The Walking Dead: The Calm Before
March 27, 2019 5:11 PM - Season 9, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Enid and her boyfriend make their relationship official. Tara organizes a self-defense class. Henry fixes some pipes. Alpha sets some boundaries.

AV Club liked it.

This was the first episode of The Walking Dead for director Laura Belsey.
posted by Parasite Unseen (7 comments total)
The Walking Dead’s main trick is killing off significant characters, and while it’s usually shocking, it’s not always surprising. I was pleasantly surprised by how much this episode surprised me.

The Whisperers have mostly been a disappointment for me. I was excited that now that the survivors are painstakingly rebuilding civilization, they encountered a group who thinks civilization should remain in the dust. The philosophical conflict was promising.

Instead Alpha turned out to be just another super-harsh strongman dictator in the mold of Negan and the Governor, with too much drama being spilled over Lydia. And the logistics of the Whisperer lifestyle make no sense. But I did love the sequence of Alpha touring the fair in a dead woman’s hair and an unrecognizably clean face, seeing society thrive again and deciding, nah, Imma kill these people.

Great feint when Ezekiel offered to show her around. I haven’t read the books, but I have seen the page where his head is one of the ones on a pike.

Carol has been my favorite character for years so I’m sad for her that her jerk son is dead. But I look forward to the montage of her cutting her hair and strapping on weapons to rain righteous fury down upon the Whisperers.
posted by ejs at 8:31 PM on March 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

And kudos to Laura Belsey for an episode that was very tense even when everyone was relaxed, and that chilling scene with the pike reveal.
posted by ejs at 8:32 PM on March 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I thought the herd was going to be the scariest part. So many main characters gone!
posted by gryphonlover at 9:39 PM on March 27, 2019

Ugh the episode has haunted me, and I've felt a desire to watch it a second time so I can see what I missed and so I can try to see if the timeline makes sense. Like how was alpha with Daryl and with the townspeople at the same time? I don't know but I feel upset from it, residually a few days later which seems like a win for this show. It was scary and unnerving. The heads on the pikes slowly opening their mouths was such good horror! Poor Carol. How much can you take! I loved the fight scene where they all killed the walkers. I seriously wouldn't trust that little derringer to not kill the person shooting it rather than the people being shot at and maybe it didn't make sense to give in the the whisperer set.?
posted by goneill at 7:59 AM on March 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I honestly kind of hope that they decide it's not worth it to start an all-out war with the Whisperers, because what would that really accomplish? Like, yeah, shit got fucked up, they're a menace, but they're telling you to stay out of their territory, so... just stay out of their territory?
posted by Automocar at 10:02 AM on March 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was overall really happy with this episode. It still suffered from what I think is the biggest weakness of this season, which is that they're doing a lot of telling when they should be showing, but they did a good job of faking me out. I spent most of the episode disparaging their storytelling decisions but they pulled it out at the last minute.

I am elated that we will have no more Henry. I am indifferent to the loss of Enid.

Mourn ya 'til I join ya, Tara. She was this show's best character by a country mile. In tribute, here she is giving Rick Grimes exactly the level of respect that he deserved.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:16 PM on March 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Having not read this far in the comics, the episode was genuinely shocking to me. My wife, on the other hand, was annoyed by the many, many fake-outs aimed at fans of the comics, which I thought was interesting from a storytelling perspective.

(Side note: I learned that Jesus is gay in the comics and has a long-term relationship with Aaron...the show only winked at that and then killed him, which kind of enrages me in retrospect).

My big question is how they got so many people out of town to kill and stick on pikes. Because almost all of the victims were in town, at the fair, and as far as we know only Alpha was inside the walls. I hope this is explained and not just hand-waved away.
posted by asnider at 1:21 PM on April 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

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