Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Walking Dead: Season 9 Episode 15 - The Calm Before

Hello friends and welcome back for our discussion of the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season 9.  Now, I’m not sure if I’m ready to give my “WOW” certified rating for the episode, but I will say WOW in terms of shock value for the final sequence.  Most shows these days try to pull out the big stops in the episode(s) prior to the finale and this certainly went for that.  I’ve come to learn that the moment of moments is a key moment in the comic series as well with mostly different characters involved.  Anyway we’ll get there.  All in all, a crazy episode!

Discussion Points

Ok, so there definitely was a whole lot of calm in this episode as implied by the title.  We had our trade fair. We followed a couple’s journey to finding Hilltop to becoming part of the community.  Just as I was worried about them being the Nikki and Paolo of The Walking Dead, Alpha went and took them down on their journey to The Kingdom in the present day.  Whew!

There were a lot of little moments in this episode.  Let’s tackle the big moments.

  • All 4 communities came together, bygones became bygones.  They had to debate Lydia, but all decided to let her in due to the rousing speech about all of them being given a chance in the past.  Oceanside’s biggest contribution to the night was “Count us in”.   Rick and Carl were given massive props for leading the charge to this day that they’re living now.  
  • Zeke got to bust out the charter and they all signed agreeing that if one community is threatened the others will fight alongside them.   Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Magna, Yumiko, Diane (just learned her name tonight even though she’s been around) led the charge to defend Hilltop. 
  • Henry and Lydia had their little time in the sun.  Their relationship was challenged by the locals but then they professed their “like” for each other.  They had a date for the movie that night. 
  • While all this was happening, Alpha donned the wig of “Nikki” and walked amongst the trade fair.  She even fraternized with Zeke for a bit before working her way to the movie theater to confront Lydia.  We learn later that Lydia stands her ground and tells Alpha she wants to stay but wants her to leave.  She knows the 4 communities will fight for her now and doesn’t want her mother to be killed.  
  • Later on Daryl and crew stumbled into the Highway Men who had run into some trouble.  Before we know it people are splitting up and taking on walkers before they are captured by the “skins”/whisperers.  Beta showed that he is no worse for wear after his fall down an elevator shaft.  And we see that Alpha returned to her crew later in the day.  (The timeline of this episode was all jacked up and we were meant to understand that the crew leaving The Kingdom was a pivotal moment in time that we had to see events play out for both the people that left and the people left behind) 
  • Alpha interacts with Michonne, Daryl, Carol and Yumiko.  But, she takes Daryl alone to show her forces.  There is a ridiculous amount of Walkers under her control.  Like I don’t know if we have ever CGI’d that many walkers into a shot.  Anyway, she names her terms and her border.  She’s already made it clear that stuff has gone down and they will know in due time.  
  • In the end, we lost some people that have been with us for some time and then some others.  10 in all.  Zombified heads on pikes which outline the border that our heroes are not to cross.  Some Highway men that came to save the kidnapped, some of the angsty teens that came between Lydia and Henry.  And then Grace Under Fire (Tammy.  And the only one that is the same as the comics), Enid, Tara and....Henry!  Now, I’m no fan of Henry but what this is a big blow to Carol.  All I could think about when witnessing her reaction was Sophia and everyone else in between.  This is not going to be easy for her.  She let her guard down and became happy.  And Enid and Tara?  Yikes that came out of nowhere.  Neither were major players.  Not really.  I mean they gave Tara Hilltop, only because they knew they were going to take it away!  But still, they’ve been around for a long time and it shows they mean business.  
  • Siddiq was left alive to tell the story, to scare the people.  But he told stories of bravery.  How all communities worked together as family against their oppressors and he wanted them to be remembered as heroes.  
  • Retaliation is coming I’m sure, but for now we need to pause and remember the blow they were struck.  And did I see snow falling on the ground.  Is Winter truly coming to The Walking Dead?  Good timing to get us hyped for GAME OF THRONES! 

