REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S10 Ep11 – Morning Star

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep11 - Morning Star

The Walking Dead treated us to an episode with really high stakes, for a change, as Alpha sent her horde to attack the Hilltop, where many of the major characters have converged. While most of the episode felt like a “calm before the storm” kind of chapter, the last few minutes did provide some truly exciting action as well as dangerously trapping the main players in a horde-surrounded inferno. Thrilling stuff for one of the stronger episodes of The Walking Dead in a while.

Everyone we really care about (or most of them) is in Hilltop: Daryl, Carol, Judith, Lydia, Rosita, Eugene, Aaron, Ezekiel, and Jerry. And it’s at this juncture that Alpha decides to send her hordes of walkers to surround the Hilltop, blocking all roads, and trapping the community in their own home. As soon as they realize this, they prepare as best as they can and the training montage from the season premiere suddenly seems like good planning.

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep11 - Morning StarMost of the episode is spent with quiet, character interactions, reminding us of the close relationships notably between Daryl and Carol and then, Rosita and Eugene. The latter pair shared some pretty good moments in this episode, with Rosita discovering Eugene’s budding romance with Stephanie, the voice on the radio, and Eugene even refusing to kiss Rosita because of his feelings for Stephanie. He even got to sing over the montage of characters bonding and saying good-bye to each other. I’m not too worried about either of them dying though because Rosita needs to get back to Coco and Eugene’s meeting up with this girl might lead to another community. Aaron continues to be on Mary’s side even as Earl and Alden refuse to let her come near her nephew. 

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep11 - Morning StarEzekiel gets a lot of screen time in this episode which is pretty much The Walking Dead code for his eventual demise. Given that he is already dying from cancer, this will not be too much of a loss though Ezekiel has been one of those charismatic characters who actually matter on the show at this point. But his fate seems to be sealed not only because Carol had sex with him (believing they were all about to die), and also because Daryl exchanged some words of appreciation and respect, while also tasking him with taking care of the kids. It’s most likely that Ezekiel will go down protecting the children, which is as noble an end as one can hope for on The Walking Dead.

Carol also had some strong moments in this episode, not only with her reconciliation with Ezekiel but also a kind of reconciliation between her and Lydia. They shared a quiet moment in Henry’s memory and later on, Ezekiel even gives Lydia Henry’s old armor.

Negan as a WhispererWhile Daryl is still clearly angry at Carol for what happened back at the cave, when she tearfully begs him not to hate her, he does answer sincerely that he will never hate her. There’s hope for them yet, because there had better be given that we have been with these two from the very beginning.

On the Whisperer front, Alpha and Negan continue their strange partnership, with the former involving the latter in her masochistic rituals. Negan isn’t too thrilled by the self-harm but he plays along. Alpha seems to trust him enough to give him his own Whisperer mask which he dons with some degree of pride. It’s an interesting image, a Whisperer in a leather jacket, but that’s Negan for you.

Negan and AlphaBut even as Negan marches with the Whisperers, it’s clear that his allegiance is not completely with them. He tries to convince Alpha to have the community surrender instead of massacring them all, a not very subtle way of showing he actually wants to keep them alive in spite of everything. Alpha appears to consider his advice only for her to decide that she wants the Hilltop citizens to join her horde instead. Negan’s disappointment at this development is again indicative of his not being 100% in board with his newfound friends. As another reviewer mentioned, when Negan finds out that Judith is among those threatened by the horde, we will really see where Negan stands.

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep11 - Morning StarThe last few minutes of the episode were a delightful surprise, some serious action and real danger. At first, it seemed like some of the Hilltop’s preventive measures were effective like walkers getting caught on explosive wires and being blocked by a spiked fence. The best fighters were on the front lines taking down walkers efficiently, with Daryl even wielding a morning star (hence the title of the episode), which isn’t the most practical of weapons but in Daryl’s hands, it looks pretty badass.

But the Whisperers proved to be more ruthless and clever, implementing a fairly sophisticated strategy of catapulting fruits with flammable juice and coating the enemies with it. At first, this only served to confuse the fighters but when flaming arrows were launched and they discovered that they were basically coated in something like gasoline, the Whisperer’s sinister purpose became clear. And as they retreated to the Hilltop, more flaming arrows landed on their wooden gates, trapping them all in a blazing inferno while still surrounded by a horde of walkers. 

Now, that’s a real battle, and I’m excited to see who The Walking Dead will be sacrificing this time.