‘The Walking Dead’ Mid-Season Finale Recap ‘The World Before’: Trust Should Be a Four-Letter Word

In “The Walking Dead” recap for the mid-season finale, Siddiq’s death sends shockwaves through the communities as Alpha makes her next move to conquer them…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

“The Walking Dead” season 10 has definitely had its moments but the sins of the past come back to haunt the series in the mid-season finale.

In “The World Before”, the episode continues to build towards the eventual showdown between the survivors and the Whisperers for an event comic book fans will know and love called “The Whisperer War”. Unfortunately, “The Walking Dead” is continuously dragging out this inevitable fight much the way the series did after introducing Negan as the biggest of the big bads all the way back in the season 6 finale.

That seems like such a long time ago now and because Negan was arguably the greatest villain in the history of “The Walking Dead”, the series carefully introduced him and then meticulously built towards the arc known as “All Out War” when Rick Grimes finally led resistance forces against the Saviors. Sadly by the time the war was finished, most viewers were relieved that the confrontation was finally finished because it took several seasons to get there.

It appears “The Walking Dead” plans on doing much the same in the lead up to “The Whisperers War” because the mid-season finale didn’t really do much to advance the story outside of the somewhat obvious cliffhanger ending that saw Daryl, Carol and several others dumped down into a cave where they found Alpha’s horde waiting for them.

The reason why this particular ending is so perplexing has as much to do with the choices that were made as well as the decisions that weren’t made. In particular, there’s an iconic moment from the comic books involving Negan’s interaction with the Whisperers that would have fit like a puzzle piece falling into place for the mid-season finale.

Instead, “The Walking Dead” once again opted for the slow burn and while that absolutely has its place in great storytelling, eventually the maneuver gets old. Part of what drives a drama series like “The Walking Dead” is the ability to build towards a conclusion and then pepper in enough hanging threads so that the show can carry on past that finale.

Sadly, “The Walking Dead” season 10 is traveling down a similar road in working towards the conflict with the Whisperers as the show did when trying to stretch out the confrontation with Negan for more than two full seasons.

There were plenty of highlights in the first half of “The Walking Dead” season 10, it just felt like the midway point could have just as easily been any other episode rather than the set up for the battle ahead in the back half when the show returns in 2020.

With that said, let’s get to our recap for “The Walking Dead” mid-season finale titled “The World Before”…

Trust Should Be a Four-Letter Word

The revelation that Dante was a Whisperer in hiding this entire time shocked some but didn’t surprise others, although it definitely caught Siddiq off guard when he finally flashed back to the most horrific night of his life when he watched Alpha decapitate his friends. It took months for him to remember that the person holding his head and forcing his eyes open to watch the slaughter was Dante hidden behind a mask of the dead.

Unfortunately, Siddiq discovering Dante’s true identity came too late because the Whisperer spy got the drop on him and choked the life out of Alexandria’s only doctor. As the last breath seeped out of Siddiq’s lungs, you have to wonder the thoughts that rolled through his head about all the signs he didn’t see with Dante because he was so terrified to face his own PTSD.

A series of flashbacks reveal Dante’s origin story as a new member of the Whisperers who Alpha personally selected to infiltrate the communities. He first connected with a group of newcomers headed to Hilltop before he was welcomed in as one of the newest arrivals. As a medic, Dante was a valuable addition to the team but he was secretly sabotaging the survivors at every turn from switching the valve to feed contaminated water into Alexandria to leaving notes filled with information for the Whisperers to discover. He even killed poor Cheryl — the elderly woman who came down ill after she drank the contaminated water.

In the aftermath of the murder, Dante is ready to put a knife into Siddiq’s head before he can come back to life but downstairs he hears Rosita arrive with little Coco. Rosita saw the light on inside Siddiq’s house and decided to pay him a visit after he nearly killed himself earlier that same day.

When she’s confronted by Dante and the lame excuse that Siddiq suddenly got called away to work and he stayed behind, Rosita quickly starts maneuvering towards the door. That’s when she notices the knife in Dante’s right hand and at this moment it’s do-or-die for both of them.

