‘The Walking Dead’ Season 10, Episode 3 ‘Ghosts’ Review: Zombie Waves & Hallucinations
BY David Riley
Published 4 years ago
It’s been a while since I felt genuine fright from an episode of The Walking Dead. Tonight, the show has us putting our shitting pants back on as “Ghosts” paves the way for the Halloween season’s scares and horrors.
We’ve seen the dynamic between Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Beta (Ryan Hurst) last week. This time, that dynamic takes full effect as the ongoing border issue irks the leader of the Whisperers even more. Following the space satellite crash that nearly engulfed the woods in flames, Alpha has none of the communities’ concerted effort to kill the fire before it takes over all of their settlements. Because of that, they have to be punished by the insane amount of hordes that the Whisperers have in their arsenal.
But just as I said, “Ghosts” brings back the scariness of the Walkers and puts the fear back in The Walking Dead. Partner that with the trauma that our main survivors are facing, tonight’s episode makes for a tasteful return to the show’s horror roots and a knack for portraying psychological turmoil in the zombie apocalypse.
Here’s everything that went down on The Walking Dead.
Alexandria vs. Zombies: There’s Literally Hundreds of Them on Their Lawn
The day starts out normally, but nothing could ever prepare the dwellers of Alexandria for the incoming onslaught. Various search and clear-out parties are sent out from Alexandria to take care of small Walker herds. But as the day goes on, hundreds of Walkers make their way to the community. The survivors face wave after wave of the dead that lasts for more than two straight days. In the midst of the attack, Gamma (Thora Birch) appears, telling Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) to meet Alpha at the main border (let’s call it Head Spike Hill).
It’s a stressful shitstorm out there. Because even as Gamma extends the not-so-cordial invitation, the hordes won’t stop coming (bitch even has the audacity to tell them that it’s not their doing). The Alexandria council organizes a meeting, but the people want more blood, even the remnants of the Highwaymen. Lydia (Cassady McClincy) even backs Gamma up, saying that this is not the way Alpha operates. She’s clearly in the dark now. What she doesn’t know is that her mom’s been stepping up her game since losing her. But of course, everyone’s tired and on edge, so no one’s actually making sense. In the end, Michonne decides to meet Alpha at the border and designate small teams to handle the Walkers coming from the north and south end.
That night, Michonne, Daryl, Carol (Melissa McBride), and a few other fighters from Alexandria head out to the border. And it turns out that Alpha has new terms for violating the border rule thrice (one was when they crossed it during the snowstorm, two was when Michonne and Aaron had an argument near the bridge, and three was during the space satellite crash)—she’s extending the scope of their land, reducing the community’s hunting and scavenging grounds.
The epic Carol-Alpha staredown also comes to a head when Carol attempts to shoot Alpha. She’s lucky that Alpha was in a chipper, forgiving mood. Then again, Alpha’s also lucky that Carol didn’t bring her big guns to choke the daylights out of her. I mean, come on, this is Carol we’re talking about here. One does not simply fuck with her like that.
The Trauma Is Hella Real
Our survivors have gone through every loss imaginable, but the “heads on a spike” death took them all way harder than expected—particularly Carol and Siddiq (Avi Nash). For one, Carol was coping with Henry’s death by downing multiple sleeping pills throughout the day, causing her to have active hallucinations. After the meeting at the border, Michonne’s group decides to hole up in a nearby town center for a while. On their way there, Carol reportedly sees three Whisperers tailing them. And even as Daryl and the others scope the area out, Carol keeps seeing wonky shit. In one of the creepiest scenes of the episode, Carol picks up a book with a mom serving pancakes to her five kids as its cover. It then transforms into her with Sofia, Lizzie, Mika, Sam, and Henry—all throats slashed and looking eerily at Carol. Carol has another hallucination of Daryl telling her about his trucker father who thought he saw a ghost but was actually sleep-deprived.
In an effort to shake it off, Carol asks Daryl for one more hour on the lookout. Another “hallucination” threatens to overtake her so Carol follows a Walker down a dark room. However, Carol steps on a trap that attracts a small horde. This “Walker” turns out to be a Whisperer, who’s probably leading Carol to her death for disrespecting Alpha earlier. Carol tries to shoot the Whisperer but she runs off, leaving the horde closing in on Carol. Eventually, Carol was able to free herself from the trap and kill the Walkers, but she passes out after a glass shard lodges itself into her abdomen.
Michonne, Daryl, and the rest of the group bring Carol to Siddiq the next day. Then again, Siddiq is also really out of his element. Earlier, Siddiq had a panic attack during the meeting. And when he was about to operate on Carol with Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), Siddiq has horrifying flashes of Alpha killing his friends the night before the Head Spike Hill was inaugurated with, well, heads. Unable to finish the operation, Dante takes over and has Siddiq hit the bench.
Carol wakes up a little later to another hallucination of her buying eggs (with real money!) for her now-husband Daryl. Henry is also sitting on the table. Carol then wakes up for real and faces the hard truth from Michonne—she’s the only one who saw the Whisperers. Meanwhile, Siddiq gets an impromptu therapy/debriefing session with Dante, who used to suffer from PTSD when he lost his entire squad in Iraq.
But it’s hard to believe whether or not what Carol saw was true. Because in the woods, a Whisperer just died from a gunshot wound and reanimates into a Walker.
More Relationship Woes
“Ghosts” also zeroes in on a couple of relationships tonight. And if you’re wanting more of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) like me, this is our episode, baby! Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) forces Aaron (Ross Marquand) to pair up with Negan to clear out the small horde in the southern part of the community. It goes well for the first few kills, but Aaron goes apeshit when Negan picks up a crowbar for a more efficient kill. Tensions rise as Aaron places all the blame for his husband Eric’s death on Negan. When another wave hits, Aaron is overpowered by a vine-infested Walker. He’s able to kill it, but the vines get on his eyes, blinding him temporarily. He sets out to find Negan and holes up in a small cabin.
Now, this is where we once again see Negan being the Savior that he was. He’s also in the same cabin but refuses to answer when Aaron calls out to him. When another pair of Walkers barge in the cabin, Negan springs to action and saves Aaron, telling him about the vines that caused him to go blind albeit temporarily. Negan watches through the night, and Aaron wakes up to Negan still on active guard duty. So, maybe don’t blame him for everything from here on? Negan’s obviously showing signs of being a changed man, but everyone just loves to give him shit for something he did (and had to pay for brutally) more than ten years ago.
Meanwhile, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) have a little time together during the Walker waves but ultimately turns into a truth-revealing ordeal for our infamous nerd hero. All this time, Eugene was thinking that if he could get closer to Rosita as a friend, it’ll blossom into something more than that. But Rosita tells him squarely in the face that they’re never going to happen. Ouch. Poor Eugene. I guess all those baby calculations and equations are worth nothing now.
‘The Walking Dead 10×3: Ghosts’ Overall Verdict
It’s been a long time since we saw an episode of The Walking Dead sport terrifying vibes like this. “Ghosts” is a welcome blast from the past, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Directed by Walking Dead BTS alum Greg Nicotero (from a script written by showrunner Angela Kang and Geraldine Inoa), the episode perfectly holds the horror up to a bar that never goes down. Adding to that is the show’s emotional undertones tackling the trauma that Siddiq and Carol are going through. It gives a powerful voice to the struggle of having PTSD and anxiety (or mental illness as a whole). For a show as serious as having zombies every week, it sure knows how to handle relevant themes in the most genius and meticulous ways. The pacing is eloquently fleshed out, with the threat of the Walkers—and an occasional jumpscare—peppered generously all throughout the episode. It’s a nice way to bring things back to the show’s roots and it’s never too late to make it so until (probably) the midseason finale.
Let me catch my breath for a second here. That was one fucking intense episode.
The Walking Dead continues Sunday, October 27th, with “Silence the Whisperers” at 9/8c on AMC.