'The Walking Dead' doesn't waste any time delivering some answers and scares in its first 2 new episodes of the year

kacuna@insider.com (Kirsten Acuna)
·7 min read
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twd season 1009 daryl cave
Daryl looks ready to take out as many members of Alpha's walker horde as possible. Can he though?

Jace Downs/AMC

  • Warning: There are mild spoilers ahead for "The Walking Dead."

  • I've watched the next two episodes of "TWD" for the second part of season 10.

  • They're solid and get right to the point of resolving the cave storyline (or most of it anyway) before moving onto larger threats from Alpha and those pesky Whisperers.

  • Some long-term favorites make strange survival choices 10 seasons into this show, which may make fans roll their eyes.

  • "TWD" returns to AMC on Sunday, February 23 at 9 p.m.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The back half of "The Walking Dead" season 10 wastes little time in answering your immediate questions from November's mid-season finale.

When we left Daryl, Carol, Aaron, and the others, Alpha trapped the majority of them in a cave. How will they get out, will they get out, and, most importantly, will there be any casualties?

You won't have to wait long to discover who lives and who doesn't make it.

I've watched the next two episodes of the zombie drama, "Squeeze" and "Stalker," and you're going to want to watch that first episode live.

The first episode answers questions about the Whisperer cave. The back half of episode 1010 feels like you're watching a mini horror film play out. It definitely delivers some major Michael Myers vibes. 

What's hot: The story keeps moving along at a pretty rapid pace. There's plenty of Alpha, Beta, and Daryl to go around. There are legitimate horror moments.

daryl cave twd 1009
Daryl tries to light and guide the way with limited resources in a bad situation.


Showrunner Angela Kang previously told Insider she doesn't like to drag out plot points for too long and she continues to deliver on that promise. Fans won't have to wait long to see what becomes of our heroes trapped in the cave with a bunch of walkers.

There are some really great moments between Daryl and Carol, Carol and Connie, and Connie and her sister Kelly.  Any concern about Daryl being the main leader for everyone to rely on here can fade away. Everyone has a role to play and the ensemble cast is balanced quite well. Magna (Nadia Hilker), specifically, gets a nice chunk of screen time. "TWD" hasn't completely become the Daryl Dixon show.

twd season 10 daryl carol
Daryl is never afraid to call Carol out and they share one of their most enjoyable conversations yet of the season.

Chuck Zlotnick/AMC

If you're claustrophobic, you're going to have some anxiety for some of your favorites as they search for a way out of the cavernous maze. It really brings the episode title, "Squeeze," to life in an uncomfortable way we've never really seen before on the series.

As much as I enjoyed the mid-season premiere, I enjoyed a good section of the following episode even more and that's because it really dives into the horror genre of the show as the impending Whisperer War from the comics ramps up.

A moment from the trailers which looked like a dream sequence will definitely put a smile on fans' faces. It brings a moment of horror and creepiness to the show on a level we've never seen before. It's really quite clever. I actually felt nervous watching parts of the episode because you feel like you're dropped into a horror movie and you're not sure what's going to happen next. It's quite satisfying.

What else can I tell you?

Judith (Cailey Fleming) continues to show she's the heartbeat of this show by seeing the good in everyone.

judith twd season 10b
Judith is the level head in a community stricken by paranoia after the Dante reveal.


Father Gabe (Seth Gilliam) has some zingers up his sleeve. But he's not his usual calm, collected self. He's still a bit heated after smashing Dante to bits in November's mid-season finale. He has some things to work out.

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Stabby McTwoKnives is coming! You better watch your back.

Chuck Zlotnick/AMC

Beta (Ryan Hurst) gets some of the best moments in the two episodes. Any time with Hurst on screen is great because he immerses himself into that role completely and he looks like he's having a blast. It's some of the best scenes we've seen with his character yet. They're on par with the Beta/Daryl fight scene from the end of season nine. There are actual moments where you're going to be worried about what Beta does next. DVR the second week of "TWD's" return because you'll probably want to rewatch an entire sequence with his character.

What's not: Some silly, selfish and arrogant decisions made by longtime fan favorites and a truly bizarre moment involving Negan. There's also a moment in the mid-season premiere which may divide the fandom.

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Negan gets the strangest moment of the season premiere. I'm interested to see how fans receive it.


We are 10 seasons into the zombie apocalypse and some of our main players are still making some questionable decisions that are either affecting the group as a whole or are putting themselves in direct harm for no good reason.

One of these choices, I imagine, is going to pit specific parts of the fandom against each other. It already seems to be happening online. I can only hope the storyline resolves itself sooner rather than later in a positive way to help dispel any negativity online.

Another one of these choices involves a strong-headed character thinking its best to take things into their own hands by themselves without any backup. I jotted down the words "rookie mistake" while watching the moment. Does no one remember what happened to Rick when he went it alone back on season nine? Always have a buddy to watch your back in the apocalypse. It's dangerous out there, folks.

This all leads to one of the strangest extended scenes on "TWD" where you may ask yourself what you're watching right now and whether or not the moments you see play out are even happening.

It also seems like there's a weird little gap in between the end of the mid-season premiere and the ensuing episode. It's not clear yet whether or not the show will revisit a key moment in a flashback or flashbacks. Hopefully, that's the case otherwise there are a few question marks going into the start of episode 1010 around the whereabouts of some characters.

twd season 10b negan
To use one of Negan's lines, things get real "freaky deaky."

Chuck Zlotnick/AMC

It's also worth noting there's a moment so bizarre on the mid-season premiere involving Negan that I had to pause the episode and ask myself what was happening. You'll know what it is when you see it. It's definitely going to cause a lot of chatter. I can't say much more about it except perhaps it's supposed to play some role in redeeming Negan's character. More on that to come after the episode premieres.

Otherwise, the only real non-spoiler-y complaint I have about the episodes so far is with the marketing. I'm sure some fans were annoyed to see footage with the likes of Daryl and a few others out of the caves before any sort of resolution even aired on TV. It's best to avoid those for some big reveals if you truly want to be surprised by how the cave storyline unfolds.

Overall: Kang and 'TWD' team continue to deliver strong episodes and inject bits of horror in the remainder of season 10 so far

daryl the walking dead season 10
This shot of Daryl comes from the teaser trailer for the second half of the season showing the character, surprisingly, not in a cave.


Remember when we thought "TWD" couldn't survive without Rick Grimes? Well, it is. And it's thriving. 

For so many seasons of this show, "TWD" has felt like a zombie show with some jump scares here and there. It's been about survival, family, and Grimes. Not until the season nine mid-season finale did "TWD" really embrace the idea of playing with the horror genre and it's helped transform the show for the better.

The writers and Kang have taken full advantage of the scary element of the Whisperers to deliver something irksome, creepy, and truly "something to fear." Here's to hoping the season will continue ramping up the scare-factor.

Grade: B

Watch a trailer for the season below if you don't mind some spoilers. You can follow along with our "Walking Dead" coverage here.

Read the original article on Insider