SEASON 10; EPISODE 20
A couple of weeks ago I said that I thought the rest of this series would be lighter on action and heavier on character development but I don’t think I envisaged the three episodes in a row that we’ve just had. First up we had Carol and Daryl and then we had Gabriel and Aaron. This week we had Princess and Ezekiel. Well, actually that’s not true. This week we just had Princess.
The mid-season finale ended with Princess, Eugene, Yumiko and Ezekiel being surrounded by what looked like a gaggle of stormtroopers and indeed that’s where this episode began. Eugene had planned to meet his beloved Stephanie at this rail-yard but it looks like she’s stitched him up big time. Princess reached for a trooper’s gun but was unsuccessful and Yumiko got knocked out in the ensuing ruckus.
The four are then split up and imprisoned in separate railcars. Well, that’s what we assume happens as everything that happens from this point on is told and seen through Princess’ perspective. She isn’t too keen on the dark or small spaces but this is eased a little through talking to Yumiko in the adjacent railcar. Through this we find out a little bit more about the rather enigmatic Princess, a character who talks a lot but who doesn’t always actually say very much. She relays a story about how her stepfather hit her and how her mother did nothing, basically. Yumiko is then taken away, leaving Princess all alone.
The next morning, she finds a way out of the railcar and talks to Eugene, who warns her against doing anything stupid. Eugene is undoubtedly a good guy but he’s not the man you need in this type of situation. He’s liable to seek the most risk-free solution, which although understandable, doesn’t always pay dividends. She reluctantly returns to her railcar and is then taken away for questioning by some of the troopers. However, the ‘interview’ doesn’t really go very well. The dude in charge asked her some relatively straightforward questions but she was in no mood to answer them until she had proof her new friends were ok. It all ended with a smack in the face and being called a ‘bitch’. So yeah, that sucked.
Back in confinement, she rues the fact she didn’t listen to Eugene’s advice but she’s interrupted by Ezekiel, who drops in from above. ‘No one is gonna hurt you, not while I am here’ he tells her. But he’s not really there at all. Because he’s just a figment of Princess’ imagination. This is all revealed when Ezekiel attacks the trooper who brings her some lunch, only for Princess to realise that Ezekiel isn’t there at all - and she’s the one handing out the beating. This revelation will have drawn sighs from a number of viewers and rightly so. There’s something quite frustrating about these sort of story twists and it also doesn’t feel very Walking Dead. We only started having nightmare sequences of any real significance a couple of years ago and now we’re seeing people that literally don’t exist. Mental breaks and issues don’t have to be displayed this literally in this show. There are more nuanced/interesting ways of doing it.
The trooper (or grunt as he calls himself) gives us a little bit of info on his group and insists that their intentions are good. “For the benefit of all, and all who seek solace at our gates.” But we’ve heard this all before haven’t we? The bad guys rarely claim they are bad after all. She apprehends him and makes a break for freedom but is stopped at the gates by imaginary Ezekiel (with a walker on each arm) who tells her that she she should get out and leave. However, realising that she’d be no better than her mother, she decides to go back and strike a deal with the trooper she’s just wailed on. She agrees to answer their original interview/interrogation questions and then asks when she could see her pals. ‘Right now’ is the troopers response. He opens the door and we see Yumiko, Eugene and Ezekiel on their knees with hoods over their heads. And before Princess has time to even react, one is thrown over her head too. There is no denying it, this looks like some sort of execution. But on the other hand, this could be preparation for another change of location. We get the sense that this lot are very secretive and that protocol and rules are adhered to to the nth degree. Perhaps they just don’t want them to know whereabouts they are being moved to. Either way, plot wise we learnt very little in episode 20 but they did at least flesh out one of the newest and most interesting characters. Although we probably won’t see these guys for a few weeks again!