Label: Make My Day Records - none • Format: CD Album, Promo • Country: Germany • Genre: Rock • Style: Indie Rock
Doing what I do, it's hard to avoid spoilers, so I knew we'd see pikes on a hill and I knew there would be heads on them. I just wasn't sure which ones. The final choices were. Of those brutally murdered by Alpha and the Whisperers in retaliation for taking Lydia Cassidy McClincyonly three were Slow Ground - Cuba Missouri - Things I Wish I Had Not Called Just Things like main characters.
I won't compare this list with those killed in the comics except to say that it's a very different outcome there. I really thought we were being set up to see certain characters die Rosita's pregnancy seemed like a sure thing; both Luke and Alden seemed like potential goners; when they couldn't find Ezekiel I thought the worst, etc.
It's an iconic way to go for Enid, Tara and Henry. Tara was actually, at this point, one of the longest surviving characters on The Walking Dead, believe it or not. She had been around since Season 4 when she joined the Governor and the assault on the prison and was then spared and saved by Glenn. Enid showed up at Alexandria some time later where I was convinced she was a spy for the Wolves. Maybe she was but thought better of it. Who knows? Either way, after a brief stint as Carl's sort-of-girlfriend and not much else, Schicht - Ercandize - La Haine - Sie Nannten Ihn Mücke. finally started to come into her own as Siddiq's Punishment - Silicon Dick - Chili Con Dick apprentice after the time jump.
Now, just as she and Alden accept that they're for real boyfriend and girlfriend, she gets her head lopped off. Elodie - Sacha Distel Et Ses Collégiens - Swinguer La Vie was perhaps the biggest surprise of Slow Ground - Cuba Missouri - Things I Wish I Had Not Called Just Things three, having been built up as New Carl all season.
I figured he'd be around for quite a lot longer. I was wrong. It makes sense, of course, for Alpha to kill her daughter's fling. One final act of vengeance and horribleness just to cement their break.
I should have known better, of course. Henry was played by Matt Lintz, the older brother of Macsen Lintz who played young Henry before the time jump. These two, in turn, are brothers to Madison Lintz, the actress who played Carol's daughter, Sophia, way back in Season 1 and 2.
Sophia's death remains You Are My Sunshine - Alexis Korner - Get Off My Cloud of the show's most shocking. In any case, being a Lintz on The Walking Dead means you won't be around very long, whether you're killed or recast.
We start things out with a happy Hilltop couple, first escaping zombies years and years ago on their anniversary, then finding Hilltop and safety. The Thrill Is Gone - Various - 1970: Take Two years pass and we see them celebrate their anniversary again and again, right up until the day they leave for the fair at the Kingdom. Naturally, they do not make the journey.
Alpha and her people ambush them and we see the Whisperer leader carefully scalping the blond woman. Later Alpha uses the woman's scalp and its long golden locks as a disguise.
She enters the Kingdom and walks about Ezekiel's fair. She even has a very creepy conversation with the King, who doesn't seem to notice how weird this woman is. I'm not sure how she managed to capture all these different characters, but I suspect she had help from other Whisperers who also infiltrated the fair.
She takes eight—the two teens, Frankie, the blacksmith's wife, Henry, Enid and Tara, as well as Siddiq—but we don't see them being taken. We only see a slow-mo flashback while Siddiq memorializes later. He was spared, bound and gagged as witness to the act, tied to a tree to watch.
He talks about how the Highwaymen came to the rescue and everyone put up a good fight, but ultimately were overwhelmed. I'm not sure how to feel about this.
I guess it's a tricky setup. We want to see the heads on spikes and be surprised, but it feels kind of lame to watch the big fight after the fact. Part of the reason it was possible to capture all these people is the fact that a good portion of the fighters from the Kingdom, including Michonne, Daryl, Carol, Magna and Yumiko and others had all gone off to reinforce the Hilltop, which they assumed would be the target of Alpha's ire.
They were wrong. Worse, they were led into a trap after splitting up like morons, surrounded by Alpha, Beta and a whole bunch of Whisperers. Alpha takes Daryl with her and tells him that she's marked the border between their lands, and if they ever cross into her lands again they'll face swift reprisal. She tells him his friends Michonne and Carol are safe, and they'll see what she's talking about when they head back to the Kingdom. I wish they'd established Ozzie and the Highwaymen more prior to their deaths.
I wish they had established a relationship between Ozzy and Tara—yes, I know Tara had a girlfriend, but she could easily have been bisexual, and establishing a romance between Ozzy and Tara would have made both their deaths more painful to viewers. The teenagers were portrayed as total pricks throughout the season and especially during this episode as they needlessly tormented Lydia. Making them actually sympathetic characters that we cared about they're the future of this fledgling society, after all would have upped the sting factor.
Actually, how they handled both Enid and Henry was pretty good, establishing Enid Slow Ground - Cuba Missouri - Things I Wish I Had Not Called Just Things Alden's relationship and having her all excited to hear Alden sing. Henry, of course, was built up throughout the season and his relationship with Lydia had only just begun, amidst blood and now ending in tears. As a side-note, if Alpha had any brains inside that bald pate of hers, she would have killed Daryl, Michonne and Carol as well.
These are the obvious fighters and leaders, the strong ones, the ones the communities can't live without. Their deaths would have cemented her power.
Letting them live means they could very easily come back for revenge. It's kind of like how Negan didn't kill Rick. Why not? Wouldn't that have saved him so much trouble in the long run? Also, how is it that Eugene and Gabriel keep surviving every danger? Oh well. Still a shockingly brutal episode that helped thin the bloated Walking Dead cast. I'm pretty sure I've said more than once that Enid and Tara need to go, and now they have. I feel a tiny bit bad about it now.
But only a tiny bit. The cast has become far too unwieldy, even with a bunch of character deaths. Hell, I'd be happy to see the Whisperers come in and burn all of these communities to the ground, including the newly reemerged Oceanside which has been out of the picture for ages until this episode. Speaking of which, the Oceanside representative at the fair was not Cyndie, or was Cyndie but recast, I'm not sure. I still want this show to get back on the move.
It feels so stagnant locked down in this same location year after year after year. I'm curious to see what they do with Lydia. Maybe she'll become the Carl figure, taken under Daryl's wing. Speaking of Daryl Norman ReedusI really liked him again this episode.
I find him much less Slow Ground - Cuba Missouri - Things I Wish I Had Not Called Just Things than Rick Grimes Andrew Lincoln. As a leader, he's less pushy and sanctimonious. As a character, he's every bit as badass and tough. What did you think of 'The Calm Before'?
Next week's episode is the Season 9 finale, called 'The Storm. Let me know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for reading!
Read my review of last week's episode here. Read my review of the previous week's episode here. I write about video games, TV and movies. View gallery. Erik Kain.
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