The 9th episode of The Walking Dead’s 11th season starts off with a bang. No, really, there are exploding zombies and everything!
This episode not only marks the 9th episode of the show’s final season, but it also celebrates a return after a 4-month break since episode 8.
When we last left our heroes, Maggie and Negan’s group was facing a barrage of explosive fireworks while the crew at Alexandria were barely surviving a devastating storm that caused the town’s walls to be breached by the undead horde.
Warning! The rest of this article contains major spoilers for Season 11, Episode 9!
This episode starts off with tons of action and doesn’t really let up much at all. Maggie, Negan, and an injured Elijah are able to escape the explosives while Daryl makes his way through the rest of the Reapers and eventually joins back up with Maggie’s group just before they kill off one of the top Reapers, Carver.
But they decide to keep Carver alive long enough to work out a deal with Leah and her two remaining Reapers. Daryl just wants both sides to leave there alive, so he proposes that they go their separate ways and he’ll release Carver when they’re far enough away. They just leave each other alone and continue on with their lives. Sounds like a nice plan, right? Wrong.
Leah calls for her sniper, Jensen, to take out Maggie but the sniper isn’t home. He’s been replaced by Gabriel, which now leaves Leah’s group at a disadvantage. They agree to leave, but Maggie isn’t satisfied so she plugs the two Reaper men in the head (AS THEY’RE WALKING AWAY) and hits Leah with a bullet in her shoulder.
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Leah escapes, Daryl catches up to her and gives her a speech about how he didn’t want things to end this way, and she’s gone. I don’t think that’s the last time we’ll see her.
So at this point, Maggie is a little fed up with everything and heads out on her own to find Alden. You might remember that she left a severely injured Alden back in Episode 3. Fans were pretty upset that Alden was just left to die, so I feel like the show’s writers tied up a quick loose end with this scene. Maggie crept back into the church where she left him, only to find that he had turned. She hugged his gross zombie head for a second before putting him out of his misery once and for all.
Maggie heads back to Daryl, Gabriel, and Elijah and they all head back to Alexandria to deliver the food and supplies they promised their buddies. But just as the two groups are comparing notes on who was lost in the mayhem, Jerry notices a large group of people heading for the gate. It’s those white-armored stormtroopers from The Commonwealth.
Luckily, Eugene is with them and convinces everyone that The Commonwealth is just there to help. This is the point where that weasel Lance talks to this exhausted group of survivors to let them know that they can either stay in Alexandria while The Commonwealth helps rebuild, or they can join him. He doesn’t exactly come out and say that they can all come back to The Commonwealth with him, but the final scene of the episode tells it all.
Quite frankly, this final episode really struck me as a surprise that made me audibly gasp. That’s a big deal for me!
So immediately after Lance’s monologue, we see a panning shot of Maggie and Elijah on top of the wall at Alexandria. Maggie’s hair is a little shorter and Elijah doesn’t seem to have a limp anymore. The words “six months later” pop up on the screen, so we assume that no one took Lance up on his offer to go back with him even six months later.
The scene then changes to show a large group of Commonwealth troops outside the gate with Lance talking to a soldier up front. That soldier approaches the gate and tells Maggie to open up.
Maggie looks down and says matter-of-factly, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”
The soldier slowly removes his helmet to reveal the face of Mr. Daryl Dixon himself. And he still hasn’t showered.
“Yeah. Yeah it does,” he says.
So now we can only assume that Daryl sided with The Commonwealth and he’s at odds with Maggie’s group. In the short preview for next week’s episode, we can see Daryl and Carol enjoying a bit of admiration time at The Commonwealth, while others from the group remark that they can’t believe that this town looks untouched by the giant zombie apocalypse all around them. It shows promise and hope, but there’s also some indication that Daryl finds out some deep, dark secrets about the creepy place.
So the questions remain: did they all go to The Commonwealth and then split up afterwards? Did Maggie and Elijah (and a few others) just not even go to The Commonwealth at all? And where did Negan go? Will we see him again? Will we see Leah again?
We have 15 more episodes left in this season to find out, so it’ll be a fun ride. The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 9 is currently only available early on AMC+ and will be available on AMC February 20.