The Hilltop is now the Kingtop.
This season went faster than others but in a good way. It didn’t feel like anything was being dragged and for the most part, I enjoyed it. To start this off I’m going to do a spoiler-free review of the episode then get into the recap.
The Storm of the Century
A small time-jump occurred since the last episode. Snow has come and the Kingdom has fallen. The residents have to make their way to Hilltop while everyone in Alexandria has to make their way to shelter to keep warm. Carol and Ezekiel aren’t doing so well, Lydia feels she deserves to die, and Negan is out of his cage to make things awkward between the quadrangle that is Rosita, Gabriel, Siddiq, and Eugene.
This is more of a character-centered episode after the reeling ending last week. A bit slower but showing a new threat that is a snowstorm. The walkers are somehow creepier half-frozen and popping out of the snow like daisies.
Overall, it was a nice change of pace from last week, not as much happened, and ended the season on a good note with a cliffhanger that will lead into something new next season.
With the storm approaching, Alexandria had a few places to take shelter where they can stay warm. They devise a plan, while Rosita and Eugene give each other looks, and decided to let Negan out or he’ll freeze.
Letting Negan out gave us some lightheartedness this episode that was needed with everyone still upset from the pikes. He made remarks about Rosita dating Gabriel while Siddiq was the father and called them + Eugene a quadrangle. Then he said shit and Judith yelled at him for his language.
When the fire went out everyone had to make their way to Aaron’s since it’s one of the meeting spots to keep warm and used a chain to walk through the blizzard, which you can barely see anything in.
Meanwhile, Judith is upset because she was supposed to watch Dog for Daryl, and she lost him. Cue everyone getting upset Dog might die.
While everyone walked to Aarons, Judith heard Dog and ran to him, followed by Negan running after Judith. And Negan was the only one to run to her, something I should point out. He eventually found both of them after flying debris hurt his leg and managed to carry her while handling Dog and got them back to safety.
It doesn’t take up much of the episode but it was big for Negan’s character and showed how much he cared about Judith. It allowed everyone else to see that maybe he has changed, or is changing, to be a better person. If Michonne can trust him with anything, it’s watching her child.
The Kingdom Fell
Without Henry to fix the pipes, the Kingdom literally fell apart, which meant everyone had to leave for Hilltop. Ezekiel talked about the events and we see he and Carol’s relationship wasn’t doing so well. While on the road he noticed her and Daryl talking and even went as far as to tell Daryl to back off and leave them alone.
I tried giving Ezekiel the benefit of the doubt, but I couldn’t imagine Carol not having Daryl in her life. No, I’m not someone who sees them romantically, but they love each other and Daryl’s been there for her through everything and vice versa. However, you could tell Ezekiel tried to keep their marriage together.
Meanwhile, Lydia wanted to die. Everyone blamed her for the pikes and she agreed with them. She didn’t feel like she belonged and went as far as to hold her hand in front of a walker’s mouth only for Carol to stop her.
I liked throughout the episode you weren’t sure what Carol’s feelings toward Lydia are. Is she going to tell her to “look at the flowers” or is she tired of kids dying?
Crossing the Border
The group managed to get to the Sanctuary for cover, the irony of the Sanctuary actually being a sanctuary is funny, but realized they need to move or else they’ll run out of food and one of the only ways is through Alpha’s territory.
Now, I have no idea how the Whisperers could even survive in the storm, but some people are on board with the plan, others aren’t, like Ezekiel who is worried about a war starting. In the end, they decided to go with the plan and cross a river that should be frozen.
When they reached the pikes, it’s an eery site. Ezekiel had to stop and stare for a moment until they could move on. As they made their way to the river, walkers started popping out of the snow and everyone had to defend while crossing. Lydia ran away and Carol went after and everyone assumed, Carol wanted to kill her.
When they met up, Lydia begged Carol to kill her, saying it’s her fault for Henry dying. She put Carol’s arrow up to her chest and when you think maybe Carol will do it, she killed an oncoming walker instead and took Lydia back to the group.
Earlier, Carol had a talk with Daryl, saying she felt like she’s losing herself again and Ezekiel wanted to blame her for Henry’s death…despite Ezekiel not watching Henry while the fair was going on, but I won’t get into that. That could be a step to her feeling like herself.
After a tense scene with the snow-walkers (cue to obvious Game of Thrones joke), they made it to Hilltop and Carol and Ezekiel broke up.
Yeah, despite what happened this episode, I was still a Carol and Ezekiel fan so seeing them unable to repair their relationship after Henry’s death was hard. He told Carol he’ll always love her and she left for Alexandria with Michonne, Daryl, Lydia, and the rest of the residents.
The Calm After
When everyone arrived at Alexandria, Michonne was reunited with Judith and RJ, Daryl got to see Dog, and a snow fight broke out. It was a nice moment that wasn’t ruined by death and carnage for once. Michonne and Negan have a talk that was civil and Negan seemed to know everything with the Whisperers and it sounded like he’ll be teaming up with them to take Alpha down.
Back at the Whisperers camp, they have returned (from wherever they stayed during the storm) and Beta lashed Alpha’s wrists for being weak, but she won’t be weak for what’s to come.
The episode ended with Ezekiel talking on the radio to Judith. She had to do homework and he leaves, but the camera panned in and a woman’s voice came over the radio.
Some people complained about the episode being boring or too slow, but it’s what the show needed after last week. We got to see how the characters handled the deaths and I liked the change of weather. It was a different way of viewing the apocalypse. Plus, kudos to the team for the design of the walkers. I love that they were half-frozen but still walked around.
Negan’s redemption arc started. I’m not someone who still doesn’t trust him after what happened. If anything he truly cares about Judith and will end up helping them with the Whisperers.
As for the person on the radio, I wasn’t sure who it was. As I’m writing this I haven’t seen a confirmation and Talking Dead hasn’t aired, but there’s a chance it’s Maggie. Some people suggested Jadis or someone from a community we haven’t been introduced to yet but are in the comic. There were big rumors it was going to be Rick and everyone would find out he’s alive. I was really hoping for that.
I’m sure war is going to break out with the Whisperers and that’s where next season will start. Danai Gurira is leaving and I can only hope it’s for Michonne to find Rick and not with her death. Maggie is also said to return.
But that’s all I have to say about next season. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, despite Rick and Maggie being gone. I wasn’t a fan of last season so to get excited over the show again makes me happy. Maybe I’ll do my top six characters on the show between now and then.