The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 6 (On the Inside)
3 / 5 ( 1 vote )
Written by Arthur
Outside Looking In
Inside Looking Out
Inside Looking In
When Norman Reedus said in a recent interview that this season of The Walking Dead would be “very surreal”, he may very well have been talking about this episode. On the Inside spends the majority of its runtime with returning survivor Connie (Lauren Ridloff) but rather than focus on how she escaped the cave, we jump right into a house of horrors that her, and her new companion Virgil (Kevin Carroll) l, must survive. The series’ entire premise is survival horror, yet this storyline hits differently. It is creepy and exceptionally frightening in a way that feels unique and incredibly immersive.
Elsewhere, we continue to follow Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) indoctrination into the Reapers amid further trust issues. Having been given a possible location to Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) whereabouts after the captured Frost (Glenn Stanton) is brutally tortured, Daryl must decide whose side he is going to take. There is no love lost between Daryl and Carver (Alex Meraz), who spends the episode firing doubt at his counterpart.
Leah (Lynn Collins) tries her best to keep the peace but Daryl’s presence seems to make her question if she can trust her own family anymore. The Reapers are an unpredictable group and Carver epitomises this more than anyone. His hot temper in the hunt for Maggie stacks the odds firmly in his favour and – having already witnessed what the Reapers can and will do – there is genuine fear that maybe Maggie won’t be escaping this time, especially when the Reapers are right on top of her. It feels ridiculous saying that despite these scenes’ friction and brutality, they are merely respite from what is happening with Connie and Virgil.
Unsure where to turn and with walkers surrounding them, Virgil convinces Connie to seek refuge in a large house. After an initial search, the house appears empty but Connie, devoid of sleep for several days, decides to check again; and it is a good job she did. The house is not empty, but neither is it full of the undead. The inhabitants are very much alive and they are even more terrifying than zombies. In their attempt to escape, Virgil and Connie are split up and it is here the episode gets ultimately more petrifying.
With Connie being deaf, there is already a communication issue between her and Virgil, but, once they are split, this is made even more profound. How do you call out for someone who cannot hear you? During the scenes with Connie alone in the house, the audio is cut completely from the episode. This trick was used before when Connie was on the run from Whisperers, it was good then, but it is great now. The confines of the house and the claustrophobia from hiding helplessly behind walls combined with the loss of sound creates an immersive fear zone. The panic as Connie desperately tries to warn Virgil, the bloody knife coming inches away from a fatal wound is pure horror executed to perfection.
It feels peculiar to talk about The Walking Dead as if it were a horror movie – the whole series is pitched as one. Daryl is repeating storylines and nothing feels different about it; he has to blend in with the bad guys (see Merle and the Governor or Negan and the Saviours). Connie and Virgil are just doing what the entire series has seen people do – surviving horrors – yet On the Inside manages to create new ways to scare us, taking the bar a step further. The point-of-view camerawork, use of silence and surrealism work wonderfully together to create an unforgettable episode.