Previously, on The Walking Dead…
During his overnight watch, Gabriel took the supplies from the pantry and left Alexandria by car, a mysterious person in the passenger seat next to him. Rick and the group tracked his whereabouts to the boat from which Rick and Aaron gathered supplies for the Saviors. During an exchange between the Kingdom and the Saviors, Richard got into a fight with one of the men, Jared. Richard asked Carol and Morgan to convince Ezekiel to rally the Kingdom against the Saviors, but they both refused. Later, Rick asked Ezekiel to have the Kingdom join Alexandria and Hilltop in their fight against the Saviors. Morgan spoke out against the violence to come, and Ezekiel decided not to join the fight – but he offered Daryl sanctuary at the Kingdom.
In a parking lot, Ezekiel, Morgan, Richard, Benjamin, Jerry, and a few other members of Ezekiel’s court wait for the Saviors to give the Kingdom’s weekly offering. The Saviors arrive, and Jerry opens the trunk of the car from the Kingdom to reveal the supplies to their leader, Gavin. Gavin notes that the load looks light but upon further inspection, he accepts that they have met their quota – but Jared decides that he wants Richard’s gun, too.
“No guns for bad boys,” Jared says.
“You hit me first, prick,” Richard responds.
The two draw their guns on one another, with the members of both Kingdom and the Saviors quick to back up their respective men. Ezekiel demands that Richard hand over his weapon to Jared, and Richard reluctantly obeys. Gavin tells Jared to stand down, and he does – but as Jared takes Richard’s weapon, Richard says, “Suck on it, you little shit.”
Angered, Jared swings a punch at Richard, but Morgan knocks his hand away using his Aikido skills. Jared grabs Morgan’s stick out of his hand and knocks Richard down with it, but Benjamin is quick to use his training with Morgan to knock Jared out of the way – unfortunately hitting Morgan’s ear in the process.
Gavin tells Ezekiel that this behavior can’t continue, and Ezekiel agrees. Gavin threatens that Richard will still be the first person from the Kingdom that the Saviors kill if the current “peace” between the two groups cannot be kept.
As the Saviors are leaving, Morgan asks Jared if he can have his stick back – after all, it was given to him by a friend (Eastman) who is now dead. This really pisses off Jared, who wants to go after Morgan – but he lets it go upon Gavin’s insistence, taking Morgan’s stick with him.
Back at the Kingdom, Ezekiel notes to Benjamin that he was quick to react with his stick during the exchange and, while he is impressed with Benjamin’s newfound skills, he cautions that Benjamin needs to think before he acts going forward. Ezekiel tells Richard that they will talk later, and he departs with Jerry. Benjamin hangs back to offer to take Morgan to the infirmary for his ear, but Morgan declines. Then Daryl calls to Morgan, asking where they went; knowing that this is a private matter, Morgan tells Benjamin that he needs to speak with Daryl alone.
Morgan confirms that the group has just returned from an exchange with the Saviors, and Daryl asks, “What the hell’s wrong with you?” He points out Morgan’s bloody ear and says that if Carol were there and knew what happened in the exchange – and about Glenn and Abraham’s deaths – she’d be leading an attack against the Saviors.
“She would,” Morgan agrees, “and that’s why she left.” Unimpressed with Morgan’s lack of initiative against the Saviors, Daryl scoffs and walks away.
Nearby, Richard is attempting to hone his skills with a bow and arrow. Daryl approaches, and Richard states that he’s practicing for a fight against the Saviors.
“Morgan said you were a bowman,” he says, handing Daryl a crossbow. When Daryl asks why Richard is giving it to him, Richard states that he needs Daryl’s help. Finally reunited with a bow for the first time since the end of season six, Daryl tests out the weight, aiming it towards the ground – and part of me can’t help but wonder if he’s imagining Dwight’s head on the receiving end!
Believing that they to do need something to sway Ezekiel to join the fight against the Saviors, Richard takes Daryl to the cache he has hidden in the forest, where the two gather weapons. He then leads Daryl down a road frequently traveled by the Saviors, where they hide behind an abandoned truck to ready themselves for an ambush as soon as they see cars. Richard states that he plans to hit them with both guns and fire – and, when Daryl inquires as to why that is, he says that “it needs to look bad.” He wants to invoke the wrath of the Saviors who come upon the scene because he has left a trail for them to his weapons cache…and then to “the cabin of that someone Ezekiel cares about.” Uh oh.
