[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 3, “Hunted.”]
If you thought things were bad for Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and friends in the subway tunnels…they’re even worse above ground. Elsewhere, Carol (Melissa McBride), Kelly (Angel Theory), Magna (Nadia Hilker), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) go on a mission to bring back some horses.
Having run into the Reapers, everyone splits up to survive. Some do and some don’t—Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), for example, is left with a weapon lodged in his leg—but Maggie is determined to keep going and make it to the supply depot Georgie told her about. This does not go well. She makes it there, but she’s pursued by the Reapers the whole way; she and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) briefly reunite before he’s dealt a few slashes to the abdomen by a Reaper. The baddie nearly kills Maggie, too, but she gets the upper hand.
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) also wanders in, so their group is up to three, and another of Maggie’s people finds them, so for a time, they’re a pack of four. That’s short-lived, however, as they stumble upon a charred walker tied to a tree with a sign posted above it that reads “Judas.” (The Reapers are truly unpleasant, aren’t they?) Despite Negan’s warnings, Maggie says they’ll press on, and that leads them directly to a pack of walkers. The horde overwhelms Maggie’s group member, so given that the other members of her team are either dead or presumed dead and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Father Gabriel are, as far as they know, missing, in the end it’s only Negan, Maggie and Alden.
In the aftermath of all her losses, Maggie is left rattled. She insists to Negan that Alden needs rest, so they take shelter in an abandoned church. There, Alden tells Maggie she needs to leave him behind because he’s slowing her down. At first, she won’t have it. But Alden maintains that her mission is Alexandria’s best hope, and slowly he changes her mind. She and Negan leave him with some provisions and a knife, and she tells him as she goes, “You’d better be here when I get back.” His answer? “You’d better come back.” Then it’s just Negan and Maggie, which is probably the worst possible combination for a successful mission.
In Alexandria, Carol and friends are attempting to round up a pack of escaped horses. This is not easily done. While they work, Rosita tells Carol about a frightening dream she’s been having about Abraham (Michael Cudlitz): He says he needs to tell her something important she’s supposed to do, but he always dies before he can. It’s just one sign that despite a sunny sequence with the horses running majestically in a golden glow, not all is well—even when they do manage to get a few of the creatures back to the community. (The rest were laying dismembered by the river, likely the work of the Reapers.) Carol is forced to kill one of the beautiful animals for food, which explains her desperation to find them—and puts the hopelessness of Alexandria’s situation front and center.
Once they get back, Magna confronts Carol about her friendship with Kelly. She wants Carol to stop going outside the walls with her friend—it’s implied they’re looking for Connie (Lauren Ridloff)—and instead to let Kelly accept that her sister is gone and allow her to heal. Carol seems disinclined to give in to that request; later, she and Kelly go out looking again as Magna watches, displeased. We, of course, know that Connie survived. But how long will Kelly and the rest of Connie’s family have to wait to find out?
- I wasn’t the biggest fan of this episode. After the first two leaned heavily into the “horror” aspects of the show and offered an engrossing setting, this story felt like a few steps back. Watching Maggie wander around was boring rather than intense—how did that walker just sneak up on her?—and I’d guessed the people from her community were redshirts from the moment they arrived on-screen.
- Maggie telling Negan they lost everything because of him is pretty bold, considering how she’s been behaving. Yes, Negan caused his fair share of chaos and heartbreak and that shouldn’t be forgotten—but he did also step up and get rid of Alpha (Samantha Morton). I like Maggie, but she has put everyone’s lives at risk and has now recklessly lost nearly her whole team. And she still won’t turn around.
- I’m 50/50 on whether Alden survives. On one hand, baby Adam really shouldn’t lose another parent; poor kid has already lost four (Gamma’s sister, Gamma, and Tammy and Earl)! But Alden is pretty badly injured, and I could see TWD going for maximum agony by having Maggie get back to the church only to find Alden as a walker.
- Best part of the episode: Father Gabriel’s refusal to pray for a dying Reaper. “God isn’t here anymore,” he snarls to the dude, just before he kills him.
- Rating: 2.5/5. The storyline with the horses paled in comparison to anything with Maggie and Negan, and the scenes with the kids playing games were sweet but ultimately unnecessary. The Walking Dead has 21 episodes left to conclude its story, but this one felt like it was stalling for time.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC