In “The Walking Dead” recap for the mid-season debut, Daryl tries to lead the survivors out of Alpha’s trap while Negan gets much closer to the leader of the Whisperers…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Following a three month absence from the airwaves, “The Walking Dead’ returned for the mid-season premiere on Sunday night and the body count has apparently already started.
In the cliffhanger from the last episode, Carol’s thirst for vengeance against Alpha needed to be satiated, which meant she would do just about anything to get at the leader of the Whisperers. It turns out that included walking right into Alpha’s trap as she baited Carol into following her to the cave where she’s been secretly hiding her gigantic horde.
Carol giving chase to get Alpha led Daryl, Jerry, Magda, Aaron, Connie and Kelly to follow as well to ensure the Whisperers didn’t knock them off one by one.
Sadly getting everybody inside the cave was Alpha’s plan all along as the survivors ran inside, tumbled over a ledge and found themselves face to face with the horde of zombies thirst for human flesh.
The first episode back on Sunday night focused primarily on the survivors trying to escape the puzzle-like cave system where Alpha has her horde hidden. That wasn’t the only storyline, however, as Alpha also deals with trouble a little closer to home — namely a spy who has been feeding information back to the communities.
Before Alpha can look too far or wide for the spy, Negan then offers his own take on the situation, which brings him painfully close to the leader of the Whisperers.
With that said, let’s get to our recap of “The Walking Dead” mid-season debut with the new episode titled “Squeeze”….
After realizing that Alpha laid a trap for them, Daryl and the rest of the survivors quickly scramble to try and escape. Unfortunately, Alpha had this plan carefully laid out as she leaves soldiers behind to ensure that the group doesn’t get out of the cave system until they’ve been turned into zombie snacks.
With no chance of getting out the same way they came in, Daryl and the group begin seeking alternative routes out of the caves.
The first step requires getting to the other side where there are more passages after noticing that water is running along one of the walls. The water has to flow from somewhere else, which leads them to believe there must be another path to the surface.
After hopping across the rocks, Daryl and Magda lead the survivors through the labyrinth of passages just trying to find any route that will set them free.
Along the way, Daryl scolds Carol for walking right into Alpha’s trap because she’s so blinded by hatred after the Whisperers’ killed her adopted son Henry that she can’t see straight. Instead of attacking a problem with strategy, which has always been one of Carol’s strongest attributes, she’s just running at Alpha with blind aggression.
It’s led to Daryl questioning if he can even trust her at this point because she keeps making bad decisions and this one might cost the entire group their lives.
As the survivors start making their way through the passages, the group soon finds out they aren’t alone because a few Whisperers appear to stop them from going any further. Thankfully, Daryl and the rest of the group are much better fighters and they quickly dispatch the Whisperer guards sent to stop them from making it out to the surface.
The good news is if the Whisperers are on this path, then the survivors might be heading in the right direction to escape.
The only problem is the quarters are getting tighter and the space to move is minimal, which reveals Carol’s own bout with claustrophobia. Connie does her best to calm Carol down and help her make her way through the narrow passageways as Daryl leads the group in the direction where he believes they can escape.
The journey through the small tunnels is toughest on Jerry as he struggles to fit through the tiny openings. Finally, Daryl comes out on the other side followed by Magna and Kelly as the group gets closer to escaping Alpha’s trap.
Along the way, Carol freezes up as she gets closer and closer towards the end of the tunnel., While Daryl is finally able to pull her up, Jerry soon discovers that they aren’t alone as a few walkers have crawled their way into the save crevasses.
With the zombies chomping down on his boots, Jerry has to quickly get rid of the gear he’s wearing to fit through the small tunnel before emerging on the other side. A quick look at his feet show reveal Jerry didn’t suffer any bites but it was a painfully close call. Now with the group reunited, Daryl begins one final surge forward to hopefully find a way to escape the caves and find daylight again.
Back at the Whisperer camp, Alpha returns from springing her trap on the survivors and she tells her two closest confidants — Beta and Gamma — that there must be a spy in from the communities keeping a close watch on them. She believes the survivors have broken the borders by sending scouts into their territory to find out where the horde was hiding. She decides to send Gamma out to the border to find out everything she can about the survivors spying on their camp.
As Alpha takes care of a No. 2 problem, Negan arrives to offer his new leader some friendly advice.
After leading the Saviors for several years, Negan got a good sense of leadership and the way a seemingly perfect situation with loyal followers can suddenly go sideways. He thought the people following him were dedicated to his particular methods but it turns out Negan’s greatest enemy was hiding in plain sight the entire time.
