d be defending her friend in court.

This week, we get to find out just how bad things are for most of the Coalition while the few who aren’t in custody work on a rescue plan.

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.

Road Warriors

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

This week’s Judith Voice Over expresses hope that one day it won’t be necessary to fight all the time. It’s much shorter than the previous ones, but does feature Maggie and Rick quite a bit.

We then cut to the convoy seen at the end of the last episode — specifically, a covered jeep carrying Maggie, Gabriel, and Rosita. After noticing that the guard who’s sitting with them has fallen asleep, Maggie gets to work breaking her restraints before helping Gabriel, who then gets Rosita out of hers.

Rosita and Gabriel manage to jump out of the jeep, but the soldier wakes up and grabs Maggie before she can do the same. As the pair struggle, the soldier accidentally fires his gun and kills the driver, causing the vehicle to crash. In one of the luckiest breaks imaginable, the driver is hurled from the jeep while the soldier in the passenger seat is ejected through the front windshield and killed.

With the driver already dead, Maggie is able to beat a hasty retreat into the woods.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The next morning, we see Gabriel and Rosita passed out in the forest, which I have to assume is due to the lingering effects of a sedative combined with suffering severe concussions. Although their main character plot armor protected them from walkers through the night, one of the zombified soldiers from before decides to shuffle over just as Rosita is waking up. He nearly devours her after she decides to be afraid of walkers again, but is shoved away at the last second by Gabriel. After taking down the walker, the pair hear Commonwealth Soldiers communicating about the search to find them.

Later, Rosita convinces Gabriel that they should follow the convoy’s tracks and try to rescue Coco. Along the way, they’re attacked by a pair of ninja zombies. They manage to take them out, but the fight results in Rosita dislocating her shoulder. After instructing Gabriel on how to pop it back into place, they hear a train and head toward it.

Elsewhere, Ezekiel wakes up on the bus along with Negan, Annie, Kelly, and a bunch of extras. As they correctly speculate who escaped from the convoy’s missing jeep, a man (The Warden) gets on and announces that they’ve arrived at a labor camp. As long as everyone cooperates, they’ll be able to see the children who the Commonwealth took. He also declares that no one is to address anyone else by name, including the guards.

The Warden then selects a group of prisoners for another transport while the rest are ordered to stay and clear the train tracks. Annie ends up being picked, prompting Negan to promise he’ll find a way out for them and their unborn child.

Imagine Meeting You Here

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Daryl and Carol are scouting the train station when they spot one of the jeeps arriving with Connie. On the radio the pair took last episode, they hear a soldier and supervisor discussing why Connie was separated from the rest of the workers, which involves something very bad/ominous called “Designation 2.”

It’s clear Daryl is desperate to save her, but he also realizes that doing so would mean the troopers holding the children would get advance warning of their presence. Carol assures him they’ll find a way to rescue everyone.

As the train starts moving down the tracks (with Connie in one of the cars), Carol and Daryl get in their jeep and tail it as best they can. They eventually decide to get ahead of the train and locate one of the junction points to see which direction it goes. Daryl is ready to keep moving, but Carol convinces him they need to sit tight. She also empathizes with him over his concern for Connie.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Meanwhile, Maggie is strolling through the woods and encounters a child walker, who makes her feel even more worried about Herschel. This affects her so badly, in fact, that she can’t bring herself to take the pint-sized zombie down, instead opting to let it follow her.

She manages to put some distance between them, but eventually has to hide when a Commonwealth soldier (Trooper 141) rides by on a motorcycle. Trooper 141 stops, checks in, and notices Zombie Kid walking toward him. When he takes out his gun to shoot him, Maggie uses the distraction to ambush and stab the soldier in the side. She also manages to successfully knock him out, but forgets about Zombie Kid, who tries to grab/eat her.

