In this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Daryl hunts his friends with his new buddies.  Meanwhile, a very much alive Connie and Virgil find themselves in a house of horrors.  Although not a perfect episode, “On the Inside” is one of the better episodes the show has had in years.


At the Reaper camp, Pope’s men pull out Frost’s nails during interrogation.  Daryl’s face remains blank as he watches.  When challenged, Daryl agrees to take a crack at Frost.  To Frost’s credit, he continues to protect Daryl under severe circumstances.  After Daryl cuts off Frost’s finger, Frost confesses that Maggie’s group was headed to a little yellow house.

Once in the neighborhood of the house, the Reapers fan out to do recon.  Daryl hangs back and pulls on a hanging dead power line to signal to Maggie’s group that she is being watched.  Maggie sees the cord move, and she, Negan, Gabriel, and Elijah have enough time to hide under the floorboards.  When the Reapers realize that the house as described by Frost is empty, they are furious.  But after a quick search of nearby houses, the group ends up at the actual supply depot house.  

Daryl casually moves the rug when he realizes that it does not fully hide the trapdoor.  Reaper Carver is still suspicious of Daryl, so they continue to butt heads.  Leah warns Daryl to make nice with Carver, but Daryl is not about to give up his best way to distract the Reapers from the trapdoor.  As Carver argues that unlike Daryl, he has Leah’s back, Daryl reminds Leah that Carver almost let her burn alive in the shed.  Leah has been conditioned to back her group, but Daryl appears to be planting some very fertile seeds of doubt.


By the time a Reaper discovers the trapdoor, Maggie’s group has slipped out through the crawl space of the house.  With the prey in the wind, the Reapers return home to Pope to tell him that Maggie slipped away.  Pope stares directly at Daryl and notes that the search was a success because the interrogation of Frost continued while they were out.  Nearby, walker Frost is tied to a sentry post.  

“I got everything I need out of him,” Pope says.  Pope pulls Carver aside, and he whispers to him.  All the while, Pope continues to fix his gaze on Daryl.  Did Frost break in the end?  Is Pope hoping to get Daryl to crack under the pressure?  As Leah said during the search, “Everything is a test now.”  Either Pope is continuing to test Daryl, or he knows the truth and is toying with him.


Connie and Virgil are still very much alive, but they are lost in the woods.  Connie is focused on her map to find Alexandria, but so far, she has had no luck in finding any of the landmarks she needs to guide her way home.  With the dead close behind and a thunderstorm kicking up, Connie and Virgil opt to hole up in a boarded up house.  Connie is hesitant from the start, but Virgil insists that they need to rest inside.  

Virgil encourages Connie to sleep while he takes first watch, but Connie is still on high alert.  After a cursory look around, Virgil confirms they are alone in the house.  Connie can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong.  On another sweep, Connie spots a pair of jaundiced eyes in the wall.  When Connie runs, secret walls are triggered to snap shut and separate her from Virgil.  

The camera follows Connie as she races through the house with a mix of claustrophobia and PTSD.  After the cave incident and a lack of sleep, Connie’s ability to do anything but react on instinct is severely compromised.  For Virgil, his only focus is to make the best of his second chance.  Michonne gave Virgil a shot at redemption, and Virgil believes that Connie is his redemption.  As redemption goes, fighting off feral cannibals to save Connie is pretty good.


Last episode we learned from the former Whisperers that Connie and Virgil were alive near the screaming cave.  Though Kelly has already raced off after her sister, Carol and Rosita are hot on her heels.  By the time they catch up with Kelly, and the group finds the house of horrors, Virgil and Connie have emerged from it.  The sisters are reunited, and Carol’s guilt about the cave is a little bit lighter.


For the first time in a long time, I felt some genuine fear in an episode.  The idea is a little bit X-Files, a little bit H.H. Holmes, and a nice helping of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It is not a wholly original idea, but it is executed well here.  My only criticism is that the episode would have been much improved if the Reapers storyline was in a different episode.  There have been a number of episodes the last few years focused on one storyline.  Sadly, this was not one of them.  A whole episode focused on Connie and Virgil’s time inside the house would have been a better choice.  

The use of sound this episode was well-balanced between what Virgil hears and what Connie does not.  The terror of not knowing an assailant is behind you is frightening enough.  To be inside a darkened house full of hidden passageways and doors without the ability to hear an attack coming, is another thing entirely.  This was the best episode of the season, and the most engrossing one in a number of years.


  • The horse stuck in the swamp gave me unwelcome Artax vibes.
  • Did the mechanisms inside the house pre-date the apocalypse?  Or did the inhabitants build them before they went full feral?