It's Time For The Walking Dead To Raise An Army Against Negan
Resist! That's what's on Rick Grimes's mind, but he's gonna need help from people outside Alexandria.
The Walking Preacher
Hey, remember that time Father Gabriel let down his congregation by totally allowing them to die when he could have done something to have helped (or at least died valiantly defending them)? Yeah, about that....
Father Gabriel, on night watch in Alexandria, appears to be having second thoughts about his safety, so he packs up everything in sight from the town pantry, puts it in a freshly gassed-up car, and heads out the gate under cover of night, leaving only his Bible behind. Why is he doing this? Has all the trust he earned from Rick been for nothing? Is he really taking the coward's way out, selfishly hoarding the entire cold open for himself, or is there something else going on? Hmmm....
It's time for Gregory's One-Man Show, Gregormorphosis!
Who called the meeting? Rick and his merry band of ragged survivors.
What's it about? Rick wants Gregory to divert resources from The Hilltop to fight Negan.
How'd it go? Pretty good if you like broad comedy! Gregory plays the scene for laughs, reminding Rick that he failed at taking out Negan. Also, he says, they never met. He comically calls Rick "Ricky" and Maggie "Margaret" and interrupts Tara's speechifying about good people doing the right thing by surmising that she sounds like she's about to break into song. Rick gets frustrated, but stops short of kicking Gregory's ass or making any threats, which is a huge surprise. Also a huge surprise: that Rosita, on the way out, calls Gregory a "walking ballsack." Aw, come on, a walking ballsack doesn't have Gregory's comedic timing!
We Plant Sorghum And Kick Ass, Maybe
Alert Type: Rise Up Alert.
Issue: Enid shows up at Gregory's to tell her friends that she's got some news: some of the Hilltop citizens want to fight!
Complicating Factors: These people need training, badly. And there's not that many of them.
Resolution: The handful of Hilltoppers join the fight. Hooray!
Spoiler: The bulk of the fighters aren't going to be coming from this town.
Jesus Knows The Way
It sure doesn't hurt to have a pal like Jesus on your side: he not only produces a long-range walkie-talkie that the Saviors use (the better to listen in on their locations and planning!), but also suggests that it's time for Rick to meet King Ezekiel. He takes the crew to The Kingdom, where they're met at the outer perimeter by Richard and some other guy who are like, "Who dares to trespass on-- oh shit, JESUS!" (Actually, his real name is Paul, Richard reveals.) There's never any doubt that they're going to get their audience with Ezekiel, but they still have to go through the whole spiel of Richard trying to determine whether these people are a threat and if they should be let inside.
Place Of Interest
We get another look at the idyllic Kingdom from the point of view of our survivors, each of whom marvels at the happy people, plants, and community around them. "They have the numbers," Michonne says, and Jesus confirms that they can fight. There are even groups of soldiers-in-training jogging in tight formation around the place. Tara spots Morgan, who's like, "Oh shit, my old friends, there goes my new kick-ass persona." He actually seems pleased and surprised to see everyone. Morgan tells Rick that he did see Carol and helped her when she got shot, but that she left and wanted to be on her own. He also reveals that he had to kill someone to save Carol. Rick doesn't seem to give a shit about that, but it's a big deal for Morgan. But yeah, Morgan lies that Carol is gone, when she's really just outside of town being a loner.
I Am Not A Crackpot
Dear King Ezekiel, I Have Season Tickets For Your Theatre Season And I'd Like A Little More Variety, Please!
Yes, yes, this whole "I am the King and you are my subjects!" thing must be very entertaining for visitors and fans of Medieval Times, but I'm just a humble knave -- a viewer, really -- and I'd like a little more variety in my televised parleys! Why not mix it up with a space opera? Or a musical? How about a tense allegory for modern times, like an updated Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. I'm just saying, you're a dramatic guy with a lot of imagination. Go nuts! Don't feel like you have to stick to this one character as you decide whether you're going to help Rick against Negan or not. And maybe lose the live tiger. That just seems really dangerous.
Storytime With Rick Grimes
The Scene: In an effort to convince Ezekiel to help beat the odds against Negan, he tells a super-long fable, the story of "The Stone in the Road."
The Symbol: The stone in the road is an obstacle a little girl decides to fix when everyone else refuses to do anything about it. She gets gold from a king, who put the stone there in the first place.
The Meaning: A little on the nose, but Rick is appealing to Ezekiel's wisdom as a king, in hopes he will reward the little girl (that would be Rick) who is willing to do something to change the status quo.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Carol: Still A Loner
No matter what Carol does, she can't seem to stop attracting the attention of boys who want her maternal (or at least friendly) approval. This time, it's Ben, Ezekiel's adopted son, who has come out on the king's behalf to make sure she's all right. When Ben finds Carol, who's toting a rifle and despite her crusty facade, she seems to appreciate the attention that Ezekiel is giving her from afar.
The Boys Who Have The King's Ear
Who's causing a family crisis? Rick Fucking Grimes, but really this is not so much a crisis as a moment of reflection.
How? Ben returns and reports right to Ezekiel about seeing Carol in the woods. He reminds Ezekiel that he carries food and water around because it's their duty to help others, just as The Kingdom should help Rick against Negan.
Which relatives have a problem with it? He certainly won't get any argument from sleepy little brother Henry, who is in bed, just heaving heard Ezekiel read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. Ezekiel himself is the only person who needs convincing.
Who's an unlikely ally? Morgan didn't seem like much help in the earlier meeting, having reminded everybody that once violence starts, lots of people will die. Maybe he'll come around.
