AMC’s The Walking Dead
10×14: “Look at the Flowers”
Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Written by Channing Powell
* For a recap & review of 10×13, “What We Become” – click here
* For a recap & review of 10×15, “The Tower” – click here
Negan sat there in his cell waiting to die when Carol showed up with an offer apart from the one he saw himself getting from “the kangaroo council” in Alexandria. They started to talk about the “Skin Queen” and what killing her could do to help everybody, including Negan. Carol advised him that bringing her Alpha’s head would make the others in Alexandria forget his previous horrific acts, giving him a place in their community rather than remaining their prisoner.
In current day, Carol puts Alpha’s zombie head on a pike out there where the Whisperers had put the heads of Henry and the rest all that time ago. She wonders why it took so long for Negan to do the job. He says he was trying not to get himself killed. Carol’s got other business before she’ll go back with Negan. Although he’s not pleased there’s really not much he can do about it, either.
The aftermath of the Hilltop battle has left some in better shape than others. Poor Rosita sustained quite an injury, though she is a card-carrying bad ass and will recover soon enough. She convinces Eugene to tell everybody about his chats with Stephanie and the meeting they setup. No one’s excited and they’re kinda angry at first. However, Ezekiel’s prepared to offer Eugene the benefit of the doubt. So the verbose Southerner lays it all out for them and, for the most part, everyone else thinks it’s “worth the risk” if it means connecting with other communities out there. Ezekiel and more will accompany Eugene on this new adventure.
Finally we see Beta come upon the zombified, impaled head of Alpha.
Another Whisperer says that Beta’s now the Alpha, but this upsets Beta. He orders the Whisperer to take off his mask in front of Alpha’s head. He tells the man to listen to Alpha, pushing him closer and closer to her biting jaws until her dead head begins to chomp into his face. Beta takes Alpha’s head down and cradles it in his arms. After that he puts the head in a bag to carry with him.
In the middle of a town, Beta sacrifices the already bitten Whisperer before heading inside a building on his own. There’s a note left on a table and a gun on the floor, along with a spray of blood up the wall across a poster for an artist called Half Moon. This sends Beta into a rage, pulling down the poster and smashing the guitar nearby. Are these further clues about his actual identity? He puts on a Half Moon record blasting through speakers to draw a horde of walkers outside. He peels part of the mask from his face, tossing it off onto one of the Half Moon records— perfect landing on Half Moon’s face, signifying the country singer and Beta are one and the same. Once Beta’s done grappling with identity he thanks Alpha’s zombie head then knifes her brain.
When Negan returns to the shack where he left Lydia he stumbles onto a pissed off Mr. Dixon. He tries to explain he killed Alpha, showing Daryl the mask. He tells Daryl about how he “silenced the Alpha” and that’s why he was with the Whisperers, as well as the fact that Carol was the one who let him out of the cell. Simultaneously, Carol’s out in the woods alone hearing somebody whisper her name. She turns to see Alpha’s ghost who tells her: “I‘m always watching.” This begins a plague of supernatural guilt, as Carol faces this vision of Alpha taunting her constantly, nearly putting her in the line of fire to get a zombie chomp. Thankfully our lady Carol’s still got her senses— so far. Alpha is definitely wearing on her, channelling dead abusive husband Ed. And that seems to get to Carol, leading to a collapse that pins her down. She’s close to another zombie about to feast on her when she summons the energy to get herself free. A true survivor.
On the road, Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel see a steel cage full of zombies. Is it “a warning“? Is it a trap? Could be any number of things. Ezekiel does a little zombie killing when they stop and his cancer’s clearly beginning to cause him issues. He’s too proud to say anything about it. That could lead to trouble. He later has to put down his horse after it was injured and it’s a troubling moment for him, like he feels it’s simply one more person he’s let down. He wonders if he’ll put his friends at risk because he isn’t healthy. But Yumiko tells him to stop thinking of the future, to live in the moment: “No one cares what I have in mind for the future, I‘m here to find out what‘s possible.” She restores a little faith in King Ezekiel’s weary heart. Really wonderful callback to the very first season of The Walking Dead, seeing Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Eugene ride on horseback towards the city.
When Daryl and Negan get back to the pike they don’t see Alpha’s head, naturally. This doesn’t do the bad guy any favours. They’re busy having a disagreement when Whisperers arrive, pledging their allegiance to the “new Alpha“— Negan. Now Daryl’s in a terrible situation with Negan being crowned leader. Except this is one more chance the former leader of the Saviors has to prove to Daryl he’s changed and that he’s working for the better of Alexandria and the other survivors. He guns down one of the Whisperers, then kills the others, too. Funny to see these two men later sharing water from a canteen, once having been the worst of enemies, not that they’re exactly friends.
The city is a modern Gothic graveyard. Ezekiel gets a kick out of a chained up meter maid zombie and a chained zombie driver, even if it doesn’t make the other two laugh. Then they come upon a woman with brightly coloured hair who’s more than happy to see them. The world’s getting bigger.
“Just look at the flowers,
like you’re supposed to.”
Very interesting to see Beta replace part of his torn mask with flesh from Alpha’s head. There’s so much amazing stuff happening at once. The last couple episodes of Season 10 are sure to be a lot of fun and plenty wild.
“The Tower” is next.