‘The Walking Dead’ Finally Explains What’s Going On With Siddiq (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 7, “Open Your Eyes.”]
Throughout the past weeks, Siddiq (Avi Nash) has played almost every role possible in internet fan theories. He’s been a traitor who lured the folks in the barn to Alpha in order to spare himself. He’s been a puppet for the Whisperers who was quietly informing on Alexandria. He’s been a tragic figure who was forced to decapitate his friends, and his breakdowns were evidence he’d never get over having that blood on his hands.
The truth? Alexandria’s troubled doctor is none of the above.
“Open Your Eyes” is, in many ways, a Siddiq character study that honors both his past on the show and the struggle he’s currently going through. Beyond that, through the characters of Gamma and Carol, it questions the concept of loyalty and how far one must be pushed to risk breaking the bonds they’ve built.
Dragged into the Past
The episode opens with Siddiq trying to care for all the patients who have become sick. It’s clear he’s barely holding things together himself, and that fact becomes obvious as his Whisperer-flashbacks grow into an episode where he screams, believing Whisperer hands are pulling him down into the couch on which he’s sitting. Yikes!
The next day, he goes to check up on Rosita and, sitting in bed together, they have a nice chat about how they can’t believe they’re parents. Rosita has picked up on the fact that Siddiq isn’t okay, but he’s not willing to talk with her, or anyone, about what he’s going through. “I’ve just got a lot of patients to see, and miles to go before I sleep,” he says.
Bread and Beatings
Meanwhile, Carol, Daryl, and Gabe butt heads about the Whisperer prisoner. Gabe doesn’t agree with Carol’s tactics, but Daryl sticks up for her; later, Lydia says that if this Whisperer finds out that places like Alexandria can survive, that idea could spread and bring down the whole animalistic group.
Carol tries things Lydia’s way, bringing the captured Whisperer bread and jam. He spits the food in her face and declares that he’ll never betray Alpha, because “she loves us.” (Sure, buddy). He also lets it slip that Alpha supposedly killed her own daughter for the good of the pack, which will become very relevant later. After he makes a series of sexist and foul remarks, Carol puts on her old wedding ring and uses it as a brass knuckle, beating the Whisperer until Daryl pulls her back.
You Packed the Bag
Everything changes when their captive Whisperer falls ill suddenly, and despite Dante and Siddiq’s best efforts, he dies. Siddiq realizes he died from hemlock poisoning, and he asks Dante why he’d give him hemlock. “You packed the bag,” Dante says, placing the blame squarely on Siddiq. This leads him to another spiral, during which he wanders into a shed, sees a machete and collapses. He remembers the barn, seeing his friends die, and being told — and forced — to keep his eyes open by the Whisperers and Alpha. Overcome by guilt and grief, he runs away and jumps into the river.
He starts to sink to the bottom, but Rosita pulls him out. On the dock, she demands that he come clean about what’s really bothering him, and he does. He says he misses Enid, but whenever he misses her he also remembers how he failed her by, as he recalls it, being frozen and unable to move while his friends were killed. “People that I love died right in front of me, and now I get to watch it over and over,” he says. When he says he’s just not smart enough to figure out what’s going on regarding everyone’s illnesses, Rosita insists otherwise, and as the doc thinks out loud, he starts to put the pieces together. “Go home,” he tells Rosita, and then he runs off to the water system levers.
There, he finds that someone has tampered with the water, and that dirty, undrinkable water was flooding into the community. He has another breakdown, kicking over boxes and stomping on them, screaming.
Just as Bad as Her
With the Whisperer dead, Carol’s forced to try a new plan: Lydia. Daryl begs her not to, but she tells him to “let her make up her own mind.” Except that’s not what Carol does: She takes Lydia out on the pretense of a hunting trip, but the teen soon discovers that’s not what they were doing. They run into Gamma and Aaron (the whole episode Aaron’s been trying to build trust with Gamma, to varying degrees of success, until Alpha encouraged Gamma and got her back on the skin-wearing side).
Gamma’s ready to kill Aaron when Carol intervenes, and when Alpha’s new “daughter” sees Lydia alive, she shatters. She sprints away into the woods, and Lydia, horrified at Carol’s duplicity, tells her she’s just as bad as Alpha. She runs off into the woods, leaving Carol stunned and teary-eyed.
Close Your Eyes
As the episode ends, Siddiq stands by a window in the infirmary. Dante interrupts him, and Siddiq comes to the realization that he knows him: He was in the barn as a Whisperer, holding his eyes open and forcing him to watch his friends die. He turns around and Dante springs into action, grabbing him around the neck and choking him.
“I didn’t want it to be like this,” Dante says. “Not you.” He tells Siddiq to close his eyes as he grows weaker, and the episode ends with him going limp, dead by Dante’s hand.
- I hate to say it, but there are some really clunky things going on with the writing here. If Dante’s a Whisperer, why didn’t Lydia recognize him? If he was present for the pikes, he was pretty trustworthy to Alpha and Lydia should’ve known of his existence. Even if she didn’t recognize his face without the mask, she surely should’ve known his voice. He treated her after Gage’s attack, for heaven’s sake!
- Goodbye, Siddiq. You were just getting interesting and survived into the Commonwealth arc in the comics, so I have no idea why the show killed you off now. Avi Nash did so well in this episode, though; Siddiq’s breakdown scenes were uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and hard to watch, as they should have been.
- I would’ve liked to see Siddiq recover from his PTSD, which is something rarely seen on genre TV — I’m not counting Rick’s hallucinations in Seasons 3 and 5 here, because they weren’t brought to the forefront of the narrative as mental health storylines so much as they were plot devices. Siddiq’s troubles were definitely mental health-related, and while I think it’s great the show took steps to portray the condition accurately, I wish the storyline wouldn’t have ended in his death. Oh, well.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC