If you don’t have time for a rewatch, this recap of season 10 of The Walking Dead will help you get ready for the final season. As the conflict with The Whisperers started after the time-jump in season 9, that will also be covered. Furthermore, the six bonus episodes that were released later will have some impact going forward and thus any key developments will be included.
Season 11 is set to be the end of the mainline series and will be split into three parts of eight episodes each. The first of which is set to begin on August 22nd. After the events of season 10 all of our survivors are now living in Alexandria, and it seems like food will be a serious problem going forward. Plus the tension between Negan and Maggie will likely provide an interesting dynamic as they’re forced to work together. Finally, we have Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess who came in contact with the mysterious Commonwealth with their stormtrooper-esque armour.
The article below will contain heavy spoilers for The Walking Dead.
The Second Half of Season 9
A lot of what happens in season 9 sets up the events later. Episode 5 was Rick’s last episode, his presumed death led to a time jump of over seven years. Some events that took place during this time are seen via flashbacks.
Essentially there are two significant events. Firstly, Michonne reunites with an old friend who ends up betraying her and endangering Judith. This shocks Michonne and results in her becoming paranoid of all outsiders and thus closes Alexandria off to trade and refuses to let anyone new into the settlement. This is why Michonne is bitter and confrontational after the time jump while others try to rebuild alliances and return things to how they were before.
In one of the bonus episodes, we also get to see some of what Daryl was up to during the time jump. While out searching for Rick he comes across a woman called Leah alone in a cabin with a dog called Dog. They become close, though because Daryl can’t let go of his search for Rick, Leah deserts him, but leaves Dog behind. This is significant because fans may have spotted Leah in the season 11 trailer as one of the masked attackers known as The Reapers.
The New Status Quo
There are various new relationships that have formed during the time jump. Gabriel and Rosita are now together after Rosita had a short fling with Siddiq (which resulted in pregnancy). Maggie has left Hilltop, leaving Jesus in charge with help from Tara.
Ezekiel and Carol are now the King and Queen of The Kingdom and have adopted Henry, but the buildings are falling apart due to age. So Henry is sent to Hilltop to learn blacksmithing to help out better. They are also preparing for a fair to help bring together The Kingdom, Hilltop, Oceanside and Alexandria for trade.
Judith rescues a new group of survivors who eventually are allowed to stay at Hilltop. They consist of Magna and Yumiko (who are a couple), Connie and Kelly (who are sisters), and Luke. Connie is deaf but they use sign language to communicate.
The First Encounter With The Whisperers
The first characters to come across The Whisperers are Rosita and Eugene while out extending their radio signals. Suddenly a horde comes out of nowhere and pursues them relentlessly. They are both terrified of their aggression and intelligence and also by their apparent ability to speak.
Eugene is left hidden in a barn as he has a dislocated knee while Rosita is rescued. Daryl, Aaron and Jesus head out to get Eugene, along with Michonne, Magna and Yumiko who join later. Unfortunately, Jesus is killed by a man wearing walker skins to blend in and control hordes. The Whisperers are now fully revealed.
On their way back, they come across more of them and capture one. It is a young girl called Lydia – the daughter of Alpha, the group’s leader. After taking her back to Hilltop, Henry forms a connection with her and we learn more about the backstory of their leader.
We find out that Alpha is an abusive mother who has lied to and manipulated Lydia. She believes that caring and attachments are weaknesses and that people should live as the walkers do. As the leader of The Whisperers, she gathers walkers and moves with them in massive hordes. She is supported by Beta – a huge dude whose loyalty is unwavering and is a formidable foe for our survivors.
The Fair and The Spikes
Through her relationship with Henry, Lydia realises that communities like Hilltop can exist and thrive, despite the teaching from her mother. Although Alpha doesn’t believe in attachments, she is determined to get her daughter back. After some back and forth, Lydia is accepted into the communities – to the ire of a few. This causes Alpha to retaliate in a way that will shock and traumatise everyone – viewers and characters alike.
Alpha infiltrates The Kingdom’s fair while disguised. She picks off people one by one and takes them to a barn outside of the settlement. Meanwhile, other Whisperers capture Daryl, Michonne, Carol, and Yumiko. She shows Daryl her ‘nuclear’ weapon in the form of an enormous horde. They’re then let go and told to stay on their side of the border which she says has been marked.
They find Siddiq tied up and they come across a line of spikes with the severed heads of their people impaled on them. The Whisperers have killed Tara, Henry, Enid, Tammy, D.J., Frankie, Rodney, Adeline, and two members of the newly introduced Highwaymen. Siddiq has been left alive to tell the story of what happens but instead tells of how in the final moments everyone came together to try and fight back – trying to claim some essence of hope despite the tragedy.
The End of The Kingdom
During their mourning, The Kingdom ultimately falls into complete disrepair and is uninhabitable. So a group of Hilltop and Alexandrian members help escort the people to Hilltop before a winter storm makes the route unpassable. Ezekiel’s and Carol’s relationship does not survive the death of their son and they separate. The snowstorm arrives sooner than expected and they’re forced to cut through The Whisperers’ land to get to Hilltop.
Paranoia and Rising Tension
What follows now is a recap of season 10 of The Walking Dead itself. The new season starts with a sort of cold war. The threat of The Whisperers remains despite them not being seen for months. There is a lot of bitterness and anger – a lot of which is unjustly directed at Lydia and Negan.
A lot of this paranoia was spread by Dante, a doctor helping Siddiq in Alexandria. It is later revealed that he is a spy, sent to spread distrust, pass on secrets, and tear the group apart from within. He sprayed ‘Silence The Whisperers’ all over Alexandria and spread disease by tampering with the water supply. Eventually, Siddiq, who was already suffering from PTSD after the events at the barn, realised but was then killed by Dante.
