Warning: Spoilers for the tenth The Walking Dead, including this week’s episode, “Walk with Us,” will be found below.
Notwithstanding the Battle of Hilltop — that completely and inexplicably fizzled — this week’s episode of The Walking Dead is at least the best episode since the departure of Rick Grimes, and probably the best episode of an already great Angela Kang era. The episode is part of the payoff to what Kang has been building with The Whisperers basically since the death of Jesus. What’s remarkable, however, is that after last night’s climactic death, there’s still more left this season, including the continuation of The Whisperer War with Beta running the show, Negan’s new role within Alexandria, and Michonne’s final episode, due next week.
So, with the episode out of the way and the carnage over with, who is still left standing — and more importantly — who isn’t?
— Magna is alive, but Connie’s fate is still unknown. Magna and Connie basically covered themselves in zombie goo and joined the zombie hoard inside the cave as they made their way toward The Hilltop. Unfortunately, along the way, Magna lost contact with Connie, whose whereabouts remain unknown (she is almost certainly OK, and will likely rejoin the show later this season).
— Luke is alive, but hurt. When Aaron confronted Negan, he was carting Luke, who was in bad shape but still alive. Aaron also had to abandon Negan in order to save Luke from a small gathering of zombies (The Whisperers clearly are not practicing social distancing).
— Earl, sadly, is dead. After Ezekiel and Daryl lost track of the kids, Earl managed to get them to safety, but not before getting bit by a zombie himself. In a heartbreaking scene, Earl had to ask Judith to protect the kids from him. Earl attempted to pound his own head through a railroad spike to kill himself so that he wouldn’t come back as a zombie, but he missed. Poor Judith Grimes thus had to put zombiefied Earl out of his misery. RIP Earl, who can join Tammy and Kenneth in the afterlife. Meanwhile, Judith is going to need years of counseling, after first discovering that a Whisperer she killed was actually human underneath the mask, and then having to put down old Earl to save RJ and the other kids.
— Gamma is dead, too. It’s a shame, really, because I had hoped Thora Birch’s character would stick around and become part of Alexandria. It was not to be, unfortunately. Gamma essentially sacrificed herself to save her baby nephew (and Alden, and Jerry’s wife) by drawing a horde of zombies away from them. She didn’t expect, however, to run into Beta, who snuff out Alpha’s life but not before Alpha revealed Beta’s true identity.
— Alpha is dead. Obviously, Alpha’s death was the episode’s climactic moment. Negan slashed her throat, but Carol put the plan into motion. It’s not often the Big Bad is killed midway through a season (or the back half of a season, in this case), but then again, it’s not often that a show has an equally compelling Big Bad waiting in the wings, like Beta.
— Finally, in what appears to be mostly a stand-alone episode next week limited to Michonne’s storyline, we will find out if she dies, or if she will be written out of the show but remain in The Walking Dead universe and available to appear in the Rick Grimes movies.