The Walking Dead season 10 episode 10 review: “Stalker” shows the beauty of horror

Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Walking Dead this week had everything that horror TV should have: great story development, action, and some gorgeously eerie and terrifying imagery.

The Walking Dead has been continually upping the ante throughout season 10 in both the look of the show and the development of the Whisperer arc. Stylistically, the episodes have a sharper edge, darker tones, and some gorgeous horror imagery. The tenth episode of the season, “Stalker,” delivered what could be the best old-school classic horror look so far this season when Beta entered Alexandria through the grave tunnel.

There are some stills that are iconic in The Walking Dead world, like Rick riding a horse into downtown Atlanta filled with zombies, or Sophia stumbling out of the barn on Hershel’s farm, or Negan standing backlit presiding over the lineup of survivors on their knees. But it’s safe to say that the image of Beta with knives drawn standing outlined in the dark with the Alexandria fence behind him is going to join those iconic images.

The cold-toned darkness was a nice juxtaposition to the brightly saturated look of Daryl’s fight with Alpha and the events that occurred in the gas station. Look and feel played a big role in heightening the impact of the action in this episode. Alpha looking up, practically delirious from blood loss and pain, to see Lydia haloed by the sun was a really powerful moment that underscored the transformation that was going on at that moment.

As Alpha whispered “I love you” to Lydia and then hissed “Stay” almost like a death rattle, it wasn’t Alpha that was dying, it was her humanity. When Alpha opened her eyes again, she was truly Alpha, without that small bit of humanity left in her. In that moment, she transcended her humanity to become once and for all a hybrid creature hovering between life and living death. Alpha is now much more dangerous than she previously was, and the survivors had better be ready for her.

Daryl and Alpha’s Fight

Daryl’s development has been insane recently. He’s done more this season than he’s done in all the previous seasons combined. It’s fantastic to get the chance to see him develop into a strong leader and once again use the skills that have been laying dormant for a long time.

When he is searching for another entrance to the cave and comes across Alpha in a group of Whisperers and hunts them, he is electrifying to watch. Seeing the walkers approaching from his point of view with the blood dripping was a really smart artistic choice that added a lot to the scene. Watching him and Alpha fight felt almost primal.

And when he plunged that tree branch into her shoulder it reminded us all that, even though she has taken on this mythic figure status, she’s still human and can be hurt. That means she can be killed. She is not some supernatural figure, even though she comes across that way. The scenes in the gas station where they both sheltered were just as phenomenal. This was the first Walking Dead episode directed by Bronwen Hughes, and she did an amazing job.

Beta in Alexandria

Beta’s killing spree inside Alexandria was some straight-up old-school horror. With some brilliant nods to classic horror films and heart-stopping action, it showed Beta as this exaggerated character who would have been at home in any classic horror film. But it also reinforced how truly dangerous he is. He will stop at nothing to carry out Alpha’s commands. His fight with Rosita was a wonderful fight scene to watch.

Welcome to the Family, Mary

A much-needed pause in the intensity came with the addition of Mary to survivor clan, and her exchange in the cell with Judith injected a little reminder of what the heart of The Walking Dead is: family and community. By giving Mary a chance for redemption and a chance at life, the community is staying true to the ideals it was founded on, including welcoming in all who need shelter and a community connection.

Judith telling Mary that if she had “had met my mom and my dad first you wouldn’t be in that cell” is a poignant nod to both Rick and Michonne, both of whom will be leaving very shortly. I hope that Mary survives and gets the chance to have a life in Alexandria. Thora Birch blew me away in this episode with the complexity and range of emotion she showed.

The Battle for Hilltop Is the Battle of Life vs. Death

It looks like the Battle for Hilltop is upon us in the next episode. This is what All Out War should have been and never was. It’s terrifying. And there’s a good chance that some of our favorite characters won’t survive. More than any other conflict on this show, this battle is life versus death as the survivors try to vanquish a literal army of the dead led by the scariest and darkest villain they have ever faced.

While I’m sad that this incredible narrative arc is coming to a close, I know that it’s going to be an epic and thrilling battle. The survivors are always at their best when they’re fighting death back to back and shoulder to shoulder, fighting for each other, and fighting for the soul of humanity. And this is going to be a harder fight than they have ever faced before.

The Walking Dead season 10 episode 9 review: So that happened. dark. Next

What did you think of The Walking Dead‘s “Stalker,” TWDFamily? Tweet us @SonyaIryna and @CulturessFS to tell us what you thought of this episode!