The Walking Dead is redefining relationships on its latest episode. Here’s our recap of “Silence the Whisperers”.
“Silence the Whisperers” opens with life at the Kingdom and the ASZ. It focuses in on Ezekiel and how he’s coping with his loss as well as new relationships within the group.
From Alexandria’s perspective, we see Daryl join Michonne, Judith, and RJ for dinner. He takes a tray up to Carol’s room, but she doesn’t open the door. It’s worth noting that he places a flower on the tray. It’s a throwback to S2 when he presented her with a Cherokee Rose during Sophia’s loss.
At Hilltop, a tree comes down and fells the wall of Hilltop. It causes several injuries, but when Jerry asks Ezekiel what should be done, he freezes. Yumiko takes the lead and gives orders for the injured and what to do about the tree. The next morning, Ezekiel leaves Hilltop during the recovery efforts, and he is spotted on the road by Michonne.
Michonne, Judith, Eugene, and others are on their way to help Hilltop with the tree issue. During the ride over, Michonne and Judith discuss the Whisperers. Michonne calls them bullies, and you have to be careful when giving in to a bully’s demands or they’ll keep taking more from you.
Judith asks Michonne if Alpha is acting like Michonne with RJ. Since he won’t go to sleep on his own, Michonne lets him run himself tired then he sleeps on his own. Maybe Alpha is making the communities tire themselves out with these attacks and distractions so when she comes for them, they’ll be to worn out to fight back.
It’s not a bad idea at all.
The conversation gets cut short upon seeing Ezekiel, and Michonne follows him.
When she finds him, he’s on the edge of a bridge. From her angle and ours, it looks like he’s about to take his own life. Michonne asks him to step back, but he doesn’t, so she goes to stand beside him. She takes his hand, and that’s when Ezekiel crumbles.
He turns and hugs Michonne. She tells him that everything’s okay, and when he pulls back, he kisses her. Obviously, it’s not a romantic kiss. It’s one of comfort and sadness. Ezekiel and Michonne sit down to talk, and in an emotional moment, they bond over their losses.
“I lost my kingdom. I had a reign and what did I do with it? I failed. Benjamin, Shiva, Henry. Then the Kingdom. Now Hilltop. And Carol, I don’t even know how to talk to her anymore. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I came out here.”
“I’ve been here before. Not here, but here. A long time ago, when I was on my own, I was in a dark place. I started to envy walkers. Every time I ran into one, I’d tell myself, ‘I’m gonna let it bite me.’ the next thing I know my sword is chopping off its head like it has a damn mind of its own. So I put the sword down. Killed them with my own bare hands. Eventually, I just gave up.”
“And what’d that feel like?”
“It feels like a mask until it doesn’t.”
“My old mask saved my life, but I could only wear it for so long.”
“Just like that, it was gone all over again. Somehow it’s harder the second time around. Especially when you’re used to having someone there. That partner in crime, that sounding board, that walk. How it’s all on you. Just you.”
“And yet, I smile.”
This is how The Walking Dead is slowly redefining relationships. There’s so much platonic love on this show and it’s beautiful. After everything they’ve been through, it’s silly to think there wouldn’t be.
In the first few minutes of “Silence the Whisperers”, we see Daryl assuming a family position by sitting at the head of Michonne’s table. Later, she entrusts him with RJ. Daryl also votes in her stead when she’s gone, and she doesn’t even tell him how to vote. She trusts his judgement.
In his limited interaction with Carol, we see Daryl caring for her from a distance because that’s how she needs to be cared for, and smothering her will push her away.
In romantic relationships, we’ve seen it more obviously in how Rosita, Saddiq, and Gabriel work together to make a loving environment for Coco.
After Ezekiel’s talk with Michonne, he goes back to Hilltop. In the time he’s been away, more walkers have arrived, and a group is fighting outside the gates to keep them back.
Yumiko tells them they need to fallback, but Magna feels like they can take the remaining walkers. Eventually, Connie has to get Magna’s attention and force her to come back inside the gate. Almost immediately after they block the gate, the wall collapses and walkers pour inside.
At this point, Ezekiel, Michonne, Judith, and the others arrive. In what I consider one of the best scenes in “Silence the Whisperers”, Judith and Michonne fight side-by-side with their katanas.
After the threat is eliminated, Michonne goes inside to call Alexandria. This is when she tells Daryl to vote in her place, and also implores him to keep Lydia safe. Before she can leave the room, Oceanside calls in, and they don’t have good news either. They think someone has been watching them.
“Silence the Whisperers” ends with Magna and Yumiko at odds over their miscommunications. The audience also finds out that Yumiko was Magna’s lawyer before the apocalypse.
At the end, Ezekiel seems to be in a better place and tells everyone goodbye before they head off to Oceanside.
Overall, Hilltop leaves this episode pretty positively.
“Silence the Whisperers” has a much bigger meaning and presence in Alexandria.
Aaron, who’s been viewed as a “good guy” so far this season, is leading a training on the grounds. Lydia is walking by, and one of the Highway Men puts a bag over his head and asks if her mother would let him being in their group. When she doesn’t respond, he reminds Lydia that her mother kicked her out.
