REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S10 Ep14 – Look at the Flowers

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep14 - Look at the Flowers

The Walking Dead explored the aftermath of Alpha’s death while also setting up the next adventures from the comic books.

After bidding farewell to Michonne in a somewhat frustrating chapter, The Walking Dead picked up where it left off two episodes ago by dealing with the fallout after Negan killed Alpha, on Carol’s orders. There was a quick flashback confirming that Carol was indeed the one who let Negan out of prison after they struck a deal together. She would vouch for him with the communities as long as he came back with Alpha’s head. And the man delivered.

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep14 - Look at the FlowersAnd yet, this was not enough. Carol derived no great pleasure from seeing her enemy finally vanquished and she even reneged on her promise to return with Negan to explain their deal. Since Negan is well on the road to redemption at this point, one can already sympathize with him. His disappointment at Carol is very understandable.

Infiltrating the Whisperers, surviving their weird culture, gaining Alpha’s trust, and eventually coming close enough to kill her? These are no mean feats. So it was kind of unfair for Carol, and later on Daryl, to criticize him for taking his time about it. Granted, he may have done something to prevent the massive attack on Hilltop but that was not really under his control. The point was that he still kept his end of the bargain.

Carol goes off, as is her habit these days, to wallow in her grief and guilt while being haunted by Alpha’s ghost. This is pretty much standard for The Walking Dead, having dead characters appear in visions, and it was a neat way of giving us more of Samantha Morton’s performance. Alpha taunts Carol, enumerating all the children she had lost through the years, even mentioning poor, doomed Sophia. Carol wanders around and stumbles into a shed that collapses on her while Alpha continues to torment her. Carol struggles and grieves, though it’s clear that she is in no real danger, she just needs this opportunity to process all that has happened. She breaks free, kills the walker about to attack her, and regains some sense of hope. She banishes Alpha’s ghost and slowly makes her way back to Alexandria.

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep14 - Look at the FlowersMeanwhile, Negan returns to the cabin where he had left Lydia only to be accosted by Daryl. Negan tries to explain himself but this proves tricky without Carol around and with Alpha’s head gone from its spike (having been taken by Beta earlier in the episode). Daryl is understandably suspicious and Negan is just so tired. They are found by a couple of Whisperers who confirm that Negan did indeed kill Alpha and by their rules, is the new Alpha. Negan plays along for a while, reveling in his new power, but proving to Daryl that he is no traitor by killing the Whisperers and saving Daryl.

The ensuing conversation is the most interesting part of the episode as both characters reach a reluctant truce, more reluctant on Daryl’s part, for sure. Negan admits that part of him liked being with the Whisperers if only because it gave him the purpose and agency that was denied him for the last seven years. He belonged somewhere again and he was free. But he admits that even he has standards and he drew the line when he found out the Whisperers murdered people indiscriminately and even killed children.  And Negan’s been pretty consistent about protecting children. Even without Carol to vouch for him, he’s pretty much won Daryl over so at least he will have a valuable ally when facing the communities again.

The Walking Dead, S10 Ep14 - Look at the FlowersOn the Whisperer front, Beta grieves the loss of his Alpha by feeding her disembodied head with another Whisperer and then gently cradling the aforementioned head in his arms as he walks away. His identity pre-apocalypse is revealed to be a country crooner called Half Moon, as evidenced by the posters on what is probably his old house. He continues to cradle Alpha’s head while playing his old records.

After a while, he comes to a realization and thanks Alpha’s head before stabbing it. He walks out with a new mask, using some of Alpha’s pale skin to form a Half Moon, and leading a new horde of walkers. Alpha may be gone but the Whisperers are still going to cause our heroes some trouble before all of this ends.

Back with the survivors, Rosita convinces Eugene to come clean about the conversations he’s been having with Stephanie and his plan to meet up with her. While the others are dismayed by this secret, many are intrigued. After sharing an emotional farewell with Jerry, Ezekiel volunteers to join Eugene on his mission and Yumiko accompanies them as well.

They arrive in a city where someone has clearly had too much time on their hands. Walkers are dressed up in ridiculous, colorful costumes and placed in various positions like having drinks or a policeman chained to a car. The ludicrous though creative use of walkers leads Ezekiel to burst into a fit of hysterical laughter while Eugene and Yumiko watch in horror. They are greeted by a bubbly, purple-haired girl with a gun who eagerly exclaims: “Oh my God. Hi!”

This is clearly setting up a new arc for The Walking Dead, beyond the conflict with the Whisperers, and leading to the new community in the comics known as the Commonwealth.

Given that the season ten finale has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis, next week’s episode will be the last we will see of The Walking Dead for a while. Given that major events usually take place during penultimate episodes of the show, next week will be an exciting chapter. But if it does not manage to properly resolve this season’s story, we will just have to cope with that while the world recovers from a real crisis period.