UK TV review: The Walking Dead: Season 11, Episode 17 (Lockdown)
Neil Brazier | On 06, Oct 2022
Season 11, Part 3 will premiere with episodes arriving weekly on Mondays. Read our other Season 11 reviews here.
Exhilarating car chases; explosive shootouts; rioting civilians and bodies viscerally torn apart. Things you don’t expect to see in an episode of The Walking Dead, except the last one… but the first ever second, and last ever ever, mid-season premiere, Lockdown, sees the show return with them all. The episode, directed by Greg Nicotero, showcases some of the best elements of the series, adds some extra flare, yet also has those minor frustrations that always nitpick away at us if we let them. Divided into three equal chunks, Lockdown keeps the pace tight, the story driven and the danger high as The Walking Dead heads into its last ever episodes (assuming you don’t count the plethora of spin-offs announced over the summer).
Things are turning sour for politician Pamela Milton (Laila Robbins) at the Commonwealth. The news that her son, Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson), has killed another resident has circled and the population are revolting, demanding justice. Pamela tries to keep the peace by communicating with them but does so from behind a microphone, safely locked away in her office. When she does meet the crowd, they are furious – which, when she is protected by her armoured truck, encourages her to enact protocol B14, whatever that is. We are none the wiser but, shortly after, a herd of walkers are found approaching the community and lockdown is enacted. Could the two be linked?
It did seem that Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) was the real villain at the Commonwealth, but Pamela is now showing she has a darker side. Could the residents be facing two rogues, one more physical and one psychological? Our heroes have always known when it is time to move on and – with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) coming to warn them of Hornsby’s rage – they already have a plan in motion to evacuate. Arriving at the Commonwealth, Negan gets to interact with Mercer (Michael James Shaw) and an intense sit-down mimics a spy-thriller as they both have things they want to say without knowing whether they can trust the other.
Mercer might be the last hope for the Commonwealth – he has honour and integrity – but we’ve seen how well those traits get on in this world. Fortunately, he is also a monster, as shown when he and Rosita (Christian Serratos) mow down walkers piling up outside the city. Where he shows his weakness is when one of his soldiers is caught in a tug of war with some walkers. Instead of realising the futility of the situation, he continues to fight, wasting energy and resources.
But if he didn’t, we wouldn’t be treated to one of the great scenes of the episode.
One thing the series isn’t shy about is the use of blood, guts and gruesome kills and Lockdown provides us with some extremely visceral moments. Once again, the special effects team have shown there is nothing they can’t do and the on-screen brutality is so deliciously macabre, it shouldn’t be enjoyable, but it is so satisfying to watch.
Outside the walls, Hornsby continues his hunt for Daryl (Norman Reedus) and we are left wondering what happened at Oceanside for another episode. The pursuit demonstrates that the Commonwealth army might not be as imposing as they appear. Their intimidating armour and heavy artillery are no match for cunning and the type of brains you develop for fighting off evil for the past 11 seasons. Daryl, essentially a one-man Terminator, takes on the Commonwealth by himself as they show their certificate from the Stormtrooper School of Precision Shooting. At least the car took a hell of a beating, boys.
Lockdown started with a brief montage of what our survivors have endured to get to this point – a lovely package for long-time viewers. As the series begins its final run, this montage leaves us yearning for a full and satisfying conclusion to this epic saga. As this series ends, the show will live on, not just in the spin-offs, but in our memories, from the first episode to the last and all the stops along the way. The one thing The Walking Dead will never do is die.