Chaos Brews in the Commonwealth
The Walking Dead arrives at its eight-episode finale with guns blazing, car chases, and political upheaval. “Lockdown” begins the third installment of season eleven like a summer action flick. We last saw the despicable Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) flipping a coin to decide Oceanside’s fate. Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) successfully defended Hilltop and Riverbend from Commonwealth troops. Daryl (Norman Reedus) killed Leah (Lynn Collins) thus provoking Hornsby’s wrath. Lockdown has them on the run while the Commonwealth’s citizens rage against Pamela (Laila Robins) and Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson).
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The premiere starts with a voice-over from Judith (Cailey Fleming). She talks about “how the world fell.” We get flashbacks of Rick, Shane, and walkers munching away. The scene cuts to Daryl and Maggie meeting up with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and Annie (Medina Senghore). Hornsby’s hot on their trail with his troops. Gabriel is worried about their people in the Commonwealth. Aaron believes they must kill Hornsby now and trust the others to handle themselves. Daryl decides to send Negan. The Commonwealth military doesn’t know him. Negan, in his skin mask, kills several soldiers and steals their car. Hornsby tries to radio back to the Commonwealth but can’t get a signal. Daryl wounds him and takes out his guard. Others chase Negan’s car but get pancaked by Daryl in another stolen vehicle.
In the Commonwealth
In the Commonwealth, protestors chant for “justice” in front of Pamela’s office. They want Sebastian for killing and kidnapping their missing relatives. Pamela swears to Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) that she doesn’t know Sebastian’s location. Her son couldn’t have been responsible. Mixed in with the protestors, Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) start planning an exit strategy. Mercer (Michael James Shaw) asks Rosita (Christian Serratos) to suit up and help with a coming herd of walkers. He’s called away to meet a mysterious visitor.
Negan is being held in a waiting room. Daryl sent him. Hornsby is trying to kill their people. At Daryl’s apartment, Carol (Melissa McBride) and the children hide from Hornsby’s agents. Negan, stunned by the Commonwealth, sees Jerry (Cooper Andrews). Meanwhile, Maggie and Annie kill the radio trooper, cutting off Hornsby’s communication.
Carol is shocked to see Negan. She tells Jerry to hide the children in a safe space where they’ve been stocking food. Carol decides they need a bargaining chip. At Union Station, tensions rise between the protestors and Pamela. Yumiko calms them down, but Pamela suspects that Connie (Lauren Ridloff) wrote the incendiary article. Pamela orders “B14”, a lockdown of the Commonwealth.
A massive swarm of walkers is “five miles out.” The protestors ignore instructions to shelter. Jerry realizes they’re being followed. He hides with the kids on a fire escape. Carol and Negan search for blueprints of the station. Carol doesn’t think that Sebastian ever left the building. Negan tells her he’s married and Annie’s pregnant.
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Maggie’s sorry that Daryl had to kill Leah. She knows he loved her. Daryl replies she never has to be sorry. He promised to look after her for Glenn. Hornsby has them surrounded. They decide to hide in the sewers. Annie thinks they should lure Hornsby underground. Gabriel shoots his rifle to get their attention.
Rosita gears up and rolls with Mercer in his jeep. Carol and Negan find a hidden door. Sebastian is passed out on the floor of a safe room. He reaches for his gun but is stepped on by Negan; who warns that Carol is his only chance to escape the mob. The protestors get a final warning from Pamela’s troops. They can hear the herd approaching. Sebastian is spotted with Carol. Negan intercepts an angry man so they can escape. The troops teargas the protestors.
Rosita guns down walkers with a mounted rifle. Mercer can’t save a soldier from being ripped in two. They shred dozens of walkers. The two jeeps separate to split the attacking herd. Carol brings Sebastian to his mother. Yumiko pretends not to know her. Pamela slaps Sebastian. He swears he isn’t responsible for the missing. Carol says that someone else is involved. She wants Pamela to call Hornsby off her friends. In the sewer, Hornsby walks into the trap. His troops have the group, but Daryl puts a knife to Hornsby’s neck in a stand-off.
A Puzzling Opening
I was puzzled by the open. Did Hornsby massacre the Oceanside settlement? Also, Judith’s voice-over spoke of everything in the past tense. Another time jump may be coming. Lockdown moved swiftly with great action scenes. Pamela doesn’t have a clue about Hornsby or her son’s activities. Another unseen villain seems to be in the Commonwealth. Hornsby’s goons going after the children makes sense. Jerry losing them in a crowd and fire escape was laughable. Bad guys can’t look up? The show is hurdling small details to keep the big picture in focus. I miss the days of more personal stories, but we’re in the endgame now.
The Walking Dead premieres every Sunday night on AMC. The following week’s episode is available to stream immediately after on AMC+.