The Walking Dead: S10 E7 ‘Open Your Eyes’ – Review

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review contains spoilers.

It’s safe to say that the ending of this episode is going to cause a stir with fans on the internet! It was an unexpected ending in some respects, but you can also see why they have done what they have. While, personally, I am upset at the outcome it actually is a gutsy move that is guaranteed to have serious repercussions on the main story arc. But before I go into THAT ending, we need to look back at the journey that took us there.

Siddiq’s PTSD has been one storyline that I have been really invested in because I’ve been eager to see where they go with it and how much they will go into what happened in the attack. After his sleepwalking manifested last week, they really kicked the progression up a notch this week and you just felt like things were building up to a big moment. It all started with the escalation of the illness spreading throughout Alexandria. Residents, including Sassy granny Cheryl, are in a bad way and the illness actually claims Cheryl’s life. Siddiq is really feeling the pressure and things go from bad to worse when he is brought in to check in on the Whisperer, caught by Carol last week. Carol and Daryl have tried both good cop and bad cop routines to try and get the prisoner to talk, but he’s having none of it. Siddiq and Dante go in to check on him and all of a sudden he starts to convulse and vomit his guts up. Turns out that Dante had accidentally given him hemlock, thus killing him. Well isn’t that convenient? Now he’ll never be able to spill any details about the Whisperers. The red flag went up at this point. I said there was something off with Dante from the get-go!

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The show really hit a high point when Siddiq finally opens up to Rosita in a truly powerful scene. This moment was everything I love about Siddiq and Avi Nash’s ability as an actor. But as much as I loved this scene, a second red flag went up in my head. It and a sense of finality about it, which would then be confirmed in the final scene of the episode. Dante joins Siddiq and triggers his PTSD with the phrase “open your eyes”. Turns out Dante is not only a Whisperers spy, but he was there holding Siddiq and forcing him to watch his friends get murdered. Before Siddiq can react, Dante overpowers him and chokes him until he’s dead. While the story was leaving breadcrumbs as to where it was heading, the death of Siddiq was still very shocking. I was waiting on the hope that someone would walk in and save him, but no, Dante kills him. Now no one is left alive that could possibly out Dante as a Whisperer, although when you think about it logically, why doesn’t Lydia know? If Siddiq can figure it out from the small amount of time spent with him in the barn, then how doesn’t Lydia know? Weird, don’t you think?

So Siddiq is dead. So why do I think the internet is going to kick off about a secondary character? Two words, Carl Grimes. There will be some fans of the show who will see Siddiq’s death in a way that it belittles Carl’s sacrifice and, ultimately, his death. Siddiq having plot armour because of this was something I never wanted the show to do. The threat of death should be constant, no character should have complete immunity. Even Carl’s death should not exclude Siddiq from the reality that anyone is vulnerable in the right circumstances. Having that fragility makes the show not only more believable but also more exciting and engaging. I’m gutted to see Nash leave the show, I really am. But as part of the Whisperers story arc, it works very well. As sad as I am, if it works for the progression and elevation of the story, then no character, including my boys Aaron and Kal, should be immune.

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Speaking of Aaron, he’s still lurking at the bridge trying to interact with Gamma. This storyline worried me because it has the potential to really devalue Aaron as a strong character. It feels like they were finally building him up and pushing him into the top tier, but last week it felt like they had bailed on the idea and it was back to nicey nice and gullible Aaron. Thankfully, they addressed that in one of their interactions, Aaron stated that he wasn’t going to be used in this way. He still obviously wants to reach out, but at least it seems to be in a more sensible way. Thora Birch was really good here too, as she has been all season, and you really bought into her performance. When Aaron pushes her too far, she tricks him and ends up holding a blade to his throat. Thankfully Carol is around to save the day. She also, and very knowingly, brought Lydia along. Gamma’s reaction was excellent, the feeling of betrayal was portrayed perfectly. She releases Aaron and flees. Lydia is furious with Carol that she used her like that, claiming that she was just as bad as Alpha. That’s a bit of a reach if I’m honest, and running off into the woods is just plain stupid. But that was the only gripe I had with this plot.

Yet again, this was another very solid episode of The Walking Dead. There were some brilliant interactions and performances and the story, you feel, has progressed significantly from last week. Siddiq’s death will, naturally, be the headline that’s taken from this episode. It was shocking to lose such a likeable character, but as I have already mentioned, it really creates some excitement and tension in regards to the overall story. Thank you Siddiq and thank you Avi Nash for constantly being a great asset to the show. As for what happens next? There is going to be some major fallout from Siddiq’s death as well as Gamma’s next move in regards to Alpha’s lie that Lydia was dead. It’s all gearing up nicely towards an exciting and tense mid-season finale that is just around the corner!

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments!

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