TV Review: The Walking Dead, 11×3, “Hunted”

Well, it would appear Maggie’s crew turned about to be a bunch of red-shirts after all. They were good enough to help with fending off walkers in the subway but proved to be no match for the Reapers. Even Alden seems worse for wear by the end of this episode, “Hunted.” Of course, The Walking Dead is less about reflecting on these deaths this week (Maggie seems more preoccupied with getting supplies and curing Negan) and more focused on some personal conflicts that need to be sorted out.

This episode is actually pretty light on its feet in terms of plot. On the one side, you have Maggie and the crew trying to outlast the Reapers. Meanwhile, Carol is shirking her chores to finds some horses. And that’s it in terms of story. Yes, the characters are all dealing with something, but without the Commonwealth, this is really just a chase episode, with some sad Carol looks on the side. Does that make it bad? Not really. The Walking Dead tends to benefit from scaling things down, plus there’s a good reminder of the threat the Reapers pose.

Who are these Predator-inspired hunters, though? Still not too sure. They wear masks, go for the kill with no mercy, and have a flair for theatrics. Are they part of Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Shadows? Unlikely. However, we do get something out of one of them. The unkillable Gabriel doesn’t take kindly to taking a hit at the neck, so when he comes across a mortally wounded Reaper, I was curious about the next step.

The Reaper asks the good father to pray for him. Gabriel refuses, claiming God has left and rewarded the dying foe with a death blow to the cranium. Given his actions in what was pretty much the best of what those bonus season 10 episodes had to offer, that’s not an entirely surprising move, but I do wonder what’s coming for our disillusioned holy man.

So, are the Reapers guided by their belief in a higher power? If so, I hope the Church Alden is shacked up in is not on their radar. The build toward this final location, however, is a difficult one as well. Most of the episode focuses on Maggie (Daryl takes off to do Daryl/Dog stuff), and we have to deal with her putting the mission above everything yet helping where she can. Following a couple of solo scrapes, she can join up with Alden, Negan, and Agatha (big man Duncan was around too but given a mercy killing).

An ambush leads to Alden taking in a couple of heavy wounds to the abdomen. Much of this portion of the episode then focuses on moving forward with their wounded compatriot in tow. That’s a good excuse as any to have the pragmatic and dickish Negan battle wits with a hardened but still compassionate Maggie. The thing is, and Maggie knows this, Negan is still correct. Given how these Reapers act, carrying a wounded man along is doing them no favors. However, Maggie is so consumed by hating Negan and thinking of Alexandria that her default feelings toward helping others is only going so far.

As this appears to be the main arc of this first portion of the season, I’m not against this. Perhaps we were speaking too soon last week when thinking Maggie and Negan were developing a shared understanding about each other. The show kind of pushed that notion, only to backtrack this week with a lot more scorn in mind from Maggie’s side. With that said, the writing of these characters is in fine form. There’s a lot to play off between these two, which will seemingly be very important next week, as it’s just the two of them traveling together.

Less successful is the Carol storyline. A lot of that comes from how much is being left for us to fill in. I can understand Carol feeling guilty (it happens a lot), but to what avail? She is ditching work that needs to be done for horses? Okay, what will that bring? The show is seemingly trying to say she’s made the right decision, as she can find horses with the help of Magna and Kelly. It also goes a step further by not only having animals that can help carry loads of supplies and food but a food source too.

Alexandria is struggling. I understand that. A horse can provide a lot of meat, which is certainly needed at this time. Did Carol just save everyone? For the time being, yes. Did the way this story was handled provide any insight or intrigue? Hard to say. I can appreciate ambiguity without the show having much of a side to come down on, but it feels more like passing the time with this side of the story. It’s a bit of a shame too, given the intensity that comes from focusing on our action group trying to survive under heavy stakes.

“Hunted” is still a decent enough episode. It does just sort of end, which didn’t feel off but left a lot of room for more to happen. Of course, with a storyline seemingly focused on a consistent timeline, the urgency keeps me wanting to come back for more. I guess I just hope I can find more meaning in each aspect of the stories being told. I’m all for Carol’s altruism, but getting more than just looks and moments of frustration can add as much as seeing Negan wielding a bloody crowbar.

Dead Bits:

  • Zombie Kill of the Week: Maggie deals with a walker by pushing it down a corridor of stairs. #Splat
  • Seriously, Carol could have helped lift that damn wall.
  • Judith and Lil’ Hershel talk about death while playing cards. Kids today!
  • Did Elijah die too? The Reapers seemingly took his weapons, but are we done with our favorite masked avenger?
  • “Really, so we’re just gonna go toward the screaming?” – Negan making points.
  • “God isn’t here anymore.” – Does Gabriel get a spin-off at some point? #FatherDeath
  • We see a tied-up burned walker labeled Judas this week. Yeah…these Reapers are serious.
  • Negan carrying Maggie off once Agatha gets bit is a great moment as far as visual storytelling.
  • Were there some looks going on between Magna, Carol, and Kelly? Specifically, with Magna, who is, I guess, alone and needs more comfort these days…
  • Thanks for reading, and feel free to hear what me and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on The Walking Dead TV Podcast.

Written by
Aaron Neuwirth is a movie fanatic and Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic from Orange County, California. He’s a member of the Hollywood Critics Association, the Online Film Critics Society, and the Black Film Critics Circle. As an outgoing person who is always thrilled to discuss movies, he’s also a podcaster who has put far too many hours into published audio content associated with film and television. His work has been published at We Live Entertainment, Why So Blu, The Young Folks, Screen Rant, and Hi-Def Ninja.

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