In the season finale of The Walking Dead, we saw a lot of progress for our survivors. They finally found a safe haven in which to live and rebuild their community. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Rick and company.
Out of the Ashes is the first episode of season 10 of The Walking Dead. It was written by Angela Kang and directed by Greg Nicotero.
When an old adversary emerges from the ashes on The Walking Dead, an enraged Aaron (Ross Marquand) transforms whispers into shouts. When Aaron, Carol (Melissa McBride), Jerry (Cooper Andrews), and ex-Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy) return to the burned-down community for the first time since Alpha’s (Samantha Morton) attack during The Whisperer War, Alexandrians encounter Hilltop squatters in Season 11 Episode 5, “Out of the Ashes.” Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and his traveling companions Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lazaro) attend Commonwealth community orientation hundreds of miles away, where Yumiko meets her long-lost brother Tomi (Ian Anthony Dale).
Wolves are not far away.
There’s a full moon. Aaron and Gracie made a wrong turn at a fork a while ago and are now on their way home. A snarling walker emerges from the food. A guy with a knife clicks his tongue, revealing a bleeding “W” cut into his forehead. “Did you get lost?” the huge, terrible Wolf inquires. A Savior blows a whistle. A Whisperer pulls a knife from its sheath. Aaron is very protective of his daughter. They’re encircled.
The walker is chopped down by Aaron. He’s in a panic because Gracie has vanished. As the attackers approach in and knife Aaron to death, there are whispers, whistles, and the wailing of walkers. “STOP!” exclaims Mays (Robert Patrick), jolting Aaron out of his slumber. Gracie is secure and sound as she sleeps close to him.
Downstairs, Jerry gently walks over slumbering Alexandrians gathered together and stretched over the floor in sleeping bags. Then he notices it: a walker inside the confines of the fortifications.
A swarm of wayward walkers shambles within a section of the wall that has fallen but still has the graffiti “Silence the whispering.”
The Alexandrians struggle to plug the hole and drive the dead inside out. They strengthen the barricade, but the break confirms Aaron’s worries.
The Future Begins Now
In a ’90s-style orientation video, Lance Hornsby, Director of Operations, welcomes visitors to the Commonwealth. “”If you’re viewing this video, you’ve passed the Commonwealth community’s rigorous screening procedure and have been authorized to join us,” the neatly dressed guy adds. We are over 50,000 strong under Governor Pamela Milton’s guidance, with each individual being allocated and selected to the position most suited to their skill set in order to keep our community thriving.” Hornsby states in a video message authorized by Pamela Milton, “The future begins here.”
Welcome packages are given to Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess. They’re each given a job and a place to live. Eugene says it doesn’t matter what they do for a living; they’re here to receive assistance for their families, not to work. Princess works as a salesperson at a store. Ezekiel is in charge of the animals. Eugene is a high school English teacher. Yumiko is asked to speak about “opportunities inside our wonderful community” at the Office of State Affairs.
Ezekiel and Princess are scheduled to meet with their case supervisor. Eugene departs for a meeting with Stephanie in order to get the lay of the land and the skinny. Yumiko requests help in finding a family member who is currently residing in the area.
Back in Alexandria, Rosita says that the wall will be more vulnerable now that the dead have broken through. After the skins – the Whisperers — assaulted their house in Season 10, they’re short on tools. When Aaron inquires about Earl’s blacksmithing equipment, they decide to make a break for it and see if there’s any wildlife worth hunting nearby.
“What if there’s nothing left?” Rosita wonders. “If we can’t keep Alexandria secure, we’ll have to consider other alternatives.”
Aaron responds by saying, “Alexandria is where we call home. I’m not ready to give up the ship just yet. No, not yet. First and foremost, we must strive to preserve it.”
Maggie and Negan battle their way through a group of zombies in the woods. They must keep going in order to catch up with the rest of the group at the outpost.
“The only way this works is if we trust each other,” Negan says.
“What makes you think I’d ever trust you?”
“Maggie, I’m not sure. Because, like me, you want to remain alive.”
“It will be in spite of you, not because of you, that I exist.”
He’s baffled as to why she hasn’t yet put him down. “Every day,” Maggie adds, “I ask myself that question.”
I challenge you to try it.
Aaron, Carol, Jerry, and Lydia enter a Hilltop that has been burnt down. The grounds are filled with lingering walkers. The Whisperer War claimed the lives of many Hilltoppers. The gang lays the burned corpses, the reanimated remnants of their companions, to rest.
RJ, Hershel, Gracie, and Jerry, as well as Nabila’s children Ezra and Aliyah, are taught to use wooden swords by Judith at home. A gang of older kids teases a little walker who is trapped in an exposed section of the wall nearby.
The mocking teenagers are chastised by Judith. She is shoved to the ground by their ringleader. The bully hisses, “You speak too much.” “It’s no surprise your mother abandoned you.” Judith stands up and thrusts her blade into the bully’s neck. “Say it once more. I challenge you to do so.”
