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"The Tower" is the fifteenth episode of the tenth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and forty-sixth episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 5, 2020. It was written by Kevin Deiboldt & Julia Ruchman and directed by Laura Belsey.
Startled by the stranger they've just encountered, Yumiko asks for her name and what she wants. Offended at her tone, the stranger points out that Yumiko and her group were the ones making noise, and that she thought they needed help, and goes on to lament how the first people she's seen in over a year turned out to be "meanies". Ezekiel tells the survivor she just startled them, and they didn't know if she was attacking. Bemused, she tells the group that, if she wanted to attack them, she would point the gun at them, but claims she was just saying "hello". The stranger, however, proceeds to hold the group at gunpoint, unsure of their intentions. Ezekiel defuses the situation, claiming they don't want to hurt her and were simply admiring her "displays". The stranger quickly lightens up and reveals that she tied up the walkers to make the city feel more alive. She is ecstatic that she met actual people again, but then wonders if the survivors are actually hallucinations. Still, she is exited at the prospect of talking to potentially real people, and introduces herself as Juanita Sanchez, but adds that she prefers the moniker of "Princess", since she never liked her first name and "Queen" makes her sound "old and pretentious". After Ezekiel introduces himself and his friends, Juanita offers to show them around the city, but Eugene informs her that they can't stay, as they are on an important mission. Slightly peeved, Juanita still offers to act as their guide through the city, but Yumiko declines, as the survivors don't know her. Juanita protests that they do, and demonstrates how "helpful" she can be by mowing down a few approaching walkers with her machine gun. Unfortunately, the gunfire startles the group's two remaining horses, and they run away. Juanita apologizes, as the survivors angrily glare at her.
Later, the group discusses what to do next. Ezekiel is confident they can find the horses tomorrow, but Eugene doesn't think they have enough time, and that their chances of making it to the meeting on schedule are slim even if they start walking now. Ezekiel proposes that they enlist Princess' help, but Yumiko opposes the idea, believing Princess to be too selfish and mentally unstable from being on her own for so long. Ezekiel doesn't want to follow Princess blindly, but points out that she might know where to find transportation. Yumiko, however, is skeptical, and believes Princess would have already left the city if she had means to do so. Eugene interjects that, while Princess might be crazy and it is unlikely that she has access to working vehicles, it might be the only chance they have, so he sides with Ezekiel. With that, Ezekiel summons Juanita, much to her joy. Princess apologizes again, and confirms that she knows where to find transportation and can take them there. Yumiko insists that Princess surrender her gun, but the latter is hesitant, as she doesn't fully trust the survivors either. She ultimately relents, however, and hands the machine gun over to Eugene. With that, they commence their journey, as Yumiko quietly reiterates to Ezekiel that Juanita is selfish and crazy.
Beta and the Whisperers have finally brought the horde to Alexandria, but find it seemingly empty. The survivors, meanwhile, have taken shelter at an abandoned hospital, referred to as the Tower. Luke is fiddling around with some wires, stressed that everybody is counting on him, while Jules encourages him. Luke then announces that he needs someone to run an errand for him, for which Carol volunteers.
As he is scouting the woods, Daryl attempts to radio Michonne, cautioning her not to return home. He tells her that they have a plan to end the war, and reminisces how being on the run reminds him of the old gang. Alas, he receives no reply. Meanwhile, as the horde is rampaging through Alexandria, Beta observes from the base of the windmill. While discussing their next move with the other Whisperers, Beta hears a voice in his head mocking the survivors. He informs the other Whisperers they will continue towards Oceanside. Unbeknownst to him, he is being watched from the upper floor of the windmill by Alden, who communicates information to Aaron via sign language. Beta nearly spots Alden, but ultimately decides to move on.
Back at the Tower, Judith approaches Lydia, who is petting a cat. Judith offers condolences for her mother's death, but Lydia tells her she doesn't have to do that. When asked, Lydia denies that she misses her mother, and tells Judith that not everyone gets to have a mom like hers. As Judith leaves, Negan observes from a distance. Downstairs, Carol and Kelly retrieve some horses from Marco for their supply run.
