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The Walking Dead - A Certain Doom - Review

  With The Walking Dead about to return I thought we might need a quick look at the final episode from October of 2020.  “A Certain Doom” was directed by Greg Nicotero with a story by James Barnes, Eli Jorne, and Corey Reed with Reed writing the teleplay. This episode had some great performances and action and left plenty on the table that will still need to be wrapped up. With the Whisperer storyline coming to an end, the series is ready for the next – and final – arc.

The episode opens with tensions running high as the Whisperers surround the survivors in the old hospital. Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) reassures Gracie (Anabelle Holloway) and RJ (Antony Azor) that they will be fine because their groups form a mighty fist: Alexandria, Hilltop, Oceanside, the Kingdom, and the “others” – the ones who aren’t there…yet, but might find them help or come to help. Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Kelly (Angel Theory) run into the hospital; Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Princess (Paola Lazaro) are madly peddling their bikes; Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) have somehow escaped from their captures at the end of the last episode and are fighting in the woods when a mysterious masked figure shows up; Virgil (Kevin Carroll) is back in Oceanside; and Maggie (Lauren Cohen) has found their note. Beta (Ryan Hurst) tells them to “Begin” the end of the world. While ultimately our heroes win, this episode does mark the beginning of the end of The Walking Dead

Eugene manages to crash and wreck his bike and gives up hope. They’ll never make it to the rendezvous with Stephanie now. Ezekiel, however, is adamant that they are not giving up hope OR going home. It’s the original Don Quixote spurring him on to complete his journey. Eugene still believes that Stephanie won’t stay past the deadline, but Princess wants to know if she actually said that – which she didn’t. Yumiko tells him they get there when they get there – they’ll worry about tomorrow’s problems tomorrow. 

Carol and Daryl set booby-traps in the stairwells and discuss Michonne’s departure. Daryl is sure he’ll never see her again – just like everyone else. Carol points out that she’s still there.

Gabriel is in charge. They are sticking with a modified version of their original plan. They are going to use loudspeakers on a wagon to lead the herd away – and eventually off a cliff. Everyone in the hideout will then move to rendezvous point B. Luke (Dan Fogler) – adorably helped by Jules (Alex Sgambati) - is in charge of the logistics, fittingly the music. They still need to get the equipment to the wagon. Lydia (Cassidy McClincy) wants to help, but Oceanside – represented by Beatrice (Briana Venskus) and Rachel (Avianna Mynhier) – aren’t ready to trust her. Gabriel needs Lydia inside anyway. Daryl points out that it has to be done, but they won’t all make it through…

Dianne (Kerry Cahill) confronts Carol about Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and she’s not happy. Carol tells her that she’s sorry about the attack on Hilltop and that seems to mollify her. Carol proceeds to arm up and Lydia asks if she needs help. She tells Carol not to avoid her as she doesn’t hate her for what she did. Carol points out that she should because she didn’t fix anything. Lydia says she did a little for her. Alpha was never her mother in the way that it matters and she’d like it if they could still talk… about whatever… Carol tells her that Lydia has to find her own way. Lydia tells her that she’s not looking for another mom. She knows she can be something else – and so can Carol.

The pairs making the run cover each other in goo – Luke and Jules, Daryl and Kelly, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Magna (Nadia Hilker). Jerry asks if Magna is ok, and she says fine – he says not even a little! Daryl wants to know why Negan is clean – and Negan points out that he’s at the top of every skin’s kill list – he’s not going. He’s not wrong. It might be a good way for him to prove what side he’s on, but every Whisperer will be looking for him and he’ll draw every eye to the teams. There’s a terrific moment as Daryl shuts the door and Judith (Cailey Fleming) comes up on the other side and the two press their palms together on either side of the window. 

Jerry opens the door and the walkers crowd into the entrance. The teams make their way slowly out the door. We see the herd from Kelly’s perspective – silent and through the eyes of a mask. There’s a terrific shot from above showing how big the herd is. Jules grabs Luke’s hand – and the two look way too clean to be walkers! Magna is clearly struggling with being back in the herd, but Jerry is there for her. Meanwhile, Lydia is spotting Whisperers for the archers to take out. Beta gives orders to tighten the herd.

The booby-traps go off in the stairwells, and Judith sees a Whisperer horribly maimed before retreating and shutting the door. They quickly barricade it and initiate the retreat. Negan urges Lydia to take the opportunity to get away. He doesn’t think either or them will ever be accepted – and he’s no hero. Lydia tells him that he could be. And he gives Lydia Alpha’s mask before heading down the elevator shaft. 

Beatrice and Carol are the last team left in the herd. A Whisperer sees Beatrice, and Carol manages to kill the Whisperer, but when the Whisperer stabs Beatrice in the leg, Carol has to just keep walking. Lydia, wearing Alpha’s mask, picks up Beatrice’s backpack and meets Carol as she seems to be thinking about going back in. 

And then we get the most bizarre parade in history. Marco (Gustavo Gomez) is driving the wagon which is loaded with speakers blaring “Burning Down the House” – as they lead the herd away, effectively burning down the house that Alpha built. Jerry, Kelly, Luke, Carol, Daryl, Jules, and Lydia walk beside and behind to protect it. 

Gabriel tries to protect those left until it’s safe to leave. It’s after dark before the Whisperers lead an attack. We lose an unknown defender before the Whisperers’ booby trap pulls the wheels off the wagon. 

