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The Walking Dead 10.14 Review – ‘Look at the Flowers’

March 29, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - Look at the Flowers
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The Walking Dead 10.14 Review – ‘Look at the Flowers’  

This week on The Walking Dead, the specter of Alpha haunts Carol, Beta, Negan, and Daryl in different ways, while some of the survivors set out to meet Eugene’s radio friend. Also, in case you didn’t hear, next week’s episode is the last of Season 10 until sometime later this year, when the originally planned last episode will eventually air. Okay, special announcements over, let’s get into the forebodingly titled “Look at the Flowers”!

The plot: This week, we’re back to covering multiple storylines at once. As the Hilltoppers recover from the fire in their safehouse, Eugene finally tells them about his planned meeting with Stephanie. With some support from Ezekiel, the group doesn’t freak out, and Eugene, the King, and Yumiko head out to make the meeting. Ezekiel is feeling his deteriorating health and doubting his worth, but Yumiko helps him rally. They head into a city where someone’s been having fun setting walkers up in little vignettes of how life used to be, and the trio meets a brightly-dressed young woman who greets them enthusiastically! After Carol mounts Alpha’s head on a stake, she takes off on her own despite her promise to help Negan start over in the eyes of the survivors. As she wanders to what I believe is the barn where Henry and the others were killed, Carol is haunted by Alpha and taunted by her. Carol ends up pinned under the debris of the roof with a walker crawling to her, Alpha taunting her that this is what she truly wants, but Carol fights back in the end, and returns to Alexandria. Negan, meanwhile, goes to check on Lydia, but she’s gone and Daryl is there. Daryl demands proof of Negan’s story, marching him back to the borderline spikes. Her head is gone, but some Whisperers find them and declare Negan the new Alpha! And are quickly killed, of course. Negan and Daryl head back to Alexandria as well, with Daryl being there to open the gate for Carol. Meanwhile, Beta acts like Alpha’s head is still his Alpha when one of the Whisperers tries to declare him their new leader, taking it with him to an abandoned bar in a town nearby. His past identity as a country singer is revealed as he comes to terms with things and eventually draws a new herd to himself and emerges with a repaired mask that is now half-made with Alpha’s skin.

There was a lot going on here, but let’s start with Carol. When I saw the title of this episode was “Look at the Flowers,” I was real nervous about what was going to happen to her! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, we all know that’s a heavy line to refer to. As well, for anyone who’s read the comics, this episode brought Carol very close to meeting a similar end to the one she met there. I enjoyed the sort of slow exploration of the impact of Alpha’s death on these characters, and after Carol’s intense and destructive quest for revenge, it made sense that she wouldn’t get off that easy. She doesn’t get to just find her peace and resolution now that Alpha is gone. The threat may be eliminated–or, a threat, anyways–but that doesn’t clear the slate for her. Her grief, her doubt, her regret, and the consequences of her choices and actions are all still there. Trying to escape into the woods isn’t going to make them go away either. And Alpha being there to voice all of Carol’s worst insecurities was perfect. the idea that Carol will never be free of this woman and what she did to her, what she took from her, and how she ruined the life Carol had, was a perfect twist. The reckless actions Carol’s taken really did make me wonder if she was, upon achieving her goal, going to seek to end her own life. The echoing of Lizzie’s final lines and Carol’s instructions to her before killing her was another knife twist that had me really questioning where this was going.

But I’m so glad that Carol rallied and chose to keep fighting. Carol has always been a survivor, always fought to come back. While I wouldn’t be shocked if things went badly with how much she’s lost at this point, I’m relieved that her survivor spirit is still there and not fully broken after all. It was also nice to see Daryl as the one to let her back into Alexandria, even if things aren’t right between them yet. They may never be the same, but there’s hope, and that’s always important.

