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TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 9, Episode 13

Season 9, Episode 13: Chokepoint

PLOT: Daryl battles Beta and the Whisperers while the Kingdom deals with a new group of survivors.

REVIEW: After The Walking Dead season 9's mid-season finale aired back in November, a trailer was released for the rest of the season, and three and a half months later it turns out that tonight's episode contained two of the most intriguing moments from that trailer: the fight between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beta (Ryan Hurst), the hulking second-in-command of the Whisperers group, and the shot of a mysterious Angus Sampson wearing a cowboy get-up and walking through the Kingdom.

I was interested to see who Sampson would be playing on the show, but the introduction to his character had me cringing. Sampson's character Ozzy is the leader of a group called the Highwaymen, who make their presence known by informing the Kingdom that they have taken control of the roads around their community and will be charging visitors to their upcoming fair a toll to get by. It seemed like an odd time to bring a new antagonistic group onto the show when we're in the middle of dealing with the Whisperers, and honestly I'd be just be fine if The Walking Dead never again shows us another douchebag group that has picked a name for their little club. The Saviors mess has put me off from that, so much that I didn't even like it when Whisperers leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) was standing at the gates of Hilltop a couple episodes back. Thankfully, the Highwaymen are quickly dissuaded from being jerks and become allies when presented with the chance chance to watch a movie. Cinema brings people together even in the post-apocalypse.

So Angus Sampson is on The Walking Dead now. That's cool, I liked him in the INSIDIOUS films and look forward to seeing what he'll be contributing as Ozzy.

It was also a nice touch that the Highwaymen were able to move in on the Kingdom's territory as a consequence of Carol (Melissa McBride) killing off the previous adversarial group that was hanging out in the area, the one led by former Savior Jed, in the episode Who Are You Now? Luckily, killing Jed to make way for the Highwaymen doesn't appear to have been a terrible mistake. Yet. 

The Walking Dead Nadia Hilker Alanna Masterson Eleanor Matsurra

While Carol and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) were dealing with the Highwaymen, who went on to prove themselves by saving visitors from a zombie attack, Daryl was preparing for the main event. On the run from Beta and a "fighting unit" of Whisperers, Daryl and his companions - Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Henry (Matt Lintz), Alpha's daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy), and Dog - seek shelter in a building Connie is familiar with and hole up on a floor that can only be reached by two stairwells that are barricaded enough that zombies won't be able to pass through. The Whisperers are going to have to confront them with no zombies to hide behind.

The stage is set for that fight, but before we get there we see the advancement of the romantic relationship that's developing between Lydia and Henry, and hints at a potential relationship between Daryl and Connie. I'm trying not to look too deeply into this, but it does seems like they're building up a Daryl / Connie love story. He gives her a lot of compliments, she keeps winning him over in their discussions, and sometimes his dog would rather follow her than him. You have to trust your dog about these things.

But never mind the romance for now. I've been excited to see the Daryl vs. Beta fight for months, and got even more excited when Hurst revealed in a recent interview that the fight took up three pages in the script. I could have watched this thing go on for thirteen pages, but I'll take three. It was awesome to watch these two go at each other, with Beta tossing Daryl around and bashing through walls. Daryl was obviously physically outmatched, but he's a badass, so you knew he was going to find a way to do some damage. The way it ended reminded me of the sort of thing that would happen when James Bond would battle the hulking henchman Jaws back in the day. Beta even has metal in his grill like Jaws did.

That fight did not disappoint, and I enjoyed watching the fight with the rest of the Whisperers unit as well.

Chokepoint delivered some fun action and got Angus Sampson onto the show, that's the making of a good episode in my book.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: I grew up catching episodes of the sitcom Grace Under Fire on TV, and never imagined that I would someday see the star of that show, stand-up comic Brett Butler, bashing zombies in the head. Now I have seen that sight, and it was my favorite zombie moment of the episode.

GORY GLORY: Plenty of zombies get dispatched, but the moments of gore weren't really anything special. It's the same zombie head smashing, slashing, and spearing we've seen hundreds of times. Some Whisperers are killed as well, but it's not that gory. I'll go with the moment where Daryl axes a Whisperer in the chest through a sheet of plastic. There was only a bit of blood, but it was something different.

FAVORITE SCENE: Daryl vs. Beta!

FINAL VERDICT
 

Source: JoBlo

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