This one was supposed to be the finale for the second part of Season 11, but it didn’t feel like a finale to me. I was under the assumption that one of the benefits of breaking a season into three parts was the opportunity to have three finales, but this one seemed to go into a different direction. And I think that expectation of a finale is what ruined most of the fun for me.
Warning! This article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 16: Acts of God.
I usually break these articles into the various parts according to which group is featured, but I’m not going to do that this time because everything is starting to tie together more.
This episode starts off with a bit of a time stamp: 19 hours and one act of God ago. And then we spend the rest of the episode trying to figure out what that means. What was that act of God? Was it one thing or many things?
Overall, this was an excellent episode, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t feel like it was finale-worthy — especially as we only have one more chunk of episodes to go until this thing is done for good.
This episode is mostly about Maggie. We see Maggie going with her son, Hershel, off to a new place that we might originally assume is The Commonwealth, but we find out is the meeting place of the survivors from the Riverbend massacre (including Negan).
Maggie leaves Hilltop behind, which is especially surprising when you consider the fact that Glenn is buried there. “Maybe Hilltop isn’t worth saving,” she remarks as we all gasp. Maggie is leaving the only tangible memorial she has of her late husband and the father of her son. Sure, that’s unsettling for the nostalgic of us out there, but it is also a good indicator that she’s ready to progress and the writers are ready to add another level to her character.
There’s also another major sign of progression and adaptation in this episode for Maggie: her treatment of Negan. After all the times that she has stared him in the eyes, picturing his own death by her hands, she has a change-of-heart in this episode when she tells Negan that she’ll never forget that he saved Hershel.
So does this mean that Maggie is maturing and is ready to forgive Negan for his atrocities? Are WE ready to forgive Negan for his atrocities? I know one thing: this is all setting up that Negan/Maggie spin-off, Isle of the Dead. Just two episodes ago we couldn’t even imagine the two of them heading to New York and be buddies, but here we are.
Just as Maggie is lightening up her mood a bit, Lance is putting a hit out on her. At the end of the last episode, we saw him ask Leah if she wanted a job. Now we know what that job is: to kill Maggie.
And Leah almost succeeds, too. After an explosion kills the men sent with Leah to do the assassination, Maggie splits from her group and faces Leah head-to-head. Leah bests Maggie and captures her while delivering that classic blunder of explaining what she’ll do to her before actually doing it, which gives the captive time to escape her binds.
They rough each other up a bit and Leah gets Maggie pinned down with a knife to her face, but what’s that? A single gunshot drops Leah to the ground and her former lover, Daryl, is standing behind her with the gun.
After all those times of letting each other escape capture and writing high school love letters with each others’ emotional scars, Daryl finally shot Leah.
Meanwhile, Eugene, Max, Connie, and the rest assemble to gather the final details they need to write an expose on Pamela Milton and the mysterious list of people who have been sacrificed to the undead from The Commonwealth.
Now, can we talk about the locusts? Throughout the episode, the sound of swarming locusts would interrupt the characters while they looked to the sky and said things like “If that ain’t a sign from the Man upstairs.” Hey, I tell myself, this must be that act of God we’ve heard so much about from this episode’s title. But nope. It’s just an atmospheric thing for part of the episode. We have no idea what’s going on with these insects, but I’m hoping we get some resolution in the next part of season. Will we see Biblical plagues? Are we in for major crop failure? What’s going on?
As the episode wraps up, there’s a final montage that shows Lance and his stormtroopers dropping Commonwealth banners at the entrances of Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside. The greedy little prick finally got what he wanted: full control of all other establishments around the area, and now we wait and see what he’ll do with them.
Overall, I think this episode was great for continuing the storyline and showing a new side of Maggie. It’s sad to see all the main colonies being overrun, but I feel like we’ll see the end of Lance and Pamela Milton soon, so it’ll all be worth it.
We have eight episodes left until The Walking Dead is done for good. The third chunk is meant to release later this year and possibly run into 2023.