That did not feel like a midseason finale.
In some respects, it worked.
In others, it felt like the producers forgot about a lot of storylines that should have gotten resolved, or at the very least, gotten some more steam to keep fans pondering as they await the next batch of episodes.
Michonne leaving everyone behind to go on a mission with Virgil was a huge development, but it felt like an afterthought.
I respect the need for Michonne to say goodbye to Judith even though the mission is only supposed to last a few days. Michonne doesn't know what's out there, and with the rising threat of the Whisperers, she has no clue whether everything will be the same when she returns.
Gabriel: Did you even have a son?
Dante: Why does that matter?
Gabriel: I guess it doesn't. It was one of the things I liked about you.
Dante: That my son was killed?
Gabriel: That you had a family. I suppose you'd like me to never trust anyone ever again.
Dante: It's a meaningless idea.
More challenges will probably arise along the way, but for now, it was the most convincing way to write out Danai Gurira as the sword-wielding hero.
It feels like the start of something more for Michonne. Gurira can take a break from the series, presumably to work on other aspects of her career, while also leaving the door open to return to do battle with the Whisperers.
Virgil fought hard to return to his family, and it was a commendable battle. Even in the face of death, his family was his sole concern. His words struck a chord with Michonne because she was against the prospect of trusting anyone else.
Dante's betrayal rocked the communities to the core. Everyone feels like there's no plausible way to trust people who want to join them, and that's going to cause problems.
Dante was a charismatic man who managed to fool everyone behind the walls of Alexandria. His loyalty to Alpha knew no bounds, even though his infiltration of the settlement was an initiation test to join the Whisperers.
With the world essentially over, it's not too difficult to believe that some people are laughing at the prospect of life returning to the way it was before the outbreak.
Then again, we've witnessed Alexandria thrive when under attack. It all comes down to strategy, but the heroes know there's a way to make communities work. It's just a case of making sacrifices, as well as the right decisions to stop the constant fighting.
Dante was a spanner in the works, so to speak.
Daryl: I hope that hurts.
Dante: It doesn't matter. None of this matters, watching our people get incinerated, devoured, you see how ridiculous it is getting attached to ourselves, but knowing that sets you free.
Carol: Is that what you're doing, setting us free?
Dante: If you learn that lesson, it will only help you.
Daryl: You must want us to be like you.
Dante: Accept the future.
Gabriel: Siddiq depended on you. Why put him through all that hell in the barn, just to kill him months later? I can't see an ideology behind that.
Dante: I liked Siddiq.
Rosita: No, you liked him.
Dante: It wasn't part of the plan. But he found out who I was, so I had no choice.
Carol: What plan?
Dante: Encourage your paranoia about us, which will push you into bad decisions. Places like this are cruel promises to their people and they crumble at the smallest nick. Hell, I'm going to enjoy watching you tearing each other apart wondering what to do with me, just like with Negan.
Gabriel: Is that what you want, a public reckoning, a chance to be heard?
Dante: That's what you'll give me. Because it's right.
Rosita: We helped you.
Dante: And why, because you wanted another doctor around? You got something from me, too. Don't pretend you didn't.
Alpha's mental warfare has been causing problems for a while now. From sending her hordes of walkers to the communities to cutting down trees to eliminate the defenses, she's slowly making her presence felt.
She wants everyone to live in fear so that she can use the element of surprise when she decides that she wants to take out the communities. It's an inevitable progression.
There's a method to her madness, but she's staying mum on many aspects of that plan, at least for now.
As Alpha, Samantha Morton continues to deliver a cold-as-ice performance that perfectly embodies the character from the source material. Still, it's time to think about an endgame to the Whisperers arc.
The arc successfully reinvigorated a dying series, so the sticking the landing of the plot as it continues will be crucial to whether many fans will continue to watch beyond The Walking Dead Season 10.
While Alpha is cold-blooded, expectations from our core characters is somewhat different.
And Carol's thirst to murder Alpha is putting people in danger, and her decisions have been largely selfish.
Then again, Carol has lost a lot at Alpha's hands. She was living life as a Queen and in love with the man of her dreams. She was also a mother again, but Alpha's actions took all of that away from her.
Still, Carol should be thinking with her head so that she can be sure she is making the right decisions. Rushing into the cave without giving it a second thought was plain silly because, with Alpha, there's always something else at play.
No one is actually kind. We are selfish. We are brutal. Come on, even seeing all of those heads on spikes didn't teach you what people are?Dante
Alpha might have looked like she was alone outside the cave, but with the knowledge that her horde of walkers are in there, it was unwise to assume there weren't more Whisperers in there.
Now that Alpha knows everyone is aware of the horde's location, she's not going to be able to move them before there's a strike against her people. There's no telling what Michonne will be capable of once she gets the weapons.
It could have been a sign that Alpha doesn't have a lot of trust in her third-in-command when Gamma told Aaron where to find the horde.
There was genuine pain behind Gamma's eyes after realizing that Alpha had been playing her all along, so it certainly seems as though Gamma was feeding Aaron the information she was told.
If that is the case, it means Alpha will know Gamma can't be trusted, and she'll act accordingly.
With everything that's going on with Alpha and Gamma, it would have been nice to check in with Negan to get some insight into his machinations for joining the Whisperers.
It seems we'll have to wait on that.
The opening of "The World Before" was the most harrowing yet. With Christian Serratos appearing in an upcoming Netflix series, there was a real possibility that Dante would manage to overpower and murder Rosita.
The entire Dante storyline was handled very well, and despite dying sooner than I thought, the story will continue to have ramifications overall for some time to come.
Dante's murder was a surprise we should have seen coming. Slowly, Gabriel is beginning to understand that it's not easy to be in a position of power, especially when people are getting murdered left, right, and center.
In a stunning sequence of events, Siddiq's death pushed Gabriel to murder. He felt he had to get vengeance for his fallen friend and for Rosita, who now must raise her child as a single mother.
"The World Before" was the weakest episode of the season. That's not to say it was terrible. The bar is currently set very high, but for a midseason finale, it was lacking.
What did you think of Carol chasing Alpha into the cave? Did Gamma tell Aaron the truth, or was she playing them?
Are you happy with the way Michonne's storyline is playing out?
Hit the comments.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.