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The Walking Dead - Look at the Flowers - Review



The Walking Dead “Look at the Flowers” was written by Channing Powell and was directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. I’m not gonna lie – when I saw that title, I really thought that this was going to be it for Carol (Melissa McBride). This episode will likely be most notable for the introduction of another iconic comic character – Princess, played by Paola Lázaro. The episode also reveals Beta’s (Ryan Hurst) former identity as a famous country singer. Hurst, McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), and Norman Reedus (Daryl) all give outstanding performances. And we are also treated to one final performance by Samantha Morton as Alpha as she haunts Carol.

The episode opens with a flashback to Negan and Carol making their deal and it’s a terrific scene. Negan is waiting to find out what’s going to happen to him after he accidentally killed ? to save Lydia (Cassady McClincy). Even before Carol enters, he’s looking at the bars and mutters “shit.” He’s clearly and sincerely upset to have apparently lost all the good will he’s spent 7 years building up. Further, he’s expecting to die. When Carol walks in, he tells her that he was expecting Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) – and last rites.

Carol asks him if he wants forgiveness. Even in the face of death, Negan isn’t prepared to ask for forgiveness in the face of something he did by accident and for the right reasons. She asks him what he really wants and he makes a flippant answer, asking why she cares. Carol asks what if he didn’t have to die – and admits she’s not there on behalf of the Council – which Negan already knows. Negan wonders why she is going after the “Skin Queen” instead of wasting time with him. I loved the smile between the two as they both recognize the similarities between them. I loved that he calls her a badass. High praise from Negan. She asks him what he thinks “this is.” She’s planning on using him as her weapon.

What’s really interesting here, however, is that Carol is so bent on revenge that she’s fooled herself into believing that killing Alpha at any cost is better for everyone. Negan points out that if he fails to kill Alpha, it could make things worse for everyone in Alexandria. They may not have embraced him as a member of the community, but he’s clearly embraced it as his. Carol tells him that the community won’t ever forget what he’s done unless he does something to make them forget. Carol promises to make sure that they forget everything he’s done – if he does it fast.

We cut to the present, and Carol is putting Alpha’s head on a spike – I suspect the one that held Henry’s. Negan asks if this is what she wanted, and she just nods. Negan is impatient to get back to Alexandria and start spreading the news that he’s a hero. Carol wants to know what took so long. Negan tells her that he was trying to make sure that he didn’t lose his own head – these things take time! He wants her to hold up her end of the bargain and walk him through the gates of Alexandria so that he can “open up a new chapter in the Book of Negan.” And then Carol drops the bombshell that she’s not going back – just yet. She needs to be alone to deal with everything – but it also isn’t clear if she’s suicidal or ever planning to go back. There’s also the possibility that both Carol and Negan may end up with nooses around their necks. Carol simply tells him that he’s free. He can do what he wants, but she needs to be alone and “shit like that takes time.”

The refugees from Hilltop pause to catch their breath in an abandoned house. Jerry (Cooper Andrews) is thankful that the kids are all ok, and Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) says they got lucky. Ezekiel is once again blaming himself for failing, and once again, Jerry tries to protect him – this time from himself. Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) arrive. Jerry is happy to see Magna – that makes one of us.

Eugene checks on Rosita (Christian Serratos) who seems pretty seriously injured – does she have internal bleeding? She insists that he tell the others about his “date.” She doesn’t want him to take her to find the missing doctor. Eugene does tell the others. Naturally, they have questions – some hopeful, like Nabila (Nadine Marissa), hoping for a new community – and some suspicious – Magna, of course, wondering if she is another spy like Dante. Ezekiel, however, steps in to help, saying he trusts Eugene’s instincts. He sees that Eugene is completely set back by all the questions – we know he hates scrutiny – and Ezekiel urges the others to hear him out before jumping to conclusions. He points out that they are all on the same side.

Eugene points out that he moved to Hilltop for a fresh start. He admits that he struggled at first and buried himself in work – which lead to this new friend. McDermitt is just terrific here as we see again just how far Eugene has grown. He’s ready to have hope for the future. He declares that he’s willing to be the fool – if it’s foolish to hope for future friends.