Rosita sets down the baby and proceeds to beat the shit out of Dante — here’s to girl power —  but during the struggle, Siddiq reanimates and begins lumbering towards the loudest thing in the room. Little Coco’s screams draw the walker near but thankfully Rosita is able to plunge a knife into Dante’s shoulder to subdue him before she’s forced to use the same blade to put Siddiq down for good.

A couple more punches and knees to Dante ensure he’s out cold but now Rosita has to face a new world where the father of her child is dead and the entire Alexandria community has been at risk this entire time because of a Whisperer spy.

In the morning, Daryl lets out his frustrations on Dante while Father Gabriel struggles to understand how somebody could do this to them but even worse how he managed to trust this person so much only to watch him betray the entire community in the end. To make matters worse, Dante isn’t giving any answers other than spouting more nonsense he heard from Alpha how nobody is safe and no one really wants to help unless they get something in return.

Additional problems have also risen after Lydia got angry and escaped after finding out that she was being used as bait against the Whisperers because her mother told their people that she had been murdered. Carol was so desperate to sow seeds of distrust within the Whisperers that she used the girl for leverage without actually telling her.

Outside the gates of Alexandria, Aaron meets up with Gamma again — he apparently doesn’t hold grudges against people who put a knife to his throat — and she’s willing to talk now more than ever after finding out that Alpha lied to her about Lydia. Gamma wants to know information about the baby that was left for dead outside Hilltop because that child belonged to her sister, who is now dead because she was sacrificed in order to safe Alpha.

Gamma wants to exchange information in order to see her nephew, who is now named Adam. She even removes her mask and tells Aaron that her name used to be Mary before the zombie apocalypse made monsters of us all.

Aaron returns to tell the council that Mary will point them towards the place where Alpha has her horde hidden in exchange for the chance to see her nephew in person. Carol is all about this plan and Daryl cautiously agrees to go along with it so long as they will eventually begin looking for Lydia as well. Daryl is still concerned about Carol’s well being because she’s so single minded of purpose trying to get to Alpha that her decision making hasn’t been great lately but the group will converge with members of the Hilltop in order to go on the search for Lydia and the herd.

Weapons for War

On the road to Oceanside, Michonne, Judith, Luke are enjoying a conversation about books and music when one of the scouts spots tracks on the side of the road. Because the tracks aren’t dragging like a walker, Michonne believes this could be a Whisperer keeping tabs on them so she requests some quiet time as they look out for any spies.

Along the way, Luke mentions that there’s a nearby library and Judith wants to get some new books after reading everything that Alexandria has to offer so Michonne takes a detour for her daughter. Inside, Luke is nearly rapturous looking at music books when he’s attacked by a pair of walkers hidden at the library. Just when it appears he’s about to get bitten, a stranger comes out of nowhere and kills one of the walkers before fleeing out the back door. Luke and the rest of the group go outside to look for the heroic mystery man but he’s already gone.

The mystery man reappears once they arrive at Oceanside after one of the security guards spots him trying to steal a boat. On the heels of news about Dante’s betrayal, everybody is on edge, which means Michonne isn’t really in the mood to listen to any story about how this guy is desperately trying to get back to his family after leaving them to go search for supplies.

The disheveled man barely speaks to anybody and his attempt to escape is thwarted by Judith after several walkers appear out of the woods, which requires Michonne and the rest of the Oceanside security forces to deal with them first.

Once the walkers are put down, the mystery man still refuses to talk but Michonne decides to sit down with him and asks why he decided to help a stranger like Luke rather than just watch as he was attacked and died. The man just instinctively wanted to help and through the conversation, Michonne decides to trust that he’s actually trying to get back to his family and not attempting to dupe the group like Dante did for months.

It turns out this man’s name is Virgil and he’s been living on a Naval base on Bloodsworth island in Chesapeake Bay and that’s where his wife and son are currently staying. The base is remote and fortified but he got stranded on land while looking for supplies and he’s been trying to get back to them ever since.

Michonne decides to take a valuable lesson that she learned from Rick when dealing with this stranger — she lets her mercy prevail over her wrath and opts to believe his story. Virgil also reveals that inside the Navy base there are weapons that could help the survivors in their fight against the Whisperers and that’s all Michonne needs to hear in order to make the exchange.

