The Walking Dead is picking up the pace as we move towards the last-ever midseason finale.
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 14 featured a nice blend of action, high-stakes, and revelations about the Commonwealth and Negan.
We’ll start with the Negan of it all because, well, this dude seems to land on his feet wherever he goes.
Annie being his wife and carrying a child, came out of the left-field, but it helped to highlight the amount of time that has passed in a handful of episodes.
No show utilizes time-jumps more than The Walking Dead, but the latest changed things in ways that didn’t feel possible.
Annie is a great character, but given that the series is winding down and Negan and Maggie are headed to New York for Isle of the Dead, it’s hard to get invested because there’s a high chance Annie will not be embarking on the journey with them.
It must have hurt Maggie seeing the man that ruined her happiness moving on, and you could tell from her actions that she wanted to ruin his.
There’s no excusing anything Negan did, but it’s refreshing that someone in the apocalypse is open to forgiveness.
Maggie: If anything happens to him…
Negan: It’ll have to happen to me first.
There was a look of sheer horror on Maggie’s face as she realized Annie had already been filled in on her husband’s misdeeds, and it made me question what things Annie has done to survive.
From her speech about saving Riverbend, you can tell that she’s been a leader before, perhaps a much smaller group, but there’s so much more to unpack with Annie.
Hershel sneaking onto the truck was irritating more than shocking. We should have known the moment he questioned how long his mother would be gone that he was plotting something.
We haven’t spent much time with Hershel, and quite frankly, many of the kids on this show have been used as plot devices.
That was on full display when the kid turned the gun on Negan. Knowing about all of these spinoffs is undoubtedly ruining the momentum, but at least Hershel understood that everyone fighting against Toby and his people would have been harmed if he pulled the trigger.
The series really wants to hone in on the dynamic between Maggie and Negan, and after her saving Hershel, it’s yet another thing that will allow her to tolerate his presence.
Negan telling the kid to come back in a few years when the Hilltop is reformed, and they can settle the score is a very Negan way of explaining things.
But, the fact of the matter is that he said he would save the kid for Maggie. Negan’s redemption arc has been polarizing, but at least the show highlights that while he’s changed, he’s still spending a lot of time in the gray area.
A lot was going on at the Riverbend with the safety mission, and it would have been an excellent opportunity to kill a character. Are we to assume that everyone has spent so long in the apocalypse that they can save themselves with ease?
Gabriel: The place we’re living now is different from any place we’ve ever seen.
Lydia: No it isn’t… They’re like the Whisperers, they just wear different masks.”
Toby was such an unhinged individual, and there was a lot of him for a two-episode arc. Short-term villains are a great way to get to the bigger bad guys, and there are plenty of them behind the walls of the Commonwealth.
The tricky part of the events of the Riverbend will be in how Aaron and Gabriel explain what happened to Lance. He will not believe anything, and will not accept a poorly-thought-out explanation.
The connection between Lance and Carol is a strong point because you just know Carol is getting her ducks in a row before starting a mass execution to take out all these people who are no good.
She’s managed to get close to Lance by acting like she agrees that the ends justify the means, so I hope she gets the opportunity to take him out of the equation when he least expects it.
He would stick the knife in his closest ally, but he doesn’t know that Carol is one of the most analytical people he’ll ever meet.
Rosita and Daryl’s grueling mission inside the house initially highlighted the lengths Sebastian will go to get power and influence, but knowing Lance was also in the loop about that further showed that this place is corrupt.
Poor April never stood a chance, but would it have hurt the show to, you know, give another character we know April’s death?
I mean, we have 10 episodes left and hundreds of characters. That isn’t even an exaggeration. Many characters have disappeared as the show prepares its endgame, and many periphery characters are getting more screentime than they should.
Mercer is becoming one of my favorite characters because you could tell he felt guilty about all of the people who died getting the money.
It was clearly a much bigger operation than what Daryl and Rosita were led to believe, which means there are probably countless other lies in the Commonwealth.
Leah stealing the weapons that started the deadly chain of events at Riverbend was somewhat surprising. There had to be a way to bring her back into the narrative, and this was the best possible way.
Maybe I deserve to die for what I did to your dad, to your family. These people here… they don’t.
Then again, Daryl will question his decision not to kill her when he had the chance.
There are so many balls in the air and not much time, so we’ll need some significant resolution to some of the ongoing arcs over the final two episodes of the second part of the season.
What are your thoughts on what happened?
Are you worried about Hershel falling victim to the annoying child trope that has plagued the series in the past?
Do you think Maggie and Negan now have some common ground?
Are you surprised Negan is married and preparing to become a father?
What do you think of Sebastian’s plan?
Hit the comments.
The Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.