“Some bullies you can live with. Others, you gotta fight.”
Season 10 of The Walking Dead continues its hot streak with another dynamite episode. Things threaten to come apart in the communities, thanks to a falling tree at Hilltop and Negan at Alexandria. Not to mention the imminent threat of the Whisperers – a problem everyone seems to have a solution to. Where’s diplomatic Sheriff Grimes when you need him?
Lydia, unsurprisingly, is having trouble fitting in. She’s not one hundred percent sure she belongs and the douchebags teasing her aren’t helping. We see her get bullied by some people over her previous affiliation (and relation) to the Whisperers. These guys are first-rate scumbags, but their motivation is clear. Alpha and her lot killed their friends, now her daughters wanders their community enjoying all the privileges that democracy affords. Lydia struggles with it until talking to her friend and mentor, Negan. The two of them have a nice relationship, both being outcasts. He’s coaching her on how to survive the bullying, but things get out of hand. The bullies come for Lydia in the night, leading to a pretty brutal assault. It’s only Negan who saves her from serious injury – or worse. But in his attempt to save her, he kills one of her attackers.
This isn’t something I’d expected. It’s a potential spanner in the works of the Negan redemption that was teased last week. On one hand, he was in the right. He was saving a defenceless person from three attackers. On the other hand, he’s an undoubtedly violent individual and the people are baying for blood. This puts the council in a bit of a pickle. As an ardent defender of Negan, I found myself nearly shouting at the screen as the gang discusses executing him. So, I was over the moon to see he’d escaped in the night. In the comics, Negan escapes and kills Alpha, bringing her head to Rick as a sort of weird gift. It’ll be interesting if that happens here. But with his friendship with Lydia, I’m not sure. Carol is much more likely to be the one holding the knife. Though, judging from next week’s preview, the two might meet up. Either way, Negan’s story is going from strength to strength.
Daryl is left picking up the pieces, somewhat reluctantly. He’s sort of had this father-figure pushed on him, filling the role of one of Lydia’s two dads. Things get even worse when Michonne explains that she reckons the reason Alpha hasn’t wiped them out is because of Lydia. So, all of a sudden, keeping Lydia from leaving has become Daryl’s number one job. And with the way people seem to slip out in the middle of the night, he has his work cut out for him. But I’ll give him credit, since Rick’s “death”, he has shouldered the responsibility admirably. Compare Daryl to the man from a few seasons ago, and the difference is staggering. He’s always been loyal, but not he’s stepping up as a leader. Judging by the ending shots, the community is split and needs one more than ever.
Elsewhere, Ezekiel is not having the best of times. And can you blame the guy? He’s lost two surrogate sons over the years, his beloved tiger died in front of him, his entire kingdom collapsed and had to be relocated, and now Carol has dumped him. Maybe other people have had a worse go of it in the apocalypse, but it’s difficult seeing it happen to a nice guy like Ezekiel. Seeing him stood on the edge, ready to jump, that was heart-breaking. Thankfully, Michonne was there to talk him down. The two share an awkward kiss (and a nod to their relationship in the comics) and a great scene sees the two opening up to one another. Michonne is clearly still not over Rick, and Ezekiel is losing his edge as a leader. For Ezekiel especially, the future is uncertain. He’s dead at this point in the comics. Only time will tell if he’ll make it out of this season alive.
The (not-so) new guys are having their share of trouble too. Kimiko and Magna start the episode in good spirits, but a fight with walkers beyond the walls goes sour. Magna wants to stay and fight, Kimiko wants to retreat. It continues this series’ trend of making the walkers seem like actual threats again, maybe someone like Magna has got complacent? Or maybe she’s a badass who could have taken them all out single-handed? We’ll never know, but it’s causing friction between the pair. A hot-headed personality like Magna is a dangerous presence in the cold war with the Whisperers.
Next week episode looks fantastic. But I’m firmly on the side of Team Negan so I would say that. I’m intrigued to see what happens, whether he reaches Whisperers and kills Alpha, whether that’s even his intention. The Negan of the show isn’t as grovelling as his comicbook counterpart, but I could still imagine him thinking it’s a good idea. How better to get people to trust him? It would be exciting if he met with Carol on the way, she’s on the warpath too.
Either way, I can’t wait.