Twd-s11e15 featured Television 

Five Thoughts on The Walking Dead‘s “Trust”

By | April 5th, 2022
Posted in Television | % Comments

We’re at the penultimate episode of this chunk of the season. The Commonwealth’s dystopian nature is no longer in question for anyone, even its pumpkin armored bulldog. The only mysteries left are how deep the awful goes. And after the two fold debacle of robbery and massacre last week, whatever secret’s they’re hiding have to be nasty ones. But of the colorful characters we’ve met along the way, a clear villain has emerged in Lance Hornsby. Even if part of his crimes are enabling the occasional spoiled brat. But again, there’s still an entire chunk of the finale season after this. Plenty of time to truly see how deep the awful goes.

**SPOILER ALERT** for how deep the awful truly goes.

1. The One Armed Man and the Priest

Aaron and Gabriel are the last survivors of the massacre we saw last episode, which Hornsby finds skeptical. Seth Gilliam and Ross Marquand’s “yeah that’s about right” reaction might be my favorite part of the episode. But alas, the killers are still out there. After a bit of crime scene investigation Hornsby rallies the troops and sets out to hunt for these marauders. And he plans to start with Hilltop. From there it becomes a game of waiting for someone to slip up first. Josh Hamilton is pushing his performance into supervillain territory more and more with every episode. It’s still a more subdued performance than other villains we’ve seen, but Hamilton’s for sure leaning into the bad guy role.

2. Eugene has a Source

Rosita has reached out to Eugene about the heist Sebastian planned last episode. So Eugene gives Connie and Kelly a call, because they’re “truth telling” newspaper folks. But then they can’t pursue anything without proof, which Eugene may have a lead on. That leads him to call up Max, who calls her brother Mercer. I kind of feel like they should be throwing a ball here or something. This season has been juggling a lot of plot threads, which is kind of par-for-course in The Walking Dead. There’s a lot of characters in this show and they all need stuff to do. But I do appreciate how they’re coming together neatly with the mid-season finale coming up, with everything pretty well set up, all things considered. With maybe one exception. But we’ll get to that later.

We do get another interesting twist. Connie and Kelly’s list has the name April Martens on it. April Martens was the civilian trapped in the panic room last week.

3. Mercer is a Robot. A Robot in Love

Hey, Mercer’s first name is actually “MIke.” That’s cool and totally humanizing! We learn this from Max, when she finally confronts him about the heist. Although we get a much more intimate picture of the man at the start of the episode. Mostly because him and Princess wake up in bed together, and mention multiple times how much sex they had. Because they’ve been doing the sex a lot. They say so. But it’s also the first time we see Mercer’s human side fully on display. He even makes a joke about being a robot. But even as exposed as he is in the opening scenes, he’s still not 100% comfortable discussing killing his own men in the last episode.

This comes after Max pulls him aside and tries to get his help in the Sebastian matter. Which gets a matter of fact response from Mercer, explaining how that’s just how things are. He has 50,000 folks to worry about after all. Sacrifices have to be made. But the conversation does lead him to open up to Princess later in the episode. It’s taken a bit for the two sides of Mercer to genuinely gel this season. He could often feel like two separate characters rather than one nuanced person. But finally getting to explore his thought process and ideology has smoothed out a lot of the rough edges on a genuinely compelling character.

Totally not a robot.

I do need to point out a line I liked for a completely separate (though tangentially related) reason. Max accuses Mercer of simply being a poster on the wall. It’s a nice call back to how the principle figures of the Commonwealth are celebrities in their own right. Plus it raises the stakes for Mercer’s inner conflict and perceived duty. Plus poster Mercer yelling at his real life self is a great visual.

Continued below

4. Ezekiel and the Illegal Appendectomy

Ezekiel’s doing great! His doctor isn’t though. Yumiko’s brother isn’t handling life well right now. Tomi lost a patient earlier that day. And judging from the bottle he’s keeping in his drawer, his problems have lasted a good while now. Tomi’s sort of an underappreciated character this season. Yumiko has more or less disappeared from the series this season, with Carol doing more of the legal wrangling that she was seemingly set up to do. That may have severely cut into Tomi’s presence on the show, but both might just be a consequence of there being so much to navigate this season. And with how tightly the existing plots are woven (with that one exception… don’t worry, it’s coming), cuts had to be made somewhere I suppose. But it’s nice to see him get some attention here.

Ezekiel approaches him about a patient needing an emergency appendectomy. Knowing how the Commonwealth’s medical system, it involves them stealing a number of medical supplies for Ezekiel’s secret clinic behind the vet. Then getting arrested. Then getting bailed out by Carol. Tomi’s patient hemorrhages at one point. But that’s the end of the C-plot. I’m really hesitant to call this bit filler, in case the surgery tent ends up being important later. This chunk of season 11 has been pretty carefully laid out, so there’s likely a payoff down the line. But if nothing else, it’s nice to see Tomi get a win. Or like… anything.

5. Right Back Where We Started From

So, the teaser we get at the end of the mid-season premiere arrives. And turns out it was a bit of a fake out. Clearly Daryl isn’t Team Commonwealth, no matter what armor he wears. Still more of the same otherwise. Hornsby pokes around at a vehicle and tries to get little Hershel to flip on his mom (until Elijah accosts him). But we’re left with the Commonwealth’s forces leaving only with suspicions. Daryl does pull his weapon on Hornsby though. Even gets the single AMC f-bomb for this season! But overall, we’re left at what seems like a stalemate.

Except!! Turns out Hornsby has known where Leah is this entire time! And decides to recruit her. For as careful as the plotting has been this season, this came out of nowhere. Having Leah link up with the Commonwealth isn’t on its own a bad idea. It’s probably the natural endpoint of the two stories. Especially with the finale not that far away. But few extra scenes that scattered through the season, or a couple extra bits of dialog would have helped. Just to give us the impression Hornsby had to actively try to find Leah. Or find out who she even is in the first place. Granted the same argument could possibly be made for Negan linking up with Ian. But it’s easier to buy Negan randomly bumping into a nearby group in the same little corner of the apocalypse than Hornsby having a full dossier on someone he barely knew existed a week ago.

But in the end, it’s still a shortcut at the end of an otherwise well constructed storyline. Again, I would have liked to have seen more with Yumiko and Tomi, but I do get the impression they’re just sidelined for now. And with the Mid-Season finale upon us, there’s a lot that needs to get wrapped up sooner than later.

//TAGS | The Walking Dead

Chris Cole

Chris Cole lives in a tiny village built around a haunted prison. He is a writer, letterer, and occasional charity Dungeon Master. Follow his ramblings about comics and his TTRPG adventures on Twitter @CcoleWritings.


  • -->