In “The Walking Dead” recap, Daryl and the other survivors from Alexandria acclimate to new surroundings in the Commonwealth but they soon realize not everything is just as it seems…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s taken 11 seasons to get here but it appears “The Walking Dead” has finally learned from past mistakes.
In the last episode following Daryl, Maggie and their group defeating the Reapers and returning to Alexandria only to have Eugene and a convoy from The Commonwealth show up at their front door offering a better future, the latest installment wastes no time injecting the characters into the thriving community based out of Ohio.
Past seasons would have easily spent five or six episodes just watching Daryl, Carol and the others mulling over whether or not they should trust a suit like Lance Hornsby and this promise of a better, safer home. Instead, the new episode picks up a month after the last one ended with everybody already serving as part of The Commonwealth while still finding their footing in a place that’s as close to the old world as they’ve ever seen since the zombie apocalypse first started.
From the moment Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel and the Princess arrived at The Commonwealth, they’ve known that there’s a lot more to this place than just ice cream and an army to protect them. Now Daryl, Rosita, Carol and the others are getting a taste of this place, which seems like heaven on the outside looking in, but they soon discover that a class war system is brewing behind these walls and it’s likely going to lead to an explosive showdown between many of the citizens living there.
With that said, let’s get to our latest recap from “The Walking Dead” to the new episode titled “New Haunts”…
Behind the Wall
When the episode opens, Daryl is leading Judith and RJ through a hallway scattered with the dead but appearances are purposefully deceiving because it turns out this is actually a haunted maze inside The Commonwealth that’s part of the community’s massive Halloween celebration. Daryl leads the kids back outside again where they are greeted by Jerry and his children, who are also enjoying the festivities.
A quick look around shows children wearing costumes and playing games as if the zombie apocalypse never even existed.
That’s when we learn that it’s been 30 days since the survivors from Alexandria started to live inside the walls of The Commonwealth with everybody finding their place in the community. Carol is working at the local bake shop where she’s making her famous cookies — she likely has a lot more ingredients to work with these days. Ezekiel is running the petting zoo and Connie is working as a reporter for the local newspaper, which was the same kind of job she had before the world fell apart.
That’s when Pamela Milton — the governor of The Commonwealth — finally emerges to cheers from the crowd as she hands out cotton candy to the children and gives a prize to the best costume in the community. It’s clear the people love Pamela Milton and Carol can’t help but remember her as classy from before the zombie apocalypse first started.
Connie informs them that she’ll be covering the masquerade ball later that night and she’s very familiar with Pamela and her entire family as they were deeply embedded in the world of American politics. In fact, Connie uncovered a scandal that actually got Pamela’s uncle booted out of Congress.
As for Carol, she can’t help but keep a watchful eye on Ezekiel, who is still favoring the growth on his neck and she knows that he’s not revealing just how serious his illness really is. She decides to take matters into her own hands by sneaking into The Commonwealth hospital and getting a peak at the records.
She’s discovered by Yumiko’s brother Tomi, who has returned to working as a doctor after he previously hid his medical credentials in order to lead a simpler life as a baker. Carol tells him how she’s worried for Ezekiel and Tomi takes one look at his records to confirm she has good reason to be scared for him.
It seems the surgery that Ezekiel needs is the only thing that will save his life from the cancer currently infecting his body but he’s very far down the list for treatment and Tomi knows it’s likely that he’ll expire before he actually gets help. Needless to say, that doesn’t sit well with Carol, who then decides to take matters into her own hands to make sure Ezekiel gets what he needs.
As for Daryl — he heads off to work where he’s joined by Rosita as they continue training to join The Commonwealth army led by the powerful Mercer. Today’s exercise includes a sweep and clear through a building infested with the dead except Mercer breaks everybody up into teams of two but each team will only get a single knife to share.
The exercise is supposed to show team skill and working together with a partner to get the job done.
Unfortunately for Daryl, he doesn’t get partnered with Rosita and instead he gets stuck with one of the more skittish applicants, who doesn’t exactly seem like army material. Rosita and her partner end up working well together and they make it through the deadly obstacle course without any major issues while Daryl takes charge in his team but his partner isn’t well equipped enough to help out.
Mercer ends up putting a bullet into a walker that Daryl’s partner is stuck fending off.
When the exercise ends, Mercer reminds Daryl that the drill wasn’t about finding the best person to kill zombies but rather showing them how to work together as a team to get the job done. He then pulls Daryl away for a special duty.
