UK TV review: The Walking Dead: Season 10, Episode 7
Neil Brazier | On 18, Nov 2019
This is a spoiler-free review of Episode 7 of Season 10. Already seen the episode? Read on for full spoilers after its UK broadcast
The residents of Alexandria are still suffering from the effects of the Whisperers’ actions and Siddiq (Avi Nash) just can’t put his finger on what’s causing this sickness. He has a lot on his mind, which is haunted by the visions of Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the horrific deeds she did in that barn to Siddiq’s closest. Every little thing, from the dark of night to the ticking of the clock, sends him back to that night, be he asleep or awake. If only he could piece these visions together – maybe a clue lurks within them?
In some ways, Siddiq is suffering like Carol (Melissa McBride) did back in Ghosts. But while they are both too afraid to sleep for having to re-live the nightmares, unlike Carol, Siddiq can’t shake the demons. The flashes of the barn we see are brief but extremely evocative, encapsulating an anxiety more terrifying than when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) had the survivors kneeling at his feet back in the Season 7 premiere. Where that scene was horrific in showing the violent brutality, the images that disturb Siddiq only allude to what he had to go through, and that just makes them scarier.
To make matters worse for Siddiq, Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) return from their trip beyond the border with a physical manifestation of his nightmares in their Whisperer hostage. They’ve put the whole camp at risk and, if there wasn’t risk of a riot before Negan ran off, there could be if word gets out. Carol is ready to go full, well, Carol to get the information she wants, but after speaking with Lydia (Cassady McClincy), she tries a different approach – with a hint of the former mask she used to wear when she took her neighbours casseroles and cookies. McBride’s ability to switch between nurturer and animal, and playing each part excellently, keeps the episode tense.
When not showing her claws, Carol wants nothing but the best for the children that have touched her life, but her determination to locate Alpha’s horde leaves her showing little compassion for Lydia. Finding out Alpha has told the Whisperer army she killed Lydia herself, Carol sees her opportunity ripe for exploiting. Without realising it, Carol gives Lydia an ultimatum, forcing her to pick a side of the border to be on. Carol, again, is blinded by a fog of revenge for Henry, thinking she is doing right by the community but only serving her own needs.
The penultimate episode before the mid-Season 10 break, Episode 7 doesn’t stand as tall as some of those that have come before it. Open Your Eyes does suffer from some tedious dialogue at times and you’ll be wringing your hands as Siddiq tries to figure out what is causing the sickness. Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Gamma (Thora Birch) have some trust issues, as both try to get intel on the other. These scenes play out very much as you would expect, each character showing a little weakness, planting a seed that might grow, but merely serving to break up scenes back at Alexandria. These characters deserve better.
The joy of the episode comes from the tension of Siddiq’s hallucinations building up to a big climax. Historically, The Walking Dead has killed off characters in the mid-season finale, and honestly – particularly Carl in Season 8 and Jesus in Season 9 – this has increasingly felt misplaced and misjudged. With that foreboding threat of shocking departures in the air, Open Your Eyes leaves lots of questions for both camps to answer that will pave the wave for the rest of the season – hopefully not the same kind of questions that we’ve seen on the show before.
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, for £9.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial. Seasons 1 to 9 are available on Sky Box Sets and NOW until November 2019.
Innards and entrails (spoilers)
Another fan theory has been realised and Dante has been exposed as a Whisperer! Siddiq finally manages to put the pieces of the puzzle together when Dante does a telling click – and, before he can reach for his knife, Dante has Siddiq in a headlock and puts him to sleep. Siddiq is still alive, for now, but Dante will either have to run and hide or put Siddiq down, if he’s going to continue the masquerade.
It was a poor choice from Siddiq as the pair stood at the bedroom window: the biggest danger he was in was having Dante kiss him after hearing his phony apology – it seriously felt like this is where their relationship was heading. If Siddiq had just played along, he could have been more prepared to trap Dante later. Dante has been playing the whole community about Siddiq’s condition, suggesting it was Siddiq who packed the medical supply bag that contained the hemlock that killed Carol’s prisoner. Dante might still be able to get out of this without his cover being blown if he’s careful; having played his part for so long now, careful is something he is capable of.
Lydia tells Carol that if the Whisperers caught sight of Alexandria and saw that civilization could return, they would turn on Alpha. Dante hasn’t felt that way: he must be incredibly loyal not to cut his ties and play for the good guys. Is Lydia’s intel good? She has struggled to be accepted by some of the Alexandria community and her mother is the leader of the Whisperers. Maybe, deep down, she still harbours some resentment for her new family and is playing both sides of the coin.
Has Carol ended up having a hand in putting another child to death, by taking Lydia up to the border to show Alpha has been lying to her subjects? The plan works on Gamma, who runs off sobbing over what she has sacrificed for her leader, but will it work on the others? Does it need to? Gamma shows signs of regret as she talks to Aaron and clearly misses her sister and niece. Gamma may have walked in the shadows and bathed in blood too long.
Lydia is furious that she’s been used as part of Carol’s game and walks over the border, into Whisperer territory. If she is found, Alpha might actually kill her this time, unless a friendly face with a new skin-suit (with extra room in the crotch) can help her. This does feel like all the chess pieces are being put into place rather than something that Lydia would actually do…
Somebody’s poisoned the water hole! All this poisoning could have been avoided if only Eugene had added a filtration system to his fancy water pumps. It looks to be quite an intricate system they have developed at Alexandria, with a deep reservoir that Siddiq plunges himself into. When he is sat there, with water wheels turning, trying to figure out what all those who are sick have in common, it’s infuriating viewing. Rosita (Christian Serratos) tells him he is smart, but it takes him to be drenched in the stuff before he figures out it could be the water that’s the culprit.