Judith is persuaded to leave by Gracie. She does, and her confident expression transforms into sorrow.
Maggie and Negan, on the other hand, arrive to the Arbor Hills safe home. Maggie takes a few items from under the floorboards that she had hidden. Maggie chooses to wait for the others while Negan is ready to go on and keep ahead of the Reapers. He recommends returning with just enough to tide Alexandria over for the time being.
He advises her, “Maggie, you need to know when to cut your losses.” “Those losses are my folks,” she yells.
“You do, however, have people. Hershel is still with you.”
“Do you think I’m unaware of this? It’s why we’re doing this in the first place.”
Negan claims that if the others don’t come there before sunset, they won’t.
Yumiko inspects a bakery in the Commonwealth that serves fresh baked products every day. Yumiko’s long-lost brother, Tomi, emerges.
Aaron claims that everything is gone in the ashes of the Hilltop. Jerry retorts, “Not everything.” “Many of us are still alive. Keep it in mind.”
Lydia notices a group of walkers being herded close. Whisperers.
The four of them defeat the tiny walker herd and uncover a Whisperer Lydia is familiar with.
Eugene and his woman friend Stephanie request extra sprinkled ice cream cones. A professional-looking lady picks up an order for Governor Milton.
“Excuse me,” Eugene says, “but it wouldn’t be Rocky Road, would it?” The lady gives Stephanie a sidelong look before walking away without saying anything.
Eugene receives Stephanie’s scoop. “It’s not black raspberry, but give it a try and let me know what you think.” Damn, that’s hot.
Eugene and Stephanie take a walk throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s the same as previously. “Many individuals in my hometown might benefit from a facility like this. While I’d be happy to stay with you forever, I wouldn’t be the man I am if I didn’t complete the task at hand. We won’t be able to remain. We must assist our pals. Given the enormous amount of red tape that encircles every nook and corner here, I was hoping for some guidance on how to get through it.”
They come upon a radio tower. Eugene can call his family back home if they can get to the local radio. Stephanie works in the Communications Department and has access to the equipment, but formal approval will take weeks. Eugene inquires whether the offer is available in an unofficial form. General Mercer maintains guard nearby.
Judith returns to Alexandria and discovers shattered boards with blue handprints. Carl was the last person she remembered. RJ, Gracie, and Hershel offer their assistance in putting it back together. Rosita consoles Judith as she sobs on the porch.
“I recall seeing them when you first created them. You used to be so tiny. Carl wished for you to share a memory with each other.”
“”Now it’s shattered, and he’s gone,” Judith cries. It’s true for everyone.”
“I, too, miss them all.” “Does it get any better?” Rosita responds, “I’d be lying if I claimed it didn’t.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to start forgetting about them.”
Rosita tells Judith about her mother, who passed away when she was Judith’s age. “She was teaching me how to be self-sufficient. So I’d be OK if she didn’t show up. Carl and your father did the same for you. As a result, you’d always be able to persevere in the face of adversity. Wooden pieces are appealing. You don’t need it, however, to remember how much they cared about you. Besides, I’m a natural at repairing stuff.”
Screams From Whispers
The Whisperer is interrogated by Aaron and Jerry. Keith is his name. “The herd dispersed when Alpha was killed. Those who were not murdered or burnt have been extinguished. I’m the only one remaining.” What’s the point of keeping the walkers? “Protection, as well as comfort. It’s an old habit.”
According to Aaron, he has never encountered a Whisperer who isn’t a liar. Lydia reminds out that he had faith in Mary.
Lydia says, “My mother is dead.” “He’s not causing any harm.”
Aaron and Jerry are wary of one other. He’s trying to hide something. He is taken to the basement by the gang. Four stray Whisperers are huddled together. Keith is a con artist.
Aaron growls, “How many more?” “Are there any more of you out there?”
Lydia attempts to make him feel better. “They’re terrified. They’re just attempting to reclaim their humanity.”
“They’re either a danger or they’re a threat. Before their guys come back and attack us, we’re hiding in plain sight.”
Jerry notices a woman wearing a headscarf. It belongs to Nabila. He’s enraged. “They were in Alexandria at the time. They set fire to our house.”
The Whisperer squabbles exchange glances. Keith pulls out a hidden dagger and cuts Aaron. As the remaining Whisperers drag ass outside, Carol knocks Keith down with a blow. Keith is unable to flee and is captured by an enraged Aaron. “Now it’s my time.”
It’s as easy as pie
Eugene and Stephanie snoop around the communications section for clues. Yumiko and Tomi, on the other hand, take in the sights of the Commonwealth. Her long-lost brother claims that she has matured. They’ve both done it. Tomi left Chicago after the outbreak and was stuck approximately 20 miles north of Charleston, West Virginia. He made friends with several nice individuals and has been here ever since. “I nearly forget what’s going on beyond these walls,” he adds, satisfied with his existence as a cake baker. When Yumiko brings up his surgical background, he hushes her. “I’m content with my current situation. It’s the one good thing that came out of the world collapsing. Please don’t sabotage it for me.”
