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Acheron, Part 1, Bad Blood

A group of zombies rush forward at the premiere of The Walking Dead season 11.

Photo: Josh Stringer / AMC

AMC advertised tonight’s premiere Walking Dead as “The beginning of the end.” Technically true … but no more. Nice episode from TWD, just very mediocre. After 10 seasons of insane deviation from this metaphorical zombie-filled highway, I do not mind.

Nothing really begins in Acheron Part 1. This is indeed the other side of the bridge that the previous six episodes filmed during quarantine– related to the episodes leading up to the pandemic in season 10. Thus, the population of Alexandria still has not recovered from the devastation wrought by Whispererswhile Eugene, Kumiko, Ezekiel, and the princess arrive at Commonwealthaccompanied by fake stormtroopers. These are two completely different storylines, so let’s start with the Alexandrians.

Carol and Daryl, who seem to have completely reconciled after their shake During the bonus episodes, take what can only be called a heist to the military base. Loot: A large pile of MRE (food ready to eat in army jargon), necessary because the Alexandrians have no food or harvest after the Whisperers attack. Problem: The base is absolutely flooded with zombie soldiers. Stupidity: all zombies are asleep, so they all have to tiptoe through the base in order not to wake up. This is done endlessly – and certainly unnecessary – even weirder due to the fact that they fall right into the room where the zombies are sleeping, going down through the skylight. Quest Impossible-style. (What was the problem with the front door …?) Watching everyone tiptoe around a zombie is funny, but kind of funny and funny.

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Image: Josh Stringer / AMC

This is also true when zombies inevitably wake up not because of the noise they make, but because of a drop of blood falling on one of the zombie’s cheeks. I’m not sure how this works, but a group on the ground carefully cares for half of the zombie horde without breaking a sweat before escaping, asking why they just didn’t take care of them from the rooftop in the first place. Again, this is stupid, but this is fun, and this is something TWD rarely manage to be… Unfortunately, things change when they return to Alexandria and find they have only had enough rations for only one week. When Maggie discovers that some of her old crew have found their way into the colony, she proposes a new quest: head to her old settlement, Meridian, and grab all the food that is probably still there after being captured by the zombies and seemingly nihilistic. a group of assassins called the Reapers (whom we met back in “Home Sweet Home“). Few think this is a good idea, but most agree that this is the only way to feed everyone.

Maggie, Daryl, Gabrielle, Negan, and other members of the squad hit the road, but are forced to take the Washington, DC subway line through which Maggie insists they pass. Negan notices a high flood line in the tunnel, which means water could spill out at any moment given the weather conditions upstairs, but since Negan is warning him, everyone tells him to shut up. Negan also points out that no one knows if the subway tunnel is open; they could go straight to a dead end. Negan gets the same answer.

In the end, he got tired of going through a potential death trap, falling for him and feeling the tension between him and Maggie, who never forgave him for killing her husband Glenn in prison. Season 7 premiere back in 2016. It culminates when he confronts a woman who hates him, announcing to everyone that Maggie brought him with her only in the hope that he will be killed on the way, or she will have a chance to kill him herself from “the prying eyes of Alexandria.” Maggie, pointing a gun at his head, says that she barely has enough of the woman who existed before Glenn’s death to keep from pulling the trigger as long as she wants.

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Image: Josh Stringer / AMC

It’s a tense scene, and it’s pretty good, but it doesn’t tell us anything new about any of the characters. Maggie still hates Negan as hell, as we know from the minute she joined the show. In fact, the scene exists primarily to prepare the very end of the episode, where the group must climb into a subway car to escape the zombie horde. Negan is the last but one, Maggie is the last, but she is grabbed by a walker and cannot get up. Negan looks over the edge at her as she resists, then turns away and walks away. Apparently. I’m guessing this is just a cheap cliffhang that wants us to think that Negan dumped Maggie, only so that next week’s episode starts with him getting a rope or a weapon, something to save her. It would certainly fit his personality over the past few seasons to save her despite her hatred of him. But this Walking Deadso we can never discount the possibility that characters who seem to have a moral compass could fall back on misanthropic, sociopathic killers at any moment. (Looking at you, Gabriel.) It will be annoying anyway.

