X-Geeks

The Walking Dead: S10 E16 ‘A Certain Doom’ (FINALE) – Review

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

This review contains spoilers.

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally back with Season 10 of The Walking Dead! While the show’s return is only fleeting, it was just great to have the show back on our screens. 

Since the break, a new spin-off show focused around Daryl and Carol has been announced. They have been hinting at this for the past few seasons and with both characters still just as popular with fans, they are a solid pair to hold down their own show once The Walking Dead comes to an end after Season 11.

So, last time on the show… Beta was leading the herd towards the hospital where the survivors were hold up. Connie was missing, Aaron and Alden were surrounded by Whisperers and in general, it was not looking good! So what happened next?

If anyone watched the extended trailer for the finale a few months back, this opening scene may have been very familiar. As the herd surrounds the hospital, Gabriel reassures the children with his ‘finger and fist’ speech. When talking about ‘the others’ we are treated to a montage of various characters in their current predicaments. This was a helpful way to refresh us with the state of play and included the return of Maggie, who was reading the news about recent events. The final shot before the credits hammered home the severity of the situation, with a wide shot showing the hospital completely surrounded. This opening was really well executed and helped to create that hype and anticipation of what was going to happen next!

Outside of the hospital, Beta has totally gone past the point of no return, he’s snapped, he’s lost it, yet somehow he still manages to order The Whisperers to keep guiding the herd and surrounding the hospital.

A group of survivors plan to lead the herd away, but to do so, they will need to head out into the herd and put them at risk of attack from both Walkers and Whisperers. This is a high stakes move, but it is the only option left. The scene that followed was a good portion of the first act, and I appreciate that they spent so much time of this because they managed to perfectly build up that tension. At any moment someone could die, it could all go wrong in a single second. The music here also really helped with the tension building. The group were spotted a few times by Whisperers, but with Lydia on scouting duties, their archers managed to take them out, and allowed the Walkers to have an early snack! Beta soon clicks on and orders his lieutenants to tighten the herd, thus closing the gaps the survivors have to manoeuvre. The tension levels goes up again! Carol is positioned to the audience to fall victim, but obviously, no harm was going to come to her, so they pass on that death onto a background supporting redshirt in Beatrice from Oceanside. That said, Briana Venskus did an incredible job with her death scene and it was very startling and felt very visceral (literally). 

Back inside the hospital, a group of  Whisperers have made their way inside and Gabriel prepares to fend them off, allowing the rest of the group to escape. The whole scene is set up as if Gabriel would bite it here, but at the same time, I just didn’t believe that he was ever in danger. He is saved by the ‘Masked Warrior’ and Maggie. This wasn’t an all-singing, all-dancing return for her, which I actually like. It was subtle and it worked well.

Night has now fallen, and Beta and the herd continue to blockade the hospital. All of a sudden, we hear Negan in among the herd. “Hey shit head”, that’ll do it! Beta charges at Negan and throws a Walker into him, knocking him down the ground. Daryl comes in for the save, slashing at his back, forcing Beta to spin around and coming face to face with Daryl’s double blades, which he thrusts straight into Beta’s eyes! Ouch. Instantly, we are given a hallucination dream in which Alpha returns to Beta to tell him that his work is complete. This entire sequence was shot really well and I loved seeing Samantha Morton back. It was a fitting send-off for both of the characters. As the Walkers start to grab him, they rip off his mask, revealing his face in full for the first time. With Negan and Daryl watching on, Negan is shocked at ‘who’ Beta really was… “Do you know who that asshole is?” in which Daryl, perfectly, replies “yeah, nobody”. Now. This will annoy those people who are obsessed with needing absolutes and definitive answers to everything. But for me, it worked. The sentiment was perfect within the context of the characters and the story. Was this ‘boss fight’ too short? Probably, but they were limited in what they could achieve in the middle of a mass of Walkers! So the subtle approach worked fine.

As daylight breaks, Carol and Lydia are leading the herd away from the hospital towards the cliffs. Again, they set up the possibility that Carol is going to walk off the edge with the herd, but we know this just won’t happen. I did not understand why they put her in two positions of faux danger, twice, when we know she has plot armour for the spin-off show in 2023. So that was my only major criticism of the episode. Lydia pulls her back from the edge and the herd begins to fall off the cliff. Lydia says shes made her choice and that is to be with the group. She throws her mask over the cliff, treating us to a great slow-motion shot of the mask falling alongside all the Walkers.

Elsewhere, Maggie is reunited with Judith in a really sweet moment and we find out that Connie is alive and well, and she is found by Virgil. So next season or even in the six bonus episode coming up we might explore what happens next and how or if they end up reuniting with the group.

The show ends with Eugune and co at the meeting point. This subplot was never the main focus but did feature some great moments from Ezekiel and funny moments from Princess. All of a sudden the spotlights hit and a group of armoured guards surround the four survivors. For those who have read the comics, their uniform is instantly recognisable and I was smiling from ear to ear. The Commonwealth has finally made it into the TV show! I’ve been saying for a long time that this will be the direction they will go and I am very happy to see that Season 11 will end with The Commonwealth. It was a great cliff hanger, for me, and I think this leaves enough hype and questions to tide us over until Season 11 next year.

Overall, ‘A Certain Doom’ was a solid season finale of The Walking Dead. Yes, the characters were plot armoured to hell so you never felt like we would lose anyone that would invoke an outcry or outpouring of emotion, but it didn’t need that, especially as the episode did such a great job with building the tension throughout. It may not have been an epic ending to The Whisperers war, but it was satisfying none the less. I don’t have any real complaints and think The Whisperers arc, in general, has been solid from start to finish.

As for what next? We have the six bonus episodes coming in the first part of 2021 which will probably feature Maggie in a few so we can find out what she’s been doing. They could even do some Commonwealth world-building or focus an episode on Virgil and Connie. They have plenty of options to help tell some ore story or fill in the gaps.

Since Kang took stewardship of the show, it has gone from strength to strength in many different areas so I feel confident that the final season of The Walking Dead is in very good hands. Now we just have to wait…

Check back later in the week, when Ben and Rob will sit down (socially distanced of course) for our full Season 10 Review!

What did you think of Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead? What did you make of that ending? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star