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The Walking Dead - Lockdown - Review

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  The Walking Dead “Lockdown” was written by Julia Ruchman and was directed by Greg Nicotero. After the weird Tales of the Walking Dead, it felt great to be back in the real universe, and this episode moved along nicely, bringing back the tension and expectation of previous seasons – at least for me. It starts to become clear as to which sides people are going to land on – and any episode with snarky Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comments is going to get an enthusiastic two thumbs up from me. Throw in some badass Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and some adorable Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and I’m a happy camper.

The episode begins with a voice over from Judith (Cailey Fleming) as a bit of a series re-cap. She’s heard stories about when the world fell, when there were more dead than living. People survived by connecting with each other – made found families – while others turned to the darkness. That was a long time ago – not really – and then she asks if it will be tomorrow. There are still plenty of bad people out there – and the episode shifts to Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) hunting our heroes. It seems we will have to wait longer for an answer to what happened at Oceanside…

Daryl, Maggie (Lauren Cohen), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Negan, and Annie (Medina Senghore) are all about to turn the tables on Hornsby. Maggie wants to know where Hershel is as she left him with Annie and Negan, and Annie tells her he’s safe with Elijah. Gabriel wants to go back and get the rest of their people out before taking out Hornsby, but Aaron points out that they’d never get past the check points because Hornsby would have warned the guards about them. Aaron points out that Carol, Rosita (Christian Serratos), Jerry, and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) are there and can look after them. 

Daryl suggests that they can do it all. He tells Negan to go in to the Commonwealth because no one has seen him before. Annie wants to go with him, but Negan tells her no – he’s fucked anyway, but she needs to stay safe. 

They begin by taking out the teams – and we get some lovely walker munching and an appearance of Negan in the Reedus mask. Hornsby finds his eaten storm troopers. He desperately tries to contact home, but they can’t get a signal through. Hornsby gets winged by another bullet as his group is ambushed. I loved that Daryl lures them away, steals their car, and almost runs Hornsby down. Meanwhile we get an amazing car chase – in THE WALKING DEAD! (I bet they had serious fun filming that!). Negan gets away when Daryl t-bones the trooper car.

Back in the Commonwealth, there’s a riot as the citizens call for justice – and Sebastian’s (Teo Rapp-Olsson) head! Ezekiel realizes that things could get ugly. Magna (Nadia Hilker) tells Kelly (Angel Theory) that she wants to find a way to help them. Rosita insists that they do nothing until everyone is back. She runs into Mercer (Michael James Shaw), who tells her that he needs her today – and tells her to get her uniform on. Mercer is called away…

In Pamela’s (Laila Robins) office, she is reading a speech over loud speaker to the crowd. Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Max (Margot Bingham) are there helping her. Max tells Yumiko that she wants to keep going – undermining Pamela.

Negan is waiting for Mercer in the interrogation room and tells him that a friend in the wasteland told him to ask for Mercer. He says it was April. Mercer finally asks the guard to get some water so the two can have a frank exchange. Negan tells him that Hornsby is “cutting them up” – but they are dealing with him, but they have people inside the Commonwealth to protect too. Mercer insists that’s his job. Negan tells Mercer that Daryl sent him. Mercer tells Negan that he can’t just turn him lose… there are rules! Negan asks why Mercer is following the rules when clearly, no one else is! He’s got a point…

Carol meanwhile is looking after the kids – and spending more time studying surveillance photos from Kelly than paying attention to the pancakes she’s cooking, which she burns. There’s some fun banter about Daryl’s cooking and Gracie (Annabelle Holloway) defends Aaron’s cooking. Carol looks out the window and sees Shira (Chelle Ramos) and Roman (Michael Tourek) coming. She tells the kids they’re going to play the quiet game – meaning they are all going to hide. Shira and Roman come in the apartment – the kids are in cupboards and Carol is outside – on the fire escape? – with a knife. Shira suggests that they try the school. 

Jerry finds Negan looking bemused in the square and asks him what he’s doing there. Negan says he’s there to save their asses… and asks for Carol… of course! 

Meanwhile, Maggie and Annie take out the radio just before the trooper gets his message out. 

Carol is about to take off with the kids when there’s a knock at the door, and Jerry is there with Negan. I love that Negan tells her she was right – he should have stayed in the cabin! Negan thinks that Hornsby is going to try to use the kids as leverage. Carol takes it as a sign that Hornsby is still trying to fly under the radar that he hasn’t sent out a general alarm. Jerry has been gathering supplies in an attic, and Carol tells him to keep the kids there and get the others ready to move on their signal. Negan doesn’t think they’ll just be able to leave, and Carol tells him that they’re going to go and get some insurance.

April’s parents (Preston James Hillier and Korbi Dean) confront Pamela as she leaves city hall. If you were confused about who April was, she was the woman who Daryl and Rosita found in the house Sebastian sent them to rob. The problem is that April’s parents don’t look old enough to BE her parents…Yumiko manages to diffuse the situation. Pamela, rather than being appreciative, asks Yumiko if Yumiko’s friend Connie (Lauren Ridloff) the journalist knew who wrote the article exposing Sebastian. 