Yumiko thinks that Magna wants to go with Eugene to get back out on the road and have an adventure. Magna, however, is ready to stay put and tells Yumiko to have the adventure. Magna tells her that there’s nothing for her to fix there – she should go. Yumiko leaves with a smile, so I guess that means that their relationship is still ok. Hard to tell from Hilker’s delivery.

A less ambiguous parting takes place between Jerry and Ezekiel, and this really felt like it may be the last time we see these two together. Regardless, it seems that their relationship has changed – even though Jerry is still the protector, they are more equals now. Ezekiel thinks that Jerry doesn’t want him to go with Eugene because he’s sick, but Jerry just insists that he’ll miss him. Ezekiel seems to think he may not be returning. He tells Jerry that the Kingdom needs him and to make sure that their legacy lives on. Jerry stops himself from calling him Boss and calls him Ezekiel before the two hug.

Beta and two other Whisperers find Alpha’s head. One Whisperer says Beta is Alpha now – and clearly, Beta is definitely unhinged as he warns him that she can hear him. He tells the Whisperer to take off his mask and listen to what she’s saying – he then forces his head close enough that Alpha is able to bite his face. The other Whisperer runs away. Beta takes Alpha’s head down and cradles it like a baby.

Negan makes his way back to where he’d tied Lydia up – finally! And of course, finds her gone – but Daryl is there, waiting for him. Negan tells him that he killed Alpha, and Daryl doesn’t believe him. Negan – because he is far from stupid – did retain some proof – he’s got her mask. Daryl points out that that isn’t her head. Negan explains that the whole reason he threw in with the Whisperers was in order to kill Alpha - which he could have done before – like when they were alone and having sex, but I’ll come back to that. What proves it to Daryl is when Negan says Daryl’s “girlfriend” let him out. I’m betting all the Carol/Daryl shippers squeed when Daryl immediately knew he meant Carol – and of course, Daryl knows better than anyone that that rings true for Carol.

We cut to Carol alone in the woods – except for her hallucination of Alpha. I loved McBride’s face as Alpha tells her that she’s always watching. And while I felt this was a bit clunky, Carol having hallucinations is completely in keeping with her coping (or not coping) mechanism. It’s a sign of her unquiet mind – but it’s also a sign that as much as she is a badass, there is still some conscience left there – she knows how much was sacrificed to her revenge.

Beta clearly has a goal in mind and wanders off with his dying Whisperer. When it looks like a walker is coming for Beta, the Whisperer – still inexplicably loyal – moves in to kill it, only to be stabbed by Beta and left for the walker to eat! Beta has returned to a bar where it seems he was living before. Possibly for the beginning of the apocalypse? He picks up a note - These two eyes see one truth. And then we see the poster on the wall – his face on the poster for the band Half Moon – I’m assuming that wasn’t his name – and he’s described as “the Legend.” Beta rips the poster off the wall. And then he destroys one of the guitars. Clearly, he’s resisting becoming the lead singer of the Whisperers.

Morton is once again utterly fantastic as she torments Carol with her greatest failures – Henry and Sophia. She tells her that there’s no getting rid of her head unless Carol takes her own. And it’s true that Carol has to live with what she’s done. Alpha tells her that she respects what she did – even if Negan wielded the blade, Carol was the one who ended her – “like a true Alpha.” And that’s where Carol draws the line – but it’s not untrue. Alpha states all of Carol’s fears. She can’t go back because the others won’t accept what she’s done.

Carol maintains that she has no regrets. Carol also knows that simply saying she’s sorry isn’t going to cut it. Alpha also points out that Carol has tried being on her own before, but they always pull her back – but they don’t know what she truly wants. As Carol listens to Alpha’s taunts, a walker comes up behind her – and almost gets her. Is this what she truly wants? But instinct kicks in and she kills it – on Henry’s staff – skewering it in a mirror image to how she just put Alpha on Henry’s spike. Carol looks almost disappointed and says she wants to be alone – and Alpha says “that’s not it.”

Eugene, Yumiko and Ezekiel ride to the meeting. Eugene asks if she thinks the new community will like candy. She wonders what made him think of that. Yes. Eugene’s mind is a mystery! He tells her that he grew up near train tracks – like the ones they are riding by – and it made him think of his mother, who was a “pistol.” He was trying to remember something kind about her – she used to get them chocolate bunnies at Easter and he associates them with family – even if eating the heads disturbed him!

Yumiko asks if they are really on a journey for chocolate bunnies, and Eugene scoffs, of course not. They’re on a “journey for the future hope of mankind. But candy would be nice!” Does she honestly miss the connection here? Eugene is already thinking of Stephanie as family. Eugene offers to do impressions to cheer Ezekiel up, but he tells them that he’s not the best audience at the moment. And then they pass the first super-weird thing. Walkers in cages – with birds in cages beside them. The walkers looking like “pets” or birds themselves. Yumiko wonders if it’s Whisperers, but this clearly isn’t something that they’d do.

For some reason, Ezekiel rides off by himself. He finds himself in the middle of a bunch of walkers and is barely able to protect himself as he has a coughing fit. He’s clearly getting sicker and weaker – not the best travelling companion.

Meanwhile, Daryl takes Negan to prove that he killed Alpha. I loved Negan comparing Daryl marching him into the woods with Alpha taking him into the woods – which ended with then having sex… It’s actually still a nicely mirrored scene as Negan is wooing Daryl in a sense too. Negan once again can’t keep his mouth shut. Negan suggests that Daryl is mad because Carol didn’t tell him what she did. Daryl tells him that he’s mad about Hilltop. And Negan is clearly touched when Daryl tells him that a bunch of children almost died there.

In an echo of the Beatles final rooftop concert, Beta takes his record and record player to the roof of the hotel/bar and starts blaring it, attracting every walker in the area. Beta smiles as the horde gathers and again rips off half of his mask – presumably he’d fixed it after Gamma tore it.

Alpha continues to taunt Carol and now it’s night. She tells Carol that she went out on the fishing boats to try to find peace and didn’t. Carol is meanwhile trying to pull a gun off the wall of some deteriorating shack. She manages to pull the entire shack down upon herself. Alpha sneers at her as she lies trapped.

Daryl and Negan arrive back at the now empty spike. At least there is fresh blood on it. Negan suggests just waiting for Carol to come back and turns to find Daryl with his crossbow pointed at his head. Negan pleads that he was trying to protect Lydia – and he’s clearly pretty sincere. If Daryl is honest with himself, he should know that Negan does care about her too. However, Daryl wants to know what took Negan so long too. Negan insists that it took a minute because he had to get her to trust him because he wasn’t on some half-cocked suicide mission.

The two are interrupted by two Whisperers. They point guns at both Negan and Daryl. They announce that Alpha is dead because of Negan – clearly the Whisperer who ran away has spread the word! But then, they declare Negan the new Alpha and kneel to him! Negan can’t help laughing – it’s déjà vu all over again! Isn’t this where he and Daryl started? Negan in control of an obedient fighting force, and Daryl on his knees before him?

Negan is in full amused Negan-mode. A thunderstorm has rolled in – and I have to wonder if that was happenstance – it’s definitely really raining – or whether the thunder was added. Regardless, Negan complains that he’s not the one holding the badass shotgun, and the Whisperer hands it right over. He then goes on to say it’s like holding a baby for the first time – only his baby spits bullets! Morgan is always terrific when he goes over the top like this!



Negan makes Daryl kneel to the Alpha – but really it’s to get him out of the line of fire even as it seems like Negan has really gone over to the darkside. He admits that he did like it a lot. Daryl tells him he should probably just shoot him – clearly, he’d rather die than listen to Negan talk! Negan tells him “don’t threaten me with a good time” – and then still looking directly at Daryl, shoots the Whisperer who gave him the shotgun! The shotgun immediately jams but Daryl and Negan take out the other two Whisperers. Daryl immediately turns to Negan, holds out his hands and says “untie me, asshole!”

Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Eugene have made camp for the night when suddenly Ezekiel’s horse goes down. He was bitten when Ezekiel struggled to kill the walkers. It’s a mystery as to why his horse was tethered so far from the others, why they were still wearing their bridles when they were supposed to be grazing, and how they failed to notice the huge bite before then. I’ll never not be mad when they kill the horses. Ezekiel has to put the horse out of his misery – and in a pretty cool Easter egg, I you look closely, you can see a flower in graffiti on the concrete post beside them.

