The Walking Dead season 9, episode 11 review: Bounty


This week on The Walking Dead, the Whisperers come to Hilltop. Does the clash of cults bring on a showdown or a posturing stare down?

The Walking Dead begins with a flashback to a Kingdom/Hilltop rendezvous. While Ezekiel, Carol, and Jerry wait for Jesus and Tara, Jerry breaks the news that he is going to be a father. They exchange goods with Jesus at a time when Maggie was still head of state. Tara passes along a bill of rights with designations at the bottom left for the leader of each community to sign.

In the present, the Kingdom prepares for the fair, and the king leads his court on a hunt for bounty. After gathering up the fruits of their labor, Ezekiel takes a detour on a little side mission – to secure a projector bulb from a zombie infested movie theater. The positive potential payoff of some much need enjoyment outweighs the danger.

After piling up some buttery biters, Jerry reaches the holy grail and handles it with care. He neatly wraps the bulb before accidentally dropping it into the seats during a surprise attack. They consider calling the whole thing off until Carol enacts a royal decree to rescue the bulb. Ezekiel also had an ulterior motive for patronizing the theater – he secured a glass frame for his soon to be signed charter.

Meanwhile, the Whisperer stand-off continues as Alpha waits with her group outside of the Hilltop walls. When Daryl refuses to give up Alpha’s daughter, the latter signals for more to march forth; now she has a small army. Daryl walks out to confront Alpha face to face and threatens to light them up with their firepower.

His confident strategy deflates when he notices one of the Whisperers has a baby. Alpha imperturbably explains that their undomesticated lifestyle naturally means they may have babies with them, yet this is clearly part of her own strategy to test Hilltop’s moral fortitude. The enemy brings forward hostages Luke and Alden and demands a trade; seemingly speaking honestly about her conflict free resolution. Daryl reverses his position on turning over Lydia, but Henry has already run off with her.

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A real herd approaches Hilltop’s doorstep, and Alpha orders some members to distract. During the extended negotiations, Connie has been hiding in the cornfields. Luke spots her and signs for her to watch out for walkers. Then when the baby starts to cry, Alpha shoots the caretaker a knowing look, and she knows what needs to be done. The Whisperer leaves the baby on the ground, as the dead head for it.

In a daring act of bravery, Connie risks her life to save the child. With both real and pretending infected on her tail, she barely escapes with her life. Daryl and a small crew dash out to protect her and bring her inside.

Enid volunteers to bring Henry and Lydia back to Hilltop. One of the teens that first showed Henry a secret hideaway accompanies Enid as her guide. Henry was looking to shelter Lydia from her abusive mother. However, Lydia is second-guessing running from a mother who unexpectedly came looking to claim her.

When Enid returns with Lydia, Daryl takes her out to Alpha, who lets Luke and Alden free. Alpha gives her daughter a swift punch in the face before hooking her in for a hug, contrasting with the affectionate embrace Luke and Alden receive. Daryl and Henry continue their ethics lesson; Daryl explains that sometimes you have to learn to live with tough decisions, while Henry can’t bear to think of Lydia back with her monster of a mother.

Henry sneaks out of Hilltop in the night. Daryl gets his dog and heads after him. Connie has her own doubts about leadership’s Lydia ruling and tags along with Daryl.

Weekly Walkaways

  • An intriguing aspect to this string of episodes is how the different towns make reference to one another when we haven’t seen certain places or characters in a while (Alexandria is spoken about several times) or characters are clearly not up on their current events (Ezekiel and Carol don’t know Jesus is dead). This dynamic is much more typical in Game of Thrones’ multi-continental settings.
  • ·Connie’s race through the tall grass cleverly puts viewers in her perspective. All sound is severely muffled, and biters show up just inches in front of her without any notice. Sure, you can find a more artistic depiction of deafness in cinema (Rinko Kikuchi in Babel comes to mind), although the baby saving scene works well for this character in The Walking Dead.
  • Does anyone else think the prisoner exchange could have used a little more tension? We are not asking for the climactic scene in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, but at no point during the handover was there any sense of reluctance or peril between the transacting parties.
  • The Walking Dead continues to push its contemplation of morality in the apocalypse. Should Daryl have sent Lydia back to an abusive situation in order to save two of his own people? Henry and Connie are clearly in strong opposition and stick to their principles. On the other hand, morality is not even in the vernacular of Alpha and her Whisperers. She has no doubts about her decision to let a baby die for drawing in the dead.
  • The MVP of “Bounty” is a close call between Daryl and Alpha, but Samantha Morton definitely deserves some extra recognition this week. Her delivery is forthright yet threatening, and her appearance is both militaristic and androgynous. Alpha calls her people animals in the land of the dead; they are not men or women, merely beings who instinctively act on the laws of natural selection. Alpha is the embodiment of these beliefs, and she is a unique and fascinating addition to the series.

Next. The Walking Dead season 9, episode 10 review. dark

The Walking Dead returns next week with “Guardians” on Sunday, March 3rd at 9:00 p.m. ET on AMC.