13th Mar2018

‘The Walking Dead 8×11: Dead or Alive Or’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


The Walking Dead over the past few weeks has been dealing with how people deal with loss. This week though, it is back to life trying to survive. With reality of the situation starting to set in though, and vengeance still on some people’s minds, will Carl’s wishes ever come true?

This week Daryl (Norman Reedus) finds himself having to take a risky route to get to the Hilltop. This is further complicated by Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) need for revenge on Dwight (Austin Amello) who puts himself in danger to help the group get to safety. At the Hilltop, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) finds herself having to make tough choices to manage the growing number turning up at the gates.

Tara has become an annoying character, and this week I’ll admit I feared the worst. For most of the episode she did live up to my expectations with her need for vengeance leading her to make the same mistakes as she has made for most of season eight. Thankfully though, her view on Dwight may have changed when she saw the sacrifice that Dwight made to save the group.

Dwight has taken yet another risk to try to repay for the things that he has done in the past. Thankfully, this yet again may have put him in a position to let Rick (Andrew Lincoln) know of Negan’s latest plan which is revealed at the end of the episode. It is surprising that it has taken him this long to think up this way of using the zombies as a weapon, but I’m sure fans of gore will love the potential that it brings.

This weapon of course was proposed by Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and while I’ve been fairly negative about his actions in season eight, I have to admit that I’m pitying him this week. Using wine to dull down his emotions and just living the life he feels he needs to, to survive, his reunion with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) confirms to him that he made the right choice. It was nice to see him taking Gabriel under his wing though who has gone through quite a test of his faith.

What I liked about this episode is that it was story heavy, and more interestingly was a moving around of the human map of The Walking Dead. While there is of course the map of the locations featured in the show, what is more important is where the different groups and their members are. Rick’s group are moving to the Hilltop, and Negan’s group have reconsolidated in his compound and a new area for Eugene to make ammunition.

The number of people in these locations has changed, as has the strength. With Maggie having to deal with lack of food for the people of the Hilltop, the fact more and more people are turning up there raises the question of how will they cope? The fact that Negan will learn that the Hilltop is against him also gives him a target for attack.

There is no doubt that the second phase of the war is coming, and this more than likely will culminate in a big battle to end it all. What is being ignored now though is Carl’s wishes. Will we see some big event happen that will push Negan and Rick together? Will the Whisperers be the ones to do it? While there may be whispers of their coming, I get the feeling Rick and Negan’s battle will still be the main focus to the end of the season.

For people who haven’t been fans of season eight, this may be the type of episode they wanted to see return. Less about big fight set pieces and more about the human level drama, there is a good balance of fighting both the dead and the living. This is what The Walking Dead is strong at and will hopefully stick to. Though I will admit to being a fan of all-out war which we saw in the earlier episodes of the show.

***** 5/5

The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Fox TV, Mondays at 9pm.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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