The finale picks up right where the series left off, but that was six whole months ago, so it’s safe to say memories will be fuzzy. Based on the comic book series of the same name from issue #145 onward, season 10 of The Walking Dead largely focuses on the groups' preparation and eventual full-on war against the creepy, zombie-head-wearing Whisperers, who keep sending their hordes of Walkers after the groups, set several months after the massacre at the fair. Still not quite ringing a bell? Allow us to fill in the gaps before you dive into that new episode.
Who are the Whisperers, again?
The Whisperers are a large group of angry, hostile survivors who believe humans should return to our animalistic roots and live in the wild. They essentially operate as a pack, like wolves, with Alpha (Samantha Morton), the one who prompted that fair massacre, their leader. The group is incredibly territorial and will stop at nothing to protect what they believe to be their land — including killing others. How do they survive during a zombie apocalypse, though? Easy: they wear the skin of Walkers they’ve killed and even create masks out of heads so they can move undetected.
The group, which first appeared last season, was formed by Alpha, her daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy), and a man called Beta (Ryan Hurst) who is second in command. The trio met in a hospital and used the skin of dead Walkers to cover their human scent and survive, picking up more members of their group along the way.
What's going on with this war?
At the start of season 10, the groups haven’t seen any sign of the Whisperers... until a Whisperer mask washes ashore right around the time a satellite crashes on the border of Whisperer territory. As Alpha goes to check out the crash she spots Carol (Melissa McBride) off in the distance. Meanwhile, the groups at Alexandria and Hilltop are both defending themselves against Walkers — presumably sent by Whisperers.
Things escalate over the course of the season as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carol arrive at the Whisperers’ border and lay down their weapons. Alpha decides to move up the borders of their territory, but Carol isn’t having it and shortly after captures a Whisperer of her own. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) later arrives at Whisperer border and is attacked by Beta and blindfolded. He proves his worth to Beta and vows loyalty to Alpha, working his way into the group. Siddiq (Avi Nash), meanwhile, realizes Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) is a Whisperer spy, leading Dante to kill him so he can hide his Whisperer identity. Things continue to get worse between the two sides as Negan leads a horde to Hilltop, which Whisperers burn down. Negan, however, eventually lures Alpha to a cabin and kills her — turns out he and Carol were working together to bring her down. (Daryl doesn’t quite buy that Negan killed Alpha, though.) In the penultimate episode of the season, Beta leads a group of Walkers to Alexandria, only to discover it’s empty — everyone is hiding in a nearby hospital. Beta leads the group to the hospital, preparing us for the ultimate showdown in this tense, dragged-out war between the sides.
Uh, what happened to Carol?
Carol and Alpha have been at odds since the beginning of the season. In the first few episodes, Carol and Alpha both watch each other from a distance, and Carol tries to kill Alpha early on but Michonne and Daryl stop her. When Carol captures the Whisperer she wants to turn them against Alpha for lying about Lydia’s death. She eventually spots Alpha again and runs after her, leading the group straight into a cave where Alpha’s horde has them cornered. She detonates dynamite they found to try and get everyone freed, but it doesn’t quite work, as some are captured when the exit collapses.
After Alpha’s death Carol even hallucinates her — but she’s still in the fight as the finale showdown looms. “Carol feels like she's got a lot to make up for,” the showrunner, Angela Kang, told ComicBook.com. “She'll be stepping up.” Sounds like she’ll be stepping up just in time for quite the battle as they face off against Beta’s horde and the Whisperers once and (hopefully) for all.