The season finale has arrived. Sort of.
The episode begins with Yumiko, Eugene, and Ezekiel still surprised at the sight of this mysterious stranger. The woman points out that they’re the ones who caused commotion and she thought they needed help, but now they’re acting like she’s the problem. This woman hasn’t seen anyone in over a year, so the three aren’t exactly making the best impression. Her pointing a gun doesn’t exactly help, either.
Diplomatic Ezekiel points out that the three were admiring the woman’s display. There haven’t been many rotters in the city, so she put them up as decorations- helps the place feel alive. To drag this scene out further, the woman wants the three to confirm that they are, in fact real and that she’s not hallucinating. How do you prove that? She asks them the capital of Pennsylvania which, Eugene points out, is Harrisburg.
Whether this woman knew that, we’ll never know, but the woman at last introduces herself: formally her name is Juanita Sanchez, but because she’s never liked the name Juanita, she prefers to be called Princess, played by Paola Lázaro. Why Princess? Because Queen makes her sound old and pretentious.
Ezekiel introduces himself and the others, and Princess offers to show the three around, though Eugene points out that they can’t stay because they’re on an important mission. At the very least, Princess wants to show them the best way through the city, but Yumiko isn’t on board with that idea.
Walkers approach and Princess guns them down which, in turn, spooks the horses and causes them to run off. Why are the horses always unreliable on this show?
Ezekiel proposes looking for the horses tomorrow, but Eugene points out that their window of making it to this meeting on time is narrow. The time spent either walking or looking for the horses would be wasted, so Yumiko proposes that they just start walking now. She doesn’t this Princess gal and thinks that she’s leading them into a trap. After all, if she has a way out of the city, why hasn’t she left?
It’s a fair point, but Eugene sides with Ezekiel in that they at least hear Princess out. After all, their options are limited.
Princess offers to show the three the garage that she spoke of, on Yumiko’s condition that she hand over her gun. She eventually agrees, as she can find more guns anyway.
We jump over to the Alexandria Safe Zone, which appears to be empty of its citizens. Perfect opportunity for Beta to stroll in with his massive walker herd.
So where is everybody? Holed up in a very familiar looking hospital and waiting things out for the time being. While Dianne goes on watch, Luke talks with Jules for a bit before announcing that he needs someone to go out and run an errand for him. Carol being Carol, volunteers to go.
Not everyone’s here, though. Daryl is out in the woods and tells Michonne via radio to not come home. She’ll only find them if she answers him. He’s got a plan to end this, though being on a run like this reminds him of the good old days, which feels like ages ago. Despite calling out Michonne’s name, Daryl receives no answer.
The herd congregates in Alexandria while, up in the tower, Beta and a few Whisperers wonder where the survivors have gone to. He tells the Whisperers to prepare the Guardians.
Not everyone has left, though. Inside the tower are Aaron and Alden. They sign to one another as they prepare to make their move.
Back at the hospital, Judith finds Lydia playing with one of the cats. Where the hell did these people find cats? Anyway, Judith apologizes to Lydia on losing her mother, but Lydia doesn’t even miss Alpha. Not everyone gets to have a mother as good as Judith’s.
While Carol and Kelly saddle up, Daryl finds Judith in the woods just after she’s put down a walker. At once, he demands that she go back, but she wants to learn how to keep people safe in case things go south. Daryl explains that he walks the perimeter and, if something looks off, he heads to safe location and radios the others.
There’s no room for error with something like that. If Judith’s going to do this, she’ll follow Daryl’s instructions and stay next to her.
Beta still senses that something is amiss. When a Whisperer points out that the pack follows the Alpha, she quickly corrects herself. Before Beta can kill her for her insolence, Beta hears a voice in his head. He asks the voice to show him the path, and the voice responds that Beta show patience. He must have faith in his strength and learn. As such, Beta’s plan is to wait.
Aaron radios to the others that the pack is headed to Oceanside, just as expected. He and Alden will keep watch if anything changes.
Back at the city that time forgot, Princess leads the trio through the woods and into a seemingly open clearing. The four happen upon one of the horses, but it clearly hasn’t been eaten. Rather, it looks like it’s been blown to pieces. Why? Because this open clearing doubles as a mine field. Who knew? Well, Princess did, but she didn’t say anything so the others wouldn’t worry.
However, she doesn’t often stop to look at dead horses, so she lost count. She takes a swig of water from her canteen and tosses it onto the ground, right onto a mine that soon detonates.
As Kelly and Carol attempt to hotwire a car, Carol apologizes for what she did, saying she’d do things differently if given a second chance. Still, Kelly is confident that Connie is still alive. Maybe it’s because she’s so tough that she can survive anything, or maybe part of Kelly won’t accept that Connie is gone. So Kelly understands why Carol did what she did, though it doesn’t mean that she should have done it.
Story time. Kelly explains that when she started losing her hearing, her sister said that it wasn’t her weakness, but her superpower instead. Now everyone’s learning sign language because of Kelly. She’s heard the stories about Carol in the old days and how she’d just go off and do things that only she could do- the lone wolf thing.
That’s her superpower, and Carol can’t give up everything about herself because bad things happen. Kelly has to believe that much.
First off, why is everyone learning sign language? Second, who shared the story of Carol to everyone and when? Was it Daryl?
Whatever. Back at the abandoned tower, Negan joins Lydia and offers her some possum to eat, though he correctly guesses that Lydia is avoiding him. He admits that while Alpha did some horrible shit that there’s no excusing, he liked a lot of things about her and he wishes that he didn’t have to kill her. If there’s something that Lydia wants to say to Negan, he wants her to say it.
So she does. Many people wish that Negan died. That’s all Lydia says before heading off. Alright, did something crawl up Lydia’s ass or something?
Okay, so a walker approaches the city group and hits a mine, causing a tiny chain reaction. While Yumiko still distrusts Princess, Ezekiel is more accepting of this newcomer, telling Princess that leading them to safety can go a long way. Eventually, Princess finds a safe route.
Time for Hunting with Daryl Dixon. He explains to Judith that when the hunter moves, everything else moves around it. You try to spot things that don’t belong or feel right. He instructs Judith to identify whether the skin on a nearby tree is from the living or dead, and she says that it belongs to a walker.
As luck would have it, several walkers soon approach. Daryl gets an arrow in one walker that turns out to be a Whisperer, who soon runs off. After downing the remaining walkers, the two head off in pursuit of the Whisperer.
Eugene recognizes a street sign- Fleetwood Drive- and notes that they’ve passed it before, indicating that Princess has been leading the three around for awhile. She explains that she was just enjoying herself and she figured they could take the scenic route, even though they ended up in a mine route. She just wanted to show them the garage, but she realizes how she screwed things up.
She tells the three that when she first showed up, she figured she’d just be here by herself. Time passed and it was so empty, but she realized it’s not too different from how she felt before all of this. One time, someone told Princess that she’s hard to love, so perhaps she deserves this. She should’ve told them the truth, but she didn’t want the voice in her head to be right. With that, she apologizes.
Eugene knows the feeling. After all, he’s lied to people and made poor decisions. The outcome meant being left alone, and no one wants that. Eugene does still want to know if Princess has access to vehicles. Yeah, we’ll get to that.
Right now, I can’t tell if Princess is more or less obnoxious than her comic counterpart.
Daryl finds the downed Whisperer scout, who has unmasked herself and is down in a ditch, and she tells him and Judith that the horde is heading to Oceanside. She went off on her own because, while she liked the Whisperers, she couldn’t stay there because Beta has lost it after what happened to Alpha. She doesn’t know whether Beta knows where Daryl is, but she knows that Beta will keep coming.
Rather than draw this out, Daryl ends the Whisperer with an arrow to the head. Judith argues that Daryl didn’t have to do that, but Daryl’s explanation is that the Whisperer didn’t have any information for them. Better for her to die quickly. Hard to disagree with his logic, I’ll admit. Judith doesn’t want to leave her in a ditch since she might have had a family, but Daryl’s focus is heading back the tower.
Don’t so soft on us now, Judith.
As Beta continues leading the pack, Aaron and Alden maintain a safe distance. Alden speaks up, saying that he thought once Alpha was dead, things would go back to normal. At the very least they can fight to make sure that they don’t lose again. However, something is off. The pack has slowed down. The two notice that the pack is changing, and in typical television fashion, Aaron can’t get a signal on his radio.
Even though Daryl got a transmission just fine earlier in this very episode, but whatever. The two retreat, but it’s too late. The Whisperers already have they surrounded.
