For our review of last episode of The Walking Dead, click here.
Synopsis: The fair at the Kingdom is underway, with all four communities coming together in celebration for the first time in years, while some pacts are renewed, other deals will come at a much steeper price. (IMDB)
Writers: Geraldine Iona and Channing Powell
Director: Laura Belsey
Running Time: 57mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on AMC (Canada/United States)
If this is the penultimate episode, some bad stuff is definitely going to go down next week.
The episode started with a random Hilltop delegation being attacked by whispers on their way to Kingdom. Alpha seemed particularly interested in one woman’s blond hair, scalping her. Meanwhile, the fair at the Kingdom was underway, starting with another Ezekiel speech. However, Carol was leaving with a group to look for Henry which she would no longer have to do once he showed up with Michonne, Daryl, and the others. This also meant more overdue reunions like Judith and Carol and Ezekiel. Others were not as thrilled to see Lydia.
The community leaders convened. Michonne made up with the others while the Alexandria council agreed to grant asylum to Lydia. She also convinced the others to accept Lydia as well. To protect Hilltop from a possible whisper attack, the communities agreed to send some of their fighters to help (Michonne, Carol, Daryl, and others volunteered). They would also agree to train with one another. To make their agreement official, Ezekiel finally had the chance to use his charter so everyone would have something to sign (Michonne let Gabriel, who was the leader of the council, sign).
Henry took Lydia around the fair (Eugene in the dunk tank was kind of funny). She was understandably overwhelmed (especially at the prospect of movies). Luke was going to play guitar at the fair and wanted Alden to sing with him (Enid convinced him to). The d-bag Kingdom teens try to drive a wedge between Henry and Lydia (which eventually would fail).
As the first fighter group left Kingdom for Hilltop, they were alerted by the Highwaymen to the earlier attack from the start of the episode. Michonne, Daryl, Carol, and Yumiko split away from the group to investigate but would find themselves captured by Alpha and the whispers.
The episode jumped back and forth in time to keep up with all the characters so after the group left, a mysterious woman who was just Alpha wearing the wig she scalped was spying on Kingdom (She would also have a conversation with Ezekiel who clearly didn’t know who she was). Rosita assured Eugene that their relationship would not change despite her pregnancy. Later in the evening, Kingdom screened some animated movies. Meanwhile, Henry was missing followed by Alpha pulling Lydia away (which was not a coincidence).
Jumping back to the Michonne and the gang with the whispers, Alpha claimed to have moved on from Lydia (Beta was surprised). Alpha took Daryl to a ledge overlooking one of the largest herd of walkers. She warned Daryl not to cross them, establishing borders and threatening to lead the herd towards them if they crossed into their territory. Back to Alpha and Lydia, Alpha pleaded to Lydia but all she wanted was for her mother to go, giving her the choice to walk away. Thinking about that moment with Daryl made Alpha emotional. Daryl assured her that he would protect Lydia.
As Michonne, Daryl, Carol, and Yumiko were headed back towards Kingdom, they found an injured Siddiq and a grouping of ten spikes up in the distance. Each had heads of some random people (including some d-bag Kingdom teens and Highwaymen) but some were some important characters such as Enid, Tara, and Henry. Meanwhile, a frustrated Alpha wanted to be left alone. Also going back in time, people at the Kingdom were wondering where certain people were (presumably those whose heads were now on spikes). This was intercut along with some sad music to the revealing of each head. Enid, Tara, and Henry were obviously the most sad reveals.
Later, Siddiq who was presumably left alive to deliver the others a warning instead told a story (which wasn’t made up) of how those who died were heroes and we saw how they defended each other against the whispers but eventually died.
The episode ended with Daryl and Lydia where she left a necklace at the spike where Henry’s head was found (all the heads were gone).
Overall, The Calm Before was another good episode of The Walking Dead that very much felt like a season finale but there’s still one episode left so one could only imagine what could happen next week. While it was inevitable that everyone would come together, it was still emotional and compelling to watch, including some long overdue reunions. After how the episode ended, it is clear that there will be some sort of retaliation against the whispers. There were some notable deaths but for the most part, the writers could have gone bigger (though the comics featured different characters). Though the time jumping wasn’t always the easiest to follow, the episode still did a decent job at keeping up with everybody. It will be interesting how the finale will go since the buildup to the whispers wasn’t nearly as long as the saviors for example. Hopefully the season can finish strong and perhaps provide some insight on Danai Gurira’s upcoming departure after a handful of episodes next season.