The Walking Dead Awards: It came from outer space

Season 10, Episode 1: “Hey, bringing in the Soviets worked for Stranger Things!”

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Season 10 is on fire!

Photograph by Jackson Lee Davis/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: Training Day, Red Dawn, and Easy Rider.

Season 10, Episode 1: “Lines We Cross”

Biggest coincidence in show history: We’re not saying that a derelict Soviet satellite couldn’t fall out of orbit over Eastern Virginia some 8-10 years after the world ended and end up in a mostly intact chunk, we’re just saying it’s the least likely thing to happen . . . and this is a show about the reanimated dead.

Worst sound effect: The gurgling water-logged sea walkers from the episode’s first scene. Gross.

Memory jogger: Just in case you forgot, Carol reminds the audience that Maggie is presumably alive somewhere and had been leaving letters for the communities, albeit not recently, Carol notes. Still no word yet on if Lauren Cohen will rejoin the cast now that her ABC series Whiskey Cavalier has been cancelled, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Foreshadowing: Sisters Kelly and Connie shared a sentimental moment on the beach when Kelly admitted that her hearing was getting worse. She worried about not being able to interpret for Connie, who told her not to worry, that deafness was a superpower. Unfortunately, this moment was far too wholesome for it not to signal that one of them is going to die soon.

Worst new character: Dante, the somewhat cocky and self-absorbed new doctor working alongside Saddiq. We’re already expecting his death sometime this season. We’re not sure we’ll shed a tear when that happens.

Best merch idea: If they aren’t already producing officially licensed Daryl and Carol friendship bracelets (made out of fishing line, with little sea shells and a matching dog collar), they’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Best new nickname for Eugene: “Eugenius”

Best subtle franchise reference: If you’re also watching Fear the Walking Dead, you know that radiation played a big part of the most recent season. Luke’s comment about the radiation was a nice callback to that. Or, rather it would be, except . . .

Best subtle genre reference: . . . it was more likely a reference the George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the 1968 classic zombie film that started the modern take of the genre. In the film, a space probe returning from Venus crashes back to Earth and is labeled the source of the dead rising.

Cutest (not yet a) couple: As if we weren’t already rooting for Daryl and Connie, now the stoic archer is learning sign language (“with a Southern accent,” Connie notes) to better talk to her. Meanwhile, Connie is clearly smitten, giving Daryl some serious googly eyes while playing with Dog, who “likes her better” according to Daryl. Surely nothing bad will happen to these two lovebirds, right? Right?

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Who else is ready for AMC’s new series, Ride with Daryl and Carol?

Photograph by Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The best of friends: But Daryl has another woman in his life, Carol, and while it’s pretty clear at this point these two aren’t destined to be romantic partners, they have one of the strongest and most endearing relationships in the series. As they banter about friendship bracelets and who gets to shoot which walker while on a solo adventure through the woods, the pair discusses running away to New Mexico on Daryl’s bike to get away from the stress of trying to survive among perpetually warring communities. Those were just dreams, but if these two did ever decide to go off into the great wide open, we’d watch that spinoff.

Best exchange:
Aaron: I’m goddamn sick of being nice.
Michonne: Well good, cause nice never got me anywhere, but smart did.

Most disturbing image: The slow burn of the Whisperer’s whereabouts. We knew that by the time the credits rolled we’d be right back into it with the Whisperers, but we didn’t know when. Finding the mask on the beach teed everything up, the campsite scene reminiscent of a police procedural had us waiting for the eyes watching in the distance, and the satellite fire created the perfect opportunity for a wayward Whisperer to get killed in the fray. We were on the edge of our seats the whole time.

Best kill: As the crew fights the walkers drawn to the satellite fire, Carol slits the throat of an attacking zombie and uses the spilling blood to extinguish the flames of a burning walker at her feet. (Although, did anyone else think that was an awful lot of blood for a long-dead walker? Hmm . . .)

Episode MVP: The Soviet space program, for engineering a high-quality satellite that not only survived the intense heat of re-entry, but also impact with the ground. Excellent engineering, comrades!