Instead of taking the undead boy out, Maggie pulls him into her arms. She eventually forces herself to put him down just as the rumble of a jeep engine approaches. Thankfully, her decision to project onto an undead child doesn’t turn out to be a fatal one when it’s Daryl and Carol who pull up.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Maggie tearfully laments to Carol about how she couldn’t save Herschel. Carol assures Maggie it wasn’t her fault, but that does little to comfort the mother who’s terrified about the unknown fate of her son. Carol then gives a soliloquy about how the fall of society forced a bunch of folks who normally wouldn’t even be friends to become family. That point is driven home when Gabriel and Rosita just happen to show up and run over to them.

*Side Note: I get that they’re all following the same train tracks, but the timing of everyone finding each other is still pretty suspect.

Inside a nearby horse stable (?), Daryl roughs up Trooper 141, who is bleeding profusely from Maggie’s recent stab wound. After informing him that he’s going to die soon, Daryl pleads with the soldier to tell them where the train is going and what the Commonwealth is planning for Connie. When he tries and fails to appeal to Trooper 141’s empathy, Daryl threatens to make his final moments as painful as possible.

Before he can start slicing, however, Gabriel walks in and recognizes Trooper 141 as a member of his Commonwealth congregation. The soldier admits that he feels burdened with guilt about the things he’s done as part of the Commonwealth Army. He’s also worried that God will never forgive him. Gabriel admits he’s not sure, but also explains that the way a person ends their life is important.

This prompts Trooper 141 to reveal that Gabriel’s friends have been sentenced to hard labor at a nearby camp. He doesn’t know what Designation 2 means for Connie, but anyone else who’s ever had that label was never seen again. The soldier then asks if Gabriel can stay with him and pray while he passes, which the priest obliges.

Afterward, Carol reveals she has an idea that will allow them to save Connie without the soldiers guarding the Coalition children being alerted.

Train Heist

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

When the Commonwealth train stops to flip a junction switch, the soldier sent out to do the job discovers that it’s been jammed. The train’s conductor (Wilson) tries to radio a place called Outpost 22, but can’t get a signal due to the train’s antennae being destroyed. Maggie then appears behind Wilson points a gun at his head, and forces him to put the radio down.

Meanwhile, Daryl, Carol, Gabriel, and Rosita stalk the other troops into the woods as they go to clear out a few random walkers. Just as one of them discovers that the junction switch was purposefully jammed, a firefight breaks out. Maggie & Co. initially have the upper hand, but are forced into a standoff when one of the troops pulls Connie off the train and holds her at gunpoint.

Unfortunately for him, Connie is a badass and breaks free from his grasp while also knocking his gun away. After the soldier knocks her down, Daryl runs to check on Connie, allowing him to grab a motorcycle and ride off to warn the other troops at Outpost 22 about what happened.

This incredibly poor decision leads to Daryl grabbing a motorcycle and giving chase. When the trooper goes offroad and crashes, Daryl slides his bike beneath a downed tree and knocks him over before plunging a knife into his head.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Meanwhile, Maggie and the others drag Wilson back to the horse stable and threaten to kill him. When he tries to garner sympathy by saying his family lives nearby, Rosita points out that the nearby/dead Trooper 141 probably had a family, too.

Wilson relents and reveals there’s a map in the train’s engine room, which he’ll show them. On the way there, he somehow gets hold of a large iron spike and threatens to kill himself, explaining that Outpost 22’s Warden will torture him and kill his family otherwise. Carol tries to reason with him, but Wilson shoves the screwdriver through his throat.

With options and time running low, Rosita suggests they get the train’s long range radio working again.

Home Sweet Home

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Over at the labor camp, Ezekiel shoots down Kelly’s idea to escape and tells her to keep working. His point is driven home when three other prisoners attempt to flee and are immediately gunned down.

Meanwhile, Negan tries to ask one of the guards about his wife, earning a baton to the face.

Once mealtime rolls around, Negan sits close enough to Ezekiel so they can discuss things without being noticed. Ezekiel initially responds by reminding Negan of all the awful things he and the Saviors did to his people. Negan not only recognizes his horrific past, but admits that a place like Outpost 22 is likely what he deserves. That doesn’t mean it fits the others, though — especially Ezekiel, Annie, or his unborn children. He then pleads with Ezekiel to put his extremely justified hatred aside and help him.

Once Ezekiel agrees, Negan suggests that he can give the Kingdom’s former lead the spark he needs to start an uprising. Unfortunately, doing that likely means that Negan won’t escape Outpost 22 alive.

That night, Rosita convinces someone at Commonwealth command that she’s lost in the woods due to the train being overtaken…which you’d think would do the same as a soldier radioing in a real attack, but whatever. The radio operator gives Rosita & Co. directions to Outpost 22 as Negan & Co. are being bussed there.

All of the Coalition members are shocked to discover that Outpost 22 is actually a repurposed Alexandria.

The Verdict

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Okay, let’s start with that absurd final revelation.

I get that Negan, Ezekiel, Kelly, Annie, and the extras were all drugged and had bags on their heads. But considering all the supply runs and patrols they did well beyond Alexandria’s walls, you figure that someone would speak up and say “Hey, doesn’t this area look kind of familiar?”

If not them, then certainly Carol & Co. would. When you consider that Daryl and Carol both lived miles from Alexandria for a while, then it’s even harder to believe that the area they all just happened to meet up in was completely unfamiliar territory.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Let’s now, take things back to the beginning of the episode, which was even more absurd.

We start off with three extremely high-value prisoners (Maggie, Gabriel, and Rosita) being watched by one narcoleptic/inept guard. If that was the only thing that was unbelievable about their escape, then I could probably look past it. Unfortunately, Gabriel and Rosita’s daring escape was followed by them laying unconscious in the woods for hours…and never getting eaten by a zombie.

When a zombie did finally decide to saunter over (right when the pair were both waking up), Rosita acted like she was seeing her first walker since 2010. Later, this woman who single-handedly took down an entire walker swarm earlier this season gets jumped by one so badly that her arm is dislocated.

Granted it was one of those plot-specific walkers that don’t make any noise until the moment of attack, but that’s still no excuse.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Meanwhile, you’ve got Carol and Daryl leading a plan that involves them being careful not to alert the Commonwealth soldiers to their presence. Nevermind that:

  • A jeep from the Commonwealth convoy never showed up where it was supposed to the next day.
  • A Commonwealth train never showed up at its final destination the entire day.
  • Rosita called into Commonwealth command with the cover story that THE TRAIN WAS FREAKING ATTACKED.

Before that last one, Daryl ran to check on Connie after she was thrown to the ground. Never mind that she’s survived exponentially worse before — the show had to make sure and remind people that Daryl likes her despite the great chemistry the pair have already established.

Daryl then hops on a conveniently available bike, catches up with the soldier (despite him having a considerable headstart), and takes him with an admittedly awesome move — but only because the soldier decided that going offroad through the woods was a better option somehow.

And how the hell did Wilson the Train Conductor gets his hands on a giant iron spike when he was surrounded by an escort?

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

About the only good things about this episode were the scenes with Kelly, Ezekiel, Annie, and Negan at the labor camp. Negan and Ezekiel’s conversation in particular stood out — and not just because the rest of the episode was so bad. This was a confrontation that was a long time coming and resulted in one of the best looks we’ve gotten at Negan’s redemption over the last several seasons.

Let’s hope next week’s episode gives us a lot more moments like that instead of causing a near-continuous eyeroll.

The Walking Dead (AMC)
‘The Walking Dead’ season 11 episode 21 ‘Outpost’ recap/review
'The Walking Dead' season 11, episode 21 'Outpost'
Other than one very compelling scene, 'Outpost' is a serious episode trapped within a comedy of errors.
Reader Rating0 Votes
The conversation between Negan and Ezekiel was superb.
From the inept sleeping guard to Rosita being nearly taken out by one zombie, the episode required absurd coincidences and leaps of logic to move the plot forward.
It's a bit hard to believe that all these characters would happen to meet up like they did.
It's even harder to believe that none of them would recognize the land surrounding Alexandria -- even from a long distance.

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