AMC’s The Walking Dead
10×16: “A Certain Doom”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Corey Reed
* For a recap & review of “The Tower,” click here.
* For a recap & review of 10×17, click here.
Father Gabriel and others are rushing around while walkers fill the streets. He’s also trying to keep some of the children calm. He tries to tell the the communities will come together as one “mighty weapon” to fight the hordes of undead and the Whisperers, too. Elsewhere, Daryl, Carol, and Kelly rush for shelter. On the road, Eugene, Yumiko, Ezekiel, and Princess are on their way. And then there’s Maggie, still out there. She’s heard about the tragedies since she’s left. Will she go back to aid her friends?
Because Beta’s leading an army. And he’s going crazy, too.
Poor Eugene takes a spill on the road. They have to stop and try to fix his bike. He’s concerned it’ll take too long to fix and it’ll ruin the rendezvous with Stephanie. It takes encouragement from Ezekiel to keep Eugene on track. He urges hope, not giving up in the face of adversity. They’ve got to at least try, if only for their friends. “Tomorrow‘s problems for tomorrow,” says Yumiko.
Daryl and Carol talk about Michonne leaving. He worries he won’t see her again, “just like everyone else.” They’ve lost so many people, it’s hard to not be hopeless or even nihilistic. Everyone’s preparing for a “Pied Piper thing” they’re planning to deal with the hordes of walkers. Some people from Oceanside remain sceptical of Lydia being on their side, but she has her part to play. Some people are pissed off at Carol for enlisting Negan, too; one person who isn’t is Lydia. There’s a chance for them to both find what they’ve lost in each other, albeit not in a strict mother-daughter sense.
A group of survivors, including Daryl, Carol, and Kelly, grease themselves in zombie guts from head to toe. Then they open the basement door and let walkers crowd inside next to them, and they slip outside into the rest of the horde. A creepy moment, especially for those who haven’t done this a bunch like Daryl or Carol. Even for them it’s unsettling, considering the whole place is absolutely swarming in the dead. From the nearby buildings, Lydia helps pick out Whisperers, and Dianne uses her bow-and-arrow skills to take them down. This starts to alert Beta, who tightens the herd. He knows there are enemies among them. And in the building, Whisperers are making their way upstairs.
In the street, Carol has to leave Beatrice when a Whisperer attacks and zombies swarm. She looks back but can do nothing. Then she finds Lydia with her mother’s mask on— which Negan gave her— walking through the crowd. They meet with Daryl at the edge of the woods. Inside, Gabriel and the others, along with Judith, await the approaching attack.
“Like you said, I ain’t no hero.”
“You could be.”
So beautifully surreal to hear “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads blaring from a stereo speaker while Daryl and the others head down the road with the carriage, drawing parts of the horde away. They walk until nightfall with the sounds of growling just behind them in the darkness. David Byrne would be quite proud to know his voice is floating over the background during a nasty fight between humans and zombies and humans dressed as zombies; as intended!
Gabriel sends Judith and the others off to make sure they can climb down safely, protecting the rope for them to get away. His character arc on this show has been AMAZING. He went from the most cowardly man in The Walking Dead’s universe to perhaps the most brave, especially here, as we see him defend his friends to nearly the bitter end. He’s saved by the mask-wearing warrior from earlier and Maggie fuckin’ Greene. She has returned! What a bad ass way to come back, too.
On the street, Beta’s seeing his Whisperers get taken out one after another after another. His people’s screams fill the air, and he hears zombies speaking to him. Then Negan whispers: “Hey, shithead.” Beta charges after the masked Negan and they fight toe-to-toe. But Daryl interrupts, stabbing Beta in the eyes with his blades. Beta hauls the blades free, remembering Alpha and embracing a horde of zombies— only a vision. Beta’s now mauled by zombies and eaten alive. Incredible to watch Daryl save Negan after all they’ve been through.
At a cliff’s edge, Carol waits for the zombie horde. They approach and meet her and she steps right to the edge, as if about to let herself go over, as well. She’s pulled back to safety by Lydia, who won’t allow Carol to do something so irrational. They hide together huddled at a rock while the walkers go over the cliff like lemmings, falling far below to their second deaths. Lydia tosses Alpha’s mask over with them, an act of releasing herself from her mother’s eternal hold.
A beautiful reunion waits afterwards for Maggie and old friends. Carol and Lydia also return to let everyone know the horde’s been finished off. Negan’s stuck around. And, of course, Daryl’s happy to see Carol back in one piece, even if she’s hurting psychologically. While the survivors pay themselves on the back, a woman wakes up in the forest disoriented and bleeding from the head. She stumbles out onto a nearby road, meeting Michonne’s old pal from the island.
That night, Ezekiel, Princess, Eugene, and Yumiko arrive at the meeting place where Eugene set up the meeting with Stephanie. Except Stephanie’s either gone, or she never came in the first place. This leaves Eugene disappointed, though he refuses to give up. He knows there are people somewhere close, that Stephanie’s somewhere near. That’s when they’re rushed by people in Stormtrooper-like gear wielding weapons. They’re ordered to drop their own weapons. Shit.
What a terrifying predicament. Could’ve called it, but this adds something tense to go with once the rest of the episodes start in 2021 for this extended back half of Season 10. Excited for more! This episode offered some wild stuff, as well as an end to the Whisperers. That’s where the series stays fresh, when it doesn’t linger too long on villains and moves to a new threat in this precarious post-zombie apocalypse landscape.