UK TV review: The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 4 (Silence the Whisperers)
Anything but you8
Neil Brazier | On 28, Oct 2019
This is a spoiler-free review of Episode 4 of Season 10. Already seen the episode? Read on for full spoilers after its UK broadcast.
On the outside, life might look almost idyllic for the residents of the survivor communities. They have fresh food, they have a network of trade, some have families, and some have found love (which is always an ominous sign). On the inside, life is far from perfect. Alexandria has just suffered two days of walkers lapping at its doors like the sea to the shore; its residents are tired and tensions balance delicately on tenterhooks, especially having to live with not just one, but two former villains now kept safe within their walls. The Hilltop gang have their frustrations tested further after an accident keeps them busy with the undead before a cry for help from Oceanside comes in over the radio. These are trying times, indeed.
Some residents are still struggling to deal with what the Whisperers took from them and look for someone to blame for their suffering. Unfortunately for Lydia (Cassady McClincy), it’s her who must endure the taunts and side-looks from those she now wants to call her family. There is only one person who can truly understand her struggle and that is Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). There are those who do not want the two spending any time together, for both Lydia’s sake and the sense of harmony within the community. Despite the years having passed, time cannot heal what Negan did to this group and it appears nobody is willing to forget.
Continuing to experiment with the theme of good and evil, after an incident involving Lydia and Negan escalates, the council is brought in to make an important decision surrounding the future of the pair. With tensions overflowing, the residents of Alexandria have their pitchforks at the ready and graffiti starts sprouting up around the camp like the crops in the allotments, all suggesting it is time to ‘Silence the Whisperers’.
Negan cannot catch a break. Despite his good intentions, as soon as it is convenient for others, he is the first one they blame when something goes wrong. The council wrestle with the choice they are forced to make and as Daryl (Norman Reedus) says, Rick isn’t around anymore to keep him safe. This conversation happens in the jail cell and interestingly bathes Negan in white light, while Daryl is kept in the shadows – maybe a little overtly obvious what they’re trying to do there.
Why are the communities so fraught? They haven’t been bothered by swathes of walkers for some time, and yet now suddenly they are fighting what feels like every day, against walkers or themselves. Judith (Cailey Fleming) suggests to Michonne (Danai Gurira) that perhaps Alpha (Samantha Morton) was changing the rules and this has become the Whisperer’s plan. Wear down the opposition with “accidents”, drain them mentally and physically until they can’t take any more. This makes for good viewing, as the brutality with the zombies has never been better, although big fight sequences such as the one at Alexandria’s door in Ghosts and here at the Hilltop are suspiciously short.
Despite the in-fighting, there are some survivors who can see the bigger picture. Carol (Melissa McBride) tells Daryl “our real enemy is out there”, and it’s true. The Whisperer’s do pose a deadly threat, but let us suppose that these really are accidents, that the Whisperer’s only become a threat if the survivors do not follow the rules given to them. Is the real enemy the one that lies within? The one that cannot live the idyllic life that has been given to them? The one who only wants to silence the Whisperers?
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres on FOX UK at 9pm on Mondays. Don’t have pay-TV? You can also stream it live and on-demand on NOW TV, for £8.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial. (An Entertainment Pass auto-renews at £8.99 a month until 1st September 2020, £9.99 thereafter unless cancelled.) Seasons 1 to 9 are available on Sky Box Sets and NOW TV until November 2019.
Entrails and innards (spoilers)
In Ghosts, we saw how Carol was coping with her recent tragic loss. She took a trip on a boat to clear her head and has been popping pills so she doesn’t have to sleep and deal with the nightmares that have become her reality. This episode shows us briefly what Ezekiel (Khary Payton) does when a tree takes down a wall at the Hilltop. He can’t take it any more and so, bewildered, he rides out to a cliff overlooking the river.
Fortunately, Michonne is riding by too and is able to stop Ezekiel before he does anything stupid. Almost. After she talks him away from the edge, Ezekiel kisses Michonne, and she doesn’t push him over the cliff. Afterwards, they agree a relationship between them could never work bceause they’re both too stubborn, to which Ezekiel suggests: “Maybe in another universe.” Yes, in the comics, Ezekiel and Michonne were in a relationship, but on screen, their story arc has already been fulfilled by others.
All it took was this friendly conversation to perk the king back up again so there isn’t a great deal to this scene. Ezekiel does talk about his king persona being a mask he wore that saved his life. This is not the only reference to the metaphorical masks the survivors wear to survive, in comparison to the literal masks that their foes wear for their own endurance.
Negan’s advice to Lydia is to kill her enemies with kindness, so she tries to eat lunch with them – although her lunch needs skinning and gutting at the table. This pushes them too far and, later, Lydia is attacked and nearly beaten to death for something her mother did to these survivors’ friends. Negan steps in at the right time and makes the save, but his forceful shove causes one of the bullies to lose their life and thus spark the discontent at Alexandria. Negan and Daryl are too much alike, despite not freely admitting it. Daryl knows what Negan did was right and was what he would have done too, but he refuses to compare himself to someone who kept him locked up and fed on dog-food sandwiches. Still, Daryl votes to keep Negan alive at the council vote.
After a night to sleep on the decisions that need to be made, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) finds Negan gone from his cell. Nobody claims to have seen what happened, but Lydia admits to freeing him and she takes his place in the cage. Daryl tells her he kept watch and she didn’t leave the house all night so she doesn’t have to defend him. Lydia says it is where the people want her to be, that her mother was right. Under the polite faces, when trouble arises, they pick a target and shoot at anyone but themselves.
Michonne believes that as long as they have Lydia, they are safe from Whisperer attacks. Despite casting her out, Alpha still loves her daughter and wouldn’t want any harm to come to her. But as we saw last episode when Alpha went crazy, smashing up Lydia’s “room”, that idea may have changed.
The episode opens and ends with Gordi’s Heaven I Know song which has some whispering as a backing vocal. Is it hiding some actual Whisperer whispering or is it a suggestion that there is a Whisperer living in Alexandria? A lot of graffiti did appear very quickly… The more people see that message, the more they will get riled up and the threat of them taking it out on their own, or starting a war that they’re not prepared for, increases. The survivors tried to live in peace, tried to do the right thing by imprisoning Negan and not killing him, but despite all their efforts they have ultimately failed. Or maybe it was just marketing.
Photo: Gene Page/AMC