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The Walking Dead 10.12 Review – ‘Walk With Us’

March 16, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - Walk With Us Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
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The Walking Dead 10.12 Review – ‘Walk With Us’  

This week on The Walking Dead, I can’t be the only one thinking I should be taking more notes than usual, what with this whole global health pandemic going on, right? But seriously, this was a heck of an episode.

The plot: In the aftermath of Hilltop falling to fire, walkers, and Whisperers, its defenders and residents are scattered but have a rendezvous point to meet up at. Judith, after unintentionally killing a living person, is collected with the other kids by Earl and brought to a building to hide and wait for the others. But Earl has been bitten, and when his attempt to make sure he can’t hurt anyone when he turns fails, Judith has to take him out. Shortly after that, Daryl, Jerry, and Ezekiel find them. Meanwhile, Carol is with Eugene, Yumiko, and Magna, who turns up alive! She and Connie survived the cave-in but when they found themselves in the middle of the horde, got separated. Magna smeared guts on herself to survive. Yumiko yells at Carol on her behalf, but Magna’s kind of over it or just too tired to care anymore, and then she and Yumiko have a surprisingly amicable and easy split. Carol encourages Eugene to go for it and meet up with Stephanie, and then finds Lydia’s staff nearby, but no Lydia. Elsewhere, Alden, Kelly, and Mary are dealing with a crying baby Adam, whom Mary finally gets to hold. When walkers come upon them, the Hilltoppers hide in a van, but Mary draws off the walkers to kill them. She’s then killed by Beta but manages to rip half his mask off. Another Whisperer coming by recognizes who he is, and Beta kills him, too. When Mary turns, Alden kills her with an arrow and Beta escapes again. And finally, Negan happens to find Lydia in the woods and captures her, taking her to a cabin somewhere and tying her to a chair. He tells Alpha and leads her to a cabin, and they talk about her philosophy and his lost wife on the way, while we see Lydia struggle free of her bonds. Just as we learn that Lydia isn’t in this cabin at all, Alpha turns around only to have her throat slit by Negan! He then takes her head and delivers it to the person who freed him to do exactly this…none other than Carol.

There was a lot of good stuff in this episode, but let’s start with that ending. It makes perfect sense that Carol is the one who freed Negan with the express purpose of sending him to kill Negan. Looking back at when he was freed (at the end of Episode 4), the show was very clever to not show Carol much if at all. In fact, she’s not seen much for a few episodes in that stretch, and thus while she makes perfect sense, this deflected her from looking very likely. Well-played, TWD, well-played! I was almost certain it was Gabriel, though that also never quite felt right. Carol is crafty enough to have realized that killing Alpha would have to mean getting close to her, and that this was something she was unlikely to be able to do. Negan was freed shortly after Carol’s failed attempt to kill Alpha at the border early in the season. Of course, this doesn’t mean Carol was going to just sit back and trust Negan to get the job done–no reason to only play the one, unreliable angle, especially when you’re as obsessed as she is with killing Alpha. Her being the mastermind here, however, does pay off and wrap up the dynamics they set up nicely: Negan doing the dirty work of killing Alpha after manipulating her and getting close to her, but Carol is ultimately the one who outplayed Alpha in the end.

I look forward to hearing more about Negan’s motivations in this, however. He played his role perfectly, though plenty of viewers may have believed that he was serious about becoming a Whisperer. The cracks that started showing here, though, felt more true to who he is: ‘accidentally’ killing the Hilltopper walker, saying “screw this” and killing another one later when he was on his own. The episode is called “Walk With Us,” and in the end, that’s something Negan was never really going to do. But his discussion with Alpha on the way to the cabin was what solidified this, though that conversation felt genuine, too. I think Negan did respect Alpha to a degree and maybe even felt a real connection to her, and that he was trying to find something redeemable in her. Calling out her emotionless philosophy as bullshit, trying to persuade her not to kill Lydia. Had she agreed with him at any point in there, I think he might have tried to find a way to save her. After all, he was a monster and he changed. I’m by no means saying that erases what he’s done, but Negan still had humanity and lines he wouldn’t cross. Killing or harming children has always been one of those–which is why Lydia wasn’t anywhere near Alpha at any point. I did think that Lydia was going to be in that cabin, but that Negan would still kill Alpha before she could possibly hurt her daughter. I was successfully faked out by the opening of the door to reveal that Lydia was somewhere else entirely. The moment of Alpha finally being killed was still somewhat startling, just to see this and last seasons main villain die. She has been truly menacing and commandingly portrayed by Samantha Morton, a truly memorable presence and part of this show, and an absolutely perfect Alpha. She will be missed, even if I’m relieved Alpha is dead!

