It's death and Daryl's (Norman Reedus) dogged search for Dog in The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 2, "Acheron: Part 2." The second half of the two-part premiere, aired August 29 on AMC and streaming now on AMC+, picks up where "Acheron: Part 1" left off: with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) literally left hanging for dear life by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the tunnels of the D.C. metro. While Maggie's team of survivors shift from "no man left behind" to "we keep going" on their urgent mission to Meridian, Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) challenges the processing process of General Mercer (Michael James Shaw) to get her group admitted into the Commonwealth.
We Keep Going
From underneath a subway car, the sounds of Maggie fending off a walker. She shoots it in the head and tries to escape by climbing up the subway car, but she's dragged down. The dead keep coming. Bang. Bang. Bang. Maggie is on her back, swarmed, buried beneath a pile of walkers. Cut to credits.
Inside the subway car, an overhead hatch opens. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) drops down and takes out lurking walkers inside. Duncan (Marcus Lewis), Alden (Callan McAuliffe), Frost (Glenn Stanton), and finally Negan drop in. Shit. His shoulders sink when he realizes Maggie didn't make it.
"She was right behind me," Negan says, omitting the fact he left her behind to die.
Walkers claw at the windows, surrounding the already claustrophobic subway car. Alden wants to go back for Maggie, but Frost stops him: "You go up there, you're dead. She'd be pissed if you tried. She'd want us to keep moving forward."
Alden and Gabriel begrudgingly accept it: they keep moving. The plan, Gabriel says, is to get a door open, then escape going from car to car until they hop off at the front of the train. "And then we just keep going."prevnext
It Comes For Us All
Daryl breaks his way through a tunnel wall with Dog. His flashlight illuminates what used to be a makeshift shelter for the homeless. A graffitied mural shows the crowned elite who end up like the rest: homeless and hungry.
Hundreds of miles away, Yumiko holds a hushed meeting with Princess (Paola Lazaro). She's convinced the Commonwealth is real after finding a message from a long-lost loved one on the photo board of missing persons called the Wall of the Lost.
They have structure, laws. "Someone here's in charge, and I'm going to speak to that person." It could mean a family reunion with the brother she assumed was dead.
Princess suspects the soldier cops know they tried to escape. A panicked Eugene reveals Ezekiel is gone. "Someone took him. Someone knows what we did!" They need to stick to the story. Princess demands to speak to the manager!
In the tunnels... Daryl finds a ziplocked bag. Inside is a worthless 100 dollar bill with a sharpied message: "Dear Dad, you always said if you don't come back in a week to move on. Mom didn't listen and went looking. It's been 3 weeks, so we're going next. I'll watch Jesse and turn on the radio everyday at 10. See you both soon. Love, Tom and Jesse." Accompanying it is a polaroid photo of two children in happier times. From the time before.
A man's scream echoes through the tunnels, and Dog runs off.prevnext
Yumiko, in lawyer-mode, assesses the Commonwealth auditors. "I was a lawyer. I like rules. They bring order to the chaos. Which means you need me," she tells them. "I have reason to believe my brother, a thoracic surgeon, is living at the Commonwealth and is looking for me. I'd like expedited processing for my group, as per your community's asylum and immigration policies."
Mercer offers Yumiko a coffee.
Back in the tunnels, Daryl crawls through the mud, filth, and slime, following Dog's barks in the distance. It's eerily silent except for the echoing growls of a walker. And it's right behind him.prevnext
Duncan and Frost force a door open. They're freed. The group of Agatha (Laurie Fortier), Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari), Cole (James Devoti), Alden, Gabriel, Duncan, Frost, and Negan can move on. They hear footsteps on the roof. No, the thumping is coming from below. It's Morse code: S.O.S.
She's alive! Maggie climbs up through a floor hatch. She stares down Negan, moves on him like prey, and whips him across the face with her gun.
"I slipped. He saw, and he left me to die."
Negan shrugs it off. He didn't try to kill her, he asserts, rebuffing Alden's accusation. "She was in trouble, and I didn't help. There is a big difference. She was just talking about murdering me, sooner rather than later, and yet somehow, I'm the big, old asshole 'cause I didn't risk my nuts for her? I have been a golden goddamn asset for every single one of you."
Agatha urges Maggie to take care of Negan and be done with it — they can get through the city without his directions. Maggie considers it. Before she can make a decision, they're interrupted: it's Gage (Jackson Pace) pounding on the door and begging for help.
He abandoned the group in "Acheron: Part 1," taking off with Roy (C. Thomas Howell) and their supplies when Negan accused Maggie of leading the group on a death march.prevnext
A Coward's Death
Gage and Roy got lost in the walker-infested tunnels, but he was able to open a door on the far end of the attached subway car. Gabriel asks, "Did you close it?"
Walkers filter in behind Gage. Negan orders Duncan to help him try and pry the door free. "We open that," Maggie says, "they'll all get in."
A door and a window is the only thing standing in the way of Gage's survival. "He's right there," Alden yells, his plea falling on deaf ears. "The hell with you."
Alden moves to bust the door open. Duncan is a fleshy wall in his way, and he's not moving. Gage begs: please let me in. He's sorry. He won't do it again. Please. No one budges.
Maggie refuses: there's not enough ammo to clear those walkers. Alden again tries to push his way through, but he's outnumbered. "I'm sorry," says Maggie. "I can't."
Gage's fear gives way to anger. "Liar." He withdraws a pair of knives. Holds them steady. And stabs himself in the heart. Gage pulls it out and sticks himself again. He's still alive when the pack of walkers, on him, grip Gage and tear him apart. Their teeth sink into Gage's warm flesh, their bony fingers ripping free his insides. Maggie's team can only watch.prevnext
What's Out There
Later. A zombified Gage thumps against the glass of the subway car. "You guys don't want to look at him. Why?" asks Alden. "Why won't you look at him?"
"All that is," says Gabriel, "is the shell of a man who died a coward." Alden argues he was scared and didn't deserve to die like that, to die "in the worst way imaginable."
Maggie says there are worse ways. "A lot worse." In the red glow of an ignited flare lighting the dark subway car, Maggie reveals what's worse:
Before I found Elijah and his people... Hershel and I were alone for a long time. One day, we came across this frail old man who was kneeling by a turned-over grocery cart. It was full of scavenged clothes he said were for his sons and daughters, and could we help him haul the cart back home? And he said he'd give us food for our trouble. I knew that he was a liar. But I was starving, and soon, Hershel would be. So we followed him back to his house. I held a knife to his throat and reached in his pocket. I pulled out the chloroform rag he was gonna use on me. I stuffed it in his mouth. And then we went inside the house, and I locked my little boy in a room, and I went and searched the house. There were these three... deformed... I wouldn't call them men. They came after me. But I handled them. And then the house was quiet, except for this thudding sound that was coming from upstairs in the attic. And I thought maybe they had people tied up there that were trying to get free. So I walked to a door at the end of this hallway. And I opened it, and I looked up, and there was a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs, there's this shadow writhing and rocking. I thought it was an animal. Then all of a sudden, it fell down the stairs, and it came right at my feet. It was a walker that used to be a woman. Her arms and her legs had been cut off, stitched up. Her eyes gouged out. No tongue. And she was wheezing through an open, cauterized gash in her throat where her vocal cords had been ripped out. And her belly was round and full. And whatever was inside of there was trying to get out. And I went upstairs, and there were three more just like her. But their hearts were still beating. And do you know the first thing I thought? The very first thing that crossed my mind? "If they're alive, there must be food here." So I took care of them. And then I found the food. Lots of it. And Hershel and I filled the cart with it, and we left.prevnext
I don't feel anything when I tell you that. Do you understand me? Because that is what's out there. And seeing it, I lost something. And I don't think it's a bad thing that I did. Because it has made things so much clearer. What we have in Alexandria, what we had in Hilltop and in Meridian... It's rare. It has to be. Compared to everything that's out there. Because if it isn't... It means we were lucky. It means that nobody has it figured out. Nobody ever did, and nobody ever will.
Daryl, Help Me
Daryl continues his long, claustrophobic crawl through the sewer. A walker behind him. Up ahead, walkers fumble the gate and close it, trapping Daryl. He fires a bolt into the head of the walker at his feet and forces his way through the gate, taking out the walkers in his way. A bloody trail. Dog barks ahead.
Roy shambles out of the darkness, alive but looking half dead. "Daryl, help me," he mumbles before collapsing. Dog attacks a walker. Daryl puts it down with a bolt and reunites with Dog. Roy is bloodied. It's bad. He lost Gage. Where's the ammo bag? He lost that, too.
Roy hands Daryl a grenade and a gun. "Tell my kids I didn't die a coward."
Inside, Duncan and Frost force open the door hinge. The door to the next car is blocked by a seat. No way out.
Gage and the walkers press against the door. It's coming down. Duncan swings a sledgehammer, but time is running out to get that door down. The only piece of metal separating the survivors from a horde of the dead collapses as Gage and other biters funnel themselves through the doorway. Gabriel puts Gage down with a shotgun blast to the head.
Daryl hears gunshots and goes running.prevnext
End of the Line
The walkers are a shooting gallery for Gabriel. The crew takes turns gunning them down, striking others with arrows to the head. Even more walkers lurch forward and are cut down. Dozens of walkers flood in from both sides.
Maggie hands Negan a gun. He takes it without a word.
At the end of the train, Negan fires through a crack in the door. Back at the other end, Agatha, Cole, Elijah, and Alden are a spartan squad of zombie killers. Daryl enters the end of the other train and sneaks up on the back of the pack. Using Roy's gun, Daryl moves through the train and executes the walkers — one step, one squeeze of the trigger, repeat — splattering the windows with rotted brain matter.
Daryl slashes his way through the rest and pries the door open, freeing Maggie's trapped survivors. Daryl force-feeds Roy's grenade to a walker, kicks it down, shoves the door — take cover! — and BOOM. Brain and guts and blood and gore explode in the preceding car.prevnext
New World Order
Eugene is left alone in a cage at the Commonwealth outpost. He's taken to Auditor Evans (Matthew Cornwell) and Mercer. "What have you done with my traveling companions?" asks a trembling Eugene. He's told they're "being processed."
Eugene is a sweaty mess of nerves. Mercer tells him, "You can't lie for shit. So don't lie." The intimidating Mercer wants the truth to two questions: Where is your settlement? And why were you at that train station?
He tells the truth: he embarked on that rail yard rendezvous to meet Stephanie.
Later, in the daylight, a wagon transports a hooded Eugene to a train car. The hood is removed. The door slides open. And… he's greeted by his friends. Alive and well and smiling. Enter Mercer. A secretary hands him a piece of paper.
"Pursuant to Section 114A of the New Articles of Perpetual Union, in deference to traditions established by Article 1, Section 8 of the Legacy Constitution and Article 14 of the Legacy UDHR, you have successfully completed initial processing in consideration for asylum and citizenship in these united townships. When you walk through these doors, you'll be escorted to orientation. By a beat cop. Welcome to the Commonwealth."
Mercer pounds the door. Enter a woman (Chelle Ramos), shy with glasses, who peeps up: "Um... which one of you is Eugene?" Said requested person raises his hand.
"Hi," the woman says. "I'm Stephanie."prevnext
Maggie's team regroups at the exit of the subway tunnels. Daryl studies the hundred. Negan hands over his gun back to Maggie. He grips it a little longer before giving it up.
Before they continue on to Meridian, they're making a detour to Arbor Hills.
"Hidden supply depot. Georgie set 'em up all over, in case we ran into any trouble when we were out looking for survivors," Maggie says of the old friend (Jayne Atkinson) she last saw somewhere near Knoxville, Tennessee. "It has ammo, food, weapons. Rest up there, restock, and then head to Meridian. Radio tower marks that neighborhood."
Maggie asks Negan if he knows the way. He does, and they're off.
Back on the road, the road-weary travelers are stopped in their tracks by a horrific sight: dozens of bodies strung up by their ankles and hanging from roadside trees. "Well, this place sure has gone to shit since the last time I was here," says Negan. "Let's double back and cut through —"
Before he can finish the sentence, a bolt strikes Roy in the face. A bladed weapon is flung from the darkness, striking Cole in the thigh. Daryl, Maggie, and the rest flee for cover behind an abandoned vehicle as bolts and other projectiles come flying out of the darkness.0comments
They're on the hunt: fear the Reapers. End of episode.prev