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The Walking Dead 11.15 Review – ‘Trust’

April 4, 2022 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead Norman Reedus Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
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The Walking Dead 11.15 Review – ‘Trust’  

This week on The Walking Dead, we catch up to that tense moment of Daryl and Maggie on either side of the walls of Hilltop, and Team Anti-Corruption in the Commonwealth gets a little bigger as Mercer and Max put their trust in their new friends. Also, Lance Hornsby offers Leah a job.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The plot: In the Commonwealth, Mercer and Princess are enjoying the early happy days of a new relationship, but she’s noticed something is weighing on him. He’s not ready to share, however, not until after his sister Max confronts him about the whole heist situation from last week. She’s just learned about it from Eugene, who’s hoping she can get something inside information to Connie and Kelly about the Miltons as to what’s going on with this list of names they were given–one of whom was in the vault last week, but the list is too long to be only those people. Max thinks Mercer could be so much more to the Commonwealth, could help change and shape it, but he’s haunted by having killed two of his men, covering it up…and that he’d do it again if he had to. Princess gets him to open up finally, and she’s here to help him figure out what to do. Max, meanwhile, is ready to help Eugene–and to kiss him!–because there’s no going back to normal now. Elsewhere in Commonwealth, Ezekiel has been busy with his post-surgery, newly extended days on this Earth by setting up a secret clinic at the zoo to help get medical attention to those who can’t afford it in the Commonwealth’s hospital or handle the debt it will put them in. He recruits Tomi, Yumi’s doctor brother, to help with a surgery in addition to showing the place to Carol, a move that lifts both of them up from the dark moments they’re in. And back at Hilltop, Hornsby leads troopers there on the hunt for the ‘killers’ who apparently overwhelmed Carlson and his troopers as well as stole the weapons, convinced Maggie is involved. Daryl asks Maggie to trust him, not Hornsby, and get this over quickly for everyone. Things are tense inside, culminating in Hornsby trying to cajole information out of Hershel, getting pinned to a wall by Elijah, and guns are drawn all over the place. Daryl talks him into getting them to put their weapons down and leaving, having found nothing, and they finally do. That night, however, Hornsby and a few troopers find Leah’s tent and silver-tongued Hornsby says he wants to offer her a job.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The theme of trust is all over tonight’s episode, as the title implies, and we get a few new glimpses into who’s trusting who, and the motivations for that. High on this list is Mercer. After so many weeks of him primarily being the stoic and heavily muscled leader of the troopers of the Commonwealth, we finally get to know him better. Last week’s ending put him in a rough spot, having to kill two men and cover it up, and now we know how much that’s weighing on him. As Max points out how he could be far more than just the role he plays–the line he’s used a few times now–Mercer is for perhaps the first time taking that to heart. Opening up to Princess, it’s clear this isn’t something he’s done for a long time. He’s been solid, steady, strong, done everything he can to keep people safe, to keep this place safe. Unlike when Pamela Milton said that the wellbeing of the 50,000 people inside their walls keeps her up at night, with Mercer? We literally see it keeping him up at night instead of just hearing about it. And that’s just two people, really, and the fact that he knows killing them kept more people safe. It tears at him. Mercer’s a good man, and he’s carried this by himself for so long. And when things are steady, they’re good, that’s enough, but now they aren’t anymore. He’s not just realizing that his home isn’t as clean and safe as he thought, but that the role he’s been playing? That’s actually been a part of the problem.

It’s hard to jump right into action, though, to upset the applecart that’s treated you well, as Tomi puts it. It’s hard for him, too, and he started from a position of knowing the Commonwealth was a little off. There are reasons he didn’t want to fess up to being a doctor after all, though many of them were personal–it’s clear how hard he takes losing a patient. That alone would be reason enough, but he was the first one to warn the Alexandrians about stepping out of line in this place. But that may be why it’s not too hard for him to get on board with Ezekiel’s proposal, and it’s clear how much saving a life outside of the hospital, outside of the debt system, lifts him up. It lifts Carol, too, and I kind of adore the conversation about light and dark that she and Ezekiel have. It’s true, she’s shouldered more darkness than most, she marches on despite it, but for me, the light that Ezekiel brings to balance that out for her and her worldview is what made this relationship great. Of course, that’s also I got a good laugh out of “You know we’re not getting back together, right?”, as did both of them! Despite this line, I’m not sure I believe they won’t, but we’ll see what happens there.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

