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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

[RECAP] Season 9, Episode 11 of The Walking Dead, "Bounty"

Episode 11 of season 9 of The Walking Dead entitled "Bounty" deals with the bounty that two groups are concurrently trying to obtain: King Ezekiel & his merry men trying to obtain elk and a projector bulb for their upcoming fair and Alpha & the Whisperers trying to reclaim Lydia (Alpha's daughter) in a tense hostage negotiation with Daryl and the Hilltop.  All in all, there were some tense moments that were in sharp contrast to some of the silly whimsical moments that seem to surround anything King Ezekiel does but even with their group, there were definitely some close calls.

We start the episode with a slightly surprising flashback that we can identify it's point in the past by Carol's shoulder length hair and the appearance of Jesus and Tara meeting members of the Kingdom at a specific meeting point to do an exchange of medicine needed.  Jesus also brings to Ezekiel the Charter that Michonne had drafted to be signed by representatives from each of the communities (including the now defunct Sanctuary and Oceanside communities).  In present day, we see Ezekiel still reviewing this Charter, deep in his thoughts but determined to venture out with his team on their mission.

And what is the mission?  The mission WAS supposed to be just elk for the feast at the fair but Carol comes to find out that beyond elk, King Ezekiel has another target in mind: A projector bulb.  Apparently, the current projector bulb at the Kingdom has burnt out and Ezekiel has his heart set on sharing movies with everyone, especially the younger children, who many don't even know what a movie is.  What a thought right?  But bearing in mind that here ARE children born during the apocalypse (Judith and Gracie, for example) that have never seen a TV show, a movie, etc., that WOULD be a significant moment for them.  For that reason, Carol allows it and they enter a movie theater of horrors where they make their way to the projector room to get the desired bulb.  After some mishap with the movie walkers (and dropping the bulb among the general audience seating), the group manages to come out of the theater unscathed and with the elk, the projector bulb and a poster box for the Charter to be preserved.  So all is good...except for an ominous symbol on a random street sign.  WTF?

In the meantime, at the Hilltop, we come back to exactly where we left off in the last episode: With Alpha and the Whisperers at the gate.  Alpha is very clear about how they will NOT be looking for retribution for intruding on their land, for killing some of their men, etc.  BUT, if Lydia is not returned to them, there WILL be conflict (in Alpha's words).  In an attempt to call her bluff, Daryl states that they can't have her to which Alpha retorts "WRONG ANSWER".  At her signal, additional Whisperers come out, including two that are holding another two at knife point.  Daryl comes down from his post to meet Alpha face to face at the gate himself, trying to further flaunt how they are not threatened by their presence.  There is the faint sound of a baby crying and as he looks up he is unnerved to see a masked Whisperer woman with a baby in a sling.  He is shocked that they would bring a baby out into this potential volatile situation.  Alpha, completely calm, indicates that they are no different than a pack of animals and animals do have babies after all.  She continues on that what she is proposing is a trade: Two of the Hilltop's men for one of hers.  It's at that point that Daryl sees that Luke and Alden have been unmasked and revealed as Alpha's hostage bargaining chips.  All the while, Connie is still hiding in the corn fields and we see that Luke sees her and is signaling sign language behind his back to keep her informed on what's going on.  She remains hidden in the fields, watching.

Now that the stakes have been raised, Daryl immediately goes back in to grab Lydia and conduct the trade...only Lydia is nowhere to be found.  Henry realized that Lydia was likely going to be given back to her mother by Daryl and took it upon himself to whisk her away to the teenage post apocalyptic hang out spot.  Enid and Addy (one of the teenage girls) immediately realize this and go off to find them.

In the meantime, some of the Whisperers are keeping incoming walkers at bay but the baby has not stopped crying.  We see the Whisperer "mom" trying desperately to calm the baby down and lull it to a sense of security and calmness, to no avail.  She finally looks up at Alpha, with an urgency and fear in her eyes, to which Alpha simply shrugs.  The Whisperer "mom" knows what this means and she sadly but calmly removes the sling with the baby in it and softly places it on the floor...and begins to walk away.  Shockingly and sadly leaving it behind for the walkers.  Alpha stares at the woman and comments that it's all natural selection and if the mother cannot quiet the child, the dead will.  Luke and Alden immediately indicate to the Hilltop that there's a baby in the field, prompting the group to start banging on the walls to try and distract the walkers from the baby.  To say that everyone's heart rate went through the roof here would be an understatement. 

Fortunately, Luke signs to Connie that there's a baby in the field.  Connie very stealthy runs out of hiding, takes down a couple of walkers with her slingshot and grabs the baby in the sling.  She runs back into the cornfield and in a truly mesmerizing piece of direction, we see Connie with the baby moving in slow motion through the cornfields and the only sound we hear is the muffled far away sounds of the walkers and baby crying, which we are to understand that this is all that Connie can hear.  Somehow, she is able to keep the walkers that appear from the field at bay but thankfully, she is rescued just in time by Daryl, Tammy and other Hilltop residents who lead her and the baby to safety.

At the same time, Enid and Addy do indeed track down Henry and Lydia.  As much as Enid tries to convince Henry on how they have no choice but to return Lydia to her mother, Henry is fully resistant to the idea of this.  Lydia, however, doesn't give him a choice and comes out of the house, willingly volunteering to go back, for the good of all and because Alpha is, after all, her mother and if she came back for her, doesn't that mean she really does care?  Eh, not so sure about that logic but okay.

Upon her return, Daryl escorts Lydia out to do the formal prisoner exchange with Alpha, who, true to her word, returns Luke and Alden unharmed.  Lydia approaches Alpha and thanks her mom for coming to get her.  At this, Alpha immediately slaps Lydia across the face as hard as possible.  She then holds her and tells her to call her Alpha, just like everyone else.  Lydia immediately apologizes and obliges, as they and the rest of the Whisperers retreat and walk away.

Later on we see that Henry cannot get Lydia out of his mind (teenager) and decides to go off and find her...and save her?  Okay.  Daryl gets wind of this via a note left that was found by Addy and is off to go and save his stupid teenage self.  Connie, however, stops him and insists on joining him.  So off they go, Daryl, Connie and dog to track down Henry and bring him back to safety before he gets himself killed...and/or anyone else.

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