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The Walking Dead 11.21 Review – ‘Outpost 22’

October 30, 2022 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead 11.10 Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
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The Walking Dead 11.21 Review – ‘Outpost 22’  

This week on The Walking Dead, the survivors all struggle to find hope, some of them while searching for their friends and children, and others while adapting to a harsh new work camp lifestyle.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The plot: Maggie, Gabriel, and Rosita are able to escape the truck they’re on in the middle of the night, though they get separated in doing so. While they all struggle with feeling they’ve failed their children and being desparate to find them again, they all eventually meets up with Carol and Daryl. The dynamic duo has been following the train, which they know Connie was loaded onto and which they expect to lead them to their kids, and must find a way to rescue Connie without letting the train radio ahead to warn the people at their destination, Outpost 22. After a dangerous train heist, they get Connie, stop the troopers, and are able to get directions to the Outpost–which turns out to be none other than Alexandria, fully co-opted by the Commonwealth into housing for its workers. Meanwhile, the other kidnapped survivors are put into a work camp where they’re stripped of their names, made to work clearing the tracks all day with little food, and not allowed to congregate. Negan manages to talk with Ezekiel to get on the same page about helping the rest of the group, though Ezekiel had not forgotten what this man put him and the people of the Kingdom through. However, for the good of the group, he’s with him for now, if they can find a way to bring some hope to these people. That night, they, too, are shocked to learn that their new home is none other than their old one as well.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

The saying usually goes, “Hell is other people.” I don’t think any of the survivors on TWD would argue with that, but tonight they put their backing behind a much stronger alternative and posit that hope is other people, too.

The opening theme statement and footage are about hope being found in others, and suggest that it’s Maggie, in particular, who embodies this. It’s another on-point theme choice, as Maggie’s had more than her fair share of loss and reasons to despair, from losing her home in a bombastic fire and most of her family with it, then her father to the Governor’s sword, her sister Beth to a tragic and so easy preventable loss, Glenn’s horrific beating from Negan, her new chosen family on the road, and then Hilltop just in this season. Hell, I didn’t even realize how long that list was going to be when I started it! But she keeps pushing, keeps fighting, and keeps finding something to cling to. She’s always known, in a way, that survival can only come from a family, a community. Like Ezekiel, she’s someone who leads with hope, but in her own way. She doesn’t Ezekiel’s charm and silver tongue; rather, Maggie’s hope is the kind that’s damned hard. The kind that’s been through hell, that knows that it’s not easy and it may never be, the kind that may even falter in its steps, but which doggedly refuses to give up all the same.

In the opening of this episode, we see some of that faltering. It’s always tragic to see a child walker, and for Maggie, seeing one so soon after having Hershel torn from her and being helpless to save him, hits especially hard. She can’t bring herself to kill it, but when she finally must, it’s one of the gentlest walker kills this show has ever had. She cradles the undead child like it was her own son, holding it in a way that looks downright comforting. She stabs his head from the back, a wound that she can’t see, that won’t bloody or destroy his face, and it hits her so hard that she can’t even move away as another car drives up. She’s extremely lucky that car had Carol and Daryl in it! It’s only after all this, and in the company of her friends, that she’s able to let herself cry at last over losing Hershel, let herself feel the grief and the guilt fully.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

It’s fitting that Carol is the one to help her through this, God knows that woman has been through this exact horrible tumult of guilt, shame, and grief. As Carol has thankfully come out on the other side, though, she can help assure Maggie that it’s not her fault, and what’s more point out that they there is hope if they’re all together, acting as the family they’ve become. That, she helps Maggie see, is what truly terrifies Pamela Milton–the possibility of what they’re all capable of when they’re together. This scene also echoes Carol and Daryl’s conversation earlier when she tells him they can’t go after Connie straightaway, nor can they split up. It’s like seeing her lost in the cave all over again, but that moment split them apart and they both went down bad paths on their own afterwards. They need to stay together and keep one another from making any of the same bad choices again. Granted, this is a very different circumstance, but Carol’s not wrong: their strength comes from working together.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Gabriel, too, gets to echo this message a few times. When he stresses to Rosita that if it’s just the two of them, they can hardly hope to get their daughter back. But a stronger moment is the one he has with the trooper who refuses to answer Daryl’s questions, who turns out to be one of his former parishioners. It’s this shared faith, this sense of community between them, that gets the man to tell them what little information he has, and even after he does, Gabriel spends time with him, treats him decently, prays with him as he lays dying. Not too long ago, Gabriel wouldn’t have even bothered doing this, but he truly has come back to his faith, if in a new way. No lies, no placating, just honesty, faith, and hope.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