There was lots of little things that we can discuss in the comments like Alden and Luke’s jam session, Eugene and Rosita’s nice moments and everything else.  But I covered the major beats that I can recall.  Interested to see how they close out this season.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I’ll see you next week! 


MJ said...

OMG ! Not Tara !!! Not Enid !!! Sigh. Fine with Henry going down - tho sorry for Carol and Daryl. Didn't care about the randos or tammy have to say. I would have been mad if Yumika or Magna or the deaf chicks died too. Poor Siddiq - he gave a very moving speech. And Lydia stood up to Alpha.

As soon as she said that they'll see how the northern border is marked - I dreaded what we would find. But I thought they always moved around - so why is it like this is ours - stay out ?

LOL on Nicki and Paolo. But yeah - they had a neon sign over their heads screaming Red Shirts.

So who will run Hilltop now ? They have lost Maggie, Jesus and now Tara.

yeah - snow at the end. Next week is some big blizzard or something. Funnily enough weeks and weeks ago I commented that they never show snow on this show - Virginia gets snow. LOL And I swear - I did not know they were going to do a blizzard when I said that.

Henry replaced Carl in this story but surely this is not how Carl dies in the books ? Can someone confirm ?

MJ said...

Funny you should reference GofT. Earlier this week they claimed that this was going to be their 'Red Wedding' episode. After it was over I said to my husband that it was more Ned Starkian then Red Wedding. LOL

MJ said...

Heard in the comics Ezekial and Rosita were killed on the spikes and that there were 12 killed and not 10. I was actually surprised Alpha did not kill Lydia.

Mike V. said...

Yeah I googled who died in the comics. Rosita was pregnant in the comics when they killed her off too. They definitely went the safer route! I couldn't even put it at Ned Stark levels because he was the lead of the show/book! That would be like killing Rick Grimes in season 1. lol Or Jack Shephard which they were going to do in the pilot with Michael Keaton playing Jack instead of Matthew Fox. It still was a powerful image. But Tara and Enid being the most shocking? Just a little safe. I didn't realize Tara and Enid were both show creations either. Tara was supposed to be a 1-3 episode stint and she got called back to be a regular. She was a nice addition to the cast so I don't mean to belittle that. But she was definitely minor compared to the bigger players in the group. But when you lose Rick and Maggie in one season you gotta keep some of the bigger names still on the show.

But, like I mentioned...killing Henry does more for Carol/Daryl/Ezekiel on the show than it affecting the audience. lol Even Lydia who is now a solidified member of the crew.

I actually did watch Talking Dead last night and read an interview with Angela Kang. Who will run Hilltop will be a driving force in the coming story. But yeah I have no idea. Maybe Tammy Rose's husband? lol Unless they bring in someone from a different community to run things. I mean even Enid died!

Northern Border - Well wouldn't they own everything north of that border?? so couldn't they technically still move around? lol I have no's a good question on why they're planting their feet down. Guess it could be because of Lydia. We did see her shed a tear over losing her daughter....of course then she killed the witness of it!

Yeah...I remember in earlier seasons..i think even on LOST I thought it would be cool if they showed winter. Apparently Scott Gimple (on TD) always wanted to do a snow episode when he was showrunner but they couldn't make it happen. Now Angela is getting it...and from the scene showed on TD...looks pretty good! But yes it is funny that you mentioned it a few weeks ago. I remember that season they were getting all ready for winter and then they did a 9 month time jump or something crazy where we didn't have to see them surviving through it.

Carl was not on the pikes in the books. I read that Rick and Carl stumbled upon the pikes first in the books...and then Michonne and some other dude (we don't know him) joined them. I think Andrea is still alive in the books too and she was involved. Wait...does Carl die in the books? I thought he and Rick are untouchable?

MJ said...

Hmmm - I honestly don't know if Carl or Rick die in the books.

Yeah - she killed the dude cause he saw her cry. Nuts. Third one of her own gang she killed for no reason. Can't believe others stay with her.

I have not seen Talking yet - was too late for me.

