The Walking Dead Season 10 finale-in-spirit is here! Katie Hallahan is back to see how the Whisperers War ends.

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The Walking Dead 10.16 Review – ‘A Certain Doom’

October 4, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
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The Walking Dead 10.16 Review – ‘A Certain Doom’  

Welcome back, friends, to Season 10! It’s been a hell of a six months, hasn’t it? I sincerely hope everyone’s doing well, safe, and healthy.

While coming back to the Walking Dead around now is at least one thing that’s fairly standard, it of course isn’t usually the same season we left off on. Much less the same season that will now have a few added episodes, but not until next calendar year. For now, however, let’s take a look at the culimination of the Whisperers arc!

The plot: As the survivors in the tower hurry to ready themselves for the horde, the handful of them still outside scrambling back inside. There’s a plan to lure away the horde, but it requires getting equipment to the wagon, which is on the other side of the horde. Eight people go out to bring the equipment there, trying to sneak through the horde. Carol’s partner falls, but Lydia has come as well and she joins them to help out. They get the horde to follow the wagon with loud music playing on it, but the Whisperers disable the wagon eventually. The group decides to fight back–they slip into the horde and start killing off Whisperers, eventually narrowing in on Beta at long last. Negan surprises him, having also been in the horde, and between he and Daryl, they finally take down Beta, who is happily devoured by the horde. Lydia, wearing Alpha’s mask, herds the horde towards a distant cliff. Without the wagon, it seems to be a suicide mission, however, to lead them off of it. She and Carol, who have been trying to work out both themselves and their relationship to one another all episode, have some back and forth about who gets to walk off this cliff to end this thing. In the end, they basically save one another from that dark fate, however, and both choose to find a new path. The terror of the Whisperers is over, at long last. Meanwhile, Yumiko, Ezekiel, Eugene, and Princess make it to the train yard where he was going to meet Stephanie. They’re late, it’s night, and after some waiting it seems they missed their shot. But Eugene rallies and says she’s out there, they’ll keep looking until they find her. That’s whne the flood lights turn on and remarkably well-armored people with guns come out, surround them, and demand they throw down their weapons. Also, Connie is alive! And Maggie is back!

This wasn’t the usual kind of season finale for Walking Dead–which is what I’m still thinking of it as, despite the upcoming episodes that are technically part of Season 10. This is still the culimination of this plot arc and the Whisperer War after all. Though there was big risk, big reward, and an ebemy that has been unlike any other, nefarious and unsettling in new and strange ways, it was much quieter than usual. And while I wouldn’t have minded a little more fast-paced action, this sort of fit the tone of the Whisperer War and what it’s done to our heroes. There’s been fighting and lives lost and it’s been war, but what it’s really done most is tear these people apart. Tear apart their sense of home, of community, of safety, of self. Relationships have been tested, broken, and it’s been unclear if they could be recovered. Families have been sundered, by violence but also by grief and by choice. Trusted friends have lied and betrayed their loved ones, and past enemies have become proven themselves if not heroes, to at least be worthy of trust and a second chance.

And that last one, that’s the essence of how they triumphed. Through reminders of their community, reminders that there is still good in people and that people can change their path. By confronting the darkness that is the Whisperers, that lives in every one of them, and finding hope, finding their way back. By embracing themselves as individuals, flaws and all, and as a community, because it was only through these things that they survived at all.

Carol, for example, has been trying to redeem herself since the cave-in that nearly killed so many of them entirely because of her selfish drive for vengeance, as well as her trickery with sending Negan after Alpha. Kelly told her in the last episode that she had to find what only she could do and that was her super power, and that for Carol, that was her being a lone wolf. Kelly wasn’t wrong, but being a lone wolf has also almost destroyed Carol more than once. She’s capable of remarkable kindness, love, and strength, but that has a dark side woman, and the depths of that have long haunted her. And she’s long been off balance.

Yet even in that off-balanced state, she’s able to tell Lydia the things she needs to hear: that she needs to find herself and choose her own path. Which Lydia throws right back to her, and in the end, Lydia’s path is Carol’s path: strong, capable, and driven by love and the desire to save others. I loved that they save one another at the cliff, that they both pull one another back from the brink. It’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to do that, at that moment. If Daryl had tried to pull Carol back, I think she would’ve just been more certain she had to do this to somehow atone for what she did to him and to Connie. If Negan had tried to save Lydia…well, I just don’t think he could’ve gotten to that point. He would’ve made noise, what he does best, and in that way taken it on himself. But instead watching Carol and Lydia hold one another while the horde fell from that cliff, seeing them both turn back from that death, Lydia rejecting Alpha at long last and being done with the last lesson she had for her, it was touching to see. And the difference in how they are with one another was immediately obvious; they’re so much more at ease with one another and themelves when they rejoin the others.

Also super touching? Carol and Daryl are okay again, guys! I might’ve gotten a little teary when that happened. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

The rest of the characters involved didn’t have quite the same full emotional arc as these two, but the Daryl-Negan team-up to defeat Beta was pretty epic. Negan showing up like he did was, I admit, a good twist. I didn’t really think he was ditching everyone when he went down the elevator shaft earlier, but it had been long enough that I’d forgotten about him. Seeing Negan and Beta throw down was a great if brief fight, and Daryl’s double-stab on Beta was an epic end. And that wasn’t even the last of it! Only Beta would be able to rip knives from his own eyes and then somehow also find that and dying by being devoured peaceful. Bravo to Ryan Hurst for his amazing work as Beta, seriously. He did an amazing job with the character from start to end and was a damn presence.

That this kill also involved Daryl saving Negan is notable, too, of course. We didn’t exactly get to see any aftermath discussion or not of that, but given their past, this was an interesting choice. It speaks to who Daryl is, really–he could’ve waited a second more, let Beta deal a killing blow to Negan, but he didn’t.

The away team, meanwhile, pushes through their own setbacks and crises of faith in their mission, but finally make it to their destination. I’m really enjoying the quirky dynamics of this group. Ezekiel is a delight as always with his optimism, Eugene’s an oddball as always but I like that he’s not giving up, Princess is hilarious (to me, at least!), and Yumiko’s straight-forwardness plays well off all of it. But most importantly, they’re surrounded by storm troopers now?! The group, presumably Stephanie’s people, are hands down the best armored and armed group we’ve ever seen on this show. This isn’t cobbled together work, this is custom-made, uniform, modern work. So what sort of people can crank this stuff out? And will they be good or bad news for the communities?

Next week, I’ll jumping onto the new spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and when the rest of Season 10 returns, I’ll be covering that, too. But for now, what did you think of the finale-in-spirit of Season 10? Beta’s death, the end of the horde? What do you think is coming next? This new group, Vernon’s reappearance, Maggie’s return? We are near the end of the main series at this point!

The final score: review Good
The 411
This 'finale' was much more about the emotional journey than the physical throwndown, which was unusual though not a bad thing. It could've used some more action-tension, I think, and maybe some more time spent on certain characters and their arcs, but I liked the conclusion for Carol and Lydia. And Beta's death was kind of amazing and so very fitting for that character! I do think the episode suffered somewhat from the circumstances separating it from the rest of the season. Which is no one's fault, but I think it would've worked better riding that down-wave of Alpha's death a few episodes ago. In the end, a good episode. Not great, could've been better, but good.

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan