Eugene the Brave in Season 11 of The Walking Dead

Eugene the Brave in Season 11 of The Walking Dead

On this episode, we''ll meet you on the other side about this week''s chapter on "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" and "Melissa McBride" and her husband on the back of the book.

Thoughts & Observations on The Walking Dead Season 11 Ep.19 "Variant"

These are some powerful openers they''re running to take off these last episodes, and I''ve always wondered what the effect this season would be if Abraham (Micheal Cudlitz) had lived.

"Variant" picks up right where things went off with Daryl (Norman Reedus) cleverly directing Eugene off the streets and out of the clutches of the Commonwealth, as we saw earlier this week:

Is it just me, or is the title card becoming more stringent?

If you''re Mercer (Michael James Shaw), then you''ll want Pamela to protect him because of the way she described Max being capable of receiving assistance "before it''s too late." I''m quite impressed with how easily Robins can flip the switch on Pamela in "angry dictator mode."

We all know what Mercer''s decision is because the round-up of our heroes is underway.

Aaron, Jerry, Lydia, and Elijah are going to Oceanside, and Aaron wants to arrive sooner rather than later. So, yeah, we''ll get one of the reasons why the episode is entitled "Variant" sooner rather than later (and it will not require a boat trip to France to pull it off).

Christian Serratos does an excellent job of expressing Rosita''s disbelief, and anger over Mercer''s appearance at her, as if she''s only one suspect that he hasn''t known. Sorry, Mercer, but none of the shit is working on Rosita, who initially disarms him by bringing Max when he confronts Eugene, and then punching Mercer with a line about how she''ll call him if Eugene comes

Now, the race for Rosita to find Max so our heroes can take flight out of the Commonwealth at dawn. Big problem? Pamela just put a bounty on Eugene''s head and the heads of anyone he supports, promising. "Swift and final justice."

Does Jerry die? It''s time to say that IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO JERRY, WE RIOT! Thank you!

Elijah, you must admit to Lydia last week how she felt. And that look on Aaron''s face? Props to Marquand for his Rick Grimes-like ability to transition from killer badass to uber-dad in a heartbeat. That said, something''s eating at Aaron (thankfully, not literally), and he''s on edge.

Pamela and Sebastian finally have the mother-son honesty that the two so desperately needed before now. Again, serious props to Robins for portraying a heartbroken mother and explaining the inevitability of the moment that they both share

There is Princess (Paola Lazaro), who is putting Mercer''s ass to fire, and she knows that the Commonwealth intends to execute Eugene, and she is asking for her to understand how Eugene can be okay with it. Lazaro shook my heart, explaining to Mercer why Eugene is crucial to her, and why he is a trustworthy person.

Princess with the significant question in all of this: "What is the aim of this place if a good man is put to death?"

Remember when I mentioned that Marquand was giving off serious Rick Grimes sentiments in this episode? Look no further than that wonderful and heartbreaking exchange he had with Lydia about knowing when to live.

As we prepare to go climbing, we can see more of it. Fun.

Dammit. They got Max, but I never assumed that she would be on the run for long without our heroes. Yet Rosita arrived a minute too late and now she looks pissed. Meanwhile, Mercer says he is looking to execute Eugene and her pardon, despite not selling it to her brother. Shaw believes that Mercer''s father is a shambling man. And he believes that Mercer is attempting to do things in himself.

So far, we have discussed "You''d be wise to step aside, hoss." So far, no disrespect to Eugene, but Yup, Eugene is squaring up on him! An impressive moment of respect that Reedus dealt like a pro by acknowledging that it required a "less-is-more" approach from him. Because Daryl knew Eugene would not leave not because Eugene is a coward (look what he did with the Saviors) but because he''s smart.

My favourite moment between Princess and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) with both offering soulfully persuasive arguments for leaving and staying. Even if she was mistaken, the way Lazaro had her prove that maybe she should receive more than "the best of a bad situation."

Now? The confrontation that we''ve been waiting for Pamela & Lance. Ten seconds? Maybe not that long for Lance to sand the beans to "mommy" Pamela. To quote Megan Thee Stallion, Pamela is still warm. As Lance learns all too well about his role in the Miltons.

The way Lazaro conveys Princess''s past with the hope for something better she still holds onto with both hands in a beautiful, tear-inducing way that made me want to hug my monitor. Because even with off of that darkness in her backstory, she never gives up on the idea that "things might be better."

Yup. Is that "monster" line akin to Mercer?

JERRY, MASTER SWORDSMAN! Of course, there''s not much time to get off track with that wave of "smart walkers" that entered the room. It makes sense for Aaron to go for that "Scooby-Doo" ending by ripping off the mask. However, let''s simply say that Aaron is quite aware that the Whisperers are not the problem. So it''s time for Aaron and Jerry to have that enlightened conversation about the possibility of introducing plenty of

What I like better in these minutes than Elijah and Lydia kissing? The possibility of a "King Jerry" (with no disrespect towards King Ezekiel).

Rita, a serratos, understands why Eugene''s taking the decision to turn himself in, but she manifests the anger and frustration of someone who does not want to see a person killed for something wrong, or for something unjust. And that ending hug and tears from Rosita only wreakered the knife deeper into our hearts.

Eugene''s move by walking into the middle of the police station was a pretty pimp move. Max''s exoneration while seeing Mercer in the eye.

Now, before Rosita is about to join others? Pamela begins her "black ops" approach, and it appears like S11E20 "What''s Been Lost" (directed by Aisha Tyler and written by Erik Mountain) is in play.

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