In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Michonne leads a group to meet with Alpha, Negan goes back into the field and Carol struggles to tell what’s real and what’s not…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
‘The Walking Dead’ season 10 has gotten off to a rocky start but the third episode airing on Sunday night title ‘Ghosts’ appeared to right the ship — at least for now.
Following the debut that showed how the communities are surviving inside the borders set by the Whisperers a season ago, the second episode focused on a backstory that revealed how Alpha met Beta and the two eventually formed the group that wears the masks of the dead in order to walk amongst them.
Neither were bad episodes necessarily but it didn’t really propel the story forward. That all changed with the latest episode as the survivors are forced to meet with Alpha after crossing over the borders she set up to keep the two groups separated.
Before the meeting takes place, several waves of walkers descend upon Alexandria, which forces the people living there to take up shifts to kill as many as possible so they never get near the walls. Unfortunately with numbers depleted and the need for people to stay at the read for the next set of walkers coming at them, the survivors are getting rather tired and sleep depraved.
Out of necessity, Negan is put back into the field to help clear the walkers, which doesn’t sit well with Aaron whatsoever.
And finally, Carol is self-medicating to stay awake because falling asleep inevitably leads to terrifying nightmares about the people she’s lost. Unfortunately, Carol begins struggling to tell what’s real and what’s not, which nearly leads to further disaster as the group makes their way back to Alexandria.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Ghosts’…
Peanut Butter Meet Jelly
As the episode begins, Carol is popping pills every hour to ensure she doesn’t fall asleep while security forces outside the walls of Alexandria clear the few walkers that have gathered overnight. But just as one group is cleared away, a larger swath of zombies appears on the horizon, which means more people are going to be needed to stop them before the numbers become too great and they reach the walls of the community.
For more than 30 hours straight, the survivors from Alexandria battle a relentless stream of walkers that keep coming at them from the north and south. Each wave brings new challenges as the survivors fight exhaustion while constantly battling back the threat that the zombies could somehow breach the walls.
The seemingly never ending fight finally leads to a member of the Whisperers arriving at the front gates of Alexandria with a message. The survivors are to send a group to meet with Alpha at the north border where she left the severed heads of their people in the penultimate episode in season 9. They are to arrive and leave their weapons and then wait for Alpha to find them.
Michonne leads a town meeting to discuss what’s happening while Lydia doesn’t believe that it’s her mother sending the waves of walkers towards Alexandria. Remember, the Whisperers value the dead as their ‘guardians’ and it seems strange that they would sacrifice so many as a message to the communities.
While many of the citizens want revenge against the Whisperers for killing their people a season ago, Michonne is quick to warn them that is a war they cannot win. The Whisperers have a horde of walkers at their command that number in the tens of thousands, which means Alpha has a weapon at her disposal that can’t be stopped.
So as much as it angers everyone, Michonne has no choice but to lead a group out to the north border where they will meet with Alpha as instructed.
Meanwhile, the survivors are fighting back the waves of walkers as best they can but as time passes, more and more people are struggling to fight due to extreme exhaustion.
Father Gabriel decides to reinforce Aaron’s group by sending Negan out with him as additional backup. Negan is against the idea because he has already expressed his feelings about the rising tensions inside Alexandria following word of the Whisperers’ return. He’d prefer to stay in the safe confines behind the walls where he can pick tomatoes and stay out of the crosshairs of people who might suddenly want him dead.
Aaron doesn’t want Negan anywhere near him either but Gabriel insists because this is a fight that affects everybody. As he says, Negan can fight, Aaron needs fighters — peanut butter meet jelly — and with that they are forced to team up to fight back the walkers.
Eugene and Rosita are also in the midst of the fight as they stand guard near the wall battling the few stragglers that make it through the defenses. While he’s just as tired as everybody else, Eugene refuses to leave Rosita’s side as she opts to stay on the front lines to fight the walkers.
And finally, Michonne, Daryl, and Carol lead a group to the north border where they wait for Alpha to arrive.
When she finally shows, Alpha tells them about the three times the survivors crossed over her border. She knows about the satellite that crashed but there were two other instances where the survivors crossed those boundaries and she reminds Michonne that the Whisperers are always watching.
Alpha feels like punishment is due but rather than dish out additional heads on spikes, she opts for mercy instead. Rather than collecting heads, Alpha tells Michonne that the borders will be rezoned, cutting down the amount of territory belonging to the survivors.
None of this sits well with Carol, who unbeknownst to the group has brought along a gun to the meeting, and she lashes out at Alpha while noting that the new borders will cut down on their hunting ground.
The conversation soon towards taunting as Alpha invokes Henry’s name and how he died screaming for his mother right up until the moment when he was decapitated. Carol can’t take anymore and she pulls her gun to kill the leader of the Whisperers but Daryl stops her before she can take aim.
Mother to mother, Alpha says she can forgive Carol for her transgressions and she then picks up one of the spikes while telling the survivors to run for their lives because they are now standing on her land. Michonne gathers everybody and they head back towards home to stay out of further complications with Alpha and the Whisperers.
Because it’s too late to make it back to Alexandria in time, the survivors decide to bed down in the woods but the threat of walkers looming nearby is just too great. To make matters worse, Carol believes she sees a group of Whisperers stalking them and she fires off a few shots from her gun while giving chase after them.
Daryl can’t find any trace of the Whisperers but either way being out in the open isn’t a good idea so they move on until they can find a building to get some sleep for the night.
They eventually happen upon an abandoned high school as the group makes their way inside to clear out any potential walkers that could serve as a threat to them while they sleep. Inside, Carol finds a home economics book on the ground but when she looks at the cover, she sees herself from a former day while surrounded with a dinner table of all the children she’s lost since the zombie apocalypse first began.
It’s clear that Carol is not only suffering from sleep deprivation but she’s now struggling to tell what’s real and what’s not.
Later that night, Daryl sits down with Carol and tells her a story about his father, who he says was a trucker and he used to get so tired on the road that one night he actually thought he hit a girl who walked directly in front of his truck going down the highway. Sadly when he stopped, Daryl’s father realized there was no body because there was no girl — he imagined it all in his head.
Hours later when Carol relays this story back to Daryl, he has no idea what she’s talking about because he never said anything to her. It seems almost everything happening has been inside Carol’s own head.
Not only is she seeing visions but Carol is beginning to lose time after Daryl finds her when she’s been missing for over a half-hour. Carol has no memory of that period of time but she continues to insist everything is fine.
The last straw comes when Carol wanders into the gymnasium and she’s snared in a trap that hangs her upside down while a member of the Whisperers comes near her before a group of walkers stumble towards them both. Carol is able to fight off the walkers before cutting herself down from the snare.
Carol battles back against the walkers until Daryl finds her standing alone in the gymnasium, surrounded by the corpses of the dead. Did she dream all of this? Did Carol kill these walkers or were they already dead? At this point she can barely tell reality from the waking sleep she’s living through but one thing is for certain — she has a massive shard of glass stuck in her arm, which means Michonne and Daryl have to get her back to Alexandria for medical attention right away.
After a day filled with fighting walkers, Aaron and Negan are still not on talking terms but at least they are getting the job done in the field. Aaron refuses to trust Negan to do much of anything, especially when it comes to allowing him to pick up a crowbar left behind to battle the walkers. Instead, Aaron insists that Negan keep killing the dead with a broomstick that he was provided when leaving Alexandria.
When they are attacked by more walkers than they can handle, Negan is forced to pick up the crowbar to battle back against the dead. Seeing the image of the crowbar in Negan’s hand is enough for Aaron to end the uneasy truce between them.
The two engage in a heated argument as Negan explains that all he ever did was protect what was his while helping his people survive. The way of the world now isn’t so different from back when society was still standing — you have to protect your shit and then expand outwards because if you don’t somebody else is going to do the same and then they will take your shit. Negan knows this has always been the way of the world whether Aaron likes it or not.
There’s been a longstanding question about Negan being the hero or the villain of this story because there’s a world where ‘The Walking Dead’ spends six or seven seasons with him from the start of the zombie apocalypse until now when perhaps he would be viewed as a savior rather than a monster. For all the awful things Negan did to the survivors, did he do them to be cruel or to protect his own people?
In this case, Aaron obviously disagrees with Negan’s methods because he lost the love of his life during that war. Aaron then invokes the name of Negan’s wife and how she died knowing that her husband was a monster. Just when it looks like they are going to throw down, Negan warns Aaron to look behind him as a group of walkers is moving closer.
