"The World Before" is the eighth episode and mid-season finale of the tenth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the one-hundred and thirty-ninth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 24, 2019. It was written by Julia Ruchman and directed by John Dahl.
In a flashback, Alpha and Dante are standing at the pike border. She assures him that nothing from his past or his short time with the Whisperers matters. After commending his actions in the barn, Alpha gives him the mission to spy on Alexandria in return for a special place among the Whisperers once their enemies are destroyed. Dante follows her instructions and wanders the wilderness until he finds a group of survivors. He pretends to need help from walkers and joins them. A short time later, they arrive at Alexandria. He then spends the next four months leaving hidden notes with intel on a tree for Alpha to find and sabotaging the community by painting the "Silence the Whispers" graffiti, bending the lever of the water valve, and suffocating Cheryl to death.
In the present, Dante sits with Siddiq's dead body and thinks about what he has done. He grabs a knife to put him down but is interrupted by a knock on the door. Rosita enters with Coco to check on Siddiq. A suspicious Dante lies about his whereabouts as Siddiq starts to reanimate. When Dante reveals his knife, Rosita slowly backs away and puts Coco into a bathtub. He tackles her to the ground and starts choking her as a reanimated Siddiq walks over to his crying daughter. Before Coco can be harmed, Rosita stabs Dante in the chest, puts down Siddiq, and then brutally beats Dante until he is knocked unconscious. She then picks up Coco and cries as she looks at Siddiq's dead body.
The next day, Gamma meets Aaron at the border on the bridge again and asks if the baby that was left to die outside Hilltop is still alive. When she reveals he is her nephew, Aaron says he was rescued by a family and is named Adam. She offers him information in exchange for seeing Adam. Before accepting any type of deal, Aaron makes her take off her mask and to tell the truth. She obeys and reveals her real name to be Mary.
In Alexandria, Daryl punches Dante in the infirmary where he is interrogated. When Gabriel demands to know why he killed Siddiq, Dante insists that he had no choice since Siddiq had found out who he was, and says it wasn't part of the plan. Carol asks what his plan was and Dante confesses he was sent there to stir paranoia and force them into bad decisions. When he says he's looking forward to them arguing over what to do with him as they did with Negan, Rosita kicks him in the back and leaves as Aaron arrives.
Upon being informed about the recent events, Aaron reveals that he has been talking with a Whisperer and she has told him the location of Alpha's horde, explaining she just wants to see her nephew Adam. Despite his skepticism, Daryl orders him to summon a group from Hilltop to help them with the mission. He then reminds Carol that Lydia is still missing, but she says she can help him look for her afterwards even though she doesn't want to be found. "Are we talking about her or we talking about you?", Daryl asks as she leaves.
On the journey towards Oceanside, Scott stops the convoy when he comes across recent prints. Michonne tells the group to stay alert and remain quiet to avoid encountering Whisperers scouts. When Judith asks Luke what he was whistling before, he explains he was whistling one of his favorite songs and writes it down for her in a book where she is documenting everything that happens to them for the future. Shortly after, Luke convinces Michonne to stop at a nearby library along the way to look for more books.
When the group heads inside, Judith finds a Russian-English dictionary she gives to Luke for Eugene to understand the satellite parts before he heads to the music section. Michonne is called over the radio by Magna as Luke is attacked by two walkers. While struggling, a man saves his life before fleeing. The group arrives after hearing his screams and Luke tells them about the man who saved him. Michonne informs him about Siddiq's death and says they should hurry.
Back in Alexandria, Gabriel delivers a moving eulogy at Siddiq's funeral as the residents mourn and Rosita falls to the ground alone in sadness. When the ceremony ends, Ezekiel talks with Carol and says that Siddiq was one of those people he thought would live forever. He then volunteers to help her finding Alpha's horde but she declines. When Carol asks if everything is okay, Ezekiel is hesitant to tell her about his cancer and only wishes her good luck in the mission.
Later that day, Rosita hears walkers banging on the walls and goes outside to kill them using brass knuckles to release her anger out. Before a walker with a helmet almost bites her, she comes to her senses as Eugene arrives to help kill it. He then offers his deepest condolences to her and wishes he could offer more, but says he is unable to at the moment because he is relocating. They say goodbye to each other and he leaves.
Meanwhile, Gabriel is at his house rewatching Dante's interview where he claims he had a son. When Rosita arrives, she tells him she almost died fighting walkers recklessly and laments how vulnerable she feels because she doesn't want Coco to be left an orphan. Gabriel says that feeling will pass and his main concern at the moment is to deal with Dante. Feeling hurt by his indifference, she claims that maybe Dante was right about them not being as strong as they thought.
At their home, Aaron and Gracie play a game where she has to guess the capitals of each state. She wins and asks for a story as her prize. Aaron tells her he once went hiking with a man he loved in Eureka, California. They stood in ancient ruins and listened to the sound of the ocean waves which were far away and wondered what life was like for the old civilization. She asks for the villagers' whereabouts but Aaron doesn't know what happened to them.
In Oceanside, Michonne demands to Cyndie and Rachel they use a new system to vet newcomers. When the man who saved Luke is brought into the community, he begs he simply wants to get back to his family as the residents accuse him of trying to steal one of the boats. Michonne draws her sword and demands he answers her questions. Several walkers suddenly invade and the group prepares to defend the community.
