"Splinter" is the twentieth episode of the tenth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and fifty-first episode of the series overall. It premiered on March 21, 2021. It was written by Vivian Tse & Julia Ruchman and directed by Laura Belsey.
Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess are captured and separated by the mysterious troopers that surrounded them at the rail yard. Claustrophobic with mounting anxiety, Princess struggles with memories of her traumatic past and plans to escape.
A soldier throws Princess into a train car. Princess hears soldiers putting her friends into other train cars. She huddles in a corner.
Princess hears soldiers outside and pounds on the door. She has flashbacks to Yumiko's violent clash with the soldiers and calms herself by counting in Spanish and reciting state capitals. She gets a splinter while chipping away at the wall. She hears Yumiko in a nearby train car and asks how she's feeling. Princess offers to summon the soldiers to check on Yumiko's wounds, but Yumiko implores Princess to remain calm and obey the soldiers. Princess urges Yumiko to stay awake and describes how her stepfather beat her as a teenager. She hears Yumiko collapse. Soldiers open Yumiko's door and tell Princess to be quiet.
In the morning, Princess calls Yumiko's name and gets no answer. She notices a large board nailed to the wall. She pries off the board and finds a hole in the wall. She sneaks out through the hole and spots Eugene in the adjacent car. Eugene urges her to return to her car and guesses that the soldiers are treating Yumiko's wounds. He says they must earn the soldiers' trust if they want the soldiers to help his community. Princess returns to her train car and puts the board back over the hole. A soldier summons her to come with him.
Princess stands naked in a shower room with her hands in the air. A soldier checks her body for bite marks.
A soldier interrogates Princess about her group. Princess refuses to cooperate unless he lets her see Yumiko. The soldier slaps her and knocks her to the ground.
Princess wakes up with a sore jaw. Despite Yumiko's absence, she tells Yumiko that she did as she was told and did not reveal anything about their group to the soldiers. She hears soldiers open the door to Eugene's train car. She sneaks out and sees that Eugene's train car is now empty. She goes back to her car and panics. Ezekiel opens a hatch in the roof and jumps down. He suggests they run, but Princess refuses to abandon the others. Ezekiel says they can't trust the soldiers, then hides as a soldier enters the car with a tray of food. Ezekiel ambushes the soldier and knocks him unconscious.
Ezekiel takes the soldier's gun and handcuffs him. He demands to know what the soldier did with their friends. The soldier says Yumiko is probably with a medic and insists his people can help Ezekiel's group. He explains that he's merely a grunt tasked with delivering Princess' food. Ezekiel chokes the soldier and punches his face. Princess screams at Ezekiel to stop. She then notices blood on her hands and realizes that Ezekiel, Eugene and Yumiko were all in her head, and that she was the one who was beating the soldier.
Princess flees the train yard, then changes her mind. As she turns back to save her friends, she hallucinates Ezekiel hanging out with a couple of walkers. Ezekiel assumes the character of her stepfather and tries to convince her to flee. Princess ignores his advice and goes back to help her friends.
Princess returns to the beaten soldier and agrees to unlock his handcuffs. The soldier acknowledges that he'll be punished for letting her escape, then asks for his gun back. Princess keeps the gun but offers to answer his boss' questions in exchange for seeing her friends. The soldier agrees. Princess reveals the names of her friends and explains that she had known them for just one week. The soldier thanks her and again asks for the gun. Princess gives it to him. The soldier knocks on the door. Someone slides it open. Princess sees Yumiko, Eugene and Ezekiel lined up outside with hoods on their heads, guarded by soldiers. The soldier inside the train car throws a hood over her head.
- Courtney Chen as Yumiko Okumura (Physical)
- Jason Fernandes as Livits
- Quasheem Herring as Commonwealth Soldier
- The title of the episode, "Splinter", comes from Princess getting a splinter stuck in her finger when she is digging a hole in her train car.
- It also refers to her troubled past, as well as her multiple ("splintering") personalities.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on March 18, 2021.
- This is the first episode of Season 10 not to feature any death of any kind, either living or walker.
- The Talking Dead "In Memoriam" segment for this episode is instead for the "In Memoriam" itself, credited as No Memoriam, because for the first time in the history of the main show, no one actually died, including walkers.
- Because of this, this is the first episode since "The Storm" where no living people died, whether that be seen or confirmed.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko Okumura) was unavailable for filming. For this reason, her character is portrayed by a stand-in (Courtney Chen) in this episode, while Matsuura voices the character's lines.
- This is the first episode of the main show to focus almost exclusively on a recurring character (Princess), as Eugene, Ezekiel, and Yumiko appear as hallucinations for most of the episode.
- The group being interrogated by the Commonwealth Army is adapted from Issue 175.
- Princess' backstory is adapted from Issue 187, where she tells it to Mercer.
- Princess beating down a Commonwealth soldier is adapted from Issue 184, where rioters were beating down Jerome instead.