For now, I’m just glad Ezekiel is alive and doing what he does so well. It was already on brand for him to be asking Tomi to help someone out who needed a surgery but couldn’t afford it, but then to see he’d gone and set up and entire free clinic? Loved it! Never change, Ezekiel.

Rounding out the Commonwealth circle of trust tonight is Max. She took a chance reaching out to Eugene once before, and is well aware of how close she came to being in some serious trouble if she’d been caught. I get the impression that while Max has maybe thought the Commonwealth wasn’t perfect, she clearly believed in it more than she didn’t, at least prior to this latest information. She wouldn’t have told Eugene to come otherwise, right? She couldn’t tell him everything, sure, but if she’d had any idea about all of this, I think those conversations would’ve been very different. She’s no fighter, she’s not an insurgent or a rebel, so it’s natural she has fears. But like she says, there’s no going back to normal now. She told Mercer he could be more, and she could be, too. I’m glad these two siblings are both coming on board, and also to see her and Eugene’s romance take a step forward, too!

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Elsewhere in this world, however, there’s the circle with no trust, and that line goes right through Lance Hornsby. Honestly, for all that he’s in a position that relies on the work and goodwill of others keeping him there, Lance Hornsby is not a man who trusts people. Which is probably why he’s kept this position as long he has, really. He makes a good show of it–the man has a silver tongue, seemingly endless resources (especially in an apocalypse), and a sharp sense of what people need and want. He’s no idiot, and while he certainly understands people, but he doesn’t trust them. He manipulates them, predicts them, even controls them, but that’s as far as it goes. But there are some people who just don’t want what you’re selling or who can tell it’s a load of crap, and that’s why Maggie is such a problem for him. She saw through his bullshit from the start, and she’s never going to trust him. So, naturally, he can’t trust her either, it’s a vicious cycle, etc. Especially as it’s clear her friends will never betray her, either. Even Daryl, now a trained Commonwealth trooper, doesn’t hesitate to back Maggie and not Hornsby in that tense, guns-drawn moment. Daryl works to make sure everyone gets out of there unhurt on both sides, sure, but his real allegiance is clear, as are Aaron and Gabriel’s.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Killing them all would certainly be easier for Hornsby, but that’s not his style. I do wonder what would make him get fed up and go in on that, but there’s still oversight from the Miltons he has to worry about, plus he’d rather make sure things go down on his terms, I think. And that’s why he’s offering Leah a job. There’s no doubt in my mind, even before having seen the trailers for next week, that he’s going to hire her to kill Maggie. A job that Leah, of course, will no doubt be happy to take after what happened in Meridian. Maggie’s rage in that moment is going to come back to bite her in the ass much as it did for Negan. Here’s hoping she’s the victor here, unlike what happened for Negan, however. Or is it Hornsby who’s going to find out he’s taken on too much of a wild card with Leah? I imagine she’s very revenge motivated–maybe she had a plan for Hilltop with her stolen guns already–and she did belong to a group of fanatics.

We’ll see how that all goes down in next week’s Part 2 finale! For now, what did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments and I’ll see you here next week!

The final score: review Good
The 411
There were a lot of moving pieces in tonight's episode, pieced together very well and keeping a consistent theme of trust to tie them all together. It's good to see things moving forward to uncovering the dark truth of the Commonwealth, whatever it may be, and to see Mercer moving closer to helping things truly change for the better, along with his sister Max fully stepping into her role there. At Hilltop, the tensions ran high enough that it's amazing everyone left alive, but with Hornsby hiring Leah, things are looking deadly for next week. Overall, a fairly tight episode with some spots of humor and light, though it did have to work hard to keep those storylines connected to each other.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan