My adrenaline is already pumping because I know it’s time for The Walking Dead. As we near the season finale, and the inevitable showdown with Negan, things are getting crazy. Rick is quietly building his army (with a side of romantic interludes with Michonne). Daryl escaped the Saviors and he’s primed for a fight. Rosita and Sasha aren’t feeling very patient. They want to kill Negan NOW. Carol enjoyed her vacation from reality but now she’s ready to protect her family again. And even peace-loving Morgan is back on the killing train. Negan, you in danger, girl.
While Maggie prepares Hilltop for war, Sasha plans an assault on the Sanctuary. She tries to sketch a map based on the tales Jesus and Daryl told but it just doesn’t come out right. Jesus takes pity on her and draws one himself. He might not agree with her decision to go it alone but he supports her anyway. Edith isn’t quite as forgiving. And then Rosita arrives. She and Sasha are on the same path. Now they can travel it together.
Maggie and Jesus bond. Growing up in group homes, Jesus never learned to be a part of something. It made him the perfect scout for the Hilltop, always on the move. But Sasha and Maggie give him a sense of family, of belonging, for the first time in his life. Sasha overhears and it’s bittersweet. She’s about to go on a suicide mission. She has to give up her loved ones to protect them. She tries to enjoy her last moments but it’s too late. She’s already closed herself off from that life. It’s too painful otherwise.
Sasha gets caught stealing bullets and turns it into a goodbye to Jesus and Enid. She came to Hilltop as Maggie’s protector but now Maggie has built a new family. One that will protect her and support her leadership goals. Jesus tries to make Sasha see that she doesn’t have to give her life to beat the Saviors. If she waits until they’re ready, they can take down Negan together. But she and Rosita are too far gone to stop. Enid gives them a ten minute warning before she tells Maggie. I mean, it is her job to look out for Maggie.
A guard at the gate sends out an alarm. The Saviors are coming! Enid races to hide Maggie and Daryl. If either of them are found, people are going to die. The Saviors flood into Gregory’s house. It’s a show of force that’s wasted on a coward. Seeing Gregory and Simon interact is like watching a cat play with a mouse, only the mouse thinks it’s outwitted the cat. Poor, foolish Gregory. Very soon the cat is going to get tired of the game and snap his back. But today, Simon is on a mission. Gregory has someone that Simon wants. Oh, no! Does he know about Maggie or Daryl? Well, whoever it is, you know Gregory will hand them over with no qualms.
Sasha and Rosita use the Savior distraction as cover for their escape. They work liked a well-oiled machine until Rosita sees Sasha wearing the necklace she made for Abraham. And then it all comes flooding back. This is business, not a fun girl’s trip. Don’t get it twisted. Sasha suggests they hole-up in one of the uninhabited buildings outside of the Sanctuary and wait for Negan to show his face. Rosita doesn’t like it. If they miss it’s all for naught. Sasha sneers. Unlike Rosita’s first attempt, she won’t miss. And they might even survive the mission. Sasha doesn’t seem to understand that Rosita doesn’t want to survive.
Simon barrels his way into the doctor’s office with a sniveling Gregory in tow. The doctor tells him he doesn’t have any more medicine to spare. But that’s not what Simon wants. He needs a new doctor. At first the doctor doesn’t understand. And then it sinks in. His brother is dead and he has to take his place. He turns to Gregory and tells him to take care of his ongoing patients (which is code for Maggie). Oh, I’m sure Gregory will make that his top priority. As a final f-you, the Saviors leave Hilltop a huge box of aspirin. Throw in some bandaids and they’re set.
Gregory asks for a moment alone with Simon. For once, he almost stands up to him, but only to cover his own ass. He threatens that if the Saviors take the doctor, Hilltop might replace Gregory with someone who isn’t as accommodating as he is. Simon is intrigued. Is there actually someone at Hilltop capable of replacing Gregory? Gregory makes it clear this is all hypothetical but… Simon tells him he’ll take care of him if anything goes hinky. Just visit him at the Sanctuary and he’ll work it all out. Gregory is relieved. He has backup. His power is secure. And once again the mouse thinks he’s safe.
