After last week’s episode slipped into neutral (outside of a stand-out performance from Samantha Morton), The Walking Dead jumped back on the horse and delivered another exhilarating episode, successfully combining heroism, old-school horror, humor, and even a Western flair in “Chokepoint,” another successful ninth season episode. In doing so, the series also elevated another featured player into a future The Walking Dead fan favorite, providing the framework for how the series can continue to maintain viewer interest even as long-time favorites exit the series.
At The Hilltop, near the beginning of the episode, Kelly frets about her sister’s whereabouts to Tara, who tells her not to worry, because she’s with Daryl. Yumiko, however, delivers the perfect rejoinder, suggesting that no one need to worry about Daryl either because he’s with Connie. Her words are prescient. Connie, the deaf survivor played by Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff, takes center stage this week, offering a break-through performance after she takes charge as she, Daryl, Lydia and Henry flee from Beta and a group of Whisperers trying to retrieve Lydia.
Daryl’s initial plan is to ditch Lydia and run, as he refuses to put The Hilltop in further danger by bringing Lydia back there again. After an argument ensues between Daryl and Henry about Lydia’s future, Connie takes charge, directing Daryl and Co. to the top floor of an abandoned building, which will act as a chokepoint. Because the walkers can’t traverse stairs, The Whisperers are separated from their “guardians,” leaving them without their defenders and only one narrow access point to Lydia.