Carol is not content with respecting The Whisperers’ rules after what she did to Henry. So, with no other option, she decides to let Negan out of his cell. She makes a deal that if he brings her Alpha’s head she will help to convince the Alexandria council to let Negan stay in the community as a free man. Carol shares this plan with no one and we only find out later after he succeeds.
Nevertheless, he infiltrates the enemy group. He learns how to skin walkers, control the hordes and live as they do. He never gains the trust of Beta but Alpha sees his potential and Negan soon becomes a seemingly loyal member of the ‘pack’.
Search for the horde
Meanwhile, Carol continues to look for the horde. Others reluctantly help her despite the potential risks if they’re caught. Aaron befriends a Whisperer at the border called Gamma (or Mary). She is essentially third in command but due to an incident with her sister and after learning that Alpha lied about killing Lydia, she is willing to defect. She tells the survivors where the horde is and a group set out to find it.
It turns out to be in a cave nearby to where Mary said, but due to Carol’s overwhelming need for revenge, she ends up getting the group trapped in the cave. They eventually find a way out, but Carol’s use of dynamite that they found led to Connie and Magna getting lost after an explosion.
Eugene’s Radio Calls To Stephanie
Eugene spends a lot of his time this season working on and expanding the radio communications between the communities. Suddenly, an unknown woman’s voice is heard. Soon enough, Eugene forms a bond with her even though she is very cautious about revealing too much information.
Eventually, they give each other their names and the woman (Stephanie) gives Eugene a time and a place to meet to connect their two communities. It’s not until episode 16 where this meeting takes place and the full extent of her group is revealed. To help, Ezekiel and Yumiko join Eugene.
After a long and difficult journey, where they also run into a slightly hysterical and energetic loner called Princess, they arrive at the meeting spot. However, they are late and fear that Stephanie has left. Instead, they are surprised by bright lights and several heavily-armed soldiers dressed in white armour. Comics fans will know that this is The Commonwealth, but we’ll have to wait until season 11 to find out more.
Attack on Hilltop
The building tensions come to a head when Alpha unleashes her horde upon Hilltop. The survivors plan well for it but are unable to get the children to safety due to the blocked roads. However, they are still overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of undead. The Whisperers use the sap from trees to create firebombs which are launched with slingshots.
This results in the near-complete destruction of Hilltop and everyone is forced to flee. The only positive being that there were no major deaths and Magna was found blending in with the horde. They all meet at the agreed rendezvous and this is where Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel agree to leave so they don’t miss the meeting.
Elsewhere, Michonne is at Oceanside delivering supplies. They come across a man called Virgil who attempts to steal a boat to return home. They make a deal after he explains that there may be weapons that Michonne can use on Virgil’s island, so she leaves.
It turns out that Virgil wasn’t entirely honest and that he’s kind of snapped following the death of his family. Michonne eventually gets the upper hand but realises that there are no weapons on the island. However, while searching a boat she finds some of Rick’s stuff, including a phone with images of her and Carl scratched onto the screen. She decides to go looking for Rick in hopes that he may be alive. She informs Judith via a walkie-talkie. This is Michonne’s last appearance in The Walking Dead.
The Death of Alpha
Finally, Negan makes his move. He lures Alpha away from the group by saying he found Lydia, then slits her throat. Negan then removes her head and presents it to Carol as their plan is revealed. Carol is upset that it took so long and refuses to take him back immediately. Negan then runs into Daryl and must prove that he killed Alpha.
Beta then finds her head, which Carol had impaled on a spike just like what happened to Henry. Understandably, he is filled with rage and spirals further into madness. He gathers what is left of the horde for one final attack on the survivors.
The End of The Whisperer War
Expecting an attack on Alexandria, the survivors evacuate everyone to an abandoned hospital. This helps to buy them some time to complete the rest of their plan. They have rigged a cart with loads of speakers and batteries and set it up to play music. Beta’s horde eventually finds them at the hospital a little earlier than expected. Therefore a small group cover themselves in walker blood and guts to slip through the horde to the cart, while others cover them with bows as Lydia identifies Whisperers.
The cart tactic works for a while, but due to The Whisperer’s control over the walkers, they soon swarm it and tear it apart. This forces them to lead to walkers on foot over a cliff without the help of the cart. Lydia volunteers to do this willing to sacrifice herself but Carol takes over at the end. They both almost go over the edge but manage to cower behind a rock – choosing to live and continue on despite their shared grief. The other members of the group enter the horde to take out all the Whisperers. Daryl and Negan kill Beta.
Meanwhile, the hospital is still under attack and Gabriel prepares to make a last stand. He would have surely died if not for the return of Maggie and help from some new friends.
Finally, it is revealed that Connie also survived the caves. She is lost in the woods, severely exhausted and close to death. However, she is then found by Virgil.
The extra six episodes are generally standalone character-focused affairs but they add a little to the wider narrative. Firstly, we catch up with Maggie and learn about her new friends and why she’s returned. She was recently attacked by a group called The Reapers who are now hunting them for seemingly no reason. We also get some very awkward and tense interactions between her and Negan as she was never able to forgive him for killing Glenn.
The other episodes probably won’t impact season 11 much apart from highlighting the mental state of the characters, and the dire need for food. We see how strained Daryl’s and Carol’s relationship has become, follow Aaron and Gabriel as they search for food and discuss what it means to be ‘good’, and we find out a little more about The Commonwealth through the eyes of Princess.
(“Trilogy” Trailer by: We Got This Covered)