‘The Walking Dead’ Is Quietly Moving The Plot In An Important Way

I don’t think that anyone is under any illusions about what the six Season 10 The Walking Dead episodes represent. They provide a chance to develop some characters and fill in some gaps in our knowledge, but they mostly exist as a bridge to Season 11. They are designed to give us something between where the original Season 10 should have ended back in April of 2020 and the Season 11 premiere, scheduled for this summer.

The first five of the bonus eps mostly been strong character-driven stories (although I did not love the Princess episode, “Splinter.”). Aside from reintroducing Maggie to the series (and establishing the continuing tension between Negan and Maggie), the series hasn’t pushed the story that far forward, except in one very important way.

What we saw in the first bonus episode — aside from the introduction of The Reapers — was an earnest attempt by the community to rebuild Alexandria after the events of the Whisperer War. In Episode 3, before their encounter with the twin brothers played by Robert Patrick, Aaron and Gabriel spent the entire episode searching for food and supplies. That, too, was the intended goal of Carol and Daryl in the second episode back and this week’s fifth episode, in which Carol and Daryl separated as they continued to search for supplies, only to come up largely empty.

Carol, meanwhile, returned to Alexandria only to learn that, in addition to the community’s rat problem, there is little to no food. Carol and Daryl have apparently also killed all the available wild animals in the area, and the crops aren’t exactly producing, either. Add to that the fact that the solar panels aren’t even working anymore, so they’re little to no power in Alexandria.

The Kingdom has fallen. The Hilltop has been destroyed, and now, Alexandria is clearly on its last legs. Carol at this point is trying to make stone soup with what looks like weeds she found outside the gates. It’s clear that Alexandria is dying, which is a big deal! The community was introduced way back in the fifth season, and it existed off-camera much farther back than that. It’s been home base for The Walking Dead for half the series now.

Unfortunately, what these bonus episodes are clearly telling us is that it’s time to leave Alexandria and find another community. That other community, The Commonwealth, is led by the people who took Princess hostage in last week’s episode. They may not seem like ideal allies for the Alexandrians, but as we are increasingly seeing in these bonus episodes, Carol, Daryl, Negan, and Maggie may not have much choice except to relocate to The Commonwealth because –despite Jerry’s obvious gardening skills — there’s not much left in Alexandria for these characters anymore. Alexandria has been around longer than most of these characters at this point, but it’s clear it will meet the same fate as so many characters and communities before it.

AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ airs on Sunday nights.