Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "On the Inside," so be warned!
The Walking Dead delivered a double stack of returning characters with the sixth episode of its eleventh and final season. Kevin Carroll's Virgil was last seen discovering Lauren Ridloff's long-missing Connie in the AMC drama's first attempt at Season 10's finale, prior to the six-episode extension. "On the Inside" confirmed the duo stuck together afterward long enough to pay a visit to one of The Walking Dead's most legitimately frightening locations and villains with the House of Ferals. Tis the season for visiting haunted abodes, after all.
The episode, directed by horror mastermind Greg Nicotero, paid quite the gripping homage to such genre classics as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, and George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. What's more, it delivered some of this show's scariest moments of any given season, thanks in large part to the sound design bouncing between its stress-inducing orchestral score and the silence of Connie's point-of-view scenes. With those two overarching plusses already noted, let's go through the seven scariest moments from "On the Inside."
Virgil Running Through That Bigass Spider's Web
From its very first moments, The Walking Dead delivered dread-soaked foreshadowing by having Virgil plow through the home of a deadly creepy-crawly creature as he was in the process of being herded along by those very creatures, dubbed Ferals. But "foreshadowing" doesn't make every body part between my neck and my knees squirm and restrict independently of each other the way that "the very notion of trying to shake a hand-sized spider off of my clothes in the dark only after slowly realizing that son of a bitch is on me" does.
The House Of Ferals' Wall Decorations
Upon entering the main living areas of that creepy ass house, Connie was quite a bit more unnerved by the house's aesthetic. And while the plethora of mounted animal heads and on-display taxidermy instantly brought to mind Norman Bates' house of horrors, it didn't automatically imply freak show occupants therein. But once Connie came across the hallway of portraits with holes poked into everyone's eyes, it severely lowered their chances of finding anyone even orbiting around the concept of being mentally sound.
The Old "Eye In The Used Razorblade Hole" Trick
Considering all of the horror love shown throughout, I absolutely expected Connie's bathroom trip to involve a mirror-related scare, whether it'd have been legitimate or a fake-out. So I was bamboozled to see Lauren Ridloff turn it into arguably the ep's funniest moment, with Connie commenting on her appearance. Behind the mirror was a different story, however. First, the idea of throwing used razors away via wall-hole as opposed to a trash can weirds me out for reasons I can't explain. But then to have someone's eye suddenly manifest itself on the other side of that hole? That's not how logic or anything else works in my world, friends. It's how nightmares work.
Connie Being Chased By The Feral
Punctuating a fairly silent sequence was the episode's first full arrival of a Feral family member, and the approach deserves a big thumbs up for putting the audience into Connie's shoes as she realized through vibrations in the wall that something was quickly approaching her from behind. She might have even though it was an actual wild animal, considering that crusty bastard was running around on all fours and bouncing off of the walls as he turned corners. (If only Connie knew how hungry he was, she's nice enough to have offered her arm for him to gnaw on.) There's something uniquely terrifying about feeling as if you're about to be caught by something you can't identify. Is it a murderer? An ice cream man with ample wares? A giant spider creature? Two giant spider creatures?
Virgil Getting Snuck
I'm not sure what I would have done if I were in Connie's place, stuck behind the walls without a clear way of communicating with Virgil. But I can 100% relate to her abundant panic as she watched one of the Feral creepsters emerge from an unexpected crawlspace and eventually attack Virgil. I like to think the smell coming off of those things would be enough to draw attention, but Angel Theory's Kelly threw that idea out the window elsewhere in the episode after she didn't bat a nostril at that rotting horse corpse.
The Possibility Of Connie's Death
Despite everything that would stand against the idea of Lauren Ridloff's Connie being killed off in her first episode back after an elongated absence, I truly thought she was doomed for at least three seconds. Long enough to consider the fact that it would be right up The Walking Dead's alley to deliver a gut-wrenching death just when audiences would be expecting a heartwarming reunion. Thankfully, it was all paying into the classic knife-through-the-wall scare, and Virgil thankfully didn't make himself a TWD pariah by unwittingly murdering a fan-favorite character .
The Moments Just Before Connie And Kelly's Hug
This final entry technically wasn't "scary" in the same sense as most of the above moments. But it was still strangely haunting to see the episode end without really addressing the live-or-die fate of Virgil, who was selflessly saved by Connie after being stabbed by one of the Ferals. He just sort of rolled over on the ground as Kelly showed up to kill off the remaining Ferals, leading to her and Connie's emotional reunion. Beyond Virgil's situation, it was also disturbing to consider that Kelly probably thought she'd just taken out some walkers, rather than having murdered two other people. Not that it wasn't deserved, but that kind of thing weighs on a person.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, with episodes streaming a week early for AMC+ subscribers. I'm hoping this show continues to keep its feet firmly rooted in horror storytelling while also dealing with its other narrative approaches. While waiting to see where this final season goes next, head to our 2021 Fall TV schedule to see what else is hitting the small screen soon.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.