On this week's episode of The Walking Dead, "Hearts Still Beating", we FINALLY catch up with Carol and Morgan and see how Maggie's doing leading the Hilltop.
"Hearts Still Beating"
This is always the worst part of this show: the characters are all askance and not together, and that means that, in order to get meaningful time with any of them, we must naturally sacrifice the spotlight for everyone else. As per usual, Carol has gotten the shaft this season, so I'm thrilled to see what she's been up to. I hope it includes some sexy time with King Ezekiel. Girl deserves it, and he's yummy.
Furthermore, even though I am really happy to get some quality time with Carol, I assume that also means that we will not see if Daryl escapes the Saviors' factory or whether Rick and Aaron were able to cross the walker moat for the store of supplies they found. Which, okay, I know I can't have everything, but just throw us a bone, ya know?
Okay, moving on.
We pick up this week with Maggie. Maggie is a fighter, and a damn good one at that, but she has had an exceptionally rough couple of years. Not that her story is all that different than anyone else's, but now she's pregnant and essentially alone with the image of her massacred husband burned into the back of her eyelids.
Gregory is coming up trying to intimidate her. HA. Bitch, please. After all she has seen, a little dickwad of Gregory's ilk means nothing to her. She steals his apple and turns her back on him.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Negan shaved his beard! Why, lord, WHY?! Haven't we suffered enough?!
Okay, so maybe I was wrong. Looks like we will find out if Daryl succeeds in his escape attempt after all.
Negan is blissful in his newfound domesticity. He is loving the shit out of having a kitchen to cook in and a baby to care for.
Tara brings the lemonade Negan demanded so that Olivia can mix some up for him. Tara offers to take over, but Olivia tells her that she promised Rick she'd watch Judith, and she intends to do just that.
Negan may just decide to out Rick and adopt Judith and Carl as his own. Maybe he'll even recruit Olivia to be one of his many wives.
Oh shit. I was wrong twice. We get a glimpse of Rick and Aaron at the walker moat, too. There's a handy boat filled with bullet holes that definitely won't lead them to their death. Aaron busts out bits of an old sign to use as oars, and off they go.
Negan decides he can't wait for Rick to arrive anymore, and they dig into their feast. It's too uncomfortable for words.
Eugene always just looks like he's crying or about to cry.
Some of the Saviors are collecting the supplies procured by Spencer, and they're impressed with his haul. A cute blonde even comes onto him.
OOOOO, IT'S CAROL! She's still in that little house when she spies Morgan walking around the yard. He had dropped off a bag of fresh produce because he wants to help. She wants to be left alone, but he points out that she called him in -- he intended to leave her alone.
Morgan opens the door to leave and finds the soldier dude from the Kingdom on Carol's stoop. He's glad they're both together, as he has something he needs to talk to both of them about.
That certainly sounds ominous.
Rick and Aaron find these pond walkers to be much more of a problem than expected. They make it to the canoe that doesn't have holes and holds some life jackets and find a walker waiting for them in it. Rick is able to take her down and jump into the canoe, but Aaron is overboard and into the water. He manages to escape (seemingly) unscathed, but it was damn close. Damn close.
Daryl is still trying to escape when he finds his way blocked by some Saviors. He dives into a (blessedly) empty room, grabs some peanut butter and some clothes and hunkers down until he can make his next move.
Aaron and Rick are exploring the houseboat and find a sign that says, congrats on winning but you still lose, or something like that, making me think that the fat lady has not yet sung.
Aaron and Rick load up the truck and close the hatchm and, as they do, the camera pans to across the pond, where a clearly still alive foot comes into the forefront. The boots are ragged, but this is not good news.
Oh yeah, I forgot that Michonne had herself a ginger hostage that was driving her back to the Saviors' camp. Michonne is trying to get her to talk, but Ginger is a fortress. I'm thinking Michonne needs to keep her eyes on her at all times.
Maggie sniffs out the apple pie Sasha is carrying and starts devouring it immediately. Sasha tells Maggie that Jesus left this morning, but Enid calls Sasha out on her lie after Maggie goes to get milk.
Sasha tells Enid that she can't tell Maggie her plans because Maggie will want to help, and she can't let her do that. Their number one priority must be keeping Maggie and the baby safe.
Soldier boy is telling Morgan and Carol that he believes The Kingdom is under threat from The Saviors. He needs them to help convince Ezekiel of this, because, eventually, the Saviors will decide to stop offering their tenuous deal. The Kingdom will fall, and he's not about to just accept that.
He wants Morgan and Carol to help him convince Ezekiel that they need to strike the Saviors first and destroy them, before they are the ones that are destroyed.
I suppose, since it's the midseason finale, we will check in with absolutely everyone this week, because here is Rosita. She is confessing to Father Gabe, and, while he agrees that Negan needs to die, he does not believe Rosita does, as well. She's willing to sacrifice herself for the cause, though.
I like Rosita, I really do. I don't want to see her go. But if I'm choosing between her Carol and Maggie? Sorry Rosita...
Daryl is on the move again. He's dressed in plainclothes now, so he won't stick out, but I still gotta think someone would be suspicious of anyone walking the halls unaccounted for.
Soldier boy is still trying to campaign Carol and Morgan to help him out, but Carol is steadfast. She wants no part in any kind of war, no matter the cause. Soldier boy is outraged; he can't believe how naive and short-sided they're being, and I gotta say ... I agree with him. Granted, Carol and Morgan are unaware of what happened to Glenn and Abraham at Negan's hands, so maybe they really don't understand how dangerous the Saviors are, but they should know better by now in a more general sense of the world they're currently living in.
Spencer is honestly just the worst. I don't even like to look at his damn face. He comes into his wrecked home and decides that just won't do, so he cleans it and himself up and prepares for what I assume is his date with blondey.
We shoot back to Soldier boy who apparently has himself a bit of a secret hideout behind a "No Camping" sign. He goes through a pretty solid little meltdown but is able to finally pull himself together.
Rosita calls Spencer out, as he's on his way to his hot date. He explains that he's just using the momentum he's made with them to stay in their good graces, and she thinks he's full of shit.
He asks her why she ended what he thought was the start of something good between them, and she tells him that she really just used him. He doesn't buy it, though, and asks her to dinner later, and she accepts. Okay whoa mixed signals.
Daryl has finally found his way outside and makes a beeline for the motorcycles when Fat Joe comes upon him. Fat Joe begs for his life and promises not to say anything if he just lets him go, but Daryl is taking no chances and smashes his skull right as Jesus comes up behind him. They hop on the bike and make their way back to the Hilltop.
Spencer arrives at Rick's house with a bottle of liquor for Negan -- not a hot date after all. He officially introduces himself and is a bit creepy, but I see where he's going here, so I'll just wait and see how it plays out.
We're back with Michonne and Ginger when Ginger stops the car and just says, "That's Negan," as she gestures to a camp in the road. It's not Negan's actual hub, the factory -- but they're all Negan, remember? Ginger tells her that, whatever she's trying to do, she definitely just shouldn't. She should go home, make sure the car is never found and kill her (Ginger) using the silencer in the glove compartment.
We see they do, in fact, decide to turn around, and Michonne took Ginger up on her offer and left her body in the street.
Rick pulls up to find the Saviors are there and automatically goes into panic mode. Negan's little dickwad cronies tell Rick Negan is pissed that he's been waiting for hours to see what Rick brought him, so now they will get their paws all over it before Rick has a chance to keep anything for Alexandria.
They're going through it all when they find the note with the middle finger Rick and Aaron found in the boathouse. The Saviors believe it was something they planted there. When Aaron tries to explain it, they beat him within an inch of his life while Rick watches.
While all of this is happening, Spencer and Negan are playing billiards, yes billiards, in the middle of the street, while Spencer tells him the story about Rick and how he has ruined everything for everyone. Negan tells him it's a good thing Rick isn't in charge anymore, but Spencer tells him it doesn't matter, Rick's ego is unchecked. Spencer tells Negan that he is his mother's son, and he would be a much better leader than Rick. He would be the leader Alexandria needs -- the leader Negan needs.
Negan tells Spencer that, despite his claims, Rick hates Negan more than anyone else on this planet, yet where is he? He's out there getting supplies to deliver to Negan so that none of these fine people are hurt again. Unlike Rick, Spencer is here sniveling behind Rick's back because he doesn't have guts enough to kill Rick himself. Then, he slices Spencer across the abdomen and spills his actual guts and declares that he's never been so wrong in his whole life. Clearly he did have guts; they were just hidden.
Then he grabs Lucille and looks at the onlooking crowd and demands that someone clean that mess up. Then, he asks if anyone wants to finish the game, and Rosita pulls her gun, and OH MY GOD IT WENT TO COMMERCIAL RIGHT WHEN SHE PULLED THE TRIGGER HOLY SHIT.
Aaron and Rick are lumbering back toward the scene when they hear the gunshot. Rosita didn't hit Negan, though, she hit Lucille, and that may piss him off more than if she had actually shot him. She is tackled by one of Negan's henchwomen, but Negan realizes that the bullet that tainted Lucille was homemade. He wants to know who made the bullet, and, when she claims that it was her, he knows she's lying. When she still won't tell him who made it after he asks again, he tells his lady to kill somebody, and she turns around and shoots Olivia in the face.
Rick finally reaches them, and Negan just wants a little bit of credit. He returned his treasonous son, killed Spencer the fucking traitor, and gave Rick one less mouth to feed. He should be grateful!
Rick tells him that his shit is at the front gate and to get it and go. Negan said he will be happy to once he learns who really made the bullet. Tara yells that it was her before Negan can shoot someone else, but Eugene cops to it, and, instead of bludgeoning him like I assumed would happen, they take Eugene with them. And there's Spencer gutless and bleeding on the ground, and, oh, also now a walker. Fucking awesome.
Michonne finds Rick on the floor of what appears to be a cell, looking at the picture from the houseboat. They embrace, and I wonder if Michonne is going to tell him about her adventure.
She tells him that she found what she was looking for. She wanted to go with him and Aaron, but she couldn't. And, when she found it, she realized she didn't want it to be her way; she wanted it to be theirs.
She explains that there are more Saviors than they even estimated, and they are severely outnumbered. She tells him that despite of, or hell, maybe because of, all they've been through, they are still standing. They are the ones that get stuff done, the ones who live. And that's why they have to fight. Not just for them, but for Judith and Carl and Alexandria and the Hilltop and all of them. They can find a way to beat them. She knows they can. But only if they do it together. She needs him by her side.
Rick tells her that he knows that now. He understands the full reality of the situation, and he's ready to do what the fuck needs to be done.
YEAH RICK!!! So happy you're back. Let's fucking do this.
Maggie is climbing back up the ladder to keep watch, and, while she's up there, she sees Rick, Michonne, Tara, Carl and Rosita. Rick tells Maggie that she was right the whole time; he knows they need to fight now. As they're chatting, Daryl and Jesus come walking out from behind a dwelling, and Rick and Daryl have the most adorable hug ever -- matched only by the hug Daryl shared with Carol outside of Terminus when he nuzzled her. Daryl = best hugger.
Most of them are reunited!
Okay, yes. This -- this is what I needed. The bulk of them being together again was the balm I needed for my aching soul. Together, they can weather anything.
Them walking off together in a Flying V behind Rick with purpose is honestly the best thing I've seen on television this year. It gave me so much hope.
Now, we must wait until February to see what our motley crew comes up with, but seeing a preview of Rick meeting with King Ezekiel also gives me hope!
Oh shit! There was an after-credit teaser. The man with the ragged boot from the walker-pond found his way to Alexandria and is spying on Father Gabe. He's going to cause trouble for sure.
It's honestly like they knew how badly they hurt us with last season's finale, so they really threw us a bone for the last episode before winter break. It was entirely satisfying, and reuniting the group was a solid from Kirkman I did not anticipate.
Until February, Deadheads!