In “The Walking Dead” recap for the final season debut, Maggie leads an expedition to find food for Alexandria as Eugene’s group gets grilled with questions at the Commonwealth…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The final season of “The Walking Dead” is officially underway and the survivors are split apart with one group attempting to procure a new sanctuary to call home and another just searching for enough food to make sure they wake up the next day.
When “The Walking Dead” season 10 ended, the Whisperers had finally been defeated and Beta was killed but that didn’t mean that the survivors were suddenly that much better off.
While Maggie made her triumphant return along with a group she formed while on the road for the past few years, the downfall of the Whisperers didn’t fix the walls at Alexandria that had already been torn down and it certainly didn’t make the crops start to grow again after the soil had been uprooted and ripped apart.
To make matters even worse, Maggie was followed by another group calling themselves the Reapers and these people are well trained, well armed and incredibly dangerous. In one of the bonus episodes from “The Walking Dead” season 10, a lone member of the Reapers took out several members of Maggie’s group and nearly killed Daryl and the rest of the survivors before he was finally stopped.
Meanwhile, Eugene led an expedition through West Virginia in an attempt to meet up with Stephanie — the woman he met over a long-range radio and who promised him a chance to join her community. Unfortunately as soon as Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess made it to the rail yard where Stephanie was supposed to meet them, they were instead greeted by a group of soldiers in storm trooper outfits, who put bags over their heads and started a long, intensive interrogation process.
Readers of “The Walking Dead” comics will recognize these soldiers from a massive community known as The Commonwealth, which is where the survivors stayed until the series came to an end.
In the source material, the Commonwealth is a sprawling community in Ohio with more than 50,000 people living and thriving while attempting to restart some semblance of a society in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. The community has every modern convenience you could imagine but there’s also a class system where those who are able to contribute the most, live the best and those unable to offer as much in return for their services are considered lower class citizens.
It’s unclear how much of that will be adopted into the series, although judging by the first introduction for the soldiers from the Commonwealth, there will be plenty of similarities.
With that said, let’s get to our recap for “The Walking Dead” season 11 debut episode titled “Acheron Part 1”…
The final season of “The Walking Dead” begins with a late-night mission at a military base where Daryl, Maggie and the others lead an expedition in an attempt to find food, perhaps weapons and anything else that could be useful for them to survive.
Sadly in the wake of the Whisperers rampage through the communities, Alexandria is barely hanging on by a thread with the walls falling down, no food growing from the ground and a larger group than ever before all trying not to go hungry.
The mission seems fairly straight forward — rappel down into the military base from the roof without disturbing any of the dead soldiers currently laying on the ground. The survivors will then move from room to room to gather supplies before rappelling back up to the roof again to escape. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, all is going well at first as Carol and some of the other survivors find large boxes filled with MRE’s — meals-ready-to-eat — and they start stuffing their sacks with the food. It’s all going well until one of the ropes carrying the food back up to the roof snaps and nearly falls back down again until Daryl catches it out of midair.
Unfortunately, Daryl’s arm gets cut in the glass and a couple of drops of blood fall to the ground — and directly onto the face of a zombie laying still, which suddenly becomes animated again.
Once that zombie starts to rise to its feet, more of the dead soldiers follow behind and before long the survivors are literally in a fight for their lives as they attempt to escape with the food while not dying along the way.
Daryl and the others up top provide them with cover fire and eventually Carol and the rest of the survivors on the ground make it back to the roof but not without an extremely close call.
After returning to Alexandria, Maggie is reunited with more members of her group, who have arrived at the community and they are all interested in setting eyes on Negan — the man responsible for killing Maggie’s husband and Herschel’s father. Negan doesn’t need to say anything as he catches eyes with Maggie before helping to put away and store the food that was captured.
For all the hard work and sacrifice — not to mention nearly dying along the way — the survivors only took enough food to last for one week for all the people now residing in Alexandria.
