I’m curious to see how The Walking Dead numbers stack up against the Oscars. Season 8’s ratings haven’t been stellar but I can’t be the only one who chose Rick and Michonne over the Hollywood gala. Right? Last week was intense. Carl is gone. Rick and Michonne’s world will never be the same. Rick and Michonne will never be the same. Tonight we see them navigate their new reality with permanently altered personalities. What could be more fun? An episode broken down into chapters, with chyron’s announcing individual narratives? I guess that would work.
Grief. Walkers. Katana sword. Michonne comes up for air and finally sees the destruction the Saviors wrought on her home. The obvious solution? Grief. Walkers. Katana sword. She could kill every walker in Virginia but it will never be enough. Leaving Alexandria is doubly hard. It’s their home but it was also Carl’s. Judith and Carl’s blue handprints only tighten the vise.
On the road, Michonne tries to regulate Rick. Cradling Carl’s letters, she finds one to Negan. She begs Rick stop and read his goodbye. But Rick has stowed all emotional attachment. He can only bear to focus on war. Which leads him to Jadis. Sure, she turned on him for the Saviors. And she abandoned him at the Sanctuary. But numbers are numbers. You get them where you can. Something is wrong at the trash yard. It’s too quiet. And messy. Their walker welcoming committee explains a lot.
Negan reestablishes his stifling grip of control. To a man. Simon is tasked with bringing the Scavengers into line. He can kill one (as an example). Beyond that, intimidation is the only course of action. Negan is abundantly clear on that number. HIs men bring a gift from Maggie. A Savior, in a coffin, waiting to be dispatched. She warns she has 38 more. Simon recognizes one of his men. Which means Maggie has the rest. This just got personal. Lest Simon forget this is Negan’s show, he yells, he slams Lucille around. He gets his way. Funny how that works.
Enid’s peacekeeping mission to Oceanside ended with a bang (killing Natania). Now her and Aaron’s fate is in the hands of Cyndie. Enid explains that killing them will only bring more pain, not relieve it. Letting them live is Cyndie’s contribution to their war effort. Against Cyndie’s strident warning, Aaron decides to stay. He’s determined to win Oceanside over. Almost as much as he’s determined to die. Enid’s job is to report to Maggie. She knows she probably won’t see Aaron again.
Simon wants action. For now, he’s eating shit. Bite, chew, swallow, repeat. It goes quicker. He offers Jadis diplomacy, Savior-style. When she refuses to take the proverbial knee, Simon snaps. He shoots once. He shoots twice. He orders full-scale annihilation. Negan’s plan is out the window. Simon is playing by his own rules.
Rick and Michonne go up, up, up to avoid the Scavenger walkers. Jadis, the only survivor, is a broken shell. The world she so carefully constructed is decimated. Her lifeblood, her purpose, gone. Her stilted language disappears. It has no place in the harsh reality of her current situation. Post-Carl Rick is unmoved. He doesn’t let Jadis escape with them. This is all her fault. She has to take care of herself. So she does. It includes turning her friends and family into mincemeat but it’s effective.
Rick assures Michonne he didn’t want to kill Jadis. He’s not a complete monster. Just a man in great amounts of pain. Instead of reading his letter from Carl, he reads Negan’s. The weight of Rick’s life settles over him. He gets on the walkie with Negan. Negan is genuinely upset to hear of Carl’s death. He had a real connection with the boy. Carl’s dying wish is for a truce. Instead, Rick doubles down. He promises to kill Negan. Negan blames Rick for Carl’s death. Just two alpha males, bro-ing out.
Next week: Daryl finds himself in bad company as his group heads to the Hilltop; Maggie makes difficult decisions at the Hilltop; Gabriel’s faith becomes tested.