“The Tower” introduced an intriguing new character and set up the finale capably, though how long we’ll have to wait for it is anyone’s guess.
This recap of The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 15, “The Tower” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“The Tower” is an episode of two halves: in one, Beta (Ryan Hurst), having patched up his mask with Alpha’s face, leads a new horde of walkers towards Alexandria to enact his bloody rock-star revenge; in the other, Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) meet a new character, Juanita “Princess” Sanchez (Paola Lazaro), while on their quest to meet Eugene’s mysterious long-distance girlfriend and presumably expand the show’s scope in time for the next season. In that sense, then, we’re working towards a grand finale and a new beginning at the same time, which actually undersells the complexity of an episode which, even among all this, still manages to find interesting pairings and subplots too.
The titular tower is where the Alexandrians hook up with the Hilltop refugees in The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 15, so Beta’s search isn’t fruitful as yet. He and his scabby cohort are also being monitored by Alden (Callan McAuliffe) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), who follow them until they realize they’re turning around and then end up in a pickle.
This is all clearly building to the season’s climax. Princess, on the other hand, is a more immediate concern, since the eccentric newcomer and her very big gun are either new allies or new adversaries, I suppose depending on which way the dangerous end is pointing. “The Tower” makes a point of not revealing which it is for a while. Yumiko takes an immediate dislike to her, while Ezekiel is a little more open-minded and Eugene is fretting about making his date on time, especially after Princess, in a display of her apparent usefulness, scares their horses off. Apparently she hasn’t seen another human being for a year so that probably explains why she’s a bit awkward socially.
She also treads a very fine line between funny and charming and really annoying; she has off-kilter energy that feels gimmicky, but it’s pitched in such a way that it isn’t quite as grating as it could be. Leading the group into a minefield seems a bit artificial, designed to drum up the tension more than anything, but when it turns out there was a much safer alternate route and that Princess just didn’t want to reveal to the group that she’d made a mistake, she earns Eugene’s sympathy and that of the audience, too. The vehicles she’s leading them towards turn out to be bicycles, which isn’t ideal, but is at least better than walking, and earns Princess her place in the group.
A low-key highlight of The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 15 comes from a surprising place: Lydia (Cassady McClincy), who acts her socks off once Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) reveals to her than he killed her mother. He’s sorry for the act, confessing that he even liked Alpha a bit, but Lydia snaps that he only offed her to try and win back favor that he’s never going to earn. This is a classic example of one character forcing another to confront their feelings, a bit reminiscent of the classic “It’s not your fault” scene from Good Will Hunting, although admittedly a serial killer with an anthropomorphized baseball bat is trying to help a lonely and bitter girl process the death of her psychotic mother – but you get the point. Either way, though, Lydia losing it and laying into Negan does a lot for both characters; it’s emotional and interesting and relatable, even given the wacky circumstances.
Another quietly touching thread in “The Tower” is a little excursion Daryl (Norman Reedus) shares with Judith (Cailey Fleming). This has always been a compelling relationship and remains so here, especially once the pair encounter a Whisperer whom Daryl badly injures. When they find her dying in a ditch, Daryl interrogates her, learns she has no information to impart, and coldly executes her, which Judith naturally thinks he’s a bit too blasé about. When Daryl presses her about why she’s so upset, Judith reveals to him that she spoke with Michonne (you’ll remember this occurring during her atrocious send-off episode) and she isn’t coming back. Naturally, I find the fact this is only coming up now to be a bit ridiculous, but the writers do a decent job of rationalizing a decision that was clearly theirs as Judith’s fear of abandonment; she didn’t tell Daryl because she was scared he’d leave her too in order to find Michonne. This isn’t the smoothest way the matter could have been handled, but it’s far from the worst, either.
Cue obligatory cliffhanger, courtesy of Gabriel (Seth Gilliam): Beta has arrived.
I liked this episode, though how long we’ll have to wait for the finale to capitalize on its stronger elements remains to be seen given current circumstances. Nothing’s normal these days, I suppose, but at least we can take some solace in the fact that, despite one atrocious misstep in Michonne’s final episode, The Walking Dead is still, for the most part, something we can look forward to.
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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.