It’s an unfortunate reality now that Alexandria is serving as the home to so many people from the various communities that were toppled thanks to the Whisperers. While people were able to escape and make it back there, that doesn’t solve the problem of not having enough supplies to actually make it and live to see another day.
That’s when Maggie offers another suggestion — they can return to the community named Meridian that she helped build with her people where there’s weapons, food and plenty of supplies but also one major problem — the Reapers are there waiting for them.
Maggie explains that she first encountered the deadly group after she was helping to lead a herd away from the community. After the zombies were dispatched, she was returning with the other people from her community when they kept running into problem after problem along the road and looking back, she realizes that probably wasn’t an accident.
As they closed in on Meridian, Maggie’s people started hearing cries for help and screams in the night. When they ran back to town, the entire place was turned into a slaughterhouse with most everybody already dead. She knows that the Reapers came after them because they had supplies and they had the means to survive and now it’s been taken from them.
The only knowledge she has about the Reapers are two things:
“They come at night and by the time you see them, you’re already dead.”
But the encounter Maggie had with one of the Reapers after returning to Alexandria made her realize that perhaps there aren’t that many of them out there, which means they can be defeated. Of course, Maggie is failing to mention that encounter (during the first bonus episode from season 10) left multiple people dead and it nearly cost both her and Daryl their lives before they finally got the drop on him.
Oh and the Reaper who was captured — he blew himself to bits with a grenade after warning her about their leader, Pope (who we will meet this season).
As risky as this mission might be, Maggie knows this is a way for the survivors to get the supplies needed to allow Alexandria to be rebuilt and become a self-sustaining community once again. Daryl understands that as dangerous as this mission might be, if they can’t get some food for the people then none of this is going to matter anyways.
Maggie gathers up some of her best fighters including a hulking man named Duncan while Daryl, Gabriel and a few others from Alexandria volunteer to lead the expedition across Washington D.C. to where Meridian is located. The group includes Negan, who happens to be the one local from the area who can help them navigate through Washington D.C. as they attempt to retake Meridian from the Reapers.
Answer the Question
Back at the train station, Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel and Princess are bound with hoods over their heads for transportation to another holding station for “processing.”
There the group is interrogated over a period of seven hours as two members of the Commonwealth staff ask them questions ranging from what they did before the fall to the number of bowel movements they have each day. They’re also asked about the community they left behind with Eugene and his group sticking the same story that there is no larger community — obviously doing their part to protect those left behind in Alexandria just in case this is all one giant ruse.
After the intense interrogation that included Ezekiel finally snapping and turning his attention to the man dressed in an orange stormtrooper outfit and assessing that he must be the one in charge. Ezekiel then decides that this power-tripping soldier was probably an asshole beat cop from before the world fell apart, which would explain that smug look on his face.
To those unaware — the man in the orange armor is named Mercer and he’s the head of the security forces at the Commonwealth. He’ll become a major player during this final season of the show.
The group is given some food while they are locked in a cage alongside numerous other people as well who are going through “processing.” It seems the Commonwealth is extremely thorough with vetting anybody who will join their community and they are seeking individuals who can not only contribute but who won’t end up as a threat to anyone else.
After hearing one group argue about whether they’ve been in holding for nine months or not, Eugene and the others finally decided that perhaps they should attempt to escape and get out of this situation before it gets even worse. That’s when Princess reveals her hidden ability with an eidetic memory where she can apparently recall just about anything including the names of the guards who brought them back to the Commonwealth as well as the fact that two of them are having an affair on the side.
She reveals that the couple likes to sneak away for a little afternoon delight around the same time, which means they are out of uniform and Eugene and the others could steal those outfits and make a grand escape.
Sure enough, Ezekiel and Yumiko steal the stormtrooper armor and then walk Eugene and Princess through the complex as “prisoners” as they prepare to make their escape. On their way out, the group spots a gigantic bulletin board filled with photos as people from the Commonwealth search for relatives and other loved ones who may still be alive outside those walls.
Just before they leave, Princess spots a particular photo and turns to Yumiko to remark that she’s on the bulletin board.
