by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 7.
We knew that Alpha had been attacking the communities in small ways, sending groups of walkers, making the tree fall on Hilltop, poisoning the creek with walker guts, sending Gamma to get information from Aaron. Yet now we learn that it was even more insidious, sending a Whisperer into Alexandria to become one of them, someone who had useful skills. In the Walking Dead comics, Dante was somewhat arrogant, as he has seemed in the television show, yet he was a staunch fighter against the Whisperers at Hilltop. This twist was unexpected, yet it makes sense. Siddiq noted a few occasions where Dante wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do with patients, and the mysterious illness began when Siddiq was away at Hilltop and Dante was in charge of Alexandrian medical care.
I had suspected for a while that the illness came from the water, and that was confirmed when the show focused so much on Siddiq delivering water to everyone who was ill. This kind of transmission method also made sense when you consider that Siddiq and Dante (who were treating the sick patients) and Gabriel and Baby Coco (who live with Rosita) never got ill. But I had assumed that the tainted water came from the creek that Alpha had poisoned with walker guts. Instead, the explanation was much simpler: Dante mixed unpotable water in with the potable water. It wasn’t even very difficult for him to accomplish, given the system that Eugene had set up.
Dante’s presence is another reason why Siddiq’s PTSD regarding Alpha’s beheadings was getting worse. Dante’s habit of making a ticking noise is what clued in Siddiq that Dante was the Whisperer who had held him back when Alpha was beheading Siddiq’s friends. I have to wonder if Siddiq would eventually have come to accept this horrible trauma from his past and move on, but of course, that’s no longer an issue. Unfortunately, Siddiq is gone, and that is a double blow for Alexandria, since he was the only doctor, excluding Dante. Dante is clearly no longer going to remain a doctor, once his perfidy is discovered. I do not have any doubts that it will be discovered, and relatively quickly. Dante can’t easily hide how Siddiq died, especially since it wasn’t something that was planned.
Siddiq wasn’t the only one who died this episode. The captured Whisperer also fell victim to Dante’s machinations, and may even have been in on it. After all, he said that he was willing to die for Alpha, and may have understood that he was taking hemlock, since he would have known Dante. Even more, he died without telling Carol where Alpha’s walker horde was located, although he did unknowingly tell Carol other useful information: that Alpha had lied to her pack, telling them that she had killed Lydia.
Carol has gone off the deep end before, and while it isn’t in the same manner this time, it seems as if she is doing so again. Her interrogation of the captured Whisperer turned on a dime, going from ‘good cop’ to ‘bad cop’ in the blink of an eye, not really giving the first approach a proper chance to work. Carol is so focused on taking down Alpha and the Whisperers that she is losing patience, as well as losing herself. She has lied to Daryl, she has used Lydia, and she is rejecting the people whom she should know are her friends, in favor of vengeance. I still don’t understand why she just didn’t tell Lydia what the Whisperer had revealed. It would have been simple enough to do, and then Lydia wouldn’t have felt so betrayed when witnessing Gamma’s distress at seeing her. Carol simply isn’t considering others’ feelings, only her own, and as such, she is clashing with everyone with whom she interacts. This will certainly lead to trouble for Carol, perhaps as soon as next episode.
Gamma’s interactions with Aaron were very strange. Aaron isn’t stupid; he must suspect that Gamma is just there to get information from him. Yet he continues to visit with her, hoping to get her to open up, or see things from his perspective. Did Aaron tell anyone in Alexandria what he was doing? Did Carol know that they would be there? Or did she just stumble across Aaron and Gamma by happenstance? I find it interesting that Gamma was intrigued by bread, as was the captured Whisperer. I guess living in the forest, the food sources don’t offer much variety, and I can see how they would miss something as familiar and comforting as bread.
Gamma was also taken by Aaron’s mention of his daughter, Gracie. Was she remembering her nephew, who is now at Hilltop, or her sister, whom she killed to protect Alpha? Gamma had been willing to push her family aside (even to kill her sister) to show loyalty to Alpha, yet now she knows that Alpha has not done the same for her pack. This may lead Gamma to re-consider her position. Will she turn away from the Whisperers, or make her move to lead the pack herself? Either way, it will be a significant factor in how the drama plays out for the remainder of the season (possibly as soon as next episode, the midseason finale).
While I enjoy watching The Walking Dead and appreciate the exposing of Dante as a Whisperer, I felt that scene in which this was revealed was unclear. My first time watching, I didn’t get the ‘ticking’ sound aspect at all, and was thinking that Siddiq was attacking Dante in his PTSD (just as he was sleepwalking in his PTSD last episode). It was only when Dante actually killed him, rather than just subduing him, that I realized that I had missed something. It also felt odd that Chris Hardwick came on immediately afterward, at the start of Talking Dead, and had to explain the scene. Upon re-watching, I was able to pick up the clues being dropped, but I suspect that I’m not the only viewer who was confused by the subtlety of this reveal. Perhaps this was intentional, to mirror the confusion that Siddiq felt as he was forced to relive the past while dealing with the present? In comparison, the scenes of Siddiq pouring water and carrying around the water jug felt like being hit on the head with a hammer, because they were (relatively) so obvious. In my opinion, there needed to be a bit more balance with the ‘reveals’ in this episode.
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, this week’s Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season mission shows Carol and Aaron clearing out walkers who arrived after the scene with Gamma on the bridge, while. Walking Dead: Our World is featuring Daryl as Hero of the Week.
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