Lydia rushes up to Negan and tells her that he can’t tell her what to do…and he agrees. Okay, great talk. He suggests that Lydia hit him or do something to mourn her mother, even though Lydia claims to be just fine. She needs to say goodbye or this will eat at her. Bad as Alpha was, she was still Lydia’s mother, and you only get one. Well, unless your name is Judith Grimes.
She plays right into Negan’s hands, laying into him and saying that he only killed Alpha to make himself feel better. It’s the sort of catharsis that Negan wanted to get out Lydia, and he succeeded as Lydia falls into his arms and cries.
So about that garage. Princess does indeed lead the three to a garage full of wheels…attached to bikes. They’re goddamn bicycles. Okay, no word of a lie, this sort of reveal is kind of funny. Plus, at the very least, Princess didn’t lie. She never promised cars.
Princess tells Yumiko that she’s not a bad person- just that her people skills aren’t the best and she understands why it’s hard to trust people in this world. Especially when they lie. Still, Yumiko offers Princess the opportunity to join them. Princess immediately accepts, and I wonder if Yumiko is already starting to regret this decision. Princess just needs to stop by her spot and grab some things, among them a spear and some candy.
Judith is still thinking about the Whisperer in a ditch and wonders what would happen if someone like Daryl or anyone else was lost like that. Where’s this coming from? Well, Judith just wishes that they were all together again at home. Daryl tells Judith that he sent a message to Michonne, informing her to not come home so she’s safe. He didn’t talk to her, but he’ll keep trying.
Doesn’t matter to Judith because after the fire, she spoke to her mother, but now she fears that she won’t come home. Turns out Michonne said that she went to go help some people that she met. Judith didn’t want to tell Daryl because maybe he’d leave, too. Daryl can’t promise that he won’t leave because he doesn’t want to lie to Judith. Truth is he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.
No one can tell Judith that they know, either, but what Daryl does know is there’s a lot of people that will do anything for her. When Judith is older, those people will need her to help them. She has a lot of family, and nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone. Doesn’t mean that everything that follows will break your heart. With that, the two hug.
Just then, Daryl gets a transmission from Gabriel, who orders him to come back, but the connection is choppy and the message breaks up. Where is Beta in all of this?
Why, he’s brought the walker herd right to the survivors at the tower as the episode comes to a close…
So marks the end of Season 10 of The Walking Dead for now due to the coronavirus, so in a way, this sort of functions as a temporary season finale. The ending with Beta and the herd arriving at the tower could serve as a cliffhanger to tide everyone over between seasons, but we’ve already seen something like this with “No Way Out.” Not of this magnitude, but it’s familiar territory.
To be fair, that’s not the show’s fault, as no one could’ve predicted so much of the industry coming to a screeching halt due to COVID-19. For now, though, “The Tower” is weird. It’s a fine episode, but it doesn’t teeter into “great” territory because while there are good elements, this, like last time, treads familiar territory.
Let’s start with the new, though. Paola Lázaro makes a good introduction as the Princess, and she’s just as talkative and a loudmouth as her comic counterpart.
But I don’t remember her being this obnoxious in the comic. That shouldn’t matter when talking about the series and it’s only been one episode, but I’m mixed on her. She struggles to make a good first impression after being alone for more than a year.
That by itself is an interesting concept and we’ve seen what happens to these people when they’re on their own and left with nothing but their thoughts and the dead around them. At the very least, Princess is more animated than almost any character we’ve seen on this series since maybe Ezekiel. Her reasons for leading the three on an unnecessary goose chase are understandable, but do feel like padding.
All we get from stuff like the land mine scenes is that Princess is, well, weird, and we get that from her first appearance and how much she rambles about how these three newcomers might not be real. It’s odd, but no stranger than a man who calls himself a king or people who wear the skins of the dead. Okay, not a great comparison, but Princess isn’t as bad as Yumiko makes her out to be.
She’s got every reason to be suspicious, sure. Hell, I’m sure everyone on this series will have trust issue every time they meet a stranger. But Yumiko came off more harsh than necessary. If anything, Eugene should be the one pressing Princess since this meeting with Stephanie is partially his doing. It feels like Yumiko giving Princess the cold shoulder every scene was easy drama.
Perhaps it’s because Eugene and Ezekiel were on the opposite end and willing to hear what Princess had to say. Plus, both of them, but especially Eugene, knows what it’s like to lie to people in order to keep them around instead of being alone. It was a good moment, earned by the fact that Eugene sympathizes with her, but also that Princess probably would have this sort of realization after making a bad first impression.
