I can’t believe we’re one week away from The Walking Dead season finale. The first half dragged a bit but since the break it’s been non-stop action. The pace makes sense. They’re under a time crunch. You never know when someone like Negan will kill again so Rick has to get his war machine built quickly. With tonight’s trip to Oceanside the final pieces should fall into place. As long as Sasha and Rosita don’t screw it all up….
You can take the farmer’s daughter off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the farmer’s daughter. Maggie is getting the Hilltop’s gardens ready to feed survivors for generations to come. She wants them to see a future beyond their immediate needs. Gregory just wants them to recognize his authority. It’s pretty obvious who’s leadership they prefer.
The Alexandrians are on the move. Tara feels bad but she knows it has to happen. They need Oceanside’s guns and they need them now. Even Eric has gotten on board. He tells Aaron that being with him makes abject terror tolerable. Flirting in the zombie apocalypse. They set traps, they synchronize timing. They’ve learned a lot since the raid on the Savior bunker. Planning and strategy saves lives.
A door swings open, allowing light into the darkness. Sasha has taken up residence in Daryl’s old cell. She didn’t make it far without a solid plan. Her guard has taken a fancy to her. A creepy, rapey fancy. He rips her shirt and promises water in exchange for special favors. Sasha isn’t that thirsty. With her arms tied behind her back, she viciously headbutts him. It’s not enough to stop him but Negan does. Negan has no qualms beating people to death, burning people alive or ripping families apart but he draws the line at rape. It’s pretty much his only dealbreaker (a solid case could be made that coercing women to join his harem out of necessity is sexual assault but let’s put a pin in that one for now). He’s not pleased with Sasha’s guard. He shows that displeasure by stabbing him through the neck. Because, Negan.
But he is pleased with Sasha. Sure, she tried to kill him but she has “beachball-size lady nuts.” And we know Negan appreciates big balls (see: Daryl, Carl). After confirming she’s not there under Rick’s orders (“Rick? Your bitch?”), Negan gives her a knife. She can use it to try to kill him but she won’t make it past Lucille. She can use it to kill herself but that would be a waste. Or she can use it to kill her would-be rapist when he reanimates and take his place in the Saviors. The choice is hers. He lays out his plan for a future utopian community where all the Saviors run the Sanctuary together, following the rules and working as a unit. He realizes she’s probably still upset about Glenn and Abraham. “But Sasha, we all got shit to get over.” He locks the door and leaves her to her decision.
Sasha’s next guest is Eugene. She wants to know what the Saviors did to make him turn so completely. “They’re keeping me safe.” As much as he pretended he could be brave, that night in the circle showed him is was all an illusion. If Abraham, the bravest man he knew, couldn’t survive, what chance could he have? He found a protector in Negan. It’s the only safety he thinks exists. He urges her to join him as a Savior, partly for her own safety but also to make him feel better about his decision. It wasn’t so long ago that Dwight was trying to get Daryl to make the same move for the same reason. Sasha asks Eugene to leave. Her heart is broken over his defection and she doesn’t want to hear any more excuses. The dead Savior starts to turn and she has a decision to make.
Gregory finds Maggie outside the Hilltop walls, digging up a wild blueberry plant. He wants them to present a united front to the Hilltop. Maggie thinks it would be easier if they were a united front. And therein lies the difference between the two. She asks him to guard her while she finishes her work. As she’s bent over the plant, completely defenseless, he sees the opportunity at his fingertips. Luckily, he’s a coward. Killing an unarmed pregnant woman is beyond his capabilities. When a walker approaches, Gregory decides he’ll take care of it. Maggie isn’t so sure. She questions if he’s ever killed before. At the last minute, Maggie has to step in. While Gregory watches, a second walker attacks him. All he can do is call for Maggie’s help. She arrives in the nick of time and he ends up covered in blood. As if that isn’t bad enough, he gets sick just as some of his constituents walk by. Maggie tries to reassure them. “He hasn’t killed one before. He’s learning.” They scoff. “That’s not what he told us.” Gregory shuffles away in shame.
Tara sneaks into Oceanside. She takes Natania (their leader) and Cyndie (the girl who saved her life) hostage. She has to convince them to help her fight the Saviors. Natania is terrified. They lost too many lives to ever mess with the Saviors again. Hiding out is the only plan she’ll consider. Cyndie thinks they should at least hear Rick out, consider all of their options. As they’re arguing, time runs out. The Alexandrians are coming in. Explosions ring out. Women and children scatter. They herd everyone into a clearing. Rick announces that they don’t want to hurt anyone, they just need their guns. Natania has other plans. She has taken Tara hostage and she threatens her life if the Alexandrians don’t leave. Cyndie informs her group that the Alexandrians want help fighting the Saviors. The women seem receptive. Rick tries to negotiate but Natania is resolute. No guns, no fighting Saviors.
As Natania argues her case, walkers approach. In the uproar, Cyndie knocks her grandmother out. She clearly needs a timeout. The Alexandrians arm the Oceanside women and side by side they fight the advancing walkers. They’re all skilled fighters and the walkers fall quickly. Even bratty Rachel is a fearless warrior. Once the air has cleared, Rick shakes hands with the Oceanside Amazons. There is mutual respect all around. Well, not all around. Natania has come-to and she’s pissed. She tells Rick Oceanside won’t fight with them. “So take your damn guns and go.”
Negan opens Sasha’s cell to find his knife firmly embedded in the rapist’s forehead. Sasha has made her choice. She is Negan. She reaches for the knife but Negan shakes his head. He wants to believe her but it’s going to take time. She has to understand that. He informs her that a little birdy told him Rick and the Alexandrians are up to no good. She can start proving her loyalty by squashing their plans. Sasha gets emotional. She wants to know just how she’s supposed to do that. Negan doesn’t answer. First he wants to show her how good it can be as a Savior. Give her a taste of the high life. He warns her, “Spend the night enjoying it because tomorrow is gonna be a big day.”
Gregory retreats to his office. He pulls out Simon’s special Sanctuary pass and looks at his blood streaked face. This aggression will not stand. He pours himself a shot of tequila to bolster his courage and plots a course to the Saviors. He has a journey ahead of him.
Eugene visits Sasha to applaud her decision to join Negan. Through the closed door she confesses that she can’t do it. She won’t. She cries. She begs for his help. Eugene is sympathetic. He’ll walk her through the process. It’s not so bad once you give in. But that’s not the help she needs. She needs a weapon to kill herself. A knife, a gun, a razor blade. Anything that will end her suffering. She can’t let Negan use her to hurt their friends. Dying is her only choice. He agrees to consider it. On her side of the door, Sasha smiles. He bought it. Plan B is in effect.
Oceanside watches as the Alexandrians load up all of their weapons. Father Gabriel questions if they need it all but Rick assures him they do. Tara promises they’ll bring the weapons back when it’s over. Cyndie tells her that some of them want to join them but they can’t do it unless everyone agrees. She thanks her for doing what they’re too scared to do. Tara tells Rick he was right, she doesn’t have to feel bad. She’s one of the good guys.
Sasha paces her cell, waiting for Eugene. He shuffles up to her door. After much thought, he decided to help her out. He slides one of his poison pills under the door. She agonizes. Anything else could have been against Negan. Now she’s completely unprepared for her big day.
The Alexandrians arrive home to find Rosita waiting. She’s not alone. Locked in Morgan’s jail cell is Dwight. Daryl goes crazy at the sight of him but Rosita assures them Dwight wants to help. Rick makes him kneel. No one ever said this was going to be easy.
Next week: It’s the 90 minute season finale. The Saviors try to make things hard for the Alexandrians. Dwight confesses he wants Negan dead. Negan plans to use Sasha against her friends. King Ezekiel convinces Morgan to fight the Saviors. Alexandria is fortified. The Kingdom, the Hilltop and the Scavengers all converge at Alexandria for the final showdown.