The Walking Dead sprang back on to our TV screens with a midseason premiere that made up for a lackluster first half of season 7. The group is working together. Rick put his murder coat back on (metaphorically. Who knows where the real murder coat is, but oh how we miss it). And there were walker kills galore. The glim and dreary tone of the first half of the season has been replaced with something much more hopeful. There is hope that Negan can be defeated and that the group can regain the peace that they had.
The main focus of the episode is Rick and Co and their attempt to devise a plan to defeat Negan. Their quest leads them to The Kingdom after Gregory refuses to help at The Hilltop, and their reactions to King Ezekiel and Shiva are pretty much exactly as you’d expect – shocked. Alexandria, The Kingdom, and The Hilltop all have one thing in common: The Saviors. Together there is a chance that they can defeat them. King Ezekiel isn’t quick to agree, though, and after Morgan advices against fighting against Negan, suggesting that they instead attempt to capture him, Rick tells Ezekiel a story about a rock in the road. Nobody moved the rock and wagons crashed and lost their load. One day, though, a girl dug for hours until her hands were bleeding and she was able to remove the rock, and when she pulled the rock up, she found a bag of gold. The person who digs up the rock (the rock in this metaphor being The Saviors), deserves a reward and deserves to have their lives changed for good forever. King Ezekiel has worked to keep his people safe, though, and he isn’t willing to risk the deal he has made with The Saviors that keep some semblance of peace. He does offer Daryl asylum, and Rick makes him accept it.
While their first two plans fell through, our merry band of survivors didn’t come up empty handed. On their way back to Alexandria, they come across a block in the highway. A steel cable running across the lanes laced with explosives. In this world and in their current situation, it is far more valuable than gold, and they manage to gather the dynamite and RPGs into the car before a large herd of walkers come. Rick and Michonne take care of said herd of walkers by driving through them with the steel cable, cutting them in half. Gruesome? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
Coming full circle back in Alexandria, The Saviors pay a surprise visit. They aren’t here for food, but rather for Daryl. They complete a thorough search of the Alexandria Safe Zone, complete with unnecessary dish breaking, before leaving, While the big mystery on the Saviors’ hands is “where’s Daryl?” the big mystery at Alexandria is “where’s Gabriel?” The pantry is empty, and Gabriel is gone, and in the opening scene of the episode, we witnessed him leaving his post at the gate and packing all of the food into a car. He left a clue behind in his Bible, though. “BOAT.”
The episode ends with a mystery. Rick, Michonne, Rosita, Tara, and Aaron set out to find Gabriel, following his clue back to the houseboat. There are tracks in the dirt that lead them to a junkyard. It appears to be abandoned, but soon they are surrounded by dozens of men and woman wielding homemade weapons. They don’t by any means appear to be friendly, but as this season has shown, this world is getting larger, and maybe they’ll be able to help in the fight against Negan.
- Gregory called Maggie Margaret. It’s Maggie, Gregory. Maggie Rhee!
- Speaking of Gregory, I’m pretty sure he’s solidified our opinion that he is a despicable character and that no amount of development will bring us to like him. I mean, really, Gregory, you’re lucky to be alive.
- I feel like going to The Kingdom is the zombie apocalypse equivalent of going to Medieval Times.
- Morgan, Morgan, Morgan. Come on now…are you serious?! You could’ve convinced King Ezekiel to help take down The Saviors!
- So, um, what’s going on with Carol? She didn’t exactly seem like Suzy Homemaker Carol, but she’s still avoiding people. How long until she finally finds her way back to the group?
- Some questions still remain. Who is the person who had been watching Alexandria (we’ll call him/her “Boots” from now on)? I’m assuming part of the garbage pail kids at the end of the episode? But who exactly? Are these good people? Bad people? Will they help?
- Where in the world is Heath?! He’s barely been in any episodes since his introduction. Has he disappeared into the void? Will we ever see him again?