It's Time To Get Junky On The Walking Dead!
While Rick finds an army in an unexpected place, Carol reunites with her closest friend.
Maybe Richard And Jared Could Stay The Fuck Home Next Time?
Who called the meeting? Gavin.
What's it about? It's time for Ezekiel and his Kingdom-comers to pay up to Gavin and his band of jackass Saviors.
How'd it go? Pretty fucking badly! Gavin starts off by accusing Ezekiel of a light load, but is corrected when he checks to make sure that, yep, there's enough watermelons in the car. Out of nowhere, Jared -- who previously got into a fight with Richard -- demands that he get to keep Richard's gun. That sets off a Mexican standoff. Richard, on Ezekiel's demand, hands over his gun, but Jared still tries to smack Richard with it, prompting Morgan to block it with his Bo staff. Jared takes Morgan's stick, prompting Bo trainee Benjamin to take a swing, hitting both Jared and Morgan. Everyone is told to calm the fuck down, but Gavin is pretty sore about the whole mess, and even though he knows Jared started this, he says things are gonna get "visceral" pretty soon. When Morgan requests his Bo back because it was given to him by someone who's gone, Gavin says, "Read the goddamn room, sensei." No Bo for Morgan.
There's a character we haven't seen a lot of before, Dianne, from The Kingdom. It's a throwaway moment, but one that I love: before the standoff with Gavin's folks, Diane shoots an approaching walker in the head with an arrow. "My sister had that dress," she notes. She's told, "Don't think about it." After the encounter is over, she says with no emotion, "Yeah. My sister loved that dress." So simple, but creepily effective.
Hey, Seen Carol? You Shut Your Face!
Situation: Daryl, adjusting to life in The Kingdom, tries to convince Morgan to help get Ezekiel on the side of helping Rick fight Negan. Morgan's not budging.
What makes it awkward? Daryl brings up Carol who, he says, would join the fight in a hot minute if she knew Abraham and Glenn were killed by Negan. "And that's why she left, man," Morgan says. The subject of Carol is enough to make both of these men, who each love and respect her very much in their own way, pretty emotional.
How is order restored? Daryl is distracted by Richard, who is not only ready to fight, but to give Daryl the necessary tools.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
A Thwarted Bromance
Two men, of similar minds about rising arms to war, should be the best of bros, right? And it seems like that's exactly what's about to happen when Richard catches Daryl's eye on the archery range and even gives him a compound bow to fire and end the episode's cold open. Without knowing much of anything about Daryl, Richard even shows Daryl his extra-secret trailer hideout, where he presumably lost loved ones, if the "Katy" backpack is any indication.
Richard has been stashing weapons and making Molotov cocktails. He takes Daryl behind a billboard (they do not make out), and reveals his plan. He wants to stop some Saviors coming along the road, shoot at them, set them on fire, then shoot at them some more. Richard believes the incident will incite the Saviors to send a gang to retaliate, and the first thing they'll hit is some kooky woman living outside the perimeter by herself. Ezekiel, who has taken a liking to this woman, will have no choice but to go to war with Negan. So Richard is basically proposing a fake news campaign? What could go wrong with a plan like that, my sweet bro?
Daryl figures out right away that the hermit in question is Carol, and he gets into a fistfight with Richard about it. The two draw weapons, Richard still trying to salvage the plan: "Guys like us, we've already lost so much." But Daryl's not having it; he won't go along with a plan that might get Carol killed. He gives a speech about killing Richard if anything happens to Carol, even if it's catching a fever or getting hit by lightning. If you thought Daryl's feelings have softened for his friend Carol, you are sadly mistaken, bro!
Check Out My Junk!
The Scene: The junkyard, a place where Rick and his survivors have been taken by a new group.
The Symbol: Some interesting and weirdly beautiful junkyard art.
The Meaning: You might find something truly awesome where you least expect it.
Behind The Scenes: Dress Rehearsal For Circles, We Go In Them!
Look, when it was announced that The Junkyard was going to world premiere a new silent musical called Circles, We Go In Them, I was really skeptical. The last time we tried something like this was a complete disaster: the choreography was shit, nobody could remember their lines, even though there weren't even any lines, and the director, Tamriel, was up my ass for weeks about costumes. "They have to all match, Brion," she yelled at me, and I was all, "Fine, Tamriel, get me some decent fabrics, and not just shit you tore off a dead person's ass, all right?" But you know what? The aerial drone footage speaks for itself. Except for one straggler at the end, I think our blocking is coming along, and we even had some new audience members drop in to check it out. Pretty sure we dazzled them!
