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The Walking Dead: 'The Tower' is no substitute for a real season finale
Although tonight’s episode, “The Tower,” is the last episode we will see of The Walking Dead for a while, it is not a season finale. It was never meant to be a season finale. And if you’ve watched the episode, or read my article, you understand why. There are a lot of ends being tied up and stories being moved strategically to set up for the real season finale.
In This Episode…
Meet Princess, the crazy girl that Eugene, Ezekiel, and Yumiko meet. She has great energy for someone who has been alone for over a year, but that energy also means she talks to herself and clearly has a tenuous grasp on her sanity. She shoots a small group of zombies to protect her new friends, thereby scaring off the horses. She promises to take the group to a garage for their choice of wheels. Yumiko wants nothing to do with her, but the boys outvote her. Princess takes them on a trail through a parking lot filled with landmines, gets lost along the way, leaving them stranded and scared. When they finally make it out, our group realizes that Princess essentially took them the long, dangerous way around. She claims it was because she was having so much fun with them and she didn’t want them to leave.
The group is pissed off, and again, Yumiko wants out, but she is overruled. They’ve gone this far; they may as well see what vehicles she had. They arrive at the garage – only to discover it is a garage full of bicycles. Still better than nothing. Princess takes a fuming Yumiko aside, and again apologizes. Yumiko softens and eventually invites Princess to join them.
Beta has, somehow, gathered seemingly millions of zombies to walk with him. He brings them to Hilltop, but finds it empty, so they start heading to Oceanside. Except that it’s not entirely empty: Aaron and Alden are hiding in a tower, and they follow Beta and his herd. Beta has completely lost it. He “hears” the zombies whispering to him. When one of his human followers calls him Alpha, he becomes offended and pulls out his knife, causing the follower to run. Beta suddenly changes direction, and leads his herd to an abandoned hospital. Which wouldn’t be bad…
…except that is where the Hilltoppers are holed up. It is here that Lydia tries to mourn her mother, a mother who was a murdering psychopath and turned her back on her daughter. As you can imagine, it’s not easy. Negan finally gets Lydia to open up, and she ends up sobbing in Negan’s arms, screaming about how much she hates her mother.
Outside of this makeshift hostel, Daryl is walking the perimeter. Judith finds him and refuses to go back inside. She wants to learn what Daryl does. He allows her to shadow him, as long as she does exactly as he tells her. This is all fine and dandy, until that escaped Whisperer starts sneaking around. Daryl shoots and catches her in her chest. Stuck to the ground, she offers no useful information to Daryl, so he shoots her in the head. Young Judith watches with eyes wide. What’s more, she is utterly offended that they left the body where it was. It turns out that she seems to be more upset that the woman might have family that misses her. That leads Judith to worry about what if it was Daryl or RJ or Michonne left in a ditch. She admits that she spoke to her mom after the fire, and that she didn’t tell Daryl because she was afraid he would leave, too. Daryl promises he won’t. A radio signal comes in from Gabriel. It is staticy, and Daryl can’t make it out, but I could swear I hear Gabriel say, “come back.”
Not quite the season finale…
It’s kind of sad that this is the de facto finale. Because of current events, they couldn’t finish post production on the final episode, so that will air as a “special episode” later this year. It’s disappointing, really, because this felt like a penultimate episode: all set-up for an explosive finale, but leaves you wanting more.
So… I think I love Princess. She is weird, setting up zombies in Disneyland-like dioramas. She is playful, as evidenced by her purple hair and matching monster fur coat. She is crazy, having whole conversations with herself – both sides of the conversation. She is sassy and spunky and I am glad she is joining the cast.