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Picking up where we left off last year, Daryl, Carol, Magna, Kelly, Connie, Aaron, and Jerry are stuck in the caves with a seething, roiling herd of zombies in a pit beneath them. In case you missed anything last season, this is where the Whisperers have been holding their zombie horde, and Carol, blinded by her desire for revenge, followed Alpha in here.
Of course, this was all a setup, so when Carol's friends followed her in, they were all caught in a zombie pit. Alpha is there, glaring at them before she takes her leave. As she exits the cave, she warns a few Whisperers not to let them leave.
But if Alpha left, it must mean there is a way out, so the group starts searching. They jump from rock formation to rock formation in order to cross the pit of zombies. It's very dangerous — Kelly is grabbed by a zombie, but Jerry cuts off the zombie's hand and everyone makes it across. Once they take a moment to stop and rest, Daryl realizes that Carol is claustrophobic, and the two have a heart-to-heart. Basically, Daryl says he "doesn't know what to do to help Carol," because Carol doesn't just want to kill Alpha, she wants to "hurt her, then kill her." In other words, same s**t, different episode.
A couple of Whisperers enter the cave, but our group kill them and then continue on, trying to retrace their steps to find the exit. An arrow etched into the wall points the way. The walls narrow, turning the cave's passages into little more than a gopher hole, which they all have to squeeze through. Carol has a panic attack — it's that claustrophobia — but she makes it through as well. Jerry gets stuck, and when zombies begin to attack, it takes the collective strength of the group to pull him out. The zombies were biting, but it looks like they didn't break skin; just got a few good mouthfuls of workboot. Daryl kills a couple of zombies, which seems to plug up the hole.
At this point, they are in the last phase of the cave; a sliver of light is now visible, meaning that they are close to the top. Kelly finds a box of dynamite, but puts it back when Jerry warns that it looks unstable. They have to move slowly, to ensure the entire cave doesn't collapse. As they are working, Daryl notices Carol is missing — and so is a stick of dynamite. Carol has gone back, deeper into the cavern, to a point where she is above another pit of zombies. Her plan is to blow up the pit, decimating at least half of the Whisperers' herd. That plan goes awry as she slips and finds herself hanging on by her fingers until Daryl shows up and rescues her.
The cave rattles. The hole they are digging is starting to cave in. Connie runs back to find Carol and Daryl while Kelly emerges and starts killing the Whisperers she finds waiting outside. Jerry holds up the cave while the others make it out, including Daryl and Carol. Magna and Connie are trying to kill a couple of rogue Whisperers (or zombies, it's hard to tell) and make Jerry leave. The cave collapses, sealing in Magna and Connie. Daryl immediately tries to clear the debris, but Kelly insists they leave — the noise will draw the dead and the living in dead suits. "We can't save them if we're dead," she sobs.
Meanwhile, Carol has a breakdown, begging Daryl to "just say it, she is gone because of me." Daryl won't speak to her, but he believes there has to be another way in, and he is going to find it. Carol is left alone.
Elsewhere, Alpha tells Beta and Gamma that she suspects there is a spy amongst them. She sends Gamma to report to their troops on the border. Negan suggests that Gamma is the spy, and when Gamma doesn't make it to the border, Alpha suspects that Negan is correct.
Wow. She is really messed up. It's a little sad to see her fall so far. She was such a good, strong, powerful character, but the death of her son has led her down this horrible path of bad decisions. She didn't act this way after Sophia died. Maybe that was because it was zombies that got Sophia; Carol didn't have a living, breathing human to blame. After Sophia, she became a badass. After Henry, she became an ass who made bad decisions.
Alpha and Negan
When Alpha decides that Negan is probably right about the spy, she decides to reward him. "You are a crass man — I thought you'd like a crass reward," she says, walking him into the forest, and he thinks she is going to kill him. Instead, she tells him to strip and he turns around and finds that she is naked as well — save for her Whisperer mask. Negan worries that this is a "praying mantis" situation, but after a few seconds, he decides it has been too long since he has sex, so it's worth the risk.
This is such a Negan move: to risk possible death just get some. What I find disturbing about this scene is that Alpha leaves her mask on, and Negan kisses her through it. I mean, I can't imagine going without for so long that having sex with a person in the skin of the dead doesn't bother me. But I'm not Negan.