The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?

Directed by Catriona McKenzie and written by Nicole Mirante-Matthews, the midseason finale of AMC's The Walking Dead Part 2 was lean, mean & exactly the bloody midseason finale we needed it to be and then some. As Lance (Josh Hamilton) prepares to make his move on Alexandria, Hilltop & Oceanside, Leah (Lynn Collins) looks to settle some major scores with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) on Hornsby's behalf. Meanwhile, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) find themselves in the crosshairs of a Commonwealth double-cross. But the Commonwealth's problems don't end at their walls, with Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Max (Margot Bingham), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), Magna (Nadia Hilker), and Ezekiel (Khary Payton)- with Rosita's (Christian Serratos) help- forging a resistance from the inside that launched its first strike against really-not-so-nice Gov. Pam Milton (Laila Robins). So while we take a few extra seconds to process the cliffhanger ending that reminded us of Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) famous "They're f***ing with the wrong people" line from the "Terminus" days, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and throwing down an image spoiler buffer before a deep dive into S11E16 "Acts of God."

The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?
Image: Screencaps

Okay, most of this review is going to be quick, random bullet points because McKenzie & Mirante-Matthews delivered us a chapter that was high on tension, high on action, and never quit from beginning to end. But before we get to those, I need to address the one thing that makes this episode a classic…

The Walking Dead
Image: Screencap

Maggie & Negan Proved Rick Right & Wrong: In the middle of all of the action, we had what could be one of the most important moments in the franchise's run. Yup, that conversation between Maggie, Negan & Annie (Medina Senghore) when Maggie looks Negan in the eye and reveals to him that she's learning to trust him. That despite what's happened in the past, she knows that he saved Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) and others more than once, and that was something she will never forget. And while not exactly a full-on "GET OUT OF MAGGIE'S CROSSHAIRS FOR FREE" card, it was a realistic change in her thinking for Maggie to have in light of everything. and it was pretty clear how hard it got through Negan's emotional armor.

Barring any last-minute changes of heart (which we're doubting), this was a huge moment for the series because it appears to bring to a close the ongoing philosophical debate over whether Negan should be spared (Rick's position) or be killed for what he had done (Maggie's position). But while it may be a surface "win" for Rick's position, Negan appears to have evolved well beyond what anyone expected. For Rick, keeping Negan alive meant keeping him as a spectator looking in from the outside at a new society that grew & thrived in spite of him and not because of him. But now? Negan may end up being one of the key players in keeping the Commonwealth intact while taking out the governing big bads. So in a sense, both Rick and Maggie were wrong and Negan was right.

The Walking Dead
THE WALKING DEAD (Image: Screencap)

Random Thoughts: Okay, here's a look at what stood out, some of the questions/thoughts we have, and more:

If this was any other series, I would be arching an eyebrow over a plague of locusts as being a bit too heavy-handed symbolically for an episode entitled, "Acts of God." But considering the crossroads that every single person in this episode finds themselves at and the decisions they will have to make, the use of the biblical allegory was spot-on in representing how the world as they know it, in their respective mental snapshots that we see, is coming to an end. And now, the war is on to determine who is truly worthy of "inheriting the earth."

It was really nice seeing Bingham's Max getting a chance to shine, but we can't help feeling a bit nervous about her future with Eugene (though that could just be us being a bit nervously cynical considering the show's past track record with long-term happiness). Also, I appreciated Max bringing up the "…and then what?" question because it's an important one. Over the course of the past ten seasons, our heroes have never been challenged to take down big bad while also finding a way to maintain the society that they had. The Commonwealth is 50,000+ strong, most innocent folks just looking to get back to a sense of some normalcy. So to win this war will require not just surgical strikes from inside & out but a plan in place for governing once things go down. And that moment between Max and Sebastian (Teo Rapp-Olsson)? Creepy as f**k, especially when he touched her.

The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?
THE WALKING DEAD (Image: Screencap)

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who smiled when the Commonwealth soldiers led Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel to that vehicle graveyard to kill them. It was like trying to fight a shark by pushing them into the ocean because this trip has been down this road too many times. And once again, I'm loving "The Season of Nods" where our folks know what they need to do and who has whose back by a simple look and a nod.

The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?
THE WALKING DEAD (Image: Screencaps)

Another thing we appreciated was the way the episode avoided being melodramatic and dabbling in cliches when it came to Daryl. Once he knew that it was Leah who had Maggie, he got Aaron & Gabriel away from the situation before leaving to end things once and for all. And that's what he did. No long stretches of deep introspection or doubt. His ex-girlfriend has Maggie and is going to kill her, and Daryl's going to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen. And then near the end when he takes a shot at Hornsby? Thank you! We always wonder why heroes don't take their shots more often than they do, but in this case, common sense won out. Did Daryl get the job done? No, but he left Hornsby with a reminder every time he looks in the mirror that he's "f***ing with the wrong people."

The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?
THE WALKING DEAD (Image: Screencap)

And finally, the face-off between Maggie and Leah might be the second most important moment in this episode and for the franchise, but for much more symbolic reasons. When I discussed the Reapers in the past, I referenced how they seemed to represent an alt-reality version of how our heroes might've turned out and how battling them was a way of embracing a different approach to the future. As Maggie basically reads Leah like a book, we see just how similar the two are but also how the way each of them chooses to deal with their pain & losses differentiates them greatly. Because while Maggie understands Leah, she also knows where Leah's path leads and she's rejected it. It's that knowledge (combined with the disgust she feels at knowing Maggie's right) that causes the killer-cool Leah to snap, giving Maggie the win (though Daryl showing up was also a huge help).

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 16 "Acts of God"

The Walking Dead S11E16 Review: So You Say You Want A Revolution?
Review by Ray Flook

9.5/10
Directed by Catriona McKenzie and written by Nicole Mirante-Matthews, the midseason finale of AMC's The Walking Dead Part 2 was lean, mean & exactly the bloody midseason finale we needed it to be and then some. As Lance (Josh Hamilton) prepares to make his move on Alexandria, Hilltop & Oceanside, Leah (Lynn Collins) looks to settle some major scores with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) on Hornsby's behalf. Meanwhile, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) find themselves in the crosshairs of a Commonwealth double-cross. But the Commonwealth's problems don't end at their walls, with Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Max (Margot Bingham), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), Magna (Nadia Hilker), and Ezekiel (Khary Payton)- with Rosita's (Christian Serratos) help- forging a resistance from the inside that launched its first strike against really-not-so-nice Gov. Pam Milton (Laila Robins). So with Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) famous "They're f***ing with the wrong people" Terminus line vibing in my brain, here's a look at our review of S11E16 "Acts of God."

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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