First Aired October 7th, 2018
Alexandria, The Kingdom, Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary have all come together to live in peace and harmony. Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) leads a large group to an agricultural museum where they gather seeds and other tools to combat a loss of crops at the Sanctuary. While moving a wagon over a large glass section in the floor it breaks and Ezekiel (played by Khary Payton) falls through. The group saves him just in time much to his partner Carol’s (played by Melissa McBrIde) relief.
On the trip back Ezekiel proposes to Carol but the idea of marriage horrifies her so he resolves to wait and ask again. A downed bridge and walker herd slows them down so people split off in small groups to different settlements so not to draw attention. Walkers attack Rick’s group and a boy from the Hilltop who tries to save one of their horses gets bitten and dies which leaves Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan) The Hilltop leader devastated. Maggie informs the boy’s parents and the mother rails against Maggie for letting her son die and for their alliance with the Saviors who get much of their food. At the funeral (Maggie is disinvited) Gregory (played by Xander Berkley), who lost an election to Maggie makes the rounds to the grieving residence. At the Sanctuary, Michonne (played by Danai Gurira) and Daryl (played by (Norman Reedus) notice graffiti that shows some Saviors are still loyal to Negan (played by Jeffery Dean Morgan).
Nearly being eaten looked less terrifying to Ezekiel after Carol turned him down but he’ll probably wear her down eventually. The beginning of the episode does a good show of showing what all the major characters are and the new dynamics of the communities. But whereas the last few premieres were heavy on violence and shoot outs this episode subtly shows the discord under the surface while setting up storylines for the season. Gregory will always be a weasel up to no good but the driving storyline will be the divide that still exists with the Saviors. Everyone is working to keep them alive but at least some are clearly loyal to Negan and the infighting that will come from that should be dramatic storytelling. Although that mouthy Savior who was reluctant to clean the graffiti clearly did it or knew who did but someone Daryl didn’t pick up on that.
Daryl talks to Rick and says he doesn’t want to lead the Sanctuary anymore, he’s worried that the manpower to supply the Sanctuary will prove too much but Rick believes it’s their job to provide for everyone. Carol offers to take over at the Sanctuary since Daryl has too many bad memories associated with the place. At the Hilltop, Gregory gives the grieving parents a bottle of alcohol and fuels the father’s anger by hinting that Maggie rigged the election and that Maggie puts the interests of others over Hilltop. In bed Michonne tells Rick she feels worried after seeing the graffiti and worries they made a mistake leaving Negan alive. Michonne thinks they need a signed agreement between all the communities in order to maintain peaceful relations. Maggie takes baby Herschel out for a walk and Gregory informs her someone defaced Glenn’s (played by Steven Yuen) grave. When she goes to investigate she’s attacked by the boy’s father and Maggie immediately realizes Gregory was behind it, he attacks but Maggie incapacitates him.
Rick is so desperate to do what he thinks is right but in the end it’s just going to push more people away even those closest to him. Michonne’s idea of an agreement between all the communities might be too little too late at least where the Sanctuary is concerned. The discussion of a rigged election is surprisingly topical given the current political climate and Gregory wastes no time playing dirty politics. It’s a pretty good idea getting someone to kill Maggie and keep his hands relatively clean but there’s a hint of cowardice in his decision that Maggie immediately confronts him on. Maggie will clearly not let him live after he both indirectly and directly tried to have her killed but their rivalry has been covered extensively for the past few seasons. It’s better to have it wrapped up quickly to move Maggie’s story forward particularly her anger with Rick about not executing Negan.
Rick, Daryl and Michonne show up the next day and learn what happened, Rick asks Maggie to visit Alexandria more but she refuses because of Negan. Rick asks Maggie for supplies so they can help build a bridge to continue supplying the Sanctuary but she refuses without a trade, not wanting to help her former enemies out of the kindness of her heart. She asserts herself as a leader and to prove it that night Maggie executes Gregory by hanging as punishment for his crimes.
Rick has always been the leader and expects people to follow, he asks Maggie for supplies but his tone clearly shows he all but expects her to say yes. Maggie and the Hilltop have their own priorities and she’s making sure Rick knows she’s there to help but not be taken advantage of. The execution of Gregory is the rise of Maggie but that may not be so great for Rick.
“How’d I get so lucky to find you?” “We both lost enough.”
Rick thinks he and Michonne deserve happiness but we know that’s not coming given Andrew Lincoln is leaving the series. They obviously won’t be moving away so the only way to write him off on a show like this is to kill him.
“We’re not together because things have changed.” “Thing is you changed them Rick.”
A walker full of spiders is not an image I’ll get out of my head anytime soon.
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