The Walking Dead Out of the Ashes Recap: Commonwealth, Aaron


Eugene (Josh McDermitt) points at Max's (Margot Bingham) ice cream cones as she stands in front of a horse-drawn ice cream truck in The Walking Dead.

Whoever is getting the scoop on the left in the entrance row is getting screwed.
Photo: Josh Stringer/AMC

In some ways, AMC’s The Walking Dead is a present caught with one foot in the previous. It’s nonetheless attempting to experience the coattails of its former popularity. It’s attempting to wrap up the collection with out stepping on the toes of the eventual Rick Grimes movie. But the greatest drawback is that the present can’t transfer on from the identical philosophical query it’s been asking since the collection premiere: At what level do the ends cease justifying some extraordinarily horrible means? It’s a really boring query at this level, which is why I need to speak about what’s new in tonight’s episode,On the Inside”: ice cream.

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The Commonwealth has ice cream. It has ice cream stands. In reality, it has a bunch of desserts and confections out there, as Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Princess (Paola Lázaro)—a.ok.a. YEEP—uncover after watching a brief, tacky, and oddly ‘90s orientation video about the colony hosted by its smarmy Director of Operations, Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton). Then they step into the Commonwealth and discover a new world from the one they’ve been attempting to outlive in. Maybe it’s extra correct to say YEEP steps into the outdated world—the one earlier than the zombie apocalypse. People are laughing and smiling. Electricity abounds. Kids experience bikes in absolute security. There’s a hearth division. It’s civilization as they knew it, or shut sufficient. Obviously, there’s an Orwellian bureaucracy backed by a military of off-brand Stormtroopers, however a minimum of at first look everybody in the Commonwealth appears completely content material with the place they’ve ended up, and that features Yumiko’s brother Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale), who’s baking muffins in a dessert store.

The siblings’ reunion doesn’t have a lot emotional affect since Yumiko shortly chides him for being a baker when he was once a surgeon, regardless that he says he’s happier now than he was earlier than the apocalypse. Even Eugene and Stephanie’s (Chelle Ramos) time collectively, as she takes him on a tour of the neighborhood, feels passionless as in comparison with Eugene and his ice cream cone. I’m severe about this, and I believe it’s a genuinely highly effective second, irrespective of how goof-ily Eugene snarfs down that ice cream. He seems at it so wistfully, as if it’s extra of a reminiscence than one thing actual—an emblem of the world that was once. As such, it’s an ideal image for the perfect the Commonwealth needs to current: Here, the world is regular once more. Here, everyone seems to be secure. Here, individuals have every part—and a lot of it they’ll spend their sources making issues as totally inessential as ice cream.

“I’m Lance Hornsby, and the Commonwealth is fantabulous!”

“I’m Lance Hornsby, and the Commonwealth is fantabulous!”
Photo: Josh Stringer/AMC

Of course, the Commonwealth would quite individuals consider the selection of ice cream flavors out there than the hilariously fascistic posters overlaying each wall, or the absurdly labyrinthine ranges of the neighborhood’s forms. Unfortunately, YEEP will get an up-close view of the latter after they uncover when they were accepted by the Commonwealth, they had been additionally inducted into the Commonwealth—they’ve been assigned jobs, locations to stay, and so forth. They can’t even focus on leaving the settlement till they discuss to the acceptable supervisor, who has a five-week waitlist. Eugene, who nonetheless doesn’t know the way Alexandria fared against the Whisperers, needs to radio house however that takes two weeks to get permitted, so he (simply) talks Steph into sneaking him into the communications room, the place he’s nearly instantly caught and arrested by General Mercer (Michael James Shaw).

