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Why Walking Dead Fans Are Debating What They Think Really Happened In 'Splinter'

Contains spoilers The Walking Dead season 10 bonus episode "Splinter"

Factoring in the spinoffs and webisodes, The Walking Dead now has enough years under its belt that it's technically old enough to vote (and we still haven't heard a single character utter the word "zombie"). With that sort of longevity, you'd think that the weirdness would be in the rear view mirror by now — 150 episodes of the series proper means plenty of time has already been killed, and this is usually the point in a show's run where the writers say "to hell with it" and coast for a while, foregoing high-concept funk in favor of, say, Jim and Pam having another kid.

But then episode 151 of TWD rolled out the red carpet for surreal nightmarescapes. The fan base was feeling it when "Splinter," the 20th episode of the show's tenth season, added two heaping scoops of unreliable narration, and they're currently buzzing on Reddit's /r/thewalkingdead forum trying to nail down exactly what they just watched.

If you haven't caught it yet, "Splinter" is a mind trip. After being captured by shadowy, Stormtrooper-looking forces, Juanita Sanchez, a.k.a. Princess (Paola Lázaro), finds herself with an unenviable case of dream sequence freak outs. Or does she? "Can't make up my mind up about which parts exactly were real and which were in her head," wrote one Reddit user after the episode debuted early on the AMC Premiere streaming service. Much like Princess may or may not have been, the viewer was not alone.

The Walking Dead, Princess, and unreliable narration

"(Princess) got slammed to the ground so hard at the beginning of (the) episode, she likely had a concussion herself," one user wrote, trying to assign some reason to the plot of "Splinter." 

"This episode was a total trip," wrote another, optimistically adding that "Princess is my favorite so I hope things go well for her and she makes new friends/family."

The story, with its disjointed narrative, inconsistencies, and extra-freaky Ezekiel, definitely kept the fans guessing. "I'm not sure Princess ever left the train," one Reddit user stated, echoing the thoughts of other viewers. "Maybe she never left the train car, maybe she did and the guards and prisoners at the end were imagined, maybe the whole episode was a fever dream. I don't think we can really start picking apart logical inconsistencies until we get a clearer picture."

Whatever the case, "Splinter" seems to have served as an effective piece of character development for its main character. "What is clear," another user chimed in, "is that a lot of terrible things happened to Princess in her past and that she has formed a very tight bond very quickly with Eugene, Yumiko and Ezekiel, and that her coping mechanisms for her early trauma and her extended isolation include full blown delusions, much like Rick after losing Lori."

For the curious, "Splinter" remains available to stream on AMC Premiere, and is scheduled to air on AMC on March 21.