Ranking the top 5 moments from “The Walking Dead” season 9 episode 15: “The Calm Before”

Happy Monday TV fans!  After watching AMC’s The Walking Dead season 9 episode 15, I remembered that if you witness a happily ever after moment on TWD, it’s probably too good to be true and it means that something is coming.  Something shocking, horrifying, and heartbreaking.  While you may think you’re ready, it’s amazing how much a certain reveal can impact you.  However, it’s important to keep going and to remember the good.  There is always still a glimmer of hope remaining and sometimes it appears in the most unexpected places.  Please note MAJOR SPOILERS are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “The Calm Before,” the fair is underway, as everyone tries to participate in the fun.  Meanwhile, Daryl takes a group out and is surrounded by threats and Alpha is ready to make a deal, but not before proving just how ruthless she can be.  My top 5 moments from The Walking Dead season 9 episode 15 are:

5

“Let the fair of new beginning begin!”

In the beginning of the episode, Ezekiel addresses the fair and tells everyone, “We’ve always been bound to each other…we always will be.”  Ezekiel mentions sacrifice and specifically brings up Rick, Carl, and Jesus, while also having a replica of his tiger next to him, which was truly touching to see.  Jerry’s title for the fair is shot down and we are welcomed into the fair of the new beginning.  It looks like everyone is ready to join in on the fun and come together to celebrate, but we know that the Whisperers are still lurking around, waiting to make their next move.  I’m not sure that anyone was truly ready for what was about to come next, however.

4

“I have just the thing.”

Carol is ready to go off after Henry, but with perfect timing, Daryl and the others return to The Kingdom.  Carol tells Henry that he can never run away from her again and we also get to see Michonne reunited with her old friends.  Everyone is very receptive to Michonne even though she has been gone for quite some time.  Carol asks Judith if she remembers her and Judith explains that she has been drawing pictures of them since she was little.  Tara breaks up the party; however, when she spots Lydia, recognizing the danger here.  After some discussion, a pact is made between all four communities, as Ezekiel is more than eager to whip out the treaty he has been holding on to for all this time.  Although, I kind of liked Tara’s idea to “spit and shake” on it or to have a blood oath.  All of the communities have now come together, as Rick’s vision for the future is not completely lost, but can the communities still stay strong after tragedy?

3

“You guys are adorable.”

The fair is underway and it seems like love is in the air on TWD.  Carol and Ezekiel get to meet Lydia and Ezekiel says, “Our son is taking a girl on a date to the movies tonight.”  I guess it would be a step up from dining on bugs together.  Henry’s annoying friends try to mess with Lydia and make her jealous, but Henry tells Lydia that he really likes her, which is genuine and somewhat sweet.  We also get to see Enid and Alden confirm their relationship status, Rosita and Eugene have a heart-to-heart talk and we witness a kiss between Magna and Yumiko.  However, perhaps the sweetest moment for me was when Daryl asks Connie to feed Dog while he is gone, which I thought was adorable.  But why are we taking all this time during the episode before the season finale to devote to us shipping these characters together?  While all of this was going on, I knew that it meant that something big was about to happen.  Someone is definitely going to die and seeing them happy and together will only make us that much more heartbroken later.  I almost wish I wasn’t right here, but we aren’t watching a Rom-Com.

2

“I don’t know if there’s a happy ending here.”

You’re absolutely right, Carol, as Daryl takes out the A team to investigate things further.  Daryl is with Carol, Michonne, and Yumiko, but they are quickly surrounded by walkers and then come face to face with an overwhelmingly large group of the Whisperers.  They fight valiantly, but they are outnumbered here.  Daryl sees Beta again, who tells him, “You just had to give me the girl…now that deal is done.”  After watching a lot of setup and Rom-Com moments, I thought that this was the major plot point before the storm hits in the season finale, but nothing could prepare me for what came next.

1

“I want to tell you a different story.”

So, we are now at my top moment and I want to remind you again that major spoilers are ahead.  While the fair is going on, Alpha uses her freshly made skin mask to fit in and walk around.  She ends up even conversing with Ezekiel and is quite convincing and later sits down next to Lydia at the movies, motioning for her to be quiet.  We then go back to Alpha approaching Daryl and the others, as she tells Daryl to come with her.  Alpha recognizes what it means to talk to someone leader-to-leader and she sees that within Daryl.  Alpha shows Daryl a huge horde of walkers beyond the cliff and tells him that she has let his people live all this time.  Daryl asks Alpha if she killed Lydia, but Alpha doesn’t directly answer this.  She tells Daryl that she wants his people to stay on his side of the border and that he will know it when he sees it.  Ominous, right?  Alpha also tells Daryl that she doesn’t think he can protect her daughter, but she hopes that she is wrong, which reveals the tiniest sliver of humanity within Alpha.  When we see Alpha crying after Lydia has told her to leave, Alpha kills the Whisperer who witnesses her displaying human emotion.  Even if humanity exists within Alpha, she is not about to compromise her position as the leader.

Daryl heads off with Michonne, Carol, and Yumiko, and they stumble across Siddiq, who has clearly been taken or attacked.  As they begin to approach the border, you can see stakes lined up from far away.  The stakes are decorated with the decapitated re-animated heads of ten victims, but of course, we need to get a little bit closer and zoom in on each and every one of them, to truly feel the impact here.  So who didn’t make it?  Here is the complete list for your reference:

The Highwaymen’s Ozzy and Alek:  I was just starting to like them too.

D.J. and Frankie:  Former saviors that I almost forgot about.  I’m still glad that you were able to at least try and protect members of the community.

Tammy Rose:  I found it interesting that Tammy Rose was up here, only because we watch Alpha take a moment to look at her and the former Whisperer baby, which had me thinking that perhaps this selection wasn’t random?  Either way, I feel really bad for her husband.

Rodney and Addy:   I almost forgot about these characters, but they were Henry’s annoying friends and they did converse with Lydia, so is that why they are up here?  I also think it’s important to note that Alpha is not above selecting children to die.  Did she determine who was weak or was this just the luck of the draw?

Enid:  So here come some of the bigger characters.  We get a glimpse of Alden looking for Enid while he is performing and my heart sank.  Enid has not really had too much screen time lately, but this was still awful to see.

Tara:  I was not prepared to see Tara up here and I immediately started crying.  I have a soft spot for Tara because she is goofy and just true to herself, reminding me a lot of myself sometimes.  Tara was also the first LGBTQ character on the show and she has grown so much as a leader and a friend.  In the comic series, it was Ezekiel up here, but a major leader from a community needs to go.  I’m just really sad that it was my girl, Tara, who deserved better.

Henry:  As much as I have complained that Henry is such a pointless and annoying character, he didn’t deserve this fate.  However, Lydia kind of sealed this outcome for him by defying her mother.  You really didn’t think that Alpha would let Lydia live and keep her new boo, right?  What really got me here was Daryl trying to protect Carol from seeing this, as he repeats, “No, just look at me.”  My heart truly went out to Carol in this moment.

Siddiq is left alive and explains that Alpha told him to talk about what happened, mostly to drive them apart and scare them, but Siddiq stands before everyone to tell them a different story to inspire them.  Siddiq tells them about their friends and family coming together one last time to fight for their lives with honor.  They became real heroes and Siddiq explains, “We have to keep going for them and for all of us…we need to honor them and remember these friends…our family, died as heroes.  That’s the story that I want to tell you and for us to remember.”  This moment was truly powerful and it proved that hope can still exist even in the worst of times.  In the beginning of the episode, the couple traveling to the fair are murdered, but are carrying H necklaces, which represent Hilltop or Home, but they also represent hope.  Daryl takes Lydia out to the spot where Henry died and she leaves one for him and I don’t think that she will ever forget what Henry did for her. 

Overall, this episode initially gave us a lot of setup for what’s to come, but it also provided us with one of the most shocking moments of the entire series here.  After the episode, I could not stop thinking about what happened and that image of all ten re-animated heads on the stakes, marking the border.  It was beyond disturbing and so heart wrenching, but we know that no one is every really safe on this show.  That doesn’t mean that it makes these moments any less tragic; however, as we connect so much with these characters and continue to root for them to prevail.  Winter is coming in true GOT fashion, but our favorite characters will need to keep fighting.  Will this tragedy inspire strength and community?  Let’s hope so, but I also think we need Negan at this point.  Maybe let him out of the cage already, Michonne?  Stay tuned for the season finale!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on The Walking Dead below in the comments section.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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