In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap. Daryl and Connie square off with Beta and the Whisperers while Carol tries diplomacy rather than force to settle a threat…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
In the past, ‘The Walking Dead’ has had a bit of a problem introducting the biggest villains on the show.
The Governor took several seasons before new show runner Scott Gimple essentially reset the narrative with the character and brought him to life in the way that the original comic book made him such an awful opponent for Rick Grimes and the other survivors.
Then there was so much pressure on ‘The Walking Dead’ to get Negan right that they ended up getting far more wrong.
It took a painfully long time for the character to finally get introduced but when he finally arrived, Jeffrey Dean Morgan played him to perfection so nothing that happened was necessarily his fault. Unfortunately the decision to end his debut on a cliffhanger regarding the survivors he killed after meeting Rick and his group for the first time was a painfully bad move.
Add to that, Negan’s storyline while hugely important to the show felt like it dragged on forever and that just killed the momentum he had built into the plot, especially considering how crucial he’s been to the entire ‘Walking Dead’ universe.
So it’s clear that new show runner Angela Kang took notes (she was previously a writer on the show) and she decided to run full steam ahead to introduce The Whisperers in season 9.
There was very little feeling out process with this new group that wears the skins of the dead over their faces so they can walk amongst the zombies. After a brief introduction that ended with Jesus’ death, the Whisperers were immediately introduced as a major threat and with only three episodes to go this season, it’s safe to assume they will be making a huge impact in the finale in just a few weeks.
If it’s anything like the original comic book storyline, there will be more than a few jaws on the floor and tears being shed when ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 comes to an end.
It’s just a nice change of pace that a villain has been introduced and immediately impacted the larger story rather than taking an excruciating amount of time to finally bring them to life so when they eventually face off against the survivors, viewers have already been asking when is this going to be over already.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Chokepoint’…
After leading a pack of zombies to the camping ground where the Whisperers sleep, Daryl, Connie, Henry and Lydia escape to freedom while trying to figure out the best way to actually get away. Daryl knows that the Whisperers are going to give chase so it’s better not to return to the Hilltop, where they could incite an even bigger fight considering the sheer number of zombies have amassed in the herd. Daryl believes it would be safer to find a safe space neaby where they could fight off the Whisperers on their own without involving the other communities.
He also wants to ditch Lydia considering she’s the only one that the Whisperers wanted in the first place but Henry refuses to budge and Connie doesn’t want to leave her behind either. Outvoted by the group, Daryl concedes as they all start to flee the woods before anybody can come after them.
Lydia warns Daryl that Alpha won’t send an army after them — she will just sent her No. 2 Beta because he is the biggest and baddest of all the Whisperers.
When Daryl finds out that Beta is the best that the Whisperers have to offer, he decides that is the guy he needs to kill first.
As they attempt to move away from the Hilltop or the other communities, the group ends up in a town where Connie has been before. She suggests standing their ground in a building that’s been under construction because her group had previously stayed there while they were on the move.
The idea works perfectly because Daryl, Connie, Henry and Lydia can set up shop on one of the higher floors, putting barricades below where the zombies cannot pass. That means the Whisperers will have to separate from their ‘guardians’ if they want to climb over the barricades and make it to the upper floors.
Inside, Connie leads them to supplies that her group had hidden there in case they needed to run or a place to hide while on the road. The group begins setting up the traps that will lead the Whisperers upstairs so they can pick them off one at a time. There’s only one problem — Lydia doesn’t want to kill any of her people and so that takes them down to three people willing to fight the Whisperers.
Still the stage is set as Daryl, Connie and Henry prepare for the Whisperers’ arrival.
Along the Coach Roads They Did Ride
At the Kingdom, Jerry returns with some bad news for his king and queen after his group was jumped and ransacked on the road back to the community. A group calling themselves ‘The Highwaymen’ took everything valuable belonging to the members of the Kingdom — including Jerry’s sword — and sent them back home with a message.
Actually it was a grammatically correct ultimatum of sorts telling the Kingdom to pay up with the list of supplies they required and the Highwaymen would allow them to pass on the road surrounding their community. Failure to comply would result in further ambushes.
Someone suggests that perhaps this is Jed and the former group of Saviors banding together to cause trouble but Carol quickly squashes that theory (remember she burned them all alive).
King Ezekiel is prepared to gather all the troops and go to war with the Highwaymen but his queen Carol has a different suggestion.
She points out that the group that attacked Jerry’s party outside the walls just robbed them of their supplies and sent them back with a note rather than just killing everybody. She believes that suggests this group may have some sort of civility left and they aren’t just animals or an ultra-dangerous group like the Saviors were a few years earlier.
