Review: The Walking Dead 911 – Bounty

Samantha Morton as Alpha – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead 911 – Bounty

A surprise flashback kicks off Bounty, episode 911 of The Walking Dead. Jesus and Tara meet with Carol and Ezekiel to hand off the charter binding the communities together. Flash forward to the future and the unsigned document coupled with the arrival of Alpha and the Whisperers at Alexandria’s gates foreshadows darker times are on the horizon.

Alpha’s request is simple. Return her daughter and there will “be no conflict”. With Luke and Alden in her clutches the prospects of dealing with her seem prudent, but Daryl is unwilling to give up Lydia, particularly after hearing how she’s been treated by mommy dearest. Daryl has been itching for a fight for a few episodes now and Alpha’s arrival gives him an opportunity to scratch that itch.

The other storyline features Ezekiel looking for a spark to unite the disparate communities. The former thespian leans on his roots and reasons that movies will reunite them all. It’s been decades since people have watched movies and some are too young to have even seen one. His plan, which Carol is dubious of throughout their mission, takes them to a walker-infested theater.

Alpha’s battle tactics follow a primal and harrowing code. Anything is fair game in the fight for survival and no one, not even the youngest among them is given a special place in her world. Henry continues his spectacular run of unwise decisions and his feelings for Lydia threatens to jeopardize any chances of getting Alden and Luke back.

Bounty proves that blood is thicker than water. Lydia’s decision to return home is an uneasy mix of loyalty, fear and a sense of belonging. Alpha is perhaps the most psychologically damaged antagonist in the Walking Dead universe. The episode is also an uneven mix of humor and tension between the two storylines. Whereas the Alpha standoff is all doom and gloom and threatens to dip into the darker times of All Out War, Ezekiel’s quest has a much more light-hearted tone to it. The interesting use of music during some of the action sequences almost guarantees that the crew isn’t in any reel (yes I did that on purpose) danger.

One takeaway from Bounty is just how complex Alpha is. Her reliance on natural selection only seems to apply to other people’s kids and not her own. There is a definite set of rules for the Whisperers and another set of entirely for Alpha. Her unpredictability and ruthlessness will surely keep the communities off balance and with a set of followers that appear to be even more devoted to their leader’s cause than say, the Saviors for example, the challenge to defeat her will be all the more daunting.