This The Walking Dead article contains spoilers.
When it’s not pausing for some revolting Alpha-on-Negan sexual congress, The Walking Dead Season 10 midseason premiere spends most of its time figuring out how to get some of its characters out of a literal hole. Thanks to Carol’s rash actions and Alpha’s ingenious plotting, the midseason finale finds Carol, Daryl, Aaron, Jerry, Magna, Connie, and Kelly stuck deep in a cave housing Alpha’s legendary walker horde. The work then falls to The Walking Dead season 10 episode 9 “Squeeze” to get them out.
For much of “Squeeze’s” running time, our heroes actually do quite well. They seek higher ground and even find a few crevices of light in the process, though Jerry nearly is devoured by walkers at one point. Then, near the episode’s end, they find their most promising hope for an exit yet. Based on the empty canary cage and variety of tools around the spot, some miners appear to have built an entrance into the cave. Whether this was before or after the zombie apocalypse we cannot say, but the important thing is that this clearing in the cave may prove to be a way out…so long as everyone is careful not to further disturb the mismatched rocks. That task proves to be complicated further by the discovery of another tool the unknown miners left: dynamite.
Chekov said you should introduce the gun (or in this case dynamite) in the first act if it’s going to go off in the third. The Walking Dead can’t quite hit that timeframe, but when Kelly discovers the dynamite with 15 minutes left in the episode, it’s clear that it will go off soon. And so it does! The twist here is that Carol decides to take the fate of the dynamite into her own hands by using it to destroy a significant portion of Alpha’s horde. Her first attempt nearly results in her falling to her death. After Daryl rescues her, he pleads with her to be more careful. But Carol is still too bereft from Henry’s death to turn down one more chance for revenge against Alpha. She tosses one stick of dynamite onto the horde below.
The explosion, though minor, is enough to begin simultaneously open up a small hole to the outside world and trigger a cave-in. Aaron and Kelly get out safe, then so do Daryl, Carol, and Jerry thanks to Magna and Connie. Unfortunately, Magna and Connie are overtaken by walkers and an entire crate of dynamite explodes, finishing off the cave in around them.
So R.I.P. Magna and Connie, right…RIGHT? The survivors of the cave clearly believe Magna and Connie to be dead because logically no one could survive both an explosion and a cave-in. But let’s put logic aside for a moment as The Walking Dead so often encourages us to do. We’re not willing to concede that Magna and Connie are dead just yet, for some important plot-based reasons.
For starters, Magna and Connie both have unfinished business as characters. As Magna herself tells Aaron earlier, she and Yumiko did not leave on the best of terms, making her eager to get out of the cave and back home. Similarly, Connie still has business to attend to with Daryl…romantic business. The two characters are clearly sweet on each other, with Daryl learning some American Sign Language to better communicate Connie.
Still, while their unfinished arcs may be a compelling reason for survival, it definitely does not supersede their being exploded. Here’s the thing though: Connie and Magna were definitively not exploded. Though the dynamite eruption is powerful enough to cave-in the mine’s entrance, it does not appear to have been large enough to encompass Magna and Connie. The camera shows them alert and afraid, yet unharmed by burns right after the dynamite goes off. If Magna and Connie are dead, it wasn’t via the fire and exploding material of the dynamite but rather from the debris of the rocks above.
As Daryl feverishly tries to tear away at the rocks entombing Magna and Connie, it seems like the futile efforts of a desperate man. At the same time, however, Daryl raises the vain hope that there is another entrance to the cave out there and he intends to find it. Why would the show even bring up this possibility and perhaps even let Daryl follow through on it unless there was a chance for Magna and Connie to return?
Though the final moments of “Squeeze” are emotional enough to suggest that this could be the end for two major Walking Dead characters, we’ve seen this kind of fake-out before. Whether it be under a dumpster or some rocks, as long as a character is hidden under something on this show, there’s always a good chance they’re alive.