The Walking Dead dives deep into the relationship dynamics between several characters. "Bonds" has Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) on a mission in Whisperer territory. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) makes a new friend. Siddiq (Avi Nash) struggles with an outbreak of sickness. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) proves his worth to Alpha (Samantha Morton), much to the consternation of Beta (Ryan Hurst).
"Bonds" begins with Carol getting ready in her room. She makes tea, then packs her backpack. She opens a drawer and looks at her gun. Daryl sees her getting food from his porch. He meets her outside and asks where's she going. Carol says, "I'm doing another sweep for Negan." She leads him to a spot in the woods and takes out her binoculars. Daryl doesn't believe she's looking for Negan. Carol admits to looking for Alpha's herd, "We're going to find it and destroy it."
At the Alexandria infirmary, Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) tends to a sick Cheryl (Rebecca Koon), one of the older residents. Siddiq comes in with baby Coco. He's babysitting while Rosita (Christian Serratos) suffers from the same "stomach bug." He offers to help, but Dante, with his usual obnoxious demeanor, has everything covered.
In the woods, Carol reviews a map with Daryl. She explains they can stake out this spot and see where the Whisperers go. Daryl asks why she wasn't honest before. Meanwhile, a blindfolded Negan is being guided by Beta to the Whisperer camp. He babbles incessantly until Beta puts a knife to his throat over "constant noise." "Hold your tits there jellybean giant," snarks Negan. He was a prisoner in Alexandria for eight years. He has valuable information for "your leader." Beta slides the blindfold down into a gag.
At the Hilltop, Nabila (Nadine Marissa) helps Eugene with the upgraded radio. He's used parts from the Russian satellite. Rosita calls from Alexandria. She's running a "102 degree fever" but wanted to see when Eugene was coming back. The equipment starts to spark. He has to fix it before "the whole thing goes fubar."
In the woods, Daryl and Carol toss acorns at a can. They banter while playing the game. Carol finds a "double-capper." Daryl keeps it for good luck. Carol asks what's up with him and Connie. Daryl says "it's not like that." Carol reminds him there's not many people left. He doesn't have "to be alone." Carol shares some bread from her backpack. They see a Whisperer leading walkers in the distance.
In the Whisperer camp, Beta tells Alpha that Negan is a threat and cannot be trusted. When Alpha asks if he's challenging her, Beta kneels in subservience. Negan watches this with great interest. Alpha orders Beta to "test him." Negan winds up Beta as they walk through the woods. He asks if Beta is "slipping Alpha a little omega on the side." Beta is not amused and warns Negan to always respect the Alpha. Negan continues with a nod to their "kneelin'." He admits to never "kneelin'" himself.
In Alexandria, Siddiq checks on Rosita at her house. She's gotten worse. He takes her with the baby to the infirmary. At the Hilltop, Eugene tries to contact Alexandria on the radio, but gets no response. He changes the frequency and sends out a greeting as "Tater Bug." In the woods, Daryl and Carol watch as the Whisperers gather more walkers. She wants to cross the border to follow them. Daryl worries she's planning another shot at Alpha. He agrees, but they "can't mess this up or everyone else will pay for it." Carol goes to "pee." Daryl searches her backpack, but finds nothing. Carol returns and asks "if he found what he was looking for." She didn't bring her gun. They gear up and cross the border.
Meawhile, Beta tosses Negan a shovel and orders him to dig. "Spinning Top" plays to a montage of Beta and Negan skinning bodies, Negan digging, and collecting bodies. Beta hands Negan a tiny pocket knife and orders him to kill a wounded boar. Negan holds the animal down and savagely stabs it to death. They roast the boar in the ditch Neegan dug.
Siddiq takes Rosita to a crowded infirmary. The illness has spread. Siddiq yells at Dante for having him leave. He orders him to crush more herbs. As night falls, Daryl and Carol swear to not leave any tracks or bodies. They split up. At the Whisperer camp, Beta refuses to share the pig with Negan. He throws Negan to the ground. Negan gets up angrily, but quickly calms down. When he sits, a Whisperer hands him a piece of the meat.
At the Hilltop, Eugene is still scanning radio waves. A woman responds. At the Whisperer herd, Carol ignores Daryl's warning to get back. She steps on a branch and draws attention to their position. The Whisperers look for infiltrators. Eugene talks with the mysterious woman. She's afraid to divulge details. He tells her of his childhood in Texas. She's from Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Eugene visited the railroad museum there with his parents. They discuss the town's ice cream shop, the Inside Scoop.
In the woods, Daryl grabs a walker, guts it, and rubs the blood over his body. He hides silently behind a tree as the Whisperers walk by. At the Alexandria infirmary, Siddiq tends to a worsened Cheryl. He apologizes to Dante for his earlier behavior. Rosita has passed out. He cradles baby Coco and sits down. Siddiq falls into a trance while having a flashback. He hears Alpha say, "Open your eyes." When he does, he's standing on top of the windmill with the baby.
Negan walks beside Beta and attempts to "get along." Beta replies he will never be one of them. Negan throws it back in his face, "I'm here for Alpha. I don't give a shit. I ain't going anywhere." Beta slits the throat of a Whisperer beside them. He walks away as the blood draws the walkers and they surround Negan. He takes out his measly pocket knife.
Daryl rejoins Carol at the meeting point. She's kidnapped a Whisperer. He's blindfolded and held with plastic handcuffs. Daryl knows "you planned this." Carol says "it's done" and leads her prisoner away. At the Hilltop, Eugene is still talking with the woman. She appreciates it, "but he might still be a threat. People are dangerous." He tells her his real name. He wants to have regular conversations. She'd "like that." But she will only talk to him.
The next day at the Whisperers camp, Beta reports back to Alpha, "He was weak." Negan's booming voice interrupts them. He walks through the camp with a log covered in blood and guts, "Where's my goddamn skin suit? It better be extra large, on account of my humongous balls." He introduces himself to Alpha, then kneels before her. The other Whisperers and Beta are stunned. She touches his face. Then puts a finger gently to her lips, "Shhh."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has owned season ten. Negan is such a bad-ass. It's been ages since a character was this entertaining. Carol is playing hardball. I sincerely hope the show is building to a showdown between her and Alpha. Siddiq's mental state spells doom. "The Walking Dead" has two episodes remaining this year. "Open Your Eyes" premieres next Sunday on AMC.