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The Walking Dead - Trust - Review

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  The Walking Dead “Trust” was written by Kevin Deiboldt and was directed by Lily Mariye, whose other credits include The Walking Dead: World Beyond, MacGyver, and NCIS: Los Angeles. The title plays out in all the storylines. Things are definitely starting to heat up – I mean we start with Princess (Paola L├ízaro) and Mercer (Michael James Shaw) in bed!! – and Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) is becoming more and more sinister – and potentially getting himself a new crazy assassin. Shout out to Shaw for a terrific performance – and not just that sweaty workout. I loved the layers we finally see a real glimpse of in this episode. There’s only one episode left now of Part 2 of the season, and I can’t wait to see who ends up on top. One thing I think we can be sure of is that there will be a heck of a cliff hanger coming…

The episode begins with another satisfying shot of Carlson’s corpse and troopers, including Daryl (Norman Reedus) examining the scene. Daryl is called to the roof where Hornsby is questioning Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), telling them “it’s not a good look,” putting all of them in a tough spot. They’ve told him a firefight broke out after things went sideways, but Hornsby isn’t buying that the residents were able to kill all his trained soldiers – but not them – and then escaped. I loved Gabriel and Aaron looking at each other and saying, yeah, that’s basically their story. Hornsby asks Daryl for his opinion. He tells Hornsby that they’d been on the road a long time and can definitely handle themselves. If that’s what they say happened, that’s what happened. 

Hornsby still has doubts. I loved how this scene was blocked – Aaron and Gabriel standing with their backs to the gap in the wall where Carlson and the others went over. Hornsby approaches them, saying it doesn’t make sense that they were left alive. Meanwhile, Daryl closes in on Hornsby from behind, keeping one eye on the troopers who are behind him. Hornsby’s solution is that the residents weren’t strangers. Aaron asks him point blank if he’s calling them liars. Gabriel tells him that ‘his guy’ lost control of the situation, and they barely survived – they aren’t taking the fall for it – again, they are standing right in front of where a bunch of others DID take the fall… Hornsby then immediately changes direction – putting up his hands and backing off, saying ok, he’s just got a job to do, and they all just want justice. Hornsby is not done yet – they’ve got to smoke out the monsters out there and are going to warn Hilltop. I loved the look shared between Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel as Daryl follows Hornsby off the roof. They all know now that the Commonwealth is far from what it seems – they don’t trust Hornsby and he doesn’t trust them.

Am I the only one who clapped when we saw that Mercer was in bed with Princess? The two have been having a LOT of sex… Love the chemistry between these two, and what each brings to the relationship. Princess is not a fan of Mercer’s early wake up times, however. Princess has noticed him not sleeping, and laughingly says she thinks he’s part robot. Of course, it’s quite the opposite. He can’t sleep because what’s going on in the Commonwealth is keeping him up. She knows that something is bothering him, but he tries to keep the mood light and says he’s just basking in the afterglow. She calls him on it – this is Princess after all. She’s astute and she cares. She tells him it looks more like stewing. He pushes her away – emotionally – by asking if she’s getting all “soppy.” She denies it and says she’s just checking in. He says he’s fine, but she tells him if he wants to talk, she’s good at listening. I loved how the emotion goes from light to heavy as he insists he’s fine. Princess knows she’s being shut down and tells him he’s going to be late for work when the alarm goes off again, rolling over to go back to sleep herself. She’s hurt that he won’t trust her.

Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory) pay an early morning call on Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos). Rosita has told Eugene about Sebastian’s “mission” and they thought that they should tell Connie because of her “truth-telling mission” as a journalist. Rosita tells them that they were told to keep quiet, but Rosita can’t stop thinking about April – and all the others. People deserve to know the truth. Connie gets Kelly to bring out the list that was put under their door. April’s name is on it – but far more than just the people sent into that house. Connie tells them that whatever is going on, if the Martins are involved, they’ll keep it locked up. They need inside access to dig it out. I love how Eugene clearly thinks of Max (Margot Bingham), but is reluctant to say anything and then puts his hand up and says he knows someone.

