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: Hilltop is smothered, covered, and lit on fire.
Season 10, Episode 11: “Morning Star”
Best crossover: Did anyone else think Negan’s walker mask looked like the Joker?
Second best crossover: If it weren’t for Game of Thrones, do you think we would have heard the phrase “bend the knee” during this episode?
Worst battle strategy: The electric fence. Sure, it was cool and took down a few walkers, but it only lasted about 30 seconds before being overrun. Not worth the effort.
Best battle strategy: Just as Hilltop’s forces moved their phalanx to engage the walkers, we thought that after eight or so years of zombie apocalypse they’d have prepared some incendiary weapons. Then Alpha launched her firebombs. Glad to see at least someone was paying attention.
Survival tip: Yes, pine sap really is that flammable. You can even make a lamp out of it.
Best lie detector: Rosita knew that Eugene’s feelings for Stephanie were so strong that he wouldn’t actually kiss her when she offered, despite Rosita being his biggest crush for so long. It’s nice to see these two managed to survive the awkwardness of unrequited love to become, as Eugene put it, BFFs again.
Most realistic: Ezekiel noting to Carol that if they continued to sit in the woods, the mosquitoes would eat them alive. How have we gone this long without ever mentioning the presence of these nuisance bugs?
Beat radio callsign: Judith calls out for Daito (大刀) over the walkie-talkie. That’s Japanese for a long sword, easily a reference for Michonne and her iconic weapon.
Best insight from living in Atlanta: And if you’re wondering how Judith learned any Japanese, we can assume it came from Michonne. From past episodes, we know that before the apocalypse, Michonne lived in Atlanta—Midtown, to be specific. And if you’re wondering where she might have learned the language, GPB had a little program in the late ’90s called Irasshai, taught by Dr. Tim Cook.
Most out of place: Negan’s crisp leather jacket doesn’t exactly make him blend in among the other Whisperers and walkers. While the others can blend in rather seamlessly, he just looks like a guy in a mask.
Most adorable: Little R.J. sporting Rick’s hat and Daryl’s vest. Aww.
Long way for a first date: Stephanie finally agreed to meet Eugene face-to-face in Charleston, West Virginia. According to Google, that’s a 340-mile, nearly six-hour trek by car, so he is in for quite the journey to see this girl.
Most endangered: This episode was filled with sentimental moments, reconciliations, and an abundance of feels. And whenever that happens, someone ends up dead. So Daryl, Carol, Ezekiel, Eugene, and Rosita had really better watch out.
Carol: “You should hate me.”
Lydia: “It’s hard to hate you when you seem to hate yourself so much.”
Most disturbing image: The horde of rats running toward Hilltop. Sure, in the world of the show, that’s probably nothing, but if we see one rat in the MARTA station, we’re flustered. We’d rather face the walkers.
Best kill: The whole slow-motion battle scene. It’s hard to pick out one take-down, so we’re going to divide it equally among the citizens of Hilltop who got a hero shot during the opening wave of this fight.
Episode MVP: The aforementioned endangered crew: Daryl, Carol, Ezekiel, Eugene, and Rosita. Most of these characters have been around for several seasons now and all are carrying strong emotional subplots. They also all have something to lose. Knowing this show’s track record, at least one of them isn’t going to make it through season 10 alive, so let’s enjoy watching them while we can.