The aftermath of last week’s The Walking Dead hits the survivors in “The Storm.”  Winter is here and one community stands on the brink of disaster.  

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Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) talks on the radio, saying the kingdom has fallen.  Busted pipes, fires, and just wear and tear has made the Kingdom unliveable. It’s time to move to the Hilltop.  Carol (Melissa McBride) goes through Henry’s (Matt Linz) things, crying as she remembers his life.  She doesn’t talk much to Ezekiel and from the looks of it, neither of them are getting any sleep. 

On the Road

Alexandria and Hilltop residents help the Kingdom residents pack up and leave their home. Along the way, we learn that the Hilltop is in disarray after the deaths of Jesus (Tom Payne) and Tara (Alanna Masterson).  They have tried to reach out to Maggie (Lauren Cohan), but she hasn’t replied. 

They see a group of walkers in the distance but wonder if it’s really the Whisperers watching them.  Alden (Callan McAuliffe) is still angry about Enid’s (Katelyn Nacon) death and asks Lydia (Cassady McClincy) if that’s her people. Daryl (Norman Reedus) tells him to back off, but Lydia tells him not to protect her. She is to blame for their deaths. 

They continue their walk as Jerry (Cooper Andrews) rides with Ezekiel in front.  Daryl sees Carol eyeing Lydia and says that Henry wanted her with them.  Carol says she only sees Henry when she looks at Lydia.  Daryl asks her what she sees when she looks at him.  She says she only sees Daryl.  Ezekiel is watching them talk until Jerry interrupts, saying a storm is coming.  Ezekiel suggests they try to make it to the way station before nightfall. 

The Request
The Walking Dead

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Khary Payton as Ezekiel – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Daryl sees a couple of walkers.  He and Carol take care of them. Daryl and Ezekiel retrieve the arrows and make sure there aren’t more.  Ezekiel takes the opportunity to tell Daryl that he and Carol have had a rough time since Henry died. He wants to make a fresh start when they get to the Hilltop and it would be best of Daryl wasn’t there. Daryl wants to do whatever Carol wants, but Ezekiel says Carol wants what he wants.  He doesn’t want to be the bad guy. He just wants to get back a piece of what they lost and asks Daryl to give it to them.

Somewhere in the commotion, Lydia slipped away from the group. She walks up to a frozen pond with a walker in the middle. She walks up to it and sits right in front of the walker as it chomps at her.  Lydia takes off her glove and holds her arm out for the walker to bite her. And close her eyes. When she opens her eyes, Carol is watching her.  Carol takes Lydia back to the group.  The group is talking about finding shelter.  The closest place…the Sanctuary.

Warmth for Winter

The storm has affected the power at Alexandria as Rosita’s (Christian Serratos) heater goes out. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) informs her and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) that the solar panels aren’t working. The only way they can all stay warm is to build a fire.  Gabriel says the meeting room, Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) house, and one other house have large fireplaces. They have to gather everyone up in those locations to keep warm until the storm passes. Gabriel reminds them that they have to include Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) so he doesn’t freeze in his cell. 

At the meeting room, Rosita ties up Negan as everyone settles in.  He decides to be typical Negan and tries to start trouble by talking about the love quadrangle going on.  Rosita is in love with Gabriel, but carrying Siddiq’s (Avi Nash) baby and Eugene is in love with her too.  He questions if there’s anything still going on between Siddiq and Rosita. Gabriel tells Negan that there is no drama. They have enough mutual respect for each other to not let their situation tear them apart.

Judith (Cailey Fleming) and RJ (Antony Azor) are with them in the meeting room.  Judith is sitting by the window watching out for Dog. Daryl put her in charge of watching him and she doesn’t know where he is.  Negan smells something funky, but Gabriel blows him off. Rosita smells it too. Then Eugene. He yells at Siddiq and Gabriel to get away from the fireplace and pulls them back when an explosion happens.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Eugene takes a look at the fireplace. The chimney flue has a bunch of gunk on it.  If they start another fire, they could suffocate because there is no ventilation. They need a fire, so everyone has to move to another location.  Gabriel decides to move everyone to Aaron’s house. They all start to leave without untying Negan. When he says something, Rosita suggests they say it was an accident that they forgot him.

Risk Worth Taking

At the Sanctuary, Carol sits away from the group. Daryl checks on her and assures her that they will make it. She asks if something happened with Daryl and Ezekiel.  Daryl lies and says nothing happened, but Carol knows better. She says Ezekiel blames Daryl for Henry’s death because he can’t blame Carol.  Carol feels like she’s losing herself. Daryl thinks it’s because of Lydia and offers to take Lydia away. He doesn’t want to go, but he will do whatever Carol needs him to do. 

Michonne and Ezekiel assess their supplies. Ezekiel volunteers to go to the way station and get food, but Michonne is worried that something could happen to him.  They gather the leaders and try to find a way to the way station.  There is a path to the station that is a clear shot. The ponds and creeks are frozen so they should be able to get across easily. The only problem is that the path would take them through Alpha’s territory.  

Ezekiel argues that he doesn’t want to take the risk with all of the elderly and children they have.  Carol argues that they never agreed to Alpha’s borders and it will get them to their destination quicker.  Michonne reminds everyone that they only have enough food for a day. If they stay, they will die. They have to cross through Alpha’s territory at night and hope they aren’t seen.  

Stronger Together

Michonne and Ezekiel continue their conversation. She feels bad because she pushed everyone away. She says Alpha was able to infiltrate the Kingdom and take their people because they didn’t know each other.  They can’t let that happen again because they have come too far to give up.  The Kingdom hasn’t fallen because the people are still here. And they belong to Alexandria and the Hilltop how.  Ezekiel is more concerned about what Alpha will do, but Michonne says they will make sure the Whisperers don’t see them.  They leave the Sanctuary and make it the Whisperers northern border. When they see the spikes, everyone knows that’s where their people died. 

The Storm

Cailey Fleming as Judith – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Gabriel leads the group from the meeting room to Aaron’s house. Everyone has a hold of a rope so they don’t get lost in the blizzard.  Judith hears Dog barking and lets go of the rope to run after him.  Negan, Rosita, and Siddiq all go after her. They tell Gabriel to get everyone to safety.  

Negan is hit with something in the storm and it cuts his leg.  He keeps going, finding Judith with Dog.  She is freezing and can barely move so Negan picks her up and sets her up against a nearby building.  He takes off his coat to keep her warm and a shirt to tie around his leg.  He teases Judith saying she only ran off to get a little more Negan time.  Negan says he has to get her out of the storm and she insists that he take Dog too. He picks her up, grabs Dog’s leash and heads for the house. 

Frozen Walkers

Ezekiel leads the group through the woods and they encounter some frozen walkers, making them easy kills.  When they get to the creek, Daryl checks the ice and it’s pretty solid.  He turns around to face the group when he sees that Lydia is missing.  Ezekiel sends Jerry to get the rest of their group and Carol goes after Lydia. 

A walker that is buried in the snow pops up to go after Daryl.  Daryl and Michonne start fighting off the buried walkers but they pop up everywhere.  They clear a path to the other side as walkers begin coming out of the woods. At first, everyone thinks it might be the Whisperers, but Michonne confirms it’s not with a kill.  Daryl gets away from the group when a walker knocks him down. He drops his crossbow but uses an icicle to stab the walker in the eye. (You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!)

Carol finds Lydia in the barn where Henry and the others died.  Lydia explains that she wants to die because she is to blame for Henry’s death.  Henry tried to say she was a good person, but she’s not. She doesn’t think the Hilltop will take her back because of the deaths. The only solution is for Lydia to die. She is too weak to take her own life, so she asks Carol to kill her. Carol says she’s not weak and takes Lydia by the hand to join the others. 

A New Home

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Callan McAuliffe as Alden, Ross Marquand as Aaron, Cooper Andrews as Jerry, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Khary Payton as Ezekiel – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Kingdom finally arrives at the Hilltop the next morning.  Jerry is excited about their new home calling it the Kingtop.  Daryl tells Lydia that they will leave for Alexandria the next day.  She asks why he left and he promises to tell her one day.  

Ezekiel checks on Carol. She’s been distant.  He knows they can’t go back to what they once were. She says she’s going to Alexandria with Daryl. He replies that he will never stop loving her and she says she will never regret the fairy tale. She tries to give back his ring, but he doesn’t take it.  

Michonne and her people return to Alexandria with Daryl, Carol, and Lydia.  Judith greets them but doesn’t tell Michonne what happened.  RJ is outside playing in the snow too. Daryl starts a snowball fight with him and they gang up on him. Everyone starts laughing and joining in the fight.  Even Lydia is playing with her new friends. 

Who’s Evil?

Michonne visits Negan in the medical ward to thank him for saving Judith.  He was happy to help because he thinks Judith is special.  Before Michonne leaves the room, Negan asks about the Kingdom and if everyone is okay. Michonne asks if he really cares.  He doesn’t know those people, but he knows what it’s like to lose a kingdom. Michonne updates Negan that the Sanctuary isn’t in good condition.

Negan comments that going through the Whisperers territory was ballsy.  Michonne says they don’t know if the Whisperers were even there.  But they were able to come together and make it though.   She says facing evil brings good people together. Negan says its more like “common enemy, common goal.” The thing is no one ever thinks they are the evil one.

Speaking of the Whisperers, they are in the woods, but it’s green and warm. They moved south for the winter. Beta says their time away has been good for the pack and for Alpha. She agrees but wants to ensure that she doesn’t make the same mistakes.  She gives a switch to Beta and he proceeds to whip her arm with the switch. 


Ezekiel talks to Judith on the radio. He’s sad about how the Kingdom fell but is optimistic about what the future brings.  Judith agrees that things can and will get better. She says goodbye to do her homework and leaves the rooms. Ezekiel does the same but leaves the radio on.  A woman’s voice comes through, asking if anyone is out there.  

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This episode was more about the communities recognizing their need for one another after such a tragic loss.  And the fear that keeps them together. I think it was clever for the writers to move the Whisperers out of those woods.  But the fear of the Whisperers is so uncharacteristic of our survivors. Then again, there were a lot of lives at risk. I just think Team Family should have been watching the Whisperers as closely as they were being watched.  It would have made their trip a lot easier.

This season has been better than the past two seasons, however, there is some major room for improvement. With Danai Gurira leaving soon, the B characters need to be developed if the show is going to survive. Angela Kang has an opportunity to build a new world and in a way that we care about everyone on that screen.  Too bad there’s so many of them.




Noetta Harjo
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