“Who’s that?” Daryl asks, and Richard states that it’s just some loner who Ezekiel sometimes brings food to. Daryl asks why this person doesn’t live in the Kingdom itself, and Richard responds, “I don’t know. She lives out there, she’ll die out there.”
“It’s a woman?” Daryl asks. RED. ALERT.
Richard states that it doesn’t matter either way, since she’s probably going to die anyway. He then reveals the plan is for the Saviors to follow the trail to the cabin and attack “this woman,” prompting Ezekiel to join fight against the Saviors. Clearly knowing what is happening here after having spoken with Morgan in the last episode, Daryl demands that Richard tell him the name of the woman.
Richard sighs. “Carol,” he says, claiming that he had hoped that Daryl didn’t know who she was. Refusing to go forward with any part of this plan, Daryl gathers his new crossbow and supplies as Richard argues that sacrificing Carol would be for the greater good. Well, Richard…there goes any and all respect I had for you.
Suddenly, cars are heading their way – it’s the Saviors. Richard apologizes to Daryl and heads in for the attack – but Daryl tackles him to the ground first, preventing him from making a move and getting in quite a few (deserved) punches. The Saviors pass as they rise from the struggle – Richard holding Daryl at gunpoint, and Daryl aiming the crossbow at Richard. Richards says that more Saviors will come that way, so another chance will come – but he believes that their time is running out.
“What we have to do requires sacrifice one way or another,” he tells Daryl, stating that Carol might as well be dead if she has chosen to live on her own.
“She gets hurt, she dies, she catches a fever, she gets taken out by a walker, she gets hit by lightning, anything – anything happens to her, I’ll kill you,” Daryl says (as I’m promptly hit with a severe case of “the feels”). Not seeming to mind this, Richard states that he’d die for the Kingdom. “Why don’t you?” Daryl asks, storming off. You tell him, Daryl!
Back at the junkyard, the group from the end of last week’s episode – AKA, the Scavengers – lead Rick and co. to their leader. As Rick follows and observes them, he is still partly smiling, clearly impressed by their numbers and their apparent toughness (while Michonne, Rosita, Tara, and Aaron all look slightly bewildered in the meantime). The Scavengers create a circular formation around Rick and the others as their leader approaches, inquiring as to who is in charge of the Alexandrians. One of the Scavengers pushes Rick forward, and he introduces himself.
“We own your lives,” the leader of the Scavengers says. “You want to buy them back?” She asks if they have anything to offer, but Rick states that he wants to see Gabriel before turning to that discussion. The leader nods and Gabriel is brought before Rick and the group, unharmed; Rick smiles and nods at him.
The Scavengers’ leader tells Rick that their spy saw the supplies Rick and Aaron gathered from the boat taken by the Saviors – so they took supplies from Alexandria (as well as Gabriel himself) in return. Rick tells her that this means she must know that Alexandria has nothing to offer, since their lives are already owned by the Saviors. He tells her that the Saviors will come after her people if she kills the Alexandrians – and that the best way out of this would be to join them in the fight against the Saviors. But the leader refuses; the Scavengers close in on Rick’s group, a physical fight ensuing.
Suddenly, Gabriel steals a knife off of one of the Scavengers and holds it to the throat of another (a woman named Tamiel, who was confirmed to be the spy in the boots on Talking Dead). He threatens to kill her if the Scavengers don’t let the Alexandrians go, telling their leader that the Saviors have many supplies that can be shared if they join in the fight against them – in other words, there is something to be gained for all. The leader then motions to her group to back off, and Rick nods at Gabriel to let Tamiel go.
As Gabriel further explains their position, the Scavengers’ leader states that they want something “now.” Gabriel says that Rick and their group can do anything and that they can demonstrate to her what they are capable of. Considering Gabriel’s words, the leader turns to Tamiel and another Scavenger. “Show Rick up, up, up,” she says (well, that’s…weird).
Telling Michonne that everything’s okay, Rick follows the three to the top of one of the trash heaps. As the group observes from below, Rick takes in their surroundings from above, looking out at the carefully constructed, maze-like heaps of trash. I have to admit that this is definitely an interesting set-up for the apocalypse, since I doubt that most people would come looking to settle in a junkyard.
