Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: Battleship Potemkin, High Noon, and Mommy Dearest.
Season 9, Episode 11: “Bounty”
Best editing: This week’s episode employed both a lack of sound to bring us into Connie’s deaf headspace and excellent use of music paired to the visuals during the movie theater fight. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen something like this on The Walking Dead, and it was sorely missed.
Most timely: We’re not sure if it was intentional, but it seemed entirely fitting that this episode—which aired up against the live Oscars telecast—involved a B-plot where Ezekiel, Carol, and Jerry swiped a projector bulb from an abandoned movie theater in order to bring the joy of cinema to their friends and family.
Best playlist: Mission-Mix
Biggest weak spot: Now that the Whisperers are aware there’s a secret entrance into the Hilltop, the community is a prime candidate for a “hit-and-fade” attack.
Biggest question about movie night: Is it in poor taste to screen Night of the Living Dead?
Most foolish plan: Did Ezekiel really think he could convince Carol to go home by telling her that he was just going on a super-quick side quest she’d in no way be interested in? Did he really expect her not to keep questioning him? How long have these two been married?
Wikipedia fact: Yes, the oil from your fingers really can cause a projector bulb to explode.
Biggest displays of character growth: This episode took an opportunity to dig deeper into the time jump and show how some of our longtime heroes have evolved in the past six years. When trying to convince Henry to surrender Lydia to Alpha, Enid mentions her old “JSS” catchphrase, noting that Carl’s goodbye letter had taught her the value of coping with hard decisions. Meanwhile, normally no-nonsense Carol is the one who decides to go after the lost projector bulb, even though it involved a lot of danger for a seemingly frivolous reward.
Worst omen: Ezekiel, in his infinite wisdom, decides to utter the phrase, “Maybe we’re done losing for now.” Seriously? On this show? He had to know what that means. (Hint: Someone usually ends up dead.)
Strongest power dynamic: If Alpha wasn’t supposed to come back for Lydia and yet she still did, why do her followers blindly follow her rules? Why was that mother so ready to abandon her baby to certain death—a death that would have been avoided if Alpha hadn’t of put the group at risk to rescue her own daughter? Perhaps they’re all as brainwashed as Lydia?
Most cryptic: “I know what you did to help [Alexandria] when things got bad there,” Henry argues with Daryl as he struggles to cope with surrendering Lydia. “No, no you don’t. Not really,” Daryl defends. We’ve barely gotten any more clues as to what the heck happened at Alexandria that both physically and mentally scarred our heroes, and every no-information nod is agonizing. What happened?
Best line: “You call me Alpha, like all the rest.” —Alpha to Lydia when she calls her “Momma”
Most disturbing image: The Whispers’ acceptance of leaving a crying baby alone to be eaten by walkers. Everyone, include the child’s mother, was 100 percent okay with this.
Best kill: Connie’s stab-a-thon in the woods as she rushed the abandoned Whisperer baby (and herself) to safety. The muted audio made the sudden walker jumps much more terrifying, yet there’s never a doubt that Connie is a skilled fighter who can successfully navigate the attack.
Episode MVP: This show needs more Jerry. Particularly since Eugene’s story has repeatedly taken a turn for the tragic, Jerry has become the much-needed comic relief in a dark show. Throwing out goofy phrases like, “It’s movie time!” and “fragile for reals,” Jerry has yet to be beaten down by the horrors he’s witnessed. He’s just fun to watch.