Be warned! This review will cover aspects of the episode. Spoilers will lurk like groaning walkers…
“There’s a whole world out there.” It’s a rhetoric that is repeated a couple of times in this week’s episode, first by Henry and then by Daryl. That might be true, but because of budgetary restrictions, we’re usually limited to seeing one tiny chunk of it at a time. Even with The Walking Dead‘s expanded vista of communities, the nature of storytelling means having more than a couple of groups of characters just isn’t possible except in the bigger episodes. Which does make us wonder just why they added to the load with the fun-but-hardly-essential Highwaymen.
One of the main plots was learning of these new (non comicbook) threats to the Kingdom’s security on the eve of the fair, albeit one that was solved relatively easily and with slight amusement by Carol’s offer of a movie night. So now the Kingdom has its own personal little army, which comes in handy when Tara’s Hilltop detachment gets into trouble with walkers en route to the big trade event. There’s some entertainment value to be had from the bait-and-switch of the new threat, but unless the show is planning to explore the Highwaymen in any real way, they’re just another set of bodies to feed.
Much more exciting, even though it happened to feature Henry and Lydia making goo-goo eyes at each other, was Daryl and Connie under siege from Beta, a few whisperers and a group of zombies. With the Whisperer camp in tatters after the events of last week (and Alpha not showing up this week), it was Beta’s chance to shine, and Sons Of Anarchy veteran Ryan Hurst certainly seemed to enjoy the action beats he was handed, most of which were spent beating up Daryl.
We knew, of course, that this was going to happen eventually; all it was really lacking was this guy. And while it was mostly just a cool sent of stunts, Hurst and Norman Reedus (plus their doubles) sold the clash effectively, with Daryl in real danger at one point before he finally outsmarted his hulking opponent. Elsewhere in that plotline, Henry got stabbed! So something good came out of it at least. Will this make him re-think his life choices? Doubt it. Connie and Daryl, meanwhile, certainly seem to be bonding.
Apart from the two main stories, there was the aforementioned Hilltop group making the trip to Kingdom. They mostly acted as a plot driver, though hands up who thought Earl and Tammy Rose chatting about keeping the baby meant that one of them would end up dead? We don’t like their chances to both make it out of the season intact, and it looked like Earl had actually suffered a potential bite at one point. It wasn’t brought up again, so we’re assuming he’s fine… for now.
A bright burst of action and an unusually light resolution to a Walking Dead problem couldn’t quite keep Chokepoint from feeling a little lightweight in terms of the show’s history. Sure, there are bigger moves ahead with the fair and the Whisperers still on the hunt for Lydia and co., but little here had a lot of impact. It did at least offer some fun along the way, but don’t expect it to hit any top 10 lists.
Highlight: Daryl vs. Beta. Fiiiight!
Lowlight: Henry and Lydia reveal they care for each other. No one else cares.
Kill of the week: Connie ending a Whisperer.
Quote of the week: “They sent a grammatically correct letter, for crying out loud!” – Carol, talking about the Highwaymen’s demand.
Zombie of the week: Slim pickings despite the wealth of walkers. Probably the one slain by a stab to the head that left him pinned to the vehicle.
MVP: Daryl. And Dog.
The big question: Will Daryl and co.’s flight see them split from the communities full time? We doubt it – they are stopping in at Alexandria to help Henry, so expect some Michonne/Daryl tension.
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The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC in the States and Mondays at 9pm on Fox.