Yumiko tries to comfort Ezekiel when he says he shouldn’t have come. He tells her to leave him behind if it comes to it. She tells him no. He insists that his horse wasn’t strong enough to make the journey and neither is he. Which is hilarious because his horse is prancing in every scene! Ezekiel tells her that he’s afraid of putting them at risk. Yumiko tells him that he can’t turn back because of what might lie ahead in the future. She tells him that she had all kinds of plans for the future, but nobody cares – now she’s here to just find out what is possible. No one can imagine it – and that’s a nice play on what they find in the city. Yumiko tells Ezekiel, however, that what they really need is the man who built the Kingdom – they need his imagination – his ability to see the possibilities and his ability to create hope.

Alpha continues to taunt Carol as a walker begins to make its way to her. She tells Carol that her mother used to say that everything works out the way it’s supposed to. Alpha calls to the walker – “this way friend. We’re ready for you.” Has Carol brought the house down on herself so that she can’t inadvertently let her instinct kick in to save her – to ensure that she commits suicide by walker? The Carol in the comics did commit suicide by walker. Alpha points out that no one is coming to save her – not Ezekiel, and definitely not Daryl after what she did to Connie.

Alpha tells her to stop fighting. No matter what she does, she loses people – Sophia, Lizzie, Mica, Henry, Ezekiel… and if she goes back, Daryl could be next. Hallucination Alpha knows she’s an hallucination and she tells Carol that she could have chosen anyone to be her “conscience” but she chose her because she gets the job done – she’s ruthless, like Carol. But Carol suddenly realizes that she doesn’t want “this” – to go out like this. Alpha tells her to look at the flowers – as Carol told Lizzie – but Carol manages to super-humanly free herself from under the rubble and get her knife out in time to kill the walker. She murmurs “it’s never too late” and when she looks up, Alpha is gone.

In what feels like a return to the beginning, Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel arrive at the city – with the abandoned highway stretching out before them.

Negan and Daryl rest on a log, sharing a canteen of water. Negan tells Daryl that he doesn’t think that Carol is coming back. Daryl admits that he knows Negan isn’t bullshitting. He also knows that Negan wasn’t lying when he said he liked it – seven years is a long time to spend behind bars. It was nice feeling like he mattered and that he was respected. Negan tells Daryl that Alpha took it too far. You don’t kill people who don’t deserve it and you never kill kids. Now, a lot of people will say that Abraham and Glenn didn’t deserve it – and so many others that Negan killed, but if we look no further than the last episode, and look at that raid on the Savior outpost from Negan’s point of view, Glenn snuck in and killed his people…

Daryl isn’t ready to like Negan though. I love these two having scenes together. Daryl is ready to stop waiting for Carol and he gets up and heads for home with Negan in two. It doesn’t seem that Daryl is home for long before he’s opening the gate for Carol though.

In the city, Yumiko wonders what the chances are of a city like that being empty. Eugene indicates high. And then they start to stumble upon some weird things – a walker dressed up and sitting outside a shop. Two more handcuffed to a table apparently enjoying cocktails – also dressed up. A “shopper-walker” on a scooter – also handcuffed. But when Ezekiel finds one chained inside a car with a jaunty cap on and another chained to the car dressed as a cop, the absurdity of it has him in fits of laughter! It’s just the kind of whimsy that he can appreciate.


      And then they are faced with a machine gun carrying live person – dressed in a pink jacket with an aviators cap on and purple streaks in her hair. Her fashion sense is clearly the same as the dressed walkers. She sees them and bellows “Oh my God! HI!”

Beta once more ponders his note – one truth. He takes Alpha out of her bag, thanks her and tells her that he sees now. He then puts his blade in her brain and presses their foreheads together. When next we see him, he has once again fixed his mask. He goes out into his “fans” and his face is now half Alpha, and with her bald head, he does indeed look like a Half Moon.

We are clearly about to wrap up one storyline and embark on one or possibly two more. What will Princess bring to the show? Will we actually meet Stephanie? Great performances in this episode from McBride, Morgan, Hurst and Payton. I’m glad that Carol didn’t kill herself, but is it possible for the communities to forgive her? And what about Negan? He may have killed Alpha, but he also killed Hilltop. And what is Beta’s endgame? Can he really lead the Whisperers? What did you think of the episode? Thoughts on what will happen before the end of the season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!