Aaron is attacked but he’s able to fight back. After killing the last walker, Aaron is struggling to see with impaired vision as he wanders out into the woods because Negan is nowhere to be found.
He finally makes it to a nearby house while still struggling to see anything other than blurred vision. Aaron stumbling towards the house has alerted more nearby walkers and they attack as he’s trying to get his bearings. Thankfully, Negan was already inside the house, although he watched from the shadows while Aaron tried to fight back against the walkers.
Perhaps Negan was getting some measure of revenge for the way Aaron treated him or maybe it’s because he dared to mention his wife but whatever the reason, he finally springs into action and kills the last of the walkers.
Negan then informs Aaron that the walkers were carrying hogweed with them — it’s a nasty plant that can give a rash not to mention temporary blindness. Negan has been scratching at a rash all day and Aaron got the worst of it with hogweed getting in his eyes.
Negan tells him that he should be OK by morning and he stands watch while Aaron gets some sleep. The next day when Aaron awakens, he can see again and there is Negan still watching over him. As much as he wants to hate Negan, Aaron can’t help but be thankful that they were out together or he may not have survived.
Back in Alexandria, Michonne and Daryl bring Carol to Siddiq for treatment for the shard of glass in her arm. Little known to anyone else but Siddiq has been dealing with post-traumatic stress ever since he was captured by the Whisperers and forced to deliver their message after they slaughtered so many of his friends. The site of the glass in Carol’s arm serves a cold bucket of panic washing over Siddiq and he’s forced to call upon his apprentice Dante to do the work while he assists.
The next morning just as Siddiq is about to confess that he came up short, Dante stops him and tells Michonne and Daryl that the treatment was fine and Carol was just resting up after the glass was removed from her arm.
Dante sits down with Siddiq while diagnosing him with a nasty case of PTSD after his encounter with the Whisperers. It turns out Dante knew someone just like that from when he worked as an army medic during the second Iraq War.
Dante told Siddiq that when the war started, this guy was full of confidence and he appeared to be the most put together soldier in the army. Sadly after losing a squad of men under his command, the soldier was broken and after he returned home he was haunted by flashbacks and the dreaded thousand-yard stare that left him on the brink of madness.
Dante: “He was a mess”
Siddiq: “Was? What happened to this guy?”
Dante: “You’re having drink with him.”
Dante sharing his own story as proof that you can walk right up to the edge but still manage to turn it around seemed to help put things into perspective for Siddiq.
Eugene also sits down with Rosita following a hard day of work killing walkers. As tired as he was, Eugene tells Rosita that he had to keep an eye on her to make sure she came home safe. Rosita then lashes out at Eugene for constantly hanging around while hoping that at some point or another, she will develop real feelings for him.
She apologizes but Eugene knows she was just telling him the harsh truth that he didn’t want to hear before. Eugene can now say for certain that Rosita doesn’t love him and she will never love him. Even their friendship has been a fraud because Eugene went into it already fallen for Rosita.
Maybe now they’d be better off apart because being together would hurt Eugene too much.
As for Carol, when she woke up the next morning she wandered downstairs to find Daryl cooking for her. She asks about the jam and decides to run to the store to get some — and that’s when you realize she’s once again having a dream. She’s playing house with Daryl, which is telling on its own, but then she sees Henry staring back at her from the table.
Then Carol actually wakes up following the first real sleep she’s had in days.
She speaks with Michonne, who decided that Carol must have seen those Whisperers in her own head when they were out in the woods. Michonne’s responsibility is to keep all of Alexandria safe and so she’s been forced to cut this deal with Alpha or risk the lives of everybody in the community, whether Carol agrees with it or not. Michonne finally returns home to find R.J. asleep and Judith keeping watch over him. Judith wonders if she can finally sleep because they are safe and Michonne answers back ‘for now’.
In the end, Carol wanders outside to find Daryl on the front porch. He tells Carol despite Michonne seeing no evidence of any Whisperers at their campground, he believes she saw something that night.
That’s when we return to the high school where a trail of blood leads out of the front door — directly to a member of the Whisperers, who has been shot in the belly and they are laying in the woods while wounded. It seems Carol actually did witness the Whisperers breaking their own rules by crossing the borders and following the survivors.
Still a fragile peace was brokered but what happens when the Whisperers find out one of their own has been shot and possibly killed? It’s hard to believe the response will be anything less than deadly in return.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 10 p.m ET on AMC.