Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded with the revelation that the prison where a bunch of Coalition members are being kept (Outpost 22) was actually Alexandria. If that seems improbably/ridiculous to you, then you’re definitely not alone.
Negan and Ezekiel decided to team up and cause an uprising so they could escape. Negan expected that he won’t make it out alive (although we know he will since The Walking Dead: Dead City still has to happen). All that matters to him is that his wife Annie and their unborn child will be safe. Meanwhile, Daryl, Carol, Rosita, Gabriel, Maggie, and Connie continue working on what might be the world’s most dysfunctional plan to rescue their friends.
This week, Carol & Co. continue seeking a way to rescue their friends while Negan and Ezekiel take a more direct approach to starting a rebellion. Meanwhile, Aaron & Co. cross paths with some folks we haven’t seen since last season while Eugene fights for his life in the Commonwealth court system.
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.
In Harm’s Way
This week’s Judith Voice Over spotlights Negan and the need for mercy to prevail over the desire for wrath.
From there, we cut to Negan & Co. clearing train tracks for the Commonwealth. Princess notices Tyler (the disgraced soldier who took Max hostage) is part of their work detail and points him out to Ezekiel, suggesting that he might be useful.
Meanwhile, Negan looks like he’s about to start something when he notices Annie nearby. After seeing his pregnant wife exhausted, Negan ignores Ezekiel’s request for a map he’s been keeping/making and asks a guard (Roberts) if he can take some of Annie’s shifts to provide her some rest. This results in him getting roughed up. When Annie attempts to come to his rescue, she’s roughed up, as well.
In the distance, Carol and Daryl watch all this take place with grave concern. When they meet back with everyone else, it’s decided that Carol, Daryl, Maggie, and Connie will sneak into Alexandria/Outpost 22 via the sewers while Rosita and Gabriel provide sniper support if necessary.
Rosita isn’t happy about not being on the incursion team while Coco is in danger, but Carol convinces her it’s the best strategy.
Carol and Maggie are the first to emerge topside at Alexandria near a makeshift command post. They are nearly spotted by a guard, but manage to knock him out. After he’s bound and gagged, Maggie admits how this whole situation has made her wonder if it was fair to bring Hershel into the world. Carol responds she’s trying to make the world better for her son, which is the very definition of hope.
The pair’s heart-to-heart is interrupted when the troops inside the house hear something on the radio and head out.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Connie have an awkward conversation where they both admit that they’re scared about the upcoming battle.
*Side Note: Seriously?
Negan and Ezekiel meet Tyler at the mess hall and attempt to convince him to join their rebellion. Predictably, Tyler is more interested in surviving than escaping.
The meeting is interrupted by a pair of Commonwealth soldiers (one of whom is Roberts) walking in and demanding Negan come with them. When Negan refuses to move until they tell him where his wife is being held, they simply drag him away. Tyler pointedly remarks to Ezekiel that he’s on his own and walks off.
Negan is taken to the office of The Warden. Before their conversation begins, he informs Roberts that his request for a transfer has been denied. When Roberts tries to explain that his brother is terminally ill, the Warden chastizes him for attempting to submit a transfer over his head before extending the soldier’s assignment six more months.
*Side Note: In case you didn’t catch it, this is EXTREMELY SUBTLE foreshadowing that Roberts and the other troopers are also sick of the Warden and potentially willing to rebel.
With that terrible display of leadership out of the way, the Warden reveals that his soldiers found Negan’s map after he dropped it during the altercation at the train tracks. When Negan attempts to play dumb, the Warden responds with a speech about the terrible things that “real” leaders have to do before asking Negan to help him discover who’s fomenting dissent among his prisoners. When Negan refuses, the Warden threatens to never let him see his wife again.
*Side Note: Is the Warden really so dense that Negan wouldn’t be his first suspect?
Negan must have agreed (or done a great job pretending to) because the scene immediately cuts to Roberts escorting him to see Annie. She tells her husband that he needs to be careful and remain alive so they can both be there for the birth of their child.
Negan assures Annie that he’s known men like the Warden his whole life and that he knows how to deal with him. Annie responds that she might beat him to the punch.
Back out on the tracks, Negan lies and tells Ezekiel that the Warden put him on latrine duty. When Negan tries to brush off his criticism for going rogue, Ezekiel launches into a tirade about how much the former leader of the Saviors took from him a few seasons ago. He ends it by saying that Negan doesn’t deserve to be a father — a sentiment that’s sure to help assuage any guilt he may have felt about potentially making a deal with the Warden.
After telling Ezekiel that he plans to do what’s necessary for his unborn child, Negan marches back into the office of the Warden, who asks if he’s learned who’s trying to start a prisoner rebellion.
The scene cuts out before we hear what his answer is.
Reunion and Retreat
Aaron, Jerry, Elijah, and Lydia are still on their supply journey when they encounter Luke and Jules, who we haven’t seen since the pair decided to live together in Oceanside during Season 10. After a brief reunion, Luke informs them that Oceanside has been taken over by the Commonwealth. As if that weren’t bad enough, the pair are being hunted by the Commonwealth Army.
Sure enough, the group is forced to flee when they hear soldiers in jeeps closing in. Lydia spots a dead walker and decides it’s time to take a book out of her late mother‘s playbook and use a nearby walker herd to hide…and maybe do a little damage, too.
Governor Pamela Milton tearfully recalls for the court the day she learned of Sebastian‘s demise. When it’s Yumiko‘s turn to cross-examine her, she asks the Governor about the recording where Sebastian claimed that the Commonwealth lottery was rigged. Milton responds by declaring that Eugene altered her son’s voice, causing the peanut gallery to murmur their disapproval.
During a break in the proceedings, Eugene’s optimism is tempered by Yumiko’s observation that Milton still holds all the power. Even if the people revolt in the face of an unjust verdict, a resulting insurrection would be easily put down.
As Eugene begins a heartfelt goodbye to Max, Yumiko pleads with her to get Mercer on the stand and speak out against Milton. Max is skeptical he would turn on the governor, but Yumiko and Eugene think there’s a chance — especially if he doesn’t know about Princess being taken to Outpost 22 yet.
Unfortunately, there’s no way Max would be able to get near the Commonwealth Commander, meaning that it’s up to Yumiko to see if Mercer is willing to work with them.
Yumiko shows up at Mercer’s office and makes an appeal, punctuating it with the reveal that Princess was taken prisoner. Mercer knows what happened, but is still reluctantly dedicated to following orders. He goes on to explain that taking the stand against Milton won’t accomplish anything.
When the trial resumes, Eugene addresses the court about how one person doing the right thing can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, the judge is unmoved and pronounces him guilty.
It’s also decreed that Eugene is to be publicly executed in one hour.
I Am Negan
That evening, Ezekiel and the rest of the Outpost 22/Alexandria prisoners (including Annie) are brought out to the windmill, where the Warden reveals that Negan has confessed to fomenting a rebellion. The Warden further explains that while co-conspirators will be given the benefit of the doubt, everyone must watch Negan be executed by firing squad.
As Annie screams for them to spare her husband, Negan assures his wife that everything will be okay before turning to face his executors with a smug grin. Upon seeing this, the Warden decides that Annie should be executed, too. Negan becomes understandably furious, screaming at the Warden that they had a deal and to only kill him.
The Warden ignores Negan’s pleas and tells his troops to prepare to fire. Negan spots Roberts and appeals to him as someone else with a family, causing the soldier to hesitate. Before the rest of the troops can fire, Ezekiel, Tyler, and a bunch of other main/secondary characters walk over and stand in front of Negan and Annie.
*Side Note: I can kind of see Ezekiel and the other folks doing this, but Tyler is a bit of a stretch.
The Warden expresses admiration for the prisoners’ bravery before ordering his soldiers to shoot them. The troops’ previously shaken resolve is broken when Ezekiel makes a final plea to their humanity. Roberts takes things a step further and points his gun at the Warden. When another soldier points his gun in Roberts’ direction, he shoots him.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Carol are able to locate Herschel and execute the soldier guarding him. As Maggie embraces her son, Rosita shows up and asks if they found Coco, too. Upon learning that her daughter is still missing, Rosita becomes justifiably pissed.
She runs outside, stops Negan from finishing off the Warden, and demands he tell her where Coco is. When the Warden refuses to answer, Rosita grabs the zombified soldier that Roberts shot and shoves the creature in his face. When the Warden only responds by saying “You will lose everything,” Rosita allows the walker to chow down on his face.
Elsewhere, a zombie gut-slathered Lydia & Co. lead the walker herd toward…somewhere? I’m honestly not sure where they’re going. Whatever the case, they’re met by a group of Commonwealth soldiers who begin leader the herd (and our heroes) away. While this is happening, one of the walkers falls down and picks up a knife that someone in Lydia’s group dropped.
Over in the Commonwealth, Eugene is led with a bag over his head to what he believes will be his execution. Upon having the bag removed, however, he’s surprised to be met by Mercer and a group of soldiers who are ready to overthrow Governor Milton.
This episode feels like it should have been much better than it actually was.
There was a lot that happened, but most of it was painfully predictable. The only real surprise was Rosita not being reunited with her daughter (and the gory aftermath of her fury). Otherwise, everything from Negan’s martyrdom to Roberts and the other Commonwealth soldiers turning against the Warden could be seen coming from a mile away.
Same goes for Mercer’s long overdue turn, although it did make for a cool final scene. That said, it might have been even cooler to watch him take the stand — especially with how great Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) was this episode.
In a similar vein, the scenes featuring Negan and Annie were phenomenal every time. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Medina Senghore are fantastic actors individually, but their onscreen chemistry takes everything up a level.
Unfortunately, a lot of the great character work in “Faith” was overshadowed by a narrative that relied on oppressive sentiment and ridiculously perfect timing.
Carol & Co.’s incursion into Alexandria should have been awesome. Instead, it became the backdrop for cheesy self-help speeches before Daryl appeared out of nowhere at just the right moment to take down the warden — but not kill him (even though that’s clearly what would’ve happened in any other instance). We still needed Rosita’s Mama Bear moment to happen.
Also, is anyone else confused by the stuff with Aaron/Lydia & Co? I can buy them happening to meet Luke and Jules on the road since the pair were headed toward Alexandria, but it’s not very clear where they’re going. If it’s Alexandria, then I don’t think Aaron would be 100% on board with bringing a walker herd into a city that still houses a lot of innocent people.
Additionally, I’m just about done with evolving walkers. I really hope the one that picked up the knife doesn’t start stabbing people next week (as hilarious as that would be to watch).
I also hope that The Walking Dead‘s penultimate episode regains the narrative momentum the series had before these last two installments.
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