"Out of the Ashes" is the fifth episode of the eleventh season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and fifty-eighth episode of the series overall. It premiered on September 19, 2021. It was written by LaToya Morgan and directed by Greg Nicotero.
Aaron, Carol, Lydia, and Jerry go to the Hilltop ruins for blacksmith tools and nearby game. Eugene's group goes through orientation at the Commonwealth. Maggie and Negan trudge through the woods. Judith and the kids clash with teenagers.
Aaron hears a commotion outside and tells Gracie to hide in the basement.
Walkers stream into Alexandria through a breach in the wall, created by a fallen panel. A crew hoists the panel back up as others slaughter the walkers.
In a Commonwealth orientation video, a man named Lance Hornsby welcomes viewers to the Commonwealth and describes the benefits of living in their community. He explains that the Commonwealth has a population of 50,000 and is led by Governor Pamela Milton.
A Commonwealth clerk turns off the video, and hands out work and housing assignments to Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel, and Princess. Eugene says they weren't planning to stay in the Commonwealth, but the clerk tells them to take it up with their case supervisor. Yumiko reads her letter and sees that it's a VIP invitation to discuss opportunities at the Commonwealth. Yumiko presents her letter to the clerk and asks to see her brother.
Aaron's group arrives at Hilltop and finds it overrun with walkers. They recognize the walkers as former Hilltoppers. Jerry and Aaron become emotional as they kill the walkers.
Maggie and Negan arrive at the supply depot and find it empty. Negan suggests they bring some of the food back to Alexandria, but Maggie says they need a lot more food to feed the community. Negan insists they head back if no one shows up by sundown.
Aaron's group scavenges for supplies at Hilltop. They notice walkers moving in a herding pattern and realize that one of them is a Whisperer. Aaron spots the Whisperer and shoves him to the ground, then yanks off his mask. Lydia recognizes the Whisperer and tells Aaron not to kill him.
Eugene asks Stephanie for advice on how to leave the Commonwealth. She offers to help him radio his people but says it could take a couple of weeks to get him access. Ezekiel and Princess inform Eugene that they won't be able to speak to the case supervisor for five weeks. Eugene asks Stephanie if she can get him unofficial access to the radio. Mercer suspiciously watches them from afar.
Judith arrives home and finds a keepsake she made with Carl broken on the ground. She asks Vincent if he broke it, but he denies it.
Rosita finds Judith sitting on the porch with the broken keepsake. Judith tears up and says everyone is gone. Rosita comforts Judith.
Aaron interrogates the Whisperer, whose name is Keith. Keith insists that he's the only Whisperer left at Hilltop. Lydia defends Keith, but Aaron doesn't believe him.
Jerry and Aaron drag Keith to the root cellar and find other Whisperers hiding. Keith insists that they are the last ones. Jerry spots Nabila's scarf and realizes that these Whisperers helped burn down Alexandria. Keith grabs a knife and slashes Aaron, allowing the other Whisperers to escape.
Stephanie brings Eugene, Ezekiel, and Princess to the train station, which now serves as headquarters for various Commonwealth agencies. She sneaks Eugene up to the radio room.
Yumiko catches up with Tomi. Tomi explains that he found the Commonwealth very early on, and that he's happy working as a baker instead of a surgeon. Yumiko asks if there's any possibility of bringing her people to the Commonwealth. Tomi says anything is possible if you follow the rules.
Princess sees Mercer approach the train station and flirts with him as a distraction. Mercer briefly engages with her but turns stoic the more she talks.
Aaron and Jerry suspend Keith from the rafters of a stable and demand to know how many more Whisperers there are. Keith begs Lydia for help. Aaron pushes a walker on Keith's hand then offers to amputate it and prevent infection if Keith tells them where his people are. Carol kills the walker and warns Aaron against the dangers of becoming consumed with rage.
Eugene radios Rosita in Alexandria and tells her that they're safe. Rosita updates Eugene on the fate of the Whisperers but says that Alexandria is in ruins. They lose contact.
Mercer busts in on Eugene and Stephanie and arrests them. Ezekiel and Princess stand in the hallway, also under arrest.
Negan decides to leave the supply depot and bring some of the food back to Alexandria. Maggie says their mission isn't finished. They fight but are interrupted by the arrival of Gabriel and Elijah. Gabriel suggests they wait for Daryl and Frost. Maggie smiles in agreement.
