Previously, on The Walking Dead…
Negan killed Abraham and Glenn with Lucille. Rick was completely demoralized by Negan after nearly being forced to cut off Carl’s hand. The remaining members of the group (except for Daryl, Sasha and Maggie) returned to Alexandria. Daryl resisted Negan’s offer to work for him, despite being his prisoner.
Meanwhile, Spencer and Rosita are heading out of Alexandria. They run into Eugene at the gate, who is repairing a radio, so there will be something to give the Saviors when they arrive. But as the three Alexandrians are speaking, someone arrives at the gate, and a familiar silhouette begins knocking. No, it’s not Sheldon Cooper. It’s Negan, humming the first bar of Beethoven’s 5th symphony.
“Little pig, little pig, let me in.” he calls. Clearly, Negan sees himself as the Big Bad Wolf. Which, given his scruffy facial hair, might not be far off.
Spencer asks who Negan is, but Rick arrives before there is a big confrontation, telling Negan that he is early, but still opens the gate. Daryl and Dwight are among the people with Negan, but there are a heck of a lot more. It occurred to me that one well-placed RPG could take out the entire crew at the gate, but then Daryl would be caught in the crossfire. I suspect he would sacrifice himself for the group, but would Rick make that call? Unlikely, given the bromance that has developed between them. Plus, Rick is still grieving for Glenn and Abraham. One thing that is made clear in this episode is that Rick is willing to do almost anything to prevent anyone else he cares about from being hurt.
It seems Negan has made a Michael-Jackson-inspired fashion choice, wearing only one glove. Why? I have no idea. I guess just because he can.
Rick tries to speak with Daryl, but Negan cuts him off, telling him that no one talks to Daryl, else Rick will have to cut off pieces off of his bromance buddy. The Alexandrians all get the message. Negan sends a bunch of his men to go around Alexandria and take whatever they want. He insists that Rick give him a tour. Not only that, Negan asks Rick to carry Lucille, which is currently covered in walker blood (thanks to Negan having a little fun outside the gate). Rick is clearly completely whipped as he holds the instrument of Glenn’s and Abraham’s destruction, walking meekly behind his new master.
Meanwhile, Dwight takes all of Rosita’s and Spencer’s guns, not to mention Rosita’s hat and canteen, and asks after Daryl’s bike. Rosita says it’s not there, but Dwight insists that she knows where it is, and he orders her to go get it. Rosita leaves, taking Spencer with her.
It turns out that Michonne is practicing her aim with the rifle, trying to shoot a walker. She does about as well as a group of Stormtroopers shooting into rebel forces, which is to say that she can’t hit the one walker in her sights. It’s evident that the rifle really isn’t her weapon, as she shoots 9 bullets using the sights, yet the walker keeps on coming. Eventually, it is so close that Michonne has to hop down from her perch and resort to using her katana to kill it. However, she has managed to randomly hit a deer in the woods with one of her stray bullets. At least there’s a good venison dinner on the horizon.
Back in Alexandria, Negan’s men are looting the homes, taking all kinds of things, including chairs and mattresses, as well as more expected items. One of Negan’s men finds Deanna’s video camera, and Negan watches the video of Rick being interviewed shortly after the group arrived at Alexandria.
“Is that you, Rick, underneath all that man bush?” he asks, noting the Rick-Beard with amusement. Negan says that he would have been afraid of ‘that guy’, but humiliates Rick by filming him, telling him that he isn’t ‘that guy’ anymore.
Negan begins to ask after Maggie, when suddenly Father Gabriel appears on the scene, speaking to Negan. Negan turns around, nearly jumping out of his skin.
“You are creepy as shit!” he exclaims, taking in Gabriel’s priest collar and beaming smile.
After a few more comments, and another inquiry about Maggie, it seems that Negan wants to court the recent widow. I find this highly suspicious, as Maggie looked terrible during episode 1, and Negan even told her so. It’s pretty clear that he is saying this only to get to Rick. When Negan insists on wanting to know where Maggie is, Rick doesn’t answer. Negan assumes that it means that she didn’t survive (he knew she was in poor shape). Conveniently, Father Gabriel takes them to the cemetery, where there is a grave for Maggie. Yet Rick sees him surreptitiously brushing his hands off on his pants. It seems Father Gabriel has at least one trick up his sleeve. Uh, collar.
They hear a shot, and go to the location of the disturbance. it seems that Carl is protesting that Negan’s men are taking all of the medicine, when they were only ‘supposed’ to take half (referencing Negan’s original statement that the Saviors would take ‘half their stuff’). Rick tries to talk Carl down, but Negan intervenes and forces Carl to relinquish his gun, reminding him of the lessons he gave before and asking if there should be another one.
Carl has given in, but the whole thing make Negan feel that Alexandria shouldn’t have any guns at all. Realistically, I suspect Negan always intended to take every gun they had, but is using this incident as a convenient excuse. Everyone heads to the food storage/armory, where they are greeted by Olivia, who was expecting them. As in the comics, Negan comments that it’s a bit out of place for a fat woman to be in charge of the food, offending Rick further. At this point, Negan graciously states that the Saviors won’t take any of Rick’s food, because it’s slim pickings, and the Alexandrians need their strength to get Negan stuff. Negan demands a ‘thank you’ from Rick for such generosity, but needless to say, the words stick in Rick’s throat.
Negan asks Rick if all of the guns are in the armory, or if there are any hidden elsewhere.
“They’re all in there, to the best of my knowledge.” Rick replies, as the Saviors start looting.
Meanwhile, Spencer and Rosita drive out to the railroad tracks. Daryl’s bike is still hidden in the brush, and they retrieve it. As he is loading it into a van, Spencer suggests that Rick messed up, that they should have made a deal with Negan when they could have done. If the Alexandrians hadn’t followed Rick, more people might still be with them. Rosita doesn’t seem to hear his blasphemy, and moves off into the trees, holding her knife.
Back in town, Negan is happy with the guns coming out of the armory, even testing one by shooting a hole through a nearby window. He is especially impressed when he sees the RPG, realizing that it was Rick’s group that took out his team of men (and won’t he piss his pants when he learns that it was actually Daryl?). But Negan’s good mood evaporates when one of his people hauls Olivia out to the street, saying that her inventory shows that 2 hand guns are missing.
Negan instantly gets angry, accusing Olivia of doing her job poorly, telling her that keeping track of guns is life and death. To be fair, she should have realized that those guns were missing, so she did fail at her job. Unfortunately, the consequences for that are gong to be worse than she could ever have imagined. Negan doesn’t like killing women, but… Olivia is in tears, clearly fearing for her life. Rick is horrified that he might lose another life from Alexandria.
Rick, trying to keep his panic under control, gathers the Alexandrians together at the church, begging them for the guns, to save Olivia’s life. He says that it’s not worth holding onto guns and hiding them, because if Negan finds out, he will kill more of their people. The Alexandrians are not happy, and Aaron’s boyfriend Eric asks Rick why they can’t just fight back, despite Aaron telling him this isn’t the time. Rick responds that he isn’t in charge anymore; Negan is. He then asks again if anyone knows anything about the missing guns, repeating that Olivia’s life is at stake.
Eugene looks around, noting that not everyone is there in the church.
Speaking of people who aren’t there, out in the woods, Rosita is stalking a group of walkers. She kills them all with her knife, then searches the bodies, finding a handgun. She takes it, upset that there are no bullets inside. Spencer asks what she is doing, and Rosita borrows Daryl’s line, asking him, “Don’t you get it?”.
Rosita explains that Dwight took their guns because he’s going to be taking all of the guns. The Alexandrians need guns. They killed Denise. She doesn’t mention Abraham, but clearly he is on her mind as well.
“This is not our life.” she tells Spencer. It seems that while Rick is cowed, Rosita is working on bringing things back to the way they were. She asks if Spencer is going to turn her in, but he does not answer.
In Alexandria, Rick is searching homes, desperately looking for the missing guns, when Father Gabriel comes in. Gabriel observes Rick’s panic, and tries to calm him down.
“You’re my friend. It wasn’t always that way.” Gabriel says. Yep, it seems that Gabriel has finally accepted that Rick is a ‘good guy’, despite turning on him more than once in the past. Clearly, Rick will be comforted by knowing that Gabriel is his friend.
Rick thanks Gabriel for his quick thinking with the graves.
“It was nice digging a grave I knew would stay empty.” Gabriel replies. He insists that they just have to get through the day, and then they can figure out a way to get out of this. Rick replies that there is no getting out of this, and that this is the way things are now. But Gabriel disagrees, saying that he has faith in Rick. It’s a strange role reversal, where Rick has lost faith in himself, and Father Gabriel is trying to snap him out of it.
Rick finds the missing guns, along with a stash of food, inside a heating vent at Spencer’s house, and brings them to Negan. Negan demands to know who almost cost Olivia her life, but Rick says it doesn’t matter. Negan insists that it does matter.
“You need to get everybody onboard, or we go right back to square one.” Negan lectures.
Now that the guns have all been located, Negan’s men load up their trucks and start to head out (but not before humiliating Eden so she can keep her balloons, as Carl watches helplessly). Rick sees Michonne returning, the deer slung around her shoulders. He asks Negan’s permission to speak with her privately, which Negan magnanimously grants. Rick goes to speak to Michonne, telling her to hand over the rifle. When she refuses, he gives his logic.
“If you keep it and they find it, someone dies. I’m not losing you or Carl. I’m not losing anyone else. I’m giving it to them. Will you let me?”
Michonne is clearly unhappy with this argument, but it’s also clear that she understands where Rick is coming from. As Rick brings the rifle out to Negan, Michonne brings out the dead deer for Negan’s men. Negan is impressed that Rick offered up the rifle willingly. Rick, sensing an opening, asks if Daryl can stay. Negan says that he will give Daryl a chance to plead his case, but Daryl doesn’t respond. I suspect that Daryl knows that Negan isn’t going to let him go, no matter what he says, so he’s just keeping whatever shreds of dignity he still possesses.
