Review, The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 19 Review and Recap: Variant

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This 19th episode of The Walking Dead can easily be divided into two main parts. We’ll call them “The Pursuit of Eugene” and “What Aaron Found.” Both are interesting and both make for a quality episode. Let’s take a look at it.

Warning! This article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 19: Variant.


 

The episode starts out showing Eugene’s progression through the years. As with all of the episode intros so far in this season’s third chunk, we get a retrospective into each character. It’s helpful and a bit sad.

The Pursuit of Eugene

As Pamela Milton is mourning her son’s death, she’s already discussing her cunning new plan with Mercer. She believes that Mercer’s sister, Max, meant well and probably wasn’t maliciously trying to cause Pamela’s son’s death. So her plan involves blaming the entire thing on Eugene. Seems legit.

Eugene TWDMercer sets out to find Eugene immediately, starting with questioning Rosita. Mercer treats her very poorly during the interrogation, which drives Rosita away from him even further. But Mercer may just be playing a hard ass for a reason. “Things are gonna get worse for all of you,” he tells her as she laughs and walks away.

From there, Rosita and Daryl try their best to hide Eugene away until they can escort him out of The Commonwealth, but there’s one major hitch: Eugene won’t leave that easily. “I cannot leave without my beloved,” he tells them.

But ultimately, when Max is captured and briefed by her brother, she expresses her desire to stay put and continue her attempt at seeing Pamela Milton’s career end. In turn, Eugene refuses to leave, but knows that he will be put to death if he stays. Now it’s up to Mercer to figure a way to make all of that work.

Eugene turns himself in at the end of the episode, telling Mercer that he is responsible for the recording and Max had nothing to do with it. You can almost see the respect in Mercer’s eyes as he tells his men to take Eugene away. But I think Mercer is already cooking up a plan to help Eugene (and Max, and himself) out of this whole mess.

What Aaron Found

Aaron, Lydia, Jerry, and Elijah set off in the last episode to bring supplies to Oceanside, but along the way, they come across one hell of an amusement park made up to look like a castle.

This park has walls, which Aaron believes to be secure, but when a horde of walkers comes strolling in during an evening fire-side chat, the whole group is confused.

Lydia and Aaron try to fight off the group, but the undead proves to be too much. We get a few hints that these walkers aren’t your usual, run-of-the-mill undead. One grabs Lydia’s weapon and tries to take it away, and soon we see one climb a wall while another turns a doorknob. That’s some advanced stuff that we haven’t see before!

So Aaron incorrectly assumes that they’re dealing with Whisperers at this point. He takes one down to the ground and rips its mask off. Although it’s not a mask; it’s the creature’s actual skin. So now what?

When the horde is finally wiped out, the four survivors talk about these new walkers. “Maybe there’s other kinds, too,” Aaron speculates. “Hope not.”

TWD Zombie Hand

I find this whole segment interesting because it sets the stage for the variant walkers that are rumored to be in Daryl’s spin-off series. We’re told that those walkers in France will be more agile and more intelligent, able to climb walls and open doors. This is something that was first hinted at way back in Season 1, but now we’re seeing it come to fruition.

So I imagine we’ll see more of this “variant” walker throughout the rest of this season leading up to Daryl’s spin-off, which should make for some interesting dynamics.

Princess and Mercer

The Rest of the Crew

Aside from those two main story arcs, Princess returned in this episode with a bang. She and Mercer had a great conversation about trust and she spilled a bit more of her backstory. She may have trust issues that stem from a crappy childhood filled with bad-apple stepdads, but she concedes that she knows in her heart that Mercer is not a monster.

I think this further reinforces the idea that he will be the big hero of these last few episodes.

And to finish this episode out, the big cliffhanger involves Rosita getting kidnapped. WHAT? We’ll have to wait until next week to see what that’s all about.

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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