“Splinter” is a claustrophobic chapter that plays on the fear of the unknown, offered some fleeting insights into Princess’s troubled past, the highly secretive Commonwealth community, and little else.
From her bright pink coat to her history with PTSD, exacerbated by being held prisoner inside a train car, not to mention Paola Lázaro’s performance as Princess, Lázaro was arguably the most promising highlight of the episode. However, the pacing dragged, the Commonwealth soldiers looked daft in their knock-off Stormtrooper gear, and a weak narrative set primarily within a train car was inevitably going to be spread thin and leave one yawning after forty minutes.
The arrival of the Commonwealth has left us waiting for answers since last October’s original finale, and sadly, for the most part, the wait goes on. In all likelihood, we’ll be left waiting until Season 11 to find out what happens next.
With The Walking Dead’s final season debuting in the summer, it’d make sense for the showrunners to set the stage for its swansong season, but last night’s episode failed to achieve any of these things. With only two episodes remaining of a largely superb tenth season, it’s beginning to feel as if the showrunners are stalling.
There’s a feeling of deja vu too. Watching this extended third act to Season 10 is reminiscent of the back half to Season 4, in which the show dedicated entire episodes to one or two characters at the expense of character progression and pacing. The same can be said for now, as key storylines including Maggie and Negan’s showdown and the Reapers are cast aside (the latter were introduced three episodes ago without a mention of them since).
In truth, “Splinter” dawdled from beginning to end. The episode’s final twist, in which Eugene, Princess, Yumiko, and Ezekiel looked set to be executed by the Commonwealth soldiers, left me confused and ultimately exasperated. As much as I hate to say it, this is how I’ve felt each time the credits roll since the show returned this year. Above all else, I find myself rolling my eyes and saying, “get to the point!”
For more of The Walking Dead, take a look at Flickluster’s reviews for Season 10.