WARNING: Mild spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10 episodes 1-3 ahead.
A lot has happened in ten years of The Walking Dead. A lot of friends have come and gone and anyone who tested our favorite apocalypse survivors are vanquished. It’s only fitting that we start off a new decade with new outlook of the world of the dead. I feel like we are finally getting to see Angela Kang’s show with these first three episodes. There is a good balance of character arcs that fit into the overall story making the story flow much smoother than before.
We still have Alexandria, the Hilltop, and Oceanside communities operating. Their primary enemy is the Whisperers who appeared in at the mid-season premiere. I still don’t fully understand their mindset, but these people take the faces of the dead and wear them as masks. They travel with the dead and whisper to one another when they need to communicate. Their leader is Alpha (Samantha Morton) and she seems to think this is the new normal of the world.
Something to Fight For
The season ten premiere begins the following spring. It’s a ‘catch-up’ episode that doesn’t linger too much on one person or the past. The communities are training to fight together at Oceanside, which also looks like a mini vacation for the kiddos. Not everyone made the trip to Oceanside, so we also get a glimpse of life in Alexandria. The opening paints a pretty picture, but Team Family is aware of the ever-present threat of the Whisperers. So when a sign washes up on sure, everyone goes on high alert. It is clear that the communities are a more cohesive group when this happens. They are communicating well, making sure Alexandria knows everything that’s going on.
As expected, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are the community leaders. I like their dynamic because they lean on each other instead of one taking all of the weight. They also lean on the leadership councils of the communities and contemplate questions from the group to learn and grow. Both encompass Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) vision of the world and they have accomplished so much. Rick’s presence never left the communities, whether they know it or not. And we are reminded of that through Judith (Cailey Fleming).
The only thing I don’t like is how scared they are of the Whisperers. I know Alpha hit them hard, but they have taken on bigger and worse people and won. Of course, they have more to lose this time around with all of the kiddos running around. But then again, it’s not like there weren’t kids running around for the past nine seasons.
Speaking of kids, we will get to see more of RJ Grimes (Antony Azor). I know a lot of ladies on Twitter who will be happy about that. And there is a new baby in town and all eyes are on her. Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Siddiq (Avi Nash) get a little help from Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) in raising their daughter Coco. Well, I’m not really sure what Eugene is doing, but he gives Coco a lot of attention. She’s so cute you guys!
Characters to Watch
I need to talk about Aaron (Ross Marquand). Aaron has always been a peacemaker. He is a fighter, but he always looked for a way to resolve an issue without violence. After losing his husband Eric, Aaron could have gone full throttle on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, but he didn’t. He trusted in Rick and his mercy, but now I think Aaron has had enough. Some people are really tired of living in fear. And Aaron is one of them.
So is Carol (Melissa McBride). Carol has lived in fear for most of her life and it has cost her a lot. She became a stronger, more ruthless person after Sophia died. She hardened herself to keep from caring too much about others until Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) and Henry (Matt Linz). Carol was forced to say goodbye to the life she had with the King after Henry’s death. Now, Daryl is just about the only person she lets herself care about. In episodes 1003, she is angry and she wants to avenge Henry’s death. She is reminded about Henry’s death everywhere she looks. Her only target is Alpha. Carol will put herself at risk for revenge, but it could cost others as well.
Lydia (Cassady McClincy) is still having trouble adjusting to a some-what normal life. And some of the residents still don’t agree with her being there. There’s a lot of hurt feelings about the execution that make life hard for Lydia and others. If there’s anyone who can relate to her situation, it’s Negan. Negan became a hero in the season nine finale, saving Judith from freezing to death. He will get some of his freedom back this season, but he’s still a social outcast. That friendship could be trouble later down the road.
Siddiq was the only survivor of the Whisperers’ execution. You’d think his new baby would calm him down a little bit, but no. He is still dealing with ghosts. Luckily he’s not the only medical person in Alexandria. New character Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) is shadowing Siddiq, but oblivious to Siddiq’s trauma.
The Whisperers do return and they know when Team Family has crossed into their borders. Alpha isn’t quite as ruthless as she was before and that may have something to do with Lydia. 1002 is another look at her backstory along with Beta (Ryan Hurst)and the where the idea of the Whisperers came from. We also meet Gamma (Thora Birch). She’s a very loyal follower, despite what her sister thinks.
I have to wonder if the rest of the group has any opinions about Michonne and her group. They’ve seen the communities and what they have to offer. Alpha told them that that life is over. That they weren’t meant to live like that anymore. The communities are a threat to Alpha’s rule. They contradict everything that Alpha has said about the world. How long before her people realize that?
Along with some new faces, the season premiere was a good reintroduction into the TWD world all tied up in a nice little package of fan service. Everything starts out kind of slow, but it all seems relevant to the current story arc. Episode two is a Whisperer background story that I think was needed to fully understand the dynamic between Alpha and Beta. And Episode three is a great Carol story that gives her more depth. We also get a different side of Aaron.
Sure there are some cute and funny moments to remind us that life isn’t dead. For the most part these moments are few and far between. We know life is going to get harder, but it’s good to know these people are still trying to live.
I’m expecting some answers about Rick soon. This is Danai Gurira’s final season and I believe Kang will give her an appropriate farewell. I feel like Kang really listened to the viewer comments and made some adjustments. But it’s just the first few episodes. I’m optimistic about the season though.
The Walking Dead season ten premieres on Sunday October 6, 2019.
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