[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead's Season 10 finale-for-now, "The Tower." Read at your own risk!]
Damn. The wait for the The Walking Dead's Season 10 finale is going to be tough, because I want to know what happens next. Most of "The Tower" was setup for what's going to be a blowout finale whenever they're able to finish it and put it on the air. (The finale was supposed to air on April 12, but has been postponed until later in the year due to the coronavirus-necessitated production shutdown.) In the finale, we're going to see Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) nick-of-time return and Beta (Ryan Hurst) die in some sure-to-be-crazy way. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see another prominent supporting character die. Someone in that hospital is going to make the ultimate sacrifice. But we won't know until who knows when. So let's focus on Episode 15, the finale for the time being.
I was expecting the titular tower to have something to do with a famous comics death of a major character, but it was actually a high floor in an abandoned hospital where everyone from Alexandria and Hilltop was hiding from Beta. It was cool to see so many characters together in one place, because that almost never happens. Even within that large group, though, the stories were about pairings, and most of them were outside of the hospital.
Luke (Dan Fogler) was working on getting the long-range radio fixed, and Carol (Melissa McBride) and Kelly (Angel Theory) volunteered to go scavenge a necessary part from a car radio. Carol apologized for her role in maybe killing Kelly's sister Connie (Lauren Ridloff), but Kelly said she doesn't think she's dead, and absolved Carol and implored her to stay strong, because she can do things no one else can do. Connie will surely be back at some point, and has been missing in this half of the season because Lauren Ridloff was away filming the Marvel movie The Eternals. I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up in the finale.
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) spent the episode trying to get his fellow outsider Lydia (Cassady McClincy) to open up about her feelings about what he did to her mother Alpha (Samantha Morton), but she didn't want to hear about how much he liked her and how sorry he was he had to kill her. She hated her mother, and hated him for trying to act like he cared about anyone but himself. She accused him of only doing what he did to make himself seem like a hero in the eyes of other survivors, which was true. She started hitting him, which is what he wanted her to do all along, because it would allow her to feel her feelings. She collapsed into his arms, sobbing, and he comforted her. JDM and Cassady McClincy did great work this episode.
Judith (Cailey Fleming), bored in the cat pee-scented hospital, snuck out and found Uncle Daryl (Norman Reedus), who was patrolling the border. She wanted him to show her what he did, and he reluctantly agreed. But she got more than she bargained for when they spotted a lone Whisperer, whom Daryl shot in the chest with an arrow. As she lay in a ditch, dying, Daryl interrogated her about Beta's movements and whereabouts. Daryl put an arrow in her head, even though she asked him not to, because she wanted to walk after she died. Judith was upset by Daryl's callousness. She wanted to bury her, and Daryl was acting like he'd killed a mosquito. Judith wouldn't let it go, and she told him that she was worried about Michonne (Danai Gurira), who might not ever come home. She didn't tell him that her mother was looking for Rick (Andrew Lincoln), because she doesn't want Daryl to leave, too. Daryl said he wouldn't, but he wouldn't promise, because no one knows what's going to happen in the future.
"But there's one thing I know," he said. "There's a whole bunch of people back there who'd do anything for you. And one day when you're older, they're gonna need you to do anything for them. You've got a whole lot of family." He squatted down to look in her face. "Nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone," he said. "But that doesn't mean that everything that follows is gonna break your heart."
Then Daryl got a call on his walkie from Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). Beta had surrounded the tower with his horde.
Beta — who still refuses to accept the title of Alpha, even though he's now the leader of what remains of the Whisperers — was losing his mind. He was hearing voices, taking orders from a voice that sounded like it was maybe a combination of the faces he wears, Alpha, and his dead friend. He saw walkers talking to him. He brought the horde to Alexandria, which was abandoned, and then turned it toward Oceanside. While on the road, he was lucid enough to spot — with the voices' help — broken sticks like someone had just been walking nearby, and a cat. He figured out that they were in the hiding out in the hospital and captured Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Al (Callan McAuliffe), who had been trailing the horde, in the process. The horde massed outside the hospital, setting up a terrifying final siege.
The other half of the episode was Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) getting to know their new travel buddy, Princess (Paola Lázaro). They weren't sure about the strange young woman, especially Yumiko, but Ezekiel and Eugene were willing to give her a chance because she said she knew a garage where they could get some "wheels," which they needed in order to make the meeting with Stephanie in time. So they followed her. And, of course, she led them right into a literal minefield, which they realized when they saw the blown-to-smithereens remains of one of the horses Princess had previously spooked.
Princess knew the way through the minefield — "It's a small one," she tried to reassure them — but when Yumiko broke her concentration by getting mad at her, she lost track of her steps.
"We never should have followed her," Yumiko complained. "This is exactly the kind of thing I was afraid would happen."
"I have been afraid of many things, but this one's new," Ezekiel said.
Eventually, after going "Eeny, miny, please no mineys, mo," Princess found the way out, and led them to the garage. But before they got there, Eugene realized that they had previously passed the street the garage was on. Princess admitted that she had missed a turn a way back, and rather than be honest about it, she took them on the "scenic route" through the minefield, because she was having such a good time being around people again after being all alone for a year. She didn't want them to leave her, and she was afraid that if she admitted what she had done, they would, just like everyone else in her life had left her. Even before the world went bad, someone had told her she was "hard to love." She's been lonely her whole life.
Her admission reminded Eugene of himself, since he once traveled from Texas to Atlanta under the false pretense that he was a doctor. "I have an all-too-familiar sense of how you feel," he said. He put his hand on her shoulder and said, "I've made poor decisions. Lied to folks. The inevitable alternative meant being left alone. No one wants that." But does she have those "wheels," though?
Yes, but...they're bicycles. But you know what? Wheels are wheels, and bikes will get them there much faster than feet. And even Yumiko admitted that Princess came though in the end and invited her to join them on the road.
I kind of had a bit of a logic problem with the travelers even considering that there would be working motor vehicles, considering there haven't been for years, and I'm not totally sure where Princess got her assault rifle for the same reason. I was also surprised that Daryl would cold-bloodedly kill someone in front of Judith. That doesn't seem like something the more sensitive Daryl of recent seasons would do, and it felt more like he was acting out of character for plot reasons. And pairing up Carol and Kelly felt unnatural. I think this was one of the weaker episodes of Season 10, but it got us where we needed to be for the season finale, whenever that may be.
The Walking Dead will return for its Season 10 finale later this year.