Season 11 • Episode 21
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 21, “Outpost 22.”]
It’s not “As” and “Bs”, but the Commonwealth clearly has a… something going on.
“Outpost 22” doesn’t address the question of whether the Commonwealth is officially affiliated with the Civic Republic Military (CRM), but in the spirit of most episodes of 11C, it asks a ton of questions without answering them. ( Walking dead , you realize you’re going to end in a few hours, right? Yeah?) By Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), and Rosita (Christan Serratos ) after their missing friends, this week’s episode scratches the surface of the great mystery of the Commonwealth — and sets up the show’s final battle on familiar ground.
The story of Daryl, Carol, Maggie, Gabriel and Rosita begins with all separated. Maggie, as well as Gabriel and Rosita, were taken by Commonwealth officers; separately, they break free and meet Daryl and Carol, who are following the train. But before they all get together, “Team Caryl” sees Connie (Lauren Ridloff) being loaded into the locomotive – and finds out she’s “Designation 2”. That means she won’t be sent to the labor camps where Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Kelly (Angel Theory) find themselves under the thumb of a power-hungry, ruthless supervisor. “What is ‘Designation 2’?” Carol wonders aloud. Yes, Carol, we would all like to know.
After Maggie has a heartbreaking battle with a child walker, Daryl and Carol find her and reveal that Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) is gone. And in the labor camp, Negan is concerned because his pregnant wife Annie (Medina Senghore) has been loaded onto another truck and taken away from the site. Is this a setup for the Maggie and Negan spin-off? Dead city or a red herring?
Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol are determined to stop that train and rescue Connie, and the first step in that process is to interrogate a wounded Commonwealth soldier. Dying, he tells them that he has “heard rumours” about Designation 2 and that those people are being sent far away. “Nobody’s coming back,” he says. This must be a CRM scourge. Right? Right …? After dropping that delightful piece of information, the soldier dies.
Fortunately, Connie isn’t going anywhere. The group manages to block the tracks from switching, and while the agents are distracted, they take down the company and free Connie. They also get the conductor, who reveals that there is a map in the train, but “the director” will kill his family if he tells them anything. The man would rather die than solve this plot point, so he sticks a stake through his own neck.
Everyone is having a great time in the labor camp. Against that bleak background, Ezekiel and Negan chat. Ezekiel still hasn’t forgotten what Negan did to his people when he was in charge of the Saviors. Negan fully agrees that for the things he’s done, he “deserves to be in a place like this.” But the rest of their people and his wife, he says, don’t. He offers to “light a spark” so Ezekiel can raise hopes and spark a rebellion, but they are eventually loaded onto the trucks before he can carry out his plan.
At the end of the episode, Daryl and his friends get the conductor’s long-distance radio to work. Rosita tells the operator she needs help, and the woman on the other end directs her to “Outpost 22” – aka Alexandria. So it’s convenient that Ezekiel, Negan, and Kelly also go to Alexandria. A final showdown at home is at stake. “We’re going to get our kids, take our house back, and make it up,” Maggie swears.
- So the obvious theory is that “Designation 2” is part of an exchange with CRM. But as far as we know, the Commonwealth was never an official CRM colony, so… would they have accepted resources from the CR, or instead made some other deal so the CR would leave them alone?
- Way out there theory: The focus on Annie, Hershel and Coco made me think more about Padre than CRM. But Fear is years behind the main show, so a connection to Padre is unlikely. Unless Padre is connected to CRM. Who knows?
- POTENTIAL IMPORTANT SPOILERS: I wish the trailers hadn’t shown as much as these last few episodes. We know from promotional material that Rosita and Coco will reunite, and unless there’s a deleted scene, it looks like Maggie and Hershel will, too. (Is Hershel going to be kidnapped, rescued, and kidnapped again? Poor kid.)
- Does anyone else find it odd that the show is committed to the Connie-Daryl relationship? now ? It’s obvious where things are headed based on their interactions (the hand on the shoulder, the vertigo when she’s safe), but with only three episodes to go, there’s not much time to explore a romance. As it stands, it looks like more time will have been spent on Daryl-Leah than Daryl-Connie, which is odd considering the first one was always doomed to fail.
- As for romance, Gabriel and Rosita apparently broke up. Series showrunner Angela Kang confirms this in the post-episode interview featurette. So… too bad I guess? Gabe-Rosita was an uneasy combination for many fans, but given the emphasis placed on them over the past few seasons, it would have made sense to see the end of that relationship.
- If that operator at the end sounded familiar, it’s because she was voiced by Community star and longtime TWD superfan Yvette Nicole Brown.
- No news on Oceanside yet. Either they’re all dead, or they’re all “Appointment 2”.
- Rating: 3.5/5. “Outpost 22” has good action sequences and fun character moments for Ezekiel, Negan and the great duo of Carol and Maggie. But this still doesn’t feel like building a show to its endgame, and I’m afraid the final episode will leave a nasty remnant of unanswered questions.
The Living Dead Season 11, Sunday, 9/8c, AMC