Disney+ UK TV review: The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 3 (Hunted)
Neil Brazier | On 08, Sep 2021
Read on below for spoilery notes – and read our other Season 11 reviews here.
Picking up immediately where Episode 2 left off, Hunted jumps straight into some chaotic action that sees the survivors scatter and split up in an attempt to escape the furious onslaught by the Reapers. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are forced to work together despite the former’s refusal to accept there is any empathy in him. The two hardened survivors’ vendetta with each other remains at the back of their minds but both share the belief they can’t settle their feud if they’re dead. At Alexandria, Carol (Melissa McBride) is swimming in her own problems and tries to suppress them with a search for the missing horses.
Ignoring the Commonwealth, Hunted sees two stories played out with very different, yet equally difficult, outcomes. With the Reapers providing the intensity and heavy action, Carol’s search showcases the despair and futility of survival.
Aaron (Ross Marquand) knows the hunt for horses is hopeless. Magna (Nadia Hilker) understands the true motives that are pushing Carol. They both want her to stop as her actions are having an effect on the others. Ever since Carol set off the explosives in the caves, she has been racked with guilt over the disappearance of Connie and, while finding the horses would be a nice win for her, Carol is really hoping that she can find some trace of their missing friend outside the walls.
Alexandria is falling down. The horses are a symbol of hope for the group; finding them will allow them wider searches for supplies and help rebuild the community, if only by taking on some of the heavy lifting. But they also show just how desperate the group has become when Carol once again puts herself in a position to take on a heavy burden. This one scene is excruciating to watch and one of the most heart-wrenching (and dark) moments there has ever been in this series. Some viewers will find the scenes distressing but they perfectly encapsulate the harsh realities of survival.
The violence that occurs outside Alexandria, although still horrifically bloody, doesn’t have the same resonance as the quiet acts by Carol. As Maggie’s group are hunted and split from each other, the episode turns into more of a psychological thriller. Maggie finds herself in a mall, the light cracking through boarded windows, casting shadows and doubt at every corner. What makes these scenes so good is that we barely see the Reapers. We are put in the survivors’ shoes, trying to find safe passage through the carnage and it is electric.
Maggie is attacked in one scene and just when things look over for her, out of nowhere comes Negan; he is the “saviour” once again. These subtle call-backs do not go unnoticed and a crowbar dripping in blood and visceral matter is paid particular attention to. Maggie is once again put in a difficult position and forced to make some tough choices, but unlike the decision to leave Gage to the walkers in the last episode, she is struggling more now. This may be because she has a stronger relationship with the remaining survivors that didn’t exist with Gage, but her indecision is going to cost the group and Negan delights in pointing that out.
All the horrors they are facing, Maggie places firmly at Negan’s door, saying if he didn’t destroy everything that had built in the first place, they wouldn’t be where they are now. Whilst this may be true, it’s a little pedantic from someone who knows full well the horrors of this apocalyptic world. If it wasn’t Negan, it’d have been someone else. Yet, despite her trepidations, with the rest of the group scattered or missing, it is only her and Negan left to try and reach safety.
Although a hard watch in places and there is use again of an obvious jump scare, Hunted continues to deliver quality television from The Walking Dead. The atmosphere of the mall scenes invokes 80s horror thrillers and will have your hairs stand on end. The episode isn’t afraid to show how much of a formidable and foreboding threat the Reapers are and if they are going to survive this, they are going to need a lot more than hope.
The Walking Dead: Season 1 to 11 is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.
Innards and entrails (spoilers)
The episode opens with Maggie in the dark, frightened and on her knees. Where have we seen that before? This time she is able to get up but what she sees makes for the same horrific viewing as in that Season 6 finale. In the opening attack we learn just how dangerous the Reapers are. Without asking questions, without remorse, most of the “red shirt” survivors are killed instantly. Then comes the shocking execution of Cole (James Devoti), Duncan (Marcus Lewis) takes a barrage of bolts and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) has a rope slung around his neck and is dragged off screen – his fate at least still a mystery.
Even Negan and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) take hits, but both of these soldier on. The deaths come as a shock as both Duncan and Cole looked like they could be worthy comrades for the group and had proved their chops in the subway tunnels. Elijah is expected to be hung like the many bodies we saw strewing the roads but as ever with this show, if you don’t see them die, don’t count them out. Thankfully, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Dog appear to make it through unscathed.
With the group scattered, Maggie just makes it into the cover of the mall, but not before she’s had a knife thrown at her. These Reapers mean business! Despite clever use of empty bottles on the door handles as warnings, the Reaper must have found another way into the mall as he is able to sneak up and attack Maggie in the stairwell. Fortunately, Maggie is able to send him flying down the stairs but, much like when Daryl did the same thing to Beta, the Reaper continues to come after their victim like Michael Myers on Halloween.
Exploring the dimly lit mall, Maggie bumps into Alden (Callan McAuliffe) but before they can say one word to each other, two Reapers attack. Maggie manages to get a glass bottle in the struggle but it is Negan who makes the save. Alden is getting beat up rather badly, Maggie throws a knife, but the Reaper throws a blast grenade. In the aftermath, it is revealed Alden has been sliced across the stomach very severely. Negan tells her he knows a thing or two about theatrics and the Reapers have just warned them how dangerous they are. They must leave Alden behind. Maggie refuses and they steadily stumble away.
Outside, they find Agatha (Laurie Fortier) fighting off the dead. She has Duncan with her and he’s still breathing, but not for much longer. Maggie apologies to him for this but he doesn’t accept it, they knew what they were getting into and Maggie shouldn’t regret that. His final wish is that Agatha makes it home alive and tells Maggie to promise him before he gets a knife in his head.
Approaching Agatha, Alden is attacked and struggles but manages to fend off a walker as Negan watches on. Once again, it looks like Negan is allowing members of the party to fight for themselves, when moments earlier he risked himself to save them. Some mixed messages here, but Negan did think Alden would slow them down and so maybe this was a chance to prove he wouldn’t and, if he couldn’t, at least Negan could prove himself right.
Alden tries to tell Maggie that he isn’t going to make it back but she refuses to believe it, telling him they will make it home and they will rebuild the Hilltop. (It is worth remembering that Alden was a former Saviour and Maggie seems to have quite the friendly relationship with him. But then he didn’t kill her husband.)
Walkers are fast approaching them and Alden is slowing them down. As they try to fight them off, Agatha is bitten and Maggie has to be pulled away by Negan as the walkers enjoy a fresh meal. It does give them time to escape and find shelter in an abandoned church but it will be dark soon and the Reapers thrive in the dark.
After a lengthy chat, Maggie finally concedes that they have to go on without Alden. This means that the only two survivors left are her and Negan. How can these two co-exist and work together when Maggie is so dismissive of anything Negan suggests? The pair will possibly end up with a heated argument and nearly kill one another before being interrupted by the Reapers, they are that absorbed in one another.
The demise of the group happened so quickly but it did feel it would lead to just Maggie and Negan so the two could focus on their redemption. But there is hope that Elijah is still alive. Someone else who is certainly still breathing is Gabriel. He was nicked by a blade but that is all. In fact, Gabriel is seen hunting one of the Reapers. When he catches up to him, the Reaper is thankful that he has only been caught by a man of the cloth, but Gabriel explains that God doesn’t exist any more and kills him. While it would have been more astute of Gabe to try and garner some more information out of this man before he killed him, it continues to show how dark the former priest has become. It’s almost as if he could be the real villain in this scene, he’s so brutal.
At Alexandria, after capturing the horses, Carol is forced to slaughter one to feed the community. This scene hurts as we have just witnessed the group work hard to bring the horses home and the joy that doing so brought them. It was a breath of fresh air to see smiles on the survivors’ faces for once. Carol knows the group are starved and so she does what she feels needs to be done, even if it is to her own detriment.
Still struggling with everything that has come before – losing Henry, losing Daryl, losing Connie – Carol is broken and needs something or someone to help her, if only she could find it.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) makes a passing comment that she is having dreams about Abraham. He is trying to tell her something, a warning. This may be nothing, the survivors are always getting into some trouble or other, but it might be a nice way for Michael Cudlitz to make a cameo return in a dream sequence. He has directed a number of episodes since his character’s death.