The Walking Dead: 10 Thoughts I Had Watching Season 11's Fall Premiere

Maggie holding knife in The Walking Dead
(Image credit: AMC)

Spoilers below for The Walking Dead Episode 1117, “Lockdown,” so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!

We’re now in the final stretch of The Walking Dead, as the flagship series has started laying out its last eight episodes that will eventually spin off into a variety of limited (for now) series. The fall premiere took care of some late-stage place setting, following up on past storylines and wrapping up in a way that put a bunch of characters together in the most hectic kind of situation possible.

Naturally, any hour of The Walking Dead will provoke a bunch of thoughts; some good, some bad, many random. Here are some of the ones that snuck out of my brain while I was watching “Lockdown.” 

Rick Grimes in Walking Dead flashback to premiere

(Image credit: AMC)

Not Sure How I Feel About That Flashback Sequence

We know Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira are reuniting for a Rick and Michonne spinoff, which is awesome any way you look at it, and I’m not averse to buying into this show’s overt attempts to tug at viewers’ heartstrings. But knowing about the new show already makes it seem less likely that either of them will show up in the final season of The Walking Dead proper, which many fans will no doubt be hoping for regardless of what’s coming in the future. (At least in a post-credits scene, if nothing else.) But if there won’t actually be any canonical updates for Rick or Michonne in the next eight episodes, then seeing everyone in that opening ep flashback will feel in hindsight like a cheap jab rather than optimistic foreshadowing. Not that I expect the Governor to come back. 

Daryl bloodied forehead after car accident in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Daryl Can Apparently Survive Anything

You might recognize a bit of a running theme, but knowing that Daryl’s spinoff is on the way somewhat distracts from any suspense that’s meant to be built up for the character. But that’s not quite at the heart of this particular pondering, which is wholly centered around Daryl T-boning another vehicle while driving at somewhat high speeds, to the point where we’re possibly meant to believe those Commonwealth soldiers are fatally wounded, yet Norman Reedus gets out of his vehicle as if he was rising from a comfortable bed and staring out into the morning sun. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as baffled by The Walking Dead’s hero logic as I was by Daryl’s jelly glop of forehead blood being his only takeaway from a wreck that would realign most people’s skeletons. Norman Reedus unfortunately had his own concussion scare while filming the finale, while I’m assuming Daryl would be in the double digits at this point. 

Mercer talking to Negan in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Mercer And Negan Need More Scenes Together

I 100% hope we see more of Jeffrey Dean Morgan sharing scenes with Michael James Shaw, regardless of what the specific dynamic is between Negan and Mercer at any particular moment. All we got in this episode was two intimidating dudes sitting across an empty table in a room with unfinished walls, and that's all we needed. 

Carol in kitchen in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Come on, Carol! How you gonna just stand around and let those blueberry pancakes burn? Also, I love a burned blueberry pancake for whatever reason, so even her throwing it away felt like a crime.

Villains chasing Jerry in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

These Dopes Get My Vote For Least Effective Villains Ever

The Walking Dead's characters have come up with a stunning array of baffling schemes in eleven seasons (and two spinoffs), but none have been as magically single-stepped as Jerry successfully warding off the two dunderheads tracking the kids down by having five people with signs stand there until the pursuants immediately grow petulant and frustrated, but without taking two steps to the left or right to walk around the human obstacles. I mean, a slow clap for Jerry & Co.

Carol reacting to Negan in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Carol’s Reaction To Negan Saying He’s Having A Kid Is Priceless 

Carol expected a threat when she opened the door to see Negan, and there may always be something inside her that expects him to go dark again. But that part of her likely shrunk a little during their reconnection after he brought up Annie carrying his child. Melissa McBride could have given any of a thousand reactions that might have felt perfect, but I was quite taken by this reaction in any case, given its simplicity. After a second of allowing it to sink in, she offered what could be read as a look of "If the world needed anything, it wasn't your offspring," and only said:

It's gonna be okay.

After which, she nodded a bit, and then walked away, leaving behind vibes that weren't even the least bit awkward. Although now that I've thought about this a bit more, I can't tell if Carol was meant to be a bit put off by Negan's admission, perhaps  because she hoped there could be something more between the two of them. It certainly could be read that way if one wanted to, and there are more than enough fans out there who would enjoy that coupling, but I'm not sure if I want to come away with that reading. 

Sebastian Milton in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Sebastian Sure Does Deserve Being Treated Like Crap By Everyone

Even if some of the bad things that are happening to him (and his mother) aren't necessary his fault, in no world is Sebastian Milton undeserving of all the bad shit that has and will happen to him. No offense to Teo Rapp-Olsson, obviously, but man is he capable of pulling off facial expressions that magnetically attract punches. 

Mercer horrified in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Mercer Doesn't Know How To Let Things Go

I feel like The Walking Dead put all of its subtext right up there into the text where it concerns Mercer, who's facing a choice between going with the rules that he's used to being guided by, and a new regime that could promise a brighter future. I think the show was trying to tell us something by having the Commonwealth enforcer hang onto a fellow soldier until the dude was literally torn in half by walkers, which seriously should have put him and others in more grave danger, given the growing crowd of walkers. So let's agree that nobody should count on Mercer for split-decisions in upcoming episodes. 

Overhead shot of walker horde in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

I Love Overhead Shots That Make Walkers Look Like Ants

This is really tapping into the lizard part of the brain, and isn't too deep in the slightest. It's just cool to see mass swaths of people moving around in a similar way to ants and other hive-minded insects, and not just in a "people look like ants from airplanes" kind of way. 

Daryl holding Hornsby at knifepoint in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

I'm Cool If Hornsby Dies Soon

Despite the spinoff knowledge making it fairly clear which characters will and won't be making it out of this season alive, it was still fun to watch the big underground showdown come together in the final minutes. And by all means, I'd be perfectly happy with Daryl putting an end to Lance Hornsby's murder spree. This show needs fewer characters just going around murdering other survivors willy nilly, at least the ones who haven't been shown to be murderous nutjobs themselves. Which is why it's fine for Hornsby to get taken out.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, with new episodes airing a week early on AMC+. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.