The Walking Dead 10x07, “Open Your Eyes,” ended with major changes to two prominent characters and another significant deviation from the Walking Dead comic books. Siddiq (Avi Nash), who has been wrestling with his intrusive PTSD caused by his horrific encounter with Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers, is alone when he realizes his compadre and assistant doctor Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) is not what he appears to be: a flashback to the night of the Whisperer slayings reveals Dante, disguised beneath a mask made from walker flesh, forced Siddiq to watch the murders of apprentice Enid (Katelyn Nacon), friend Tara (Alanna Masterson) and other victims by prying his eyes open.
In the comic books, Dante belonged to the Hilltop colony where he acted as the loyal right-hand of leader Maggie. Dante eventually emerged as the love interest for the widowed Maggie, but his fate was ultimately left unknown. It’s also unclear if the Dante-Maggie romance continued or dissolved during a time jump that spanned 20-plus years in the book’s final issue.
The books also ended without determining what happened to Siddiq, whose most prominent storyline was remixed when adapted for television: in the show, Siddiq’s fling with Rosita (Christian Serratos) resulted in the birth of daughter Coco, who was at the center of co-parenting from Rosita’s current boyfriend, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), and an over-involved Eugene (Josh McDermitt). That “love quadrangle” is now cut to a more traditional love triangle following Siddiq’s murder.
That storyline remixed a love triangle involving Siddiq in the comic books, where Eugene and Rosita became romantically involved following the death of Abraham Ford. In the books, it was a pregnant Rosita — carrying the child of an unidentified father — who fell victim to the Whisperers: she was among the victims abducted and subsequently decapitated by the Whisperers during a community fair. Eugene would later learn Rosita’s unborn child was Siddiq’s in The Walking Dead #170, when Siddiq tearfully confessed to an affair.
Siddiq’s murder at the hands of a Whisperer infiltrator within Alexandria’s walls — committed by a character who was firmly aligned with the heroes in the comics — is a significant change only made possible by the absence of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who was temporarily written out when Cohan stepped away from The Walking Dead before the midway point of its ninth season.
“It’s one of those situations where, just [because of] the nature of where we are in the show and the characters who are no longer here, we had to bring Dante in a little bit of a different way than what you’re expecting,” executive producer Denise Huth previously told Radio Times ahead of Season 10. “In the comics, he’s very much tied to Maggie’s story and right now Maggie’s not here. But it was fun to introduce such a great character from the books and bring him in in a very different way.”
New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.