Squeezed in the middle. Smack dab in the middle.
The episode begins with the survivors still trapped in the cave. They look up and spot Alpha staring down at them from above. As Carol lets out a feral yell, the Whisperer leader leaves and tells nearby followers to make sure that the followers do not escape. With that, she drops her torch, dons her mask, and heads back to Whisperer territory.
Back in the cave, the survivors look for any possible way that they can escape. They focus on the deepness of the groundwater, meaning that the water must be coming from outside. But with no clear way across, Daryl suggests that everyone jump from one rock to the other to reach the other side. Not exactly the safest idea, given that the rocks are surrounded by the dead, but they don’t have many options right now.
So one by one, each jump from rock to rock and make it safely across. With everyone across, Daryl tells Connie to keep everyone together while he takes a look around the cave. The situation’s not much better on the food front, and while Kelly is growing impatient, Aaron and Jerry assure her that the walkers got in this cave somehow, so they should be able to escape. Aaron believes that Alpha put the walkers here.
As such, they must assume that they are not alone. When Connie checks on Carol, she assures her that she’s just a little winded. Daryl, though, says that Carol is claustrophobic. Well, that’s a new one. Either way, Magna is miffed at Carol for chasing after Alpha, thus getting them all trapped down here. Still, Daryl may have managed to found a way out, so that’s an end to that argument for now.
Above ground at Whisperer territory, Alpha informs Beta and Gamma that the enemy is watching them and knew exactly where to go in order to find the horde. Gamma is more focused on whether they found it, but Beta believes that they have been underestimating their new adversaries. They must now assume that they have sent spies across the border. Alpha wants more patrols around the camp.
She then instructs Gamma to send a message to their eyes along the border: they have failed. As Gamma heads off, Negan watches from a distance and observes.
Back in the Cave of Sighs, Magna makes off with some of Daryl’s matches- for some reason- when Carol joins Daryl. She never told him that she was claustrophobic, but if he only knew what she told him, then he wouldn’t know shit. He begged her to talk to him, as he wants to be there for her, but he doesn’t know what to do anymore and it’s like he can’t take his eyes off her anymore without her running off.
Carol can’t stop thinking about it. She doesn’t want to just kill Alpha- she wants to make her suffer. If Daryl had gone through the same thing, he confesses that he’d feel similar unless Carol tried to stop him. Still, Daryl tells Carol to quit all of this because people she cares about are starting to get hurt. Carol didn’t mean for any of this to happen, but Daryl doesn’t want her to bullshit him. He has to know that they’re on the same team.
They fight for their future, not revenge. That much Carol can promise.
Even though this episode is literally darker than it needs to be, we get a bit of light when we see Magna exploring the caves. She’s suddenly ambushed by some Whisperers, but the others spring into action and manage keep them at bay until they retreat.
Realizing they could get split up in the dark, the survivors decide to stick together and try to follow the path that the Whisperers took. Jerry spots an arrow pointing in one direction, so that’s at least a starting point.
Above ground, Negan presents Alpha with an alternate theory to her “spy” theory: the spy they’re looking for is right here, underneath Alpha’s nose. Alpha and her people know that the enemy will often lie and distort the truth, but Negan has been in her position before. If you’re a king or queen with legions of followers kissing your ass all day, eventually you start to believe everything they tell you, even if it’s horseshit.
When Alpha asks for a name, Negan suggests that she look closer to home, but not at Beta. He clearly falls in line no matter what. Gamma, though? That’s a different story. After all, she’s close enough to Alpha that she’d know where the horde is, but she also guards the border, which means that she’s close enough to the enemy that they could have gotten to her.
Alpha brings a blade to Negan’s goods, telling him that she won’t have him sow paranoia among her followers. If Negan breathes a word of this to anyone, Alpha will take that swinging thing between his legs from him.
Though Alpha leaves, between you and me, I’m pretty sure she’s still considering what Negan said.
Back underground, the survivors continue making their way through the cave, though Connie continues to worry about Carol’s well-being. She spells out “You are OK” on her hand, calming her nerves a bit.
Eventually, everyone has to worm their way through a very narrow tunnel. Daryl makes it to the top first and tells everyone to follow his voice. Sounds simple enough. Everyone soon makes it through, but Carol is caught short of breath and paralyzed with fear. Like the others, Daryl tells Carol to follow her voice, assuring her that they’ll get through this together. Slowly, but surely, Carol makes it over.
However, Jerry hears a noise. He looks behind him and sees that the walkers are also in the tunnel and pursuing them. While Aaron makes his way through, Jerry suddenly finds himself stuck. The walkers are hot at his feet, but he’s able to remove his armor and safely squeeze through the hole. Luckily, the walkers didn’t bite through his shoe.
Magna spots a shaft of light, but before she can charge towards it, Daryl stops her from falling through a deep hole littered with walkers at the bottom.
Continuing along, the group heads through what looks like a mine shaft. Magna, again, wants to charge ahead, but Connie and Kelly caution that one wrong step could bring the entire thing down. Yeah, Magna, slow your roll!
Alpha learns from Beta that Gamma never made it to the border, so scouts have been sent to locate her. Taking Negan’s word to heart, Alpha considers that maybe Gamma is the spy among their ranks. Alpha instructs Beta to track Gamma down and bring her back. Beta just wants Gamma dead, but Alpha will deal with Gamma herself.
As the survivors begin digging towards their exit, Kelly happens upon some dynamite. Sounds like the perfect solution, but the others don’t share her enthusiasm. Jerry cautions Kelly to carefully put the dynamite back. She does.
That out of the way, Aaron tries to get Magna to take a breather, or at least not work so hard. Truth is she’s still got Yumiko on her mind.
Alpha summons Negan to go on a long, uncomfortable walk until she orders him to stop. She tells him to strip down. As he does, he admits that they are different: he made himself into a monster because that’s what the world needed. He built something and saved people to the point that his name meant something. When he’s stripped down, Negan is ordered to turn around. Why?
Because Alpha has removed her clothes- save for her mask. Sure, I guess. Anyway, because Negan is a crass man, Alpha figures that he would like a crass reward as a result of his guesswork that Gamma is the spy. That took courage, so Alpha wants to express her gratitude in a way that Negan understands. Naturally, Negan wants to know if Alpha intends to take off the mask, but he’s also not deterred by her “true” face.
Quite the opposite. Negan does ask Alpha if this is some praying-mantis stunt where she’ll cut off his head. She doesn’t answer, and he takes note of that.
But it’s also been awhile, so he will take his chances.
At long last, the group underground has found the outside world, but they’ll need to do some more digging before the hole they’ve dug is wide enough for everyone to fit through. But where’s Carol? Off having her own adventure when she’s spooked by a walker and left hanging on a ledge. Daryl saves her, and Carol explains that through her plan, they can take out half of the horde.
Still reeling over the loss of Henry, Carol convinces herself that she can do that, but Daryl won’t have that. He implores her to come back with him, but then the cave rumbles.
The others have cleared a way out. Kelly heads out first and takes out some approaching Whisperers while Jerry holds a beam together so the others can escape. More Whisperers stream in, so Magna and Connie handle them. When Jerry escapes, Magna and Connie are still underground when the dynamite explodes.
Daryl frantically searches for the two underneath the rubble, and Kelly suggests that he stop. The blast will no doubt attract walkers from all around, and they can’t save Magna and Connie if they’re dead. A fair point. Then again, we haven’t seen their bodies yet, so you be the judge.
Daryl furiously points at Carol, and though he doesn’t chew her out, she practically pleads with him to say that this was her fault- more so given how Daryl cared for Connie. Refusing to do that, Daryl tells the others to head home and alert everyone else that they’ve found the horde. As for Daryl, the Whisperers got out before them, so there has to be another way inside the cave. They head off as the episode comes to a close.
Welcome back to The Walking Dead for the remainder of Season 10. We left off with some of the survivors trapped in a cave filled with a walker horde with seemingly no way out. We don’t push things forward that much as far as the plot goes because the bulk of the time is spent on wondering how, if at all, the survivors will escape.
What I did like about these moments in the cave is that it did seem like anyone could die at any moment, and there were some candidates. At one point, it seemed like Kelly could fall or slip on one of the rocks. Jerry getting caught in the tunnel was a close moment. Also, Magna just charging ahead without a solid plan could have resulted in her death.
Then there’s Carol, who is still gung-ho on killing Alpha no matter what. So Magna’s not wrong when she says that Carol’s actions are the reason they ended up underground. But at the same time, were it not for Carol’s recklessness, they might not have discovered the horde in the first place. So you take what you can get and cut your losses.
Still, a strong moment at the end when Carol was pleading with Daryl to blame her for Connie’s apparent death. She knows that Daryl wouldn’t chew her out the way he would with others, but she wants him to because she knows in her heart that she deserves the blame.
Let’s not bury the lede here. Are Connie and Magna dead? I doubt it. At this point, The Walking Dead is well-known for its fake-outs and it’d be strange- albeit not unrealistic- to just accept that Magna and Connie were killed when the cave collapsed. We don’t see any bodies yet, and given Daryl’s determination, he’ll keep looking no matter what. So I don’t buy them being dead, even though the show wants us to think that.
Still, Carol’s actions are becoming more and more unpredictable, which causes great uncertainty for the others- Daryl especially. For all the heart-to-hearts he’s had with her this season, she’s still adamant about making Alpha pay. But we learn here that it’s about more than just hurting Alpha. She wants her to suffer for everything she’s done. Henry’s death is still haunting Carol, so it makes sense that she’d still want vengeance.
This makes it harder for Daryl because he can’t anticipate what Carol will do, but now he’s doubting whether they’re still on the same side. Not that Carol is striking out against the others, but more that she’s going out on her own. It’s another way of her potentially getting herself killed, but Carol’s defied death so many times that she could get out of anything.
I did enjoy the cave set piece, if just for the tense moments and watching the survivors navigate through the dark. A bit too dark for my taste. This was nowhere near as bad as “How It’s Gotta Be,” but yeah, pretty damn hard to tell what was happening most of the time.
As for what’s happening above ground, I enjoyed this more than what was happening in Cave Story. Negan and Alpha are much more alike than she’d like to admit, but he knows a thing or two about having a mole in your ranks, if Dwight’s actions were any indication. I don’t know how much he’s aware of Gamma’s double-cross, but he at least has an inkling that her loyalty is wavering.
Doesn’t help that Gamma was quick to ask Alpha whether the survivors found the horde. That quick look Alpha gave her was enough of an indication, I feel, to clue-in that she was asking too many or the wrong questions. Granted, we don’t see Gamma after Alpha gives her an assignment, so we’ll have to wait and see how Alpha intends to make an example out of her.
Still, she got to…make an example out of Negan? Or at least show her gratitude in the most primal way possible. Them about to get it on in the nude in the wild was that sort of awkward funny that also applied to when Lydia licked Carl’s eye socket in the comic book. But I liked that Negan was suspicious about this. He may be a man with needs, but he’ll be suspicious that this woman might stab him in the back.
But in the end, the survivors have escaped the cave with knowledge of the horde’s location. They’re apparently minus one Magna and Connie, which is a good place to leave viewers on edge to know if they’re still alive. I still believe they’ll pop up at some point, but we’ll have to wait and see. Until then, welcome back to The Walking Dead and catch you all next week!