Ezekiel is wary of the idea, especially after some reconnaissance shows that the Highwaymen have guns but Carol believes her course of action will result in less bloodshed and potentially a new ally rather than an enemy.
When they finally make their move, Carol and Ezekiel attempt talking to the leader of the Highwaymen — a group held up in an old warehouse with members brandishing what appears to be Civil War costumes and muskets — but at first he laughts off their attempts to make peace. Carol then flexes her muscles a bit as several members of the Kingdom’s security force appear from the shadows and take some of the Highwaymen by knife point.
Carol suggests rather than just going to war with each other, perhaps they could come to another kind of agreement.
She says that the Kingdom will give the Highwaymen a job clearing the roads and ensuring that the guests coming for the big community fair will have safe passage and in exchange they will be able to trade along with everybody else to receive the supplies they need to survive. That offer also gets laughed at but the Carol makes one more plea for peace in an attempt to form an even stronger community of allies.
Carol invites the Highwaymen to come to the Kingdom so everybody can watch a movie together.
As silly as that might sound, watching a film after what has likely been eight years or more without any kind of real entertainment has to be a welcome relief and it once again shows that there is some humanity left in a world where it seems like mankind has reached its breaking point.
Meanwhile, Tara is leading her convoy from the Hilltop to the Kingdom with supplies for big trade fair. Along the way, the group runs into a herd of the dead — not the Whisperers this time — but the volume of zombies to kill nearly overruns them.
That’s when the Highwaymen earn their dues by showing up and helping to save the day, kill off the remaining zombies and give Tara and her group safe passage back to the Kingdom.
When they finally arrive, Tara reveals that they were supposed to meet Daryl, Connie and Henry there for the fair but the group hasn’t shown up yet. That only serves to further worry Carol who now finds out that the Whisperers not only exist but they may be the biggest threat yet to her son.
Back at the construction site, Daryl, Connie and Henry have fortified their positions as they wait for Beta and the Whisperers to arrive.
When they finally do locate the trail and make it inside the building, Beta quickly realizes that they are walking into a trap thanks to the barricades set up that will prevent the walkers from following them up the stairs. Still, he’s determined to return Lydia to Alpha so he forges ahead with his group as they attempt to go after Daryl and the others.
When the Whisperers finally make it upstairs, Daryl, Connie and Henry quickly start to pick them off one by one but they are still massively outnumbered. Before the battle began, Daryl locked Lydia in a closet with Dog since she didn’t want to have to kill her people but still required protection and his dog would rip anyone to shreds who attacked her.
Daryl shows off his killing skills along with Connie, who is rather deadly with her slingshot. Henry even manages to take out a couple of the Whisperers but ends up getting stabbed in the leg with a spear he originally made for Lydia. Just when it looks like Henry is going to be the first person to die, Lydia busts out of her holding cell and Dog attacks the Whisperer to save his life.
Lydia then decides to help her new friends against her old family.
Meanwhile, Connie has taken care of the Whisperers coming after her but there are still three more — including Beta — on the hunt for Daryl.
Once the trio makes it upstairs, Daryl quickly dispataches two of them including a rather grisly death thanks to an axe to the heart. That just leaves Beta to do battle with Daryl and they engage in a hell of a bloody fight.
The two go back and forth with knives and then fists before Beta’s size and power is finally too much as he nearly shreds Daryl’s face across a saw blade. Daryl is able to fend him off and escape momentarily before hiding in the hiding space where Connie’s group once kept their supplies.
As Beta comes hunting for the kill, Daryl unleashes one final trick as his hiding position was the perfect place to stage an ambush. Beta walks into the room and Daryl barrels forwards towards him, pushing him through a plastic sheet that was covering an open elevator shaft.
Beta falls several floors before crashing and Daryl spits on his body in celebration of his victory.
Daryl decides that the best move for the group would be to return to Alexandria because it’s the closest community to where they’re located so Henry can get patched up and they can all recover from this fight. Daryl then believes the best course of action will be for the four of them to leave all of the communities so the Whisperers won’t come after them or hurt any of their friends.
Daryl even decides that Lydia has proven herself and she should come along with them.
The group leaves to begin the trek back to Alexandria but they forgot one thing — you never leave a bad guy breathing and it turns out Beta survived his fall.
With the trade fair about to begin where all the communities will gather, there is little doubt that Beta is going to return to Alpha and they will lead the Whisperers into a war looking for payback.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC and you can check out a preview below: