Rick and the crew have a town meeting to determine how best to save Alexandria. The crew end relationships, solidify relationships and start a few new ones. If you haven’t watched tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, stop reading now. There are major spoilers ahead for those who are not caught up. If you have already caught up with this season, or are the type to torture yourself with what you have missed out on, please by all means continue reading. Spoilers in 5…4…3….2….1.Recap
After having a meeting with Hilltop and determining that the best way to save Alexandria is to wage war on the Saviors, Rick and Maggie take the news back to the survivors at Alexandria. Carol meets the RV after making some very special beet and acorn cookies at which time Rick tells her to gather everyone for a meeting.
The group isn’t overly excited at this point to be headed to war with Negan. Rick explains the situation to the survivors of Alexandria and asks for those who object to please speak their minds. Morgan, of course, speaks out against a plan of major violence. He and Rick argue their cases back and forth, until Aaron speaks out that the survivors need to do whatever it takes to save and protect Alexandria. With Aaron’s comments, the group decides to move forward with the plan and to do it the very next day.
Each of the group deals with the news of going to battle the next day in their own way. Tara decides to tell the doctor, Denise, that she loves her after their short relationship. She admits to Gabriel later in the episode that the only reason she said it was to cover up her real thoughts. She was having flashbacks of her time with the Governor and his attack on the prison. She didn’t want to go through the same type of situation again. When Jesus asked Tara if she meant it when she said I love you, she told him yes. His response to her was, “You know what you are fighting for.”
Abraham decided to take the opposite direction with his relationship. He ends it with Rosita tonight. The man’s timing has got to be the worst on the planet. Seriously, in the middle of preparing for war? As if ending the relationship isn’t bad enough, he chose to tell her it was because when he started it with her, he thought that she was the last woman on earth. After dropping this bomb, he walks out, leaving Rosita with her feelings and Eugene and a cookie.
Maggie and Glen. What is there to say, really? Once again they are both planning for the future of their child more than worrying about the group. While that is completely understandable, it isn’t necessarily the best thing for everyone. Glen wants Maggie to stay back in Alexandria, but Maggie feels a responsibility for having to take part in this battle. She decides that she is going to go along with the group, but will hang back on the perimeter for safety reasons.
Carol surprised everyone tonight by actually showing some affection for a man. Fans have been hoping for her to start a relationship with Daryl and for a while it looked as if that might happen. Tonight, however, after hearing Tobin give a long speech about how Carol was a mother to most everyone in Alexandria, how she takes care of everyone and how he was worried about her going out the next day, Carol ends up kissing him and eluding to the fact that they have a whole night ahead. Finally, Carol seems to be looking for a reason to continue on.
Once the group actually heads out to Negan’s stronghold, it is clear that they are acting on very little information. They haven’t much to go on, besides the little bit they receive from the Hilltop guy. They have no head count, no idea what type of security, how many floors have people on them. This plan is obviously horrible from the get go. They decided that they are going to give the security guys Gregory’s head, which is what Negan wanted from Hilltop. In order to do this, they have to go on a walker hunt to find one that looks as close to Gregory as possible.
The plan is to go in at night, trick the security guys and kill everyone in their beds. However, they do not know how many people are actually staying in the stronghold, if Negan is in the stronghold, and what the layout is like inside. They head in and for a while things go fine. Unfortunately, Abraham gets ambushed by a Savior with great oral hygiene. The tooth-brusher stabs Abraham before Sasha takes him out. The Savior manages to get the alarm sounded and puts the rest of the stronghold on alert.
Everyone on the perimeter hears the alarm. This causes Carol and Maggie to get into an argument, and Jesus to compromise those people in Hilltop by helping out the group. While the alarm is going off, Glen and Heath head to what the group believes to be the armory. The objective was to secure the armory so that none of the Saviors were able to get firearms to defend the stronghold. They manage to make it there, but not without having to kill the first humans for either of them ever. Yes, Glen got his first human kill in tonight’s episode. Jesus saves both Glen and Heath when one of the people they shot raises a gun on them before taking a bullet to the noggin from Jesus.
It looks like everything is going to work out for the groups from Hilltop and Alexandria. However, a true fan will tell you that is when the shit usually hits the fan. Rick and Daryl take a guy out who is on Daryl’s bike. At first they think he just happened to be a lucky and resourceful Savior. However, when a female voice comes across his walkie-talkie, Rick and Daryl realize that the battle isn’t over yet. This voice informs Rick and the crew that they will lower their weapons because if they do not, then they will not be able to discuss a trade for Maggie and Carol. This female voice has kidnapped the girls but at this point fans aren’t sure how.
Tonight’s episode was full of a great deal of violence. However, it isn’t the typical violence that fans are used to seeing. For the first time, the beloved group is taking the offensive, they are starting the violence. It could be argued that they are taking preventative actions to save their homes, but isn’t that what Shane was trying to do on the farm? Didn’t Rick tell him that he had crossed a line, gone too far and lost too much of his humanity?
Is Rick making the same decisions Shane made in trying to save what he sees as his? Not only by trying to save his family, but also the whole community of Alexandria, from Negan and the Saviors. Some believe that he should have waited for more information before charging into the stronghold, others would argue that he made the right decision in taking the fight to Negan. It is true that eventually Negan would have found Alexandria and made demands similar to what happened in Hilltop. However, it is now inevitable Negan will find Alexandria since the groups has taken out a large number of Saviors.
It was great seeing Carol start a relationship. However, it begs the question about what Tobin will do now that Carol has been kidnapped. Will he step up and find a way to help save her or will he allow his conscience to prevent him from doing what needs done to save her? It is certain that Rick and the rest of the group will find a way to save both her and Maggie but what is this going to cost the group? Will everyone make it back to Alexandria? Will Jesus make it to Hilltop and be able to report that the Negan issue has been taken care of by Rick?
When will we finally get a view of Negan? How stupid was it of Rick’s group to show up to his stronghold without knowing exactly who he is and what he looks like? Really? This has got to be one of the dumbest moves Rick has ever made, and the list of dumb moves on Rick’s part isn’t exactly short. While he proves himself to be a good leader most of the time, he lets emotions and his alpha male attitude control his decisions. And it is obvious that his alpha tendencies are getting worse. How will that play out for the rest of the group?
“The Next Word” overall grade – B+
‘The Walking Dead’ airs every Sunday at 9 PM EST on AMC
Check out a preview of next week’s episode “The Same Boat.”