X-Geeks

The Walking Dead: S10 E21 ‘Diverged’ – Review

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

This review contains spoilers.

After the onion-splitting Princess episode last week, I’ll stand by that it was a strong episode and incredible performance, we are back on the road with Carol and Daryl! While I don’t expect too much setup for their spin-off here, I think after the events of their last episode together, there needs to be some closure or at least a reconciliation, of some sorts. It also means that we get Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus on screen together for a long period of time, and these two never have a bad scene. So I have high hopes for this episode! So let’s begin…

Picking up after their last episode, and THAT argument, we find Carol and Daryl walking and talking together, until they hit a fork in the road, and it’s made clear that at this point that they are going to split, each taking their own path. This causes Dog all kinds of frustration! Maybe we’re not going to get a Carol and Daryl episode after all! Dog, surprisingly, goes with Carol, much to Daryl’s annoyance. We hit the opening credits. This was a tense opening. The two were obviously straining to talk like nothing had happened, but it kept creeping to the surface every now and then.

Back at Carol’s place, Dog gets himself a nice refreshing drink of water and Carol proclaims that an apology is just a truce and that it won’t fix anything. Looks like she is going to be using Dog as a sounding board to help her navigate what she’s going through. Dog then gets belly rubs, which I am all about. ALL the belly rubs for Dog!

Carol wants to get to work and make herself useful and after telling Jerry her plans, he informs her that all those task are being taken care of. But, Jerry does have one task that she can help with and that is food! Although with no power and lack of grain, thanks to rats, Carol needs to get creative! (Stone soup anyone?) It’s obvious that Carol is trying hard to contribute something to the rebuilding effort, mainly out of guilt, and at least by doing this she has something to focus her mind on and start repairing those damaged bridges (metaphorically, obviously!).

We cut back to Daryl, riding through the woods on his bike. Well, we for a second or two, as the bike cuts out due to a mechanical fault. So that thing isn’t indestructible after all! Time to scavenge for parts! He finds a car and the parts he needs, it’s just a shame he has to go underneath it and there is a Walker moving around inside! Could you imagine if this is how Daryl went? Crushed under a car! Then I remind myself of the spin-off and the plot, or should that be spin-off, armour is back on! Like, I know we aren’t going to lose him here, but having the knowledge of the future spin-off, will shape things going forwards, not just here, but throughout Season 11, they are protected. So sometimes you wonder why try to pretend they are in a dangerous situation anyway? Daryl needs a knife to start the repairs, but he realises he gave his multi-tool to Carol, luckily for him he decides to use his ‘big one’. Call that a knife? THIS is a knife! Well, it doesn’t really work out, so it’s time to push that bike home! The thing I liked most about this scene was that it was interlaced with Carol fixing the solar panels with his multi-tool, showing that while they both can figure things out on their own, independently, they would be so much better if they were together.

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Dog – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 21 – Photo Credit: Eli Ade/AMC

Back in Alexandria, Carol is preparing her soup, but is soon distracted when Dog starts to growl in a way that all dog owners know, that the dog is up to no good! She runs in to find him ripping up her pillows and knocking over a lamp. He’s hunting a rat, and for his troubles gets told off by Carol and sent outside. You’re not a bad dog, Dog. You’re the best of dogs! In the process of the chase he knocked over the food also, so that gets scraped back into the pan. 10 second rule, right? Anyway, Carol creates a makeshift rat trap, so looks like one of the ingredients will be, well, you can imagine! Carol heads off into the woods to try and find some more ingredients for her culinary masterpiece.

Instead of ingredients, Carol finds a small group of Walkers, and still talking out loud, tells herself (and us) in which order she is going to take them out. Cracking, much? Just like Episode 19, we hear the Walkers die rather than see it. COVID rules or artistic choice? With the flowers in Episode 19 it was obvious, here? Not so sure. Either way, she has what she needs and its back to kitchen!

Back to Daryl in the woods and he spots a group of Walkers near a train line. When he propped up his bike on the tracks, I stupidly thought “what if a train comes?”, then I felt very foolish. I’m nothing but honest in these reviews! He spots a camo-Walker, hmm, they might have something useful on them? He powerwalks past most of the Walkers but slips down into a ditch where he is set upon by the camo-Walker. He manages to dispatch it with relative ease. Time for some looting and he finds a new multi-tool. Again, another ‘tense’ moment set up but with an obvious outcome.

Carol’s rat-trap worked! Yet for some reason, and despite all she’s done, the rat spooks her and it runs off. Destroying most of her kitchen in the process, she tries to catch it but it gets away. With night fallen, she continues to use Dog as a sound board, getting all her thoughts and feeling out in regards to Daryl. Carol is now asleep, well, not for long, as she is soon woken up by Dog. That damn rat is back again! After ‘Shining’ her way through most of the wall, in order to catch the rat, it soon turns into a full on outpouring of emotion via destruction. I mean, better the wall takes the brunt than anything else! The next day, Jerry rocks up to check on Carol. Jerry is a good guy. We all love Jerry, right? “A friend is someone who thinks you’re perfect, even if everyone else thinks you’re broken”. You drop those truth bombs Jerry! Wait, a hug as well? I want a Jerry hug!

Daryl finally returns and the pair have a fleeting reunion. It felt like nothing was wrong, that everything was normal, but at the same time you could tell it was just for show. The pair then go their separate ways again, ending the episode.

I thought this episode, on the whole, was ok. The message that they wanted to get across to the audience was very clear and it was edited in a way that got the most out of the situation. I did however think we’d get a better resolution than we did. I, and like many others, don’t need this fractured storyline to continue throughout the final season. It will get old very fast. I’m not saying that everything had to be wrapped up perfectly here, but at least have the two take a few steps closer to each other. It just felt like treading water. Now, I’m not saying I disliked the episode, as it had some great moments, but this is just a storyline that isn’t grabbing me, all its doing is frustrating me a little.

I think out of all of these bonus episodes, this has been the weakest so far, and given where we ended it, did we actually progress much in the space of fifty minutes? Not really. Could this have been removed all together? Yes. That said, as I always try to find the positives, we got a lot of Dog and Jerry moments in this episode, so there is that at least!

What did make of the latest episode The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.

One reply to “The Walking Dead: S10 E21 ‘Diverged’ – Review

  1. I felt sorry for Dog in this episode, being shut up in a room, and not allowed outside. And what did he EAT? Not that soup surely, it looked horrible. Plus I wasn’t that keen on Carol’s hygiene, preparing soup after killing walkers. I wonder whether the writers ran out of ideas for this episode: basically it was watch Daryl fix his motorbike, watch Carole try to kill a rat, demolish a wall, and make soup. I think the writers are wrong to expect the audience to somehow glean whatever was the deep emotional problem Carol was experiencing. What we want is dialogue, and lots of it. It is after all drama. Hope the next ep is more interesting.

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