TV Review: The Walking Dead, 11×12, “The Lucky Ones”

Aaron Neuwirth reviews The Walking Dead season 11 episode 12, "The Lucky Ones," in which Pamela takes a tour around the outside colonies.

I enjoyed the bold movie taken by The Walking Dead to skip past a more familiar introduction of our heroes to the Commonwealth. That said, I expected some sort of flashback to justify why some did and didn’t head into the sprawling post-apocalyptic metropolis. “The Lucky Ones” feels like an episode to help the viewers play catch up. Rather than go back in time, this week focuses on Lance and Pamela’s attempts to woo over the remaining communities connected to Alexandria. However, Maggie’s trust issues continue to play a role.

It’s curious to see this episode come now, as I’ve spoken to how the show has done nothing to hide a certain level of corruption sitting underneath the Commonwealth. Granted, we don’t really know the full extent of what may be wrong with the city. For all we know, Lance really does work for the greater good, and Pamela is a terrific leader who simply has to act as a politician to get things done. However, by letting us see Maggie’s reaction now, regardless of how much everyone else may want her to link up with the Commonwealth, it’s hard not to see her side of this and root for her making seemingly the right choice.

Now, we’ve already gotten a hint of what’s to come, given the flashforward with the surprise Daryl reveal, but we also don’t know what that’s about as of yet. We also have to wonder what the ultimate gain is. For Lance, is it just about power? Will having oversight over more communities give him something he craves? Hilltop is not exactly rich with resources, but having allies is a nice thing. Having people to control, well, maybe that means more.

While we are not given specific details of an endgame, it was nice to see Maggie and Aaron interacting with the Commonwealth people and Daryl. A number of strong enough dialogue scenes gave strength to these characters, particularly Pamela and Lance, who I think are being handled quite well. The fact is, Pamela does need to act like a politician. Whether that means seeming duplicitous or in favor of doing what she can to save face, she feels human. On the other hand, Lance feels less human but in a good way. He’s an oddball that I’m hoping the show knows how to capitalize on when whatever big moment in-store comes his way.

Elsewhere in this episode, Ezekiel learns that he’s been shot to the top of the surgery list and is in disbelief. It takes him no time to realize Carol is behind this, which makes for an interesting level of drama. Sure, he “cheated,” but Carol’s not wrong about knowing how to game the system. If she had to, Pamela would certainly help her son first, so why not do what’s needed so Ezekiel can continue to live. He may have thought he found a certain peace in knowing his time was up, but we’re about to see what comes next from a possible new lease on life.

Then there’s Eugene, the spotlight of last week’s episode. Yes, this week opens on Max explaining her side of the radio story, but I have to say, looking at all of this – it’s pretty silly. This whole deal that involves Eugene discovering a secret conspiracy and now being shamed for believing someone who posed as the woman he thought he was talking to. I don’t know; it’s just a weird side story as of now. Perhaps having a certain level of lightness coming through with this is a nice way to break up what’s happening on the rest of the show. However, it’s still rooted in a conspiracy theory that Eugene was actually right about.

As stated, this episode’s primary focus is to add some perspective for all the major players. I’m never against episodes that are light on action, even if this week does find the gang, and Mercer, taking down a small horde. Ideally, the benefit is watching presumably smart people have discussions that matter. Sometimes having too much of a focus on the plot detracts what we can get out of these actors, but “The Lucky Ones” wisely finds ways to add more nuance to these interactions.

It’s why I can buy into the efforts made by everyone to try and persuade Maggie, while still understanding that she is not into all of this. Yes, I’m sure trade negotiations always give off a certain vibe to those less interested in the politics of The Walking Dead, but I do think it helps to have a certain level of context to better flesh out where things will go in the long run. Again, already having a bit of suspicious weight on the Commonwealth is not my favorite thing about this dynamic overall, but the work is still being done to have me curious about what’s next.

For now, we just have to role with creepy Lance’s plan to remake the world, whatever that may fully entail.

Dead Bits:

  • Among the many people to first support me writing about this series was a great man named Jim Dietz, who was a co-host on the Walking Dead TV Podcast. He passed away last week, and he will be deeply missed.
  • Zombie Kill of the Week: I’ll go with Pamela Milton, showing she’s not messing around when it comes to blowing up a walker’s head with her shotgun.
  • Max’s flashback story is shot so warmly. These nerds were made for each other.
  • “Didn’t matter.” – What Daryl used to do before the world fell. What did he do?
  • Nice to see Oceanside again, but once again, they are not there for long and don’t plan to be for now.
  • “Had a lucky rabbit’s foot once. The dog brought it home with the rabbit still attached to it.” – Maggie’s got farm jokes.
  • Mercer is maybe the smartest guy around as far as understanding what you can and can’t do for the sake of appearances.
  • I’m not exactly missing Judith, but the fact that she sent over lollipops for Hershel, okay, that’s sweet.
  • Lance just casually shooting zombies to let off some stress – this guy is such a weirdo.
  • 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 African American Film Critics Association, 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 Variety, We Live Entertainment, Why So Blu, The Young Folks, Firstshowing.net, Screen Rant, and Hi-Def Ninja.

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