The Walking Dead descends into the underworld when the survivors trek into zombie-filled subway tunnels in the two-part Season 11A premiere, "Acheron: Part I" and "Acheron: Part II." AMC Networks on Thursday revealed titles of the first eight episodes of Season 11, hinting at the return of the Reapers hunting Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and the Wardens: her road-weary group of zombie apocalypse survivors seeking shelter at Alexandria. But the walled-off community is overcrowded, underfed, and now struggling to survive in the wake of the Whisperer War that left the Hilltop colony in ashes and Alexandria in ruins.
Released Thursday as part of AMC's 11 Weeks of Reveals until the August 22 return of The Walking Dead, synopses for the two-part premiere are below — but beware of potential spoilers:
In "Acheron: Part I": "Returning to Alexandria from a critical food mission, the group realizes it isn't enough. Maggie proposes a new plan, potentially a suicide mission. What choice do they have? They must find more food for all their people in order to survive and efficiently rebuild Alexandria. If they don't, Alexandria falls, taking them down with it. Once on the road, a violent storm erupts forcing them underground into a subway tunnel. As nerves fray and suspicions increase, chaos ensues. The terror is relentless as our people get a glimpse of what Maggie and her group endured prior to returning to Alexandria. Meanwhile, those captured by the strange soldiers are relocated to another undisclosed location."
In "Acheron: Part II": "The group discovers a member did not make it to safety inside the subway car. Surrounded by walkers, going back out into the tunnel to search is a guaranteed death wish. All eyes are on Negan as the rule of survival shifts. It is no longer No Man Left Behind. The motto now is We Keep Going. With very little ammo and energy remaining, the group must ready themselves as the walkers have found a way inside the subway train. Meanwhile, Daryl is in his own intense hellish situation trying to find Dog and finding more than he expected; and Yumiko challenges the process at the Commonwealth outpost, which threatens her future and that of Eugene, Ezekiel, and Princess."
In Greek mythology, the River Acheron is one of the five rivers of the Underworld. Sometimes called the River of Pain or the River of Woe, Acheron was "perceived to be a physical barrier between the Underworld and the mortal world, for mortals could not cross it to enter the Underworld, and the dead could not cross it to escape," according to the website Greek Legends and Myths.
Kevin Dowling (The Americans, The Strain, 13 Reasons Why) directs the two-part premiere written by showrunner Angela Kang and writer-co executive producer Jim Barnes. Last week, AMC released first-look photos showing the subway tunnels where Maggie and Daryl (Norman Reedus) find themselves leading a group that includes Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
"It's going back to [being] scary, it's scary," Barnes said of Season 11 on the Talk Dead to Me podcast after the start of production in February. "We're making a concerted effort to put that back into, especially these first two or three, and actually all throughout [the season]. We're exploring things and doing things that I haven't seen done on the show before, which is really exciting. Just different set pieces and locations, and the fact that we're pulling it off during the pandemic is a testament to the crew in Georgia, it's incredible. It's big, I think I can say that."