Rather than watching Alpha suffer the same fate that he did, Negan warns her that she should probably look a little closer to home for the spy rather than seeking out the survivors crossing over the border. He knows Beta is a faithful follower but Negan can’t say the same about Gamma.
At first, Alpha scoffs at his suggestion by pointing out that all of her people are loyal to a fault — and she knocks him into a giant pile of shit for even suggesting that someone might have betrayed her.
As she makes her way back to the main camp, Alpha seeks out Beta and informs him that she believes Gamma has betrayed them. She tells Beta to go hunting for Gamma but when he finds her, he’s not going to kill her — he is going to bring her back so Alpha can serve her own brand of justice with the entire group there to watch.
After sending Beta on his mission, Alpha retrieves Negan and forces him to walk out into an opening in the middle of the woods. She leads him there without ever allowing Negan to look back at her and at first he thinks this might be his initiation into the Whisperers.
When Alpha tells him to remove all of his clothes, Negan then wonders if perhaps she’s going to kill him dead for the insubordination of suggestion one of her loyal followers has turned traitor. Almost as if he’s saying his goodbyes, Negan explains why he did the things that he did as the leader of the Saviors.
“I made myself into a monster because that’s what the world needed. I built something. I saved people. My name it meant something.”
Finally, Alpha instructs him to turn around but Negan doesn’t find himself staring down the barrel of a gun. Instead, Negan finds that Alpha has also removed all of her clothes — while still wearing her skin mask — and she tells him that his loyalty has earned a reward. Thanks to his willingness to speak out about Gamma, Alpha may have been able to discover and eliminate a serious threat.
Negan wonders if perhaps Alpha is going to have sex with him and then cut his head off like a praying mantis but he finally gives into temptation. Negan and Alpha begin kissing in a naked embrace as he draws that much closer to the leader of the Whisperers.
Down in the caves, Daryl eventually comes across a series of collapsed mines that had previously been excavated. Along the way they find a box of dynamite, but the group is adequately warned that a single explosion down here in an attempt to find an opening to the surface could bring the entire cave system crashing down around them.
Aaron and Magda begin clearing debris as they try to find an opening to the surface. The digging finally gives way to a hole in the top of the cave, which allows Kelly to slip free. Aaron continues chipping away at the rocks to allow the rest of the group escapes but when Daryl turns around, he finds that Carol has disappeared.
It seems she’s taken it upon herself to grab some of the dynamite and wander back into the heart of the caves in an attempt to eliminate a huge part of Alpha’s horde. Daryl shows up just in time to save her after Carol slips and nearly falls to the bottom of the ravine.
She tries to explain to Daryl that this was a chance to wipe out the horde because Carol is so consumed by revenge for Henry that she can’t see any other path forward that doesn’t lead her straight for Alpha’s throat. Just as Daryl attempts to convince her to stop, Carol reaches for the dynamite but it slips from her hand and falls to the floor below.
The explosion sets off a chain reaction as the caves begin crumbling around them. Jerry is forced to act as a human support beam as the group starts climbing through the opening one by one.
Outside, Kelly and Aaron fend off a group of Whisperers who have arrived to try and stop them from escaping. Jerry continues to hold up the last beam that will keep the caves from collapsing around them. After Daryl pulls Carol to freedom, Magda and Connie are the last two people left inside. That’s when two more Whisperers show up behind them and Magda tells Jerry to get out while he still can.
Jerry makes his way free as the caves begin to crumble. Inside, Magda and Connie watch their only path to escape cave in around them and they realize the remaining sticks of dynamite are still sitting in a box nearby.
A huge explosion rings out as the rest of the mines collapse. Rocks and rubble fall down into the cave opening as the explosion wipes out any chance for survivors to escape that way. Outside, Daryl realizes that Connie and Magda were still trapped and he scratches and claws at rocks trying to get to them.
Aaron tells Daryl that he could dig for two weeks and they’d find nothing. A heartbroken Kelly cries out for Connie but she also knows that the explosion will bring both walkers and Whisperers in their direction in a hurry. The group has no choice but to leave before more trouble finds them.
Carol is beside herself with grief as she begs Daryl to blame her for essentially dooming Connie and Magda to death because she so desperately wanted to get back at Alpha. Daryl refuses to even acknowledge her as he rushes off in hopes of finding another entrance to the cave system that might somehow allow him to find Connie and Magda still alive.
Alpha’s trap didn’t claim all of the survivors as she intended but she may have taken out two people while possibly fracturing Daryl’s relationship with Carol beyond repair.
“The Walking Dead” returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.