Dwight takes Daryl’s bike from Rosita, giving her the hat back. He says that they took most of the beds, and he hopes she has a place to lay her pretty little head. She simply glares. Dwight then looks at Daryl, indicating the bike.
“You can have it back, just say the word.” Dwight says. I’m gathering this means that Negan’s deal is still on the table, not that I’m really surprised. Yet again, Daryl says nothing. I suspect he’s figured out that this is his best defense.
“So nobody died.” Negan notes as he departs, saying that next time Rick needs to have something ‘interesting’ for him, or else. Rick clearly wants to use Lucille (he is still holding it in a white-knuckled fashion) on Negan, but resists the urge, even when Negan turns his back to kill a walker with an Alexandrian candlestick.
Negan asks Rick for the two words he wants to hear. Rick swallows his pride and utters a reluctant ‘thank you’.
Finally, Negan collects Lucille from Rick, and then says quietly to him, “In case you haven’t caught on, I just slid my dick down your throat, and you thanked me for it.”
The Saviors trucks depart, with Daryl in the back. He looks out at Alexandria as they pulls out, with Rick looking back at him in a mournful fashion. The bromance is strong.
Rick closes the gate, then goes to confront Spencer about hiding the guns, telling him that Olivia could have died. Personally, I don’t blame Spencer. It’s not like he knew that Negan was coming that day or that the missing guns would be discovered, or what the consequences would be. I think Rick’s just being hard on him as his own form of emotional release. To add insult to injury, Rick says that Spencer is weak for hiding food.
Spencer says that they should have made a deal with the Saviors when he could have. He throws Glenn and Abraham into Rick’s face. Rick says that he will break Spencer’s jaw if Spencer talks to him like that again. Spencer backs down, but it’s clear that he doesn’t like Rick. I suspect he’ll be turning on Rick as soon as he gets a chance. Rick leaves.
Speaking with Rosita, Spencer says that he had had the guns for a while, because he didn’t trust Rick. I’m just wondering how long Olivia didn’t notice they were missing… she’s really bad at her job.
Spencer is worried about Rick being in charge. Rosita was right, this doesn’t have to be their life. But Rosita is pissed that Spencer didn’t tell her he had guns, after he saw what she went through to get just one. But she’s convinced that, at least for the moment, Spencer won’t rat her out.
As Spencer leaves, Rosita pulls the gun she retrieved from the walker out of the wheel well of her car.
Rick is setting up a makeshift bed on the floor when Michonne confronts him, telling him that the rifle she had was from Negan’s outpost and there was no record of it. So why did he give it up? Rick said that he had to.
“We play by their rules and we still get some kind of a life.” he explains.
“What kind of a life?” Michonne wants to know.
Rick tells Michonne about Shane, including his relationship with Lori, and that they were together when they thought that Rick was dead.
“I know Judith isn’t mine.” Rick reveals. “I know it. I love her, she’s my daughter, but she is not mine. I had to accept that so I could keep her alive.” On Talking Dead, they said this was a ‘shocking reveal’, but we’ve always known that it’s possible that she was Shane’s daughter. What’s new is that Rick ‘knows’ this in his heart, but has still accepted Judith and loves her as much as he does Carl. Frankly, no one ‘knows’ anything without a DNA test, and that’s unlikely to occur in the post-apocalyptic world. But I’m willing to accept that Rick ‘knows’ this.
“This is how we live now.” Rick finishes emotionally. “I have to accept that to keep everyone else alive.”
“It’s not your fault that people die.” Michonne tells him.
Rick answers that sometimes it is his fault.
“You have to accept this.” he insists. “All of us do, or it won’t work.”
“I’ll try.” she promises.
Michonne gets down to help Rick make the bed on the floor. She’s not angry with Rick, but I strongly suspect she disagrees with him. Frankly, it seems like everyone this episode disagrees with Rick. I have to wonder how long it will take Rick to come around to their way of thinking.
Later, Michonne is out in the field, but she sees smoke in the distance. She walks down the road toward it, realizing that the source was all of the Alexandria mattresses, smoldering. Apparently the Saviors burned them to demonstrate their power over the Alexandrians. Yep, Negan is an ass in both public and private.
Back at Alexandria, Rosita picks up the bullet casing from the gun Negan tested by breaking an Alexandria window. She brings the casing to Eugene’s door.
“Make me a bullet.” she demands, as the episode concludes.
This episode was difficult to watch, almost as much as episode 1. While no one died, seeing Rick so completely and utterly humiliated was nauseating, especially when his people clearly felt that it was the wrong approach. I’m confident, however, that the ‘old Rick’ will be back. After all, he is and was a law enforcement officer, and his entire spirit embodies the notion of ‘live free or die’. I’m certain that this will reassert itself before the end of the ‘half season’.
For those who play the No Man’s Land mobile game, this week’s Season 7 Mission is Negan and his Saviors burning the Alexandrian mattresses, while walkers converge.
What did you think of this episode? Join the conversation on FoCC!