On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Negan and Maggie debate patience, a group visits Hilltop for supplies, bullies annoy Judith, and Eugene sticks to the mission in the Commonwealth.  Each story focuses on saving something different from the ashes of their past, but all stories prove a little kindness goes a long way.


While Aaron has a nightmare about every villain from his past stabbing him Caesar style, the walls of Alexandria are failing outside.  It is only when Jerry gets up for an early morning pee that the town is alerted to the danger.  The group swarm outside to handle the undead stragglers, and to raise a wall in a bloodier version of a barn raising.  In the end, deaths of human life is minimal, but the swarming dead outside are putting a further strain on the remaining wall.  In need of tools to fortify the town, Aaron, Carol, Lydia, and Jerry decide to head to Hilltop to salvage any blacksmith equipment from the ashes.

Gracie and Judith stop their fight training to look at a disturbance across the way.
Gracie (Anabelle Holloway) and Judith (Cailey Fleming) look on as teenagers tempt danger at the fence. (Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)


Refreshing to know that even in the apocalypse, teenagers are still gonna be rude.  Even the undead can’t scare the hormones out of people.  After the downed wall is back up, a small gap allows for an undead child to grope through the hole.  A few teenagers are playfully getting close to the walker in a game of deadly keep away.  Nearby Judith is training her child army, and she notices the teens.  Judith warns the teens to stop, leading the tallest boy to shove Judith to the ground.

When the boy notes that it is no wonder Judith’s mom abandoned her, the steely veneer of Judith is broken.  Judith keeps her tears in check.  Isn’t it just like a teen to find the perfect remark to gut you emotionally with such precision?  Furious, Judith points her sword at the boy’s throat, and she only backs off when Gracie calms her down.  The damage is done though.  

Judith returns home later and sees the boards with her and Carl’s handprints in a pile on the floor.  Judith confronts the teens, but they deny responsibility.  Rosita sits with Judith on the porch.  “[Carl] is gone.  Everybody is,” Judith says.  Judith confesses her fear that she will forget her family.  Rosita tells Judith about the loss of her own parents at a young age.

“[My mother] was teaching me to survive on my own.  So I’d be okay if she ever wasn’t there.  And Carl and your dad did the same thing for you,” Rosita says.  Rosita adds that the handprints are nice, but that Judith does not need them to remember how much she loved her family.  With Judith calmed, they fix the porch boards together.


Eugene, Princess, Ezekiel, and Yumiko are sent to orientation to watch a VHS introduction and receive their work assignments.  Eugene is assigned to teach, Princess to retail, Ezekiel to animal control, and Yumiko just gets an invitation to “opportunities.”  Either Yumiko is slated for a MLM pyramid scheme or she is headed to management. 

When Eugene meets up with Stephanie, she provides him with fresh ice cream from a truck.  Another woman lingers long enough when Eugene speaks to her that it has to be a clue to something. As Eugene and Stephanie stroll around the idyllic little town, Eugene stresses that he can not abandon his people.  Stephanie offers to help Eugene circumnavigate the red tape to reach out via the radio, and he reluctantly accepts the offer.

Eugene and Stephanie are able to reach Rosita and Judith on the radio.  Rosita confirms the war with the Whisperers is over.  As Rosita goes on to say that the towns are decimated and the people starving, the signal cuts out.  Eugene is desperate to hear what Rosita said, but Mercer and the police bust into the room and arrest them.  The group is meant to go to trial that day, but the man from the orientation video, Lance Hornsby, intervenes on their behalf.  


Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomi – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Yumiko tracks down her brother Tommy in a bakery.  Tommy explains that he had driven east to find Yumiko, but his car had run out of gas near the community.  With civilization crumbling, Tommy stayed in the community and helped to build it up.  Confused, Yumiko asked Tommy why he works in a bakery instead of as a surgeon.  Tommy shushes Yumiko, and he says he is happy.  Considering a central tenant of processing for the Commonwealth is total honesty, there are a lot of people with secrets here.


Negan and Maggie slash their way through walkers in the woods.  There is talk about trust, but Maggie, for good reason, refuses to ever trust Negan.  When Negan asks Maggie again why she does not just kill him, Maggie throws a knife past his face and into a walker.  “I ask myself that every day,” Maggie says.  Same conversation, different episode.