In the end, she came through, and that’s what matters. Again, the reveal of these “wheels” being bicycles did get a laugh out of me and it’ll be interesting to see how she changes the dynamic now that she’s part of our growing group of survivors. Plus, the fact that Eugene, Ezekiel, and Yumiko are on a deadline isn’t lost. They press Princess, so at least they’re quick to move along things.
Moving onto the others, I enjoyed Judith’s scenes with Daryl. The girl knows how to take care of walkers, but come on. She’s still quite young and even younger than Carl was in his prime. For being so young, she’s gotten pretty lucky with what she’s had to deal with. So it makes sense, especially after having to put down Earl, that she’d seek Daryl’s advice on how to protect the others.
These two already have a good relationship and this gives Daryl an opportunity to pass on his wisdom, as well as step up in his role as a mentor figure. With both Rick and now Michonne gone, Judith’s parents are out of the picture. Who does she look to for wisdom? Given all that Daryl has done to help her, this pairing makes sense and I’d be happy to see more of Judith’s character development carried out this way.
The difference between Judith and someone like Carl is that she’s not a killer. At least not right now. As far as we know, she’s only taken are of the dead, but she’s never had to put down a human being. As far as I remember, anyway. I don’t count Earl because he killed himself first. She doesn’t have that killer instinct just yet, but more than that, she still sympathizes with those who would do her harm.
It’s a conflicting moment for her because she knows that the Whisperers are bad people, but she still sees them as people. This builds off of when Daryl told Judith that the people hanged were still people and not just walkers. So her not wanting to leave that Whisperer to die by herself makes sense. Judith is a people-person and is good at getting people to open up, if Negan and Gamma are any indication.
But she’ll learn soon enough that you can’t save everybody. Nor can she keep everyone from leaving, which is why it’s wise that Daryl didn’t promise that he’d never leave. He can’t predict the future any more than she can, but what he does know is that, even with Rick and Michonne gone, Judith has a family all around her.
I assume that everyone is fine with Negan being the one to kill Alpha, because the fanfare or reaction to it must have happened offscreen. Not that there’s any reason to celebrate when Beta and the walker horde are still out there, but I would think that her being dead would be something discussion-worthy to happen onscreen. That’s a pretty big deal and the revelation to the others happens in-between episodes?
Him getting Lydia to open up and vent was something that he would do. These two already have a connection, given that Negan has stood up for Lydia in the past, but as this episode shows, she’s keeping herself isolated from the others. I doubt she still considers herself an outsider, but there’s probably still a divide between her and the others, the same way there is with Negan.
Yet, Alpha was still her mother and Lydia should do something to react to her death. You’d think she would figure out that her eventually laying into Negan was her doing exactly what he wanted, but hey, she’s been wearing walker skins and eating worms. The girl can’t be all that bright.
Then there’s Carol and Kelly. Oh, whatever!
As for Beta, is he hearing Alpha’s voice in his head? It’s not Samantha Morton’s voice, so probably not, but he’s hearing some voice guide him. Whoever it is, smart on Beta to turn away from Oceanside. It would’ve been too busy, and a letdown, if the Whisperer horde walked right into a trap, so Beta saw through this ruse and is now heading right for the tower.
I assumed he would’ve led the herd back to Alexandria and just waited there, but no. I’m guessing that they learned about the tower’s location from Aaron and Alden who, again, why the hell were they still in Alexandria, and in the windmill of all places? Just watch the Safe Zone from a distance!
Still, the survivors and us the viewers are left in a precarious position. At the time of writing this, the finale for Season 10 is on hold so the post-production can be finished. Again, it bears repeating how much has been put on pause due to COVID-19. So this is, for now, the Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead until the series resumes. When that will be, I’m not sure.
But where we leave things here, the survivors are in for a hell of a battle now that Beta has come a-knocking. Again, parts of this episode, but as a whole, it was just okay. That said, the image of this massive walker herd heading towards the survivors leaves me wondering how they’ll get out of this upcoming battle.
We’ll have to wait and see how that unfolds whenever the series returns. So with that said, thanks for reading along, keep on watching television, and we’ll reconvene when The Walking Dead resumes in the upcoming future. See you then.