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Recap / The Walking Dead S 09 E 11 Bounty

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Season 9, Episode 11

The Whisperers face off with Hilltop and demand Lydia be returned to them.


  • Action Survivor: Due to their age, Tammy and Earl likely aren’t much use in combat, but they still volunteer to run outside the walls of Hilltop to help Daryl rescue Connie and the baby.
  • Always Save the Girl: Henry runs off on his own to save Lydia from the Whisperers.
  • Bad Liar: Ezekiel can barely keep a straight face when Carol questions what his sidequest is. However, Jerry really takes the cake since he can barely bring himself to plead the fifth when questioned by Carol.
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  • Beneath the Mask: No pun intended, but Alpha does make an effort to put up a respectful, calm persona as she addresses Hilltop during the negotiations. However, when she starts making serious threats and orders the Whisperer’s baby be left to the walkers, the true monster begins to show itself.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Regarding the mission to retrieve a bulb for the Kingdom’s film projector. Carol argues that it’s not completely necessary to the Kingdom and that they risk getting caught by a herd. Ezekiel concedes this, but declares that the experience of a movie night and the joy it will bring is something they should take to the fair.
  • Break the Cutie: The innocence and wholesome idealism Henry has regained since his traumatic childhood begins to break down when Lydia is forced to return to the Whisperers.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Jesus and Tara bring Ezekiel Michonne’s multi-community charter, which she did not finish before Rick’s disappearance. It was apparently finished sometime during the second Time Skip.
    • Henry tries to hide Lydia in the Hilltop teens’ hangout shack that he partied in during “Evolution”.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Enid references the death of Carl, and his parting letter to her that she received in midlate Season 8.
    • Henry mentioned movie nights at the Kingdom back in Season 7’s “The Well”.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A very complicated version occurs with Alpha’s feelings for her daughter, since she greets her with a vicious strike on the face before hugging her. The Whisperer mother is also aghast when she’s ordered to abandon her baby to the walkers.
  • Foreshadowing: The movie on the marquee of the theater is The Silent Army, which deals with a camp of child soldiers. The fourteenth episode of the season, "Scars" involves a group of murderous children who are revealed to be responsible for the X's on Daryl and Michonne's backs.
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  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Enid and Alden have this after he’s been rescued from the Whisperers.
  • I Have Your Wife: Alpha has Luke and Alden as her bargaining chips to get Lydia back. It’s a more literal case in regards to Enid since Alden is her significant other.
  • Insistent Terminology: Not even Lydia can call her mother anything but “Alpha”.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Alpha claims that the group crossed into her territory, which is frankly a bullshit excuse to kill people.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Henry risks the standoff going horribly wrong when he runs off with Lydia to hide her.
  • Posthumous Character: Played With in the case of Jesus. The episode opens with a flashback to sometime during the six year Time Skip, in which Jesus appears, even though by the present timeline he’s already dead.
  • Promotion to Parent: Or re-promotion, as Earl and Tammy appear to have taken in the former Whisperer baby.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Ezekiel points out that in the post-apocalyptic world, many children have never even seen a movie before.
    • At the end of the day, Hilltop is more interested in saving two of their own as opposed to an imprisoned member of the group that just killed their leader.
  • Replacement Goldfish: It is lightly implied that the Whisperer baby will serve as this for Earl and Tammy.
  • Sadistic Choice: Allow Alpha to kill Alden and Luke and potentially attack Hilltop afterwards, or send a young girl back to a gang of psychopaths run by her abusive, violent mother?
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Henry certainly appreciates how Lydia looks in fresh, clean clothes.
  • The Social Darwinist: Alpha decides to allow a Whisperer’s baby be eaten by walkers.
  • Smug Snake: Alpha initially starts with a reserved demeanor, but when she begins revealing the cards she has in play (large numbers, a baby, and her hostages), she grows more and more smug by the minute.
  • Tempting Fate: Ezekiel suggests that maybe they’re done losing for a while... just as they appear to cross into Alpha’s territory.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Henry runs off with Lydia when he learns the Whisperers have come to collect her before he learns Alpha is holding Luke and Alden hostage to bargain for her daughter. When he realizes what’s at stake, he immediately backs down.
  • Villains Never Lie: Alpha is, to her credit, totally on the level during negotiations. She doesn’t try to pull any fast ones and opts for the most peaceful solution to get her daughter back, and Alden and Luke are returned safe and sound.
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