Season 10 of The Walking Dead concluded its first half over the weekend with the action-packed ‘The World Before’, introducing a new character, a promising new island to visit and yet another step forward towards the coming war between Alpha’s Whisperers and the Carol and Daryl-led survivors. Plenty to chew on while the show goes into hibernation for the festive period, then.
The Walking Dead will return to our screens in February, but thankfully season 10 has left us with plenty of points to dissect and discuss over the next three months. Here’s five of the most pressing questions we hope will be answered once the show resumes in the new year.
What will Michonne find on Bloodsworth Island?
Danai Gurira’s Walking Dead swansong will take place during the second half of season 10, and it’ll likely play out on a foreign land: the show’s writers have rather conveniently packed the Alexandria leader off on a boat trip to Bloodsworth Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Michonne opted to take the newly-introduced (and rather shifty) Virgil at his word after he promised that his community, which is located on the fortified island, has a stockpile of weapons that could aid our heroes in their fight against the Whisperers.
Michonne’s decision to leave the mainland may seem inadvisable — she’ll almost certainly be greeted with a hostile reception upon arrival on the island, for one thing — but it’s likely been thrown in to the mix to expedite Gurira’s imminent exit from the show. Her eight-season stay on The Walking Dead needs to end somewhere, and Bloodsworth Island could conceivably serve as her character’s final resting place — after an almighty fight to the death, you’d hope.
However, the prospect of the upcoming trio of Rick Grimes films has convinced many a Walking Dead fan that their former hero will somehow be reunited with his beloved Michonne in the future. If that theory is to play out, then Michonne will have to survive her trip to Bloodsworth Island — and, given everything she’s faced so far, you’d put good money on her being the last person standing if there is an almighty showdown in the Chesapeake Bay.
Can the survivors destroy Alpha’s horde?
If Michonne does somehow make it back from Bloodsworth Island with a bomb or two under her arm, then yes!
That does seem, however, to be a bit too simple and premature a conclusion for the showrunners to contemplate choosing in terms of bringing Alpha’s dominance over our survivors to an end. After all, the shaven-headed Whisperers leader would be left with very little if that were to happen as her horde of walkers is her trump card: destroy the horde, and you destroy the Whisperers.
Having Michonne wipe out the horde would also undermine Carol’s determined efforts throughout season 10 of A) trying to locate where the horde is, and B) figuring out a way to destroy it. Fuelled by strong feelings of revenge for Henry’s death in season nine, Carol’s actions in ‘The World Before’ (in which she gave chase after spotting Alpha in a field) have now thrown a number of our other leading survivors (including Daryl, Magna and Aaron) into a walker-filled trap at the bottom of a deep, dark cave. While it’s unlikely that this is the horde in question — Daryl saw a massive, heaving gathering of the undead in season nine that well outnumbered the walker numbers we saw in the final scene of season 10, part one — it may at least provide a staging ground for another Carol vs Alpha confrontation once the show returns in February.
Samantha Morton’s superbly villainous turn as Alpha has been a welcome addition over the past two seasons, and, as we’ve seen with Negan’s continued involvement in the show, TWD producers haven’t been particularly hot on killing off the show’s deadliest baddies in recent years. So don’t expect Alpha to go quietly in the latter part of season 10.
Is Negan really the born-again Whisperer he claims to be?
Negan the turncoat apparently decided he wanted to become a Whisperer after finally being sprung free from Alexandria in ‘What It Always Is’. The ex-Saviors leader evidently identifies with Alpha and the terrifying command she has over her fellow Whisperers. But is Negan — now reunited, let’s not forget, with his beloved leather jacket and ‘Lucille’ baseball bat — really ready to be subservient to a higher power so soon after breaking out of jail?
Alpha certainly seems to be warming to him, anyway (much to second-in-command Beta’s horror). But might this display of affection play against her? Negan has certainly turned up his wise-cracking charm offensive — not something the Whisperers are used to seeing in their fucked-up community — but could this all be part of a scheme to bring down their human skin-centric organisation from the inside? From what we’ve seen of Alpha you’d expect her to see straight through Negan’s bullshit – if it did indeed stink – and yet she gratefully accepted the pledge of loyalty he gave to her in ‘Bonds’ (“Whatever you want, whatever I got: it’s all yours”).
Negan’s fall from grace has ended following his Whisperers recruitment, but Alpha be warned: you can only trust Negan as far as you can throw him. And we don’t think the Whisperers have much upper body strength given their creepy, in-the-woods lifestyle…
Will Eugene’s radio call finally introduce The Commonwealth to the TV series?
Eugene’s sweet radio-relationship with Stephanie in ‘Bonds’ appeared to signal The Walking Dead‘s first proper embrace of the Commonwealth, a wide community of advanced survivor settlements (which may or may not be where Maggie went off to at the end of season nine) that played an important part in the original Walking Dead comics. While Stephanie wouldn’t reveal to Eugene where she was currently holed up, many fans took her introduction into the TV show as the producers’ way of gently easing in a Commonwealth-like community into the overall plot.
Before we get too Commonwealth-crazy, though, it should be pointed out that the TV show and the comics haven’t always sung from the same hymn sheet, with the former regularly taking creative strides away from the source material in recent years. For example, earlier this month TWD showrunner Angela Kang didn’t exactly confirm that the woman on the other end of the line to Eugene was Stephanie.
“It certainly seems like that might be the case, right?” Kang replied when asked if the character was indeed Stephanie from the original Walking Dead comics. “So I would just say that we also twist things a lot of times, so there may be surprises along the way.” Expect the unexpected, people.
Could The Walking Dead really end after season 12?
That’s the rumour that’s going around at the moment, anyway. While the critical success of season 10 (so far) has helped The Walking Dead reclaim some of its past reputation as a genuinely entertaining, compelling and frightening TV show, the disappointing US viewing figures for this crop of episodes has likely been a huge cause of alarm at both Walking Dead HQ and, crucially, its network AMC.
Season 10 has attracted the lowest number of viewers per week since the show began in 2010, with one episode this season barely scraping three million viewers. This for a show that used to average between 13 and 14 million viewers per episode just over three years ago, and on two occasions attracted a staggering 17 million viewers.
On top of that, the continued exodus of major characters is also a big concern for fans, with a great deal of disappointment greeting the news this summer that Gurira would be bowing out as Michonne during season 10. While The Walking Dead franchise definitely has a future — those aforementioned Rick spin-off movies and a new, youth-focused TV series launching next year being two examples, along with the ongoing Fear The Walking Dead — the original show may have to soon accept that its departure from the TV schedules is fast-approaching.
An eleventh season of The Walking Dead has already been confirmed (as has the news that Lauren Cohan will return as Maggie to fill the Michonne void) for 2020-21, meaning that, if the rumours of a twelfth season being the last are confirmed, The Walking Dead will breathe its last in 2022. This could work in the show’s favour, though: a clear end in sight would provide grounds to re-focus the narrative, plan decisive conflicts and resolutions, and throw in a few shocking twists to keep everyone on their toes without having to wait until the next season or mid-season finale.
2020 could therefore be the year that determines The Walking Dead‘s future once and for all — and, if you’ve made it this far, you’d be wise to stick with the show to see what comes next.
The Walking Dead continues Mondays at 9pm on FOX