Spoiler: Siblings don't last too long on this series.
Here's An Idea
Don't Make People Wait All Night For A "No"
Rick and the crew wake up to a bright and cheery morning as kids practice archery, Kingdom troops go for their morning jog, and everyone seems to be gearing up for battle. Unfortunately, Ezekiel is thinking more about the cost he's already paid for this society and that he's not going to sacrifice more people when he doesn't have to. Sure, maybe he was truly deliberating all night, but even after Ben's counsel, he still decides against going to war at Rick's side. Daryl's not thrilled, telling Ezekiel he's not acting much like a king. But Ezekiel insists that even though it's an uneasy peace with Negan, it's still a kind of peace, something he wants to hold on to. So instead of an army, he gives Daryl asylum, offering to hide him from Negan. So no guns, horses, or armor then? Okay, that's cool. At least the beds were comfy.
That Quote"What the hell you telling me for? We both had sex with the same dead guy. Doesn't make us friends."- Rosita, telling Sasha off, coldly -
Seeking Fighters, Must Be Expendable
Are you ready to fight? Rise up? Take down the ones who are you keeping you down? We need numbers and you are a number, specifically one! Our current leadership may not be completely down with the idea, but a few of us are convinced the status quo is untenable and that we only make our enemies stronger the longer we live like this. So grab a gun, or a pitchfork, or something, and come join us! Ask for Richard in The Kingdom. Oh, and, uh, don't tell The King.
Bro Love, Delayed
Daryl's not impressed with The Kingdom, and he sure as shit doesn't like King Ezekiel or his bullshit decision not to help fight Negan. So, of course he's not super-excited about Rick's insistence that he stay there and hide out instead of coming back to Alexandria. They exchange meaningful sadness, and Rick puts his hand on Daryl's shoulder, then gives an even sadder look back as the gate closes. Someday these bros will get to spend some quality time together, kick back some beers, toss a football around, something!
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Fight! Fight! Fight!
Rick's Survivors vs. Highway Herd
It wouldn't be a Walking Dead premiere without a big, violent set piece. The gang has to move a bunch of cars blocking a road to get through and when they find a line of explosives, they decide to cut them loose and steal them. But they have to put the cars back where they were so Negan won't know they traveled through there. Thus begins a race against an approaching herd of walkers who, uh oh, are already here! The group is getting split up, so Rick and Michonne decide to hotwire the two cars that are holding up a big line of steel cabling. Rick and Michonne gun their cars at the same time, driving parallel and what happens next is pretty sweet...
That's using your mow-jo! Because they're mowing them down? With the mowing? No? All right, fine, let's move on. There's still more mowing going down!
Once the cars go as far as they can, Rick and Michonne are still surrounded by what seems like hundreds of walkers, but they manage to break free without being bitten and sneaking into a waiting van.
Implausibly, the van is able to just zoom out of there without incident, but come on. That steel cable thing was pretty cool. I can't even think of what could make it any cooler.
Oh, right. An explosion! You read my mind, show.
Rick is so rattled that Michonne has to give him a pep talk. "We made it. We can make it. We can," she tells him. "We're the ones who live." Let's hope!
Winner: Rick and Michonne, masters of speeding cables.
for escaping from The Sanctuary
Name: Daryl Dixon
Last Seen: In a cell being all miserable and shit.
Likely Punishment: Oh, he's gonna lose a hand for sure. At least a hand!
Reward: Simon may offer to give Rick a bottle of booze or let him sleep with one of Negan's wives, but that seems like something that's above his pay grade. More like he won't shoot more people if they don't find Daryl hiding out in Alexandria.
A Wizard Did It
Gabriel: Professional Mover
Here's what I don't get. In his rushed, quick grab of things to fill up the trunk of a car, are we supposed to believe that Gabriel was able to take every single thing on every shelf that Alexandria had left? Every can, every box of cereal, in one car? That seems unlikely to me. Maybe a wizard did it.
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
On The Trail of Gabriel
As soon as Simon and his Saviors leave, it becomes clear that Gabriel is gone too, along with all the supplies. Rick doesn't want to believe Gabriel stole their stuff, but come on, Rick. Dude let his entire flock die back in the day and didn't help them. They find the Bible that Gabriel left behind. They also find a note inside the log book: the word "BOAT" in giant letters. A clue! Rick takes it as a sign that Gabriel wants to be found. Aaron wants to know how Gabriel knew he and Rick were out there, at the abandoned weapons stash. All right, maybe I was wrong about Gabriel.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Please Don't Let This Be Foreshadowing
Aaron's boyfriend Eric makes it clear that he doesn't want Aaron going out on any more dangerous missions, like this one to go find Gabriel. But Aaron believes standing up to Negan is super-important and worth the risk. Eric just wants the two of them to be together. If anything happens to either one of these guys and this is a bullshit foreshadowing of that, I'm going to be very upset! But, I mean, what else can it be?
Enter Another Faction
Alert Type: Army Of Women Alert!
Issue: Near the boat location, Rick, Aaron, Tara, Michonne, and Rosita follow a trail of footsteps to a nearby area. They are soon surrounded by a large group of women, all of them armed and looking pissed.
Complicating Factors: If Gabriel led the group here, he must know about the Oceanside group. Did Tara confess it to him? Did he bring the supplies as a trade to get their help? Probably! Rick smiles as if he knows that's what's happening.
Resolution: It's a cliffhanger, folks. Ask me next week.
Spoiler: Hope they're not still pissed at Tara! And guess what: Rick's into it!