The Walking Dead season 10 episode 12 review: Death of a legend

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Walking Dead perfectly executed an iconic moment from the comics and brought the battle of Hilltop to a close in “Walk With Us.”

The Walking Dead has really upped its game in season 10. There have been several standout episodes this season, but the highlight so far was definitely “Walk With Us.” The Whisperers defeated the survivors and destroyed the Hilltop community, but their victory was shortlived. The Whisperers will be left scrambling now that Negan has taken down Alpha and left them with no true leader.

Alpha’s death was the highlight of an episode that, once again, perfectly blended action, tension, emotional moments, and a few twists that will change the show forever. The second part of the assault on Hilltop was a visual bombardment of explosions, fiery walkers, and the iconic Hilltop mansion on fire.

The rest of the battle was just was visually striking as the first half, which aired last week, but it would have been a bit more satisfying if fans had gotten to see everyone scatting off into pairs and small groups as they tried to avoid the flames.

The biggest moment of the episode was Alpha’s death, which effectively brings to a close the best villain arc that the show has ever done. Samantha Morton brought Alpha to life in a way that made her the most compelling, complex, and truly terrifying villain that the show has seen so far.

Goodbye Earl

When Earl gave a speech rallying the Hilltoppers in the last episode, it was a big red flag that he wasn’t going to make it through the battle. And, unfortunately, he didn’t. After Earl got the children to safety, he revealed that he had been bitten. Earl lost his son, then his wife, and then watched the community he had helped build fall. It could have been a bleak ending for him, but he died the way he lived: a responsible, caring, compassionate person. He even gruesomely killed himself by spiking himself through the eye, hoping the spike would hit his brain so he wouldn’t turn and put the children in danger.

He didn’t succeed, and little Judith had to put him down. Her sadness at having to be the one to do that to someone she cared about was reminiscent of Carl having to put Lori down, and it served as a reminder that, even though she’s very brave and a capable fighter, she’s still a little girl trying to process the trauma of that world. Rest in peace with your family, Earl.

Redemption For Mary

I was really hoping that Mary would be able to rejoin humanity and find a new life at Hilltop with her nephew. She survived the battle, but not Beta. At least she got to hold her nephew for a bit before it all ended for her. And she managed to destroy half of Beta’s mask when he killed her. The Whisperer, recognizing Beta as the famous singer whose album Daniel Salazar found on Fear the Walking Dead, was a very fun Easter Egg and reference to Fear.

The End Of Alpha

The best moments of this episode were also the most shocking. I was really hoping that The Walking Dead would depart from the comic and have Carol kill Alpha because I thought Carol deserved to get justice for her murdered son.

However, the way that Alpha’s death happened was so perfect that I can’t be mad that the show stuck to the comic source material and had Negan kill her. In her last conversation with Negan, Alpha had an eerie ethereal beauty and vulnerability as she talked about how she needed to kill Lydia and let her turn so that she could walk with Alpha forever. That scene summed up the core of Alpha’s belief system, and in a twisted way, it made sense that she would see Lydia being a walker as the only way to keep her close.

It was really exciting to see the comic brought to life frame by frame. They did a fantastic job recreating Negan killing Alpha from the comic. It was an unforgettable death fitting for a legendary villain. I’m very sad that Alpha’s arc is over because Samantha Morton gave Alpha so much presence, depth, and nuance. I will really miss her. But her death was everything I wanted it to be and then some.

Justice For Carol

Even though Carol didn’t to kill Alpha herself, she orchestrated it by setting Negan loose with a mission to kill her. Of course, Carol was playing the game three moves ahead of everyone else. It’s an interesting turn of events that Carol was the one to set Negan free and set him on this path.

Even though she’s been in a bad headspace where she’s acting impulsively and putting people at risk, Carol also was rational enough to formulate a battle plan and use Negan as a weapon. I am hoping she will be able to let herself grieve now that her son’s killer is dead.

That’s right, the Alpha is dead. Long live the Alpha. And huge thanks to Samantha Morton for giving us such an evil but compelling villain. Alpha will reign as the most iconic villain on The Walking Dead thus far.

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