“You only killed her so they would think you’re a hero, but nothing you do will ever make you that…”
‘The Tower’ puts into motion the final elements of The Whisperer War. Beta is on his way and is suitably unhinged, while the survivors have holed up at a nearby abandoned building, in the hopes that Beta will pass them by. Elsewhere, Eugene’s quest picks up another member in Princess, an over-the-top and impossible not to love survivor who has been living alone in the city for over a year. Even though things are coming to an explosive end on the Whisperer front, Eugene’s mission to meet Stephanie sets up the next arc of the show and, most likely, the show’s endgame.
After the death of Alpha, it’s a given than Beta and the remaining Whisperers would want to take revenge upon the survivors. To escape this, they move everyone to an abandoned tower in the city (which is very Dying Light) in the hope that Beta and the horde will not be able to find them. It’s actually a really great plan, and is now only possible thanks to the structure and organisation that the gang have in place. A few series ago, there’d be no way they could mobilise this many people between episodes. But now you barely give it a second thought. When Beta reaches Alexandria, they’re gone and the houses are empty. It’s a change to see the Alexandrians being ahead of the enemy this time, and it’ll be a cool change to see a showdown outside of one of the primary locations. They’re a well-oiled machine, but sadly it won’t save them.
Beta has completely lost it. Unlike his comic counterpart, TV Beta is comic back more aggressive than ever. With his half-Alpha face mask, he’s hearing voices (something he and Carol have in common) and he’s desperately searching for people who killed his Alpha. And thanks to come clumsy kitties, he’s on their trail by the end of the episode. I don’t for a second think Beta will win the ensuing conflict. He’s too far gone, too impulsive. But the question is how much damage he’ll do to the remaining survivors on his final rampage. He’s got nothing to lose and he’s going to through everything he’s got at the tower. And the tower might have been a good place to hold up for a few days, but it’s less than ideal for when Beta begins his siege. People are going to fall, and I have a few predictions. But only time will tell who gets the honour of taking out Beta (please be Negan).
The biggest part of this episode is the introduction of a new character. Glimpsed at the end of the last episode, we’re introduced to Princess, played by Paola Lázaro. She was one of the most interesting parts during the latter run of the comics. Left alone in the city, without human contact for over a year, Princess is not the sanest survivor that the group has come across. But she might be the nicest. Unabashedly friendly and practically begging for companionship, Lázaro plays it perfectly. It’d be all too easy to make her over the top and run the risk of her being annoying. But they keep her down to earth and lovable and leaves you shouting at your TV for someone to give her a chance.
Though, to be fair, she doesn’t help herself in the initial interaction. Introducing herself in a bright pink fluffy monstrosity of a coat, while holding a massive LMG, it’s easy to see why the gang might not trust her. Ezekiel introduces himself, and I love that you can sense how much he wanted to add the ‘King’ in front of his name. (Between the princess, king, and the tower, The Walking Dead is crafting it’s own secret fairy-tale). Princess leads them to some ‘wheels’ – but just so happens to take them over a minefield in the process. It’s not her fault. It was an accident and she doesn’t want to mess things up in front of her new friends, and struggles to admit that she made a mistake. She is one of the most relatable survivors we’ve seen, a person who just doesn’t want to be alone anymore and is terrified of messing things up. It’s sad, but it strikes a chord with everybody’s favourite outcast, Eugene, a man risking it all for a woman who he’s fallen in love with across radio waves.
Staying alive is important, but Princess shows us that it’s all for nothing without that essential human contact, without friends – something that is probably feeling all too real to a lot of people in current circumstances. I love Princess and I think she’s going to brighten up the world of The Walking Dead in the coming months. Even if it is just because of that horrible coat.
Back at the tower, we get two heart to hearts. First, Negan and Lydia try and get past the difficult feelings they have. Negan killed her mum, so he wants her to hate him for it, it’s only natural. Problem is, she really didn’t like Alpha. And she makes a good point when she says Negan only took out Alpha for his own benefit, the same way he wants Lydia’s anger. But I don’t believe all that stuff about Negan being a selfish guy. He’s a dick, but I think he ultimately does things for the good of the majority. I’m a Negan apologist, but I do think he’s been won over by the group. They let him wander around freely, making possum soup and chatting, so I think he’s finally part of the gang. Lydia has a lot of confused anger, and Negan is an easy target. Luckily, the pair seem to come to terms with their feelings by the end of the episode. But I can’t see it being that easy when Maggie returns and sees him wandering around…
We also get a lovely scene of Daryl showing his paternal side. Judith finds him scouting the surrounding area and he reluctantly shows her some tips and tricks. It’s a reminder that as badass as Judith is, she’s still not ready for this world. She gets upset at seeing Daryl deal with a Whisperer, but that’s the way it has to be, at least for the time being. She eventually opens up about her fears, that Daryl will disappear like others have done. In a really touching speech (reminding us all that they should have let Norman Reedus have more lines years ago) he reassures her. Her parents might be gone, but she’ll always have someone to look after her.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. There ain’t no one that can tell you they do. There’s one thing I know, there’s a whole bunch of people back there that would do anything for you. One day, when you’re older, they’re going to need you to do anything for them. You got a whole lot of family. Nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone. That doesn’t mean that everything that follows is going to break your heart.”
– Daryl to Judith
She doesn’t mention Rick though, which is a little odd. Surely she should have explained that Michonne took off in search of the big man himself? Maybe she doesn’t want to give him false hope. After all, we saw the spiral of depression that Daryl sunk into when Rick first disappeared. Maybe Judith is wiser than we give her credit for.
Overall, it’s another great episode that ties up some lose plot threads and opens the door on many others. As a de facto season finale, it’ll do perfectly until the real ending airs later down the line. That one promises to be a big one. We have the final confrontation in the Whisperer War, and people will not be making it out alive. As well as that, we have Maggie’s return to the show. A lot has changed since she left – Jesus, Tara, and Enid have all died in the interim – and she will have a few things to say about Negan getting the run of the place.
Until that episode airs, whenever that is, stay safe.