When Maggie and Negan arrive at the supply depot, they are alone.  Maggie wants to wait.  Negan is eager to return to Alexandria with the few supplies still there, but Maggie refuses.  When Negan urges Maggie to cut her losses, Maggie reminds Negan, “those losses are my people.”  Negan is quieted, but he stresses that he will only way until daylight.  Daylight arrives, but not any of Maggie’s people.  

Negan starts to pack up the food.  Maggie shoves Negan away, and he shoves her back.  Before either can make a move, Gabriel stumbles through the front door with an assist from Elijah.  Maggie breaks the news about Duncan, Cole, and Agatha, and she tells them Frost and Daryl are unaccounted for as of yet.  “We wait,” Gabriel says.  With a sigh, Negan takes a seat.  He is overruled. 


Aaron, Carol, Lydia, and Jerry arrive at Hilltop, and the sight of the ruin breaks their hearts all over again.  Among the ashes are the walker versions of former residents that they recognize.  The group gets to work taking out their former friends.  Once the blacksmith area is cleaned out, the group gathers up all the tools.  Jerry suggests they take out the gaggle of the undead across the square.  As Aaron looks closer, he realizes the undead are moving in a circle.

“They’re being herded!” Aaron yells.  The group rushes over to the undead, and they swiftly take them out until they isolate the one with a mask on.  Lydia recognizes the man when he is unmasked.  Aaron questions former whisperer Keith on the situation, and Keith insists he is alone and herding as an old habit.  Between Aaron’s dream and the destruction around him, Aaron is not inclined to believe Keith.  Aaron drags Keith screaming into the cellar.  It appears that Keith was lying.  Three more former whisperers are hiding there.

Lydia pleads for Aaron to recognize that the former adversaries are scared and harmless, but Aaron refuses to believe.  Jerry sees Nabila’s scarf in the cellar, and the group realizes that the former whisperers have been in Alexandria.  With tempers hot, Keith swipes a knife at Aaron to serve as a distraction.  The other former whisperers run out of the cellar.  


Michael James Shaw as Mercer – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Aaron and Jerry string Keith up by his wrists to interrogate him.  With no information forthcoming, Aaron allows a walker to bite Keith’s hand to up the ante.  Keith still offers no new info.  Carol takes out the walker.  When an enraged Aaron asks Carol why, she reminds Aaron that she already went through this thirst for revenge after Henry’s death.  Carol advises Aaron to let go of his anger.  Jerry cuts Keith down.  Aaron gives Keith back his knife and a choice of whether to cut off his own hand or have Aaron do it for him.

As the group packs up to go back to Alexandria, Keith tells them that he knows Alpha would have done much worth.  In an effort to prove that the surviving whisperers have changed, Keith tells the group that he saw Connie near the Screaming Cave.  Carol immediately goes into rescue mode, but Aaron urges her to wait until the morning.  


It has been awhile since an episode ran this many storylines in one episode.  The show has been running at a slower, more concentrated pace, so it takes a bit to adjust.  It was surprising that the group had not already returned to Hilltop to salvage materials and take out any undead former friends.  That should have been a priority sooner.  

The thread of kindness winning the day throughout the episode was an interesting touch.  This show for so long has been about the worst of humanity, it was nice to see that kindness still had its place in the world.  Whether it was Rosita reminding Judith that love is stronger than a memory or that mercy garners better results than torture, this episode proved that kindness is still effective.  Even if it is only in small ways.  For instance, Stephanie’s kindness to Eugene showed that her fondness for him is genuine.  The Commonwealth may let its inhabitants forget the world outside, but maybe that buffer also helps them hold onto their humanity more than most people.

This episode moves along a lot of plots, so it is worth watching.  There is less character development here than in the most recent episodes, so if that isn’t your thing, this episode is definitely for you.  There is a lot of focus on Aaron, but the show still seems to somehow give him short shrift.  Aaron is fearful for his daughter and anxious to protect his community.  It feels like everyone else has received a deeper look at their character the last couple years except for Aaron.


  • The undead child at the wall is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton Morgan’s son, Gus.
  • The Hilltop cellar apparently was only used to store prisoners but not food for the winter.
  • There is a possible spoiler floating around that Stephanie is not who she appears to be. Is the woman at the ice cream truck the real Stephanie? It would explain the momentary connection between her and Eugene at the ice cream truck. And if that is true, could the fake Stephanie be the elusive Pamela Milton?