She just has one question for you. “Does this location seem to be as wonderful as it appears?” “Better.” And what if she needed assistance for someone else? “As long as you obey the rules,” Tomi adds, “everything is conceivable.”
Dead Is Sincere
Aaron employs a walker to get information from a strung-up Keith on the Hilltop. He lets the walker come close enough to bite him. What happened to them?!
Keith cries, “Alpha was correct about you guys.” “You act as though you’re better than the dead, yet the dead are honest, and your friends have it better.”
Aaron allows the leashed walker to gnaw at Keith’s bound hands. In agony, he screams. The virus will spread and this Whisperer will turn if Aaron doesn’t give him a hand — by chopping off Keith’s hand. “Are the Whisperers still a threat?” says the narrator.
Aaron is looking for answers. Lydia claims that he wants something else and that she will not stand by and let it happen. Keith is hoisted back up by Jerry.
“We had a larger group. But they’ve vanished. I’m not sure!”
Carol brings the story to a close with a bolt to the walker’s skull. “I’m preventing you from doing something you’ll come to regret.”
“I’m doing all I can to keep everyone I care about safe! That is something you, above all others, should be aware of.”
“This isn’t it.”
“Take a look around. We’re standing on the ruins of the Whisperers’ devastation. Because of them, Gracie is going hungry! I’m not going to wait for them to come up on our doorstep because the world is full with people who are beyond salvation.”
Carol makes a heartfelt appeal. She reminds Aaron that her son Henry’s death pushed her down a dark and terrible road. People she cares about have been harmed.
“Now I take it with me in everything I do,” Carol adds, her eyes welling up with tears. “You don’t want to go down this road. Now it’s time for you to let him go. Allow him to go.”
Aaron frees Keith by slamming a sword into the ground. “I can either chop your hand off for you or you can do it on your own. It’s all up to you.”
When Rosita and Judith arrive in Alexandria to fix Carl’s handprints, they hear a radio transmission from Eugene. Eugene loses the stream when the link goes haywire, just as Mercer and his soldier-cops arrest him for illegal use of government property. Princess and Ezekiel have been imprisoned.
Maggie and Negan are waiting at the safe house. They’ve had enough of waiting. Negan gathers his belongings and prepares to go. Maggie cautions, “Not with those supplies, you aren’t.” “This mission hasn’t been completed yet.”
“It’s for me,” she says.
Maggie knocks Negan’s bag from his grip and pushes him away. He snatches her by the shoulders and commands her to halt. Maggie pulls him away and shrugs him off. They are locked in a staredown. Maggie smacks him across the chest once again. Then there’s Gabriel, and then there’s Elijah. It came at the perfect moment. They’ve been through a lot. “It might have been better. It’s been far worse.”
What about the rest of the group?
Duncan. Agatha. Cole. They’re no longer alive. Alden is in pain and has taken refuge at a church. Daryl and Frost have yet to be found.
“So,” Gabriel concludes, “we wait.”
Maggie flashes a grin while glaring at Negan. “We’ll see what happens.”
Whatever the case may be,
Eugene paces in a Commonwealth office. “I’ve completely destroyed everything.” He inquires about Stephanie with a government officer. “You have been charged with trespassing without permission, reckless endangerment, and unlawful contacts with a foreign organization. All breaches of the Commonwealth penal code’s Article 4, Section 2.” They’re given a chance to speak with a judge. They’ll be dumped off in a zone far beyond the walls if they’re found guilty, and they’ll never be allowed to return. They’re in a lot of trouble.
“We need to speak with our lawyer,” Princess insists. They’re looking for Yumiko, but it’s Hornsby and Stephanie who come up.
Hornsby issues an order for their release. With the rescue, cheesy video man! “”He may be able to save you from getting expelled,” Stephanie adds, “but it won’t be easy.” You’ll have to pay the price for your actions. Whatever the case may be.”
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever
Lydia apologizes to Keith when she returns to Hilltop. “I see your point. After all, his people have been defeated. She would have done much worse if Alpha had stayed.”
Carol provides Keith and the others with mushrooms. He tells her that not everyone was like Alpha. “Some of us were simply trying to stay alive.”
Keith claims they’ve evolved, and he has proof. “One of your guys was seen by us. The horde’s keeper’s daughter, who emerged from the cave where Alpha housed the horde. Following the collapse. There were a lot of them, then just two, and suddenly she was alone. She seemed to be in pain, yet she was still alive.” She was someplace near the shrieking cave in the woods. It’s a hint regarding Connie’s disappearance.
It’s probably a good thing Aaron didn’t murder him, Jerry says. Carol inquires as to Lydia’s knowledge of the route. She does, and they’re out at first light to locate Connie. As the Hilltop squatters emerge from the ashes, Aaron looks back.
The episode has come to an end.
For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter. Season 11 of The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 9/8c.
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