The Walking Dead is setting the stage for a massive fight with the Whisperers, and we’re introduced to a new group called the Highwaymen. Here’s our review of “Chokepoint”!
“Chokepoint” starts off with a look at the Whisperer camp after the herd has passed. One whipserer has been bitten and Beta comforts him in his final minutes. The whisperer tells Beta that he’ll be a guardian soon, and Beta grips his hand and says that he’ll always be one of them, too.
After he leaves the man, he appraoches another whisperer and speaks about Lydia:
“Lydia will walk with us again, or they will all walk with the guardians.”
From there, the episodes splits into snippets of action interspersed with an obscene amount of commercials.
First, we see Tara’s group which consists of Magna, Kelly, Yumiko, Earl, Tammy, and the new baby along with others from Hilltop, trying to make their way to the Kingdom. A large tree has fallen in their path, and they’re trying to remove it so they can get by. Kelly is concerned for her sister, but Miko and Magma tell her that she’s probably already at the Kingdom.
While this little diversion is happening, Ezekiel has gotten a letter from a new group of pretenders, the Highwaymen.
They are demanding a toll in order to let people pass freely to the fair. They also demand a meeting with Ezekiel, and the note tells him to bring the supplies they need as a ransom. This is when Diane suggests it must be Jed’s old Savior group, but Carol shuts that down quickly.
We all know she “Karen and David’ed” them while getting Henry to Hilltop. Is it just me or does Carol have a thing with burning people?
Carol suggests that they all go, and we see them again outside the Highwaymen’s camp. In an uncharacteristic move, Carol tells Ezekiel it would be best to talk to them first. This opens up a dialogue with Jerry and Diane, too.
“What makes you think thugs like this would listen?”
“They took my sword.”
“They could have killed you. You and your crew, but they didn’t. I mean, they sent a letter for crying out loud. A grammatically correct one, too. That sounds pretty civilized, doesn’t it?”
“With all due respect your highness, but screw their letter. It was a grammatically correct death threat, yo.”
“No, it wasn’t. It just says that visitors to the fair won’t be allowed to pass.”
“These pirates have their knives to the Kingdom’s throat. What if your wrong?”
“It has risks. We’ll talk to them, and if I’m wrong and they don’t listen, then we’ll kill them.”
In they end, the go in and ambush the Highwaymen. Their leader, Ozzy, isn’t keen on the prospect of working for the Kingdom by clearing the roads in order to access the trade fair, but Carol nabs them with the movie. They really want to see one.
Honestly, I feel like Carol read the room here. She saw a bunch a people playing dress up and figured that might be the way to their hearts. She was right.
Ozzy and his band of Highwaymen end up clearing the roads and saving Tara’s group from walkers before escorting them to the Kingdom.
Things aren’t peachy from there, though. Once they arrive at Kingdom, and Carol comes to see them, they all realize that Daryl, Connie, and Henry haven’t arrived yet, and no one knows where they are.
“Chokepoint” is the title of the episode, but it’s also the plan that Connie comes up with the lead the whisperers away from their guardian walkers. After Daryl motions for all of them to head up to an abandoned building, Lydia stops short and delivers a harsh truth:
“Alpha won’t send an army because she doesn’t have to. She’ll send Beta.”
“I’m sick of running. This Beta–he their best?”
“Good. We’ll kill him first. C’mon.”
You can tell that Lydia isn’t at all interested in helping with this, and it’s part of the conflict of their bit of the episode. She doesn’t want to fight the people who have helped raise her, but she also doesn’t want to go back to them. This allows Henry to be a white knight and offer to save her or run away with her.
Honestly, this part of the episode is so weak to me. Henry and Lydia are teenagers, and yes, this troupe of falling in insta-love is applicable to teens, but it also sells them short. I understand their both longing for something that’s their own, but it’s too rushed. It seems like they want to have us invested in their relationship emotionally to pull off a death later. It’s emotional manipulation of the audience.
In the end, Daryl breaks up their kiss and tells them it’s time for them to take watch.
While Lydia and Henry’s little conversation was happening, Daryl and Connie were planning on how to best get the Whisperers into their trap.
I love the dynamic between these two. Daryl isn’t used to someone being so forceful in their opinions, especially when it comes to the decisions he makes, but as Connie empathically underlines STAYS on paper: The girls stays, she’s leaving no room for argument. She even takes her pad of paper from him and turns her back to him so she can’t read his lips if he says something else.
This doesn’t make Daryl a pushover, and before people start saying how the show is going down because it’s predominately female-led now, just chill. Daryl Dixon is and always will be a team player, and listening to a woman doesn’t make him any less of a badass.
Later, we see Daryl on the balcony as the Whisperers and walkers arrive. Instead of shooting the big ass walker/whisperer in the middle (Beta), Daryl shoots Beta’s new friend, guardian whisperer, who turned at the beginning of the episode. This doesn’t get them off on the right foot.
Before the battle starts, Daryl locks up Lydia and Dog in a closet. Daryl says that she’ll get in the way since she doesn’t want to fight, and he says Dog will protect her if anyone gets in.
What ensues is a Die Hard-esque fight scene with knifes, axes, and slingshots. Henry gets stabbed in the leg, but Lydia and Dog break out of their closet and save him. Connie also manages to kill a whisperer in the process. With it calm on their front, we move to Daryl for the showdown we’ve all been waiting for.
“You and your people mean nothing to me. Your world is already dead. All I want is the girl.”
For me, there were a lot of similarities between Daryl and Beth in this fight scene. From when he stabs Beta like Beth stabbed Dawn with a “too-small-to-do-damage” weapon and then he knocks Beta down the elevator shaft like Beth did when she killed the cop. It’s too much for me.
After the fight, Daryl brings up the next part of the journey:
“All right. All right, we should go.”
“You figure out where we’re going yet?”
“Alexandria’s closest so we’ll stick you up there.”
“No, we can’t. If her people find out we’re there, everbody…”
“Nah, we ain’t staying. We’ll get you back on your feet, and then we’ll move on. All of us.”
“No. No, but–no, but where are we going?”
“I heard there’s a whole world out there. Come on.”
I have LOTS of thoughts on this little piece of conversation. I don’t believe Daryl will leave the show to lead the third spin-off when his presence is needed here, but I think this shows us optimism in Daryl for the first time since S4 in the funeral home. You know what happened when he felt hopeful then, right? Beth got kidnapped and then murdered in front of him.
Things aren’t looking good for Henry or Connie at this point. Lydia would make Daryl sad, but not like the loss of these two characters.
We close out “Chokepoint” with a DUH moment:
Spoiler alert: Beta isn’t dead. That kind of evil needs to be double-tapped, and shame on them for not checking the elevator shaft.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.