The Walking Dead just started off their tenth season with a pretty great episode! When a show gets to ten years, starting off a new season has to be challenging to come up with new and exciting ideas. This show has become known for its thrilling season premieres and finales, mainly because they’re typically directed by the horror god himself Greg Nicotero. This episode has a unique setup and an extremely unusual event that ties together all the storylines we see. This episode does not disappoint and starts and ends with a refreshing and much needed bang!
Riding the horror of the end of last season, this episode starts off showing our group as a well-oiled and powerful militia. After suffering so many losses and being given borders that aren’t to be crossed, the group’s fear had taken over their need for revenge. Every character has some sort of PTSD from the Whisperer’s attack and it takes many different forms. But when they come together and train as a group their fear fades away and they become a mobile killing unit. With Daryl, Michonne and Aaron in commanding roles, they create a mock battle with walkers standing in for the Whisperers.
The opening minutes are filled with new and unusual things that fans will love immediately. The fact that the training sequence takes place entirely on a beautiful beach and the walkers all have the effects of being in the ocean and are extra gross looking. We get to see characters that didn’t normally do much in previous seasons become soldiers and active members of the society. With spiked shields, archers, spears and various spiked weapons, the group looks like a badass army. As the army learns to adapt to changing circumstances and listen to orders from a very different (and serious) Aaron, Michonne and Daryl watch from the sidelines and judge the groups performance.
The rest of the episode is split into titled sections that all revolve around the discovery of a Whisperer mask found by Judith in the water. The Whisperers haven’t been seen in a while and the group has not dared to cross the border to check. This mask was a jolt of fear and paranoia that causes the group to split up and investigate if they need to take action or not. We see Daryl waiting for Carol to return from her latest fishing trip. She has taken to sailing around away from the group and working for Oceanside as a way to keep her mind off the loss of Henry. Daryl and Carol take off on the motorcycle and catch up while having a strange zombie killing date. Seeing these two back together, even if they’ve both changed a lot since the old days, is very sweet and almost like two childhood friends reuniting after years apart.
We then see Michonne and Aaron go off to check the borders. These two seem to have been affected a lot by the events of last season and have both been pushed to major leadership roles in the community and the militia. We take a slight break from the seriousness and visit Alexandria to see how the lover quadrangle is doing. Eugene is taking care of the new baby in ways that only Eugene can (by measuring the baby’s growth and smiles) while Rosita is training and being the badass she always has been. Siddiq is also caring for the new baby, but is having the most serious PTSD, mainly because he was the only survivor from the group that was killed and beheaded by Alpha.
All of these stories intersect with a moment that brings them all together. At the beginning of the episode we see a quick scene that shows an event we’ve never even thought of in this show, a satellite in space that falls from the sky and crashes to Earth…right over Alpha’s border. The crash causes a massive fire that threatens to spread to the surrounding communities, which forces the group to make the dangerous decision of crossing the border to fight the fire and the walkers that are bound to follow. This scene is incredible and shows off how tightly knit the group has become in the face of danger. They work together flawlessly and take care of all the issues. We get some pretty cool character moments too as they take out walkers in new ways (in slow motion and extra gory). The episode ends with a perfect cliffhanger that sets up a showdown that needs to happen this season.
With all the pain and loss of Season 9, this season looks to be filled with overcoming obstacles and creating a team that functions as a unit. We lost Rick and Maggie last season which was a huge gut punch for fans. This season we already know we’re losing Michonne at some point. This will also be a sad departure, but as we saw with Season 9 this show is able to adapt to changes in characters and leadership. But for now, let the Whisperer War begin!