Lydia walks away, but the whole time Aaron is watching and doesn’t say a word. This surface affirmation that Aaron is a “good guy” keeps getting overshadowed by his actions. If he had always been this confrontational with Negan, I would have understood it, but Lydia doesn’t deserve his ire. She’s not in control of her mother’s actions and never has been.
After leaving that group, Lydia goes to the laundry area. She’s playing with worms which makes us this about the first time she was out with Henry last season.
Negan appears and tells her that she’ll be on laundry duty if she keeps hanging around. Lydia tells him that she’s tired of people targeting her, and his advice, “Kill them with kindness” isn’t working. In true Negan fashion, he says screw those guys. That’s when Daryl busts in and takes Lydia away.
Negan says that she’s just trying to fit in, and Daryl reminds him that’s something that will never happen if she hangs out with him.
On their walk home, Lydia tells Daryl that Negan is the only one who understands, but Daryl doesn’t want her around him. They both stop short when they reach their door.
SILENCE THE WHISPERERS has been painted across it. The tag appears in several places around the ASZ.
Later that day, Lydia tries to scare the Highway Men group by sitting beside them and cleaning a dead squirrel. When they freak out, she raises a bloody finger to her lips and says, “Shhhh.”
As I watched this scene, I couldn’t help but think it was the perfect blend of Dixon influence: Daryl (cleaning the squirrel) and Merle (the shhh).
That night, Lydia is out at the laundry space again when those same three people attack her. Negan saves the day and accidentally kills the woman involved when he shoves her away. Of course, everyone wants Negan’s blood instead of asking why three adults were attacking a teenager.
Daryl sends Negan away from mob to avoid bloodshed. Meanwhile, Saddiq has another panic attack and runs away from the group.
In the infirmary, Lydia remembers her dad. She says that he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have kept her safe. She also tells Daryl that Negan saved her life.
After he leaves Lydia, Daryl goes to Negan. He starts out by saying that everyone outside wants him dead, and no one is around to protect him anymore. This doesn’t sit well with Negan.
“If you came here looking for a confession, keep walking. It was an accident, and for the record, screw her. She was a goddamn asshole, beating on a kid. The world is better off. But you already know that, don’t you? You came down here to look me in the eye because you don’t know what to do with me. Shit, all that time you spent fantasing about my death. All that time you actually tried to kill me, and now look at you. You’re not so sure.”
“You listen to me, real close, you and I ain’t never been in a room before. Not toe-to-toe. And there ain’t nobody to save you right now.”
“What do you want me to do, Daryl? I mean, the people out there are out for blood. Guys like you and me, we can smell that from a mile away.”
“Why help Lydia? You ain’t a hero.”
“No. No, I’m not. I’m a sucker. I started believing in your way of life. Your moral code. Hell, you even gave me a little taste of freedom then yanked it away when I actually did the right thing. You gotta admit, that’s pretty messed up, and we both know I appreciate some pretty messed up shit.”
“You’re gonna get a chance to tell your side.”
“Who’s the sucker now?”
On his way back home, Daryl see Carol sitting on the steps of a townhouse. He stops, and they talk briefly.
“Everyone’s taking about Negan again.”
“I don’t give a shit about him. I believe her, though. I do.”
“This is a distraction. Hilltop has a tree through its walls. Alexandria’s been attacked.”
“Enough bad stuff’s happening in here. If we don’t fix it, there won’t be anything left.”
Carol makes the comment that they should have gone to New Mexico, and Daryl noncommittally agrees before leaving.
On the radio, Daryl explains what’s happening there. Michonne asks if she should come home, but he says no. This is where she tells him to vote in her place, and asks how RJ is doing. She also tells him that Lydia must be protected at all cost.
“Alpha wanted you to protect her. Look, Lydia’s presence might not help us, but if Alpha thinks she isn’t safe with us or if Lydia runs off because of all this, it’ll definitely hurt us. She has to stay at Alexandria.”
“All right. I’ll make sure.”
“Let’s just keep this between us for now.”
When he gets off the radio, Daryl goes to the council meeting where they’re interviewing the two guys who attacked Lydia. The group says that Lydia and Negan planned the ambush together. Gabriel doesn’t believe that if they were afraid of her that they’d meet her in the dark.
Aaron is very much for killing Negan based on everything he’s done. He says something is “broken” inside him. Saddiq, still dealing with his PTSD, says the Whisperers are the threat.
Daryl tells them that his voting in Michonne’s place, and he believes Lydia. He’s a “no” to killing Negan.
As the council is tied, it falls to Gabriel. He tells them he’s taking the night to think about it, and he advises they do the same.
Daryl says if they don’t decide, the people outside will. He’s absolutely not wrong.
The next morning, Gabriel goes down to talk to Negan, and we find out that he has escaped. Lydia says she did it and locks herself in Negan’s cell. Daryl calls her on her bullshit, and Lydia admits she didn’t let him go. Still, they would think she did, so she’s just going with it before she’s accused.
“You put on these polite faces, but you place the blame and aim and fire.”
She says that Negan helped her. Daryl says she doesn’t know who Negan is, but she says that the thing she knows is that Negan kept her safe.
She stays locked in the cell.
“Silence the Whisperers” ends with Carol on the roof, looking at a map with a compass. Daryl’s cleaning the doors to their house. The camera focuses on a Silence the Whisperers near the wall and the cheery music turns to walkers noises and whisper talk.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c