UK TV review: The Walking Dead: Season 11, Episode 12 (The Lucky Ones)
Neil Brazier | On 17, Mar 2022
Read our other Season 11 reviews here.
It’s time for Governor Milton (Laila Robins) to perform her diplomatic visit to the communities of Hilltop, Alexandria and Oceanside (remember them?) to see if they can be offered a part in the Commonwealth. The journey is a long one, out of state for the Commonwealth, but Lance (Josh Hamilton) is insisting that this will be a great move for the larger community. However, everyone – including Pamela – can see through him and that this is truly a power play by him to better his position.
We have spent 10 seasons with these survivors struggling to make ends meet, to stave off waves of the undead and numerous human enemies. The Commonwealth – thousands strong who haven’t had to struggle a day in a decade – clearly do not need these communities, but Lance, with his manipulative methods and desperate need for power, has convinced both Pamela and the leaders of the other communities otherwise. His motives are unearthed slightly, but there is something deeper and darker going on inside his head that remains secret.
The visit also serves as an opportunity for some of the survivors to return home and share stories. Trust is something that has been largely waived by the survivors in favour of the Commonwealth, all based on one conversation Eugene (Josh McDermitt) had with a resident there. After everything these people have gone through, you would expect them to be weary of other groups, especially one that boasts such a large population, something only Maggie (Lauren Cohan) seems to consider. You don’t have to look back very far to see examples of our survivors engaged in battles to the death over food supplies; yet, with the Commonwealth, there is no danger of fear or intimidation and no threat to supplies or lives in return. Given everything we and the survivors have gone through, if that doesn’t sit right with you, then The Lucky Ones might just make you see why.
Rogue Element exposed something deeper going on at the Commonwealth, Eugene was betrayed and spied on and Lance Hornsby was at the middle of it. Despite this, nothing changes, Eugene is given another chance and Lance is out spreading his political propaganda, doing everything he can to manipulate the three communities to join him, wanting nothing in return. He does a good job of it, too, but not good enough – former farm girl Maggie can’t be tempted by his big city dreams, which exposes cracks in Lance’s state of mind and the real reason he was so keen to bring these communities in: political power.
While Lance is fighting for control at the top, there is still a class struggle going on at the bottom of the Commonwealth. Now sharing a mutual respect for one another, Mercer (Michael James Shaw) seems comfortable with expressing his true feelings about his home to Daryl (Norman Reedus) and they aren’t as bright and shiny as his armour. Mercer doesn’t go into details but offers that the Commonwealth isn’t all it appears to be, a feeling that is shared by his sister, Max (Margot Bingham), who holds a role close to Pamela and the true person speaking to Eugene on the radio. The uprising could have some powerful people on its side.
Elsewhere, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) has Carol (Melissa McBride) and her close ties to Lance to thank for his sudden rise up the hospital waiting list. Despite feeling guilty about this at first, he is convinced that he has given so much to the wider world that now it is time for it to give back to him. The comparisons between Carol and Lance are on show for all to see here, but as Lance looks to be using his power for his own gain, it is unlikely that Carol will allow herself to follow. This could mean Lance has two powerful women to contend with – and neither of them is Pamela Milton.
The Lucky Ones is a solid episode that is more political than it is powerful, but does offer some important information to allow us to see the real side to Lance. The over-use of gunfire, which would never normally be allowed in these communities, is symbolic in Maggie making her final decision whether to join the Commonwealth, but it also a distraction from an otherwise fun slow-motion zombie-slaying scene. Maggie will be a key player in the political game Lance is playing, the endgame of which is still very much in question.