Review: The Walking Dead Season 10 – “What It Always Is”

There were a number of developments in this latest episode of The Walking Dead. Ezekiel reveals to Sidiq that he has thyroid cancer, but would rather keep it to himself than inform the people. Kelly nearly becomes Walker food as her hearing continues to deteriorate. Daryl discovers that Magna was stealing food from Hilltop, but keeps it secret after returning it in order to keep the union together. Moreover, a closer friendship begins to form between Daryl and Connie.

Related – Review: The Walking Dead Season 10 – “Silence The Whisperers”

However, the more intriguing aspect of this last episode is the developments that occurred between the escaped Negan and his new fanboy, Brandon.

Following him around on his escape, Brandon fawns over Negan, mentioning how his father told him stories of the Saviors. As their travel together continues, Brandon reveals that he has a gift for Negan. He opens his backpack and presents its contents—Negan’s leather jacket and Lucile. After a moment, Negan tells Brandon to put them back in the bag.

This is, of course, foreshadowing.

Later on, Negan and Brandon run into a mother and son being attacked by walkers, and Negan does away with the threat. Shortly after, Brandon finally crosses the line for Negan’s patience when he offers the idea of killing the mother and son—referencing old Savior methods. Negan bluntly explains to Brandon that he no longer wants him around and tells him to leave, which Brandon does. Free of his annoyance, Negan finds time to connect with the mom and son.

It is here where the episode shows how the last few years have changed Negan. His time in the cell chatting with Judith. Carl’s letter. The trek through the snow in last season’s finale. Those key moments in Negan’s proposed evolution come streaming back as he sits with this young child and relates with him, telling stories and joking around with him. This moment shines a light on what could be Negan’s possible redemption—not erasing what he’s done in the past, but perhaps fighting for a future that Rick, Michonne, and the others are attempting to create.

All that comes crashing down as Brandon makes his surprise return.

Negan is stunned to find Brandon back in the site—with the lifeless bodies of the mother and son on the ground. Their blood is smeared on the bus they were inhabiting and Brandon stands before Negan, holding a tire iron in his hand, believing he had just passed Negan’s test. At that moment, the old Negan is unleashed as he picks up a rock and smashes in Brandon’s skull. After finishing the job, Negan rises, grabs Brandon’s backpack, and takes a walk.

The episode ends with Negan—donned in his black leather jacket and the lovely Lucile in his hands—crossing the border and swinging away at walkers while reciting his “little pig, little pig” nursery rhyme. When he comes face-to-face with Beta, a smile develops across his bearded face, leaving the viewer anticipating what could be an all-out brawl between the two as the screen cuts to black.

Is Negan looking for a bloody showdown with Beta? Is he looking to join the Whisperers? Or is he merely looking to gain intel on them and destroy them from the inside, making it easier for Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom to overtake them? Those questions may be answered next week…

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC, and is available for streaming on the AMC app.

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Anthony Esteves

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