Well, after a long wait the season finale of Season 10 aired… except now it isn’t the Season 10 finale, instead there will be a third batch of Season 10 episodes before what has been revealed as the final season… so I guess I’ll call that “Season 10 Part 3” whenever they end up airing… Anyway! Let’s review what was, at the time at least, planned to be the second and final half of the 10th season, shall we?
Darryl, Carol and a bunch of other survivors are now trapped in a cave full of walkers. Has Alpha finally gotten her way and killed off her competition?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
I’m not sure a medieval-style mace is the best weapon to construct for defence, but whatever floats your boat! … Or defends your settlement, I guess.
The highlight of this hal- I mean, third of the season has to once again be Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). After appearing to join Alpha’s horde in the previous part of the story he waits a little while, gains as much trust as he can get and then claims to have captured her errant daughter and takes her to see her. Alpha (Samantha Morton) goes into the cabin to see it empty, only to then get her throat slit and her head removed. Negan appears in front of Carol (Melissa McBride) and throws her hated foe’s head to her, to which she simply asks “what took you so long?” Yes, Negan’s defection was all a plan, one meant to bring an end of Alpha and endear Negan to the survivors so he could maybe leave his cell on the odd occasion. It was great, and seeing Negan and Darryl (Norman Reedus) sit on a bench after having helped each other out and … sort-of bonding a bit was great. The two even got to off the big bad Beta (Ryan Hurst) in what would’ve been the season finale.
Speaking of which, the core storyline had some other highlights. At the same time as Negan decapitating Alpha the whole Hilltop settlement was burned down to cinders. No major character was lost, mind you, so… Meh. Some exciting night-time-lit-by-fire battle scenes though! Once Beta finds out about his leader’s fate he loses his mind (even more!) and we find out that he was once a big country music star pre-apocalypse, which was… odd, but amusing. He eventually cuts part of bodiless Alpha’s face off and sews it onto his own mask before marching a massive horde of Walkers towards where the Hilltop survivors were taking refuge. The finale sees a few non-Hilltop main characters (plus a returning Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in a … sort of interesting twist) arrive to help, eventually directing the zomb… walkers off the edge of a nearby cliff while, as previously mentioned, Negan and Darryl dispatch Beta and put an end to the whole Whisperers thing. It was a good finale, but not without its annoying flaws, plus some rather dodgy-looking CGI corpses falling off a cliff (the scene that presumably meant the final episode had to be delayed)
From the panels posted online I can at least give them credit for going all-in on Princess’s comic book look.
The other bit I enjoyed was seeing Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) go out to search for Eugene’s mysterious radio girlfriend and end up meeting desperate loner “Princess” (Lauren Lázaro) who … well, actually, is a bit annoying, but at the moment is a bit more funny than annoying, though it could swing the other way very easily. Anyway, the quartet end the season surrounded by people in white armour carrying automatic weapons, so… that should be interesting! … Maybe.
Actually the opening episode, which sees a good majority of the cast escape from a walker-infested cave system was actually quite tense and well done, so I would like to specifically point to that as a standout episode I definitely enjoyed. I also liked Episode 10, which saw Darryl and Alpha get into a brawl and both end up injured, with the latter taunting and teasing the former. It was a well written episode full of a great dialogue and tense scenes, something the show can do well from time to time…
Is he bad though? Or is he just misunderstood? …. Yeah okay, he’s bad.
My least favourite part of this season is how they handled Michonne (Danai Gurira)’s exit. She trusted a stranger, which she constantly teaches to her son and daughter not to do, ends up on an isolated island, is drugged and then finds a single picture that might hint to Rick being alive, and that’s enough for her to ABANDON HER CHILDREN to go on a wild goose chase. As she was bidding them farewell with tears in her eyes I was thinking “Your damn right it’s upsetting, you idiot! Go back to your children FFS!” Man that was frustrating, and clearly all so she can have her own spin-off adventures, same as keeping Rick alive a season or two ago. Robbing the now of a good story in the hopes of having something better in the future… Stupid risk that rarely pays off.
Much like the previous half (again, or third) Carol going through the same emotional journey all over again. The loss of her surrogate child has sent her on a quest for revenge that has hurt all those around her, and she eventually becomes suicidal but is saved by her new surrogate daughter in Alpha’s old daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy). I’m looking forward to her death in Season 11 that will send Carol through the same cycle for the fourth or fifth time…
Once again Darryl is positioned as the main protagonist and once again he just isn’t interesting enough. He’s a closed book and hasn’t had any character development in years, plus some of his decisions make no sense. In order to save everyone’s lives they need to blend into a walker horde and deliver equipment to a van, and two of the people he picks for the highly important mission to blend in is massive islander Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and only just become deaf Kelly (Angel Theory). Great plan! Don’t bother with all the other shorter and more capable people or anything, it’s only for the survival of everyone. That being said, only one of them died, so I guess that shows what I know. No real named characters died this half-season, by the way. I guess that’s kind of refreshing, so I won’t criticise it for that!
Also, and I hate saying this as always, but Judith (Cailey Fleming) is still used far too much for such a poor actress. She still suffers badly from “I’ve been told to stand here and say these lines but I don’t know how to put emotion in it” syndrome, as many child actors do. It does take away from a lot of scenes, but there you go…
The great central villain from the previous story arc kills the not-as-good central villain from this one…. Hooray!
This latter half of the Whisperer War finale … season-y thing was good in places, some good episodes full of tense scenes spread throughout and once again Negan stole the show, but it was also filled with recycled character arcs and still feels like I’m waiting for Rick to return, with no character having stepped up to fill that “main protagonist” role it really hurts the show. Mixed bag then, but probably just that little bit more good than bad… I won’t be watching again, mind you…