Ezekiel is blaming the wrong person for Henry’s death. Henry got himself killed by being stupid.
I know Lydia has become a member of the group, but why does Daryl feel overly obligated to protect her? It is to prove a point to Alpha?
Negan proved that he cares for Judith way more than the group does.
I can’t wait to see Negan vs Alpha.
I felt like nothing happened in this episode. Then I realized it was the finale. Yikes.
[7.7/10] The myth of The Walking Dead is supposed to be that it can go on forever. The bigwigs at AMC have declared as such. You can keep killing characters and adding in new ones ad infinitum. Each new face can have a different backstory, a different motivation, a different reason to be here. And there’s always new challenges in the lawless world that our heroes occupy to, you know, occupy them. There’s always more places to go.
Except that little of that is true. Sure, in principle, you can gradually filter characters in and out, and have new mountains for them to climb each episode. But in practice, two-thirds of each new crop of characters are some combination of forgettable and/or zombie bait. And as unlimited as the possibilities of the show are on paper, The Walking Dead’s track record says that we’ll get the same reheated group vs. group conflicts, the same sort of meditations on what it means to live in this state of the world, and the same cycles of suffering and recovery and loss and community.
So when the show goes big in an episode like “The Storm”, it stands out. There’s been so little that feels truly new on the show that something like the survivors withstanding a blizzard can almost get by on novelty alone. The challenges of keeping warm, of navigating in a blistering snow, of uncertain vision and terrain, are cousins of perils our heroes have already faced, but distinctive enough that it feels like a breath of fresh, frigid air.
It doesn't hurt the show’s visuals either. Aint The Walking Dead nice to look at? Even when the story sags and the dialogue dies on the vine, there’s a stark beauty to this series that helps make it tolerable even in the worst doldrums. With Greg Nicotero directing, the show makes the most of its snowside setting. The sense of uncertainty and paranoia as figures are hard to make out in the snow adds to the foreboding and fraught sense of the survivor’s journeys. Images of walkers frozen solid, or lines of huddled figures moving through a white canvas stand out. Even the scenes of the undead emerging from beneath the powder and threatening to crack the frozen pond has a little extra juice and visual splendor.
Granted, it’s not that different than the times we’ve seen walkers emerge from sand or mud. There’s nothing that new about our heroes making it through harsh conditions in caravans to safety. Blurred vision and the looming threat of an enemy collective are beats The Walking Dead has hit on multiple occasions.
But as much as I harp on the familiar, and the overly familiar, of this show, stories are ultimately less about beats than they are about choices. I get tired of the series’s painful voiceover monologues that bookend so many episodes and deliver so many clanging platitudes. I am utterly exhausted by how often the show resorts to having rotating sets of characters have one-on-one conversations, filled with overwrought dialogue, that directly establish whatever the point or theme is. Still, what drives the show for me -- in success and failure -- are the choices it makes, and has its characters make.
Sometimes those choices are frustrating. I have to admit, I was about ready to throw up my hands after last week’s culling. I am tired of this show knocking off the few remaining characters that I am invested in. I am tired of “shocking” deaths that seems to exist for shock’s sake. I am tired of seeing this show kill of children. And I am especially tired of it making Carol suffer.
Because she is one of those remaining few characters that I still care about on this show. It has had her come so far, sink so low, and yet come back and receive some so-very-earned happiness. The idea that after suffering so long, she finds a healthy relationship, regains her parenthood, and finds a measure of stability and peace after so much was taken from her is one of the few truly laudable journeys The Walking Dead has constructed in its nine seasons. To rip that away from her once more borders on the unconscionable.
And yet, she makes choices here, choices that have meaning. One of the more significant ones is to end her relationship with Ezekiel. I can’t say I love the move, especially when it gets wrapped in a weird love triangle-type thing with Daryl. But Carol/Ezekiel is one of the few pairings on the show worth caring about, and losing a child is one of those things that can be impassable for a couple. So there’s weight when Ezekiel tells his queen that he’ll always love her, and she responds that she’ll never regret the fairytale.
Bigger than that, she chooses not to kill Lydia, despite having every impulse to do so. As she tells Daryl in one of the more nicely laconic colloquies in the episode, she worries that she’s losing herself. She’s hurt and angry and lost after losing Henry. And yet, when her weapon is held at Lydia’s throat, she can only see someone else who blames themself for all that loss. With tears in her eyes, she can only see another child, a child that her son loved, and she relents. There’s true character revealed there, in the show’s deepest and most interesting figure, and carries the weight when so much in the series is crumbling.
Negan reveals his character in his choices here too. The show sets up the insult-slinging, shit-stirring asshole we knew through the last arc once again as he pokes and prods at Rosita, Gabriel, and the others. But when push comes to shove, he goes after Judith in the snow, despite an injured leg, despite the risk of freezing to death, and despite having to lug a canine along in the process.
Maybe saving a little girl and a dog through the snow is a cheap way to redeem Negan, but fuck me (“language!”) it’s effective. There’s always been something that Negan admired in the Grimes kids, the courage and chutzpah shown in Carl and Judith alike. Seeing him risk his own life to save hers in the spirit of that caring, or out of his fractured but potent admiration for Michonne, or his empathy for Ezekiel in losing a Kingdom, can’t help but make me glad to see his shit-eating grin at the end of the episode. I never asked for or wanted Negan’s redemption, even halfway redemption, but I’m unexpectedly happy to see him take the steps to earn it here.