Tara has come to be one of the major players for me. Sure - she's not Michonne or Maggie - but I have always liked her. Enid grew on me when she stopped being the angsty teen. I don't see Daryl as wanting to be a leader in Hilltop - he likes to be out in the world - not going to meetings. Maybe a committee will run it.

I think I forgot that Oceanside peeps were even still around to be honest until last night. And I totally forgot who that red head was that got killed (one of Negen's wives).

Mike V. said...

I'm pretty sure they're both alive and kicking. lol Definitely Rick. Not so sure about Carl, but just assumed those 2 were okay.

True with the whisperers. They probably stay out of fear and not knowing any other way to survive.

I usually don't watch TD anymore, but this one warranted a check in. lol

Yes, I'm sure from a TWD writing staff perspective and some viewers she is a major player. I just always had her a notch below the Top Tier (Rick, Maggie, Carol, Daryl, Michonne, maybe even Ezekiel) I'd put her on the level of an Aaron, Jesus, Gabriel, Eugene...which is still major yes. But I think a lot of her stature was fabricated by the show when they made her the head of Hilltop after a 6 year time jump. I was actually surprised to see her in charge. But you go with the whole "well it's been 6 years so we haven't seen a lot of the evolution of these characters". Just like Siddiq is now part of the in crowd and even Alden is fully accepted as a "good guy". 6 years ago I still wasn't sure if I could trust him! Now that I think about it...I guess Alden might be up for head of Hilltop??

Sidenote: I liked Tara and Enid too...was just distinguishing from the Top Tier.

MJ said...

OMG ! I spoiled someone accidently. LOL I asked if they watched - they said yeah - but then when I said they killed Enid and Tara they were like - what ? Their DVR cut off after 1 hour. Their schedule still had Badlands starting at 10. I just felt awful. They are going to try to find it online somewhere - I don't think AMC repeats it

Mike V. said...

Oh yeah...I forgot they mentioned that on Talking Dead that people had DVR issues and they said stop watching and record the next airing of the show after TD. lol AMC does repeat it at least one time (after TD), but not sure after that??

That really stinks but you couldn't have known!

I can't remember what happened at the end of the hour but did they think they had watched a full episode? LOL

MJ said...

yes - they thought they got the whole thing. He said it stopped with Alpha in the movie theater with Lydia. He thought it was odd but shrugged it off. I know another person who got cut off too - but they realized it at least

Jason B. said...

My episode got cut off as well, because I was watching behind. Thankfully Into the Badlands was still airing, and when I switched to live TV it let me reset to the beginning of the episode, which was actually the remaining 25 minutes of TWD. And yes, the final scene before that was Alpha sitting next to Lydia at the theater.

The writers really had us comic readers thinking they were going through with Rosita and Ezekiel. Even up to the last scenes. I read that even the two actors thought that they were going to die up until they got the episode script. I'm very glad that Ezekiel survived though, after losing both Rick and Maggie this season I think it was the right choice to keep him around.

Yeah Henry dying surprised me big time, I figured he was safe since he was Carl's replacement. But Carl honestly doesn't do too much after this point in the comics that I can think of, at least up until recently. I guess Lydia will be more of his replacement from now on? Or the story will change so much that he just won't have one haha.

Yeah Alanna was the longest running actor on the show after Norman, Melissa, and Danai. And she was even on a little longer than Christian (Rosita). But Tara definitely never felt as important of a character as them. I was still very surprised to see her up there, along with Enid. I definitely thought Alden might die, Enid never crossed my mind though.

Overall I'm just glad that I avoided spoilers. The only character I guessed correctly was Tammy, and I had thought at one point that DJ might be up there. As far as the 3 teenage Hilltop kids go, the one that survived is the one I guessed would die haha.

Mike V. said...

Hi Jason! I had heard that there were teases in there for comicbook readers that it might actually go the way of the comics. I obviously didn't even pick up on it whil ewatching! But totally agree that it's why they went a safer route after losing Rick and Maggie. I also figured Lydia will be the proxy for Carl/Henry moving forward. We'll see.