The leader tells Rick, “All of us here since the change – we take, we don’t bother.” However, she notes (in very few words) that times are changing and that finding supplies is getting more and more difficult. “So maybe we change,” she says. But she states that she first needs to know that fighting for Rick’s group is worth it – and she pushes him forcefully down into the trash on the ground.
Below, Michonne and the others rush forward, seeing through tunnels that Rick has landed in some sort of center of the trash pile. He is okay – but as he stands, the danger is revealed behind him. It is a walker, impaled with dozens of spikes, knives, and nails, and wearing a helmet to match (AKA: Coolest. Walker. EVER!).
As the walker approaches, Rick searches the trash for something to use against it. He picks up an old computer keyboard and smashes it on the walker’s head to no avail (nice try, Rick). The walker continues to advance on him and Rick puts his hand forward to stop it, impaling his hand on one of the helmet’s nails in the process (fun fact: this is the exact moment when I started yelling). Pulling his hand off, Rick tries to kick the walker away, now cutting his leg on one of the spikes as Michonne and the others watch on. Rick attempts to climb the trash to use as a getaway, only to fall back to the ground.
As Rick backs away from the walker, Michonne has an idea. “The walls!” she says through the tunnel. “Use them!” Hearing her, Rick proceeds to pull some of the wall of garbage down onto the walker, trapping it underneath. With the walker unable to move, Rick grabs a piece of glass from the ground use a nearby rag, stabbing it in the head through the side of the helmet until it is dead.
Finally believing in Rick’s abilities, the Scavengers’ leader tosses a rope down to Rick. Bloody and mangled, he struggles his way back up to the top. The leader agrees that if Rick and his people can bring the Scavengers guns (a lot of guns), they will join in his fight against the Saviors. Rick smiles.
Back down on the ground, Rick and the leader of the Scavengers work out the terms of their deal; they agree that aside from the guns Rick and the others will find for them, the Scavengers will receive a third of what they win from the Saviors, as well as half of the jars they stole from the pantry when they took Gabriel hostage. The leader reveals that the Scavengers had waited for a long time for someone to get the supplies off of the boat for them. “We take, we don’t bother,” she tells Rick again. Rick asks if the spiky walker had been planted there for someone to prove their worth; the leader replies, “No. His name was Winslow.” Umm…okay. She then advises that Rick leave, since their deal will expire soon, and Rick asks for her name.
“Jadis,” she replies, taking off. The Scavengers follow suit, releasing the Alexandrians’ weapons. Rick returns to the group smiling, telling them that a deal has been made and embracing Michonne.
On the outskirts of the Kingdom, Carol steps out of the front door of her cabin to find Ezekiel, Jerry, and other members of Ezekiel’s court on her property. Carol voices her displeasure at their presence, and Ezekiel apologizes – they had been clearing walkers from the area and hadn’t meant to disturb her – though they apparently tripped her wire in the process (you have to give it to Carol – she never misses a beat). Before departing, Jerry makes a point to give her a container with some cobbler, since they had heard she liked it – you know, in case she opened the door and all. Oh, Jerry!
With Ezekiel and the others gone, Carol sits down back inside the cabin, trying to read. There’s a soft knock at the door, and her initial reaction is clearly annoyance. But when she gets up and opens the door, her face changes instantly.
It’s Daryl. After a few moments of shock, both Carol and Daryl are crying and hugging (and I’m getting caught up in all of those pesky “feels” again). Pulling away, Daryl explains that Jesus took the Alexandrians to the Kingdom, and Morgan had told him she’d left. He claims that he was out by the cabin and saw her (which we know isn’t exactly the case – but I don’t think Carol really needed to hear about Richard’s – ahem – little indiscretion at the time).
“I had to,” Carol responds. Also: I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING!
Back at the junkyard, Rick and the others re-gather their supplies from the pantry. Gabriel explains that while he was on watch, he heard something inside Alexandria. He followed the noise to the pantry and was taken hostage by Tamiel, who said they were by the boat – hence why Gabriel left the word “boat” in the notebook. Gabriel voices his appreciation that Rick hadn’t give up on him and asks what brought about Rick’s smile and confidence upon first meeting the Scavengers.
“Someone showed me enemies can become friends,” Rick responds. Gabriel laughs.
Rosita voices her opinion that they shouldn’t return home to Alexandria and should just start searching for the guns now, but Tara tries to get her to see logic. Both Rick and Aaron are hurt, the other Alexandrians need food, and they need to stick together…but Rosita lashes out at Tara and tells her to “grow up” (right, Rosita…because Tara is the one who needs to grow up here).
As the group finishes packing up the car, Rick admits to Michonne that he’s not sure where they’ll be able to find guns, though he’s confident that they’ll be able to. He indicates that since Tara has been out further than the rest of them, she will be able to tell them where not to look at the very least; this suggestion, combined with the discomfort on Tara’s face, calls back to the Oceanside episode earlier this season (in other words, I definitely won’t be surprised if we see them again).
As they depart, Rick takes a wire cat statue from the junkyard. “Because we won,” he tells Michonne. “And to replace the one you lost.” Nice call back to the seasons three and four at the prison!
At the cabin, Carol sits by the fire heating food while Daryl sits at her table. Carol explains to Daryl how she couldn’t lose any more people she cared about – him included. She says that she could – and would – kill the Saviors if they hurt any more of their people. “And there wouldn’t be anything left of me after that.”
As Daryl considers this, Carol asks him if the Saviors came for the Alexandrians; he confirms that they did. Starting to cry, Carol asks if everyone made it out okay. Understanding how broken Carol feels, Daryl lies: “They came, and we got them all. We made a deal with the rest of them, like Ezekiel. Everyone’s all right.” And even though this is the exact opposite of what happened, it’s clear that this is what Carol needed to hear; the relief is written all over her face (though it’s also intensely tragic for the viewer, because we can see the self-sacrifice Daryl is making here; the bandage from the gunshot wound he received from Dwight pre-Negan’s line-up is even sticking out of his shirt, reminding us of everything he’s been through since the end of season six).
As they sit down to dinner, Daryl inquires about what Carol thinks of Ezekiel, and Carol confirms that she thinks he’s okay. Later, Daryl heads out from the cabin into the night to return to the Kingdom – but not before pausing to hug Carol goodbye and telling her to look out for herself (though as Carol stares after him, I can’t help but wonder if some part of her knows that he didn’t exactly tell her the truth).
Back at the Kingdom, Daryl sits by Shiva’s cage. Morgan enters the room, commenting on how good Daryl seems to be with the tiger (let’s be honest: did this really surprise anyone?). Daryl reveals to Morgan that he found Carol, stating that he understands why Morgan lied to him about her whereabouts (after all, I think this episode revealed that both of them are willing to do anything to protect her, no matter what the personal cost is).
Daryl tells Morgan that he needs to convince Ezekiel to bring the Kingdom to their side in the war against the Saviors, but Morgan is reluctant to do so. Though Daryl suggests that Morgan can’t hold on to his peaceful way of life any longer, Morgan claims that there is always something to hold on to; after all, Carol isn’t with them, so Morgan knows that Daryl couldn’t have possibly told her the truth about Glenn and Abraham.
Petting Shiva goodbye, Daryl leaves the room, telling Morgan that he’s leaving for Hilltop in the morning to prepare for the war to come. With the new crossbow slung over his shoulder, he exits the Kingdom’s gates the next day as Morgan and Richard stare on.
Personally, I loved this episode; in fact, it may have been my favorite of this season so far. The Scavengers make for an interesting new group, though I don’t entirely trust them just yet; I’m intrigued to see how they play into the storyline going forward. However, my favorite part of this episode was Daryl’s storyline. The idea that he is willing to go to any length to protect Carol is incredibly touching; he has been through so much in such a short period of time, so the fact that he puts her best self-interests ahead of his own shows how deep the love is between them, platonic or otherwise (though I still think that Carol will undoubtedly find out about Negan’s line-up at some point in time, and I really hope she won’t be too upset with Daryl for lying to her). Plus, I think that it really reminds us of who Daryl is at his core; he can be tortured and beaten by the Saviors, but his loyalty to those he cares about will never falter.
For those who play the No Man’s Land mobile game, this week’s season 7 mission is Rick and Michonne fighting walkers, including the large, spiked walker, to escape the junkyard.
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