After taking a week off to deal with a cold that just won’t die (is this how the zombie apocalypse starts?), I’m back to recap this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. Rick, Michonne, Carol and Maggie use their own version of the Pony Express to share news of their wins and losses. In two days, they’ll converge on the Sanctuary for the final showdown. While everyone else licks their wounds and catches their breath, Rick pays a visit to the Scavengers. Jadis is amused to see Rick again. The last time they were together, she shot him. He points out she only grazed him so it’s all good. He wants another deal. He shows the Scavengers polaroids of the Savior losses and warns that if they don’t switch sides again, the allies will destroy them. Jadis turns him down. Rick doesn’t seem worried. Maybe this has been part of the plan all along.
At the Hilltop, Jesus feeds the prisoners
loaves and fishes turnips. Maggie chastises him. That food is meant for Hilltop and Hilltop alone. Gregory admonishes them to stop playing and build gallows already. Maggie has quite a conundrum on her hands but the last thing she wants is advice from Gregory. She shoos him away but privately tells Jesus that every option is still on the table. Jesus tries to get her into the eternal Jesus vs everyone argument but she doesn’t take the bait. Debates aren’t fun when both sides of the argument are wrong.
Carol attempts to visit King Ezekiel. She pounds on the door, shouting that they need to rebuild their army for the final Sanctuary attack. Crickets. Even Jerry is dejected. The King tried to fire him but he continues to stand guard. His world has crumbled so he clings to the familiar for as long as he can. As she stalks away, Henry, Benjamin’s little brother, follows. He heard her appeal for soldiers and wants to help. She turns him down with a terse, “No!” and tells him not to follow her. Henry heads to the forest and does stick drills with walkers. Carol is furious he’s alone in the woods. She knows that unprotected children turn into monsters. But He’s not Sophia. And he’s not Sam either. He’s tough and he wants to fight. Henry begs to go to the Sanctuary with her. He needs revenge. Carol shoves a gun at him. If he really wants to be a part of this, his stick won’t be adequate.
Rosita finds Michonne loading up a car. She reminds Michonne they’re both injured and supposed to take it easy. When Michonne refuses to follow Rick’s directive, Rosita jumps in the car. Bedrest has never been part of Rosita’s plan. Across town, Tara tells Daryl he was right to not kill Dwight. They needed him to pull off this coup. But after it’s done, she’s going to kill him herself. Daryl suggests they do it together. And sooner than originally planned.
Since no one is obeying Rick’s orders to stay put, Carl goes searching for Siddiq, his gas station buddy. If he’s trustworthy, he could be a great ally. His plastic bag walker trap is a thing of beauty. Siddiq is understandably nervous of Carl’s apology water. The last time they met, bullets flew. But Carl responds to Siddiq’s mother’s advice with some gems from Lori and the men make a connection. Carl launches into “the questions.” While most people can’t answer the first one, Siddiq knows exactly how many walkers he’s killed. And his walker traps aren’t merely for survival. Siddiq’s mother believed killing walkers freed their souls. Now he does it to honor her. I think Carl found a good one, here. Carl agrees. He’s just glad Rick isn’t around to keep him from bringing Siddiq into the fold.
Jesus stays with the prisoners while Hilltop builds the gallows. One of the captives tries to bond with him but Jesus is jumpy. He feels responsible for these people and knows they’re about to die. The last thing he needs is a personal connection with one of them. Maggie calls for Jesus and the prisoners. It’s time. With tears in his eyes, Jesus leads his charges to the gallows. But this is Maggie’s Hilltop. Instead of gallows they built a jail. Maggie promises the prisoners will be fed and treated well, as long as the obey. Gregory is befuddled. He warns Maggie that they shouldn’t let people they don’t trust walk around inside their walls. Maggie looks him straight in the eyes and agrees. That’s why he’s going in the cage with the other prisoners. He cries and fights to no avail. Maggie is kicking the fox out of her henhouse. As they’re closing the gate, the Savior who killed Benjamin decides to make a run for it. Maggie knocks his out with her rifle. Hopefully next time she’ll just shoot.
On their way to Alexandria, Carl and Siddiq come across some walkers. Carl suggests they take them out, for Siddiq’s mom. But it’s trickier than expected. More and more walkers arrive and soon Carl is overwhelmed. It looks like this could be it for Rick’s wonderboy but they manage to clear all the walker. Carl is shook. He gets emotional that Siddiq didn’t abandon him when he had the chance. Now he’s even more certain in his decision. All that remains is making Rick believe. As he explains to Siddiq, sometimes it’s a child’s responsibility to teach their parent.
The sound of music draws Michonne and Rosita to two Saviors tinkering in a factory. The Saviors gossip about the walker takeover of the Sanctuary. They’re confident the “Fat Lady” will solve the problem. And she might even curry extra favor with Negan. Michonne and Rosita separate to get into better position. They’re deathly quiet but a stray tennis ball alerts the Saviors to their presence. The Saviors start shooting and in the chaos, Rosita loses her gun. As she tries to stay three steps ahead of her foe, she searches for a weapon. The female Savior finds Michonne and as tough as she is, Michonne’s injuries make hand to hand combat difficult. It’s up to Rosita to stop the male Savior from getting away with the “Fat Lady.”
Just when it seems like our women are outgunned, Rosita gets her hands on a rocket launcher. The male Savior doesn’t think she’ll actually use it. His death is so quick he probably never knew how wrong he was. Michonne is weak so the female Savior drives off in the “Fat Lady,” ie: a truck full of speakers to lure the walker horde away from the Sanctuary. As Michonne and Rosita watch her escape, I scream at the TV, “Where’s the rocket launcher?” But it’s a moot point because a dump truck driven by Mr Daryl Dixon plows into the “Fat Lady” at top speed. As Michonne/Rosita and Daryl/Tara stare each other down, they all realize they’re all disillusioned with Rick’s plan. I see a formidable team being born.
Carol decides to try one more time with King Ezekiel. While Jerry and Henry watch, she storms into the theater. The King is sitting on the floor, holding Shiva’s chains. He’s a broken man. He played his part well but he can’t do it anymore. Not after losing all of those lives. His smile is gone. He’s done. But Carol knows that isn’t an option. His people need him. He has to help them grieve. He has to inspire them. And he has to lead. If he can’t do that, he has to at least play the part. He owes them that much.
In the Hilltop prison yard, Benjamin’s killer uses a rock to cut his bindings. Jesus’ Savior friend knocks into him, making him drop the rock. He’s seen the possibilities around him. He wants to survive Negan and he’s not going to let some dirtbag ruin it for the rest of them. In Maggie’s office, Aaron pours out his heart to Maggie. She understands his grief. Jesus interrupts to thank Maggie for sparing the prisoners. His happiness quickly dies when she warns him the prisoners might end up as bargaining chips if any of their people get captured. And if they don’t, they’ll have to die. Maggie may be compassionate but she’s no dummy. When Aaron prepares to head out. Enid begs to join him. She wants to fight. It’s time to win.
The dissenters (Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Daryl) scope out the Sanctuary through binoculars. They’re ready to end things. Now.
Jadis walks around the dump in Rick’s cowboy boots. He watches her through a bullet hole in his shipping container prison. Apparently Rick’s plan has some real holes in it.
Next week: Negan has to enlist the help of his lieutenants in solving a huge issue facing the Sanctuary; Rick and the group continue to enact the plan.