Carol & Daryl Go Horde-Hunting on 'The Walking Dead' (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 episode 6, "Bonds."]
Well, it's not New Mexico… but at least Carol and Daryl are getting to spend some quality time together.
What qualifies as "quality time?" Destroying Alpha's horde! Carol's trying to find it and take it down, and while that's certainly an admirable goal, Daryl has reservations. Meanwhile, Negan's having trouble fitting in with the Whisperers and Eugene makes a surprising connection over his new-and-improved radio.
Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
When Carol leaves Alexandria, Daryl catches up with her and asks if she wants company. She does, so he tags along on what she first explains to be a Negan-hunting mission, then reveals is a plan to destroy Alpha's horde. Daryl's not incredibly enthusiastic about this, and when he says if it goes wrong, everyone they care about pays for it, he has a good point. Carol's trying to take matters into her own hands in a way that's understandable, but pretty unrealistic. Two people, destroying an entire horde?
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Okay, she's not planning on destroying the whole horde. She says they're going to track the walkers' location and then report back to the council. They camp out for a little while and joke around as they toss acorns at a can ("I thought aiming was supposed to be your thing?" "You're such a sore loser.").
Not Like That(?)
Things briefly turn serious when Daryl says Zeke sends "his best," and Carol asks Daryl about Connie. When she implies he might have feelings for her, he insists it's "not like that." When she presses him, he asks why it matters. She tells him there aren't many good people left, and he can't stay out in the woods with his dog forever. To that, he doesn't respond.
Later that night, they head into Whisperer territory. This gets Daryl into an incredibly dangerous situation; separated from Carol and surrounded by walkers, he kills one, pulls it close, guts it, and smears the blood on his face in order to mask his scent. The Whisperers are onto him, though, so he's forced to make a hasty retreat.
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When he makes it back to his rendezvous point with Carol, he finds she's taken a Whisperer captive. "He saw me," she claims, and she says they can bring him back to Alexandria and interrogate him. Daryl is suspicious, and he asks her if this was her plan all along. She says it wasn't. Was it? We may never know.
Unstoppable Force, Immovable Object
Being hazed is no fun, but being hazed by the Whisperers is a whole new level of awful. And to say Beta and Negan "don't get along" would be a total understatement; It's clear that Negan finds Beta's stern silence amusing, while the big man is constantly annoyed by Negan's incessant jabber.
Alpha, less irked by Negan, asks Beta to test him. Thus, a day filled with backbreaking tasks ensues. Negan transports the dead, cuts skin off of walkers, digs holes, catches a pig for dinner, etc. Apparently all of this isn't good enough for Beta, who later, as they walk with the dead, leaves Negan to die in the middle of the horde.
Eugene Herman Porter
At Hilltop, Eugene has managed to fix up the radio so that it has a farther bandwidth. His first call with the repaired contraption is Rosita — she reached out to him to ask when he's coming home. He doesn't have a good answer to that, but they make plans to talk later (plans that are, unbeknownst to Eugene, forcibly cancelled since Rosita's caught the flu going around Alexandria, which made plenty of trouble for Siddiq and Dante this episode).
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When Rosita doesn't answer, Eugene intercepts a transmission from a woman with whom it seems he has much in common. They bond as they chat about their pasts, and it appears they talk all night. But when Eugene tries to get her to talk about some more serious stuff, she balks. "It's been great, honestly," she says, "but I don't really know you. You might be a threat." By revealing his personal information first — his middle name is Herman! — Eugene convinces her to keep talking with him, and they plan to make these talks a regular occurrence. Awwwwwwwww!
Get This Man a Skinsuit
As the episode ends, Beta returns to Alpha at the Whisperer camp. "He was weak," he informs Alpha of Negan. "He will serve us better as one of the dead." Well, not if Negan has anything to say about it. He marches into the Whisperer camp and demands his skin suit. He then kneels to Alpha — something he said he'd never done, earlier in the episode — and as she puts a finger to her lips, he grins.
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- This episode was a gold mine for Negan jokes. Calling Beta "jolly green giant," asking, "do I get bathed and reborn in her 'whispery' image?", his disbelief when Beta made a joke… it was all hilarious and devoid of the cringeworthy vibe some of his jokes in the earlier seasons had. Also, it bears mentioning: that ending was one of the most bada** scenes this show has had for a while.
- So… is it really "not like that" with Daryl and Connie? If so, is it "not like that" because Daryl has feelings for someone else? Or is Daryl in denial, and it really is "like that?" That scene can be interpreted to fit whatever Daryl 'ship floats your boat, but it'll be interesting to see how his interactions with Connie go from here.
- Am I supposed to find Dante the human equivalent of the "fingernails on a chalkboard" noise? I'd like to think the writers are making him this obnoxious for a reason, but holy moly. If he's going to be a main or even secondary character, certain aspects of his personality need to be toned down, as does his flirting with anything that moves.
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- I. Am. So. Tired. Of. The. Love. Quadrangle. Granted, Rosita likely wasn't trying to lead Eugene on when she radioed him. But since the script didn't go out of its way to have her, or him, clarify that what they're both looking for is friendship, I fear the quadrangle still has all four sides. Or maybe not, if this woman on the radio turns out to be Stephanie.
- Also, it's a bummer that Rosita — a character that has been around since Season 4 — hasn't been given more to do this season than doing mothering duties, fretting about her suitors and getting sick. Anyway, Rosita is cool, but the show seems to have forgotten what she can do.
- This show is so inconsistent with what qualifies as "deadly exposure" to walker blood that I have no idea if I should be worried about Daryl's health. Nick Clark used to drench himself in it pretty constantly on Fear The Walking Dead (oh, how I miss the good old days of Fear), but that show ignored the mothership's insistence that blood was deadly. If Daryl got it in his mouth, is he in trouble? More likely his plot armor will protect him. And hey, at least it wasn't radioactive walker blood.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC