by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 3.
The name of this episode is Ghosts, referring both to Carol’s drug-induced hallucinations, as well as her visions of her Henry. While in the first episode of the season it seemed as if Carol had put the death of her adoptive son behind her, it is now clear that Henry’s murder still haunts Carol, so much so that she couldn’t bring herself to sleep, for fear of the dreams she experiences. Not only is she setting a kitchen timer to wake herself up (which likely doesn’t last longer than 60 minutes) but she was taking some kind of uppers. Carol described them as ‘caffeine’, but if they come in a prescription bottle, they are likely stronger. Additionally, it’s been well over 12 years since the zombie apocalypse happened, and this medication has long since expired. It’s possible that this makes it less effective (which could be why Carol was taking so many at once) yet it might also have changed in composition, potentially causing even more side effects. Regardless, it’s clear that it’s a poor choice on Carol’s part, and even her subconscious is trying to tell her this, given her dream about Daryl discussing his ‘father’s’ experience driving a truck. At the end of the episode, it appears that she is out of pills, but Carol is resourceful. I’m guessing that she has more stashed away, or is capable of finding another source.
I found it strange that Ezekiel didn’t play any part in Carol’s hallucinations or dreams. This may have been part of the structure of the episode: to confuse the viewer into not knowing what was real and what wasn’t, yet even at the end, it would have been interesting to see what role the King plays in Carol’s psyche. They were married for at least 8 years; he should be a large part of her mental state. Even if Carol does not want to confront Ezekiel herself, she can’t avoid him in her dreams.
I felt that the way the dreams and hallucinations were incorporated into the episode was very compelling. While I noticed certain inconsistencies during the episode (Daryl never talks about his past, Carol shouldn’t be foolish enough to step in such an obvious rope trap, etc.) it generally wasn’t enough to clue me in until the ‘reveals’. My favorite vision of Carol’s was the cover of the home economics textbook, where Carol saw not only herself, but also Henry, Sam, Lizzie, Mika, and Sophia (all with their throats cut) on the cover.
Of course, Carol’s state of mind caused everyone to doubt whether she actually saw Whisperers in the woods. Yet the dead Whisperer revealed at the end of the episode proves that there was at least one following them. Alpha claims to have eyes everywhere, and clearly this is how that happens. However, if that Walker-Whisperer returns to the pack (and it is likely that it will, at some point) then Alpha will feel that the temporary cease-fire has been violated, and will be compelled to act. Carol’s reliance on drugs may have much more far-reaching implications than she understands.
Speaking of subjecting oneself to drugs, why was Daryl smoking a roll-your-own cigarette? Is he growing tobacco or something stronger? That seems like a waste of resources when food could be grown instead. Of course, based on Dante’s drinks, it would also appear that someone is distilling alcohol in Alexandria.
While most of the episode related to Carol’s state of mind, there were other plot developments as well. It was interesting to see how vitriolic Aaron still is toward Negan. I usually think of Aaron as being very level-headed, so his purely emotional reaction to Negan is interesting to see. I have to wonder if he feels the same kind of anger toward the Whisperers for killing Jesus, with whom he was also close.
For his part, Negan is very understanding of how people feel, and even seemed to (mostly) take Aaron’s dig about Negan’s wife in stride. All of his reactions and comments in response to Aaron were reasonable, and he took charge and helped Aaron when necessary. It’s possible that Negan has ‘reformed’, although I suspect that he holds no love for Aaron. My suspicion is that it is more likely that Negan has decided that he wants to be a part of the Alexandria community, and knows that this involves certain behaviors on his part. As to whether or not he has any ulterior motives beyond that… this remains to be seen. Personally, I would love to see Negan follow the same path as he does in the Walking Dead comics, and thought that perhaps this might happen when Aaron invited Negan to leave. Obviously, Negan didn’t leave, and things turned out differently, for now. Another factor that may cause the series storyline to be different from the comics storyline is Carol’s involvement in the series (she is not a part of the comics at this stage). She may be a big factor in the upcoming interactions with the Whisperers.
We also had a glimpse of the relationship between Eugene and Rosita, as well as its limitations. Rosita was clearly enjoying herself while out killing walkers, happy to be away from parenting duties, even if only for a short while. Yet Eugene was only there to protect her, which Rosita found offensive, given her superior fighting skills. This led to the inevitable discussion of how Rosita feels about Eugene, and when she laid it out for him once again, this time he actually believed her. I’m not certain why Eugene chose this particular occasion to finally understand the truth of the situation, but having done so, he admitted that any friendship he felt for her was predicated on the assumption that one day Rosita might view him romantically. Even so, I suspect that Eugene has also grown fond of Baby Coco, and as such will not be completely gone from Rosita’s life. Yet this emotional break might be enough to allow him to form a new romantic attachment elsewhere.
There was also a brief glimpse of Dante, a new character who is acting as another doctor in Alexandria. While he seemed a bit egotistical and mildly obnoxious at the beginning of the season (telling Siddiq that as doctors, they were ‘gods’), his revelation of his background and understanding of Siddiq’s emotional exhaustion showed a glimpse of the human being underneath.
However, the big question this episode appeared to have nothing to do with the individual characters: who is sending these waves of walkers toward Alexandria? I agree with Lydia that this doesn’t seem like Alpha. Alpha would not send small waves; she would release her torrent of walkers all at once, obliterating the entire settlement of Alexandria, rather than wearing them down slowly. I have a couple of vague theories, but so far have not seen any strong evidence to support any of them. Eugene suggested that the fire might have attracted some of the local herds, and certainly some of these incoming walkers were burned, yet I suspect that explanation is too simplistic. There is something deeper happening here, and this will likely play out in future episodes.
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season mission shows Rosita and Eugene defending Alexandria against a herd of walkers during a night attack. Walking Dead: Our World is also featuring Rosita as the hero of the week.
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