The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 9 Time Jump & Daryl Twist Explained

The Walking Dead season 11's "No Other Way" episode ends with a surprise time skip and an even more surprising Daryl Dixon twist. What's going on?

Head still spinning from The Walking Dead season 11’s stealth time jump and shocking Daryl twist? Here’s everything we know. “No Other Way” picks up right where The Walking Dead left off back in October 2021, with Maggie and Daryl’s group battling Leah’s Reapers, and Alexandria facing a storm that threatens the entire community. For most of its runtime, The Walking Dead season 11, episode 9 does the housekeeping on these two storylines. Maggie kills every Reaper but Leah, and her party leaves with the food they came for. Alexandria weathers the weather without any main characters getting bitten or blown away to Oz.

Predictably, the episode’s closing moments kick The Walking Dead season 11 up a gear. Without warning, the Commonwealth knocks on Alexandria’s gate, Eugene tagging along in an ambassadorial capacity. The science geek evidently couldn’t keep the location secret after being jailed for punching Sebastian Milton, and agreed to bring the two communities together. Ever the politician, Lance Hornsby presents himself to the bedraggled Alexandrians and offers them a choice – stay and accept the Commonwealth’s kind offer to rebuild, or go back with him and experience all the frosted delights Pamela Milton has to offer.

Before anyone can answer, The Walking Dead season 11, episode 9 drops a shock time jump, skipping ahead 6 months to a tense showdown between Maggie and the Commonwealth’s army, which now counts a familiar face among its ranks. What in the name of Rick Grimes is going on here?

What Happened During Walking Dead Season 11’S Time Jump?

A whole 6 months pass since the Commonwealth’s arrival at Alexandria, but The Walking Dead offers little indication as to how the beleaguered community responded to Lance Hornsby’s offer. Instead, the final scene of “No Other Way” shows Maggie at Hilltop, back in charge of the community she originally left in The Walking Dead season 9. Elijah is with her, but we see other, less identifiable characters milling in the background too. A small unit of Commonwealth soldiers arrive at Hilltop’s front gate demanding entry, and seem willing to deploy force if necessary.

We can assume most Alexandria characters happily accepted Lance’s deal, and moved to the Commonwealth during The Walking Dead season 11’s 6-month time skip. Trailer footage shows the likes of Carol, Magna and Rosita joining Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess at Pamela Milton’s post-apocalyptic haven, which accounts for almost all of The Walking Dead’s principle cast. Maggie, meanwhile, appears to lead a small community of survivors who turned Lance down. That group could potentially include Aaron and Lydia, since we don’t see those two during any Commonwealth trailer scenes. Even if some Alexandrians said no to Lance, however, that shouldn’t result in hostilities. Why is the Commonwealth attacking Hilltop? And why didn’t Maggie stay in Alexandria?

While it’s possible Hilltop was simply less of a wreck than Alexandria, there’s likely a deeper reason Maggie returned to her old haunt. The Commonwealth is a community that rarely acts from the pure goodness of its heart, and granting Alexandria’s residents fast-track entry into their utopia may come at a cost. As payment, Commonwealth soldiers might’ve transformed Alexandria into an outpost or production factory, effectively kicking Maggie and the others out. That would also account for the obvious bad blood between sides.

The bigger question is why the Commonwealth would bother invading a small, barely-standing settlement like Hilltop, since Maggie’s people probably won’t have something the Commonwealth wants. Hilltop may, however, have someone the Commonwealth wants. From The Walking Dead season 11, part 1, we know the Commonwealth’s ice cream and delicious cakes barely cover the corruption and inequality. Has Maggie been welcoming Commonwealth defectors into Hilltop? People Pamela Milton doesn’t want walking free?

Why Has Daryl Joined Walking Dead’s Commonwealth

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 9’s biggest twist is Daryl Dixon revealing himself as a Commonwealth soldier, complete with white “Stormtrooper” armor. This scene confirms Daryl was among the Alexandrians who accepted Lance Hornsby’s offer in “No Other Way,” and that’s a decision The Walking Dead foreshadows heavily throughout the episode. At Meridian, Daryl was the only soul advocating for peace between Leah’s troops and Maggie, but with neither woman willing to give ground, his attempts at diplomacy fell on deaf ears. During his speech, Daryl implored, “We’re doing this all wrong. We survived everything, for what? Keep fighting, keep killing each other?” Daryl’s dissatisfaction and weariness explains his decision to join the Commonwealth. He’s tired of the same old violent cycle, and believes a more established community like the Commonwealth may hold the solution – living, rather than merely surviving.

And upon joining the Commonwealth, what else is Daryl going to do but become a soldier? Carol can bake cookies, Yumiko knows the law, and Ezekiel can help with the animals, but Daryl has been a warrior – and a damn good one – since the zombie apocalypse began. The most obvious way he can contribute to his new community is joining its military. The real question is why he’s willing to break down Maggie’s door after The Walking Dead season 11’s time skip.

Even if Daryl believed in the Commonwealth’s cause and joined its army, surely he’d refuse any order of violence against friends? Could this prove Daryl is actually a double agent, infiltrating the Commonwealth, but still loyal only to his friends? Daryl already infiltrated the Reapers successfully, and trailer footage shows him beating up Commonwealth soldiers aplenty. Don’t rule out Daryl betraying the Commonwealth and siding with Maggie.


What Happens Next In Walking Dead Season 11?

Anyone hoping for immediate answers to The Walking Dead season 11, episode 9’s shock ending will need to temper their expectations. Despite the narrative skipping ahead 6 months, The Walking Dead will now backtrack, explaining what happened in the aftermath of Lance’s offer, and how we reached the point where Daryl leads a Commonwealth offensive to Maggie’s Hilltop. If promo footage for The Walking Dead season 11, episode 10 is anything to go by, the focus will remain firmly on the group who chose the Commonwealth, and their first impressions of this new home, leaving Maggie’s fate and the source of her Daryl feud somewhat mysterious. The Walking Dead season 11 will probably then inch forward until catching up to episode 9’s Hilltop confrontation.

How Walking Dead’s Latest Time Jump Changes The Comics

Whatever comes next for The Walking Dead’s Commonwealth-Hilltop divide, season 11 has deviated from Robert Kirkman’s original comics. Just like the TV show is currently, The Walking Dead’s comic series teased a hidden darkness bubbling underneath the Commonwealth, fueled by inequality and oppression. Though Pamela Milton’s methods certainly cause friction with Rick Grimes and his people, however, the conflict doesn’t escalate as far as Alexandrians becoming Commonwealth soldiers and threatening violence against their former friends on Governor Milton’s behalf. The comic books incorporate a civil uprising inside the Commonwealth, but Rick plays peacemaker, and there’s no major conflict between The Walking Dead’s protagonists and the Commonwealth’s elite. Without Rick around, the flames of resentment are burning strong in The Walking Dead season 11, foreshadowing a conflict that spills more blood than the equivalent saga in Kirkman’s comic book.

Perhaps The Walking Dead is feeling pressure to deliver a more grandiose battle for its final season, and will stoke the fires of a Commonwealth skirmish far beyond what the comics attempted. Alternatively, The Walking Dead season 11 could be building toward a super-dark final season twist. Although no comic characters defected to the Commonwealth’s army, Dwight became so obsessed with aiding the community’s underground resistance, he pulled on gun on Pamela Milton. To avoid all-out war (again), Rick shot Dwight in the head. Neither character is present in The Walking Dead season 11, but if Daryl and Maggie are already drawing battle lines, a similarly shocking shooting may not be far away.

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