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The Walking Dead 10.06 Review – ‘Bonds’

November 11, 2019 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - 'Bonds'
7.5
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The Walking Dead 10.06 Review – ‘Bonds’  

Tonight on The Walking Dead, trust issues abound, oaths and promises are being made, Negan is doing some classic Negan schtick, and Siddiq is having some full-on blackouts.

The plot! Tonight we’ve got some classic TWD of following a few different storylines. Carol & Daryl head out to first keep watch on a Whisperers border to try and find the hidden horde, but then end up crossing the border, and Carol nabs a Whisperer to bring back with them. Much of this was clearly planned ahead of time, despite that she tells Daryl she didn’t plan this end result, putting his unflappable trust in her in doubt. Eugene fixes up the radio in the attic of the Hilltop and makes contact with an yet-unnamed woman from a yet-unnamed location! Exciting news, and they talk a while, but the woman is reluctant to trust him with details of her current location and situation just yet. In the Whisperer camp, Negan is doing a peak Negan routine, mostly to antagonize Beta while also loudly claiming his desire to become a Whisperer. In the end, he seems to prove himself and be accepted by Alpha, much to Beta’s disapproval. And finally, sickness is spreading in Alexandria, to a concerning degree. Dante tries to give Siddiq a break from the action, given his recent issues, but when Rosita’s condition declines and the numbers of patients rises, Siddiq jumps back into the action. But when he later falls asleep with baby Coco in his arms, we hear Alpha’s voice saying ‘Open your eyes.’ And when he does open them again, he’s standing on the windmill with the baby in his arms, an unknown amount of time having passed.

Trust is the big theme in tonight’s episode. The trust that has become strained and uneasy between Carol and Daryl, Negan trying to earn the trust of Alpha and the Whisperers, Eugene and the woman on the radio trying to build trust, and Siddiq having issues trusting Dante to run the infirmary without him and then us having to question if Siddiq himself can be trusted after his blackout.

Carol and Daryl are always a joy to watch. Their friendship has been so enduring and, generally, the trust there is solid and without question. I mean, they’ve got friendship bracelets, for goodness sake! But tonight, we got a glimpse of a Carol we haven’t in quite some time, the side of her that plays upon peoples’ expectations to manipulate them, something that I think we all hoped she would never do to Daryl. By the end of the episode, it’s clear that Carol always planned to cross the border and do something dangerous, whether it was killing someone or bringing someone back. Daryl tagging along was a last minute change. It didn’t change anything for her, though; she used his trust in her to her advantage. Heck, she even played him by setting him to search her bag when she had already removed the incriminating items from it. It’s sad to see this rift of sorts opening up between them, but I also have to think that this goes back further than this episode. Carol has been going through a lot with losing Henry, her home at the Kingdom, and Ezekiel, on top of all the old wounds that no doubt opened up. Carol’s actions have been off ever since, and as a result Daryl hasn’t been quite as ready to trust her or back her up. It’s a vicious cycle that’s getting worse, and Carol hasn’t yet had a breaking point that Daryl can use to try and really reach her. Hopefully these two will reconcile and save one another like they always do, but it may be a ways off yet.

Negan’s navigation of the relationships and rules of the Whisperers, on the other hand, is pretty much the comic relief of the episode and it’s great! Negan gets to be peak Negan, with all the quirks and a minimum of the murder. His jovial antagonizing of Beta is highly enjoyable, his keen observation of the relationships around him lets us know he’s as sharp as ever, and his dedication to his task is also a key aspect. Even when Negan was living life at the top at Sanctuary, he wasn’t a slacker when it came to physical tasks. I still firmly believe Negan’s act here is indeed an act, but it’s nonetheless delightful to see him at work here. We’ve not seen Negan have to work his way up to the top, after all, having only met him when he was already there before. And as good as he was at being top dog, he’s equally good, it seems, at taking the knee and swearing himself to someone else. The thing is, however, would Negan of old have been able to do this? I tend to think that the Negan who faced off with Rick would never have even tried. Granted, he had an army of his own to throw at the problem, but I don’t see that whole thing ending well for the Saviors or him.

Also of note in this storyline is the eroding trust between Beta and Alpha. Alpha doesn’t fail to notice Beta questioning her more and more lately, though he doesn’t hesitate to reaffirm his fealty to her when pressed. But as sharp and powerful Alpha is, she has made some bad calls lately and we’ve already started to see how they are making their way back to biting her in the ass: her dogged pursuit of Lydia, lying about killing Lydia, manipulating Gamma’s sister, not attacking the communities with the full force of the horde, refusing to move on from this area in general, and now letting Negan join them. None of them made without good reasons that are perfectly easy to understand, and they don’t negate her leadership at large, but Negan’s presence certainly shakes up this dynamic between her and Beta in a very interesting way.

While Eugene’s contact over the radio is intriguing, there’s not much to say on it yet, but there is a lot to speculate on with the Siddiq storyline. Obviously, they’re building up to something bigger here with his PTSD flashbacks now progressing into full-on blackouts. But more than that, the fact that this blackout was precipitated by a rhythmic sound (the ticking/rocking chair sound) and Alpha’s voice saying, “open your eyes” a few times makes it even more interesting. But what’s the deal? Is it merely that more happened when he was taken with the others who were beheaded than we yet know? Did Alpha turn him, or somehow brainwash him? He wasn’t gone long enough for that to feel believable, but another idea has come to mind. Today, with Dante’s amicable insistence on letting Siddiq take a break, his apparently poor handling of the influx of patients, something about him feels suspect to me right now. So, here’s my wild theory: what if Dante is the Whisperer? What if he was sent to infiltrate the communities, maybe even to keep an eye on Siddiq in particular, and if he’s somehow been hypnotizing or otherwise messing with the good doctor? There’s also a question of whether this latest illness going around is a naturally occurring problem or not. If not, then maybe it’s something intentionally caused and is spreading? Though Gamma tried to poison and block up the creek last week, Aaron put an end to that, so that’s not the cause unless they poisoned another water source as well. But right now, my eye is on Dante.

Other thoughts:
– Been a while since I collected quotes, but we had some great ones tonight!
— “Son, I would break you like a twig.”
— “Since when are we not enough?”
— “Happy to be part of the Hilltop AV Club.”
— Tater Bug! Classic Eugene.
— And basically everything Negan says!
– It’s weird that Negan’s offer of who he is and the intel he might have aren’t brought up until well after Beta and the Whisperers have started bringing him back to the camp already.
– It was nice seeing Rosita and Eugene both missing one another and wanting to talk. It was also nice to see Eugene enjoying himself talking the Radio Lady (as I shall be calling her until we get a name).
– I hope we get some Michonne next week, I’m starting to miss her!
– Also, I loved that Carol has also noticed the vibe between Daryl and Connie and is encouraging him to go for it. Their whole friendly talk in the early part of the episode in general was great, really.

7.5
The final score: review Good
The 411
Good character stuff along with good plot development tonight! I think the Negan storyline sticks out, but that's almost an unfair high bar given how showboat-y he is at all times. Carol & Daryl are always a pair I enjoy watching, and while I think the Siddiq plot is moving a little slowly, I am still interested in seeing where it's going. But this was a very enjoyable episode if again not quite a standout one.
legend

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan