Since I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks, this is going to be a condensed two-parter for “Dead or Alive or” and “The Key” episodes. Let’s go!
In “Dead or Alive or,” Daryl, Rosita and the survivors of Alexandria are on the move to the Hilltop. The Saviors are hot on their tails, but they’ve got an ace up their sleeve: former Savior Dwight. However, Tara has a problem with this. No, wait, what she really has a problem with is Dwight still walking, talking and, you know, being alive. Tara made that perfectly clear when she practically threw a walker on Dwight, who was barely able to get it off and kill it. She’s (understandably) still pissed about Dr. Denise, but now is not the time. If the Alexandrians are going to make it to the Hilltop, she’s going to have to put her desire for vengeance aside for a little bit longer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do it and went after Dwight anyway. Tara pulled a gun on him while they were out clearing walkers. When Dwight told her that he hated Negan and the Saviors and wanted Alexandria to win, Tara had the gall to lecture him about switching sides. Ummm, Tara, if I recall, your ass used to work for the Governor and YOU switched sides when you saw what a complete psycho he was. So yeah, glass houses.
Anywho, Tara shoots at Dwight and he hauls ass. He runs out into a clearing but Tara catches up to him and is ready to blow his brains out. Just then, they hear voices and run for cover, Tara still pointing her gun at Dwight’s head. A group of Saviors are searching for the remaining Alexandrians and are about to head to the swamp. Before they can, Dwight jumps out of the bushes and draws the Saviors away from the Alexandrians, leaving Tara pretty shooketh because not only did he save her and her group, but he sacrificed himself and went back to the Sanctuary.
While all of Tara’s shenanigans were going on, Daryl and Rosita were clearing a path for the group across the swamp. That was a pretty dangerous thing, too, because the water was crawling with walkers. Many of them were under water and didn’t show themselves until someone was close enough for them to bite. It was tough going, but they made it through. Just in time for them to find out about Tara and Dwight. To say Daryl was pissed is an understatement. He hasn’t said that much since Season 1! He pretty much flipped out until he saw how scared poor Judith was watching him act like a psychopath. So, he calmed his ass down and they made their way to the Hilltop.
Meanwhile, Dr. Carson and Father Gabriel are lost and have no idea where they’re going. They’re out of gas and on top of all that, Father Gabriel is sick and his eyes are failing. But he still has faith that the Lord will lead the way. Dr. Carson, not so much. He thinks God is on a permanent holiday but Father Gabriel is ever faithful. Things start happening that make Dr. Carson possibly see the light: they find a house in the middle of nowhere; said house has antibiotics to help Father Gabriel get well; there’s also a map and car keys that they found when Father Gabriel knocked over a piggy bank. Even when Dr. Carson’s leg is caught in a bear trap and he’s trapped under a walker, when Father Gabriel miraculously shoots the walker, the good doctor starts to believe. Once they get in the car they find, they hear guns being cocked and, of course, it’s the Saviors. But Father Gabriel still has faith and so does Dr. Carson. So much so that he tries to steal a Savior’s gun and is shot dead in the process. The abundance of faith Father Gabriel had is completely drained from his body once he realized what happened. Dr. Carson’s body is then dumped from the pickup truck and Father Gabriel is taken back to the Sanctuary where he’s given the job of bullet sorter under Eugene’s punk ass.
Speaking of Eugene, it absolutely galls me that he is still alive. Maybe I’m being too hard on him because Lord knows what I would do in his situation. But I hope that if I were in that situation, I would stand up and fight, even if it meant not making it to the end. To see him walking around breathing makes me nauseous and more than a bit pissed off.
At the Hilltop, Maggie is doing her best to keep things running smoothly. But they’re running out of food and supplies and she’s still got 28 captive Saviors to watch over. I’m hoping that she doesn’t let that cute Savior change her mind about anything, because hot or not, that guy is still a Savior. And they are not to be trusted.
And at the Sanctuary, Negan has found a new way to combat Rick and the others. He wants to coat the Saviors’ weapons in walker blood, because we all know that it only takes a bite or a scratch with that tainted blood and it’s the end of the road. Negan is tired of playing this game. Rick either joins him or ends up as a walker. Plain and simple. Which takes us to the next episode.
In “The Key,” it was basically the Rick and Negan show. The Saviors made their way to the Hilltop so they could try to scare everyone there into submission. But on the way, things go haywire. See, Rick and Michonne made it back to the Hilltop before then, and Rick decided to go on lookout duty. He sees the Saviors and is about to warn Maggie and the rest when he instead decides to deal with Negan on his own.
As the Saviors get closer to the Hilltop, Simon sees a car coming through one of the alleys but says nothing. He knows the car is gunning for Negan and lets it happen. Rick smashes his car into Negan’s and a Walking Dead car chase ensues. Rick turns into the savage we all know and love, with murder in those baby blues. Eventually, the two crash and Rick starts shooting up Negan’s car. For the first time, Negan looks scared which made me extremely happy. He runs into a building as Rick keeps shooting at him and drawing walkers to the noise. When Rick runs into the building, he just barely missed getting his head knocked off by Lucille, and the two men duke it out. Rick pulls out his handgun and shoots again, until he runs out of bullets. When he does, Negan gets cocky and eggs him on, but Savage Rick throws his ax at Negan’s head. He ducks, losing his balance and Lucille at the same time. Negan falls through the banister and is holding on to the ledge for dear life when Rick takes his ax and aims straight for him. Negan falls through a hole in the floor below him, but we all know he ain’t dead.
While all of this is going on, Simon and Dwight take over and tell the rest of the Saviors that they’re going to look for Negan. Simon’s been looking for this opportunity for the longest time so it wasn’t surprising when he basically said screw Negan. He and Dwight agree to leave him and head back to the group. When they arrive, the Saviors are a little rattled when Simon tells them Negan is gone. But he gives them a pep talk and then changes the plan Negan had for the Hilltop: instead of scaring them, Simon wants everyone at the Hilltop killed. Everyone last one of them. Dwight didn’t sign up for that and he looks a bit shook at this newest change of plan.
As we knew, Negan is still alive and trying to find Lucille. But Rick gets his hands on her first. He sees a door barricaded by planks with the word “Eaters” painted on one of them. You can hear the walkers trying to claw their way through there are so many. Negan tries to see if he and Rick can come to some sort of agreement, but it’s no dice, especially after what happened to Jadis’ community. Oh that’s right! Negan didn’t know about that. Rick casually mentions that Negan’s men killed everyone in Jadis’ community except for her, so excuse him if he didn’t think Negan’s offer was legit. Rick then lights Lucille on fire and starts to break the door barricading the walkers down. Negan charges at Rick and both of them fall through the door. When they recover, Rick starts swinging at Negan with a lit Lucille while the walkers go after both of them. Long story short, Negan gets Lucille back and escapes. Again.
During all of this chaos, a strange woman who looked like your friendly neighborhood city council rep met up with Maggie, Michonne, Rosita and Enid. The woman, named Georgie, had sent them a message earlier so they could barter: four crates of food and music for the key to their future. Umm, ok. Well, Maggie wasn’t okay with that and decided to take Georgie and her companions back to the Hilltop. Michonne tries to talk Maggie into making the deal, but Enid is on fire and still distraught about Carl. She thinks they should just take Georgie’s crates of food and that’s it. Poor Enid is so upset that she gets in Michonne’s face, but she ain’t that upset. When General Okoye Michonne tells her to step back, Enid remembers she likes living and walks out.
Maggie listens to her friend and makes the deal. And for that, Georgie changes her mind and asks for one crate of food and music in exchange for her knowledge. Turns out, she has a book of real knowledge, a book that shows how to create windmills, aquaducts and the like in order to build a sustainable community. Yup, Georgie was the real deal. Now if I were Maggie, I would have opened that book and read through it first before letting Georgie leave, but it must have been a breath of fresh air to deal with someone who actually kept their word.
Remember when Negan escaped from Rick? Again? Well, he didn’t get very far. In fact, he didn’t escape at all. We see him unconscious in the passenger seat of a car that is driven by none other than Jadis herself. The last time we saw her, she was turning her dead people into mush after Simon went against Negan’s orders and killed everyone but Jadis. She’s got some serious vengeance to seek and she’s starting with Negan.
Will Negan survive this latest blow? Will Rick’s desire to kill Negan continue to cloud his judgment? Will Simon become the new Negan? And will Eugene ever get what’s coming to him?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm on AMC. Photos courtesy of AMC.