After several issues in recent seasons, The Walking Dead has found its groove again.

Showrunner Angela Kang – who has written on the AMC series since the show's second season – clearly knows what’s needed to ensure that the US drama remains appointment television, despite being in its 10th year of broadcast.

The latest episode “Ghosts” sees the group come face-to-face with the villainous and still-quite-terrifying Alpha (Samantha Morton) for the first time since she killed and decapitated numerous characters in the penultimate episode of season nine. It turns out this event has scarred two characters in particular, with the spotlight placed on the after-effects of such a tragedy.

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Elsewhere, two unlikely characters are placed together for a series of brilliantly acted scenes that feel akin to a two-man play.

Below are the five biggest talking points from season 10, episode three.

The group meets Alpha once again

Our central group of heroes want justice for all the characters Alpha decapitated last season, but Michonne (Danai Gurira) is hesitant to let them wreak their vengeance just yet – especially when they could be ambushed so easily. “All she wants to do is talk and we are going to listen,” she tells everyone, before heading out to the border to meet with the leader of the Whisperers. Alpha, though, is furious Michonne and co crossed into her territory on three separate occasions (during the winter storm last season, and during the fire and Michonne’s ensuing search along the river with Aaron in the season 10 premiere). “We are always watching,” she tells them, deciding to spare them punishment on this occasion. Instead, she makes her new condition clear: the group’s hunting ground is now Whisperers territory.

Carol’s losing her grip

Carol (Melissa McBride), one of the show’s longest-standing characters, has seen the villains come and go: the Governor, the Terminus cannibals, the Saviours, and now Alpha. “I look at you and I feel nothing at all,” she tells the woman who murdered her adopted son, Henry (Matt Lintz). She even almost fires a bullet into Alpha’s skull right before Michonne pushes her hand away at the last moment. Understandably, Henry’s death and her ensuing split from Ezekiel is weighing on Carol’s mind – so much so that she spends the majority of this episode hallucinating conversations with Daryl (Norman Reedus), not to mention the ghosts of her dead children walking around. Early on, she fires her gun at what she claims are three members of the Whisperers who followed them after their meet with Alpha. However, Michonne fears the sleep-deprived warrior is imagining things, which causes a fair bit of friction between the two.

Siddiq isn’t in a good way

Carol isn’t the only one who’s struggling following the climactic events of season nine. Siddiq (Avi Nash), who was captured and released by Alpha so he could warn the others what she’s capable of, is having horrific flashbacks to seeing his friends get their heads placed on spikes. Consequently, if he hears any mention of Alpha's  name, he needs to leave the room, gasping for air. Step forward Dante (Juan Javier Cardena), Alexandria’s new doctor, who tells Siddiq about once knowing a “cocky, broad-shouldered, Adonis-looking guy” during his time as a field medic in Iraq. He explains how this person returned home with PTSD. “What happened to this guy?” Siddiq asks, to which Dante replies: “You’re having a drink with him.” It’s hard to know what Dante’s deal is at this early stage – here’s hoping he’s genuinely a pleasant addition to the gloomy world these characters inhabit.

Negan and Aaron’s reluctant partnership

Aaron (Ross Marquand), who is heading outside of Alexandria’s walls to stop the oncoming horde of walkers, is extremely reluctant when he’s allocated a new fighting partner in the form of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, still knocking about). Quite rightly, too; his husband perished in the war with the Saviours, the group Negan used to lead. Let’s not forget that Aaron was also one of the characters kneeling at his mercy when he bludgeoned poor Glenn and Abraham to death with a baseball bat. ”I did what I had to do back then”, Negan says, sparking fury in Aaron, who urges him to run away. Aaron clearly believes that killing him would ruin the legacy Rick created – that his group are better people than their adversaries. Though, after Aaron, having been blinded by a plant, has a close skirmish with walkers and is saved by Negan, it seems he might finally believe that the former bad guy has repented for his past actions.

Carol wasn’t lying

The closing moments of the episode reveals that Carol wasn’t just telling the truth about the whisperers that were following them – she managed to kill one too. Her earlier words come back into focus with clarity: “The bitch has to die.” At this stage, it’s hard not to think that Carol will be the one to deliver Alpha’s final blow, but events play out extremely differently in the graphic novels.

The Walking Dead continues in the US every Sunday with the UK premiere arriving the following evening on FOX at 9pm

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