Every season “The Walking Dead” seems to reinvent itself. Whether it’s a new villain or a new location, a new threat or a new reason to hold out hope, the show is always evolving and it’s no surprise that the middle eight episodes of the final season offer one of the biggest reinventions yet: civilization.
Here’s the official 11B summary from AMC: “‘The Walking Dead’ returns with many of our heroes fighting imminent hellfire under Reaper attack; while others battle Mother Nature’s torrential wrath in Alexandria. For all, their world is literally crashing down around them. Meanwhile, life in the Commonwealth is not as idyllic as it seems. For some, hope will be renewed. Others will be pushed past the point of no return. One truth holds tight: Lives hang in the balance with each decision drastically changing their future, their chances of survival, and the state of each community.”
After eleven seasons it’s hard to imagine a show able to still feel fresh and new, but “The Walking Dead” does just that, and then some.
Things have never been so desperate for the survivors as the food supply runs out in Alexandria and a huge storm threatens lives as walkers pour into the community through a breach in the wall.
‘The Walking Dead’ Transitions to Civilization with The Commonwealth
Screeners of the first two episodes of 11B were provided to the media.
Episode 1109, “No Other Way”, picks up where the show left off, with the Alexandrians battling to stay alive and Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) group trying to survive hellfire raining down at Meridian. Episode 1110’s “New Haunts” features the Alexandria survivors adjusting to life at the Commonwealth.
As individual episodes, they couldn’t be more different from each other. “No Other Way” is tense and fraught with all of the things fans love about “The Walking Dead” like walker kills, tension between characters, jaw-dropping moments and lots of drama. If you didn’t know better, it feels like an episode from the early seasons, not the season 11 mid-season opener.
Leah (Lynn Collins) and the Reapers are trying to stave off Maggie, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) after Daryl (Norman Reedus) killed their leader at the end of episode 1108. There’s too much on the line for anyone to give up the fight; for the Reapers it’s the loss of their home, and for Maggie’s group it’s the only viable source of food for their starving friends and family back home.
“No Other Way” is one of those episodes that feels like a mini-movie. It ties up loose ends from the previous eight episodes and provides a road map of what’s coming in the middle eight episodes of the show’s final 24-episode season, including the introduction of the Commonwealth.
Life At The Commonwealth
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and his friends made the journey to find the mysterious woman he’d heard on the radio back in season 10 while Alexandria fought the Whisperers. What they found was unlike anything they’d ever imagined possible: The Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is a thriving civilization that’s 50,000 residents strong. Stepping into this vibrant community can make you forget that the world collapsed at all.
Episode 1110’s “New Haunts” takes place weeks after the Alexandrians arrive at Commonwealth and have assimilated into their culture. Everyone has a job to do, and money must be made to get by. All of a sudden food is plentiful and “shelter” isn’t just four walls and a roof. But it all comes at a cost, depending on where you land in the Commonwealth’s complex caste system that keeps the colony moving.
At the center of the Commonwealth is their leader, Pamela Milton (Laila Robins), her lieutenant Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) and her son Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson). Pamela is the daughter of a politician in power before the collapse. The survivors have been part of new groups before but nothing on this scale, and while it’s a nice place to visit, some of them wonder if this is where they ultimately belong.
Time Jumps and Other Tidbits
Though “The Walking Dead” is racing toward the series finale later this year it’s not slowing down at all. The Commonwealth is a world of possibilities and anything can happen because the show is only loosely following comic book canon at this point. That said, fans of the comics will immediately spot things in “New Haunts” that will make them smile.
It’s worth noting that there are some little time jumps mixed into the stories. Without spoiling anything, fans will see some jumps in the story that set up the rest of the season in very interesting ways.
Some memorable and intriguing moments:
- Daryl reuniting with Connie (Lauren Ridloff)
- Seeing which jobs were assigned to the survivors upon arrival at the Commonwealth (and why some work better than others)
- Decisions made, and how those decisions will impact certain characters’ future
- Holidays! The Commonwealth celebrates holidays, and it’s surreal to see
“The Walking Dead” Season 11 Part 2 premieres Sunday, February 20. New episodes will air one week early on AMC+.