In the woods, Judith downs a lone walker, just as Daryl discovers her. When he finds out Judith is alone, he tries to take her back to the Tower, but Judith protests that she hates it at the building, as it smells of cat urine, and wants to learn to do what Daryl does instead. Although Daryl is initially resistant to this idea, he eventually agrees to let her tag along. Daryl explains that he is walking the perimeter and looking for anything out of the ordinary, and if he spots something, he retreats and radios it in. He warns Judith that there is no room for mistakes, which she acknowledges.
Beta, meanwhile, is leading the horde towards Oceanside, but suddenly stops as he senses that something is wrong. He complains that the survivors are not fools, and begins to suspect that they are being led into a trap. Another Whisperer tries to reassure Beta, but in doing so, accidentally calls him "Alpha". Despite her remorse, Beta prepares to kill the Whisperer, but is halted by the voice in his head. Beta asks the voice to show him the path, but it urges him to be patient and have faith in his strength. With that, Beta continues forward with the horde. From a distance, Alden and Aaron spy on the herd and radio their observations to Gabriel, noting that they are heading towards Oceanside as expected. Aaron tells him they will continue to follow the herd and notify them if anything changes.
Back in the abandoned city, Princess leads the survivors to an empty field, and warns them to stay close to her and watch their step. Continuing further, Princess counts her steps, as Yumiko continues to express her doubts about Princess, with even Ezekiel slowly starting to share her feelings. The survivors soon stumble upon the remains of one of their escaped horses. Yumiko wonders if it was devoured by walkers, but Princess casually reveals that it's more likely the horse stepped on a mine. Naturally, the survivors are aghast that Princess would bring them into a minefield and keep it from them, but the latter tries to reassure them that she walks through it all the time and can lead them out safely. Unfortunately, Princess lost count when she stopped, so needs a minute to think. Yumiko threatens to kill her if she doesn't lead them to safety, which Princess considers fair. With that, she takes out her water canteen and tosses it forward to check if the way is clear. Unfortunately, the canteen detonates a mine, setting them back to square one.
Carol and Kelly, meanwhile, scavenge wires from some cars. Carol thanks Kelly for coming and tries to apologize for her actions in the cave, but Kelly thinks nothing of it, as she is certain that her sister isn't dead. Although Kelly is uncertain if she feels this way because her sister is so tough or because Kelly simply won't accept that she's gone, she understands Carol's actions, although Carol doesn't believe this absolves her. Kelly recounts how, when she started losing her hearing, Connie told her that the disability wasn't her weakness, but her superpower. She then observes how everyone is learning sign language now because of her. She then tells Carol that she heard stories about her from before, and about how she'd always go off on her own and do the things only she could do, and assures Carol that this is not her weakness, but also a superpower. She concludes her thoughts by claiming that you can't give up who you are because bad things happen.
At the Tower, Lydia is petting Dog when Negan comes over and offers her something to eat. Lydia, however, claims she isn't hungry. Negan asks if she is avoiding him, and Lydia bluntly confirms. Negan is taken aback by her honesty, to which Lydia bitterly asks if he wants her to lie to make him feel better. Negan denies this, and goes on to state that he liked her mother despite her inexcusable crimes, wishing that he didn't have to kill her. Still, he encourages Lydia to say whatever she has to say to him. Lydia coldly replies that most of them wish that Negan had died as well, before taking her leave.
Still stuck in the minefield, Juanita attempts to orient herself while Yumiko complains that they never should have followed her. Eugene warns that they are running out of time on multiple fronts, pointing to a walker approaching through a hole in the fence. Beside the fence's integrity, Eugene also worries that the mine placement could lead to a cascade. When Yumiko asks him what a "cascade" is, the approaching walker trips one of the mines, which also detonates another mine right next to it. Eugene cites this as an example of a cascade, cautioning that they don't want to be stuck in the field in case of a chain reaction. Ezekiel thinks that he can help, and goes over to Juanita to talk to her. Princess thinks that she is blowing it with them, and while Ezekiel acknowledges this, he also tells her that leading them to safety could go a long way. Juanita once again apologizes to the group, and goes on to chose the route based on a game of eenie-meenie-miney-mo. She then risks her life by taking a few steps on the chosen route. Satisfied that she is still alive after this, she invites the survivors to follow her.
