The Whisperers return leads to paranoia in Alexandria and a possible attack at the Hilltop in the latest episode of The Walking Dead. "Silence the Whisperers" has a mysteriously fallen tree threatening the Hilltop's walls. Lydia (Cassady McClincy) is bullied, but an unlikely savior causes the problems to get worse. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is in crisis, as Siddiq (Avi Nash) continues to suffer traumatic PTSD. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) becomes a flashpoint once again.

"Silence the Whisperers" opens with a montage to the song "Heaven I know." Daryl (Norman Reedus) has dinner with Michonne (Danai Gurira), RJ (Antony Azor), and Judith (Cailey Fleming). He leaves a plate at Carol's (Melissa McBride) room door. A sweating Siddiq stumbles out shaking into the night. Lydia, on patrol, notices him as Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) walk baby Coco. Carol changes her bandages. Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) make love. A distressed Ezekiel sits awake in bed. He hears a crashing sound and runs outside. A massive tree has fallen into the compound and crushed a farmhouse.

At the hilltop, everyone gathers to rescue survivors. Luke (Dan Fogler) wonders if "it was them." Earl (John Finn) replies, "Of course it was. We're already at war. We just don't know it yet." Ezekiel is frozen when Jerry (Cooper Andrews) asks him for orders. Yumiko takes control of the situation, which unnerves Magna. Walkers claw at the outside gates.

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In Alexandria, Aaron (Ross Marquand) trains a group in hand to hand combat. Margo (Jerri Tubbs), Gage (Jackson Pace), and Alex (Austin Freeman), two of the younger Highwaymen, mock Lydia as she observes. Michone leads a wagon of supplies to Hilltop. Judith tells her the Whisperers are having them run around to tire themselves out, like when they let RJ play himself to sleep. Michonne sees Ezekiel on his horse in the woods. She orders the wagon on and follows him.

Ezekiel is standing on the edge of a lookout. Michonne talks him back. He kisses her when she embraces him, then apologizes for it. Michonne replies it's her first kiss in "six years", but it wouldn't work out between them. In Alexandria, Negan offers Lydia advice while hanging laundry. Daryl breaks up their conversation. Negan "ain't your friend." When they walk back to the house, "Silence The Whisperers" has been written on the door.

Michonne comforts Ezekiel with a story of the "crazy" times on her own. He grapples with the loss of the Kingdom, Henry, and Carol. At the Hilltop, the tree has destabilized the wall. In Alexandria, Lydia plops down at the dinner table with Gage and the Highwaymen. She disembowels a dead squirrel in front of them. Daryl warns her against doing "shit like that." Lydia is tired of Daryl fighting her fights.

That night on her patrol. Lydia is jumped by Margo and the Highwaymen. She refuses to leave. As they hold her down and beat her, Negan comes to the rescue. He throws Margo against a wall, accidentally killing her. Siddiq tries to save her, but then struggles with another flashback. He runs home, plunges his head under water, and screams. Dante (David Shae) wraps Lydia's wounds in the infirmary. She remembers her father before telling Daryl that Negan "saved my life."

Darl visits Negan in his cell. People are talking about "putting him down, Rick isn't around to save him." Negan scoffs, he has no remorse for Margo. She was "a goddamn asshole beating on a kid." Negan states that Daryl "doesn't know what to do with him", after all of those years "fantasizing about killing him." Daryl warns him they've never been "toe to toe." Negan knows they want his blood. Daryl asks why he saved Lydia. Negan admits to being a "sucker." He foolishly started believing in "your way of life."

Carol and Daryl catch up. She thinks this is all a distraction. The Whisperers are orchestrating the attacks on the communities. Daryl warns her they must settle things in Alexandria first. Outside the Hilltop gates, Luke, Yumiko, and the others fight desperately to stave off the walkers. Jerry (Cooper Andrews) yells for them to get back inside. The trapped people have been rescued. Magna refuses to go, but is dragged in by Connie (Lauren Ridloff). Michonne arrives just in time. She goes into ass-kicking mode with Judith. Michonne smiles proudly as Judith shreds walkers with her sword.

In Alexandria, Gage and the others lie to the council. He says Lydia ambushed them in the dark. Father Gabriel pokes holes through their story. Bringing up the fact that Lydia is the most injured. Daryl apprises Michonne of the situation over the radio. She reminds him that he must protect Lydia at all costs. Alpha has not killed them because of Lydia. Her daughter is the only thing stopping their destruction. Michonne gives Daryl her vote on the council.

At the council, Aaron has had enough of rehabilitating Negan. Siddiq believes killing him undermines their civilization. The Whisperers are their true enemy. Daryl votes "no" for Michonne. The council is tied. Father Gabriel has the deciding vote, but wants to think about his decision.

At the Hilltop, Michonne has received word from Oceanside. They have also been attacked by walkers. She's taking Judith with her, along with men and supplies to them. Luke volunteers to go. Eugene decides to stay and help Hilltop repair their wall. Magna and Yumiko have an argument. Magna walks away, "You're not my lawyer anymore."

Father Gabriel visits Negan's cell and finds him gone. Someone has freed him. Lydia lies and says she did it. Daryl knows this is not true. The girl was home all night. Lydia goes to live in Negan's cell. She knows "this is where they want me." Lydia had blamed herself for what happened to Henry, but now realizes her mother was right. When people got scared, they chose her for their target. Daryl tells her she doesn't know Negan. "Negan stood up for me when he didn't have to," Lydia replies. A saddened Daryl leaves her in the cell. At the hilltop, Luke, Michonne, and Judith leave. The episode ends with Carol looking at a map, while Daryl scrubs away the graffiti on the door.

Negan is loose. Lydia takes his place in the cell. Michonne is outward bound to Oceanside. The question remains who is orchestrating the walker attacks? And who released Negan? The season ten plot thickens. The Walking Dead returns next week with "What It Always Is" on AMC.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman