First Aired April 15th, 2018
Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) presses Siddiq (played by Avi Nash) for details on how Carl (played by Chandler Riggs) died; Siddiq explains Carl was helping honor Siddiq’s dead mother who believed people’s souls were trapped inside walkers. Morgan (played by Lennie James) spots some defected Saviors outside the gates clearing walkers and has a violent episode nearly killing Henry (played by Macsen Lintz) but is stopped by Carol (played by Melissa McBride).
Rick talks with Morgan who believes because they’ve lost their families they descended too far into darkness, citing their recent actions of killing Saviors who wanted to join them. Negan (played by Jeffery Dean Morgan) forces Gabriel (played by Seth Gilliam) to come with him and explains his plan to deceive Rick and the others, which includes sacrificing some of his own men so Rick believes his intel is real. At first chance Gabriel attempts to escape but with his limited vision h’s easily recaptured by Eugene (played by Josh McDermitt). Saviors converge on the Hilltop as Rick’s group go to a large plain per Dwight’s (played by Austin Amelio) intel and are taunted over the radio by Negan. He taunts them with the knowledge that Eugene has fully turned on them and that they have Gabriel hostage, but when he orders the Saviors to open fire their guns explode on them killing most and injuring few others. Eugene tampered with the bullets and set up the Saviors; Rick and the others attack but Negan escapes.
Rick learning how Carl died being selfless and Morgan’s claim that they’ve gone off the deep end have clearly shaken Rick. Although he’s more adjusted than Morgan who’s lashing out at children now and is unraveling more every second. If anything Rick must see Morgan’s state of mind as his future if he doesn’t change which sets up the second half of the episode. The first half of the episode sets things up for a massive fight and instead we get a fake out where most of the Saviors end up accidently killing themselves. Although that seems anticlimactic it’s better that we got something we didn’t expect. Eugene saved the day but that doesn’t erase the fact that he betrayed Rick and everyone else, it was very last minute that he turned on Negan. Maybe it was seeing how Negan willingly sacrificed his own people that changed his mind but Eugene though he likely will rejoin Rick they won’t forget that he turned against them.
Rick chases after Negan while the others kill or capture the remaining Saviors. At the Hilltop, Tara (played by Alanna Masterson) stays behind to fight the Saviors while everyone escapes and Alden (played by Callan McAuliffe) and other defected Saviors volunteer to fight with her. Although she doesn’t trust them she consents but the Saviors are killed by Molotov cocktails courtesy of Aaron (played by Ross Marquand), Cyndie (played by Sydney Park), and other people from Oceanside. Rick catches up to Negan and they fight, Negan says Carl would still be alive if it weren’t for Rick. Rick attempts to talk him down and says Carl was right all along and that they don’t have to fight anymore; but once Negan drops his guard Rick slits his throat. Rick is immediately remorseful and when the others arrive he orders Siddiq to save Negan, Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan) becomes distraught and demands he die to avenge Glenn (played by Steven Yeun). Rick tells the captured Saviors that Negan’s era is over and that anyone who wants to live in peace is welcome to do so; those who don’t will pay with their lives.
Oceanside joined the fight (not much of a surprise), what was surprising was how quickly they killed the Saviors. Not giving us an epic battle is one thing but this all seemed too easy especially given this war lasted all season and was wrapped up in a neat bow. The biggest surprise was the exchange between Negan and Rick because obviously we expected Rick to talk him down but then he nearly kills Negan. After Carl died it seemed for a moment Negan could be out the door too (that’s a big advantage of killing major characters you wouldn’t expect). Instead Rick decides to honor Carl although most of the others (especially Maggie) don’t agree, given Negan’s actions it’s hard to envision a future utopia with him. The other Saviors agreed to the deal out of duress but at least some could have been forced to join the Saviors and genuinely open to peace. But in the end Negan is a very interesting and complex character and it better serves the narrative to keep him alive and how that plays out.
Morgan tells Carol to say goodbye to Henry for him and decides to live on his own. He first visits Jadis (played by Pollyanna McIntosh) and tells her Rick offered her a place at Alexandria and suffering from loneliness she agrees, revealing her real name is Anne. While other Saviors decide to go back to the Sanctuary, Alden stays at Hilltop to help them rebuild with Maggie’s consent and all the communities begin to come together. Daryl (played by Norman Reedus) leads Dwight into the woods, Dwight accepts that he’s going to die and apologizes to Daryl; instead Daryl lets him go but warns if he comes back he’ll be killed. Maggie prepares to build up the Hilltop and make it a thriving community but does not agree with Rick’s decision to keep Negan alive. She wants to bide her time and then make a move against him and Daryl wholeheartedly agrees. As Negan recovers Rick tells him that while they won’t hurt him, he will be locked up for the rest of his life as an example of how things can change for the better.
Dwight gets banished in lieu of execution but it feels like there’s more to the character’s story and it wouldn’t be surprising if he comes back, Jadis/Anne is also set up to become a prominent character next season. Morgan is going off on his own journey (of course we know it’ll lead to Fear the Walking Dead). Everyone is coming together and it finally feels like the group has found peace but that feeling only lasts a few minutes. Maggie and Daryl are so furious that Negan was allowed to live they’re willing to go up against Rick to kill him. A civil war between Hilltop and Alexandria was unexpected but it would be great drama especially seeing which characters end up on what side. Instead of a new peaceful world Negan is going to have a view of these communities imploding on each other and given his current situation that’s a view he’ll probably enjoy.
“Have mercy prevail over my wrath.”
Morgan is the perfect choice to cross over into Fear because it makes sense for his story and lets us continue to follow his character.
“We’re not gonna kill you, we’re not gonna hurt you, you’re gonna rot in a cell.”
It’ll be interesting to see how hard Rick fights against his friends to keep Negan alive.
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