It’s in the work camp with Ezekiel and Negan that hope really comes into the picture of what they gain when they work together. Early on, we see that the survivors, and others in the camp, are scared and broken, losing hope and willing to take desperate action. Kelly nearly makes a run for it, though we know she’s smarter than that, but with their situation and her sister’s fate unknown, she’s not thinking clearly. Ezekiel is able to keep his head, thankfully, but can’t see what else he can do for any of them right now. Until the man he still hates comes asking for an olive branch.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

I hadn’t realized just how long it’s been since we’ve seen Ezekiel and Negan interact until this scene. I’d be hard-pressed to remember a previous time, if there’s ever even been one of them speaking one on one like this. It was great to see, though, the two men who indeed lead in ways practically diametrically opposed to one another having it out. The Kingdom suffered significant losses from Negan’s people in the war, after all, and Ezekiel is clearly stunned anyone’s seemingly forgiven this man, much less let him go free. In any other situation, I don’t doubt Ezekiel wouldn’t have listened for a second to him, and if Negan weren’t so openly upfront about acknowledging who he’s been and what he deserves, and that he’s got a kid on the way, I don’t think Ezekiel would’ve listened to him here, either. As always Negan is a very good judge of character, though–he knows what they need here is hope, not fear, and that is not his area of expertise, but it is very much Ezekiel’s forte. We all know how much Ezekiel’s got a golden tongue, however, and with the forced separation, stripping them of their names, working hard all day with no breaks, and the armed guards who don’t give two shits about them, there’s not a lot to work with here, much less the opportunity to do so. Negan promises he can give him a spark of hope to work with, though he doesn’t expect to survive doing so.

But before that can go any further, they’re back to work, and then eventually loaded up on the buses to their ‘new’ home, Outpost 22, aka….Alexandria.

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

I’m sure Pamela Milton meant this to be the ultimate insult and move to inspire fear and despair in the survivors: absolute proof that Alexandria was never going to be given back to them, and it’s essentially been turned into a prison. But this is the biggest mistake she could’ve possibly made, sending them here. Like Maggie says, Milton has underestimated them since day one, and this move is downright foolish. This is the only home they had left standing, and they know it better than anyone. They know the homes, the land, hell, they know the tunnels underneath it and they’ve used them to escape a few times before already. Negan might not even need to make a sacrifice to give them a spark to work with now! They’re upset and shocked, and understandably so, but it’s barely a beat before Maggie declares with the most steel in her voice she’s had this whole episode that they’re going to get their families and their homes back and make this right. They’re already growing in numbers and strength, they’re pieces that will always find one another, always come together again. And now this war is about to be fought on their turf, and Pamela’s about to see just what they’re all truly capable of…together. Pameal is, in the words of Rick Grimes, “fucking with the wrong people.”

Image Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Heavy themes aside, we also got some changes to the usual action scenes tonight, though I didn’t find them as polished as usual. The train heist and the motorcycle chase scene after were fun in that they changed it up, but not the show’s best work. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Daryl ride the motorcycle right off the train car! That would’ve been a really cool shot. The weird Go-Pro style footage of the motorcycle chase was kind of wonky, too, with a strange shaky cam effect of some kind on it. Daryl taking the guy out by sliding under the branch on the bike was a very cool ending to it, but since both Daryl and Norman Reedus are experienced riders, I would’ve appreciated seeing some more cool moves in that chase.

What did you think of the episode? What’s a Designation 2? Are the kids at Alexandria as well? And what do you think everyone’s chances of survival of the season are looking like now?

The final score: review Good
The 411
Tonight's episode centered on the theme of hope and where to find it, and for our survivors, hope is other people. As they continue to find and fight for one another, their strength and conviction only grows. It continues to be heartening to see the survivors come together and prove just how capable they are, as well as how strong their bond is. Pamela's ruled through fear, but as Negan points out, that only works so long you're the person with the gun, whereas hope has always been the way of the Alexandrians and their chosen family. Though the action tonight wasn't as polished as usual, they did try to mix things up and I appreciate that. This one was more of a 'set the stage' episode, though, and I expect next week will see some more major moves happening.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan