Well, “On the Inside” sure was something. I wasn’t expecting The Walking Dead to go all People Under the Stairs, with a little Zero Dark Daryl thrown in for good measure. Still, here we are with a tightly paced and quite suspenseful episode. This week’s show operates in a happy middle, compared to the last couple of episodes. There are two main storylines and one smaller plot, which is really just a means to an end. Connie and Virgil have the most intriguing tale, as they encounter a strange sort of haunted house. The Daryl factor is good enough too, as it gets us more in the weeds with a threat that could use more definition. It all makes for a solid outing with plenty of focus.
Last week we had a heads up on Connie’s situation, based on the word of a Whisperer. This week has Connie and Virgil on the run. How Kelly was able to track them that specifically is beyond me, but hey, at least there was a proper endpoint for all of this. Anyway, watching Connie and Virgil barely make it into this house works so well after the fact, as they were only let in because of the people inside.
I actually like all of this more because of how little sense it makes when you think about it. We don’t have a lot to understand about the feral men and women occupying the house, but they apparently wanted to mess with Connie and Virgil before taking any action. Why? Were they going to eat them or just kill them? Maybe they just wanted something to play with to pass the time. I don’t know, but soon enough, all hell breaks loose for Virgil and Connie.
The build-up to it was nice. We get to spend some time alone with a deaf character who clearly needs rest, but given Connie’s absence from this show (I’m assuming Lauren Ridloff was busy during season 10, given her role in Marvel’s Eternals), it’s a nice amount of build-up to actual horror. The first sight of an eye through the wall is jarring. The full reveal of people crawling around the floors – disturbing to some degree. I’ve seen this stuff before, but it’s a fun horror swing for The Walking Dead, and the string-heavy score really does the job to add to it.
Plus, the show doesn’t forget to figure out more to do with this scenario. Thanks to having two different perspectives, the sound cuts out during scenes only from Connie’s perspective, which was a great way to build more suspense. On the Virgil side, seeing him nearly stab Connie in the face was another strong bit of tension, amplified by the “misunderstanding” element. It all comes to a close rather nicely with the use of guts coming in handy. For a comic book series, this is the sort of one-off concept that more of these episodes could have used during the main run, and not just the final season.
Meanwhile, Daryl is digging in the Reapers, even if he’s still just stalling until he finds a solution. Frost is getting tortured, so Daryl has to go along with that too. That said, there’s never a moment where we’re not aware of what Daryl is up to. He gives all the signals he can, even if he still has to cut off a finger to believably get answers that satisfy Pope and the others. What follows is a lot of macho talk between Daryl and Carver, a guy who can’t buy into the fact that Daryl has crossed over.
Should he? I guess, given how Daryl was there for maybe a day or two before his “birth through fire.” Regardless, Carver, Leah, and Daryl tough it out together as they make their way to Maggie’s satellite spot. Fortunately, Daryl gives plenty of notice for his people to hide. However, we don’t get much after that, as it’s primarily just worried faces and arguments shared between Daryl and Carver over the options of staying or leaving.
By the end of it, Maggie, Negan, and the others manage to sneak away with some additional knowledge of the Reaper’s current status, thanks to some clever talk from Daryl. Once the Reapers make it back to home base, Pope has killed Frost (and turned him into a walker) after getting some additional information. What’s Pope’s goal right now? Seemingly just to get into Daryl’s head, whether he still doesn’t trust him or just wants to have more of a connection. Whatever the case, Daryl knows a deadly confrontation will be occurring sooner than later.
Kelly spends this episode riding to find her sister. She falls into some mud because she’s trying to rush the horse, and that’s when Carol, Magna, and Rosita come to aid her. It’s an excellent way to shine some light on the fact that this is an ensemble show (the same can be said for the wordless appearance from Maggie and her people this week). That said, Kelly does find Connie, and it’s a nice reunion, as we can get something positive going for Alexandria.
So yes, good stuff here. It’s a horror-filled episode for a change, with a lot of good uses of tension. Plus, there’s a nice amount of character work going on without slowing down the show’s momentum. Yes, we took a break from the Commonwealth, but that hasn’t left us stranded, as this show has plenty of characters to track. I can only hope there are more solid outings that take a bit of a different path coming during the rest of this final season.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: If anything, the walkers get the win this week, but taking out the one in the beginning certainly came in handy for the climax.
- When the walkers were swarming Connie and Virgil at the beginning, I said to myself, “Cause it’s a Thriller!”
- “Well, don’t you look delightful.” – Connie has jokes.
- Do those feral people like…talk about things when others aren’t around?
- “This was a success.” – Pope being happy is not a good thing.
- 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.