Review: #TheWalkingDead S11x19 VARIANT #TWD


Previously: S11x18 A New Deal

– S 11 x 19   VARIANT –

Directed by Karen Gaviola

Written by Vivian Tse 

‘Since when did the dead use frickin’ doorknobs?’ asks Jerry.  Anyone else think, um, Jenny Jones in the very first episode?  😉😄  Though viruses mutate; clearly this ability disappeared pretty quickly.

The possibility of future mutations adds yet another dimension of scariness – more to come, in Isle of the Dead and the Richonne and Daryl spin-offs?

The theme-park village looked like an ideal setting for Kingdom 2.0 at first glance, and Jerry said about them making a new home there seemed feasible.  I loved Jerry in this episode – he dealt with Aaron’s somewhat stubborn determination so perfectly, up to and including not giving him a ‘told you so’ about their wagon not making a very good off-road vehicle. 

Saint Aaron was back, though, when he gave Lydia such great advice as far as Elijah is concerned.  Echoes of last episode, in which Carol told her that you have to take happiness where you can.

I liked so much about this episode, but felt there were two scenes missing: 

  1. I needed to see how the four of them (three and a half if you take into consideration Jerry’s injury) killed all those Walkers between them, especially as at least some of these were the Variants of the title, who have regained their initial skills of climbing and using rocks as tools.  There were masses of them ~ I was geared up to see a big battle, but suddenly it was morning and they were all dead.  How?
  • We never saw how Pamela Milton discovered that the workers-turned-Walkers in the grey boiler suits had been killed by Shira and Calhoun on the instructions of Lance, rather than by Eugene and Max.  Presumably one of them gave up the information, but we don’t know this.  Do correct me if I’m wrong, and I missed it!

Talking of which, meanwhile back at the Commonwealth…

‘The prick had it coming’

I have no doubt that Lance will survive being locked into a cell with Walker Seb and soon-to-be Walker Calhoun.  I suspect his eventual demise will be a lot more satisfying ~ public, and orchestrated by one of our gang!

Occurred to me that last week’s ‘A New Deal’ was one of those pivotal episodes when an action (i.e, what Eugene and Max did with that tape) affects everything and everyone, and influences all future events.  The theme of ‘Variant’ was, I thought, the definition of what makes a ‘good man’, as per the illuminating conversation between Princess and Mercer…

… and Max quoting her father when refusing to sign the document that would have secured her freedom: ‘Speak truth no matter what the cost.’  Nice one, Max and Mr Mercer Snr!  So Mercer is getting it from all sides – perhaps he should listen to both his sister and his girlfriend.  I imagine he will…

This, of course, ties into the theme of redemption ~ Eugene doing what was good and brave instead of cowardly.  He’s become a lion at last; Abraham would have been proud.

Other good stuff:

  • When Eugene refused point blank to leave the Commonwealth without Max, Rosita did not argue or get emotional about it, but understood that his stance was immovable, so went off to deal with the situation as it was, not as she wanted it to be.  Rosita rocks.  More and more all the time.

  • Princess, full stop.  Loved how she called bullshit on Mercer – he said he was doing ‘everything in his power’ to protect Eugene and she replied ‘but not everything..‘.  Then there was the statement that the interrogation room ‘smells like armpits and ass’ 😂. The pink jacket is back ~ like Judith and Daryl putting The Hat and The Waistcoat back on, this felt symbolic!

Whole scene here:

When Lance cried out that the trouble started when the Hilltop and Alexandria people arrived, I heard an echo of Spencer Monroe who, more than once, was heard to say that everything went wrong when Rick and co arrived.  Depends whose side you’re on, Lance.  Didn’t end well for Spencer….

Next week:

and…. episode 21!