In the woods, Daryl coaches Judith to spot things that don't belong. She notices a piece of skin on the side of a tree, and correctly identifies this as coming from a walker. Daryl notes that the Whisperers could be rounding more walkers up, and instructs Judith to stay behind him. It isn't long before they come upon a small group of walkers, led by the same Whisperer Beta threatened earlier. Daryl shoots the Whisperer with his crossbow, injuring her. As the Whisperer runs off, Daryl and Judith dispatch the walkers and quickly give chase.
Finally out of the minefield, Yumiko berates Juanita for putting their lives in danger when Eugene spots a street sign identifying the road they're on as Fleetwood Drive. He angrily confronts Juanita about this, as he remembers that they already passed Fleetwood Drive. Juanita claims that there are several streets in the city named "Fleetwood", but Eugene is certain it was, in fact, Fleetwood Drive. As Princess tries to make excuses, Yumiko draws her bow and points it at Princess. Juanita finally confesses that she wanted to take the scenic route to keep the fun going. Yumiko furiously points out that she led them into a minefield, but Juanita pleads that she never thought it would be a problem, as she'd traversed it countless times before. Juanita goes on to explain that she wanted more time to befriend the survivors, so they might decide to stay with her, but realizes now that she screwed up. She also recounts how, when she first arrived to the city, she figured someone would show up eventually, but as the months went by, Juanita realized the loneliness she was feeling wasn't too different from how she felt even before the apocalypse. She laments how someone once told her she is difficult to love, so acknowledges that the problem might be with her, and that a little voice inside her kept telling her this. Juanita knows she should have told them the truth, but didn't want the little voice to be right. She apologizes to the survivors once more. Feeling sorry for Princess, Yumiko relents, and Eugene comforts Juanita by identifying with her, explaining that he also made poor decisions and lied to people so he would be left alone. He then asks if she does, indeed, have access to the wheels she mentioned earlier.
Daryl and Judith track down the injured Whisperer to a small ditch. The Whisperer begs Daryl to pull the arrow out of her shoulder, not wanting to die in that manner. Daryl orders her to drop the knife and asks where the rest of the Whisperers are. She quickly reveals their whereabouts, but also that she was going off on her own. When asked why, she claims to have had no choice, revealing that Beta lost his mind after the survivors killed Alpha. Finally, Daryl asks if the Whisperers know the survivors' location, but the Whisperer doesn't know, although she assures Daryl that Beta will keep coming for them. Daryl proceeds to aim his crossbow at the Whisperer's head, as the latter pleads that she wants to "walk after". Daryl repeats his previous question, but the Whisperer genuinely doesn't know. With that, Daryl shoots the Whisperer in the head. Shocked, Judith tells Daryl that he didn't have to kill the Whisperer, but Daryl rationalizes that she didn't have any information and was going to die anyway, so it was better for it to happen quickly. Judith protests leaving the Whisperer, and hypothesizes that she could have a family, but Daryl gently drags her away.
At the helm of the horde, Beta talks to himself and continues to hear the voice in his head. Just then, he spots a cat crossing the road. The voice now manifests itself into a walker marching next to Beta, who tells him that faith will be rewarded. Beta deviously chuckles. Shadowing the horde, Aaron and Alden notice it changing direction, so try to call it in. Failing to get a signal, they decide to retreat, but before they can do so, they are surrounded by a group of Whisperers, one of which holds them at gunpoint.
Back at the Tower, Lydia angrily approaches Negan and declares that he can't tell her what to do. Negan calmly acknowledges this, and invites Lydia to hit him, as it will make her feel better. Lydia claims that she feels fine, but Negan is adamant that she has to mourn her mother, or it will continue to eat her up on the inside. Despite everything, Negan claims, Alpha was still her mother, and if she doesn't let it all out, she will drift further away from the other survivors, which Negan is certain Lydia don't wants. Lydia rhetorically asks what Negan knows about what she wants, and calls him a selfish asshole, believing he only killed Alpha so that people believe that he's a hero, but the people will never see him as such, since he only cares about himself. Lydia believes that him trying to get her to open up is also for selfish reasons, and wonders how he could have ever liked her mother. She is adamant that she hated her mother, or wants to hate her in any case, and yells at Negan for saying she can't even do that. Despite this, Negan tells her it's okay, prompting Lydia to break down in anger and tears as Negan embraces her.
