Previously on The Walking Dead: Michonne reunites with everyone at the Kingdom and lets Tara and everyone else know that she’s now willing to work with them and sign the treaty to make it official. Lydia, with Henry’s assistance, begins getting accustomed to her new surroundings, only to realize that Alpha has come after her and wants her back home. Michonne, Daryl, Carol, and others go out looking for some other people from Hilltop who have gone missing and end up being ambushed by Alpha and the Whisperers, who are determined to punish them for taking Lydia away from them as well as remind them that they are absolutely not a threat to the Whisperers in any way.
THE STORY SO FAR: After the massacre carried out by Alpha and the Whisperers, it’s not long before The Kingdom begins to fall apart both literally and figuratively. As a ferocious winter storm approaches, Ezekiel, Carol, Daryl, and everyone else who are still there agree to join Michonne and Daryl as they head to Alexandria for refuge. But they all soon realize that with dwindling resources, their trek will be a short-lived one and the only way to get to Alexandria much sooner is to cut through the Whisperers’ territory and risk suffering more horrific consequences from Alpha if they’re seen and found out.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Seeing how hard all of these characters have been hit by the shocking losses they suffered in last week’s episode, and doing what they can to at least try and put the pieces back together so they can keep going. Daryl refusing to let Lydia be blamed or disrespected by Alden or anyone else for what happened, as well as Carol refusing to let Lydia blame herself. Daryl and Carol’s friendship proving to be just as strong as ever. And being able to see what killing Walkers in cold and snowy weather looks like, even if some people on Twitter accused The Walking Dead of trying to rip off Game Of Thrones. Negan making his redemption arc somewhat tolerable by making the same kind of dickish comments about the quadrangle that most viewers would probably make while watching this, and by doing his part to protect Judith and keep Michonne from dealing with any more loss and grief.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Anyone expecting this season finale to resemble seasons past end up feeling sorely disappointed, as this episode took the HBO approach of putting the really interesting and devastating stuff in the penultimate episode, and using the season finale to quietly show the effects of said penultimate episode while wrapping things up. This isn’t a finale with Daryl & Michonne & company going to war against Alpha & the Whisperers (as one character already pointed out, they don’t even know how they would even fight the Whisperers, so there’s not much that can really be done at the moment), this is both sides recovering from their last encounter and preparing themselves for what comes next. Which we won’t get to see or know anything until next season. Including the identity of the person on the other end of the radio after Ezekiel finished using it to speak to Judith.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: He is, and he’s released from his cell by Rosita, Gabriel, Siddiq, and Eugene so he doesn’t end up freezing to death due to lack of heat. He spends most of his time giving them all a hard time over their supposed quadrangle.
MICHONNE?: Yes, and she agrees that Alpha was only able to infiltrate them and do what she did because the communities didn’t truly know one another, and something like that can never happen again.
CARL?: Nope. Still dead.
JUDITH?: Yes, and she’s been entrusted to look after Dog because Connie is … well, I don’t know where Connie is or Luke or Kelly because they’re nowhere to be seen in this episode. (Probably for budgetary reasons, which means they’re probably hanging out with all of the X-Men that aren’t able to appear in any Deadpool film) Anyway, Dog runs off in the storm and Judith goes after him. Negan, who is not about to see anything horrible happen to her, takes off after her and despite suffering a bad knee injury, is able to retrieve both Judith and Dog and bring them both to safety.
CAROL?: Yes, and she’s still grieving over the death of Henry and distancing herself from Ezekiel as a result, to the point that she’s willing to walk away from their marriage and from the fairy tale. She’s also forced to deal with the fact that whenever she looks at Lydia, she can’t help but think of Henry. And even though Lydia hates herself for what Alpha has done and begs Carol to kill her and put her out of her misery, Carol refuses to do so and tells Lydia that she isn’t weak, no matter what her mother says.
RICK?: No. Whereabouts remain unknown.
JADIS/ANNE?: Same as above.
MAGGIE?: No. Still getting her Sydney Bristow on in order to protect her country, minus the wigs.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO: He is, as he looks out for both Carol and Lydia and making sure that they’re all right after everything that happened. Ezekiel thinks it might be easier for him and Carol to grow closer once again if Daryl isn’t there for her to open up to. Daryl doesn’t seem to agree, and Carol doesn’t want him to go.
ARE THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: We don’t see them until the episode is about to end, when winter turns to spring and Alpha has Beta lash her arm with a switch to increase her pain threshold, to punish herself for past mistakes, and to prepare herself for what’s coming next.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Despite the fact that this season finale wasn’t the strongest episode to go out on, and a couple of other hiccups that occurred this season, none of that changes the fact that this was probably one of the best seasons of The Walking Dead in the entire show’s run. It was a much-needed and much-welcome return to the quality of earlier seasons and felt like less of a dour and repetitive slog that much of these last couple of seasons have been. And yes, I still miss Andrew Lincoln as Rick, and Lauren Cohan as Maggie, and I will definitely miss Danai Gurira when she finally hangs up her wig and her katana and leaves the show next season (hell, I still miss Jon Bernthal as Shane with his scalp rubs while saying some variation of “Let me ask you something” even if Shane was an asshole who deserved what was coming to him), but the show did an impressive job in making their absence felt while also keeping the wheels turning and making sure that the show could and would continue just as fine without them. And much of that is because of showrunner Angela Kang, who took over for previous showrunner Scott Gimple. I haven’t been this entertained by The Walking Dead for quite some time and if Season 10 is every bit as good and consistent as this season was, then I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what her and the writers have in store (and hopefully, that will mean another invitation to Liesl Tommy to direct another episode).
Whatever happens tonight, I know that this season of the #WalkingDead is it's best EVER. Thank you @angelakang for giving us the season we truly deserved. And of course, it was a woman who did ALL THAT.— Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) April 1, 2019
And with that, see you in October for Season 10.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “In The Cold, Cold Night” by The White Stripes:
Header Image Source: AMC