Previously on The Walking Dead: Rick was able to remove himself from the rebar he was impaled on and despite his attempts to escape the oncoming hordes of Walkers, they still kept coming. Which left him with no other option than to wait until they attempted to cross the bridge and then blow up the bridge with both himself and the Walkers on it, which killed nearly all of the Walkers but left Rick near death until the black helicopter came and took both him and Jadis/Anne to whereabouts unknown.
THE STORY SO FAR: About six years after the events of last week’s episode, Judith Grimes escorts the people she rescued back to Alexandria, where Michonne, Father Gabriel, Aaron, and the rest of the community vote on whether they should stay or they should go. Carol and Henry, who is now a teenager and raised by both her and Ezekiel, are ambushed while going on a supply run. And Maggie and Hershel are gone and nowhere to be seen, with little to no clue as to where they went, where they are, or why they left.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Michonne’s opening monologue to Rick, in which she lets Rick know in her own way that life is finding a way to continue going forward while Alexandria continues its efforts to rebuild and make a new life for themselves. The opening montage accompanying her monologue, that shows how much has changed and how much has stayed the same in the six years that have passed, such as Eugene becoming more of a badass when taking down Walkers, Ezekiel and Carol getting married, and Father Gabriel and Rosita coupling up. Carol confronting Jed, Regina, and the rest of the formerly-known-as-the Saviors reminding us once again (as if we could ever forget) that she is not to be fucked with, and definitely not when it comes to her son, by burning every single one of them alive while they’re asleep. Being introduced to Magna, Luke, Yumiko, Connie, and Kelly and what each of them are like, and the fact that they’ve clearly been their own hellish experiences together, which is why Magna is willing to go after Michonne and make her an offer she can’t refuse in terms of letting them all stay, and it isn’t until he sees R.J. happily running into his mother’s arms that she changes her mind and decides to be upfront with her. That, combined with Judith continuing to plead their case, helps convince Michonne to bring them to the Hilltop so that they can stay there instead.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: I get that a lot of time has passed since last week’s episode, but if we can get hints as to how people have dealt with Rick’s absence and some hint about Maggie and Hershel’s absence and not just Jane Lane-shrug about it without a single reference to either one of them.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: He is, and he’s still being held in captivity by the people of Alexandria, while also bonding with Judith, who is willing to sit with him while doing her math homework, but not about to fool herself into thinking that he’s to be completely trusted.
MICHONNE?: She’s the head of security for Alexandria and makes it very clear how reluctant she is about allowing Magna, Luke, and the rest of the group to stay there, especially after seeing her prison tattoo and realizing that Magda is an ex-convict. She’s also still mourning the losses of both Rick and Carl, while also continuing to raise Judith as well as her and Rick’s son, R.J.
CARL?: Nope. Still dead.
JUDITH?: Still bonding with Negan, doing her part to stand up on behalf of Magda, Luke, and the rest of the group, living and training with Michonne, who she now refers to as ‘Mom’ and struggling to remember her father and brother, as well as what they sound like.
CAROL?: Now married to Ezekiel and raising Henry with him (and sporting long, silver locks that reminded me of Jamie Lee Curtis in the 2018 version of Halloween). Is now the Aunt Beru to Ezekiel’s Uncle Owen, in that she has to remind him that
Luke Henry is getting older and is making it more and more clear that he yearns to do his own thing outside of Alexandria.
JADIS/ANNE?: Still gone, along with Rick.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Still alive and living on his own in the wilderness.
ARE MAGGIE AND DARYL AND JESUS STILL PLOTTING AGAINST RICK AND MICHONNE TO KILL NEGAN?: Seeing as how Rick is gone and Maggie made it clear that Negan is too pathetic to kill, that plan is now over and done with. Oh yeah, and the fact that Maggie and Hershel are gone and nowhere to be seen is also a major factor as to why this plot is no longer going forward.
ANY SIGN OF THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: Spotted at the end of the episode, dressed as zombies, whispering, “Don’t let them get away,” as Rosita and Eugene hid in a pile of mud.
ANY SIGN OF THAT BLACK HELICOPTER FROM LAST SEASON?: No.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Despite the fact that many of us are still getting used to the idea of Andrew Lincoln-as-Rick and Lauren Cohan-as-Maggie being gone, this episode does an impressive job of keeping both the story and the momentum going forward in terms of showing us what every other character has been up to, and what they’re doing to either continue improving their community and making sure that it flourishes or resorting to familiar tactics to maintain the status quo and take what they feel belongs to them (Jed, Regina, and the rest of the Not-Saviors going after Carol and Henry, and who knows how many others, due to their failed efforts at building a community back at the Sanctuary). There are only two more episodes left before the show goes on break until February, so anything can happen.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult:
Header Image Source: AMC