Go Along to Get Along
Life at The Commonwealth is strange for everybody who previously called Alexandria home and the children are understandably struggling with this new reality considering the world outside those walls is all they’ve ever known. Judith gets befriended by a local girl named May and she even buys her a record from the Princess’ music shop as a welcome to town present.
Judith still can’t quite believe people are this nice and she’s also learning that money matters in this community, which means she’s going to need an allowance.
Unfortunately, Daryl is still learning how to make a living in his new job because all of the people who joined the community from Alexandria were essentially relegated to public housing on the outskirts of town, which means they don’t exactly have the nicest digs. The walls are paper thin and the noise is unavoidable and that makes it tough as Daryl plays surrogate dad to the Grimes’ children.
After Judith asks him for an allowance, Daryl begins to realize that he’s got to provide for these kids but they don’t need his skills as an expert zombie killer this time around.
Meanwhile, Carol decides to take matters into her own hands when it comes to Ezekiel’s surgery.
She overhears a conversation where Lance Hornsby is charged with providing wine for the masquerade ball later that night except he’s only being handed substandard examples from the people tasked with providing him with something that will ultimately impress his boss, Pamela Milton.
That gives Carol her opening after she finds a way to escape outside The Commonwealth walls and she makes her way to a local liquor store where she looks through receipts to find out where the best wine was being delivered. She then makes her way to the house where that wine was delivered and after fending off some walkers hiding in the basement, Carol discovers entire walls filled with all sorts of rare vintage wine.
When she returns to Lance Hornsby’s office, he’s rejecting the latest swill being passed off for good wine but he’s pleasantly surprised to see Carol standing there with a whole box full of bottles.
Lance realizes that Carol’s found a way to get outside the walls, which shows the particular set of skills that she possesses, but more importantly in this instance, she knows what good wine actually tastes like. When he asks what she wants in return for this gracious gift, Carol says that a friend needs a life-saving surgery but he’s too far down the list to get his tumor removed in time.
Of course, Lance knows that this is a mighty big ask but Carol is willing to do whatever it takes to save Ezekiel’s life. Carol promises that the wine will go over big with his boss and she’ll now serve at his right hand until the debt is paid to get Ezekiel the surgery he needs.
As for Daryl — he’s tasked with joining Mercer on a training exercise alongside Pamela Milton’s entitled brat of a son, Sebastian.
He was previously introduced in the first part of the season while out on a date with a girl and Eugene was forced to save them from a group of walkers about to have them for dinner. Eugene’s frustration with Sebastian boiled over when he punched the little prick, which got him into even more hot water after being allowed to join The Commonwealth community.
Now Sebastian is training under Mercer in order to become a more effective zombie killer but Daryl realizes rather quickly that this kid is more likely to get himself eaten than saved. Daryl then discovers that Sebastian is training with the latest weapons retrieved at The Commonwealth including Judith’s sword and his crossbow.
Sebastian does manage to kill one walker but then he gets overwhelmed and Daryl pitches in a hand by killing the zombie with his crossbow. As Pamela Milton walks by with an unapproving look at her son, Sebastian storms off like the brat that he is, upset that Daryl saved him rather than allowing him to kill the zombie by himself.
Mercer then informs Daryl that while he’s used to doing everything on his own, he’s going to need to learn to work with others in this community if he wants to make it. Mercer tells him that this is the best place he’s found since the world fell apart and Daryl can become a part of it as long as he gets out of his own way.
The Masquerade Ball
That night, every wealthy person in The Commonwealth gathers for the Masquerade Ball, which serves as a sort of closing ceremony to the Halloween celebration. Daryl and Rosita are working security while The Princess is a curious observer.
When Lance Hornsby arrives, the crowd cheers because ultimately that’s what he really wants — he wants to be loved and adored — but he soon realizes that everyone is actually yelling for Mercer, who arrives just behind him. Mercer gets chants and cheers from the crowd but he’s happiest to see Princess there smiling back at him.
She compliments him on the suit he’s wearing and Mercer decides to spice up his evening by asking Princess to join as his date.
Inside, Magna is working as a waitress — the same job she had before the zombie apocalypse — and she’s actually serving drinks to her ex-girlfriend Yumiko, who is now among the elite inside The Commonwealth.
The party really gets started with a disgruntled former trooper — the same one who Princess got the drop on and beat up during the extra episodes from “The Walking Dead” season 10 — decides he’s seen enough and he starts shouting at Pamela Milton for the façade she’s built about this community. It seems he’s rather unhappy that after he was dispatched as a trooper, his life has fallen into disrepair and that woke him up to the realization that there’s no such thing as equality behind these walls.
His name is Tyler Davis and he ends up putting a knife to the throat of Pamela’s assistant, who everybody believes is the real Stephanie — the one making contact with Eugene all those months ago. The other Stephanie has gone missing in action after she attempted to help Eugene contact his friends and that thread will get picked up in next week’s episode.
For now, Pamela’s assistant has a knife to her throat with Tyler shouting at Pamela about how he would have gladly died to protect this place but because he made one mistake, everything he worked for has been taken away from him. He even slices up a portrait painted of Pamela’s father, who founded The Commonwealth, during the earliest days in the zombie apocalypse.
After Tyler spouts off for a while, he realizes that he’s cornered with no escape so he quickly removes the knife from (maybe) Stephanie’s throat and runs away through a back entrance. Daryl gives chase before finding him hiding in the haunted maze where he reveals that because he broke protocol while working as a trooper, the government at The Commonwealth took away his apartment, his salary and everything else.
Now Tyler is unable to provide for his sister and her kids but just before he’s about to pull that knife across his own throat, Daryl reminds him that he’d only be hurting his own family by committing suicide. Daryl know how precious family is these days — he’s lost just about anyone and everyone he’s ever loved — but Tyler has a chance to still be a brother to his sister even if he’s behind bars.
Tyler decides to surrender and after Daryl puts him in handcuffs, Sebastian rushes in to find the culprit already in custody. That’s when Daryl decides to play along with Sebastian’s fantasy so he can seem worthy to his mother and he hands over the prisoner so he can take credit for his capture.
Daryl is taking Mercer’s advice that sometimes they have to set each other up for the win.
Back in the masquerade ball, Sebastian presents the prisoner to his mother and she’s proud of her son, perhaps for the first time in many years, and he’s pleased with himself. Of course, Mercer knows that Sebastian couldn’t capture a wounded animal with no legs so he gives a quick glance back at Daryl, knowing that he’s actually responsible for finding and arresting Tyler.
Before he’s taken away, Tyler tells Pamela that he’s not alone in this fight against the class system inside The Commonwealth. He promises there are thousands more just like him and Pamela can only wonder if that’s actually true so she puts faith in Lance to find out more about this potential uprising.
Eat the Rich
Mercer tasks Rosita with talking to Magna about Tyler as he seeks to discover how a rogue former agent actually got access to the party. Was Tyler acting alone or did he have help just as he suggested that there are more people turning against the way of life built in The Commonwealth?
Magna can’t tell her much because she didn’t know Tyler but it doesn’t take long for Rosita to discover that her friends are starting to feel the brunt of this class system as well. Outside these ways, Magna was a capable warrior and she protected her friends and family but now she’s been reduced to just serving as a waiter yet again.
As for Carol, she’s done well by Lance Hornsby and he believes this is a great first step in a new relationship being forged between them. He tells her that the next step in procuring surgery for Ezekiel is coming soon.
Later that night, Carol invites Ezekiel over for a glass of wine — from a bottle she managed to keep for herself — and that’s when her ex-husband gives her the box containing Henry’s ashes. He’s been keeping it safe for her until a time when Ezekiel felt that Carol could handle the tragedy of that situation again.
She tries to get Ezekiel to open up about his illness but he feigns that everything is fine but Carol is doing everything possible to ensure that remains the truth. They end the night cuddled up on the couch after reconnecting for the first time in forever.
The next day, Daryl is getting dressed for work after he’s been fully enveloped into the army at The Commonwealth. He looks strange in his stormtrooper outfit but Judith says he looks official now.
Before leaving, Daryl gives Judith a present — a record player so she can rock out to the present that she received from her new friend May. Judith puts on the Motorhead record and lets the raspy sounds of Lemmy Kilmister echo through the apartment.
Finally there’s Rosita, who has also received her full uniform to join The Commonwealth army, and she’s part of the team heading to Tyler’s apartment to see if they can find any evidence about whether or not he actually acted alone in this threat of terrorism against the community.
The search does yield many results until Rosita finds a hidden room behind a closet.
Inside, she finds stencils, paints and posters touting a worker’s revolution for fair treatment inside The Commonwealth, which lets Rosita know that this movement isn’t just revolving around one angry former trooper. It appears that Tyler was telling the truth — there are a lot of disgruntled people living in the community who are tired of serving Pamela Milton and her cronies.
“The Walking Dead” returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET with a new episode on AMC.