The Commonwealth’s Lance Hornsby is a person with a plan. A really devious plan. A plan that may very possible show lethal to others. However, above all, it’s a very, very foolish plan, and I’m right here for it.
Whereas The Strolling Lifeless has spent the past few episodes exhibiting the numerous, many, ever-expanding cracks within the Commonwealth’s façade of paradise, it was solely the tail finish of final week’s “Rogue Ingredient” that hinted Deputy Governor Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) would be the closing season’s foremost antagonist. And that’s solely as a result of he broke poor Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) coronary heart by pairing him up with a pretend Stephanie to extract details about Alexandria—however as he identified, it’s data Hornsby used to ship assist and assets to rebuild Alexandria, which is objectively a more-than-fair commerce.
Nonetheless, it’s a reasonably dick transfer by Hornsby, particularly when it hurts somebody who’s (often) certainly one of The Strolling Lifeless’s extra lovable characters. In tonight’s episode, “The Fortunate Ones,” we be taught what Hornsby’s diabolical objective is… and he doesn’t care what number of individuals he has to assist to realize it.
The episode begins with Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) making a tour of Alexandria, Oceanside, and even the very beginnings of Hilltop 2.0, accompanied by Hornsby, Normal Mercer (Michael James Shaw), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and a gaggle of Commontroopers. The primary cease is Alexandria, which seems to be nice—nearly the entire destruction from the Whisperer warfare, storms, and zombies has been cleaned up, the windmill is again in motion, and neat rows of crops fill the settlement. Once more, it seems to be like Eugene’s ache was completely definitely worth the profit it introduced the colony.
Aaron (Ross Marquand), realizing how important the Commonwealth’s assist has been and can proceed to be in rebuilding Alexandria, has teamed up with Hornsby to impress Pam in hopes that the colony can be a part of the Commonwealth’s uncomfortably obscure “Mutual Safety Pact.” Sadly for each him and Hornsby, Pam isn’t notably all in favour of buying the colony, particularly after she learns simply how typically it’s been rebuilt over time, since that additionally signifies what number of occasions it’s fallen.
The following cease is Oceanside (which we haven’t seen since season 10), the place Rachel (Avianna Mynhier, identical) tells Pam she’s all in favour of becoming a member of, however since they’ve at all times partnered with Hilltop, Oceanside will abide by no matter Maggie (Lauren Cohan) decides. Hornsby is lower than happy on the rebuff, whereas Aaron worries it’d have an effect on Alexandria’s burgeoning alliance with the Commonwealth.
The crux of “The Fortunate Ones” comes right down to the assembly of Pam and Maggie, who’re extra alike than Maggie would care to confess, at first. After Pamela’s convoy runs into Maggie combating zombies en path to Hilltop, the 2 pair off for a searching journey and bond over their roles as leaders, then the governor provides her pitch for partnering with the Commonwealth. The longer term Pamela needs is a community of secure communities, the place individuals can journey and commerce freely, the place pre-apocalyptic society, expertise, and unity return—a life the place Maggie can drop off her son Hershel for his first day of faculty. It’s a strong argument, and one which Maggie is clearly enticed by—much more so when the governor proves herself to be not only a bureaucratic politician, however simply as succesful at zombie-killing as Maggie is.
Once they return to Hilltop, the colony’s wants versus the Commonwealth’s assistance is so stark as to be mildly ludicrous. Hilltop continues to be largely annihilated after the Whisperers’ assault, and it appears just a few former inhabitants are all in favour of attempting to put it aside—definitely lower than the platoon of Commontroopers doing the majority of the reconstruction. It’s an ostentatious show of every part the Commonwealth has to supply, not simply to Maggie and her individuals, however the viewers. Hornsby even asks Maggie, with a very straight face, “It’s okay if we hand out provides?” The Commonwealth couldn’t look extra benign and munificent if it tried (as a result of it’s already attempting very onerous). Actually, it’s no marvel Maggie’s right-hand girl Dianne (Kerry Cahill) decides to go away. “It’s more durable than it has ever been and it doesn’t must be,” she tells Maggie. She’s proper.
In case you’ve lived by means of the Wolves, the Saviors, the Whisperers, and one million or so zombies, you’d assume transferring to the protection of the Commonwealth should be no resolution in any respect. However Maggie nonetheless resists, for 2 causes. First, she’s not thrilled that the Commonwealth is an autocracy dominated by Pamela, which occurs to additionally give her the best lifetime of luxurious the post-apocalypse has to supply. When Pam counters that Maggie has equal energy over her individuals, Maggie retorts she’d reasonably these individuals acknowledge her authority by her deeds, not ostentatious shows of wealth.
The second purpose is extra essential, if apparent. Maggie doesn’t belief the Commonwealth, and particularly not their provide of free support. Maggie’s been a deeply distrustful person ever since Meridian was assaulted by the Reapers, however you don’t must be that jaded to marvel what the Commonwealth is getting out of serving to Hilltop and Alexandria. That is the world of The Strolling Lifeless, in spite of everything, they usually’re clearly not doing this out of the goodness of their collective hearts.
Maggie bluntly asks Hornsby the identical query, and he instantly dodges it by mentioning how dangerous off Hilltop is. When she calls him on it, he replies one thing obscure about creating a greater world for everyone (resulting in the aforementioned “Hershel goes to school” pitch)… which isn’t actually a solution both, however the dialog will get interrupted by a zombie assault. The Hilltoppers use their hand-to-hand weapons, struggling as normal, however then the Commontroopers march over with their assault rifles and mow down the zombies instantly. It’s simply one other oh-so-obvious signal of all the advantages becoming a member of the Commonwealth would carry.
However Maggie’s nonetheless not going to signal away Hilltop’s potential freedom for an unknown worth, no matter how a lot assist it may carry. “Every thing prices one thing,” she says, echoing a line Pam says earlier within the episode. The governor principally shrugs and prepares to move residence, however Hornsby runs after her, claiming he can persuade Maggie ultimately. Pam wryly however completely accuses him of attempting to carry Hilltop and the opposite two colonies into the fold in order that he could be appointed to run them. Sure, Hornby needs energy.
That is completely hilarious to me. It’s simply… nonsense. Say he does get management of Hilltop, Alexandria, and Oceanside. How a lot “energy” does this give him? What may he probably do with all of the “mighty” assets of those three busted settlements who at the moment have nearly no assets besides those the Commonwealth is at the moment giving them? What does that stage of authority within the zombie apocalypse even imply, apart from the power to throw lavish, decadent dinner parties? As a result of that’s just about all Pam’s bought happening for her.
And Hornsby is working so onerous for this! He has a secret particular ops group within the Commonwealth, whose solely recognized achievement is seducing Eugene. As Mercer says to Daryl, Daryl didn’t put on his Commontrooper armor to go to the colonies due to the optics. Hornsby is attempting to finesse the hell out of a scenario that doesn’t appear to warrant any of it. He’s attempting to play three-dimensional chess when nobody else even owns a full set of checkers. I’m fairly constructive he’s straight or not directly behind the Commonwealth’s fomenting revolution, when each different villain in The Strolling Lifeless would simply shoot Pam and seize the governor’s workplace. My dude, you’ve got the power to repair Alexandria’s windmill; it couldn’t matter much less what Daryl’s sporting.
Actually, Hornby’s scheming is so overelaborate he might have a deeper objective in thoughts, as a result of he additionally will get a delightfully unnerving scene to finish the episode. After assembly with the governor, who tells him she’ll solely settle for the three colonies as a bundle deal (for some purpose), Hornsby marches straight into the woods, fires his gun within the air to draw zombies, after which methodically picks them off with headshots. It’s not the weirdest method to blow off some steam within the zombie apocalypse—actually, a number of characters have tried to exorcize their demons by decimating the undead—however Hornsby managed to make it extra-creepy. When Aaron involves verify in, Hornsby lies, says Pamela nonetheless needs to accomplice with Alexandria, they usually’ll be bringing even extra individuals in, all whereas a zombie shuffles towards him. “We’re going to remake the world,” he says, a manic gleam in his eyes, proper earlier than he whips round and shoots the zombie, point-blank, within the face, in order that the episode’s closing picture is of Hornsby pointing his gun straight into the digital camera.
It’s a pure supervillain second, and after 10-and-a-third seasons of varied lunatics because the dangerous guys, I couldn’t be happier that The Strolling Lifeless is ending the collection with a really totally different sort of battle led by a really distinctive kind of lunatic. I’m positive Hornsby will ultimately do one thing so reprehensible the present stops being enjoyable once more, however till then, he has my vote.
- I’ve little or no to say concerning the Eugene and Max (Margo Bingham) scenario, apart from 1) Josh McDermitt killed it this episode, and a pair of) it’s extraordinarily bizarre. Max randomly sees Eugene within the Commonwealth, with one other girl calling herself Stephanie, and doesn’t say something? And after Eugene fairly moderately will get upset on the revelation that the “actual” Stephanie additionally wasn’t actual, she needs him to apologize for being impolite to her? Reduce him some slack! I’ll like it if Hornsby is behind this, too.
- Ezekiel (Khary Payton) learns he’s been moved to the entrance of the surgical procedure ready checklist. Eugene is conflicted about being moved to the entrance of the surgical procedure ready checklist. Eugene has the surgical procedure anyway. The top.
- The zombie that managed to sneak into Alexandria and the zombies that attacked Hilltop appear a bit handy, didn’t they?
- I like that Pam knew Deanna (the at all times fantastic Tovah Feldshuh), the ex-Congresswoman who led Alexandria approach again earlier than she was killed in season six. It’s a pleasant callback.
- Hornsby tells Maggie how his dad gave him a golden coin that Hornsby later found was simply gold-plated and principally worthless. Delicate, TWD. Actual refined.
- Weren’t Rick, Ezekiel, and even Maggie herself the autocrats of their respective colonies? They have been (largely) benign, however in the long run they nonetheless made nearly all the selections. Focus on. Present your work.
- Max asks Eugene the onerous query about his guide: “Was a sepulcher concerned? Eugene: “After all there was.”
- Nicely, at the very least Pam is aware of her son fucking sucks.
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