But the biggest choice the survivors make here is to come together. That’s the overall theme of the episode and the season. There’s teases of threats to come and allies new and old emerging from the woodwork. More than that, though, there’s the sense that these connections became frayed and torn apart, and it made them weaker, more strained and susceptible to threats than strong and independent. Michonne says as much in case the writers think the audience missed it.
There’s catharsis in the dramatization of that. Seeing the refugees from the fallen Kingdom find safety in Hilltop, and resolve that their community comes with them, no matter where they are at the moment, is heartening. Seeing the struggles and threats of crossing Whisperer territory and staving off frostbite and fending off wintery walker attacks amount to a warm reunion and snowball fight at Alexandria is just as encouraging.
This sort of thing is not new either, though. If anything, it’s been The Walking Dead’s biggest trick since at least season 4 and arguably earlier -- break up the group and then warm the audience’s heart when you bring them back together again. We’ve seen declarations that this is a community again, that they’re rededicated to their principles, that there’s strength in working together, time and time again.
That’s where the myth starts to break down a little. You can shuffle the faces and names, shuffle the allegiances, even shuffle the weather to try to freshen things up. And when you do, you may pull out those moments of sweetness, of joy amid the darkness. You may even pull off one of the show’s better season finales, one that puts a bit more of a period at the end of the season than a semicolon.
But you still leave me wondering where the show goes from here. How many more people can it kill off before the whole thing seems futile? How many rival groups can you introduce with different coats of paint before it starts to feel rote? How many times can you rotate locations before it’s just variations on a theme. Nine seasons in, The Walking Dead is squeezing out every last ounce of juice from its premise, and every once in a while, it’s still pretty tasty and refreshing. It’s just tiring drinking the same basic cocktail -- of gore, war, loss, and recovery -- to where despite enjoying this finish quite a bit, I’m ready for this series to settle up.
it never snows like that in Alexandria lol
Oh man, I really hate Alpha. She is so damn scary.
So did anybody else think that voice at the end sounded a bit like Maggie?
In all of 9 seasons, this show never had winter. Now they the writers have run out of crap, they copy Game of Thrones & throw in winter with the White Walkers. WTF is wrong with this show? Unfortunately this crap got renewed.
This episode was a horrible follow up to the episode right before. There is almost nothing stimulating in the whole episode and the snow just feels like a gimmick to get you to watch. Might be better off just pretending the last episode was the finale
Months after the fair, winter comes and the Kingdom's infrastructure can no longer function for its inhabitants so they pack up and head for Hilltop. Ezekiel makes a broadcast over the radio about their situation if anyone is listening. Knowing that they won't make it there before a winter storm starts, they go to the Sanctuary for shelter. Realizing that they can't stay for long, they leave passing through Alpha's territory even if means surviving. They comes across snow zombies popping out of the ground before crossing a river that gets them to the Hilltop where they can be safe. Alexandria is also preparing for the storm. The fireplace stops working at one of the houses and when they travel to another home, Judith runs off and Negan goes to find her. He saves her and the dog and brings them to safety. Michonne arrives after helping the Kingdom settle at Hilltop and they have a little snowball fight. Spring comes around and Beta tells Alpha that she will be stronger and ready to fight. Judith and Ezekiel have a conversation over the radio and a mysterious voice is heard after the two walk away.
An interesting change of pace overall to this season. Rick leaving was a shocker, the Whisperers introduction was spot on, and the first appearance of snow was pretty cool.
What about that group of ninja zombies hidden in the snow waiting to attack all at once?
Where was maggy and them? Why was hilltop empty?
This was a pretty good episode and I sincerely hope that going into season 10 we have more episodes like this and less like the rest of the season, but for a season finale, it was very disappointing.
I know the recent spate of global warming gave the producers the chance to film in blizzard conditions, but the stupidity of all the characters somehow being caught out in it, despite having 2 perfectly good settlements to shelter in, boggles the mind.
"Language!"I smiled the entire time Negan was on screen. His back and forth with the other survivors (mainly Gabriel) was just so fucking good.Judith, I don't even have to mention.What those two have is just unreal. The chemistry is over the top.
"What do you see, when you Look at me?"Carol and Daryls bond is Special.Ezekiel blames the wrong person for Henry's death.I also like, that Daryl protects Lydia.
"Dog!"I got so fucking scared. Please don't kill Dog!Please don't kill Dog!^^Who doesn't like Judith for saving Dog, is heartless!^^And Negan for saving both. Just saying.He gains trust. Clever.The Wisperes need to look out.They may have Walkers, but our Group has fucking Negan! XD
"It's cold."Snowball fight! So refreshing to end the season on a good Note. Never felt happier for them. :)Also to see Walkers frozen was so cool.They realy outdid themself with the setting! :DTension all the way.(I overdid it with the puns, didn't I?I don't feel sorry^^)
"I have to be strong."Punishment for Alpha?At least her Rules aren't one sided, even thought they're fucked up.The only thing I was a bit dissapointed with the final, was the fact we didn't saw how the wisperers got through the Winter...
"Hello, hello, is anybody out there?"Who is the Radio Woman?I think we wont find out till season 11 or 12.Or at least don't see her.And I am fine with it.
They fucking did it. They justified a season to be 16 episodes long! Dindn't happen since season 5. Bravo!