First Aired April 8th, 2018
Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) reads Carl’s (played by Chandler Riggs) letter which begs him to find a way to move forward and begin a peaceful life, possibly even with Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). At the Sanctuary, Gregory (played by Xander Berkeley) throws himself at the mercy of Simon (played by Steven Ogg) who boasts that he controls the Saviors, he rebuffs Gregory’s attempts at joining the Saviors but relegates him to an assistant.
Aaron (played by Ross Marquand) isn’t making headway with the women of Oceanside who refuse to join the fight and ignore his presence. Eugene (played by Josh McDermitt) continues his job making bullets and chastises Gabriel (played by Seth Gilliam), recovering from his sickness and who has been sabotaging production. He goes to test other bullets outside and is captured by Daryl (played by Norman Reedus) and Rosita (played by Christian Serratos). He tries to appeal their past but he’s denounced as a coward and traitor; Rosita promises that he’ll live but it’ll be as a prisoner used only for his knowledge. Negan reveals himself to Dwight (played by Austin Amelio) who reassures his loyalty, Negan than holds a meeting where Simon asks for and is given forgiveness. Negan then makes plans to have teams surround the Hilltop to keep them contained and kill anyone attempting to leave. However Simon meets privately with Dwight, unhappy with Negan’s leadership and the theatrics of his current plan he wants to gather other dissenters and remove Negan from power.
Carl’s letters have been an emotional cornerstone of the second half of the season and it’s great to see what some of them say. It’s a powerful moment where for a moment it’s like Rick is the child and it’s Carl who’s offering him reassurances about the future. Aaron’s commitment is admirable but these ladies are treating him like a hated ex, they left him to die in the woods without batting an eye. Eugene made it clear to Gabriel he had no ties to him or anyone in the old group and Rosita made it clear the feeling is mutual. Eugene’s usefulness is the only thing keeping him alive because nobody can trust him; he’s betrayed just about everyone. Gregory doesn’t have that luxury so his time feels like its coming, I’m surprised these two have never teamed up their so much alike. I can’t tell if Negan is really that forgiving or if he doesn’t want to be bothered finding other lieutenants. Considering how quick people are turning on him it’s safe to say Negan has to have different criteria. They are right that Negan has a flair for the theatrics but while they find it annoying I find it entertaining.
While Daryl kills some walkers Eugene vomits on Rosita and escapes, they chase after him but Eugene avoids being seen by hiding under a pile of ashes and bone. Aaron lies in the woods fatigued from a lack of supplies; rain gives him needed water but he’s attacked by walkers that he barely fends off in his weakened state. Cyndie (played by Sydney Park) and other Oceanside members find him and he tries to convince them to fight so they no longer have to hide and take revenge on the Saviors for what they’ve taken from them. Dwight, Simon, Gregory and others meet in the courtyard and Simon offers Dwight the chance to kill Negan, once it’s done he wants to destroy the Hilltop and move in as the new leader. However Negan was listening around the corner and has all the dissenters executed Simon captured. Instead of killing him, Negan challenges Simon to a fight to see who should be the leader. Simon makes a grand speech of victory before the fight but Negan gains the upper hand and strangles Simon while Dwight frees Gregory and tells him to warn Rick.
Say what you want about Eugene’s loyalty he is resourceful, the vomiting was unexpected and disgusting but you can’t argue with results. I don’t know if Aaron wore down Cyndie or if they were impressed by his commitment but it looks like they are considering joining the fight. Nearly everyone in Oceanside are nameless background people so it’s hard to care what they do but with the finale coming another community would make the coming fight bigger. For about 30 seconds Dwight had a vision of his new life as leader of the Saviors and it was all taken away in three seconds. Simon had a ton of confidence going into that fight but if you’ll notice nobody seemed to support him, they knew he was done. That’s also why I think Dwight betrayed Simon because he knows how Negan thinks; it’s easier to take down the Saviors when you’re going against the devil you know.
Gregory is locked up once he returns to the Hilltop, while Dwight discovers the Savior who discovered he was a double agent survived and made it back. Negan reveals the plan Dwight gave Rick was fake and they will use that to ambush Rick and the Hilltop. Dwight isn’t killed but taken prisoner and Eugene, after making it back enthusiastically prepare to make bullets for the coming attack. Michonne (played by Danai Gurira) contacts Negan and reads him Carl’s letter, like Rick it asks for a peaceful resolution but Negan says things have escalated too far for peace and vows to kill them all.
Gregory traded one cell for another, that’s what happens when you burn too many bridges. Given how Negan likes to make examples of people Dwight is going to have a hard time in Sanctuary prison. Eugene is ready to take a stand and firmly stand by the Saviors, but I think the next time Daryl or Rosita get him in their sights he won’t make it out alive. Negan seemed affected by Carl’s letter and I think at least for a second he considered peace but he feels obligated to fight. But it wouldn’t be an epic season finale if people were signing peace treaties instead of shooting each other.
“Don’t worry you’ll get what you want, you’ll live. But we’re gonna force you to do something useful with your pathetic life.”
What are the chances Negan’s new plan is a big theatrical and convoluted one?
“Planning on killing me, like what else am I going to do besides crush the guy’s throat?”
Simon may be dead but in a final bit of revenge Negan has his walker tied up alone the fence, even in death Simon still works for Negan.
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