The Walking Dead's midseason ten premiere had multiple characters in tight situations. "Squeeze" toggles between Daryl's (Norman Reedus) group trapped in the cave, and internal strife in Alpha's (Samantha Morton) camp. Carol (Melissa McBride) suffers claustrophobia while finally admitting her true intentions. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) gives Alpha sage advice and earns an unexpected "crass reward." The episode has an explosive climax on both fronts.

The Walking Dead, episode 10.9 "Squeeze" begins with Daryl, Carol, Jerry (Cooper Andrews), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Magna (Nadia Hilker), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), and Kelly (Angel Theory) trapped on a ledge in the cave; surrounded by thousands of walkers. Carol screams at Alpha as she looks at them from the drop. Alpha exits the cave and tells a group of Whisperers, "Don't let them get out."

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Daryl spots a group of rocks leading to another ledge. Everyone hopscotches across with walkers grabbing at their feet. Carol starts to panic. Daryl announces she's claustrophobic. Magna is furious at Carol for getting them into this situation. But Daryl isn't having it. He lights a match, then follows the wind further into the cave.

In the Whisperers camp that night, Alpha wonders how they found the herd. She believes they are sending spies across the border. She sends Gamma (Thora Birch) to warn their people. Negan watches Gamma leave with great interest. In the cave, Carol wonders how Daryl knew she had claustrophobia. "If I only knew what you told me, I wouldn't know shit," replies Daryl. They have an honest conversation about her need for revenge. Carol is filled with regret, but admits that she wants Alpha to suffer. Then die at her hands.

Magna uses a match to explore. She runs into the Whisperers that Alpha sent. It's a brutal fight, but the group kills them all. Aaron makes use of his mace hand attachment. Jerry sees an arrow etched into the rock. The matches point the way again with wind.

Negan approaches Alpha as she's using the latrine at the edge of camp. He warns her that he's been in her situation. He was a "king." Who's followers told him what he wanted to hear, "that your sh*t don't stink." He advises her to beware of Gamma. Alpha will not allow "paranoia" in the camp. She puts a knife to Negan's testicles, then pushes him into the sh*t pit.

In the cave, Daryl finds a slim opening. He sees footprints in the dirt. Carol panics again, but Connie writes "U - R - O - K" on her palm. Everyone walks, then crawls upwards. Daryl comes to another opening, but Carol freezes in terror. Daryl coaxes her up with his flashlight. Jerry hears walkers coming behind him. It's a mad crawl as everyone rushes to the top. Jerry gets stuck. The walkers bite through his shoes, but he's pulled to safety. He's luckily not bitten.

Daryl comes to another ledge. He drops the flaming carcass hand he'd been using as a torch. It falls unto thousands of walkers trapped below. The group enters a mine shaft. Kelly finds a box of old dynamite. Jerry warns her to put it back before it explodes. The group tries to dig out an exit.

In Alpha's camp, Beta (Ryan Hurst) brings troubling news. Gamma never made it to their people. Alpha realizes she is the spy. She orders Beta to bring her back. She will make an example of her before the camp. Negan is told to follow Alpha. She has him walk ahead of her away from the camp. Negan babbles nervously, he's not good with long silences. Alpha forces him to keep his eyes facing front, then remove his clothes. When he turns around, she's naked except for her skin mask. Negan wonders if this a "praying mantis situation." Alpha believes he's due a "crass reward." He kisses her passionately as their nude bodies embrace.

Daryl sees a light above. They dig feverishly, but Carol has disappeared. She's gone back to the ledge with the dynamite. Carol tries to light the stick, but loses her grip. Daryl comes back and grabs her. She wants to take out half of Alpha's horde. "She killed my boy," but Daryl refuses to let her go. The dynamite drops and explodes.

The mine shaft begins to shake. Aaron and Jerry hold up the beams. Kelly gets out first, but the noise has attracted Whisperer guards. She fights them. Aaron goes next, shredding them with his mace. Jerry strains to hold the opening. Daryl goes, then pulls out Carol. Magna and Connie remain in the cave to fight off Whisperers behind them.

Jerry rushes out as the hole collapses. The remaining dynamite explodes, trapping Magna and Connie in the cave. They have to escape before more Whisperers come. Daryl stays to find another way in. The others will return for help. Carol breaks down, begging Daryl to blame her. He and Aaron walk past the distraught Carol.

"Squeeze" started off slowly, but ended on an intriguing note. Carol's selfishness and stupidity was the constant throughout. Her tears and anguish ring hollow with Magna and Connie still trapped. Negan has seduced Alpha. We'll see if what happens in the comic plays out in the show. Season ten continues to be solidly entertaining. The Walking Dead returns with "Stalker", next week on AMC.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman