AMC’s The Walking Dead
Directed by Bronwen Hughes
Written by Jim Barnes
* For a recap & review of the mid-season premiere, “Squeeze” – click here
* For a recap & review of 10×11, “Morning Star” – click here
Out in the wasteland, Beta comes to an RV. Inside are a couple other Whisperers. They move a piece of furniture and open a compartment in the floor. Beta jumps down through the hole into a dark tunnel. He lights a lamp and starts walking.
Just how far does this tunnel go? What’s its purpose? Creepy.
Rosita wakes up to take care of the baby. While she’s out of the room she hears strange breathing— there, standing over the child, is a Whisperer with a knife. She watches as the Whisperer plunges a huge knife into the crib. It’s then she wakes from a NIGHTMARE. She’s immediately called to the gate, where Alexandria finds Gamma on their doorstep removing her death mask. Gamma brings news about the group trapped in the cave. Gabriel’s reluctant to believe the young woman, given she’s one of Alpha’s people. He’s sceptical of what she’s telling them. “I‘m trying to help,” she tells them, along with explaining she’s the aunt of the baby Alpha left behind for the walkers. Gamma’s willing to play by Alexandria’s rules if it means helping them.
Except Rosita calls her a liar and knocks her out cold. Looks like another Whisperer’s headed for “the cell.” The Alexandrians want to be convinced of this Whisperer’s intentions. They’re not fucking around anymore. And this leads to Gamma confessing that she killed her own sister in service of Alpha.
In the forest, Daryl tracks a Whisperer back to an entrance into the caves where there are others, including Alpha. The Whisperers are leading another horde of walkers, shambling towards some new destination. They go along for a while until Daryl lays siege like a one-man army. But he gets sliced near the eye and his vision is blurred with blood, making it hard for him to see, let alone fight. He and Alpha fight tooth and nail for a bit and he gets the upper hand. That is, right up to the moment when Alpha stabs him in the leg. Now Daryl’s half blind, half hobbled, and running for his life.
Things in Alexandria aren’t what you’d call entirely collective. Gabriel and Rosita aren’t seeing eye to eye. He’s “reaching for a fight” in her words, and she’s not wrong, either. He is becoming slightly fanatical in the way he’s approaching the war with the Whisperers. The whole point of their survival has been to not become like everyone else, not to give up hope for wholesale nihilism, not to transform into somebody like Alpha, or Negan, or the Governor, and so on. Right now, Gabriel’s teetering on that edge. Meanwhile, Judith meets Gamma a.k.a Mary, chatting her up through the bars on the window. The little girl gets to know more about Mary than any of her friends. She wishes Mary had met Rick or Michonne instead of Alpha first, believing the woman’s fate would’ve been far different.
Alpha keeps hunting Daryl, who manages to sneak into a crumbling building and hide. They’re both injured a good deal. However, the scariest part about Alpha is her nonchalant nature being in the midst of the undead. She starts calling a few zombies that way to help root out her prey. Several walkers show up, mostly ignoring Alpha, and heading directly for Daryl. He fights them off brutally, pulling the knife from his own knee so he can sink it into one of their heads. Problem being, the wound is gushing.
Somewhere, in a graveyard, Beta emerges from the earth below like an actual corpse coming back to life. Where, somewhere? Alexandria. Beta’s hunting Gamma, and anyone who gets in his way will die. VERY UNSETTLING shot where he blows out a candle behind a couple preparing for watch duty, and then he goes about stalking through the unsuspecting town, turning people into zombies to use. It’s not long until Gabriel realises there’s a trap being set, and the people at home in Alexandria discover those new zombies walking around.
During the chaos, Beta heads for the cell. He opens it up and calls Gamma out, telling her not to fight her “painless” death. One of the women gives Gamma the chance to get away, only to be mercilessly beaten to death by the big man, and Judith helps the former Whisperer out with a hiding place. It’s mere moments before Beta is barging into the house, looking for them. He takes a bullet right to the chest from Judith wielding a big ole revolver. Judith and her stepbrother get out of there, though Gamma’s not so lucky— Beta is wearing a bulletproof vest. He’s about to finish off Gamma when Rosita interrupts him and the two go at it viciously. Beta prepares to plunge his knife into Rosita, then Gamma stops him, threatening to kill herself and deprive Alpha. Smart move. Not long later on the road, Gamma’s saved by Gabriel and others running Beta off into the trees. The Alexandrians think maybe she helped with the attack. Thankfully, the priest has enough sense not to act irrationally.
Alpha and Daryl are both bleeding out. He’s spending the time trying to breathe, she’s spending the time rambling about how “pain made you,” trying to act like she and him are the same type of people. Daryl chastises her for driving her daughter away and not loving her. This is what really gets to Alpha, in spite of her tough act. She struggles to get closer to Daryl and they both lie across from one another on the floor, fading in and out of consciousness. Alpha sees Lydia walk into the building, telling her daughter: “I am you … and you are me.” Mother pulls out a knife, placing it against her stomach and urging her daughter to kill her. But Lydia leaves.
Alpha wakes in the sunlight where she passed out. She finds no Darly, only the knife he took out of his leg. He left her a note scrawled in the wood: YOUR WAY IS NOT THE ONLY WAY. He showed mercy. He could’ve killed her, but chose not to, and that might’ve been a mistake. Someone like Alpha doesn’t change after all this time. Out in the trees, Daryl comes to with Lydia looking after him. Seems she’s the one who left the message after all. Some people CAN change.
“They’re human— not perfect.”
An intense episode. Some truly creepy moments.
What’ll happen coming up? Are we going to see Maggie again soon?
There’s definitely another battle brewing, either way.
“Morning Star” is next time.