This review contains spoilers.
It has felt like a lifetime since I was reviewing The Walking Dead, so I am very happy to be back getting my teeth stuck into the mid-season premiere of Season 10!
Last time out, our heroes were trapped inside a cave full of Walkers. This all came about thanks to Carol being unbelievably reckless. Which is fitting, because this episode continues to hammer home the fact that Carol is not OK, and that her self-destructive path is going to have very real casualties and permanent consequences.
While Carol has no issue taking on a cave full of Walkers, she does have an issue with being in a confined space. Fun fact – this is not the first time Carol has mentioned that she is claustrophobic! All the way back in Season One she tells Dr Jenner at the CDC that she is claustrophobic.
The group continue to solider on, but it soon becomes clear that they are going to have to crawl through a very long and very narrow passage. The only person this is really going to impact is Jerry, for whom the trek will be a very tight SQUEEZE! (Boom! episode title namedrop!). As expected, Jerry gets wedged, he basically Winnie the Pooh’s it! As if things aren’t bad enough, he now has Walkers biting away at his shoes. Honestly? I thought this was the end for him. The tension build up and the white-knuckle feeling this scene portrayed was outstanding. Thankfully, Jerry manages to escape unharmed, though the same cannot be said for his shoes!
The group find some dynamite, which presents the option of blasting their way out, though it could backfire and cause a cave-in. Unsure on how to proceed, the group takes a breather, which is good for the viewer because we are treated to an incredible exchange between Carol and Daryl. Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride should take all the plaudits for this scene, it was unbelievably good. The drama, the emotion, all pumping out of the TV screen leaving you drenched and the notion that you have just witnessed an epic acting performance. I was just as emotionally exhausted as Carol by this point! Just when you think she has taken Daryl’s words to heart (again), she disappears (again), taking some dynamite with her! Daryl manages to save her from falling, but it is too late, the dynamite blows up a load of Walkers and the cave starts to collapse. Jerry, like the boss he is, goes into full Sloth mode and carries the weight of the debris, allowing people to escape out of a small opening. Kelly and Aaron manage to make it to the surface, but they are attacked by Whisperers, the pair easily dispatch them. Meanwhile, Jerry can no longer take the weight and Magna tells him to leave. He reluctantly obliges. Thanks to Carol’s recklessness, Magna and Connie are now trapped, maybe even dead (though we know they won’t be).
Daryl, distraught with what has happened, turns to Carol with an angry, betrayed look. This was a sobering and ‘game-changing’ moment. They left enough space for silence to allow you to catch your breath, ready for the emotional outburst that was about to follow. Despite her pleas for forgiveness and her remorse, Daryl simply refuses to acknowledge her words. It’s as if he cannot hear her, such is the damage that Carol has done to their relationship by once again betraying Daryl’s trust. The journey that these two have been on since Season One and this is the point we are at? Incredible! And the thing is, we are still not done!
Despite her sister being trapped Kelly, rightfully, tells everyone that they need to leave, as the explosion would be drawing in Walkers and Whisperers alike. Daryl tells them to leave and he runs off to try and find another way to rescue Magna and Connie.
Elsewhere, Negan is still plotting away at how to get in with Alpha. It turns out that the best approach is to be direct! He tells Alpha that Gamma is a traitor, rather than taking him at his word she decides to cut him in the leg instead. Luckily he manages to escape with his love globes intact, which is a good job, as he’ll need them later!
Alpha orders Beta to track Gamma down and see if what Negan said has any merit. Turns out it does, as Gamma failed to show up to the outer patrol. Score one Negan! Speaking of scoring… Alpha makes Negan strip down to his birthday suit, thinking he is about to be killed, there is a little stammer in his voice, you can sense that he is trying to talk his way out of it. He turns around to be greeted by a naked Alpha… Well almost naked. In true Alpha fashion, she leaves her mask on, much to the delight of Negan. So yeah, that happened…
The scenes at The Whisperers camp were really good, I love seeing Negan going one-on-one with Alpha (not like that!), they have a natural chemistry that always features great dialogue. As for Gamma? Looks like she’ll have to take Aaron’s olive branch and jump ship quickly, before it’s too late!
Overall, this was a really solid return for The Walking Dead. While I did enjoy their scenes, the Negan and Alpha arc is progressing very quickly, maybe too quickly. I hope they continue to develop their relationship so that there is a really good payoff come the finale. The scenes in the cave were really tense and dramatic, with Carol and Daryl being the MVPs of the episode. Their relationship can never go back to what it was. Carol is like a supernova ready to explode, how many people, good and bad, will she take down with her?
What did you make of the Season 10 mid-season return? Let us know in the comments!