“Shit, you know who that asshole is?”
The Walking Dead is back! Finally! Unfortunately, once this episode ends it’s taken away from us for another long stretch. This episode isn’t the start of a new season as one might expect at this time of year, instead it’s the long delayed season 10 finale – 6 months later than planned. Covid-19 is shaking up a lot of things in a lot of ways but it’s been exclusively the film world taking the hit, at least to me. TV has had a reassuring 2019-feel with new and fantastic shows airing like normal. But the pandemic meant The Walking Dead was put on hold, mid-season. It’s important to recognise that before watching ‘A Certain Doom’ – the episode picks up right where the last one left off back in April. It would be beneficial to refresh your memory of the season by re-watching the last episode (or read Jack’s review of it). The episode itself though? It was pretty great! I’ll get into specifics of what I liked and didn’t like in a moment but for the most part it did what a good finale should and wrapped up a lot of the existing plot lines while laying the ground work for plot lines to come.
In terms of big moments, this episode had a fair few. While there wasn’t any big deaths (which I personally would have liked) we got the return of Maggie and the arrival of the Commonwealth. I’m assuming Maggie has come from the Commonwealth too and she’ll vouch for Eugene and the others who end the episode surrounded by Commonwealth stormtroopers. With the main camps destroyed or forgotten about and with the survivors on the move anyway, the Commonwealth is the most logical staging ground for the next season. With the show ending in 2022, it’s looking as if the commonwealth finale from the comics will be the subject of the last episodes. It’s great to see Lauren Cohen back as Maggie, she slips back into the role as if she never left. She’s not got a whole lot to do this episode but it’s enough to get us excited about her prominent role next season. The bigger question her appearance raises is regarding her mysterious, duel wielding sidekick. Assuming she’s come from the Commonwealth, Maggie’s sidekick seemed most likely to be Mercer, the leader of the Commonwealth military – but Angela Kang scuppered that idea. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who it is but I’m now leaning towards it being an original character for the TV series.
Elsewhere in the episode, Beta (Ryan Hurst) finally got his comeuppance. It differed from the comic in a lot of ways, namely that here in the show it was Negan and Daryl who kill him (in the comics it’s Aaron and the still alive Jesus). The iconic ‘you know who that asshole is?’ line was intact and made better because it was Negan delivering it. The fight was over in a flash; I would have liked it to go on a bit longer but I get the walker crowd wasn’t the most logical staging ground for a showdown. The manner of death is wonderfully gory however – the shot of Beta pulling the dual knives out of his freaking eyes is insane. Negan continues to redeem himself, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when and if he gets to the Commonwealth as he never made it that far in the comic.
So the tracks have been set for the next season. I’m curious how the show will have the budget for some of the larger set-pieces that take place at the tail end of the comic. I’m also curious as to whether the show will attempt the time jump the comic ended with. Essential to that jump in the comics was Carl, but Judith could fulfil that role in the TV show. The big question for me is would the final season of the show see the return of Rick Grimes? Andrew Lincoln has the Rick Grimes movies in the works but with the show ending (and the state of film making and cinemas across the globe) wouldn’t it make more sense to incorporate Rick back in to the TV show? What ever happens when the show returns, with a new setting, returning cast members and completely different dynamic, it will be very interesting indeed.