A supervisor informs Eugene, Ezekiel, and Princess that they've been charged with several crimes and will be banished if found guilty. Stephanie and Hornsby enter the room. Hornsby orders the supervisor to release Eugene's group. Stephanie tells them that Hornsby can protect them from banishment but that they'll still have to pay for their crimes.
Keith recuperates from the amputation and thanks Carol. He reveals that he saw one of their people emerge alive from the cave where Alpha kept her horde. They realize he's talking about Connie. Aaron suggests they search for her first thing in the morning. They leave Hilltop.
- Anabelle Holloway as Gracie
- Antony Azor as R.J. Grimes
- Kien Michael Spiller as Hershel Rhee
- Pilot Bunch as Vincent
- Matt Mercurio as Charles
- Rebecca Ray as Elaine
- Ryan Vo as Commonwealth Paper-Pusher
- Franco Barberis as John
- Micah King as Ezra
- Autumn Azul as Aliyah
- Gloria DeWeese as Kim
- Andrew Douglass as Troy
- Jason Fernandes as Livits
- Terrance James as Zell
- D.J. Stavropoulos as Kasey
- Robert Patrick as Mays (Archive Footage)
- Gregory Nicotero as Dream Whisperer (Dream)
- Miguel Insignares as Mean Mug Savior (Dream)
- Jimmy McAfee as Alexandria Resident
- Anthony Porrey as Alexandria Resident
- Mario Williams as Alexandria Resident
- Michelle Morano as Alexandria Resident
- Tia Davis as Alexandria Resident
- Rachel Hernandez as Alexandria Resident
- Gloria DeWeese as Alexandria Resident
- Kathryn Spratlin as Alexandria Resident
- Ian Kincaid as Alexandria Resident
- Alex Barnes as Alexandria Resident
- Matt Foster as Alexandria Resident
- Kevin Cheek as Alexandria Resident
- Melanie Dale as Alexandria Resident
- Stephanie McCarren as Alexandria Resident
- Ileana McCrear as Alexandria Resident
- Kai Szopa as Alexandria Resident
- Austin Green as Hilltop Refugee
- Dalton Baxter as Hilltop Refugee
- Dana Lee Rampy as Hilltop Refugee
- Meredith "Duffy" Hale as Hilltop Refugee
- Nelson Padilla as Hilltop Refugee
- Bethany Kasulas as Whisperer
- John Prozny as Hilltop Resident
- Gus Morgan as Taunted Child Walker
- Troy (Zombified)
- Rosita's Mother (Confirmed Fate)
- 1 unnamed Alexandria resident
- Many unnamed Coalition soldiers (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- First appearance of Lance Hornsby.
- First appearance of Elaine.
- First appearance of Vincent.
- First appearance of Charles.
- First appearance of Tomichi Okumura.
- First appearance of Max Mercer. (Physically)
- First appearance of Kasey.
- First appearance of John.
- First appearance of the Commonwealth.
- First (and last) appearance of Keith. (Unknown)
- Last appearance of Mays. (Dream)
- Last appearance of Troy. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of the Wolves. (Dream)
- Last appearance of the Whisperers.
- The title of the episode, "Out of the Ashes", refers to the Whisperers living in the burnt out remains of the Hilltop Colony. It may also refer to Alexandria trying to rebuild itself.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on September 12, 2021.
- Starting with this episode, Josh Hamilton (Lance Hornsby) and Margot Bingham (Max Mercer) are credited as series regulars. They are listed under "Also Starring".
- Yumiko's last name is revealed to be Okumura.
- Eugene being assigned the profession of "High School Science Teacher" is a reference to his pre-apocalypse profession in the Comic Series, which he reveals in Issue 67.
- Yumiko being reunited with her brother is adapted from Issue 176, where Michonne is reunited with her daughter Elodie instead.
- The name of the bakery Tomi works at, Elodie's Treats, is a nod to the Comic Series.
- The group finding surviving Whisperers after Beta's death is adapted from Issue 173.
- Tomi telling Yumiko about how he survived the apocalypse is adapted from Issue 177, where Elodie tells her backstory to Michonne instead.
- The group exploring the Commonwealth is adapted from Issue 179.
- It's revealed that at least some of the Whisperers survived with a small group settling in the ruins of the Hilltop. However, their leader Keith insists that they mean no further harm and are only trying to survive like everybody else.
- Keith reveals Connie's survival to Aaron, Carol, Jerry, and Lydia and provides them with a location where the Whisperers last saw her which Lydia states is close to Alexandria.