The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead is finally here! Best Valentine’s present ever! The last we saw our friends, they were under siege by hundreds of walkers. The gates of Alexandria were breached and anyone who was lucky enough to make it into a house was trapped. The wolf escaped his jail cell, dragging a reluctant Dr Denise with him. Rick and crew covered themselves in walker guts as camouflage and headed into the throng.
But since this is The Walking Dead, we can’t get right to the cliffhanger so we start with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham. The threesome is trying to make it home and keep running into roadblocks along the way. At the moment, they’re face to face with a gang of bikers with guns drawn. They’re informed that everything they have now belongs to Negan. First they’re disarmed. Abraham doesn’t want to give his gun up so he’s told, “If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble. Bite, chew, swallow, repeat. Goes quicker.” Then one of the bikers takes Daryl to the back of the truck to search for other weapons. Abraham won’t stop asking “who’s Negan?” This bothers the head biker. He’s about to shoot Abraham but Sasha intervenes. Now the biker wants to shoot both of them. Great plan, Sasha. As he takes aim, the whole biker gang erupts in flames. Daryl walks out holding the rocket launcher. As they climb back into their truck, Abraham looks back at a burning skull and tells it, “Nibble on that.”
In Alexandria, Rick is slowly leading his group (Carl, Judith, Jessie, Sam, Ron, Father Gabriel and Michonne) thru the walkers. Everything is slow and moody so we really get to see how gross it is to walk among the walkers. Rick realizes a few flares from the armory will be useless. They have to head to the quarry for their cars to really get the horde’s attention. Father Gabriel convinces Rick that he can keep Judith safe in the church. Jessie wants him to take Sam too but Sam refuses to leave his mother. They stupidly give in and watch Father Gabriel leave with Judith. It’s hard for Rick but he knows he has to trust him. They head off in the opposite direction, holding hands.
Inside the jail, Tara is watching the walkers thru the window. She wants to go after Dr Denise but Rosita won’t let her. Carol and Morgan wake up from their wolf attack. Carol is all business. When Morgan asks, “Where’s Denise?” she shoots back, “HE took her.” She wasn’t awake when it happened but she knows. Because, Carol. Dr Denise and the wolf are hiding from the walkers in a lowered courtyard. They’re surrounded but not noticed. Dr Denise is trying to stay calm. The wolf is watching her like he wants to eat her. As soon as they can, the wolf wants them to run. Denise warns him she’ll just slow him down. He doesn’t care. He wants her. She is his. “I like what you said before, that I wasn’t born this way. You’re right. I changed. And now I want to help you change.” And he leers at her some more. Creepy.
Glenn and Enid make it to the expansion church outside the walls. Glenn thinks they might be able to find weapons or ammo. Enid notices an inscription on the wall (Faith without works is dead. James 2.26) and gets introspective. Not what I would do in those circumstances but to each their own. She asks Glenn what he meant by, “When you run, that’s how you lose people. Even after they’re gone.” He explains that they live inside you so as long as you’re living, really living, they’re still there. “If you stop being you, that last bit of them that’s still around inside, who you are, it’s gone.” They cut to the wolf so we all truly understand what he means. More Glenn and Enid bonding ensues. Glenn tries to leave her safely in the church but she refuses. She’s in this now. And then she finds a hidden gun. “You were right. Let’s get Maggie.”
The sun has set, adding extra ambiance to the walker invasion. Rick, Jessie, Sam, Ron, Carl and Michonne are still walking thru the crowd. Sam, who has held it together longer than I expected, starts hearing Carol’s threat to feed him to the walkers in his head. Being in the middle of them makes it a lot more real. And then he sees a little boy walker. That does it. He stops walking and no matter what his mom says, he won’t budge. They all start pleading with him. Standing still is putting them all at risk but Sam is too overwhelmed to care. And then he’s attacked. His worst nightmare has come to life. And Jessie can’t do anything to save him. Carl tries to pull her away but she won’t let go of Sam’s hand. And then she’s attacked. Rick is heartbroken. He keeps flashing on happy images of Jessie and muttering, “No! No! No!” Finally Carl gets his attention. The walkers are noticing them and Carl can’t get away; Jessie has a death grip on his hand. Rick pulls out his ax and chops Jessie’s arm off. Carl falls back and drops his gun. Except now there’s a new danger: Ron has Carl’s gun aimed straight at Rick. No! This Porch Dick family is going to be the death of them! Just as Ron shoots, Michonne’s Katana blade rips him apart. But Rick is okay. The bullet didn’t hit him. Rick has a moment of relief but then he sees that the bullet hit Carl in the eye. Carl yells, “Dad!” and falls to the ground. Rick picks him up and starts running, with Michonne clearing the way.
Ron’s gun fire pulls the walkers away from the wolf and Dr Denise. Now is the time to make a move. A walker comes for Dr Denise but the wolf runs back and kills it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see the second walker who takes a bite out of his arm. Dr Denise tells the wolf that she’ll save him if he gets her to the infirmary. They head out. Carol is checking the jail house for dangers. She hears a noise and pulls her gun but it’s only Morgan. She puts it away. I guess the war between them is over. Morgan tries to justify what he did but she cuts him off. “You saved him for you, not us.” The wolf can’t believe the situation he got himself in. “You turned back for me,” Dr Denise explains. “Maybe it was because you needed a doctor or maybe you changed.” Oh, please. He saved her for himself, not because he changed. The wolf plows thru walkers like a football player, clearing a path for Dr Denise. And out of nowhere, he’s shot. Carol is on the porch, cradling her smoking gun. She finally got her man. She yells at Dr Denise to keep moving. As the wolf falls, he tackles a few more walkers and calls out, “Go!” Okay, maybe he changed a little…
Dr Denise makes it to the infirmary just in time to see Rick and Michonne running towards them with Carl. She gives herself three seconds to recover from what she went thru and then breaks into action. She’s going to save our boy! As the infirmary crews gets to it, Rick gets that look. This is even worse than the other time Carl got shot. In a red haze, Rick grabs his hatchet and heads out into the walkers. Michonne tries to call him back but he’s already gone off the deep end. Rick is on a walker killing spree. Michonne gives Carl a quick kiss and runs out the door, followed by Aaron, Heath (the guy with the braids) and Spencer (Deanna’s son). Instead of pulling Rick back, they join him. Other Alexandrians see what’s happening and leave their hiding places to fight. “We can beat ‘em. We can beat ‘em!” Rick hollers. Although they’re outnumbered, the fighters keep coming. Even Father Gabriel knows it’s time to fight. “We’ve been praying together, praying that god will save our town. Our prayers have been answered. God will save Alexandria because god has given us the courage to save ourselves.” Carol, Morgan, Rosita and Tara see the fighting and go to help. Eugene wants to come too but Rosita tells him he doesn’t have to. “That’s incorrect. I do. No one gets to clock out today.” Morgan knocks a walker down and is about to kill him when he realizes it’s his wolf. He tells him, “I’m sorry” and takes him out.
Glenn and Enid are inside the gates, on their way to Maggie. She’s surrounded by a horde trying to knock her off her unstable platform. Glenn sends Enid to Maggie and creates a disturbance to get the walkers’ attention. He’s leading them away but now he’s getting overwhelmed. Maggie tries to pull their attention back but the walkers are intent on Glenn. Glenn disappears under a pile of walkers. No! We just got him back and now we’re losing him again! Wait, what’s happening? The walkers are all falling to the ground. It’s Sasha and Abraham with machine guns! Glenn survives (again). And there’s Daryl with the gas truck and a plan. While the Atlanta group and the Alexandrians continue to fight, Daryl fills a lake with gas. From atop the gas truck, he shoots the rocket launcher at the lake and the whole things lights on fire. The fire pulls the walkers’ attention and they make their way into the burning lake. The Atlanta group and the Alexandrians keep killing and killing. Shot after shot after shot of people taking their home back.
When the sun rises, the town is littered with walker corpses. The newly unified Atlanta/Alexandria group silently wait on the steps of the infirmary. They did it. They survived. Now they want to know if Carl will. Daryl is getting stitched up. Michonne is cradling Judith. Rick is talking to his unconscious son. He tells him about the group coming together. About their future at Alexandria. “When I knew we had this place again, I had this feeling. It took me a while to remember what it was because I haven’t felt it since before I woke up in that hospital. I want to show you the new world, Carl. I want to make it a reality for you. Please, Carl. Let me show you.” Carl wraps his fingers around Rick’s.
Next week: Rick and Daryl are out scouting. “Today’s the day. The law of averages gotta catch up.” They pull out their guns and sneak around a building. Daryl pulls his gun on someone. “Back up! Now!” Michonne is in the forest with Spencer. “Let me help you,” she begs. “You can’t,” he responds.