She will get Virgil back home and he will hand over the weapons of war that can be used against Alpha and her horde.

Michonne tells Judith that she has to leave and she’s going alone with Virgil back to Bloodsworth Island to retrieve these weapons. It’s a dangerous mission for obvious reasons but she feels it’s necessary to take this risk in order to help the survivors have a realistic chance at defeating the Whisperers. She leaves Judith with Luke as they prepare to go back to Alexandria and she goes to find the solution to the deadliest problem the survivors have ever faced.

As it’s been reported numerous times, Danai Gurira will be leaving “The Walking Dead” during season 10 so Michonne traveling to this Naval base seemingly sets up her final story arc for whatever that might be.

Hidden Agenda

Back in Alexandria, Father Gabriel eulogizes Siddiq as the community holds a funeral for their fallen friend and physician. Outside the walls, Rosita decides to let off some steam by killing a few walkers but when she’s nearly bitten, Eugene shows up to save the day and rescue her from ruin. The old friends talk briefly before Eugene shuffles away back to Hilltop because he still can’t be near Rosita knowing how much he’s in love with her and his feelings will never be requited.

As for Gabriel, he’s going back through the video footage he took of Dante when they first welcomed him into Alexandria and he’s trying to spot anything that should have told him not to trust this stranger. Gabriel is beginning to question his own instincts in the wake of Dante’s betrayal and Siddiq’s death.

Even when Rosita returns and tries to tell him how she’s found a new lease on life after realizing that she needs to stay safe because now her daughter Coco only has one parent left in this world, Gabriel lashes out as if there’s more important problems to deal with right now.

He eventually goes down to the cell to visit Dante in a desperate attempt at understanding his motivations and how he managed to fool everybody including him. The conversation turns heated and Gabriel lashes out by stabbing Dante to death as the rage and grief finally boil over.

Gabriel’s rage soon subsides into sadness after realizing that he’s become the worst version of himself by allowing Dante to not only infiltrate the group but force him to give up the principles that have helped guide him for years. Outside, Gabriel burns Dante’s body as Rosita arrives without judgment but rather a head on his shoulder as they lean on each other during this tragic time.

As for Daryl, Carol, and Aaron, they meet up with Connie, Magna and several people from Hilltop as they decide to cross over Alpha’s border in order to search for the horde.

Along the way, Carol nearly steps in a bear trap set in their path because she’s not paying attention to anything in front of her because she just wants to get to Alpha. Daryl confronts Carol about her bizarre behavior and the seething anger that’s been bleeding out into every decision she’s made lately. Daryl reminds her that he’s there for her to turn to in times of need even if she’s not sure what to say to him.

The next morning the group finally arrives at the clearing where the herd was supposed to be kept but a look out into the field reveals nothing but open space and lots of grass. Daryl is enraged at the wasted time spent looking for the herd when they could have been searching for Lydia but Aaron isn’t so convinced that Mary lied to them.

Back in the woods, Daryl begins tracking where Lydia likely ended up but Carol can’t give up the hunt for Alpha. So when she spots the Whisperer leader in a clearing a few hundred yards away, Carol decides to give chase rather than thinking about the consequences that come along with such an obvious trap.

Carol chasing Alpha forces Daryl and the rest of the group to go after her. Alpha ends up running into a cave opening on the side of a hill and without blinking Carol goes in after her. Daryl sends some of the survivors after her while he takes care of a few walkers that have converged on the noise as they ran through the woods.

Once the walkers are dead, Daryl looks around and he doesn’t see his friends anywhere nearby and he’s forced to wander into the cave with knives drawn not sure what he’s about to discover. Just as he makes is way inside, Daryl crashes through an embankment and after he gets back to his feet, he sees Carol and the rest of the survivors standing next to him. Nobody is speaking because the noise is roaring below them as Alpha’s horde is finally revealed.

Alpha moved them into this cave where they will reside until called upon to destroy the communities and she set the trap knowing that Carol could not resist the chance to kill her. Instead of avenging Henry’s death, Carol led her friends right into Alpha’s trap where they are left stranded with Alpha’s horde nipping at their heels.

“The Walking Dead” will return for the second half of season 10 on Sunday night, February 23 on AMC

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