The mid-season finale eleven for The walking dead offers solid action, betrayal and a surprise victim. “For Blood” opens on the Meridian Observation Wall during the day. Pope (Ritchie Coster), Leah (Lynne Collins) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) watch the walkers walk in a circle outside the gates. The Pope knows something is wrong. Daryl volunteers to take them away, but Pope instead sends Wells (Robert Hayes). Who is surrounded by walkers in the woods. Then stabbed by Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) wearing skin masks. Maggie picks up Wells’ radio as he is torn to pieces.

A storm ravages Alexandria that night. Magna (Nadia Hilker) notices that the hinges of the clicking door are faulty. Judith (Cailey Fleming) keeps the other kids calm as they cuddle up to each other. Suddenly a tree branch crashes through the window. Kelly (Angel Theory) looks out. A fire rages in the windmill. A piece of wall blows in the street.

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Pope knows that the missing Wells was killed by his “enemy”. Leah is furious that she sent Wells out if he thought “she was there”. Pope confronts her: “You’ve had a lot to say since your boyfriend arrived. In Alexandria, Aaron (Ross Marquand) brings everyone together. They decide to split into three teams. He’ll take care of the fire with Magna. Kelly, Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Carol (Melissa McBride) will fix the wall. Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Virgil (Kevin Carroll) will stay on to protect the house. Judith wants to go with Carol, but is asked to stay and take care of the children with Gracie (Anabelle Holloway).

Pope asks Daryl for information about “her”. Daryl claims to know little. Pope wonders why he’s keeping Daryl around. He compares Daryl to a “Tick dog” that he must have strangled. Daryl promises not to “lick it”. They return to the lookout. When Daryl asks about the strength of the walls, the walkers enter a minefield around the gates. They start to explode into pieces.

At home, Rosita continues to close the windows with the furniture. Gracie tells Judith that “she would like to be like her.” Virgil smiles at the interaction. He tells Judith “he sees his mother in her”. Gracie stands by the window and is grabbed by a walker. Judith cuts off his arm and stabs him in the head. The walkers start pounding on the door.

Reapers watch the marchers continue to explode. Pope knows that Leah blames him for their losses. He spits out verses from the Bible in a rant. Daryl and Leah share a worried look. Daryl sees Maggie and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) in their skin masks walking away with his binoculars. He walks to the other side of the wall and offers the Reaper on guard a cigarette. He stabs him in the neck and throws his body over it. Daryl points Maggie to a door. He runs down a stairwell and breaks the lock. Outside the wall, Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) is hit by mine shards. He’s stabilized by Negan. Daryl returns to the lookout with his crossbow. Pope orders Leah: “Prepare the hwacha!”

Maggie and Father Gabriel infiltrate Meridian under a pile of garbage. She tells him to “wait for his signal”. They separated. In Alexandria, everyone tries to hold the door. Rosita grabs a club and orders them to open it. Judith watches in wonder Rosita clubbing the strollers on the porch. She comes back exhausted: “Stay away from windows.

Father Gabriel reaches the second floor of a building. He opens a panel behind a wall and searches. Daryl follows Leah to the roof. Where another Reaper prepares the hwacha, a rocket launcher loaded with arrows. Leah is still devastated by the loss of Wells. She asks Daryl “how it would be” if they had “never left the cabin”. She became concerned about Pope’s actions. Pope announces by radio that he is about to join them.

Daryl tells Leah the truth: “There are people out there who walk with the dead … my people.” She is stunned by the confession: “You lied to me.” Daryl was “protecting his family”. He implores her help. The Pope arrives on the roof. Lea whispers “family”. Pope thinks there is “nothing more important”. He then orders Daryl to “find the woman and bring her to him when it’s done.”

Maggie bursts into a red van. She disconnects it, but a Reaper sees her. Maggie plants him and the Reaper is knocked down. She rolls at full speed, then rolls. The truck hits the gates creating a breach. Walkers begin to flock to Meridian.

Reapers run to kill walkers. On the roof, Pope orders them to open fire in the courtyard with the hwacha. Engineer Reaper is stunned, but prepares the rocket launcher. Leah begs him to stop. Their people are there! The Pope dismisses her, “God will protect them.” He cries out: “The Lord speaks through me! Don’t question me! The engineer turns on the fuse. Daryl pulls out his knives. When Pope turns to face him, Leah stabs him in the throat. Daryl throws down his knife and kills the engineer. Daryl quickly cuts off the burning wick.

A shackled Maggie tries to run away. She is run over by a Reaper. Who is then hit in the head by Father Gabriel with a sniper rifle from above. Pope squeezes his gushing neck as he tries to crawl. Leah walks on his back, then plunges her knife into the back of his head.

Daryl tries to direct Leah, but she refuses. She clicks on her radio, “The Pope is dead. Dixon murdered him. He’s with the enemy.” Carver (Alex Meraz) replies “they’re on their way”. “Why would you do that?” Daryl asks in complete disbelief. Leah responds calmly, “You would do anything to protect your family … me too.” Daryl jumps off the roof as Carver’s men arrive. Leah takes command, “We’re going to kill everything inside these walls.”

In Alexandria, the front door no longer holds. Rosita tells everyone to go upstairs. The group fled. Judith doesn’t see Gracie. She hears him scream from the basement. Water is pouring in. She breaks a piece of wood and gives it to Gracie as a weapon. They try to escape, but walkers are in front of the basement door. Judith locks it down as they huddle in fear.

It’s a scrum in the meridian court. Maggie and Negan fight the Walkers and Reapers together. Daryl is the only one to do the same. The Reapers suddenly fall back. Maggie looks up to the roof. Leah meets his gaze furiously as the hwacha shoots. A shootout of arrows shoots towards Maggie.

“For Blood” sets up an epic showdown between Leah and Maggie. Pope’s death and Leah’s refusal to go with Daryl was a brilliant climax. Will he have to kill his love to save Maggie? It is doubtful that Gracie or Judith is in real danger. But we don’t know what happened to the other Alexandrians who came out in the storm. The second half of Season Eleven will surely put Commonwealth troops in the fray. The walking dead returns for its final season next February on AMC.

Topics: The Walking Dead, Streaming

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