Princess and her companions have finally reached the garage, where it is revealed that the "wheels" Juanita was talking about were actually bicycles. Eugene points out that 15 mph is still faster than walking, while Ezekiel observes that Juanita wasn't actually lying about the garage. Yumiko then approaches Juanita, but before she can get a word out, the latter states that she is not a bad person, and realizes how difficult it is to trust people, so is sorry that she blew it. Yumiko, conversely, reveals that she was actually coming over to ask if Juanita wanted to join them. Princess ecstatically accepts.
As they are heading back, Judith stops. When Daryl asks what's wrong, Judith once again expresses discomfort at them leaving the Whisperer in a ditch. She asks what would happen if Daryl was lost and no one could find him, or R.J., or her mom. When he asks where this is coming from, Judith states that she simply wishes for everyone to be back together again. Daryl assures her that he radioed Michonne and told her not to come, even though he didn't get a reply. Judith claims that it doesn't matter, as she talked to her mom after the fire, and is worried that Michonne might not come home. Daryl asks what Michonne said, but Judith just says that she went to help some people she met along the way. Judith didn't want to tell Daryl about this, as she was afraid that he'd leave, too. Daryl assures Judith that he won't leave, but refuses to promise anything, as he maintains that he can't lie to Judith, and doesn't know what's going to happen in the future, no more than anyone does. Daryl, however, goes on to state that there are a lot of people back at the Tower who would do anything for her, and will one day need her to do anything for them. Finally, Daryl assures Judith that, while nothing can take the place of a loved one lost, it doesn't mean that everything that follows is going to break your heart. He then embraces her. Just as they are about to head back, Gabriel suddenly radios Daryl, revealing that they are surrounded. Indeed, Beta has finally reached the Tower with the horde. He begins to chant, and hallucinates the walkers doing so, too.
- Alex Sgambati as Jules
- Anthony Lopez as Oscar
- Gustavo Gomez as Marco
- Philip Fornah as Whisperer
- Stefan Rollins as Rifle Whisperer
- Louis Zehner as Talking Charred Hero Walker
- Marvin Lee as Kyle
- Seven as Dog
- Maria Z. Wilson as Coalition Soldier
- Michelle Hartwig Rich as Coalition Soldier
- Chuck Hollywood as Coalition Soldier
- Rachel Hernandez as Coalition Soldier
- Jimmy McAfee as Coalition Soldier
- Elizabeth Houston as Coalition Soldier
- Shellane Demarest as Coalition Soldier
- Kathryn Spratlin as Coalition Soldier
- Jenni Brown as Coalition Soldier
- Ember Brown as Coalition Soldier
- Lance Kilmer as Coalition Soldier
- Bob Melton as Hilltop Resident
- Jennifer Angel as Hilltop Resident
- Gia as Coalition Soldier
- Stephanie McIntyre as Walker
- Robert Tinsley as Walker
- Dark Haired Whisperer
- 2 horses
- 1 possum
- The title of the episode, "The Tower", refers to what the group calls the hospital where they are hiding in.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on April 3, 2020.
- As of this episode, Samantha Morton (Alpha) has been removed from the opening credits.
- The exterior of the hospital was the same used for Grady Memorial Hospital in Season 5.
- Kelly is seen teaching Gabriel sign language. Later on, she tells Carol that she has begun teaching people how to sign.
- Juanita asking Yumiko, Eugene, and Ezekiel what is the capital of Pennsylvania is a nod towards her comic book counterpart since she is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel's interactions with Princess are adapted from Issue 171.
- Beta and the Whisperers attacking Alexandria with their horde is adapted from Issue 162.
- Daryl killing a surrendering Whisperer is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 160, where Dwight executes a surrendering Whisperer.
- "Hero Walker" is the term used on set by production when classifying zombies based on where they appear in scenes. Extras designated as "Hero Walkers" are used up close in scenes and have the most amount of makeup and prosthetic compared to other zombie extras who are in the far background or in the back of herds and seen less, thus needing less makeup and prosthetic.