The biggest take-away from this episode is that the Reapers we met at the end of Episode 2 are actually not friendly. They’re very very not friendly.
But we also saw a great bit of back-and-forth between Maggie and Negan. Is their relationship improving? Can it possibly ever improve?
Be warned that the rest of this post contains massive spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 3
This episode opens up with an epic battle scene between Maggie’s group who just escaped the subway tunnels and the Reapers. As it turns out, the Reapers are extremely formidable and dangerous foes. That fight sequence before the opening credits was quick and dirty, but it really made the episode. I got sucked in as member after member of Maggie’s group was killed (Cole, Duncan, and possibly Elijah) or wounded (Gabriel, Negan, Maggie, etc.).
But I have to say, despite the wounding of a few main characters, the killing off of all the expendable short-timers in this episode was a bit disappointing. This show used to be well-known for taking someone who looked expendable (ahem, Aaron) and giving them an entire story arch. And the opposite is true, too. We’ve seen several characters whom we’ve come to know and love for multiple seasons meet a surprising end.
So when every single red-shirt goes down in the first 5 minutes, it makes you a little skeptical for the rest of the episode.
That said, I do think that this big battle scene was really well done. The spotlight on the main characters was jarring at first, but also an appreciated experiment by esteemed director Frederick E.O. Toye, who is best known for his work on shows like Snowpiercer, The Boys, Watchmen, and Westworld.
So we now know that the Reapers are complete badasses with ninja-like stealth skills, but we even got to see an unmasked Reaper talking with Gabriel at one point.
And that was an interesting exchange as it not only gave us a closer look into the Reapers’ philosophies, but also continued Gabriel’s “fall from grace” when he said “God isn’t here anymore” just before killing the guy.
This big battle scene also separated the group of survivors as we first follow Maggie into an old empty warehouse where she’s stalked by the Reapers. Any fan of 80s horror movies will appreciate little throwbacks here like the fact that the killer also seems to silently appear behind his victim.
Lots and lots of Negan. Episode 3 was great again. The Walking Dead fell off seasons 6, 7 and 8 but 9, 10 and so far 11 have been great. At least those three seasons gave us Negan.
— josh (@lionclique) August 29, 2021
But this brings us to something else I’ve noticed in several recent episodes: Negan seems to keep saving the day. He saved a few main characters in Season 10 and now we see him continually save Maggie. Sure, he was going to let her die in Episode 1, but maybe he’s trying to reconcile that decision. Or maybe this is foreshadowing to a closer relationship between the two.
After Alden’s severe injury in the warehouse, he begs Maggie and Negan to leave him behind and go on without him. In perhaps the greatest feat of irony in this episode, Maggie rips into Negan for being so eager to leave companions to die. Hey Maggie, remember ole Gage?
Back in Alexandria, we’re treated to a few moments of calm with the children of the colony who express their frustration with being left alone as their parents go out on missions.
We also see Carol leading Kelly, Magna, and Rosita to find some horses for Alexandria. This whole scene seemed very rushed as they couldn’t seem to snatch a horse, but then found a few horses eaten by walkers in the woods. But the frustration for losing horses made more sense when you realize that Carol wasn’t just interested in grabbing those horses as transportation. She had another plan.
As taboo as it may seem to some, Carol’s decision to kill and butcher one of the horses for its meat really saved the starving Alexandrians. Some were still skeptical, but ultimately it’s what needed to be done in that survival situation.
So at the end of this episode, we have Negan and Maggie walking off into the sunset, Carol helping Alexandria despite seeming to fall apart more and more each episode, and a bunch of adventure-hungry kids.
Wait, where did Daryl go? We saw him at the beginning of the episode during the Reaper fight, but that was it.
Fear not, Norman Reedus fans, Daryl will be back in the next episode, entitled Rendition. The synopsis states: “Daryl and Dog get captured by the Reapers; they are taken to the Meridian and reconnect with a familiar figure from their past.”
Any guesses as to whom that familiar figure might be? It’s unclear but a look into the IMDB cast list for episode 4 shows the return of Luke, whom we last saw at Hilltop. We also see the character of Stephanie (Eugene’s radio crush) played by Margot Bingham, meaning that we’ll probably see more of Eugene’s group at The Commonwealth in this episode.
Overall, I think this episode was the weakest of the season so far. That opening scene was great, but not enough to make up for the fragmented stories we got throughout the rest of the episode. But I have very high hopes for Episode 4!
What was your favorite part of Episode 3? What are you most looking forward to in the next episode? Let us know in the comments!