We see Pamela give an order “to do it right away,” and I suspect the “it” is to release a herd – also I was also wondering if the gigantic herd coming had something to do with the Civic Republic… and maybe it was just the lockdown that she was ordering. After two years of Covid, I suspect that anyone ordering a lockdown is going to be considered a villain…. 

Yumiko and Magna, meanwhile, catch up. Yumiko says Pamela will never run away from a fight. She also compliments Magna on seeing what was going on from the beginning. Yumiko wants a strong exit plan for the rest of them – because she can’t leave Tommy. Magna insists that they aren’t going anywhere without her. 

The protestors are told a swarm has been detected 5 miles out and there is a lockdown. Anyone out after curfew will be arrested. Jerry and the kids join the crowd – but Shira and Roman spot them. They manage to get away and up a fire escape, but there are some tense moments until Roman finally turns away.

Negan and Carol break into one of the administrative offices to look for blueprints to the building in order to figure out where Sebastian might be hiding. Carol points out that he was in the building right before people started calling for his head. Negan blurts out that he’s married, and he’s telling Carol because Annie is out there and is carrying their child. Carol tells him its going to be ok. 

Negan and Carol are running out of places to look, when Carol looks at the map and realizes that a door is “missing.” They move a plant… and there it is. Sebastian is passed out on a mattress on the floor. Negan steps on his hand before he can grab a gun. Sebastian asks if they know who he is. And Negan shoots back – do you know who I AM? Sebastian is just too stupid to be afraid when he should be. Carol tells him to get up – there taking him back to his mother. Sebastian tells her his mother doesn’t care about him – the Commonwealth is her kid. Negan laughs at him and tells him that when he’s pissing in jars and everyone wants him dead, it’s time to re-think his options. He tells him that Carol is a goddamn magician. He’s seen her pull rabbits out of her ass! Sebastian should take her advice…

As Maggie and Daryl hide from passing storm troopers, Maggie thanks Daryl for saving her. She knows that Leah meant something to him, and she’s sorry. Daryl tells her that Glenn would have wanted him to look after her and she never has to say sorry to him. Reedus and Cohen are great in this short scene. It's clear that Daryl still - and will always - blames himself for Glenn's death. Aaron, Gabriel, and Annie join them. They take to the sewers to try to get behind the troopers. 

As they get down, Maggie checks on Annie who is a bit unsteady. Annie points them in the right direction to come up behind the troopers, but Daryl suggest that they might be able to get them to come down to them.

Rosita joins Mercer to go out and fight the swarm. 

Troopers show up in the square to break up the vigil/protest. The swarm is past the second checkpoint. Negan and Carol try to smuggle Sebastian out, but someone recognizes him and raises the alarm. Negan stays behind while Carol carries on with Sebastian. A trooper rifle-ships Negan. When the crowd finally shuts up, you can hear the swarm. They still don’t move, so the troopers let off tear gas. 

Rosita wonders how the walkers got through the outer perimeter. Mercer says it was someone not doing their job. He appreciates her coming in to help. He tells her shit is upside down. He tells her that he needs people that he can trust. She says she can help him out there – but inside, her family will always come first. He tells her that he’s got her back – even if she needs to get out at some point. So there’s how they get out! Let’s hope Mercer goes with them!

We get a great action sequence as Rosita and Mercer drive into the swarm to save some troopers who have gotten into trouble. Rosita stands in the back of the moving jeep working the big gun. Mercer refuses to give up on his men – and won’t let go of one of them even as the walkers pull the guy in two. It's a nice metaphor for Mercer being torn between Milton and what he knows is right. He'll be torn about leaving the Commonwealth with better people or staying to help the people there. I'm betting he's going to stay and take over the leadership. There are some great aerial shots for this scene, highlighting how the walkers converge to eat and them move off again.

Yumiko shows up at Pamela’s the next morning. She’s angry that her friends were teargassed – and tells Pamela it makes her look guilty. It did nothing to stop the swarm. Pamela continues to defend Sebastian and deny any knowledge of what happened. 

A guard brings Sebastian in and Pamela slaps him. Hard. She wants to know what happened. He tells her that it’s all lies. Carol pipes up and says she thinks she can help her. Pamela – foolishly – has no idea who Carol is – but that’s how Carol operates, isn’t it? She tells Pamela that she works for Hornsby and he’s out hunting her friends right now. Pamela fails to see what’s in it for her – and Pamela is always her own bottom line. Carol tells her that if Sebastian didn’t do what he’s accused of… someone did….. Clearly, she’s proposing using Hornsby as the scapegoat! LOVE IT!!!

The episode ends with Daryl’s ambush of Hornsby and his troopers, but it’s hard to tell who has the upper hand. Well, Daryl at least has a handful of Hornsby’s hair as he holds his knife to Hornsby’s throat. However, troopers seem to have guns on everyone else… You can’t say that Hamilton isn’t a team player – it looks like Reedus really has a fistful of his hair!

I thought this was a pretty good episode. Maybe it’s just in comparison to Tales of the Walking Dead, but this was definitely an improvement. Lots of great action and gore in this one. No doubt the next episode puts these stories on the back burner to focus on the characters we didn’t see in this episode – which is annoying, but their tried and over used method of ratcheting up tension and drawing out storylines. Really, they have a lot of ground to cover to wind up this series and lay the groundwork for the three spinoffs… What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

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