However, when Eugene, Ezekiel, and Princess are detained for a trial—the latter two guilty-by-association since Eugene broke the legislation a mere 45 minutes after being allowed in—that charmer Lance Hornsby bursts in, clearly having been notified by Steph, and calls for their launch. When the authorities refuse, Lance runs off to talk with the mysterious, unseen Governor. There’s very clearly one thing extra-sinister occurring inside the Commonwealth past its dehumanizing forms and jackbooted thugs, however every part about the settlement—who made it, the way it rose to energy, what’s the catch—is a tantalizing thriller that’s far, much more attention-grabbing than every part else occurring in the episode.

Speaking of! “Out of the Ashes” really begins in Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) nightmare, as he and his daughter Gracie (Annabelle Holloway) get surrounded by a Whisperer, a Wolf, an precise zombie, and extra—there’s even a fast flash of Mays (Robert Patrick), the man Gabriel murdered after he allow them to go in “One More.” In the waking world, zombies break by way of a piece of Alexandria’s swiftly remade partitions, stressing Aaron out even additional. None of this, for my cash, justifies his actions after he, Carol (Melissa McBride), Lydia (Cassady McClincy), and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) head to the burned-out husk of Hilltop to see what provides might need miraculously survived the Whisperers’ assault. But Lydia notices some of the zombies aren’t simply milling about, they’re being herded—which implies a minimum of one of the Whisperers continues to be there. It’s no work for the quartet to catch him, rip his masks off, and uncover there are additionally 4 former Whisperers hiding in the mansion’s basement.

“SAY THE COMMONWEALTH IS FANTABULOUS OR FACE MY DARK WRATH.”

“SAY THE COMMONWEALTH IS FANTABULOUS OR FACE MY DARK WRATH.”
Photo: Josh Stringer/AMC

Although the script doesn’t state it outright, it’s exhausting to see this Whisperer as a risk. He’s herding lower than a dozen zombies in a circle. He sobs desperately after being caught by extraordinarily threatening individuals who clearly need him lifeless. When he lies about there being no different Whisperers there, it appears apparent that he’s attempting to guard the others, simply as Daryl (Norman Reedus) did last week when he lied about not realizing the individuals he was touring with when the Reapers attacked. Those 4 Whisperers additionally look frightened out of their minds after they’re found, and even when the dude assaults Aaron, it appears purely to present his haggard companions a possibility to flee. These individuals are totally terrified, and the episode very clearly paints Aaron and the others as the violent aggressors on this state of affairs (though they definitely have causes for distrusting and hating Whisperers). But even when these guys had been revealed at any level to have been a mastermind with a plan to make sure Alexandria’s downfall with a secret military of 1000’s, it could not make Aaron’s actions excusable.

After the remaining Whisperer is tied and strung up, Aaron retains thrusting a zombie at him, pulling it away a mere second earlier than it bites the dude’s flesh. He continues asking questions the man repeatedly pleads he can’t reply however in between his piteous sobs, he lastly chokes out a reasonably damning assertion: “I was right about you people. You pretend you’re better than the dead, but dead is honest.” It’s a convoluted approach of saying “You people are horrible and Alpha was right to attack you,” nevertheless it drives Aaron into such a frenzy that he lastly lets the zombie gnaw on the man’s fingers, a minimum of partially proving the Whisperer right. The lifeless eat the residing as a result of they’re pushed to by their nature; Aaron used the lifeless to inflict ache and distress on his sufferer. Now the man is contaminated and going to die except Aaron severs the hand—which Aaron will solely do if the man confesses one thing.

I consider that is the first time on the present {that a} residing individual has actively and purposefully used a zombie chew as a weapon—successfully pushing a zombie’s open mouth on somebody’s flesh to let it eat. It’s truthfully reprehensible, particularly for somebody who’s normally one of the present’s most likable characters. One, I would add, who was fairly lately shocked and appalled when Gabriel killed Mays in chilly blood again in the tail-end of season 10. And one who has met not one however two Whisperers that had been proven to be good individuals caught in a foul state of affairs, particularly Lydia and Mary (Thora Birch). Even Carol (Carol!) thinks Aaron’s gone too far and shoots the zombie with an arrow earlier than it may be used to assault the Whisperer a second time. She tells Aaron don’t go down this “dark path,” so he reluctantly lets his prisoner go, saying he can amputate the hand or the Whisperer can do it himself. Gee, thanks.