Despite Enid’s best attempts at distraction, a Savior searches Maggie and Daryl’s hiding spot. They cower in a dark corner, hoping he doesn’t find them. It’s tense and moody. The background music tells us to worry. As the Savior gets closer, Daryl raises his knife. He’s about to attack but Maggie holds him back. The Savior leaves, empty-handed. Maggie knows that Daryl wanted to kill him, not because he needed to but because he needed to.
She asks him why he’s been avoiding her since he arrived. He’s so consumed with guilt over Glenn’s death that he can’t even look her in the eyes. He starts to cry that it was his fault. Maggie tells him it wasn’t. It wasn’t! Glenn always said Daryl was one of the good things in this world and he would know. He was one of the good things, too. And she gets it. She wants to kill them all as much as he does but they have to do it right. They have to win. They hug and cry. “Help me win,” she begs.
Sasha and Rosita position themselves in a building within sniper range of the Sanctuary. They see Eugene working in the yard. Rosita assumes he’s working an angle. She continues to view their mission as a way to end it all. Suicide by Saviors. Sasha keeps hammering home that life is still worth living. They agree to disagree. Being so close to her target (Negan and then death), Rosita finally lets down guard with Sasha. She talks about her past, about being weak and needing protection from men. She found men that knew things, learned from them and then ditched them when her skills surpassed theirs. The sex was just a happy byproduct.
It was different with Abraham. He was the first man who saw was she was capable of. Her biggest regret is not being able to tell him she was happy he was happy. Sasha cries, thinking about how he died. He would have wanted to go out fighting. To go out with a point. “And that asshole with a bat took that away too.” She suddenly understands Rosita a little more. All Rosita wants is to go and to do it fighting. They promise to have each other’s back.
Sasha checks on the Sanctuary just in time to see Maggie’s OB Gyn arrive. And then Negan surfaces. This is it! Sasha gets ready but Negan is too close to Eugene and the doctor to get a clear shot. The women turn on their stolen walkie and hear Eugene issuing orders. Negan will be spending the foreseeable future in his harem so Eugene will act in his stead. Afterall, he is Negan. And just like that, the plan changes. If Negan isn’t coming out, they’re going in.
After seeing the dissatisfied faces of his subjects, Gregory knows he needs to do something to protect his authority. He makes up excuses to separate the visiting Alexandrians to lessen their power. Jesus sees exactly what he’s doing and calls him on it. Gregory responds with a thinly veiled threat to expose them to the Saviors. Jesus is disgusted. It might just be the final nail in his coffin. Now there’s nothing stopping Jesus from backing Maggie as leader. He storms away and runs right into Daryl. “Where’s Sasha and Rosita?” Daryl demands.
As night falls, Eugene brings a Savior into the yard to lecture about their weak safety protocols. Suddenly a shot rings out and his companion falls. Eugene is terrified. Sasha and Rosita run up to the fence and start cutting their way in. Rosita tells him they’re breaking him out. Eugene cowers. He didn’t ask for this. He doesn’t want to be saved. As they stare in amazement, Eugene runs back into the Sanctuary. Rosita is furious.
She prepares to slip through the gate but Sasha beats her to it. She asks Rosita to stand guard and while Rosita covers her, Sasha locks her out. She tells her to go, to save herself. ”They need you.” Rosita is beside herself. All she wanted was to die fighting and Sasha took that away from her. Saviors swarm out of the building so she has no choice but to run. She slumps in an alley and cries tears of frustration. She looks up and sees a figure silhouetted in the moonlight, with a crossbow slung over his shoulder. Her fight might not be over just yet.
Next week: There are only two more episodes this season! The Alexandrians get serious about finding guns. They flood into the woods. They row across a lake, possibly to the houseboat again. And they attack Oceanside. Meanwhile, Maggie is left alone at the Hilltop and Gregory contemplates killing her.