Princess is struggling.
The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 20 was the episode fans of Princess have been waiting for. Instead of shedding light on the mysterious new group that resembles stormtroopers, it was a deep dive into one of the show's more unique characters.
It's hard to determine what was fact and what was fiction during "Splinter," which followed Princess as she reacted to being locked up on a train cart as everyone else was seemingly going through their own version of hell.
Danger lurks around every corner on The Walking Dead, but this new group of people seems sketchier than any of the groups we've encountered to date.
Tragically, Princess found a group of people willing to work with her, only for them to be taken away from her when she found comfort in belonging to a group.
Princess built a strong connection with Yumiko, Ezekiel, and Eugene during their days together, but her actions may well have put them in even more danger.
I'm going to assume this new group is the Commonwealth, what with their Storm Trooper outfit, but the episode should have given us a little more exposition into the new group's machinations.
Yes, these episodes were produced during COVID-19 and slotted into the narrative to give fans something to chew on while The Walking Dead Season 11 was made, but beyond taking a deep dive into Princess, what did we really get?
The group was in the same amount of peril when we left them at the close of The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 16 as they were at the close of The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 20.
The parameters about how the story is supposed to move are different due to these episodes being deemed a "bonus," but the writers could have given us more to continue questioning what was going on.
It did seem too easy for Princess to escape the cart and get close to Eugene, so I'm thankful that part at least seemed to be a figment of her imagination.
The hints were strewn out the episode that Princess was not in a good place, mentally, but Ezekiel was so far out of character that it made it completely and utterly obvious.
While it was fun for him to want to leave the cart to get some answers about his friends, his nasty comment to Princess about them being his friends was the ultimate giveaway.
If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Ezekiel has never been a malicious man. He's probably one of the most honorable characters in The Walking Dead Universe.
However, his outlook on life may have changed now that he knows he's likely dying.
Had Ezekiel's actions when he was supposedly in the train cart helping Princess been more believable, the episode-ending revelation that Princess was the one lashing out at the member of the new group would have landed much better than it did.
Unfortunately, the development of Princess came at the cost of advancing the plot in a meaningful way. Princess deserved a significant episode in the final season that actually advanced the story's nuts and bolts because this episode will be remembered as the deep dive into the character and just that.
Introducing a new group into the narrative has been tricky in the past, but it felt so sloppy here. Now that we know we won't be checking back in with these characters until The Walking Dead Season 11, it will be another unnecessary wait for answers. Unfortunately, it's choked the tension out of the narrative.
The only positive about the new group is that we met someone who may well turn into an ally. Princess literally punched the heck out of the man who was low in the rankings, but he worked with Princess to come to a resolution that would keep both of them safe.
Whether this means he's not evil, we don't know, but it was one of the only genuine connections built on the installment, which is saying something.
The first three COVID-produced episodes were much more exciting because they had a lot more going on, and more than one character got impressive character development.
Then again, those three episodes felt necessary for the coming events, but "Splinter" could probably be skipped, and fans wouldn't notice any difference.
We're still going to see Princess get grilled by the Commonwealth on the final season, and these new characters are going to take center stage. At least, that's what happened in the comic books.
The developments about her past should have come in an episode that would advance the rest of the narrative because it was unfair to have her plot ruined by such a weak installment.
What are your thoughts on having to figure out the fact and the fiction? Do you think Princess should have been developed in the final season instead of a bonus episode that didn't move the other plots along?
Did you call what was happening before the episode-ending reveal? Do you think the man from the Commonwealth was genuinely a lower-ranking officer, or was he playing Princess?
Hit the comments below.
Catch new episodes of The Walking Dead Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.