“Diverged” is a uniquely structured bottle episode focusing on Carol and Daryl at the lowest point of their friendship. The general opinion surrounding The Walking Dead is that AMC’s highest-rated cable drama has declined in quality over the past few years, evidenced best with “Diverged”.
Last night’s episode focuses, quite predictably, on Carol and Daryl, following the fallout from their argument a few episodes back. At a literal crossroads, the two best friends take separate paths, and what comes next is perhaps the worst episode of The Walking Dead to date.
The decision to deliver socially-distanced bottle episodes during The Walking Dead’s third chapter to an extended tenth season is a brave one, and for two big reasons. One, consider their recent attempts with “Find Me” and last week’s “Splinter”, they were mind-numbingly slow and irrelevant in equal measure.
Compared to the show’s most iconic bottle episodes of the golden age, the Governor’s “Live Bait” in Season 4 and Morgan’s haunting “Here’s Not Here” two years later, “Diverged” feels like an early first draft submitted to the showrunners writing room at best.
Then there’s reason two, while Carol and Daryl remain the only original characters since Season 1, they are also the most exhausted. For the sake of a fair and balanced review, let’s also focus on the positives. ‘Dog’ is by far the standout highlight of the episode and the cutest doggie in the apocalypse.
“Diverged” continues to litter clues to the fall of Alexandria. With supplies and morale running low, the once-thriving settlement is beginning to look worse for wear following the conclusion of the Whisperer War.
It’s safe to assume that soon enough, the Alexandrians will be abandoning the safe-zone and head for the Commonwealth. Elsewhere, “Diverged” offered some promise that the Reapers will make a proper entrance, as Daryl scavenged supplies from several zombified versions of these brutal antagonists.
The strongest moments of the episode were the unnerving moment Daryl was almost crushed by a tilting car courtesy of a walker trapped inside before Carol is treated to a Jerry hug in the final minutes of the episode.
Roll on Negan’s prequel next week. Perhaps the only thing worth looking forward to in 10c.