Carol (Melissa McBride) drops Judith (Cailey Fleming) and RJ (Antony Azor) off at school – so clearly she’s taking care of them while Daryl’s at work. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) joins her as they go in and tells the kids to listen to their teachers. He thanks Carol for saving him after the kids go in. She tells him he doesn’t have to thank her. He also tells her that he’s taken her words to heart and is trying to do something “extra” with the time he’s been given. I love that he’s added a peacock feather to his hair – it's a great symbol of him embracing life again. He wants to show her something, but she tells him it’s not a good day. He completely trusts her with his secret, but Carol stumbles over whether to tell him what’s really going on. She tells him there are things she needs to figure out and fix. She asks him to trust her, but it’s better if he doesn’t know. He tells her that he trusts her more than anyone. He also points out that it looked like things would be easier in the Commonwealth, but there’s a lot more “grey.” Ironically, as it IS raining, she asks for a rain check. He agrees, telling her that he’s healthy again, and she’s stuck with him. 

As the group walks to Hilltop, they come upon a small group of walkers crossing the road. Rather than “waste the ammunition,” Hornsby suggests that Gabriel and Aaron take care of it. After all, he was just told that they can “handle themselves.” Daryl is not pleased – and is still not fully in uniform as he seems averse to wearing the helmet – it’s a production thing, of course, so we can see his face, but it’s also nicely symbolic of him not having his head in soldier-game. Aaron and Gabriel leave the others, Gabriel drawing his machete, and Daryl goes with them. I loved Aaron completely smashing a walker head with his mace, Gabriel slicing a walker’s head and Daryl getting a twofer. We get a slow closeup of Hornsby’s face that goes from a slight smile to not happy. Is he finally realizing how dangerous they are? Did he want at least one of them to be killed? Daryl is clearly not happy, kicking a severed head to Hornsby’s feet, but Hornsby praises them for barely raising a sweat, and they carry on – with Hornsby telling Daryl to put his helmet on. 

Ezekiel drops in on Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale), and he may have just saved his life. Tomi shoves booze and pills into a drawer as Ezekiel comes in, telling him it’s not been a good day. We learn later that he just lost a patient, and it’s clear that this is what drove him from medicine in the first place – he just cares too much. Tomi’s first concern is that Ezekiel is ok. He tells him he’s fine, but he’s there about a friend who needs an operation but can’t afford it as she doesn’t want to put her family in debt. How is there not universal healthcare even in the apocalypse???? Ezekiel suggests that they can take care of the appendectomy outside the system – he’s got everything they need. Tomi tells him that it’s incredibly risky for everyone involved. He tells Tomi that she won’t change her mind – it’s everyone’s best option. Dale is excellent in this scene as he barely keeps his emotions in check as he tells Ezekiel about losing his patient – in a hospital – not some jury-rigged imitation. It also says a lot that Ezekiel trusts Tomi to bring him in.

Eugene goes to see Max at her office. She isn’t happy to see him, pointing out that they can’t be seen together. He insists he took precautions, by bringing groceries, disguised as a humble delivery boy. Can that seriously be his job in the Commonwealth? The two retreat to an office, and Eugene asks her to steal secret files. Max thinks things are just starting to go well with Hornsby – Alexandria re-build is coming along… as soon as she hears it involves the Miltons she is really reluctant. I love that Eugene clarifies it’s “the young psychopath” (Sebastian!!!!!) at least. Eugene tells her that it’s important – people have died. She tells him to go to her brother for corroboration as he was there too. They are interrupted by a cleaner, and Max grabs the groceries and takes off.

They arrive at the Hilltop gates. Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) are on the wall, and she demands to know what he wants. Hornsby tells her that there are killers on the loose. They lost a lot of men and are tracking them down – and need to take back the Commonwealth property that they took. Maggie tells him that they don’t know anything about it. Hornsby asks if they can just look around to rule them out – paperwork… Maggie tells him that she gave him her answer. Daryl steps forward as Hornsby is clearly about to give orders to the head trooper. He asks to talk to her – he doesn’t want to shoot anyone there today. I love how he doesn’t specify WHO he might have to shoot. 

Daryl steps forward and asks Maggie to open up. He promises that it’ll be quick – but it does have to be like this. Maggie asks Daryl if he expects her to trust Hornsby. Daryl tells her that he’s not asking her to trust Hornsby, she’s asking her to trust him, so of course, she opens the gates. Daryl watches as the troopers march in. Hornsby looks smug as he walks in. Daryl nods imperceptibly at Gabriel and Aaron as they are the last through, and Maggie looks worried.

