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The Walking Dead 10.15 Review – ‘The Tower’

April 6, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead - The Tower
8.5
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The Walking Dead 10.15 Review – ‘The Tower’  

This week on The Walking Dead, our finale-for-now, Princess leads the away team through a minefield but still charms them nonetheless, Beta starts hearing walkers talk to him but turns out they give good advice, and Lydia and Judith confront some hard emotional truths with the closest thing they each have to a father figure.

The plot! What I’ve dubbed the ‘away team’ of Yumiko, Eugene, and Ezekiel formally meet Princess, whose personality is as colorful as her coat. She’s a little off after being alone for at least a year, and accidentally spooks their hoses. And then ends up taking them on the ‘scenic route’ through a minefield while bringing them to a garage full of wheels–by which it turns out she meant bikes. Still, better than walking! Despite the bumpy start, Yumiko invites her to join them, which Princess happily does. Meanwhile, Beta and the Whisperers march their huge horde straight into an empty Alexandria, then towards Oceanside, as he struggles with leadership. Eventually, he’s hearing and seeing walkers talk to him, whispering about his faith being rewarded, but actually helping him figure out where the survivors truly are after all, as well as finding Aaron and Alden who were tailing them. That place would be an abandoned hospital tower, where Lydia tries to deal with hating her mother but also hating the idea of mourning her, eventually getting there with Negan’s help. Carol and Kelly go on an errand for Luke, and Kelly likewise gives Carol some solace and relief from her apology tour. Meanwhile, Judith joins Daryl on patrol and confides her worries that Michonne might not come back, and about losing other people she loves. Daryl assures her that while loss never goes away, she has a big family of people who love her and will look out for her, and whom she’ll someday look out for, too. But their moment is cut short by a radio call from Gabriel, presumably sent just before or just after the horde surrounds the hospital.

With this cliffhanger, it’s definitely frustrating that we have no idea when the actual season finale will drop. Unavoidable given the circumstances, of course! Don’t confuse my frustration for complaining, I just wish the wait between that set-up and what comes next didn’t have to be a big question mark.

But let’s talk about where we started and not where we ended. Princess! I love her already. She’s a breath of jubilant fresh air on this show. Her almost child-like excitement and social graces (or lack thereof), her wacky but affable and charming attitude, her quirkiness just really works for me. Imagining a person who’s this extroverted, but damaged in her own way and also resourceful and intelligent enough to survive on her own, her actions make perfect sense. She’s trying so hard and she just wants to make friends! But she keeps fucking it up! But only a little, and I’m glad that this particular combination of people are the ones she encountered. It would’ve been easy for any of the survivors, even the ones we know and love, to dismiss her, leave her behind, or even lose their patience and faith and kill her. But Ezekiel is an obvious kindred spirit, especially given her name and reasons for it, Eugene understands her social awkwardness and desire to find some friends, and while Yumiko is the hardest sell, we know just enough about her background that it makes sense that she sees through to giving Princess a chance. After the last strangers these people met, you can’t blame them for being suspicious, but it’s good to see some light and hope to remind them that not all strangers are like the Whisperers. Also, loved the unknowing dig at Ezekiel for calling himself King, followed by him not using that title for maybe the first time ever!

Rays of hope are something of a theme tonight, in fact. Judith and Lydia are both coping with their mothers being out of their lives, in very different ways. For Judith, she’s been through a lot lately: the fire at Hilltop was terrifying and she unintentionally killed a living person during it, followed by having to kill the freshly animated walker of someone she’s known her whole life. On top of that, her mom is gone and may never return from her pursuit of this slim hope that maybe, just maybe, her father may be alive and out there somewhere! It’s a lot for anyone, nevermind an 8-year-old! Her and Daryl’s moments in the woods were all so lovely and touching, though. I love Daryl’s total faith in Judith’s abilities and good sense, that he treats her and talks to her with respect at all times. She’s young and he doesn’t forget that, but he’s so good with her. He never talks down to her or dismisses her, and he’s completely honest with her: there’s no saying he knows what will happen, loss will happen more than once in her life, but she’s not alone. She’s loved and protected by many people, and yes, one day, they’ll need her to protect them, too. That love isn’t one-sided or without expectations on her. But just because there is loss doesn’t mean everything will be bad and break your heart thereafter.

