This year started off with a thrilling and momentum-building back half of Season 10 of The Walking Dead. We were finally about to see the conclusion of the Whisperer War that had been slowly intensifying with every episode. The penultimate episode back in April left us with all of our favorite characters trapped in an abandoned hospital surrounded by Beta’s massive horde of walkers with very little hope of escaping in one piece. However, due to the pandemic, the final episode of the season was left unfinished and unable to be aired until “later in the year.” Fast forward to months later and we finally have the Season 10 finale and (for the most part) it was worth the wait!
The episode begins right where we left off, with the survivors frantically regrouping inside the hospital and preparing for the impending invasion of Beta and his impressively massive hoard of walkers. While both sides of this final battle are nearing confrontation, a glimmer of hope reveals itself in the form of… Maggie! Not only is she back, but she’s here to help her friends with the assistance of her mysterious masked accomplice and his (or her) blades. While this is all unfolding, Eugene and his small party are racing to make their meeting with the mysterious Stephanie and can’t help but run into obstacles along the way. Desperate for a plan, the group decides to enact a very risky plan that involves a few of them covering themselves in walker guts and moving through the hoard in an attempt to get the walkers away from the rest of their group. And because this is The Walking Dead, things don’t go exactly as planned.
The group does manage to mostly make it through the walkers, but their plan of using loud music (great use of Talking Heads) to “pied piper” the hoard away was short lived. As Beta begins to realize what the group is doing, a plan must be improvised to take out Beta immediately. This plan comes in the form of Negan getting in one last insult at Beta which distracted him long enough for Daryl to swoop in and shove his twin blades deep into Beta’s eye sockets causing Beta to fall slowly into a group of walkers to his death.
That just leaves the rest of the hoard, the remnants of the Whisperers, which Carol and Lydia in a very sweet moment take care of by leading them off a cliff into the water below. With the war over, Maggie being back, and even the surprise revelation that Connie is alive and has been found by Virgil, the only thing left to address was Eugene and his search for Stephanie. Upon reaching the meeting place, the group finds an empty train yard. In the final moments of the episode, Eugene and his group decide not to give up on their search just as a swarm of soldiers in white armor and guns surround them and demand them to drop their weapons.
As a whole, this episode was one of the better season finales in recent years of the series. The stakes were high, there were a few surprises and some great character moments, and the action was brutal and exciting. My biggest complaint with the episode is how the final encounter with Beta played out. After a brief, but exhilarating fight between Daryl and Beta last season and a lot of tension brewing between Beta and Negan after the death of Alpha, the thought of either of these characters going in for a knockdown fight with Beta to end the Whisperer War was what got fans excited for this finale. Although we did get to watch both characters interact with Beta and ultimately it led to his death at the hands of Daryl, it was so quick and didn’t feel as energetic and intense as I was expecting.
As far as the rest of the episode, the character moments that were given to Carol, Lydia, Negan, Father Gabriel and Eugene were all very well written and heartwarming. The standout moment that made the entire episode for me was the moment that Lydia saves Carol from sacrificing herself off the cliff with the walkers and choosing to show Carol that she’s loved and needed. Maggie makes her big return to the show just in time to save Father Gabriel and show off her new mysterious masked friend who I can’t wait to learn more about next season! And of course, the cliffhanger of the soldiers in white armor is something that fans of the comics know exactly what’s about to happen, and it’s going to be another big step in the series for sure.
After months of not only waiting patiently for this season finale, but also learning of the impending end of The Walking Dead, the announcement of two additional spinoff shows AND an additional six episodes between now and Season 11, things in the The Walking Dead universe are just as exciting and spontaneous as ever. Although this wasn’t the best season finale ever made, it was certainly worth waiting for and felt like an overall satisfying end to this chapter of the story with the next chapter quickly approaching!