Max goes to Mercer who is working out in the gym. Finally, we get to see him without the armor on! Of course, his unforgiving workout is a symbol of his strength and the importance he puts on protecting people. Max is furious that Mercer hasn’t told her about Sebastian, the heist, people missing. He tells her that it’s none of her business. He knows the Commonwealth isn’t perfect – they are still lucky to have any part of the old world (warts and all). Mercer is blaming himself! People lost their lives because he missed it. Max tells him that she’s not a little girl anymore who needs to be protected. He points out that she almost got caught on the radio a few months ago. She can’t understand why he tolerates Sebastian – but he tells her it’s because he has 50,000 other lives to worry about. 

        If he goes after the kid – that kind of insubordination won’t be tolerated. Max tells him that not everyone thinks lives are acceptable losses. He points out that Milton is her boss and she can take it up with her. Max points to a recruitment poster with Mercer’s face on it as she says the community looks up to him. Remember the gala when he got cheered – she’s not wrong. Mercer insists that he’s just a soldier, but Max insists that he could be so much more.

Ezekiel and Tomi steal supplies and bond as they’re almost discovered. Tomi confides that he once was a rule-breaker – just ask his sister! He also says that this place has a way of lulling you – why upset the applecart when it’s keeping you safe. The population is kept in check by threat of death – every day by walkers. Ezekiel says that is the struggle: “protecting ourselves or others.” Tomi would prefer both. They leave their hiding place only for Tomi to run directly into a trooper!

At Hilltop, Hornsby comes upon the truck. He remarks that there aren’t many vehicles running these days, and there were tire tracks at the scene. Maggie tells him the truck doesn’t run. Daryl challenges him to just say what he means. Hornsby says he’s just stating the facts. He says he comes from a long line of “gearheads” – unexpected… He looks under the hood and sees that the starter relay is disconnected – something they would have obviously noticed. He reconnects it and gets in to try to start it. I loved the tension that builds up in this scene – but Maggie IS smarter than that. She looks nervous, but they clearly did something else to the truck so it wouldn’t start. I loved how disappointed and angry Hornsby looked when the truck didn’t turn over. Maggie walks to the window and tells him that his people have until sundown – and then they need to leave. 

Ezekiel and Tomi are waiting in a dark room in handcuffs. The door opens and Tomi puts his head down in despair, but the troopers stand aside and Carol walks in. She thanks the trooper for his discretion and tells him she’ll take it from there. Ezekiel figured her “new job” meant she had some connections at the hospital. Tomi is worried that they’re screwed. Ezekiel insists that all trouble isn’t bad trouble. He’s already pulled her out of work, so he gets Carol to come see.

They end up at the animal compound. Tomi is worried that the patient isn’t human. However, when they go through the curtains into the veterinary treatment area, it’s full of people. Ezekiel’s been running a clinic for people who can’t afford the hospital. Carol is clearly impressed, saying “you really have been busy.” Ezekiel tells her that he has a debt to repay.

Mercer shows up at Princess’s. He asks her if she has a minute – she offers him 2. He’s there to apologize for earlier. He tells her that all this – ie the relationship – not sex! – is all new to him. He’s clearly struggling, and she steps in to tell him that she has a special sense for when people are not ok – because of her first-hand experience. She might put out a fun-time vibe, but she can handle the heavy stuff too. He tells her that he killed two of his men and covered it up. He never thought he’d be that guy – it’s not how his parents raised him. He had lines he’d never cross. But what’s keeping him up is that he'd do it again. He’s spent his life keeping everything safe and solid for everyone else. It’s worked this far. But this place is something else, and maybe he’s part of the problem. Without hearing any context, Princess takes his hand and kisses it. There’s no judgement on her face as she suggests that they go inside and figure it out together. 

