Review: S10x06 WHAT IT ALWAYS IS
Written by: Kevin Deiboldt
Directed by: Dan Lui
What a belter of an episode this was! The best this season, I thought; Negan's dialogue was superb—I have never laughed at TWD so loudly as I did when he asked Beta if he and Alpha were in a '..Beta with benefits situation? Do you slide her a little omega on the side?' 😂
Just as good but in a different way was the dialogue between Daryl and Carol, and Eugene's heartrendingly touching conversation with the woman on the radio: Stephanie from the comics?
...and I'll start with Eugene. When he was talking to Rosita I was again thinking no, please, writers, don't make Rosita end up with him, it just wouldn't be convincing... but later, during the conversation with the mystery woman, I saw something I've not seen in him before; his face changed. We were shown his non-geek side, the one that allows himself just to feel emotions without rationalising them. The normal guy, who still thinks of his life 'before', who lost his best friend and many others, and loves a woman who doesn't love him back. As they ended the exchange, the camera drew back to show the window; like, Eugene is in his little room, but there's a whole world out there for him to discover. Is this the beginning of contact with the Commonwealth, where Maggie might be? I'm guessing that's a long way ahead yet, though.
Of course the radio was touched upon right at the end of S9x16, implying its future importance; this is one of the many aspects of TWD that keeps it streets ahead of so many other shows—how you see the significance of seemingly small details so much later; they're just slipped in, sometimes with little or no attention, like when Michonne walked past the wall that said 'Wolves Not Far' in S5, a whole seven episodes before we (or they) discovered who they were.
Talking of Rosita—good to see her get at least a little more screen time, albeit a softer, less snarky and kick-ass version. What handsome couple she and baby-daddy Siddiq make...though I was a little concerned that Coco was in the room with all the sick people. Siddiq is clearly still haunted; I wonder if there is anything darker going on, or if it's just theory?
What Siddiq and Dante need for their sick patients is Hershel's elderberry tea; how sad that there was no one around who would remember that. As for Dante—yes, he's kind of cheesy, but I'm starting to like him.
Now: Daryl and Carol. When she was walking off on her own between the fences just outside Alexandria's gates, before Daryl caught up with her, I thought it looked like the prison...sigh. I lap up every one of the scenes between the two of them. Love how Daryl talks more when he's with her. Was he telling the truth when she asked him about Connie?
Carol: I see things.
Daryl: It's not like that. Not at all.
Carol: Why not? You don't have to be alone. Years pass; you can't hide out with Dog forever.
Was the key in the way he looked at her, after she said that? I thought so. I felt as though he wanted to say that he wasn't alone, because of her, or that it's she that he wants to be 'not alone' with. There's definitely a spark between him and Connie, but what he and Carol shares is deep; all that history, right back to Atlanta and the Cherokee Rose. The memories, the bonds with others, and the parts they played in his life, about which Connie knows nothing. How could you explain the fire of Rick, the sweetness of Beth, the angel heart of Glenn and the totally all-round fab-ness of Hershel to someone who has never met them? Even the complicated relationship he had with Merle?
I suspect he will never start a romantic relationship with either of them, but he and Carol share so much that words aren't always necessary—I loved how she knew he'd be looking through her bag, and he wasn't remotely embarrassed to be caught doing so. I wonder if she's the only person he could be with, because she knows him—really knows him. Then again, we sometimes choose a person who doesn't know our past, because we can be who we are now; a clean slate. We'll see - but I bet not for a long time.
Big question: will Carol's taking of a hostage cause problems with Alexandra/Hilltop—Whisperer relations?
And so we come to Negan's one day fast-track-to-being-a-Whisperer training course, with their 'cool-ass outfits, the whole back-to-nature, paleo vibe'. 😂
Is Beta worried that Alpha might see Negan as a stronger, more suitable Beta? I think so—especially as he proved himself a Guardian slayer par excellence, and knelt before her. Remember that, before the world changed, Beta was something of a loner, possibly a bit of a weirdo/loser, as we saw in S10x02 We Are The End Of The World, whereas Negan was hot and cool, and has already commanded an army as big as Alpha's.
When she bent closer to him and appeared to be sniffing him, like animals do, I couldn't help thinking that, despite him saying that the bald head thing made his breeches tighten, she must have stunk to high heaven; she's been wearing the same clothes since she first appeared.
I am still certain his motives are in the best interests of the Alexandrians, but his new life as a Whisperer should be a joy to see!
Yes, an excellent episode, easily up to the standard of some of the best of S3-S6. Entertaining, emotive and fascinating in so many ways, raising questions about what is to come, deepening old bonds and creating new ones...and I think another reason I liked it so much was because it (mostly) featured older characters we know so well.
Here's the trailer for episode 7 - I've read about the possibility of a 'certain character' dying, but I've read that before.... cross fingers it's just talk.
If you want to know more about the Commonwealth in the comics, there's a Paul Tassi/Forbes article about it HERE, and it sounds like it will make for some brilliant storylines :)