Is there any bigger contrast of style, in just about every sense of the word, than Negan and the Whisperers? I guess there was Negan with the trash people from Season 7, but his interaction with Jadis (when she was Jadis and not Anne) wasn’t nearly as fun as this. Negan falling in with the Whisperers, whether he’s actively trying to sabotage them from within or he’s just merely trying to survive (which means he needs to sabotage them a bit), gives the show a really fun dynamic to play with. Because not only is Negan able to bear witness to their unique brand of insanity (and constantly comment on it), but he’s also able to analyze it through Negan eyes and figure out the best psychological aspects to exploit.
The Walking Dead: “Bonds” Photos
Hell, we even got a comedy montage out of the whole thing, when Beta was “testing” Negan’s skill as a hunter, skinner, and pig pit shoveler. Of course, we also should be asking “who’s playing who” here? Negan’s convinced he can saddle up to Alpha as her new number two, but Alpha’s already told Beta that she’s just going to use Negan for information and kill him afterwards. But was she just saying that to appease Beta? And is Negan actually willing give up all of Alexandria’s secrets? These are some pretty cool unknowables right now and this entire angle has helped Season 10 click a lot better.
The rest of the episode worked too, for the most part. Carol and Daryl’s side mission, which at first seemed like a covert Carol op to kill Alpha, definitely had some highlights – including Carol pressing Daryl about his interests in Connie (maybe we’ll get a more concrete answer about why Daryl never pursues anyone romantically) and then the two of them briefly getting trapped behind enemy lines where Daryl had to smear his face with intestines in order to hide.
I also appreciate the mutual acknowledgment that “If we mess up, everyone else is going to pay for it.” Like, this should always be at the forefront of every mission. It’s what Rick should have been thinking about back in Season 6.Mostly though, Eugene’s small Hilltop “A.V. Club” story was the biggest stunner when it came to something working that usually doesn’t. It started with him and (a very sick) Rosita chatting briefly and ended with Eugene finding a new woman to talk to, somewhere out in the distance, and hitting it off with her. Part of me actually thought we’d discover, in the end, that he was talking to no one, as if he’d gone a bit mad from zompocalypse loneliness, but no – she was real. But is she real real? Is it a trap, either by the Whisperers or someone else? The Commonwealth?
And is everyone getting sick (and some dying) back in Alexandria due to the machinations of Alpha or just a happenstance outbreak? I guess we have to wait and see what purpose it serves overall. Like, why have a random epidemic in the middle of actual malicious “accidents?” For a second, when Siddiq was drifting off into his dream, it seemed like we might get more clarity about his mental state, but it cut us off short, just with a dream of Alexandria. This is all leading to something – either Siddiq being revealed as a mole-slash-killer or Siddiq’s increasing erratic behavior is going to lead to a trademark “random dumb Walking Dead
calamity.” Or both.
Finally, real quick now, the country song that Magna was listening to last week was written by former Dead star Emily Kinney (aka Beth). There’s a theory out there now that Beta, as an unmasked character, will be revealed as a famous country singer (actress Eleanor Matsuura mentioned the singer was “familiar” on Talking Dead). In the comics, Beta was actually a famous basketball player before the End Times so it would make sense for Ryan Hurst to be playing someone of celebrity note. Someone Negan would recognize if his walker mask ever came off.