In Alexandria, Gabriel visits an imprisoned Dante at the cell and asks if he even had a son like he said in his videotape interview. When Dante says it doesn't matter, Gabriel walks into the cell and admits to being deeply saddened by the loss of Siddiq, whom he loved like a brother, and because of his death Coco won't ever meet her father. After Dante asks whether people deserve a second chance, Gabriel appears to agree but then pulls out a knife and brutally stabs him to death. He then screams in a rage and cries into his blood-covered hands. Back at Oceanside, the man tries to escape but is slashed in the leg by Judith and falls. She calls out to her mother and Michonne proudly congratulates her. In Alexandria, Rosita carries Coco to a window and spots Gabriel leaving the cell covered in blood.
Elsewhere, Daryl parks his bike in the woods as Carol and Aaron follow him. They meet up with Magna, Jerry, Connie, and Kelly for assistance in their mission. That night, the group crosses one of the borders in the woods when Carol nearly steps on a bear trap before Daryl stops her. He chastises her for acting recklessly and says they can't let Alpha take away their future too. They hug and then cross the border. Meanwhile, Gabriel burns Dante's body when Rosita approaches and puts her head on his shoulder. They reconcile and watch the scene.
In Oceanside, the man wakes up and attempts to stop Judith from reading a book he is bringing for his daughter before Michonne arrives to question him. He claims he was only looking for supplies and now wants to return home. When she asks why he saved Luke, he says that mercy is in short supply these days. She gets emotional after remembering a similar phrase said by Rick and Siddiq years before. He then reveals that he lives with his family on a fortified island that is hard to find and suggests they can make a deal. Shortly after, Michonne tells Judith her plan of helping the man get back to his family on a naval base in exchange for weapons to destroy Alpha's horde but says she needs to go alone. Judith understands her mother's decision and they hug.
The next morning, the group arrives at the location of the horde in a clearing only to find it's empty. Daryl tells Aaron it was a waste of time and now they will go search for Lydia. As they leave, someone watches them from the bushes. At Oceanside, Michonne gives the man his backpack and tells him that the weapons will pay off his debt to Oceanside. He accepts the offer and introduces himself as Virgil. Michonne then informs the group of her mission and that she has a radio if they need her. She tells Judith that she can contact her at any time and reminds her to be good with her uncle Daryl until she returns. Michonne and Virgil then sail away on a boat towards the island.
In the woods, Carol spots Alpha across a clearing and chases after her into a dark building as the rest follow. When walkers cut off the rest of the group, Daryl kills them and enters last. He then falls below a cave with the rest of the group into a trap where they find themselves surrounded by most of the horde with no escape.
- Mandi Christine Kerr as Barbara
- Gustavo Gomez as Marco
- Tamara Austin as Nora
- Anabelle Holloway as Gracie
- Antony Azor as R.J. Grimes
- Alex Sgambati as Jules
- Rebecca Koon as Cheryl
- Rae Olivier as Jen
- Vince Foster as Wayne
- Marvin Lee as Kyle
- Unknown as Socorro Espinosa
- Jimmy McAfee as Coalition Soldier
- Mason Beard as Alexandria Resident
- Tia Davis as Alexandria Resident
- Anthony Porrey as Alexandria Resident
- Chris Hodge as Alexandria Resident
- Chuck Hollywood as Alexandria Resident
- Daniele Lyman as Alexandria Resident
- Jack Orrell as Alexandria Resident
- Mario Williams as Alexandria Resident
- Michelle Hartwig Rich as Alexandria Resident
- Teri Stewart as Alexandria Resident
- Tim Carr as Alexandria Resident
- Tonya Lee as Alexandria Resident
- Jeff Stancil as Alexandria Resident
- Leslie Henry Fox as Alexandria Resident
- Linda Bell as Walker
- Siddiq (Zombified)
- Jimmy (Confirmed Fate)
- Jimmy's Assailant (Confirmed Fate)
- 1 unnamed Alexandria resident (Confirmed Fate)
- First appearance of Virgil.
- First appearance of Jen.
- First appearance of Wayne.
- Last appearance of Cheryl. (Flashback)
- Last appearance of Dante.
- This episode marks Seth Gilliam's 50th appearance on the TV Series.
- The title of the episode, "The World Before", refers to the name of the book Virgil is taking for his daughter.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on November 22, 2019.
- Judith documenting everything that is happening in a book for the future generations is a nod to Carl reading a book about Rick's story through the apocalypse to his daughter in the Comic Series.
- It is revealed that it was Dante who not only sabotaged the water valve, but was also responsible for painting the "Silence the Whispers" graffiti around town, and murdered Cheryl.
- It is also revealed that Dante is a recent Whisperer recruit, with this being one of the main reasons he was chosen for the spying mission, since Lydia didn't know him and would thus be unable to recognize him.
- Dante was in Alexandria for four months before his identity as a Whisperer was revealed.
- Gabriel interviewing Dante is a nod to the episode "Remember", where Deanna interviews the members of Rick's group. He also asks Dante the same three questions as the ones first asked in "30 Days Without An Accident".
- This episode confirms that Dante speaks Spanish.
- The quote Michonne tells Virgil is a reference to Siddiq and Rick's statement that was used throughout Season 8.
- Gamma's real name is revealed to be "Mary".
- Coalition soldier extra Chris Brittain passed away during the filming of Season 10. As a way to honor him, the armor his character wore was laid to rest next to Siddiq's grave in this episode.
- It is revealed in this episode that the skin that the group finds near the four dead campers in "Lines We Cross" is the same skin that Dante wore before he met up with Jen, Wayne, and the rest of their group.
- Furthermore, the mask that was found on the beach also belonged to Dante.
- This is the last episode to air in the 2010s decade.