Last week, The Walking Dead provided us with one of the most poorly executed plot twists in the show’s history–including Glenn’s magic dumpster.
This week, we go into Season 10’s midseason finale looking for an explanation for it…or at least a compelling story.
“My Daughter Doesn’t Know You.”
We open with a flashback of Alpha speaking to Dante after they made Siddiq watch his friends get slaughtered. She mentions that despite not being part of the Whisperers for long (*eye roll*), she trusts Dante to infiltrate Alexandria…mostly because Lydia doesn’t know him (*EYES ROLL OUT OF SOCKETS*).
So let me get this straight: Dante had to have joined the Whisperers after Lydia defected, which means in a matter of weeks he’d drank enough to the Alpha Kool-Aid to be fully on board with the Whisperer way of life, worshipped Alpha enough not to care that she was lying about killing her own daughter, AND gained Alpha’s trust enough to undertake a risky deep cover mission.
Anyway, while Alpha instructs him to sow seeds of discord, paranoia, and fear within Alexandria, the flashback continues to move forward. We see Dante remove his Whisperer mask and pretend to need rescuing from a group of zombies. Some Alexandrians coming to his aid and bring him back to their community. We then see Dante meeting Siddiq and leaving notes in a tree for Alpha. Later, he’s shown spray painting the ‘Silence the Whisperers’ graffiti from a few episodes ago (eh), contaminating the drinking water (duh), and smothering Cheryl to death (WTF). Seriously, what was the point of that? It’s not like she knew who he was–and she was probably going to die from the water contamination anyway.
Back in the present, Rosita carries Coco to Siddiq’s room to check on him only to find a sweaty and nervous looking Dante. He tries to lie and say that Siddiq had to leave on a house call, but it’s clear that she realizes something is up–especially when Siddiq’s corpse reanimates and starts grunting. Before Dante can attack her, Rosita manages to put her baby down, somehow overcome her water contamination sickness, and kick Dante’s ass. She also manages to stop Zombie Siddiq right before he lumbers over to snack on Coco.
The next day, Gamma returns to the Alexandria/Whisperer border and tells Aaron she’s ready to give them info…if they let her see her niece (the baby her sister was forced to abandon). After a bit of back and forth, Gamma removes her masks, reveals that her real name is Mary, and tells Aaron where Alpha’s horde is located–and that Dante is really a Whisperer spy.
Aaron hurries back to Alexandria to share the news.
Back in Alexandria, Dante finds himself getting worked over by Daryl and interrogated by Gabriel and Rosita. In addition to spouting the usual nihilistic Whisperer B.S., he admits that he actually liked Siddiq and that killing him “wasn’t part of the plan.” Unfortunately, Siddiq learned who he was. He also tells them about Alpha’s master plan to send in a completely unproven/new member of her group (who she completely trusted) and bring Alexandria down from the inside.
Aaron shows up and discovers that one of his big secrets has already been revealed. When he tells them about the horde, however, Daryl decides to take a group to meet up with some Hilltoppers and find it. I’m not sure what a handful of folks are supposed to do against several thousands zombies, but we’re long past the point of concerning ourselves with logic on this show.
Later that day, Gabrielle holds a funeral for Siddiq. Carol and Ezekiel see each other and exchange some awkward sentiments (and Ezekiel doesn’t tell her that he’s dying).
After the funeral, Rosita grabs some brass knuckles and goes out to punch zombies. Whatever cold medicine she’s on must be really good because she holds her own for a while until a zombie wearing a helmet almost kills her. Thankfully, Eugene just happens to be there to help save her.
She returns home to find Gabriel watching a video of Dante’s discussing how his former group died and he was lost in the woods until The Whisperers rescued him (ugh). Rosita tells Gabriel what she was doing and expresses anxiety over the fact that she can’t die now because her baby needs her…which is completely at odds with her zombie punching expedition, but whatever.
That night, Gabriel visits Dante in his cell. It starts off like a typical Gabriel chat where he extolls the virtues of humanity and seems to be trying (and maybe even succeeding) to get Dante to see the light. Then he pulls out a knife and FREAKING STABS DANTE TO DEATH.
Okay, I honestly did not see that one coming.
Elsewhere, Michonne, Judith, and Luke are heading toward Oceanside when one of the extras finds a pair of tracks. Despite the fact that they are on the verge of war with the Whisperers, Luke decides this is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and make a detour to a nearby library because he and Judith want some books/music. While exploring the stacks (and discovering some Rachmaninoff), Luke is attacked by a group of zombies who were polite enough to stay quiet in the library before converging on him. Thankfully, he is saved by a random dude who runs away as soon as the the coast is clear. Before Michonne and Judith can give chase, Michonne hears over their super powered walkie talkie that Siddiq is dead.
Michonne makes it to Oceanside and immediately begins warning them to change their vetting process so they can avoid having their own Dante-esque problems. Just as she’s really getting into it, the random dude from the library is spotted trying to steal a boat…IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Michonne tries to capture him, but a horde of ninja zombies shows up out of nowhere and make take part in a slow motion fight scene. Thankfully, Judith is able to bring Random Dude down with her sword.
That night, Random Dude wakes up to find his hands tied and Judith reading a book he’d gotten from the library for his daughter. After some back and forth with Little Ass Kicker, Michonne takes over the interrogation. After stonewalling her at first, he reveals that he lives on an island naval base with enough weapons to blow up a giant zombie horde.
This guy is just one big walking plot convenience, isn’t he?
Michonne agrees to help him get back home to his family (which begs the question of how he got to Oceanside from his island in the first place). Random Dude also reveals that his name is Virgil. Michonne properly introduces herself, then says goodbye to Judith before setting sail with him.
Cave of Evil
Dayrl, Carol, and Aaron meet up with Connie, Kelly, Magna, and Jerry to check out Gamma’s horde info. That night, Daryl tells Carol that he can tell she’s not doing well and that she needs to come to him for support instead of handling it on her own. It’s a genuinely sweet moment.
The next day, they arrive at the horde location only to find it completely lacking of zombies. Daryl thinks they’ve been had, but Aaron insists he believed Gamma was telling the truth. On their way back, Carol spots Alpha lurking about and gives chase. The group follows her into a cave and all fall down into a ravine, which conveniently drops them onto a ledge above the hidden zombie horde.
Remember when I said that The Walking Dead was good again? Well, unless things turn around drastically when the show returns in February, I’m very close to admitting that I was dead wrong.
The very premise of this show requires the suspension of disbelief, but that doesn’t mean the narrative can have more holes than Gabriel put into Dante. His entire plot line is contingent on a ridiculous story thread that goes against virtually everything we’ve seen of Alpha so far. Not even Negan was able to earn her trust that fast and she’s clearly got a thing for him.
Speaking of Negan, you gotta love how the one storyline we can all agree is good is also the one that they didn’t touch on before the show went on hiatus.
And then you have Michonne & Co. just happening to find a man who not only has access to all types of weapons, but was able to make it from his island to their location and cross paths with them (twice) despite being stupid enough to try and steal a boat from a large community of armed weapon in broad daylight.
Between all of that and Rosita’s bizarre behavior, the only thing saving The Walking Dead right now are the great individual performances by its cast. If the script doesn’t get significantly better in 2020, however, then I’m afraid it won’t be enough.