In “The Walking Dead” recap, Eugene faces deception after being welcomed at the Commonwealth, Aaron’s group encounters a Whisperer and Negan tries to get Maggie to face a harsh reality…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Following a few episodes that essentially focused on one person or one group in particular, “The Walking Dead” got back to a blended story this week that featured Alexandria starting to crumble, Negan and Maggie trying to find a way to survive together and Eugene running into a whole new set of problems in The Commonwealth.
Last week’s episode focused solely on Daryl and his induction into The Reapers after he discovered that the woman he started to fall for while living on his own outside the walls of Alexandria was a founding member of the group. By the end of the episode, Daryl was welcomed as a brother, which will more than likely only cause a whole other set of problems when he finally turns his back on them.
Meanwhile, this week, Aaron is tormented by visions that seemingly serve as a harbinger for the future as the walls of Alexandria are starting to fall and it appears to be only a matter of time before the community finally falls.
Elsewhere, Negan and Maggie are attempting to co-exist while walking through the woods together after escaping the wrath of the Reapers while Eugene, Yumiko, Princess and Ezekiel begin to pull back the curtain on The Commonwealth and as expected, nothing is quite as it seems on the surface.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Out of the Ashes’…
Whisper to a Scream
The latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead” starts with Aaron suffering through a nightmare where he’s outside the protective walls of Alexandria with his daughter Gracie and they are surrounded by enemies from the past and present. It’s only after he wakes up does the real nightmare emerge because one of the patchwork walls built back up at Alexandria has failed and the walkers are invading the community.
Aaron is forced to spring into action along with Jerry and numerous others as they attempt to drive back the zombies and put the wall back up into place before Alexandria gets overrun.
The problem is ever since the Whisperers sent a herd directly at the community like a missile, Alexandria has been struggling to survive and it’s tough to know if they’ll ever get back on their feet again.
To that point, Aaron suggests returning to the ruins of Hilltop just to see if there are any tools or supplies that could be used to help rebuild the walls and make things more secure in Alexandria. Food is already running short and the last thing the survivors need right now is fighting to save their homes from an invasion of walkers into the community.
So Aaron gathers a group that includes Carol, Jerry and Lydia to ride out to Hilltop in order to see what may have survived the fires that burned the entire place to the ground.
After arriving, Aaron and the others are horrified to find many of their friends and former allies still stumbling around the place as zombies, which means they all need to be put out of their misery. After dispatching those zombies, Aaron can’t help but notice that there’s a smaller group of walkers all circling around one particular spot in Hilltop, which can mean only one thing.
There are Whisperers who are still alive and they are trying to rebuilt a new herd.
So Aaron, Carol, Jerry and Lydia kill all of the walkers and separate the Whisperer leading them — and it turns out his name is Keith and he claims to be all alone, just trying to find a way to survive in the wake of Alpha and Beta’s deaths. Lydia remembers Keith from her days in the Whisperers and she knows he wasn’t a member of her mother’s inner circle but he was also a devoted follower for quite some time.
They decide to put Keith into a holding cell in the main house but once they get downstairs, Aaron and the others discover a group of younger members of the Whisperers living down there. While everyone attempts to calm down the situation, one of the Whisperers gets spooked after Jerry recognizes that one of them is wearing a scarf that belonged to his wife.
That means this group was part of Alpha’s army that burned down Hilltop, which then leads to a Whisperer taking a swipe at Aaron with a blade before the entire group runs away.
Now bleeding for showing sympathy to the remaining members of the Whisperers, Aaron decides it’s time to get some answers from Keith to find out what he really knows.
They string up Keith by his hands and basically torture him by putting a walker on the end of some antlers and continuously letting the undead zombie get closer and closer to biting him as he refuses to share more information with them. Fed up by the lack of answers, Aaron actually allows the zombie to bite into Keith’s hand, which means his time is running out before he becomes one of the undead.
That’s enough for Carol to finally put a stop to the interrogation as she shoots the walker and tells Aaron that he’s starting down a very dangerous path. It’s the same one she followed after Alpha killed her son Henry and she was so consumed by vengeance that she lost sight of anything else.
Rather than kill Keith or just leave him for dead, Aaron cuts off his infected hand and helps him wrap the wound to ensure he’ll survive. While Aaron still can’t trust what a Whisperer would tell them, Keith decides to prove his worth by telling the group something they’ll most certainly want to know.
Keith reveals that the woman trapped in the cave when Alpha set a trap for the survivors has actually survived. In other words, he’s seen Connie after she escaped the caves and she’s somewhere nearby.
Considering Carol was convinced that she caused Connie’s death by triggering Alpha’s trap for them, she’s very interested in searching for her. Add to that, Carol has been getting closer with Connie’s sister Kelly back in Alexandria not to mention how Daryl blamed her for Connie getting lost in those caves in the first place.
The group packs up the rest of the supplies salvaged from Hilltop before setting off to look for Connie.
A brief glimpse at next week’s episode reveals Connie ended up connecting with Virgil — the island bound survivor who helped Michonne discover that Rick Grimes was still alive — and they are attempting to forge ahead while surrounded by the undead.
Finally, back at Alexandria, Judith finds herself running into a group of teenage bullies, who are tempting fate by teasing a group of walkers at the walls and then mocking her after Michonne fled Alexandria but left her behind. Matters only get worse when Judith returns home to find the wood featuring handprints from her father Rick and brother Carl had been broken by those same teenagers.
Thankfully, Rosita comes along to offer a few words of encouragement along with a help to put the handprints back together again. Of course, Rosita also reminds Judith that she doesn’t need a piece of wood to keep her family close to her heart because that’s where Rick, Michonne and Carl will live forever.
Now We Wait
In the woods, Negan and Maggie are searching for more survivors from their group while attempting to avoid the Reapers, who may or may not still be hunting them.
Maggie’s constant irritation that Negan is still breathing leads the former leader of the Saviors to wonder why she hasn’t just killed him already and gotten it over with. Maggie wonders the same thing but it appears she’s reconciled with the fact that her chances of survival are better if Negan is around to watch her back, no matter how much it stings to trust him.
They finally arrive at a rendezvous point, which is a house that has a few supplies inside, but unfortunately Maggie doesn’t find any of her people there waiting for her.
Fed up with not knowing what happens next, Negan lashes out and tells Maggie that she’s just setting herself up for failure by trusting that her friends are coming while staying in one place only makes it that much easier for the Reapers to find them. Negan is convinced that the rest of their group is already dead or not making it to the rendezvous house and he just wants to begin the long journey back to Alexandria now rather than later.
Maggie refuses to leave and just when it appears this brief partnership is about to explode, the front door opens to the house revealing Gabriel and Elijah arriving at the rendezvous as scheduled.
Both are tired and nearly broken from the fight against the Reapers but they made it out alive unlike many others from the group including former members of Maggie’s own community.
Thankfully being reunited gives Maggie the little bit of hope she needed and now Gabriel is ready to wait beside her as they continue to hope more of their group survived the onslaught by the Reapers. For his part, Negan just stays quiet and out of the way as Maggie’s insistence on waiting for her friends paid off and he was wrong to suggest leaving without them.
Gabriel backs her up by saying they will all now wait together in hopes that more survivors emerge.
Back at the Commonwealth, Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel and Princess watch an orientation video welcoming them to the community. A man by the name of Lance Hornsby — part of the leadership at the Commonwealth — gives a video tour around the community while explaining how this place is probably the best chance for society to survive.
After watching the video, all of them are handed work assignments including Eugene being a high school teacher, Ezekiel as an animal keeper and Princess working in a retail store. As for Yumiko, she was handed an invitation to meet with the leadership at the Commonwealth without any further notice about what she’d be doing there.
While Eugene, Princess and Ezekiel are informed to speak to their case workers regarding any other privileges or assignment changes, Yumiko has the red carpet rolled out for her because she’s obviously been singled out as the most important member of this group.
Yumiko uses that power to have one of the people from the Commonwealth welcoming committee lead her to her brother Tomi, who has been living there for quite some time.
When she arrives, Yumiko discovers that her brother Tomi, who was a thoracic surgeon in another life, has now become a baker at a local cake shop in town. He actually ends up dropping one of his tasty treats after locking eyes with Yumiko for the first time since the world went to hell during the zombie apocalypse.
Outside, Tomi explains that he didn’t want to go back to his former life as a surgeon and he pleads with Yumiko not to tell the higher ups at the Commonwealth because he doesn’t want to return to practice medicine again. Little does he know, Yumiko already mentioned that previously, which helped secure passage into the Commonwealth for her and her friends but we’ll have to wait and see if that somehow comes back to bite them.
As for Eugene, he’s taken back by the normalcy of life in the Commonwealth — complete with an ice cream truck — but he’s also concerned because ultimately he came there in order to help his friends back in Alexandria. Considering how long it took them to get processed and gain entry, he can’t even imagine the time needed to resettle an entire community there.
Thankfully, Eugene has “Stephanie” to rely on for help.
Now it’s been noted that the “Stephanie” who came to meet with Eugene after the survivors gained clearance to the Commonwealth isn’t the same person who was actually cast in that role before this season started. In fact, it was an actress named Margot Bingham, who provided the voice for Stephanie over the radio while speaking to Eugene and she’s also previously been confirmed as the person playing the part on the show.
So here’s where things get really weird — Margot Bingham appears in the new episode of “The Walking Dead” as a woman retrieving ice cream cones to take to Pamela Milton, the woman who runs the Commonwealth. She makes eye contact with Eugene and gives him a slight smile but doesn’t actually say anything, probably out of fear that he’d immediately recognize her voice.
Instead, Eugene is shown around town by a woman calling herself Stephanie, but it’s pretty clear that the Commonwealth leadership is trying to get more information about the latest people to join the community and the real intentions they have for coming here.
Eugene decides the next best move will be contacting his friends at Alexandria and hopefully provide them with an update so they can eventually be reunited. The only problem is it will take weeks for Eugene to gain clearance to use the radio tower to send out a message to Alexandria but “Stephanie” promises to help him since she’s a member of the Commonwealth communications team.
Once they finally reach the radio, Eugene calls out and he’s connected with Rosita, who is helping Judith put her handprints back together between several pieces of broken wood. Eugene is able to relay that everybody in his group is safe and they’re still together but the signal cuts out before he can offer them any real information on their location or what’s going to happen next.
Before Eugene can attempt to reconnect on a new channel, Mercer shows up with a security garrison to place them all under arrest.
Eugene, Princess and Ezekiel are all issued criminal complaints for trespassing and illegal use of government property. If found guilty, the entire group will be banished from the Commonwealth, which means they’ll be taken somewhere far beyond these walls and dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
Just as Ezekiel is demanding a lawyer — and they have a good one in Yumiko — Lance Hornsby arrives with “Stephanie” alongside him. He tells the paper pusher to let them all go and they will be allowed to stay in the Commonwealth.
That’s when “Stephanie” tells Eugene that Lance is somebody they can trust, which almost certainly means he can’t be trusted, but even if they are allowed to stay in the Commonwealth, there will be some kind of punishment dished out for illegally using the radio.
This all sounds like a carefully orchestrated plan to allow Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel and Princess into the Commonwealth and then manipulate them in order to discover what they’ve truly been hiding this entire time. We all know it’s been to protect the people still trying to survive at Alexandria but the leadership at the Commonwealth doesn’t know that yet — and they seem hell bent on finding out why.
Does the Commonwealth want to save the people living in Alexandria or work to eradicate them just in case the survivors are a threat to their way of life? Either way, we’ll find out more in the coming weeks and hopefully the real Stephanie will finally step out of the shadows as well.
“The Walking Dead’ will return with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.