The Walking Dead Awards: Adventures in spelunking 

Season 10, Episode 9: The Mines of Moria

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The Walking Dead 1009
Well, at least they had copious matches and flashlights.

Photograph by Jace Downs/AMC

(Spoilers ahead)

Each week, we comb through the guts of The Walking Dead, much like a horde of hungry walkers, to bring you the episode’s best moments, surprises, and other post-apocalyptic curiosities. This week: the group explores a cave, Negan has sex in the woods, and boom goes the dynamite.

Season 10, Episode 9: “Squeeze”

Darkest subject matter: The cave. Come on, AMC, we can suspend disbelief when it comes to the lighting conditions of caves. Our TV brightness only can go up so far!

Worst environmental decision: Alpha, after leaving our heroes to die in the walker-infested cave, carelessly throws her still-lit torch on the forest floor and walks away. We’ve seen the devastation a wildfire can cause on this show already—in this season, no less. Have some common sense, Alpha.

Best platforming: Clearly our heroes spent their former lives playing Super Mario Bros. as they all lunged across the stone platforms in the cave nearly effortlessly. As close as those walkers got to each of them as they hopped by, it feels nearly impossible (read: actually difficult to suspend disbelief) that someone wouldn’t have been pulled under or bit.

Easiest detective work: Gamma just about pulled a “Jim from The Office” camera mug when Alpha and Beta were talking about spies. No wonder Negan was able to figure it out so quickly.

Best callback: Carol has actually mentioned her claustrophobia before, way back in the 6th episode of the series, “TS-19.”

Most prepared: Good thing Aaron just happened to bring his mace attachment along on this trip. Always carry the proper accessories.

Biggest question: How did both Negan and Alpha take off their pants without removing their boots first?

Most regretted sponsorship deal: Poor Microsoft Surface, getting that lucrative “brought to you by” ad spot right after Alpha and Negan’s full-body nudity.

Most frustrating: It’s not as though Carol hasn’t spent the entire series making questionable decisions, but watching her continue to give into her worst instincts over and over this season is exhausting.

Best exchange:
Aaron to Jerry as they crawl through the narrow cave passage: “Hey, you alright back there?”

Jerry: “Yeah, sure, I’m just a six-foot-two dude who had trouble fitting into airplane bathrooms, why wouldn’t I be ok?”

Most disturbing image: Negan and Alpha’s . . . scene. We can’t think of two characters we’d be less excited about hooking up. The whole thing was awkward, from the lack of chemistry, to the clinical nature of the transaction, to the fact that Alpha kept the dead skin of another human on her face the entire time. We didn’t sign up for any of this, and we just want to go home.

Best kill: Caryl. This fan-favorite platonic couple has been strained as of late, but this week’s episode certainly makes it seem that Daryl is tired of Carol’s blind rage cauring trouble for everyone around her. Carol seems like she’s genuinely sorry for her actions, but given her trauma losing Henry, we’re not sure if she’s coming back to the light just yet. Either way, it’ll be awhile before this friendship is on the mend.

Episode MVP: Jerry, for not dying. We knew early on that he was going to be on Talking Dead, which is never a good sign for a character’s survival (as evidenced by the show’s other cast member guest, Lauren Ridloff, who plays the now-in-limbo Connie). We mentally prepared ourselves for the loss of a favorite character when he got stuck in the narrow crevice. Even when Kelly uncovered the box of dynamite, we were still half-expecting him to just disintegrate. The peril instead was directed toward Connie and Magna, which is not great, but slightly better.

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