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The Walking Dead 10.19 Review – ‘One More’

March 15, 2021 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - One More
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The Walking Dead 10.19 Review – ‘One More’  

In tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, Gabriel and Aaron search for supplies and end up in a life-or-death morality debate with another survivor with a dark ending.

The plot: With Alexandria in repairs and Hilltop lost, the survivors are in desperate need of supplies. Gabriel and Aaron head out on a two-week journey to check some places on a map marked by Maggie, places she noted on their way to the group. Everything is ransacked and empty, however, and they nearly turn back but Gabriel convinces Aaron to try one more. When the map is ruined, they end up finding something new, a warehouse not marked on it. Inside, they find, of all things, a locked up boar and a bottle of expensive whiskey. A meal and a game of cards and many drinks later, they end up in some interesting philosophical discussions, and in the morning, Aaron is missing. Gabriel soon meets a stranger who claims the warehouse is his and who has tied up Aaron. He forces the two men to play a game of Russian roulette, while also telling them the story of how he once protected his brother and his brother’s family, until one day he caught the brother stealing their last food and came at him with a knife. He ‘took care of it’, he tells them, but is now convinced the world is only full of thieves and murderers. Gabriel and Aaron a few times pull the trigger on themselves, but come up bulletless. Gabriel makes an impassioned speech to sway the man to let go of his past, that they can help him, and they actually manage to convince him. Just as the man releases Aaron and tells them his name, Mays, Gabriel clubs him with Aaron’s metal arm, killing him immediately. Aaron is stunned, Gabriel is non-plussed. They then find an attic space where the man actually lived, and where he kept his still-living twin brother chained up, right next to the dead bodies of his wife and child. They free the man but he kills himself, and they leave at least. They spot the water tower, the original final place to check, and agree to check just one more.

These added ‘bonus episodes’ have been pretty good so far. Not great, but certainly not bad. This episode, however, was a step above. This was the kind of character-centered episode that this show excels at. TWD does a great job at a lot of things, but one of their specialties is tackling these intense debates of morality and conflicting world views and exploring them through intense situations. They make for excellent individual episodes, and they also help later episodes as well by setting up the personal stakes that will inform those intense, more action-heavy situations.

In this instance, we get a long look at Gabriel and Aaron and what each of them is going through in the wake of the Whisperer War. These two men have been friends for a long time, and they’ve both lost a lot of friends, they’ve lost their homes and fought for them. In the last season alone, they each lost someone very close to each of them when Siddiq and Jesus were killed, and those losses have affected them deeply. Gabriel has become more and more hardened, a process that started a long time ago during the war with the Saviors really, whereas Aaron has become more lost, it seems.

During the episode, Aaron is looking for something to make the world right again, to make it feel like it once did. He wants to be home with his daughter, he wants to get back to helping people, and when Mays ceases the deadly game and cuts him free, it looks like he really believes they’ve helped this man turn a page. He wants to believe, he needs to believe, that there is still primarily goodness in people and the world if they just give it a chance. He doesn’t agree at all with Gabriel’s stance, or his actions. At least, not entirely. He looks at Gabriel in shock when he kills Mays, he looks broken when they find the twin brother, see what was done to him and what he does to himself. Yet he agrees, in the end, to look in one more place, to check the water tower after all. Which, to me, feels like he’s not done with hope yet. He might be close, but he’s still searching.

Gabriel, on the other hand, has come to what feels like an almost sociopathic place of bleak clarity. He’s still a man of God, or so he claims. Mays doesn’t believe that Gabriel still believes any of what he says about goodness and God, insisting Gabriel is trying to convince himself as much as Mays. After all, he’s the one who gave the chilling statement of, “Evil people aren’t the exception to the rule. They are the rule.” He tries to say he was drunk, but in vino veritas, right? For my part, I think he is definitely darker than he’s been before, but is funneling that into an starkly pragmatic point of view. He believes in the goodness of his people, maybe, but it would seem his days of believing it in strangers are over. It’s hard to blame him for that, given what they’ve been through. Maybe in better times, there’s still room for that belief, but here and now, he has not an inch to give. However, he can fake it like you wouldn’t believe–or, perhaps, like we would all believe as it turns out. His speech to Mays to convince him to let them go is amazing. It sounds not one bit faked, he even manages to fold in the darker aspects that Mays has already observed in him to make it seem all the more believable. Gabriel claims earlier that his mentor, the Reverend, was better at talking to people and relating to them than he was, but I would say that’s not true anymore.

But then, maybe it is still true. While Gabriel was able to find the words that convinced Mays he related to him, in the end it was all a lie. It was a masterfully crafted bluff to save himself and Aaron, and the second there was an opening, he didn’t hesitate. This is, I suspect, why he has no interest in preaching. Because while he may be able to say the words and sound like he believes them and make other people believe them, deep down he knows those words are empty and a lie. Which perhaps does mean that he still believes in God and his mission as a priest, because he doesn’t want to lie to the people he loves. Perhaps Gabriel’s journey will end with him finding a truth he can preach to them after all, perhaps it will end in him taking off that collar after all this time.

Who would Mays have been, if truly given a chance? Was there hope for him? Negan reformed, after all. But what Mays did, what set him off was far more personal a betrayal, so it’s hard to trust that he would’ve stayed redeemed. It was bad enough when it seemed he killed his brother and his brother’s family, but the reveal that he killed the wife and daughter and then chained his own twin brother up next to their bodies for years, that’s a whole other level of sadistic. Something in him certainly snapped that day, and Gabriel wasn’t willing to believe the man could be healed.

Do you think Mays could’ve come around to be trusted? Did Gabriel make a mistake? Even if he didn’t, is he right about evil being the rule rather than the exception, or is Aaron right to believe that their world can be recovered, or that at least a new sort of peace can be found? Also, does anyone else suspect that burned out shelter was the work of the Reapers that Maggie was running from? Let me know you what you thought of this one in the comments, and see you next week!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This was an excellent episode that felt like some of what TWD does best: deep debates of morality and personal philosophy highlighted by an intense life-or-death situation. The long history that was as viewers have with Gabriel and Aaron, as well as they long friendship between the characters, only serves to make their conflicting viewpoints more interesting, especially in that they can have this disagreement without it being an actual argument. They may not see things the same way, but they are still willing to die for one another. Robert Patrick as Mays is a great guest star, and Gillam and Marquand are doing some great work as always. So far, this one is the highlight of the extended Season 10 episdes.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan