We take a trip into the woods in The Walking Dead.  In “What It Always Is,” Alexandria searches for the missing Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Hilltop searches for one of their own.  

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Kelly (Angel Theory) is in the woods hunting a wild pig.  When she prepares to shoot at the pig, the sounds of nature interfere with her hearing aid so she turns it off.  She shoots the pig down, but when completing the kill, Kelly is attacked by walkers.  She runs, but trips and falls. The fall hurt her pretty bad and more walkers descend on her.  

The Hilltop is the latest community to suffer from waves of walker attacks.  Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) leads the residents to kill and clear out the bodies.  She checks in with everyone afterward.  Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has come up with a plan to utilize the tree that fell into the community.  Alden (Callan McAuliffe) wants to use part of the tree to create bigger weapons.  Yumiko likes the idea, but first they have to take care of the Kingdom survivors.

Someone has stolen a box of fish from the root cellar.  Magna (Nadia Hilker) was on watch, so Yumiko asks her about it. She never accuses Magna of taking the fish, but Magna alludes her questions. 


Angel Theory as Kelly – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Siddiq (Avi Nash) arrive to take a break in their search for Negan.  Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) greets them and asks Siddiq to lend a hand with the Kingdom’s wounded.  Daryl asks if he wants to know what’s new with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel says no. Really!?

A group returns to Hilltop and Kelly is supposed to be with them. Connie (Lauren Ridloff) asks where she is and they are surprised to learn that Kelly hasn’t returned. They tell Connie that Kelly was tracking something and said she would meet them at Hilltop.  Connie gets really worried. 


Negan is also running in the woods and Brandon (Blaine Kern III) catches up with him.  He is there to save Negan, not capture him.  He hands Negan some fresh water and Negan smiles at him.  It turns out that Brandon’s parents were part of the Saviors.  His dad told him stories about Negan and how he handled things.  Brandon is quite the fanboy.  He’s even been practicing the whistle.  

Brandon only wants to talk about the Saviors.  He wants to accompany Negan wherever he goes.  He mentions Rick Grimes and how he killed his parents and forced the kids to live in Alexandria, lecturing about community.  Brandon calls Rick a hypocrite.  He wants to hear about how Negan made Rick cut off Carl’s hand and then Negan killed Carl. Negan stops him and says he didn’t kill Carl. He would never kill a child.  Brandon is cool with that, saying they are both Negan.

They find the Whisperer border but Negan doesn’t want anything to do with the Whisperers.  A walker grabs Negan, pulling him to the ground.  Negan is able to fight it off, with no help from Brandon. That’s because Brandon was wrapping a gift for Negan. A barbed wire bat, just like Lucille. I’m pretty sure it’s not Lucille because it’s pretty clean.  He also found Negan’s leather jacket in the back of a storage closet.  Negan says he doesn’t want to be recognized and tells Brandon to put the jacket away for now.

Brandon and Negan find survivors on The Walking Dead

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Blaine Kern III as Brandon – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

They find an abandoned warehouse where a bus is parked outside. They hear someone scream and Negan runs to help whoever it is.  Brandon stands by and watches intently.  There is a woman and her son on the bus and Negan helps them kill the last few walkers.  They tell Negan that they are just moving from place to place, trying to stay safe.  The woman can’t stop for too long so she and her son go for a walk.

Brandon seems to think that he’s there to learn from Negan on how to be ruthless and kill the weak. He gets ready to kill the woman and her son, but Negan stops him. He tells him to go back to Alexandria, but Brandon doesn’t really want to because he doesn’t know what to tell them about Negan. Negan doesn’t care what Brandon says or where he goes, he just doesn’t want to look at Brandon’s creepy face anymore.  


Aaron (Ross Marquand) is looking along a bridge for any sign of Negan and finds Gamma (Thora Birch) instead. She is killing a walker and draining his blood into the river.  Once she finishes with him, she returns to the Whisperer camp. She tells Alpha (Samantha Morton) that she needs another guardian.  Beta (Ryan Hurst) isn’t too happy about that, but Alpha tells him to be patient.  Alpha is sabotaging the communities. She is the one sending the waves of walkers to Alexandria and Hilltop.  Her people cut down the tree that fell into Hilltop. Now she is poisoning their water supply.  

One of the followers suggests that they send the entire horde to wipe out the enemy.  Alpha puts it to a vote, but no one votes for his suggestion. Alpha stabs the follower for even questioning her tactics.  She says like the enemy, their world will collapse. And the enemy will know where to go to stay safe.  They will be waiting. She hands the knife to Beta and he kills the follower. Gamma has her guardian.

Gamma takes the guardian back to the creek and cuts him open to drain him. As she is cutting into the guardian, she flashes back to her sister dying, becoming Gamma, and Alpha killing the follower that she is stabbing furiously.  Gamma cuts her hand and drops the knife.  Aaron is standing by and sees her. He tosses a package of gauze at her and tries to talk to her.  Gamma takes the gauze and runs. 

Connie and Daryl search for Kelly on The Walking Dead

Lauren Ridloff as Connie, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Connie blames herself for Kelly’s disappearance saying she should have been out there with her.  Daryl tells her a story about a time when Merle stole a boat to take him fishing on private property.  Merle was drinking and fell into the lake.  Daryl saved him, carrying him to the shore.  Merle called him a dummy for leaving the beer.  Connie laughs and they grab hands.  Daryl says everything is going to be okay.  Magna joins them and hasn’t found any sign of Kelly.

Back at the Hilltop, Yumiko is worried about her friends, saying she should have gone with them. Alden tries to distract her with questions about the plumbing. She leaves to inquire about getting some copper.  Earl (John Finn) tells Alden that the Whisperers are to blame for the tree and the waves of walkers attacking the Hilltop.  He tells Alden to never forget those who died at the hands of the Whisperers. Alden says he thinks about them often.

Connie, Magna and Daryl find Kelly.  They need to move her, but Hilltop is kind of far away.  Kelly tells Magna to tell  them about the stash that they had hidden in the woods.  Connie had no knowledge of the stash. Daryl is a little mad that Magna would steal from Hilltop after they took her in.  Connie says they will tell the others that they found it.  


Ezekiel shows Siddiq where the medical supplies are and starts coughing. His cough is pretty bad and he’s wheezing a little bit.  Siddiq thinks it’s from smoke inhalation from the forest fire. He tries to examine Ezekiel, but Ezekiel pushes him away.  He pulls off a scarf, revealing a huge lump in his neck. Ezekiel says it’s been there for about a month and it has grown.   Siddiq says it could be an infection or injury, but Ezekiel knows exactly what it is. 

Ezekiel watched his grandmother and his father beat thyroid cancer. They lived in a time of sorcery and witchcraft, but now, there’s nothing that can be done.  Siddiq says they can try acupuncture and hypnosis, but Ezekiel knows it won’t work.  

Siddiq says he’s been struggling with his own condition since the barn.  That’s why he had to leave Alexandria. He can’t stand how everyone looks to him for healing.  Maybe he can’t get away from his problems, but they can talk about it.  They are here to help each other get to the next day. 


Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Negan finds the boy playing with a toy plane.  The boy asks where Brandon went and Negan says he sent him away.   Negan tells him what it’s like to fly in a real plane.  The kid warms up to him.  Negan can tell the kid doesn’t like moving around.  He told the boy’s mom about Alexandria. He says they will take the duo in and they will be safe there.  Negan tells the boy to pack while he gets some firewood for the night.

When Negan returns with the wood, he hears Brandon whistling.  Brandon killed the woman and her son.  He thought Negan was testing him to see if he could handle the dangers of the world.  And he passed.  Negan grabs a rock and bashes in Brandon’s head.  He grabs his jacket and the bat and walks away. 


Connie, Magna and Daryl return to Hilltop with Kelly and the stash.  Yumiko is happy to see them and grateful for the supplies they found.  Later she asks Magna about the stash. Magna replies with  snarky remark about how Yumiko has always looked at her the wrong way.  Yumiko says she believed in Magna’s innocence, but Magna admits that she killed a man who violated her young cousin.  And no matter how many people they kill, Yumiko continues to look at her like a criminal.  Yumiko tells Magna to sleep somewhere else.

Siddiq calls Alexandria to check in with Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas). Everything is all good, but Rosita has a cold.  Siddiq decides to return that night. He asks to talk to Carol so Dante leaves to get her.  Ezekiel gets ready to talk to her as Siddiq leaves the room. When Ezekiel hears Carol approach the radio, he turns his radio off.

Connie sees Daryl off.  He says Siddiq has to go back. He asks about Kelly. Connie says she will be okay. She apologizes for Kelly and Magna. And for Daryl having to lie for them. Daryl says he gets it. He signs a word and say family.  He gets on his bike to leave. And Connie points at her and Daryl and signs the word back to him. 


Samantha Morton as Alpha, Thora Birch as Gamma – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AM

Gamma returns and shows Alpha her injury. She says the man with the metal arm gave it to her.  Alpha tells her to sit down and takes off Gamma’s mask. She says they’ve all had to wear a different mask at different times, kind of a sacrifice.  The man with the metal arm could be useful. Gamma might have to wear a new mask.

Negan goes into the woods with the new Lucille. He crosses into the Whisperer’s territory and starts causing a ruckus.  He calls himself the big bad wolf and starts calling for the little pig. Walkers arrive and Negan is ready for some fun.  He starts bashing brains, saying hes huffing and puffing and blowing houses down. He approaches his last walker and someone pulls him back.  It’s Beta. Negan looks at him and says ‘let’s do this.’

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I really like how The Walking Dead is addressing disabilities and PTSD in the zombie apocalypse. And now they are addressing cancer.  It shouldn’t be ignored that these people can still contract diseases that affect the modern world.  Only now they don’t have the technology to treat some of these illnesses.  And that’s just as scary as any zombie.

I always enjoy watching Donnie together.  Although, I wonder if Daryl even knows what he’s signing to Connie. He’s obviously learned some ALS, but some of his motions tell me that he’s not well versed in the language.  So now…my question is…did the sign Daryl use for family, really mean family?  Or did he tell Connie that he loves her.  Hmmm…

Oh Negan. What are you up to buddy? Are you defecting to the Whisperer camp? Or are you about to start the war? My money is on the latter.  





Noetta Harjo
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