       Daryl calls the retreat and the Whisperers destroy the wagon. Daryl tells Gabriel the herd is turning. Daryl’s new plan is for them to go into the herd and hunt the Whisperers. Lydia tells them that she can turn the herd and lead it – her mother taught her. Luke points out that there’s no wagon to get them to go over the cliff – it would be suicide. Lydia insists that she can do it – clearly she’s planning to go out a hero. Carol listens – and it’s clear from this moment what she’s intending to do. I love this cast! 

It’s the last stand in the old hospital, and Gabriel is telling the last group, including Judith to go without him. Fleming is – as always – fantastic here. She immediately sees that there’s not point in arguing, but asks if Rosita (Christian Serratos) knows. Gabriel tells her to tell her something in Spanish and Judith asks “half orange?” Gabriel assures her that Rosita will know. I loved this little touch of their relationship. Judith goes with Scott (Kenric Green) and Rachel – presumably Dog’s already gotten down somehow. Gabriel is overwhelmed and seems about to die when the mysterious masked figure and Maggie show up and save him. Aaron is also there – and clearly a bit unnerved by the masked figure.

In the herd, Beta is unnerved by hearing his followers being killed – and then he sees what the others think is Alpha glide by. He pulls his knife and is about to go after her, when Negan calls out to him (in a whisper) – “Hey, shithead!” Beta charges straight for Negan – very un-whisperer-like! Negan is wearing his own mask – based on Norman Reedus’s face remember. Beta gets Negan down and is about to kill him – “for Alpha” – when Daryl is there, slashes him under the arm and as Beta turns around, Daryl plunges both his knives into Beta’s eyes! I loved that it was Daryl AND Daryl working together to kill Beta. I think this was also another nice way for the show to mirror Negan and Daryl – through the mask – that they are really very alike. Started from the same place but took different paths and could still end up wearing the same skin as it were…

I thought this was a fantastic death scene for Ryan Hurst – as much as I hated to lose him from the show, there was no way for Beta to ever be anything but a villain. As his super-human strength actually allows him to pull the knives from his eyes – I mean realistically, they would have plunged all the way through his brain the knives are so long, killing him instantly – but for a poetic death, we then get his life flashing before his eyes. Beta smiles as the walkers pull his mask to pieces and off his face and he hears Alpha’s voice say, “we are nothing. We are free” and the walkers pull him down to eat him. 

Negan takes off his own mask as he and Daryl watch. He’s stunned. He asks Daryl, “Do you know who that asshole was?” He’s clearly recognized him as the famous singer. Daryl, however, has other things to do. He tells him, “Yeah. Nobody.” And he IS nobody in the apocalypse. Fame means nothing here. 

The next morning, Lydia has brought the entire herd to edge of the cliff, and Carol is there. She tells Lydia, “My choice. I finish it.” She walks to the edge and is about to jump – or let the herd push her over when Lydia grabs her hand and pulls her down behind a rock with the herd breaking around them and continuing over the edge. 

        Carol asks her who told her to come, and Lydia tells her that it was Carol who told her to find her own way. Really, they’ve saved each other. Lydia throws Alpha’s mask over the cliff with the rest of the dead. It’s also a nice bookend at the end of the scene when Lydia and Carol stand together looking over the cliff to the scene earlier in the season with Carol and Alpha looking at each other across a similar chasm.

Meanwhile, the morning sees the survivors looking after the wounded and gathering. We Scott, Dianne, Nabila (Nadine Marissa) with the kids, Rosita and Gabriel with the baby, Aaron introducing Gracie to Maggie, and Maggie being reunited with Judith. Magna takes care of Kelly. Daryl looks relieved to see Carol, and Jerry asks Lydia if it’s over. She tells them it is. Luke and Jules are there. Lydia asks Negan if he’s still there – and he says for now before she hugs him.  


As always, McBride and Reedus deliver a killer scene. They check in to see if they’re ok, and Daryl asks if she got what she wanted. She tells him not really, but she knows she never will. He tells her that she’s still got him. And the two hug. They’re still thinking about going out on their own, but Carol tells him that they still have things to do here.

We see a figure get up off the ground – it’s Connie (Lauren Ridloff)! It wasn’t quite clear until she opened her eyes that she was actually alive. She stumbles out to the road. A figure on horseback finds her – and it’s Virgil!

At the trainyard, Eugene and the others have arrived, but it’s after dark. Eugene simply bellows “Greetings! I am Eugene Porter.” They wait and nothing happens. Ezekiel suggests that they can stay in one of the cars for the night and maybe in the morning… but Eugene is sure that they’ve missed their opportunity. However, he’s also not turning back. There are people out there – including Stephanie. Their goal is to become stronger by assimilating with like-minded folks. Princess lightens the mood by stating, “Damn. You’re one horny dude!” 

And then the floodlights come on and they are told to drop their weapons and put their hands in the air – and they are surrounded by stormtroopers! At least they are clearly NOT the militia from World Beyond who we know to be bad news, but this still looks pretty bad…And now we know these are "Commonwealth" soldiers...

I thought this was a pretty good “finale.” It nicely tied off the Whisperer storyline. We have Maggie back to take over leadership and motherhood roles. We have the groups pretty broken down and we have one group in definite, immediate peril. Lots of great performances in this episode, but of course, it was mostly about the action. Nots to Hurst for a great death scene, and Reedus, McBride, Fleming, Cassidy, and Morgan for terrific scenes. What did you think of the episode? What do you most want to see happen in the rest of season 10? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!




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