It’s not entirely dissimilar from what Kelly tells Carol: you can’t give up on yourself just because bad things happened. Carol’s circumstances and issues are quite different of course, but again, this is a nice moment that gives some new and much needed hope. Connie is Kelly’s sister, she has more reason than anyone to hate Carol for her horrible and selfish mistakes. But instead, Kelly chooses to not only forgive Carol, but understand her and lift her up. She’s new but she knows about Carol, about who she was and what’s she capable of. What makes her different isn’t a weakness, it’s a superpower. She’s a lone wolf, but that’s allowed her to do amazing things, things no one else could do. Which makes me think that when we do get this season’s finale, Carol’s going to be embracing her lone wolf superpower once again to help save everyone else.

Another bit of hope in a dark place comes for Lydia in the form of Negan. These two have bonded before, in the first half of the season, when he saved her from some jerks in Alexandria who wanted to hurt her for being a former Whisperer and Alpha’s daughter. Here, he sees that she’s holding out on mourning her mother because of who Alpha was, because of how Lydia herself hated her and had for some time. But he also knows that holding out on that grief, burying it, will not serve her in the end. And of everyone there, Negan is really the only person with whom Lydia could really let her guard down on these complicated emotions. Lydia was abused by her mother in so many ways for years before she finally escaped it, she didn’t love her anymore — but as we saw, she didn’t want to kill her either. She might’ve in theory wanted her dead, known she had to die, but that actually coming to pass is another thing altogether. I think that deep down, Lydia wanted her mother to love her, even though she knew without a doubt that it was impossible. Instead, she had a mother who wanted to kill her and the only reason she didn’t was because someone else killed her. That’s a whole lot to process. That’s the kind of stuff that people go to therapy for years to try and deal with. Lydia, too, will no doubt be haunted by this for a long time, maybe her whole life, but it’s good that she’s got people looking out for her now, too, who are trying to help her get through it. Even if it’s Negan, of all people! BUt again, it fits. Who better to counsel the girl who thinks she’s a monster than the man who really was/ one?

And speaking of monsters, wow, Beta’s really losing it, huh? This, too, is not shocking. Beta’s grasp on sanity has always been tenuous, but now starting to directly hear walkers talking to him is next level. It shows that he’s not an idiot that the advice he ‘hears’ from them leads him on the right path, allowing him to catch clues he’d probably have noticed on his own if he was in his right mind (or what passed for it). He’s also clearly a little off his game at the same time, though, since it takes so long to notice Aaron and Alden being right on top of them. In this episode, Beta is mostly just good old fashioned menace, really, but he’s damn good at it, always has been. That’s a huge horde he’s gathered to get his revenge with, and the survivors may have a solid building to hide in, but they’re still pinned down all the same.

So how will our heroes get out of this one? I highly suspect that Maggie is going to show up–remember, we heard that Carol wrote to her about the Whisperers last week–and also that the handful of survivors who aren’t in the tower will play key roles, of course. Aaron and Alden’s fate is unclear, but Daryl, Judith, Carol, and Kelly are all out there, and none of them is to be taken lightly. Not even the 8-year-old! But let’s hear your theories: how will this end? How will they survive? And who won’t survive? And will Eugene and company make it to the meeting?

Until we find out, thank you as always for following along and reading these reviews this season! I hope to be back soon with the finale, but for now, stay safe and wash your hands!

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
An excellent episode this week. Lots of great and genuine character moments, moments of hope and forgiveness, and even comedic moments in the middle of otherwise very dire situations and circumstances! Princess is a fantastic new addition and I'm glad to see the survivors finding their way back to being a unified group after so much separation and selfish motives driving them apart for much of the season. In interesting and understandable ways, but all the same. And we've got an intense cliffhanger ending to boot! Fingers crossed that we get to find out how all this ends relatively soon.
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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan