Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 10 midseason finale.
The Walking Dead's handling of Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) in season 10 may have disappointed fans of his comic book counterpart, but the AMC series had a good reason for essentially wasting the character. After being exposed as a traitor by Rosita (Christian Serratos), Dante was captured in The Walking Dead season 10 midseason finale and interrogated by Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride). Later, he was shockingly murdered in his cell by Gabriel (Seth Gilliam).
At the beginning of the season, The Walking Dead introduced Dante, an arrogant doctor with a crude sense of humor who works alongside Siddiq (Avi Nash) at Alexandria. Over the course of the season, Dante worked tirelessly to help combat a sickness that had been plaguing the residents. During this time, Dante formed a bond with Siddiq, who was suffering from PTSD. In last week's episode, Siddiq discovered that Dante was there when the Whisperers killed ten of their people. Apparently, Dante infiltrated Alexandria on behalf of Alpha (Samantha Morton) and he sabotaged and poisoned their water supply. When Siddiq found out the truth, Dante killed him.
The Walking Dead shocked fans with the reveal about Dante's true allegiances. Dante was never expected to be a Whisperer spy hiding in their midst. The character's disguise was strengthened not only by his charm and genuine concern for Siddiq, but also by his comic book history. In The Walking Dead comics, Dante was an integral member of the group and someone fans have been waiting to see join the series for a while now. Dante, who eventually became romantically involved with Maggie, was an important ally for several story arcs, including the Whisperer War. But this big twist was great because no one - especially the comic readers - expected it to happen.
The TV version of The Walking Dead killed any chance of a Dante-Maggie romance when he was revealed to be a loyal member of the Whisperers. He was subsequently killed off in the following episode. Since none of his comic book stories will ever play out on screen, The Walking Dead has wasted Dante, but that doesn't mean it was a mistake. Though it came at the expense of an essential character, The Walking Dead just delivered one of its biggest twists in recent memory. Because of his ties to the comics, readers had no reason to be suspicious of Dante.
In the end, The Walking Dead used Dante's reputation with fans to help hide his real intentions. Also, what happened with him is a twist that is sure to have long-lasting consequences - particularly for Gabriel and Rosita - that will be explored further in the back half of season 10. Too often, twists in TV shows are done for the sake of shock value, and while the Dante reveal certainly accomplished that, it was done in such a way that it will drive further conflict inside Alexandria and the other communities. This is something viewers already saw with Michonne and Virgil at Oceanside. So while Dante, the comic book character, was wasted in one regard, he ultimately served his purpose for the TV show.
The Walking Dead season 10 returns in February 2020.