The truth has been right in front of you all this time…
The episode begins with Siddiq awakening from another nightmare. The sound of Cheryl’s nearby shivering gets his attention, so he gives her some water and tucks her in tight before leaving. He gets to work taking care of Alexandria’s sick and filling up some jugs with as much water as he can. Despite his best efforts, it doesn’t seem like the sick are getting better.
As he drifts off to sleep, he awakens in another nightmare of a hand clamped across his mouth, muffling his screams.
Next day, Carol and Daryl return to the cell where Lydia is staying- they need it for their new prisoner. Lydia knows this person: he watches over the guardians and may know where Alpha’s horde is. Gabriel storms over, letting Carol know that he’s not a fan of this plan. He’ll be in there during the interrogation and Siddiq will treat the Whisperer’s wounds. Lydia, meanwhile, will stay with Carol.
While Lydia heads upstairs in Carol’s quarters, Carol thanks Daryl having her back with Gabriel. She knows that the Whisperer won’t talk easily and says that if Daryl wants to sit this out, he can.
Daryl heads downstairs and lounges with Dog for a bit as he eyes the double-acorn that Carol gave him.
Carol asks Lydia for more intel on the Whisperer, but Lydia knows that the Whisperers are loyal to Alpha and won’t talk. Luckily, Carol isn’t going to be very patient. She tells Lydia to pick a side in this war, but Lydia just regrets not leaving with Henry when she had the chance.
As much as she may hate some of these people, she still knows them. She talks about how Alpha manipulates people into doing what she wants, making them think it’s what they want. The people obey because they have no choice, but if Carol lets the prisoner see what she has in Alexandria, that a place like this can survive, an idea like that is dangerous. It would spread and there’s nothing Alpha could do to stop it.
With Gabriel nearby, Siddiq and Dante examine the Whisperer prisoner, but Siddiq comes to a screeching halt when the Whisperer recognizes him. Dante decides to take over from here, so Siddiq heads outside, but upon eyeing a nearby fence and its sharp ends, he has a flashback to Alpha getting ready to decapitate one of the survivors…
Elsewhere, Aaron and Gamma meet at one of the border points. Gamma notes that Aaron always has bread, but of course he does because people prepare it every day. He shows her a drawing that Gracie did, prompting Gamma to ask if there are other children- there are. Gamma feels that children hold you back and make you weak, so Aaron asks if she has any other family. Gamma’s response? She’s an only child.
Way to throw your sister under the dumpster, Gamma.
Okay, so Carol goes back into Suzy Homemaker mode and brings a tray of bread and jams to the prisoner. The prisoner, a bit suspicious, does ultimately take a piece of bread and scarfs it down like it’s the first thing he’s eaten in forever, but he ends up spitting it in Carol’s face.
Some people just don’t like bread, I guess.
Siddiq checks on Rosita, who is still under the weather and pasty, but she still looks damn good. She remembers that she missed her radio call with Eugene- her other other man- but doesn’t want him to think that she forgot him. Siddiq assures Rosita that Eugene will be fine because he bounces back.
Not everyone does. Siddiq did check out a few of Eugene’s baby tips: apparently the poop chart was on-point and Eugene is a bonafide shit-ologist. Siddiq’s words, not mine.
Rosita didn’t think that she’d be a mom in this world, and it freaks Siddiq out every time because he wants to be a good father. Rosita tells Siddiq that she and Coco are lucky to have him. As Rosita erupts into a coughing fit, Siddiq pours her some water and she downs the entire thing. Aaron, get your ass back to Alexandria already! Siddiq tucks Rosita in and heads off to take care of the other patients.
The gloves are off with Carol, who demands the prisoner tell her where Alpha’s horde is. When he doesn’t talk, Carol presses on one of his wounds and then puts on a ring before punching the man over and over again. Still, he doesn’t break. Even in the face of Daryl threatening to cut off various parts of him, he tells Carol, Daryl, and Gabriel that they lie to each other and that they’re weak. What do they fight for?
They ignore the truth when it’s staring them in the face. He won’t betray Alpha because she rescued and protects him. She even- apparently- sacrificed her own daughter. This would be problematic, but then I remember that the Whisperer was blindfolded when brought in, so it’s fine.
So what do you think happens? Carol’s plan is to go straight to Lydia and show her to the Whisperer so his eyes are opened. Daryl pleads with Carol to not do this since Lydia’s been through enough, but ultimately, it’s Lydia’s decision to make.
An increasingly weak Cheryl tells Siddiq to rest and get his head on straight. She’s made her peace and is well aware that she could die at any moment, but the others need him to be focused. So indeed, Siddiq closes his eyes.
Rather than rush back to Alexandria and warn the others about the contaminated water, Aaron is still trying to be the nice guy to Gamma. He shows her Gracie’s drawing and tells her that she’s pretty good on a bicycle, even though that’s probably just an excuse for her to stay out with her friends. He then reflects on how he used to find every excuse to ride with his friends. Gamma says that “we” would do the same.
So Aaron asks again if Gamma has siblings, and I have to ask how Gamma could make such an easy slip. Aaron talks about his younger brother who loved cars, but he loved people even more. They loved him back, and Aaron still thinks about him every day. He knows what it’s like to lose someone that you love and that it helps to talk about it.
What Gamma is doing, asking these questions for intel, Aaron feels he should do the same, but what’s the point? Maybe they should just talk about nothing worth reporting. Just as Aaron prepares to talk more about his brother, Gamma rushes off, repeating the Whisperer mantra. I guess Gamma isn’t a fan of Aaron’s brother.
The prisoner is repeating the same mantra- and burning up- when Dante, Siddiq, Daryl, and Gabriel arrive. The doctors get to work examining the Whisperer, but find it strange that he’s convulsing and burning up with no signs of infection. The Whisperer vomits up blood and convulses on the ground until he eventually dies. A few seconds later, Carol and Lydia arrive, but they’ve missed the show.
Siddiq finds some medicine that Dante apparently gave the Whisperer for pain and influenza, but turns out that Dante actually gave him hemlock- which can be poisonous. In Dante’s defense, he didn’t think that hemlock would be in the bag in the first place because Siddiq packed it. Whoops.
Gamm has a bit of a struggle with an approaching walker, which is bad news bears because Alpha is watching her. All Gamma reports is that Aaron has a daughter, but she did not ask about her sister’s child. Alpha reminds Gamma that people like Aaron will slaughter their kind and find their weaknesses, such as using her sister against her. Alpha instructs Gamma to remove her mask.
Alpha then picks up a branch and whips one of Gamma’s arms, reminding her that she is always being tested. Still, Alpha believes in her, and Gamma must never doubt that. Aaron tempts Gamma with his lies, but Gamma must not be seduced. I’m not sure what part Gamma found seductive: the metal arm or the story about the brother, but whatever.
While Gabriel and Daryl contend with the now dead Whisperer, Carol takes Lydia for a ride since she apparently still wants to help. Siddiq goes to check on Cheryl, but the worst has happened. He finds Dante preparing to bury her body. Feeling another panic attack coming on, Siddiq rushes towards the lake and jumps right in as he has a nightmare flashback of Alpha killing Enid.
Eventually, Rosita rescues Siddiq, who isn’t in the mood to talk. Rosita, however, is- and she wants the real shit: what the hell has been eating away at Siddiq for the past few weeks? Finally, Siddiq admits that it’s like he never left that fateful day, but things have been coming in pieces, like a scream here or there. The smell never left, though. People are dying, but Rosita reminds Siddiq that he’s not alone.
What bothers Siddiq above all else is the thought of Enid. When he sees Dante, he remembers how much he misses Enid, but then remembers how much he failed her. Rosita tells Siddiq that it’s not his fault, but keep in mind that Rosita wasn’t there. People that he loved died right in front of them and now he gets to watch it over and over while he did nothing. Welcome to the club, pal.
Now, because of him more people are dying and he feels that he’s not smart enough to do anything about it. Rosita calls bullshit on that, telling him that he has to pull through for everyone that loves him- and he will because he isn’t alone and Siddiq is the smartest person that Rosita knows. Wow, Eugene really ain’t shit, is he? However, Siddiq still can’t figure out why Rosita is sick.
After all, the patients don’t even eat the same things. Siddiq can’t land on a common denominator, but then he has an epiphany. He goes over to the water pump and carefully examines it before laying waste to everything around him in frustration.
Night falls as Gamma and Aaron meet, with Gamma returning Gracie’s drawing. She takes Aaron at knife point, but is thrown for a loop when she’s interrupted by Carol and the very-much-alive Lydia. Shocked, Gamma runs off. But this isn’t a completely smooth operation. Lydia is upset that Carol used her like this and even says that she’s the same as Alpha. Carol wanted Lydia to choose a side, so Lydia has.
She heads into Whisperer territory, even striking Carol to keep her from getting closer, and runs off. Aaron warns Carol against following Lydia since the Whisperers could be watching. Instead, Carol returns while Gamma sobs by herself.
In Alexandria, Dante tries to apologize to Siddiq and wants to shoulder the blame, even though Siddiq is adamant that this is only his fault. Dante won’t allow that. He knows how special Alexandria is and says that everyone carries equal weight. When something happens, it’s everyone’s fault. If one person suffers, others are here to help.
Siddiq reminds Dante that he barely knows him, but Dante still considers Siddiq one of his friends.
If only it was that simple. It’s at this point that Siddiq remembers very distinct at the noises Dante makes with his mouth, and the noise that a particular Whisperer made during the executions. Siddiq turns around and realizes just who Dante really is, but before he can do anything, Dante goes on the attack first. He gets his arms around Siddiq’s neck and slowly strangles the doctor to death as the episode comes to a close.
Well, didn’t call that one. Per the episode’s title, “Open Your Eyes,” we’re getting a lot of reveals and surprises as we head towards the mid-season finale, and we’re mostly dealing in Alexandria in addition to the few moments we have on the road with Aaron, Gamma, and Alpha.
But let’s jump right to the end because that’s the most surprising thing to me. Even if I put aside my knowledge of the comic book, I didn’t expect that the series would kill off Siddiq or that Dante would be a Whisperer in hiding.
Well, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised about Siddiq dying. If the past is any indication, The Walking Dead can’t have too many doctors at once. Plus, he’d finally opened up about the trauma he had been dealing with since the murders. When a character starts getting a ton of development and opens up, they aren’t long for this world.
So in that regard, Siddiq’s death was coming. I sort of expected Rosita to kick the bucket since Christian Serratos is about to star in a Netflix series, but hey, some people can do both. Doesn’t happen for everyone. After all, Sasha’s still dead, but Rosita lives to fight another day.
I appreciate that Siddiq has finally opened up on his trauma. That shit was eating away at him and chances are this led to him making the mistake of putting hemlock in Dante’s bag. We know that Siddiq has been, for the most part, dealing with his horrors on his own, but I’m surprised that he didn’t lash out or just lose his shit at somebody. The most we got was him yelling at Dante last time, but even there he held back.
This even puts his speech in “The Calm Before” in a different context. He didn’t want to tell everyone a story that would scare and divide them, so he buried all of that within himself and he’s been carrying that burden ever since.
His conversations with Rosita were nice, quiet scenes that allowed him to unwind and just ease off some of his tension. There’s always uneasiness and tension when Siddiq is with Dante or any of the sick residents, but with Rosita, he’s at peace.
Too little, too late, though, when he realizes that Dante is a Whisperer. Interesting to think that one of Alpha’s has been among the survivors all this time. When Dante first appeared this season, it was without fanfare or buildup. He’s just there. So now I’m curious when he came to Alexandria and how he managed to convince the survivors that he was on their side.
It’s a clever move on Alpha’s part if this is her doing. Everyone is so focused on Lydia that they’re not, per the episode’s title, opening their eyes and seeing what’s in front of them. How much does Dante know? He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that Alpha’s daughter is alive, but then there’s a ton he may have missed as well. He may not even know about Gamma contaminating the waters.
That’s another thing, just to jump over to this subplot for a moment. Aaron has clearly been meeting with Gamma for awhile now and he must have been in touch with Carol to plan the ambush towards the end of the episode. So why hasn’t he informed the others that the water they’ve been drinking is contaminated?
Granted, we don’t know how much time has passed, but you’d think that he would go back to Alexandria at least once. We’ve only seen him in the woods, so it’s possible he’s been out here the entire time, but I don’t believe it was by chance that he, Lydia, and Carol met in the same place at the same time without some prior coordination.
Whatever. Aaron’s attempting to toss an olive branch to Gamma, but he’s smart enough to realize when she’s trying to play him. Aaron told Michonne that he’s tired of being the nice guy, but he sure as shit ain’t doing much to change that. It’s just in his nature to see the good in people. It’s why he’s even meeting Gamma so much in the first place. For a minute, it seems like Gamma could be changing her ways.
Unless that was all just a facade. We do see her crying when she’s alone and Alpha warns Gamma that she’s always being tested and Aaron could try to manipulate her. But Gamma is still thinking about Frances’ death, so she wouldn’t just get over it that fast. So it appears, especially after seeing Lydia, that she could make a choice.
To be clear, I don’t think that Gamma will just up and turn on Alpha now that her eyes have been opened to the truth about Lydia. But I do think she could start to second-guess herself. She may not question or challenge Alpha because we already know what that leads to in the end.
For all we know, she could just cut loose altogether and go her own route. That seems to be what Lydia’s doing. As far as I can tell, anyway. She won’t return to the survivors, but she doesn’t have a reason to go back to Alpha, either. She might if she knew that’s where Negan was because he protected her. But since she doesn’t, I think she’ll just try to survive on her own.
Lydia’s eyes have been opened to the fact that she can’t trust the people she grew to call friends. She’d been attacked and abused by some, so it makes sense that she’d eventually leave. But she hoped that Carol would be a friend to her. That didn’t happen when she realized that Carol was just using her in order to divide the Whisperers. Just when Lydia could lower her defenses, she’s been manipulated once again.
Daryl had it right: Lydia had been through enough already. Making her a pawn in this game would just drive her away. Carol would’ve been better off just forcing the information out, but brute force and kindness got her nowhere, so I get her desperation. Still, it did more harm than good in the end now that Lydia has fled.
Then again, the Whisperer prisoner did say that the survivors didn’t realize the truth when it’s staring them right in the face. He was right: Dante has been a Whisperer walking among them all this time, the water being contaminated has been right in front of them, but the survivors spent their time fighting other battles. But then this is part of Alpha’s master plan.
Rather than just send the horde out right now, she wants to wear everyone down and then go for the killing blow with her walker army.
With the mid-season finale upon us, we’ll have to see just how the survivors contend with the recent death. Will they even suspect Dante or could this death even further divide them? What will Gamma and Lydia do? No way to know for sure, but this was a solid episode as we say farewell to Siddiq. See you all next week for the mid-season finale.