Image for article titled The Walking Dead Remains Haunted by Specters of the Past

Photo: Josh Stringer/AMC

Do the potential ends justify Aaron’s means? The present retains asking this query again and again, both deliberately like tonight or inadvertently by way of its writing, however as a result of the characters are so inconsistent about the ethical traces they may or gained’t cross, the solutions are meaningless. This time, liberating the Whisperer permits him to inform Carol and the others that he noticed Connie escape the cave way back when—she’s alive! (Or was alive. At any price, Carol didn’t inadvertently kill her whereas attempting to purposefully kill Alpha.) And it needs to be noteworthy that if the Whisperer wasn’t masterminding an assault on Alexandria earlier than they discovered him, Aaron did every part in his energy to encourage the Whisperer to begin formulating a plan of assault. Plus, if this dude does search vengeance, I do know the present will inevitably blame Aaron for letting the man go.

Perhaps the worst half about this complete storyline is that our foremost characters have walked down the “dark pathso usually, on a number of events, that it’s extremely boring to observe. It’s been made abundantly clear over the final 11 years that these are flawed people who’ve endured horrific experiences that may make them act morally doubtful at finest, so these little storylines don’t inform us something, they only pad out the episodes and provide occasional bursts of graphic violence. There is a silver lining, although: This repetition is what makes something new that involves The Walking Dead—the Reapers, the Commonwealth, even the Saviors and Whisperers approach again when—appear so attention-grabbing as compared. And since we’re in season 11, perhaps the Commonwealth and the Reapers will keep attention-grabbing sufficient to convey the present to a powerful end.

If not, a minimum of there’s ice cream.

Image for article titled The Walking Dead Remains Haunted by Specters of the Past

Photo: Josh Stringer/AMC

Assorted Musings:

  • There are two different largely meaningless plots occurring in “Out of the Ashes.” The first is that Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohen) attain the ruins of Meridian. They have the identical dumb struggle they’ve been having, the place Negan asks her to belief him regardless of proving untrustworthy whereas Maggie’s decided to disregard his recommendation to go house as an alternative of staying to see if any of the different survivors from the Reaper assault present up, regardless that it’s endangering the mission (one thing she wasn’t prepared to entertain when Roy was screaming for assist). Eventually, Gabriel makes it together with one other dude. Yay.
  • The different is Judith (Cailey Fleming), who begins by awesomely instructing the children of Alexandria some sword work (with wood swords) after which tells a bunch of fool teenagers to cease sticking their fingers at an primarily susceptible zombie’s mouth. I’m undecided how the children in World Beyond are, however in TWD Prime teenagers are still idiots who’ve one way or the other nonetheless not internalized how fucking harmful zombies are.
  • I suppose there may be yet one more notable factor about the Judith scene. The teenagers mock Judith by saying her mother deserted her, which causes her to threaten the teenagers after which stroll away, stifling her disappointment. Later, Rosita (Christian Serratos) offers her a comforting pep-talk… and I’m not 100% certain these two have ever had a scene alone collectively? It’s attainable I’m forgetting one thing, however Rosita enjoying “mom” to Judith out of nowhere was form of unsettling. On the different hand, Fleming does some great work as Judith all through the episode.
  • I bought excited when the Wolf confirmed and was instantly dissatisfied when it turned out Aaron was solely having a dream. I’d like to see the Reapers tackle the Wolves. Two teams of murderous nitwits enter! None depart!
  • Seeing a herd of zombies shamble into city when you’re taking your morning piss is a hell of a tough strategy to get up in the morning, so good on Jerry for soldiering by way of.
  • As somebody who has anticipated to die nearly instantly as soon as the lifeless begin rising from their graves, the discovery that the Commonwealth relies in or round my present location of Charleston, West Virginia is extraordinarily excellent news.

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