Surely tonight's trip into Whisperer territory will come back to haunt them.
Our annual summer break from "The Walking Dead" has come to an end, as we kick it into high gear again for Season 10 of the AMC series -- a season which will see the exit of our beloved Danai Gurira and Michonne.
Thankfully, it didn't happen in the premiere, which included an impressive fight sequence on the beach, a crashing USSR satellite, forest fire and the threat of The Whisperers, who -- while mostly out of sight -- are definitely not out of mind.
The episode began with a massive training montage, showing nearly all our favorite survivors get into formation to fight off a horde of water-logged walkers from a shipwreck at Oceanside. With Aaron leading the charge, they seemed like a very well-oiled machine and everyone had a job. Behind the front line of spiked shields, there were archers, spear throwers, Magna rocking an axe and both Michonne and Judith putting their swords to good use.
Since the devastation of the fair massacre, it's clear they want to be ready for another attack from either The Whisperers themselves or the massive horde Alpha and her followers threatened to steer their way.
As Judith and RJ are playing on the beach, they find one of the still-disturbing flesh masks in the sand, sparking concern from the adults. Michonne didn't want to start a panic, and agreed to send out a group to scout the surrounding area. As she and Aaron were on their lookout, they debated whether they're really "the good guys" or "the villains to someone else's story" -- before he crossed over into Whisper territory to kill a few walkers. Michonne was ticked he defied Alpha's warning, while Aaron was equally mad she obeyed it in the first place.
While the two fought it out, Aaron said he's "god damn sick of being nice," something Michonne said never worked for her either. "Smart did," she told him. "They have a nuclear weapon and we don't," she added, referring to their horde. "Believe me, I hate this too." Thinking of all those they've lost, Michonne went back to the original question at hand, saying "we have to choose to be the good guys, even when it's hard." The minute they give that up, it's over.
As all this was going on, viewers got caught up with a few other characters as well. Kelly is losing her hearing, a development which is taking an emotional toll on her. Helping her deal is Connie, who reassured her everything will be okay -- and said being deaf "is not a disability, it's a damn superpower." Speaking of Connie, she definitely has some sparks with Daryl, who has been learning sign language to communicate with her better. Sorry #Caryl fans.
As for Carol, she's been spending her time at sea and away from Ezekiel, from whom she split in the season finale after the death of Henry. They had a very frosty reunion on the dock, before she ran off for some one-on-one time with Daryl, who sweetly called her his "best friend." They also got into it a little over Alpha and the Whisperers -- Carol doesn't want to stick to their boundaries, he's more cautious. While Daryl won't join her on the high seas, they cook up their ideal future together: driving West to New Mexico to "see who's left."
Over in Alexandria, Eugene appeared to have the most interest in Rosita and Siddiq's baby, while she mainly preoccupied herself by working out. Siddiq, on the other hand, is grappling with PTSD as the only survivor of the Whisperer attack, causing him to slip on his duties as a new dad. The love quadrangle between Rosita, Eugene, Siddiq and Gabriel appears to be very much not over.
Lydia, meanwhile, has bonded a bit with Negan, as they're both outsiders in this town thanks to their pasts with enemy groups. She's also in school, learning how to read for the first time with a group of much younger classmates. Negan -- still in prison but granted time in the garden under watchful eye -- knows he's starting to look pretty good compared to the Whisperers and is cool with his reputation as "the guy that picks the vegetables and takes out the trash."
As he's giving advice to Gabriel about how to deal with the new skin mask -- telling him he needs to make everyone feel "secure," even if it's a false alarm -- a satellite crashes to earth, throwing almost everyone named above into action.
The crash caused a huge fire in the forrest, which Michonne and her people on the beach rushed to put out, despite being over the Whisperer line. Why? "Fires spread" and they didn't want to risk it affecting their own people. They dug a fire line to stop it from spreading elsewhere, but the sound of the fire and all the action attracted a ton of walkers. Kill of the Week goes to Daryl, who threw an axe at a burning tree hard enough to knock it over onto a bunch of zombies.
With the fire out, Eugene inspected the satellite for some tech, before Daryl asked Carol to not leave again -- "otherwise I'm going to have to punch holes in all them boats." But it's what happened next that will surely convince Carol to stick around. In the show's final moment, Alpha walked into a clearing, looked up and locked angry eyes with Carol, setting a surefire showdown between these two over Henry.
What'd you make of the premiere? Looks like we'll learn more about Alpha's whereabouts over the break next week.