Previously On “The Walking Dead”
It was a year of big changes, as showrunner Angela Kang took over and Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan departed early in the season, with news later breaking that Danai Gurira would also be leaving during Season 10. In storyline, Rick got a multi-episode send-off followed by a big time-jump, but the show remained fundamentally unaltered, as Samantha Morton appeared as new big bad Alpha, head of a savage group of zombie cosplayers called the Whisperers whose conflict with our heroes culminated in the brutal deaths of Tara, Enid, Henry, and others. A tentative truce was called, but everyone’s understandably on edge.
A Shred of Humanity
“Lines We Cross” is mostly table setting, primarily concerned with catching the audience up on the status of all the characters as we enter season 10. The Whisperers haven’t been seen for months but our heroes are still respecting the borders Alpha designated, though some are chafing at that restriction more than others. That is, until a Russian satellite crashes back down to Earth and everyone must enter Whisperer territory to prevent the ensuing fire from destroying Oceanside.
Before that, though, it’s check-in time with all the leads. When RJ finds a Whisperer mask on the beach (where the team is practicing some nifty phalanx maneuvers), Michonne is worried a renewed conflict will divide the communities again. Daryl has started learning ASL so he can more easily communicate/flirt with Connie. Carol has started working on a fishing boat in order to overcome her grief at losing Henry.
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Daryl and Carol get the best scene of the episode, having a joking-but-not-really conversation about running away together to New Mexico. These two have the most lived-in relationship on the show, and it shines here, with Carol’s good-natured ribbing of Daryl calling her his best friend leading to the genuinely sweet gesture of him building her a makeshift friendship bracelet. It almost makes one long for a “The Adventures of Daryl and Carol” spin-off.
In that same conversation, Daryl gets a tad meta on the cyclical nature of the franchise when he wonders if this is all there is to their lives. “Just run into people, kill each other until whoever’s left says enough?” Ten seasons is a long time for any show to be on the air, especially these days, so it’s about time someone noticed the endlessly cyclical nature of their televised lives.
Man Is the True Monster
During their excursion, Daryl turns out to be pretty gun-shy about crossing the Whisperer’s borders, allowing a deer they were hunting to get eaten by zombies rather than break the treaty. Carol is flustered, because even though she claims to want to forget the whole Whisperer business, she’s clearly still raw about it.
But borders go out the window when the satellite fire starts raging, and everyone assembles to fight the flames. It’s a change of pace for a “Walking Dead” action sequence, but it never manages to become truly tense, even when some zombies show up to get lit on fire. There’s one inexplicable moment where Carol slits a zombie’s throat and uses the cascading blood to douse the flames on another zombie. Considering how little blood the zombies usually produce, I was convinced Carol had found a Whisperer.
Speaking of which, who should saunter out of the forest at the end of the episode but Alpha, who immediately makes eye contact with Carol, who’s still lingering in Whisperer territory. Well, there’s a perfectly good explanation. I’m sure she’ll be cool about it.
- The title cards and narrative backtracking seemed like an effort to liven up a pretty standard episode but ultimately just came off as silly.
- Aaron declares that it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy and then almost gets himself killed. Feels like the show already has plenty of humorless badasses and people that make dumb decisions. Stay in your lane, Aaron!
- Siddiq is understandably having PTSD flashbacks to when he saw Alpha kill everyone, but it’s also interfering with his ability to help Rosita with their baby. He’s also got a new medical assistant, Dante, who immediately comes off as a douche.
- Kelly’s hearing is deteriorating, and she’s worried she won’t be able to look out for Connie if it goes. Connie is understanding, but it’s a story to keep an eye on. Kelly does lighten up long enough to tease Connie about Daryl, at least.
- An Oceansider named Jules flirts with Luke. Everyone’s making doe eyes at each other this episode! Also, someone tell Luke it’s okay to lose the sport coat. You’re at the beach, dude.
- Lydia struggling to read in a classroom of much younger kids is a great indicator that she’s still an outsider.
- News from New York Comic Con: Lauren Cohan will be back next season! “Whiskey Cavalier” is temporary, but “The Walking Dead” is forever.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.