Prior to meeting Negan in the woods, Carol had some interesting scenes. Her moment with that walker, letting it get so close before killing it…well, suffice to say, I was reminded of Carol’s arc in the comics, and I’m more than a little nervous of what will happen with her in the rest of this season. I liked her talk with Eugene, though, who really does know what it’s like to be in her position after he legitimately joined the Saviors and came to deeply regret that decision. Her encouragement that he should go get his girl was nice, though. It felt like a glimpse of recovered, less traumatized Carol was back, and that was nice. I couldn’t say for sure if that will stick, though. His genuine wish for her to get what she wanted was nice, too, especially since we don’t often see these two sharing screentime, if ever.

Also notable in this group, Magna is alive and she’s back! Didn’t really expect to see her again alive. Connie’s fate is still up in the air, and though it would be cheesy, I hope she’s also survived. I like Connie a lot, and I’d like to see her and Daryl get a chance to act on the feelings they clearly have for one another. I liked the conversation Magna and Yumiko have here about their relationship, it felt like the most real and honest one they’ve had yet. I wish the previous scenes with them had come off this well, I’d feel more bought into the relationship if they had.

Touching back onto the theme of the episode title, Mary takes another big step away from being a Whisperer when she gets to hold and soothe Adam, then save Kelly, Adam, and Alden from the walkers by drawing them off. And she seals her own fate in the process, being killed by Beta moments later while screaming that she would never walk with them again. And sure enough, she doesn’t, thanks to Alden. While it did mean the bigger threat got away, I took Alden killing walker Mary as a sign that he had gained some respect for her, enough to make sure that she wasn’t forced back into the life she chose to leave behind.

Finally, Judith has to go through some scary moments. As always, though she’s very mature and capable for her age, she’s still just a child growing up in a harsh, harsh world. We only see a glimpse so far of the impact of both killing a living human, albeit without realizing that she was at first, and then having to kill the walker of a man she’s known for almost her whole life. And not some rotted version, but freshly turned, still looking human himself. Both of these actions save lives, but it was both heartbreaking and reassuring to see her needing an adult at the end there. And heartwarming to see Daryl stepping into that parental role for her. On top of everything else, Judith’s only parent is in the wind right now: don’t forget that her radio call to Michonne the night before went unanswered. (On a side note, she called Michonne “Daito,” which means long sword in Japanese. Awww!)

So, where does this leave the Whisperer War? Alpha is dead and that’s not nothing, but it’s been pointed out before that killing her won’t stop the Whisperers. They’re fanatics and the most devout of them all, Beta, is still out there. He’s been called out as not being an alpha himself, but there’s no doubt that he’ll want to get revenge for Alpha. Will he succeed? Will he die trying? And finally, who the hell is this guy that he keeps being recognized? I’m getting the impression that whoever it is will have to be a truly notable public figure–there’s no way to name drop a made-up celebrity at this point, so some kind of government figure is my guess.

Got a theory about Beta or the war? Got thoughts on Alpha’s death and who orchestrated it? Let’s hear it in the comments below! And don’t forget to stay safe, wash your hands, and practice social distancing, we don’t need an actual zombie apocalypse happening here, people!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Another excellent episode. The payoff to both Negan's and Carol's arcs in relation to Alpha was perfect. Carol makes perfect sense as the one who freed him, and the show did a good job of obfuscating that. Negan played his role perfectly, of course, and even in the end was just enough of a self-aware monster himself to recognize his own, but also recognize that Alpha was never coming back to any true sense of humanity. There was a lot tonight of people recognizing pieces of themselves and sympathizing with familiar experiences in others. For those who embrace their humanity and emotions, this brought peace, comfort, the reward of companionship. For those who didn't, it brought death and loss. Makes you think, doesn't it? And I love when a show pulls that off.