TV

What The $%#@ Just Happened On ‘The Walking Dead’?

WARNING: Spoilers for the most recent episode of The Walking Dead will be found below.

This week’s penultimate episode of The Walking Dead‘s first half, “Open Your Eyes,” delivered one of the most intense final five minutes in The Walking Dead history. It was, to put it bluntly, a doozy of an ending, concluding in what appears to have been a cliffhanger, although I am fairly certain we know the fate of Siddiq. Let’s back up and talk about exactly what happened between Dante and Siddiq this season, in general, and in this episode, specifically.

First off: Angela Kang brilliantly pulled a fast one over on comic readers. In the comics, Dante is the charismatic but annoying right-hand of Maggie at The Hilltop, and an obvious ally of the Alexandrian communities. The series, itself, perfectly captured the personality of Dante from the comics, which up until only recently, obscured the nefarious intent of his television character, who we learn in this episode is actually a Whisperer mole.

For many, we operated this season under the assumption that there was a mole in Alexandria, and some — including myself — assumed that it was Siddiq acting out Alpha’s orders under duress. In fact, it was Dante who was acting as the mole the whole time, which perhaps should have been more obvious given the fact that we knew nothing about his life before entering the series. However, he did genuinely seem to be acting in Siddiq’s best interests, offering him friendship and to help out in the infirmary while Siddiq was suffering from extreme PTSD owed to having witnessed the decapitation of his friends.

As it turns out, however, Dante was triggering those flashbacks with clicks of his tongue. The night of the Whisperer massacre, it was Dante — underneath his skin mask — holding Siddiq down and forcing him to watch the decapitations of his friends. Whenever Siddiq heard Dante’s voice — “Open Your Eyes” — and those tongue clicks, it would trigger those flashbacks. It wasn’t until the final minutes of this week’s episode that Siddiq finally put it together and realized that it was Dante’s voice he was hearing in his head in the midst of those flashbacks. Unfortunately, Dante recognized that Siddiq recognized him, and quickly choked Siddiq to death before Siddiq could act on the information.

But is he dead? Almost certainly. If Siddiq had passed out during a chokehold, his eyes would not have remained open. The fact that he is lifeless with his eyes open clearly seems to suggest that he’s dead. From a character standpoint, it also makes sense, as well. Siddiq was unlikely to ever realistically recover from PTSD that extreme, so in a sense, the character was exhausted. RIP Siddiq.

Retroactively, it’s also clear that Dante also knew that the water was contaminated and making everyone sick — in fact, he helped to contaminate it by mixing up the levers at the pumping station. Instead of treating them, Dante actually contributed to their illness. It’s also clear that he used the hemlock to kill the Carol’s Whisperer hostage to prevent him from talking.

What’s not so clear, and what may or may not end up being a plot hole, is why Lydia didn’t recognize Dante, or or why Dante didn’t recognize Lydia, either revelation of which should have obliterated the storyline. It’s unclear if that will ever be explained, or if the series will simply paper over that plot hole and move on.

Interestingly, since Dante choked Siddiq to death, it should make it fairly easy for him to frame it as a suicide owed to Siddiq’s PTSD. The question is whether Rosita will buy it or not. We’ll find out in next week’s season finale. In the meantime, we should also ask ourselves: Are there other moles in other communities, as well? Like Jules, who Luke moves to the Oceanside to be near? There is, perhaps, one inside of The Hilltop, too, responsible for the felled tree, and once people realize that there are Whisperer moles, it’s likely to set off a lot of extreme paranoia.

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