Beta’s journey through the stages of grief is the other major journey here, taken in a very different direction of course. We’ve often heard that Beta is not an Alpha this season, and sure enough, he immediately rejects the idea when it’s first broached, even treating Alpha’s head as though nothing’s changed for a while. His insistence on ‘listening’ to her throughout the episode is pretty damn creepy, and the conclusion where he takes her face as part of his own is even moreso. It’s a perfect ending for him here, though, I love how Gamma’s ripping his mask two episodes ago has come back in this way. Also, it makes me even more afraid of him, to be honest. Maybe he’s not an Alpha, but he’s certainly closer to it.

Also done well here was the unspoken reveal of who Beta was before. A country singer, of all things! I know, some people had already figured this out from a hint that popped up in Fear the Walking Dead, but for those who didn’t see that. But the cover of the album that also only shows half his face, the music that feels so at odds with the kind of person he is now, yet also fitting at the same time. And the twist of using music to bring people together, but as a herd of undead monsters, is kind of hilarious! I didn’t get a chance to take note of the lyrics for the song they used very closely, but knowing this show, I’m sure there was some good layering of meaning going on there, too.

Elsewhere, Daryl and Negan had their own interesting journey, and some revealing moments. For me, nothing with Negan here was a surprise, but it was nice to get the lingering questions about him confirmed finally. From his sincere concern for the people of Alexandria potentially being at risk from Carol’s plan, to being eager (maybe even desperate) to get his second chance with that community, to admitting he enjoys power and being important, but that he has limits and lines he won’t cross; these are all things that have been hinted at often. But with Negan’s past actions, it’s always a question of whether these things were an act or not. I liked getting to hear him finally get into this with Daryl, though, and after he’d made his intentions and allegiance even more clear by rejecting the Whisperers and killing them to save Daryl without hesitating, really. Although also, I loved the twist of them declaring him Alpha! Horrible as he was as a person, it’s always fun to see Negan get his swagger on, let’s be honest. But what will be Negan’s fate now? Especially since we know the fight isn’t over yet.

Finally, there’s the hook for Season 11, as I’m tending to think of it, the journey to meet Stephanie! Two things that stood out here were Ezekiel’s arc, and of course, the brightly-colored introduction of Princess! For the former King, his goodbye with Jerry was touching. I might’ve gotten a little teary-eyed. Hearing him tell Jerry the Kingdom needs him, Jerry calling him by his name instead of ‘boss’, that hug, and the thought that this might be the last time these two men see one another at all, yeah, this was an emotional scene! I loved it. Also touching, if a bit heavy-handed, was the scene where Ezekiel had to put down the horse and Yumiko reassured him in his moment of doubt. It made sense–they really do need someone capable of his brand of optimistic yet practical leadership in times like these.

And then there’s the latest character to join the cast! I loved the little vignettes they had set up to sort of pre-introduce and set us up for meeting Princess. They were creepy but funny and harmless, and Ezekiel’s laughter at the parking ticket one got me laughing, too. These odd little scenes set up the puffy pink jacket, purple hair, big smile and ‘Oh my god, hi!” I can’t wait to learn more about Princess on the show, she’s already a breath of fresh air.

Overall, a lot of good stuff in this episode, though nothing much that really surprised me. I would’ve liked if maybe we’d been able to get, say, a deeper dive on Carol and Beta’s grief processing here. I don’t expect the results would’ve changed, but the beats in their arcs here have been given so much build-up in this larger plot arc that I think they earned a little more focus than they got. But this was a nice pause for air before the final volley of Whisperer War when Beta comes back with that new herd. Speaking of, what does everyone think will happen next week?

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there. Wash your hands!

7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
A solid episode, if not a terribly surprising one for the most part. The exploration of Carol and Beta doing their own versions of processing was good, but could've used some more attention than they got. Especially in an episode calling out the infamous line "Look at the flowers"! I'm glad Carol is pulling through, intrigued to see what Beta's plan is now, and glad that we finally know for certain that Negan is a changed man. And I'm excited for more of Princess, and to see how all this will end.
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