Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo: Gene Page/AMC
Photo: Gene Page/AMC

‘The Walking Dead’ recap: season 9 episode 11 (‘Bounty’)

Originally posted Monday, February 25, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Samantha Morton’s Alpha - who could be a character in a “Mad Max” movie with her hauntingly bald visage - shows her evil side (kill a baby? why not?) and her “tender” side, taking her daughter back in with a slap and a hug.

Anyway, she does a straight-up trade for Lydia and the Hilltop complies because they were able to get Luke and Alden back. 

Was it worth it? In “The Walking Dead” world, a hostage trade like this seems like the norm. But unfortunately, horny Henry will gum up the works because, well, hormones. 

Alpha opend the episode with about 20 of her Whisperer buddies. Everyone is masked except her. 

“I show you my face because we mean you no harm,” Alpha drawls. She simply wanted Lydia, her daughter. 

On the surface, this seems like a simple exchange - except they had just killed Jesus. And Daryl now has a connection with Lyda via the “shared abusive parents” thematic.

So he says Alpha should turn around and leave. “Wrong answer,” she said. She signals for the rest of her army, who show up in droves, complicating the equation. 

When she asks who the leader was, nobody raised their hand because the Hilltop is semi-rudderless with Tara and Daryl somewhat taking the reins. 

“Your people crossed into our lands. Your people killed our people,” Alpha explains. “There will be no conflict. Bring me my daughter or there will be conflict.” 

Daryl strolls out all cocky, saying he’ll light’em all up. But conveniently, Alpha brings some kids along for the ride. And she offers up a fair trade: Alden and Luke for her daughter. 

Check... mate?

But idiot Henry escaped with Lydia. 

One of Henry’s nicer buddies knows where they went and with Enid, they find him hiding out with Lydia. Lydia is befuddled because her mom broke her own rules by coming to find her. “Maybe she misses me,” Lydia says. “Maybe she’s sorry.”

Endi makes it clear to Henry: they need to trade Alden and Luke for Lydia  or Alden and Luke will perish. “It’s not fair,” Henry complains. “It’s not right.”

“But it’s something we’ll have to live with,” Enid said. 

Then she gets a rare big speech for herself, referencing her own past about how she came up with the line about surviving somehow after seeing her parents die. Carl, in one of his going away letters, told her she needs to do more than that. Her message to Henry: you can’t let the bad things change you.

Ultimately, Lydia wants to go back to her mom and her people. She likes Henry - but not enough to betray her mother and cause an unnecessary war. She does give Henry a nice kiss. He is in loooove. 

“Sorry mama,” Lydia said after the hostage exchange. “Thanks for coming to get me.”

And being Alpha, she slaps her, then hugs her. 

Henry later whines to Daryl about how Daryl can live with what they did and Daryl provides a nice philosophical summary: “Life is just sh*t sometimes. And you live with it.”

But they can’t because then the story line with the Whisperers would end and that can’t happen. Henry idiotically leaves to find her.Then Daryl and Connie just leave to chase after him. Connie doesn’t even bother telling her crew. Huh? 

***

Alpha, annoyed by a crying baby, commands the mom to let the baby be. But Connie, hiding in the corn, takes her and eventually the baby goes to Earl and Tammy, who had lost their son earlier this season and now have a new child to watch over. 

***

On a lighter note, Jerry is “bunned up,” or “up the pole.” Or as Carol and King Ezekiel said, “What?” He and Mila are pregnant! There will be more Jerry’s to entertain us! “The future begins!” King Ezekiel said. At least the sitcom spin-off version of “The Walking Dead!” 

Here’s a version a fan did many years ago. 

Alas, this is a bit of a flashback moment.

Tara and Jesus (still alive!) come by and drop off a charter of rights, kind of a Constitution of sorts for the communities. It signifies a new beginning, hope, something that the more nihilisitic, transactional Whisperers do not espouse. 

We flash forward to the present. The Kingdom is prepping for a big fair for the Hilltop, Oceanside and Alexandria to come. King Ezekiel wants them to sign the charter Maggie had created (but Michonne had resisted). 

But first, a side mission: King Ezekiel, Jerry and Carol and his gang break into a movie theater filled with walkers to find a projector bulb. This could possibly the considered the most frivolous hunt we’ve ever seen on the show. 

But King Ezekiel provides a skeptical Carol with a plausible explanation. 

It had been five years since the last projector bulb burned out and many of the young’uns had never seen a movie. “A fair needs to project whimsy and wonder, right?” he says. “Bringing cinema back from the dead! Showing children their first film!” 

To love the arts is to be human. To be creative is part of living. And he feels it’s also a way to unite people. 

And they warm up with a soundtrack: Eddie Harris’ “It’s All Right Now.” There’s even some lip syncing from Jerry! (I guess there are still a few batteries left for the boombox...)

Ultimately, they get the bulb after some obstacles. “Maybe we’re done losing for awhile,” Ezekiel says. 

But the camera lingers on some sort of red symbol on a sign. What does it mean? 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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