The Walking Dead
When you say, “You know what it is,” especially in the rhythm of Wiz Khalifa, I think, “Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow.” So as serious as Morgan’s haunting vision of a slain Gavin tried to be, all it did was send me to iMovie to try to haphazardly slap together a mashup of this scene with the 2011 rap song. (My video editing skills are subpar, so that failed.)
But even that didn’t distract from what was the most action-oriented episode we’ve seen in some time. The latest assault on the Hilltop colony provided both a victory and house of horrors for Maggie, the Saviors escaped from their pen, and Negan was M.I.A. Let’s begin.
Morgan is grappling with a ghostly vision of Gavin — blood dripping from the wound in his neck as he clutches the wooden staff that took his life — when he hears the signal. A car horn in the distance warns that the Saviors are on their way to Hilltop, so he honks his horn to continue the chain of alarms all the way back to Hilltop. Food for thought here: Yes, an alarm system is a good idea when at war, but these folks have always been worried about attracting walkers with massive amounts of noise. The fear is suddenly gone…this week anyway.
So Hilltop prepares. Henry tries to get ahold of a gun, but forever-blunt Carol says he’ll just die if he goes outside. Meanwhile, Siddiq wins over the affections of the Hilltop’s new cold-shouldered doctor, Dana, previously of the Kingdom. (I know, there are a lot of bit players to keep track of.) They’re ready.
Simon and his crew arrive by nightfall. He’s getting cocky as he talks to Maggie over the walkie, unaware of the traps and tactics that have already been prepped. To Maggie’s dismay, Negan isn’t here. She admits later in the episode how she sent the big man the dead body of one of his Saviors to provoke him into coming to Hilltop. Now, she has to make do. She tries threatening to kill the Savior prisoners, but Simon doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about any of their lives the way Negan does, and Dwight reminds him that this isn’t how their leader would want them to play it. Simon proceeds anyway, since it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, if Negan is still alive somewhere.
The battle begins when Daryl rolls up on his bike and fires at the Saviors from behind. Simon’s forces follow him inside the gate before it closes, but a bus rolls out and their cars crash against it. Maggie gives the signal and the Hilltoppers open fire. The Saviors attack back with arrows, many of which make their marks. Amid the hellfire, Carol watches as Tobin gets sliced by an attacker. While she manages to save him so Siddiq can come and block the wound, we all know what’s going to happen to him. And another potential love interest bites the dust.
Meanwhile, Simon and Dwight are sneaking up behind Tara. Daryl tries to warn her when Simon goes to hurl an ax her way, but Dwight pops up quickly and shoots her with an arrow instead. It seems like a safe guess to say Dwight’s arrow wasn’t tainted by walker blood, so she’ll be fine and it’ll once again prove Dwight’s loyalty to the cause… hopefully. Daryl, however, isn’t forgiving.
Maggie smashes the lamp on the mansion’s porch, signaling all the lights to go out at Hilltop and the next phase of the assault to commence. Simon reasons “these people have run before,” so he’s perfectly happy to waltz right up to the mansion, where shooters are waiting in the windows to strike. The headlights from cars parked out front of the house flash on, blinding the Saviors as the gunfire begins. The same thing happens when Simon tries to flee through the gates where Rick is waiting.
Rick and Maggie chase after Simon, Dwight, and some of the Saviors as they flee the scene. Maggie laments Negan’s absence, and that’s when Rick confesses he tried to kill him earlier and lost track of him. She thanks him for trying, highlighting her dilemma. She wants to be this leader for Hilltop, but she’s also been grappling with her own need for vengeance. Is killing Negan and the Saviors to satisfy her thirst for retribution more important than the people she now guards? This is a question she constantly has to ask herself.
(Recap continues on the next page)
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