The Walking Dead returns with a literal bang in the claustrophobic midseason premiere “Squeeze”, complete with a creepy sex scene and not one but two potential deaths.
This recap of The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 9, “Squeeze”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It’s back! And still, thankfully, pretty good, though definitely a bit weirder than I remember. More on that later, though, as we rejoin our intrepid heroes in something of a predicament: They’re trapped in a cave system with Alpha’s (Samantha Morton) ravenous walker horde, seemingly no way out, and Whisperers under strict instruction to kill them just to make sure.
Daryl (Norman Reedus), naturally, begins to lead the group on a treacherous hop-skip-jump across fondling zombie hands to some degree of safety, but there’s internal conflict since everyone, but especially Magna (Nadia Hilker), believes that they’re all in this situation because Carol (Melissa McBride) is an increasingly unstable liability — and that’s an assessment it’s difficult to disagree with.
Tensions are also flaring in the Whisperer camp in The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 9 since Daryl and his Scooby gang were able to trespass deep into their territory without molestation; the border guards failed, which Alpha despatches Gamma (Thora Birch) to inform them of. This instability is, of course, perfect for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who, still trying to ingratiate himself into the group, later suggests to Alpha that the potential spy might be within the camp — it might even be Gamma.
In the caves, Daryl echoes Magna’s sentiments to Carol. She’s his best friend and he wants to be there for her, but he doesn’t know what to do with her anymore. She won’t talk to him and she keeps acting like a lunatic to the detriment of everyone. While he acknowledges that if he’d been through the same stuff as her he’d probably feel the same way, he also suggests that he’d be receptive to Carol’s efforts to get through to him. Carol isn’t giving him the same courtesy, and it’s damaging not only their relationship but the group as a whole.
Liable to do slightly more damage in “Squeeze” are the Whisperers who jump the crew in the caves, though all the attackers are fought off and killed. But if they got in, there must be a way out — Jerry (Cooper Andrews) finds some arrows scratched into the wall which, genius that he is, he surmises might lead them to an exit.
While the group is obviously fractured, The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 9 does a good job of highlighting small alliances that help to preserve a sense of camaraderie, such as when Carol has a minor panic attack and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) helps her through it. In the best set-piece of the episode, Daryl leads everyone through a very narrow tunnel, and Jerry, hardly a slim chap, gets helplessly stuck. Everyone works together to free him, reinforcing the same idea, and the entire sequence has very effective use of claustrophobia — especially for those of us who’re still trying to shake the weight we gained over the holidays.
By far the weirdest deviation in “Squeeze” is a woodland liaison between Negan and Alpha. The latter leads Negan out to a secluded spot where he’s told to strip and rather hilariously assumes she’s going to execute him. In a panic, he starts giving a grandiose speech about how he became a monster because that’s what the world needed, and how his name meant something, but when he turns around he finds Alpha naked too, save for the creepy walker mask and her socks, oddly enough. She wants to reward him in a way that he’ll understand, which is fair enough, but Negan smooching that mask is something I could have probably lived without seeing.
Having evidently listened to nothing anyone has said to her throughout The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 9, Carol sneaks off with some volatile old dynamite that the group stumbled upon in the caves, her intention being to drop the explosives onto the horde far below and take out the majority of it so Alpha can’t use it against them. Of course, she almost dies attempting to do so and has to be saved by Daryl, again, and isn’t it about time this show killed Carol off now? It’s clearly running out of idiotic things she can do. What’s smart, though, or at least making the best of a bad situation, is that Carol’s idiocy here looks as though it’s going to have repercussions that simply can’t be swept under the rug. When the dynamite inadvertently detonates it begins to collapse the cave exit, leading to a frantic escape sequence while Jerry tries to hold the roof up and Kelly (Angel Theory) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) battle Whisperers as they emerge into the light. While everyone seemingly survives the ordeal, the rest of the dynamite explodes as well, collapsing the tunnel on Magna and Connie. Since we know how this show works and no deaths are to be taken seriously unless they occur on camera, the assumption is that they’re stuck there. Daryl resolves to find them while Carol has another breakdown and begs him to chastise her for her stupidity, though he rises above it.
Is everyone as sick of Carol as I am? Let me know.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.