Hornsby reaches a new low when he tries to get information out of Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller). I love that this kid’s super power is simply not speaking. He asks Hershel if he’s taken any exciting trips lately. Hershel shakes his head. Hornsby tells Hershel that the last thing he wants is for something to happen there – especially to his mom! OMG – he just threatened a kid’s mother! He goes on to say that if he gets the truth he can fix things – but he can’t keep people safe if they keep secrets. When asked if he wants to say anything, Hershel says he should get his mom. Hornsby tells him that he’s a good kid and deserves a present – it’s Hershel’s own hat that Hornsby found at the scene. He puts in on Hershel, and Elijah slams him up against the wall. Loved it!

The bad guys always go after the kids. And it always ends badly for them. Everyone comes running. Elijah holds Hornsby up against the wall, troopers train their guns on him. Maggie and Daryl come running: Daryl is out of his armor and trains his gun on the troopers. Hershel runs into Maggie’s arms. Maggie pulls her gun and aims it at Hornsby’s head. He tells her that he’s a nice guy! He’ll even let her back down so no one gets hurt! 

Maggie tells him that a lot of people have died for threatening her family. Daryl turns his gun on Hornsby and tells him, “Tell them to drop the guns before something really fucking bad happens.” Finally, Daryl gets the f-bomb! Hornsby does as he’s told. Elijah lets him go, and he tells them to pack up – they’re leaving. He then apologizes to Maggie “if there was any miscommunication” – not likely on either side. And he adds “shame we couldn’t be friends.” 

That night, Aaron, Gabriel, and Daryl meet around a campfire where the group is camping for the night. Daryl tells them they aren’t going back to the Commonwealth without the guns. They hope they can find the guns without exposing the other group. Daryl warns them to keep their eyes open because something is about to go down. Hornsby goes off with his personal troopers as they’ve found something…

Back at the Commonwealth, Ezekiel and Carol share a moment. He tells her that Theo (Nicholas Velez) did most of the work, but it feels special. Ezekiel is so happy to have a fresh start, and it’s important for him that his friend knows how much he appreciates it. Carol says it must feel good – but Ezekiel knows there’s more to it. Carol says after all the years, the darkness, and he’s sitting there glowing. The light suits him. But it’s clear that Carol hasn’t found that fresh purpose or the light. Ezekiel tells her that his light is from a spark that she helped him find. He tells her that darkness is heavy and some people carry it because they are strong enough, but they also make the light. He tells her SHE makes the light. She lightens the moment by telling him that they aren’t getting back together. He laughs, but says so you keep saying….

The two are interrupted as Theo calls them back to the operating area. Theo wants to take her to the hospital because the appendix have burst. Tomi says no – he enlists Carol and Ezekiel to help with the operation and sends Theo for more antibiotics. You’d think with everything else they stole, they might have grabbed some rubber gloves and masks. Once done, Tomi is optimistic, and Ezekiel says, see? Small procedure…

Max shows up at Eugene’s apartment. Eugene apologizes for “ambushing” her earlier and putting her in a tight spot. She tells him the arrangement makes her uncomfortable. She doesn’t want to have to keep sneaking around. She wonders if she’s built for “this” – but she doesn’t have a choice. Eugene tells her they’ll find another way. Max clarifies that there is no back to normal because they know what they know, and they can’t wait around for someone else to step up. Eugene promises to stay by her side through hell and high water – she won’t fact it alone because against all the odds, they found each other. And FINALLY!!!!! We get the kiss that we’ve really been waiting for. 

Back in the woods, we find Leah (Lynn Collins) cleaning some of the stolen guns. She goes into her tent as the trooper creep into her camp. When they look in the tent, it’s empty. She shoots one of them in the foot and another before Hornsby comes out saying to hold her fire. He asks that he hear what he has to say before she kills them. She  melts out of the woods and tells him to talk fast. He tells her “My name is Lance Hornsby, and I’m here to offer you a job.” Oh, good pick – another psycho-killer because the last one ended so well. 

I loved how the theme of trust ran throughout this episode. We see the breakdown of trust between Hornsby and the others. I loved Maggie’s trust in Daryl. We see the bond of trust grow between Princess and Mercer and between Eugene and Max. And of course, the bond of trust between Ezekiel and Carol. I’m torn between wanting the spin off with Daryl and Carol and wanting Carol and Ezekiel back together. I’m thinking that Ezekiel and Mercer in charge of the Commonwealth could be an awesome pair! What did you think of the episode? I’m betting Hornsby’s first assignment for Leah is to take out Hilltop – what do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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