The Walking Dead

TWD Theory: Mercer Is Part Of The Resistance & Wanted Sebastian To Die

The Walking Dead season 11 confirms a resistance movement exists inside the Commonwealth. Could Mercer, the community's military leader, be involved?

Is Mercer secretly involved with (and perhaps even leading) the Commonwealth’s underground resistance in The Walking Dead? It’s been one red flag after another since The Walking Dead season 11 formally introduced the Commonwealth. The unfriendly introduction and rough clearing process can be forgiven as necessary security measures for a zombie apocalypse, but the real concern lies inside the walls. Yumiko’s brother hiding his medical past, the stacks of confiscated dollar bills, the lavish luxuries enjoyed by Pamela Milton and her cronies – all giant, unmissable red flags The Walking Dead is waving with gusto.

The Walking Dead season 11’s “New Haunts” confirms what many would’ve already suspected: a resistance movement exists within the Commonwealth. Sick of the Miltons’ social hierarchy and the abject inequality that permeates every single street, an underground Commonwealth rebellion has sparked into life, built upon a message of equality and fairness. The secret rebellion stops being so secret when one rebel (the soldier Princess put on his backside in The Walking Dead season 10) causes a scene at Pamela Milton’s Halloween party. The infiltrator warns there are more like him and, sure enough, Commonwealth apartment raids turn up a secret meeting place. All that’s missing is a Che Guevara poster and a sickly, sweet smell in the air…

The man charged with locating and quashing this resistance is Michael James Shaw’s Mercer – head of the Commonwealth’s military. A worthy warrior distinguished by his striking red armor, Mercer is a trusted member of Pamela Milton’s inner circle and charged with the personal protection of her absolutely awful son, Sebastian. But as Mercer begins his mission to round up the resistance, The Walking Dead may be hinting Mercer is the resistance.

Mercer’s Commonwealth Philosophy Is The Opposite To Pamela’s

The Walking Dead makes no attempt to hide how, despite his lofty military position, Mercer doesn’t follow the same stuck-up, snobbish mold as Pamela Milton and Lance Hornsby. Ever since his debut appearance in The Walking Dead season 11, Mercer has proven himself a down-to-earth, working class hero who, unlike his superiors, isn’t using the zombie apocalypse as an excuse for social elevation. In “New Haunts,” Mercer’s disdain for Sebastian Milton sneaks to the surface during a “training” session, and he brazenly breaks protocol by inviting Princess on an impromptu date to the masquerade ball – an event he couldn’t look any more uncomfortable attending. If Mercer is one of the “good ones” among Pamela’s lieutenants, why is he turning a blind eye to the Commonwealth’s inner darkness?

Maybe he isn’t, as subtle details in The Walking Dead season 11’s “New Haunts” put Mercer’s fingerprints all over the Commonwealth’s underground resistance. Suspicions begin during Daryl and Rosita’s zombie-clearing practice session, where the entire emphasis of Mercer’s lesson is collective cooperation over individual glory. Daryl Dixon is clearly the strongest recruit Mercer has (narrowly followed by Rosita, after which it’s not even close), but the Commonwealth’s military commander chews Daryl out for not helping his partner enough. More than just team-building, Mercer’s “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘undead murder team'” attitude runs completely counter to Pamela Milton’s ethos of rewarding talented individuals (Yumiko, for instance) at the expense of others.

Mercer Acts Suspiciously During Walking Dead Season 11’S Halloween Party

The Walking Dead next arouses suspicion when a Commonwealth resistance member takes Pamela Milton’s assistant hostage during the Halloween party. Even in such tense circumstances, you’d expect Mercer to remain calm and collected, waiting patiently for a moment to diffuse the violence. When the camera cuts to Michael James Shaw’s character, however, he looks unusually panicked – which would make sense if Mercer was connected to the attacker. Identifying himself as Tyler, the rogue waiter is evidently going off script, and freaking out in public actually threatens to expose the resistance. Mercer isn’t concerned because Tyler grabbed a steak knife – he’s worried this idiot will put the underground rebels in danger.

That would explain why Mercer doesn’t immediately pursue Tyler. Rather than charging after the culprit, as you’d expect from such a seasoned military commander, Mercer helps Pamela’s personal assistant to her feet and then… just sort of stands there? Daryl has already long set off by this point, but maybe Mercer was dallying to give the rebel a head-start at avoiding capture. Only after Sebastian’s rude protests does Mercer order his men (with some audible reluctance) to “get him.” Tyler’s history as a Commonwealth soldier is likely also significant, since Mercer would’ve known about his fired trooper’s delicate family situation, and could recruit him to the resistance’s cause.

The Walking Dead’s final clue in “New Haunts” comes during the closing scene apartment raids. Commonwealth soldiers bust into a hidden resistance hideout, but the entire building has been abandoned. Maybe the rebels caught wind of Tyler’s masquerade party show and dance and decided to relocate, but someone on the inside giving them a heads-up is also distinctly possible. Since Mercer would’ve ordered the assault himself, he could’ve warned his resistance allies when soldiers were approaching.

How The Walking Dead Foreshadows Mercer’s Betrayal

As The Walking Dead comic readers know, Mercer does indeed aid the Commonwealth resistance in Robert Kirkman’s illustrated story. That’s no guarantee AMC’s TV show will do the same (this whole fake Stephanie thing is a TV-original subplot, and no Alexandrians become soldiers in the comic either), but the source material does make Mercer’s betrayal more probable.

Two key moments in season 11’s “New Haunts” foreshadow The Walking Dead honoring Mercer’s comic book arc. First, the winner of the Commonwealth’s fancy dress competition is a youngster clad in orange plastic pretending to be Mercer. On the red carpet later that night, Mercer is then the only guest of honor who receives a round of applause upon arrival – much to Lance Hornsby’s chagrin. These details establish Mercer as a hero of the people, admired by adults and children from all walks of Commonwealth society. And it’s not just his good looks and stylish armor that people love – the Commonwealth’s working class see Mercer as one of them. He may be granted the trappings of fine wine and extravagant parties, but Mercer doesn’t belong in those circles, feeling more at home fighting in the mud, protecting Commonwealth citizens regardless of their wealth.

Pamela Milton should be concerned by the public clout Mercer commands. There’s already an undercurrent of discontent among the community’s less pampered survivors, and should a respected figure like Mercer champion their cause, many would flock to his side.

Is Mercer Trying To Kill Sebastian In The Walking Dead Season 11?

Mercer’s true goal in The Walking Dead may be to bring equality into the Commonwealth… but is he also doing God’s work by trying to off Sebastian Milton? In The Walking Dead season 11’s “New Haunts,” Mercer begrudgingly leads Sebastian’s dri… er, advanced military training, and Pam’s hapless son immediately gets into bother with his first undead opponent. As Sebastian struggles, the zombie’s teeth mere inches from taking a fleshy bite, Mercer stands by and does nothing, forcing Daryl Dixon to step in with a well-aimed crossbow bolt. Contrast this scenario with Daryl’s team-building exercise, where Mercer intervened by shooting the zombie Daryl’s partner was struggling with. Mercer clearly did not want to save Sebastian – and who can blame him? If Daryl hadn’t done the honors, would Mercer have gone so far as to let Sebastian die?

Adding further weight behind Mercer’s murderous intentions is Sebastian Milton’s debut scene from earlier in The Walking Dead season 11. The military chief was supposed to be guarding the Governor’s son, but somehow let a small group of zombies descend upon the spoiled young brat. For a man who’s both formidable and strategically astute, Mercer sure messes up a lot when Sebastian’s around…

What reason could Mercer have for killing Sebastian, other than doing the entire Commonwealth a solid? Perhaps Mercer believes the death of her son will force Pamela to relinquish leadership, so the resistance can then insist upon a fair election. Maybe he’s concerned Sebastian will inherit his mother’s position, just as Pamela inherited her father’s. Whatever the reason – and irrespective of whether he’s a secret resistance member – Mercer certainly seems to be gunning for Sebastian Milton in The Walking Dead.

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