Yumiko rushes back to spot a photo where she’s alongside her brother Tomi and it turns out that he’s living in the Commonwealth while never giving up hope that his sister might still be out there. Realizing that her brother is alive and living amongst this community convinces Yumiko that they all need to stay and see this through in hopes of finally being reunited with her family.
The Suicide Squad
On the road to Meridian, the survivors get caught in a torrential downpour and Negan suggests they duck inside a subway station for shelter until the storms pass. Daryl reluctantly agrees as the entire group rushes for cover to get out of the rain.
Inside, Maggie spots the stairs leading down into the tunnels and she asks Negan where these lead. Realizing that the tunnels could give them safe passage out to the other side of the city without being forced to deal with the storms or the dead outside sounds like a fantastic idea to her.
Negan advises against it but he’s not exactly anybody’s favorite so the entire group ignores his warning and they all set off down the tunnel into parts unknown.
Along the way, the survivors run into a mass grave — dead bodies wrapped in plastic and left scattered throughout this massive tunnel that’s also rattling and shaking, which Negan attempts to warn them that it could mean flooding is imminent. Once again, they all ignore him and push forward while carefully treading through the underground graveyard.
When one of the bagged people awakens and attacks a young man named Gage from Maggie’s group, it’s Negan who steps into save the day and kill the walker.
Realizing that this is just getting stupid and more dangerous by the second, Negan finally stops and warns the entire group that Maggie is leading them on a suicide mission because her only goal for this entire trip was ensuring that he doesn’t make it back alive. Negan believes that Maggie is consumed with the thought of finally killing him and here she can do it away from the prying eyes of Alexandria where she would be forced to answer for her actions.
“This is a death march and you are the goddamn Pied Piper.”
Negan then tells Maggie that if she wants to kill him so badly, just do it now in front of everybody and get it over with already because he refuses to die down in the muck, slime and dirt — just like Glenn did.
That earns him a punch from Daryl and a gun drawn on him from Maggie, who warns Negan that she thinks about killing him every second of every day and the only reason he’s not dead is because that woman who showed him mercy six years ago still maintains a small piece of her soul. But for his own good, Maggie tells Negan that he better pray that little sliver of hope stays alive in her because the moment that light is extinguished, she will kill him without batting an eye.
The group then restarts the walk through the tunnels when they notice that two members of the group — Roy and Gage — have suddenly disappeared. To make matters worse, they were carrying the food rations as well as the extra ammunition bags, which means the group has very little left to help them survive the journey.
They eventually come upon a train car blocking the tunnel and the doors are jammed thanks to years of rust forming from the dank, damp underground passage. Things go from bad to worse when a herd of walkers starts stumbling towards them from the other direction in the tunnel, which means the entire group is trapped.
Alden and the others start to climb on top of the train in order to get away from the herd drawing nearer and nearer but Daryl is forced to give chase after Dog when he runs away through a separate corridor on the other side of the train.
The entire group is able to make it on top of the train with only Negan and Maggie left on the ground.
Negan climbs to the top but as Maggie begins to make her ascent, the walkers finally reach the train and they begin clawing at her feet. Maggie tries to kick them free but she’s struggling to get to the top of the train.
As Maggie desperately holds onto her grip to the top of the train, Negan reappears and she begs him for help but he takes one last look down at her before turning around and leaving. Maggie screams out for help as she’s dragged back down the train by the zombies below.
Now as harrowing as this situation might be, a quick look at any of the footage or trailers from “The Walking Dead” season 11 will reveal that Maggie isn’t in nearly as much danger as it appears but the ending also speaks to the way that Negan isn’t going to just sacrifice himself for the sins of the past. He knew Maggie was going to try to kill him so when given the chance to save her or let her die, Negan was looking out for himself by allowing her to fall.
“The Walking Dead” will return for the next episode in the final season on Sunday night with “Acheron Part II” as the survivors continue down this deadly underground tunnel while Eugene and his group discover more about this mysterious community known as the Commonwealth.