Fortunately, the YEEP team (these are Yumiko, Eugene, Ezekiel and Princess – sorry, constantly writing down all four names is a difficulty), when they arrive in the Commonwealth, a more pleasant absurd adventure awaits them. Remember how happy I was when one of the Commonwealth soldiers said that the capture of YEEP meant that he would have to complete the paperwork? Damn, this was just the tip of the bureaucratic iceberg. Each of our heroes is “checked” by two lawyers, completely monotonous and impassive people in business suits, who ask them a series of exponentially bizarre questions, ostensibly so that they gain access to the Commonwealth itself. Those who fail are subject to a common dystopian overwork.

What is remarkable about this scene is that the four is rightfully dazed when asked what college they went to. As Yumiko asks, what does it matter? This is a zombie apocalypse, the college no longer exists. But the scene sharpens wonderfully with more and more bizarre, useless, but vaguely threatening questions, such as: what zip codes did you live by? How much intestine movements do you make a day? What are you using for the wipe? They seem to ask this nonsense to disorient them Voight-Kampff-style so that they answer the question that in fact matters: Where is your settlement?

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Image: Josh Stringer / AMC

Nobody is answering. When they return to their cell, Yumiko, Ezekiel, and the princess are ready to leave, but Eugene asks them to stay, to give the Commonwealth a chance to trust his relationship with Stephanie (who told Yugu about the site on the radio). That’s when they ask a nearby couple how long they’ve been “graded” for, and get an answer somewhere between four and nine months. YEEP then sees someone being pulled out of the cell, screaming. because they are going to “recycle” it. Even Eugene knows that they goths go this moment. Fortunately, it turned out that the princess is Sherlock Holmes.

I’m not frivolous here, IIt turns out that she has an incredibly attentive and deductive mind. She discovers that the two guards are sleeping together based on their virtually nonexistent body language and how they schedule their breaks. Yumiko, Eugene, and Ezekiel are stunned and seize the opportunity to somehow grab off-screen uniforms of the two Commonwealth soldiers in love and use them as a disguise to lead the other two “prisoners” out of the waiting area. They walk past a wall of photographs of people loved by someone in the Commonwealth, hoping that the family or friends they lost during the zombie apocalypse somehow, no matter what, will reach them. Then Yumiko suddenly sees her picture along with a note from her sister Tomi. And Yumiko realizes that she cannot leave.

This is by far the most interesting development in Acheron Part I, and in the end today’s episode was a bit disappointing for the season premiere, especially for the show’s final season. Anyway, Part II will be out next week, so it seems fair to me to postpone my judgment until then. Assuming we finally get to see the real Commonwealth and / or the remnants of Maggie Meridian’s old settlement, serious things could happen that will seriously kick off Season 11. However, if these are just costumes that ask people over and over again about their bodily functions, I would agree too.

“Stool? Jokes aside?”
Image: Josh Stringer / AMC

Assorted reflections:

  • Zombies take a nap? Historically, in the series, we’ve seen zombies lie motionless on the ground until something catches their attention. But most people, when they die and transform, get to their feet to shuffle in search of food, and this continues until they are taken out or broken apart. So shouldn’t the soldiers have done the same? Looks like they all have tuckerewent out and lay down.
  • Some good graffiti in the subway tunnel, my favorite is: “If there is a god, he will have to ask me for forgiveness.” A quick search on the Internet reveals that people are convinced that a Jewish prisoner carved this on the wall of his concentration camp during World War II, but I cannot find any reliable evidence. I hope this is not true because deliberately comparing fake zombie apocalypse to real atrocity makes me feel uncomfortable.
  • There is a scene in which we slowly watch Ezekiel drink a whole glass of water after a coughing fit. It’s a bit long.
  • Yes, from now on, the Commonwealth soldier will be the “Communal Stormtrooper”. And I will never sorry for my clumsy suitcases.

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