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The Walking Dead 10.10 Review – ‘Stalker’

March 1, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - Stalker
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The Walking Dead 10.10 Review – ‘Stalker’  

This week on The Walking Dead, some knockdown, drag-out, bloody fights somehow lead to no one of note being dead or captured.

The plot: After parting ways with the others, Daryl stalks some Whisperers, only to find Alpha leading some of her walkers out of a cave entrance. He ends up in a vicious fight with her that nearly kills them both, but instead they both pass out from injuries in an old mechanic’s garage, Lydia shows up, tells mom she’s really done with her now, and saves Daryl. Alpha is found by her followers and feels that she’s now stronger than ever, her weakness (Lydia) being gone, and they’re going to run the horde over the communities and kill them all. Meanwhile, Gamma turns herself in to Alexandria in order to tell them about the people stuck in the cave. She gets tossed into the cell, eventually convinces them she’s telling the truth. But when they gear up to save them and also check an outpost they believe is under attack, Beta sneaks into Alexandria through underground tunnels, kills some people, and in the end gets away anyways.

This was frustrating to watch. There’s no reason that Alpha or Beta (or a number of other people) should still be alive after this, except that the idiot ball was going around in this episode.

There are some characters I believe wouldn’t kill these two if given the chance. Lydia not killing Alpha I have no problem with, for example. That’s her mother, even if she doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she’s had a screwed up, abusive relationship with her for years. Her pointed question to Daryl, “If it was your father, could you have?” rings true. However, even with the question of Connie’s survival out there, I just don’t believe that Daryl wouldn’t kill Alpha when he had the chance in that fight. I also don’t believe he’d have left the knife just sitting there for her to grab! I don’t mind at all it being a hard fight on him, it’s good to show that these people can be challenged or bested sometimes, but the fact that he leaves her to push back some walkers?

And then we’ve got Beta. First of all, the whole sneaking in via a secret tunnel/fake grave? Really? I understand that this was meant to have been put in place by Dante, but…how? When? The Whisperers were away until fairly recently, sure, I guess. But this still feels like something that would’ve been useful or used before now. His killing spree in Alexandria just left me feeling baffled. I know Beta is formidable, but killing that many people without making enough noise to draw attention in a quiet Alexandria at night? Not one of them getting away? Then we get to the cell and the confrontation with Gamma–and while I did briefly question him finding the cell, Dante probably sent maps of the town to the Whisperers. Why did Laura not kill him when she had the chance? While a captive Whisperer certainly has potential for information or leverage, not when he’s a clear and present danger! Don’t just hold a weapon on him and send away the only other person in the room, you fool! And then the fact that thanks to Gamma, or rather, Mary making her desperate play to keep him from killing Rosita, Beta just gets to…walk out of there with her? No one tried to stop them, including Rosita? After that, I figured the reason that Gabriel’s group knew to hide in the woods was because Rosita radioed ahead to let them know the pair was coming. But, no…they also let Beta get away and only barely believe Mary’s story.

I can see that the writers wanted to have a number of specific encounters here, for various reasons, but the way they forced them to happen and unfold was poorly done. These writers can do so much better than this and it’s disappointing and frustrating to see an episode as flimsy as this.

That said, it’s what we got, so, what else did it give us?

We’ve got some relationship tension, anger issues, and trauma all flaring up with Gabriel and Rosita. She’s still trying to get herself battle ready, but isn’t quite there yet, while Gabriel’s experience with losing Siddiq, who was both friend and family, really, and then violently killing Dante are having quite the effect on him. We’ve never seen Gabriel get unhinged in quite this way before, encouraging outright torture of their enemies in order to break them and get what they need from them. He and Rosita only barely talk about it, and I’m not sure what all this means for their relationship’s future. She leaves her daughter with him while she heads to Hilltop to get a wound seen to (lest we forget, Alexandria just lost both its doctors), but I do wonder if this is the beginning of a fracturing between them or not.

Also, Gabriel, the lie whisperer? Since when? He was as fooled by Dante as everyone else!

We get a bit of insight into Gamma/Mary as well, between her confessions to Gabriel and Rosita, her willing sacrifice to save Rosita, and her brief conversation with Judith. Her abandoning the Whisperers and being trusted is happening a bit fast for me; I think if we could’ve seen more of her last season, maybe, as being part of the Whisperers, would’ve been a good way to make this arc feel less rushed. As much as the set-up annoyed me, I did enjoy her turning around Beta’s power play by using his own words on him, though, and her attempt to lure him to where she knew Gabriel’s group had gone was a good ploy. Mary is definitely clever.

The most satisfying part of the Daryl-Alpha fight was in seeing these two major characters physically clash and being reminded that they are both, indeed, fierce fighters in their own right, though neither gets into melee combat very often. The return of Lydia I enjoyed, and that was something that was foreshadowed nicely–her arrows were being inspected by some Whisperers earlier in the episode, and she’s the one who shot at them again when Daryl was attacking Alpha’s group. Daryl’s taunting of Alpha about how she failed to love Lydia riled her up, but having Lydia then essentially confirm everything he said was true was another good moment. I did fear for a moment that Lydia might actually kill Alpha and take her place–not because it made sense, of course, but because there had been a lot of poor writing choices so far in the episode already. Lydia’s gentle but firm, almost judgment-free refusal to rejoin her mother, felt very fitting. I also like how she told Daryl she’d been watching and deciding over the last few days since we saw her run off into the woods, away from Carol. That she’s choosing the communities over the Whisperers makes sense of course, but it’s still nice to hear it confirmed. But with the big confrontation of the horde coming at the communities, I don’t feel like our heroes are any better off now than they were before in this fight.

That covers the major pieces of this episode. I wish we’d gotten a chance to get some of what could have been cool moments and confrontations in a more natural and well-written way. The last episode and this one have definitely not been up to par, relying on some idiot ball, melodramatic moments (Carol’s scream, Beta rising from the grave), and poor plotting and writing choices. I really hope that things improve again soon.

5.0
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
A frustrating episode with what could've been some cool moments and memorable physical fights, but is ultimately filled with too many poor writing and plotting choices. The Idiot Ball is being passed around with abandon and it's not a good look on a show we all know can do better. If you're going to have your main bad guys survive these kinds of fights, it needs to make sense, not be because someone decided to act completely out of character. Here's hoping that next week gets things back on track. For now, this one gets what is, I think, my lowest score for TWD yet.
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