The banner tenth season for The Walking Dead comes to a lackluster end with the penultimate episode fifteen. "The Tower" cuts the season short because the finale could not be finished. "A Certain Doom" will air later this year as a standalone episode. "The Tower" sets up the showdown with the Whisperers. Beta (Ryan Hurst) proves to be an apt leader. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Lydia (Cassady McClincy), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Kelly (Angel Theory) settle their differences. Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) meet the erratic Princess (Paola Lazaro).

"The Tower" continues with Eugene's group meeting the rifle-toting, purple-haired Princess in the city. The flamboyant survivor is not too impressed with the interlopers, "Damn, I haven't seen anyone in over a year and the first one's I meet are a bunch of meanies." Ezekiel introduces everyone while Yumiko remains skeptical. Princess guns down approaching walkers. But the bullet fire scares away their horses.

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Eugene is worried they won't make the rendezvous with Stephanie. Against Yumiko's wishes, they ask Princess for help. She claims to know of a garage with "wheels." Princess gives up her rifle as a gesture of trust. Yumiko thinks she's "crazy."

Beta leads a horde of walkers through the open gates of Alexandria. The settlement has been abandoned. Meanwhile, Judith (Cailey Flemming) walks the top floor of a hospital. Everyone from Alexandria and the Hilltop are there. Luke (Dan Fogler) needs an errand run. Carol volunteers to go. In the woods, Daryl tries to contact Michonne via the walkie. He gets no response.

Beta overlooks the horde on top of the windmill. The Whisperers find no signs of their enemy. Beta hears a voice telling him to go to the "ocean." Above them, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) quietly note their movements.

Lydia plays with a stray cat. Judith apologizes for the loss of her mother. Lydia replies, "Not everyone has a mom like yours." Carol and Kelly leave the hospital. Outside in the woods, Daryl comes upon Judith killing a walker. He's stunned. She's by herself. She left Father Gabriel a note. She wants to learn what Daryl does to keep them safe. He walks the perimeter. He allows her to stay with him.

Beta leads the horde toward Oceanside. He stops. "This is wrong. They are not fools. They expect us," he reasons. A Whisperer foolishly calls him "Alpha." She scurries away from his drawn knife. But the voice in his head stops the murder. He asks it to "show me the path." Thousands of walkers are behind him, but so is Aaron and Alden. They radio in the horde's position.

Princess gleefully leads Eugene's group to a broken fence. She warns them to "watch their step." She gingerly walks across the field counting. She comes to a horse's head, blown off, and stops. She has led them into a minefield, and lost her count. Princess throws her water canteen forward. It triggers a mine. "Anyone have an extra canteen?"

Carol and Kelly are pulling wires from an old car. Carol breaks down over her actions in the cave. Kelly believes her sister is still alive. She taught her that going deaf was her "superpower." Kelly comforts Carol. In the hospital, Negan tries to do the same for Lydia. He admits he "liked" her mother. He wants Lydia to punch him.

In the minefield, Yumiko curses herself for following Princess. A walker is blown to shreds by a mine. Ezekiel tries to instill confidence in Princess. She walks a few steps, then asks the others to come. In the woods, Daryl sees a mark on a tree. Judith stays behind him. Daryl shoots a Whisperer in the shoulder. She runs away wounded, as Judith and Daryl kill the walkers.

Princess takes Eugene's group past Fleetwood Drive. Eugene realizes they came this way before. Yumiko draws her bow on Princess. She took them on the "scenic route" through the minefield. Princess babbles incessantly, "I wanted you to stay and be friends." She had been by herself for so long. But that's how her life was before. Yumiko drops her bow. Eugene hugs Princess. He explains that he also lied for a long time, "But you do have access to wheels right?"

Daryl and Judith find the dying Whisperer. Daryl interrogates her. The Whisperers are heading to the ocean. She doesn't know anything more. Daryl shoots her in the head. Judith is horrified, "You didn't have to do that." Daryl pulls her away. On the road, Beta sees signs. The voice tells him to "watch." The stray cat passes in front of them. He turns the horde to follow it.

Aaron and Alden notice the change of direction. They try to radio the Tower, but get static. Suddenly they are surrounded by Whisperers. At the hospital, Lydia confronts Negan. He explains that she has to mourn her mother. Lydia loses it. She breaks down and pounds Negan's chest. He draws her in and holds the crying girl.

A garage door opens. Princess has led them to bicycles. Ezekiel comments, "To be fair, she wasn't lying." Princess feels terrible. She "blew it." Yumiko asks her to join them. Princess hugs her with an emphatic "yes".

In the woods, Judith is still unnerved by the Whisperer's death. She's worried her mother won't be able to find them. Judith admits to talking to her after the fire, but doesn't tell Daryl about Rick. Daryl promises to never leave her. Everyone in Alexandria is her family. Judith cries and embraces Daryl. Father Gabriel calls Daryl on the radio. The final shot has Beta leading the horde towards the hospital.

"The Tower" was a boring filler episode. The introduction of Princess, a later character from the comic, felt forced. The scene in the minefield made zero sense. Now she's part of the gang. "The Tower" had melodramatic moments of characters getting their cry on, and hugging it out. The important development is Beta's horde reaching the hospital. We'll have to wait until the fall to learn our heroes' fates. The Walking Dead will return on AMC.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman