Previously on The Walking Dead: Daryl, Tara, Rosita, and Dwight fought to avoid both the Walkers and the Saviors as they made their way back to the Hilltop. Tara wanted nothing more than to bust a cap in Dwight’s ass, and her attempt at doing so resulted in Dwight making a run for it and reuniting with the Saviors in order to keep them from finding Tara and everyone else. Thanks to a conversation with Eugene, Negan decides that the best way to scare his opponents straight is to have everyone cover their weapons in Walker blood and guts in order to infect Rick and company and scare them with the thought of being turned in to Walkers if they don’t get some damn Act-Right.
THE STORY SO FAR: Dwight is welcomed back into the fold with open arms and a six-pack of Sanctuary-made beer by Negan. Simon insists on having him come along with him as they continue scouting for Rick and company, mostly so he can share his thoughts on the fact that he thinks Negan’s scare tactic won’t actually work (because according to him, Rick and company clearly don’t scare, not after all that they’ve been through) and that The Saviors need to just pull up stakes and head elsewhere instead of losing people and bullets to a war that really doesn’t need to be fought any longer.
Rick and Michonne arrive back at the Hilltop to rest and regroup.
Maggie and Rosita come across milk crates outside of the Hilltop gates containing messages from an unknown party promising them ‘a key to the future’ if food and vinyl records (music only, no spoken word) are placed in the crates as a response.
After doing some scouting of his own, Rick sees Negan and the Saviors driving down the road. Instead of seeking help from Daryl or anyone else, he instead decides to go after Negan himself, Fury Road-style, and uses his own vehicle to run Negan’s off the road and away from the Saviors. Which leads to the two of them ending up in a deserted medical-supply company and talking lots and lots of shit to each other (from Negan reminding Rick that he failed Carl by letting him die to Rick making it clear to Negan that no matter what deal he offers to end this, he is not to be trusted because he clearly doesn’t care about anyone but himself) while trying to physically kill each other (the fact that Negan temporarily loses Lucille and Rick gets his hands on her to release some imprisoned Walkers while lighting it on fire and beating Negan with it only makes this entire situation even more intense).
Maggie, Michonne, and Enid meet up with the three people who left the messages in the milk crates, their leader reminding me very much of Betsy DeVos if Betsy DeVos wasn’t so proudly and completely incompetent, and after much debate as to whether their food and supplies should just be taken so that they can survive…they give the Three Wise Women the vinyl records that they’re asking for. Not-Betsy DeVos responds by giving them the ‘key to the future’ that she promised: a very large handwritten and hand-drawn manual describing farming and irrigation methods to help The Hilltop and other locations flourish and grow whatever they may need to actually endure that they might actually have a future if the Walkers and other Saviors-type groups don’t take it away from them first.
Negan escapes from the deserted medical-supply company with Lucille in hand…only to lose consciousness, and wake up in the passenger seat of a pickup truck being held at gunpoint…by none other than Jadis herself.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: The physical and verbal confrontation between Rick and Negan. It was just as entertaining to watch them slug it out (and see Negan lose his shit at the thought of Rick destroying Lucille, as well as Rick even holding her at all) while dodging Walker after Walker.
Simon and Dwight getting their Glengarry Glen Ross on as they go back and forth debating whether or not Negan is continuing to make the right decisions as leader of the Saviors and whether or not they should stay or they should go. A debate which is then sent right to the Recycle Bin after finding Negan’s wrecked car with no Negan anywhere in sight so he and the rest of the Saviors decide that to honor Negan, wherever he may be and whether or not he’s dead, instead of retreating, that they should do what should’ve been done and simply kill Rick and company instead of trying to teach them yet another lesson in order to make them submit.
Negan learning the truth from Rick about what Simon really did to Jadis and the Not-At-All-Connected-To-Bill Cosby Junkyard Gang.
Michonne reminding Enid that she can and will put her over her knee and beat her skinny ass if she doesn’t back off when Carl’s name is brought up during their debate, as well as her conversations with both Enid and Maggie as she reminds them of how important it is to keep Carl’s promise to not lose their humanity and to make sure that there is something worth living for after this All-Out War ends, whenever and however it ends.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: I would’ve expected at least one scene between Rick and Maggie as they discuss what he’s feeling and how he’s holding up since Carl’s death, but unless I missed it in this episode or the last one, there was nothing.
It’s been how many seasons that Maggie has been pregnant and she still doesn’t look anything close to it.
Considering that The Saviors now have every intention of killing Rick and company instead of taking prisoners and showing mercy, that pointless “We’re going to infect everyone and make them all Walkers even though we’ve known since Season 2 that everyone is already infected and will automatically turn into Walkers when they die” cliffhanger really was all for naught. And speaking of infection, I guess we really aren’t going to get any follow-up regarding the Saviors feasting on pigs who have feasted on Walkers and getting or not getting infected from that, huh? Or have I missed out on that particular resolution?
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Obviously.
MICHONNE?: Yes, she is.
CARL?: Please save your stupid-ass questions for another time and place.
MAGGIE?: Yes. The question still remains how long should we expect her to stick around.
JESUS?: Still out scavenging for both food and for hair-care products that will keep him and his hair looking inexplicably fabulous.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: He’s still here and he’s able to patch up his rift with Rick as they once again remind each other of their bond and their brotherhood
TO SUM IT ALL UP: One of the better episodes this season so far. The action didn’t feel as repetitive as it has before, the introduction of the Three Wise Women was also a nice and humorous touch (the facial expressions in response to ‘moisture’ being a supposedly made-up word was priceless), and I’m genuinely curious as to what will happen next regarding Negan and Jadis, as well as Negan returning to the Saviors and confronting Simon.
Only four more episodes of the All-Out War remain, in case any of you were wondering. And next week’s episode is apparently going to be a full two hours. Which resulted in me waking up my neighbors by responding to this discovery with…
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “M1A1” by Gorillaz: