In lesser seasons, The Walking Dead writers would have taken the numerous intriguing subplots of an episode like Bonds and completely botch them. They would go the predictable route that made for boring and dull TV. That’s not the case now with TWD though and Bonds continued the fascinating build to the midseason finale.
Daryl and Carol continue their search for Negan, but Daryl knows Carol isn’t stupid enough to think Negan will be found so easily. Their best guess? He’s trying to align with The Whisperers, but Carol can’t imagine Negan putting on a mask or staying quiet that long. #Facts
No, Carol’s real goal is to find and take out the horde. Daryl reasonably questions if Carol is using this as an excuse to plan her next salvo against Alpha. It’s a sensible thought since Carol was perfectly willing to end the tentative truce to take a shot at Alpha. Carol wants to know about Connie, but Daryl seems like he’s all in on crushing on Carol. I know this is the shippers’ dream, but that is the pairing the writers absolutely need to keep platonic. Besides, Connie would be the one relationship where Daryl would be the talkative one.
As the episode plays out though it seems like Daryl has less reasons to trust Carol, which makes their longtime friendship far more interesting than bogging it down with romance. Carol and Daryl find some remnants of the horde and a Whisperer trying to corral them to the larger group. Daryl tries luring him out, but Carol finds him instead. The zip tie she has around the Whisperer’s wrists casts doubts that this wasn’t her plan all along, but Daryl has to go with it now. I like this tension with their friendship and how it’s coming across like Carol is taking advantage of Daryl’s faith in her.
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Back at Alexandria more and more citizens are coming down with the flu. Dante is getting overwhelmed with the sick, but tries to give Siddiq some time to rest. Siddiq can’t be but so rested since he’s still having visions and nightmares of his near-death experience with The Whisperers.
Eugene meanwhile has successfully expanded the radio network. Rosita calls in and on the surface it seems like the writers are still fanning some embers to keep the flame of a potential Eugene/Rosita romance going. Instead, it’s to show how rare it is for Eugene to find someone who can tolerate his loquacious style of communication.
He finds another connection with a woman that catches the signal from another possible community. Fear the Walking Dead has made me leery of strangers talking to one of the main characters despite Eugene and the woman pulling a radio all-nighter. The woman wants Eugene to keep their communication a secret, which is a bloody red flag in walker world, but Eugene naturally is fine with that plan.
In the most intriguing of the subplots, Negan is trying to work his charms on Beta and The Whisperers. Negan’s dialogue is really funny here, but Beta isn’t amused and warns Alpha that he can’t be trusted. I’d say Beta is a pretty good judge of character in this case. Alpha wants to give him a chance and is getting just about sick of Beta being so lippy. He takes a knee to show his submission, which prompts Negan to ask if their relationship is strictly platonic or if he’s sliding Alpha a little Omega on the side. That’s the kind of line that only Negan could get away with and it works perfectly here.
Negan tries to win Beta over, but he’s not having it even going so far as to kill The Whisperer who dared to give Negan some food and leave Negan surrounded by walkers. Beta is proud of his handiwork as he gloats to Alpha that Negan was weak, but Negan struts in to The Whisperer’s camp and proclaims his loyalty to the cause by taking a knee in front of Alpha. Very interesting. Of course Negan can’t be trusted, yet the fascinating aspect of this subplot is wondering his end game. Does he really want some payback on the communities for keeping him locked up for most of a decade or is he playing some long con where he’ll betray Alpha?
This Negan subplot definitely looks like the key focus as the year winds down.
As we near the midseason point it’s clear that a few more folks need to drop off from the principal cast. At this rate there’s enough characters for another spin-off. Bonds didn’t show Michonne, Ezekiel, Gabriel, Jerry, Yumiko, Magna, Connie, Kelly, Luke, Alden, Lydia or Judith. That’s a lot of people and it wasn’t like this episode had a shortage of cast members either. The crazy thing is Alpha and company killed off at least 11 people and there’s still a slew of folks left.
Bonds was a solid episode that set up two of the greatest Walking Dead villains uniting against the communities. Even if it results in a fake out, it’s easily one of the biggest developments in years for the series.