The Coolest Junkyard Warrior
Name: Jadis. Age: Mid-30s. Occupation: Junkyard Leader, Taker But Not Botherer. Goal: To take, but not bother, as she tells Rick, which is not the easiest philosophy to understand. She also seems interested in replenishing resources, because her people are running out of unspoiled food. She also is intent on dropping every third or fourth word from every sentence, so everything she says sounds cryptic and a little jarring. Sample Dialogue: "We own your lives. You want to buy them back?"
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Rick Vs. The Spiky Walker Of Death
Rick is thrilled to find out that Gabriel was among the junkyard folks, even if he's being held against his will. But he's a lot thrilled when he's invited to go up to the top of the trash heap and then unceremoniously thrown down into a pit to fight to the death against an armored-up zombie.
The creature, who looks right out of Mad Max, is hilariously over the top, and Rick impales his hand on one of the spikes -- because his hand is always getting injured -- after ineffectually trying to smash its head with a flimsy plastic keyboard.
Rick gets the upper hand (ha!) by, on Michonne's advice, pulling very light-looking trash on top of the thing, knocking it down, then stabbing it in the neck with a shard of glass that was lying around.
Winner: Rick, who wins in trashy fashion.
Plot Lightning Round
Pleased with Rick's performance in the Arena Of Hefty Bags, Jadis agrees to join Rick's war against Negan, but she wants guns. Lots of them. And she wants half of the spoils of victory. Rick counter-offers one-third. She says no at first, but they finally agree, with the condition that she gets to keep half of the stuff they already took from Alexandria. At least, I think that's what was settled on; these negotiations were not easy to follow. Jadis also reveals that they waited a long time for someone to take Winslow's weapons stash at the boat house because they weren't going to take it themselves.
Rick finally has something to smile about against a fake-looking background.
Carol is visited by unwanted guests. It's Ezekiel. And Benjamin! And Dianne! And some other dude! Ezekiel says they're just around to clear some walker so she won't have to deal with them, but come on. You're not fooling anybody, Ezekiel. And Jerry brought a cobbler! Carol takes the cobbler, but she's not thrilled about having a tripwire tripped, or about having guests. Jerry, though. How could you not be happy to see Jerry? He's the best!
There's a knock at the door, which disturbs Carol from reading her book Denim Dreams, but it's Daryl! She gets teary-eyed and gives him a huge hug. "Why'd you go?" he asks her. "I had to," she tells him. More to come on that!
Gabriel Does More Good Stuff
I've always suspected that in a moment of crisis, Gabriel would show his true nature and wuss out. But apparently, that's not going to happen, because he was just kidnapped by the Junkyard Gang and took one of them by knifepoint in order to save his friends. (Weirdly, it worked.) In a post-mortem, he asks Rick why he was smiling when the group was taken captive, which honestly we didn't need explained to us. "Someone who showed me enemies can become friends," Rick tells Gabriel, giving the clergyman the approval that hereby completes his rehabilitation as a character. It's a bit much, don't you think, Rick?
Rosita With The Bad Attitude
Ever since Abraham's death, Rosita has been itching for a fight, but unfortunately she has to pick them with her fellow survivors, not the actual enemies. Last time, it was Sasha; now it's Tara, who earns her ire by disagreeing about splitting up or going out for weapons. Tara thinks they should stick together and head back to Alexandria to heal the wounded and regroup. Not that it's Tara or Rosita's decision anyway, but Rosita takes it upon herself to say she's going out on her own to find the weapons they need even if she has to go out on her own. Good luck with that, Rosita! Although that probably means we have a Rosita solo episode coming up that nobody really wants. Dammit!
Cat Gifts From The Junkyard
Hey, remember Michonne's rainbow cat? Rick does! He snags a cat from the junkyard and gives it to his lady love, telling her he's giving it to her because "We won. And to replace the one you lost." Aww. Rick almost got killed and his hand was impaled and he's still got time to be a sweetiepie.
Treat Carol With Some Damned Respect
Daryl stays over for dinner with Carol, and as things get to the topic of Alexandria, Carol finally asks the question she's been afraid to ask: whether everyone has survived the Saviors. The answer, of course, is absolutely not, but Daryl decides to lie and tell Carol that everyone is fine, and that they struck a deal with Negan the way Ezekiel did. That seems to satisfy Carol, who was starting to cry in anticipation of horrible news. But here's the thing. Maybe Daryl was being kind and sparing Carol the pain of knowing she wasn't there to protect Glenn and Abraham -- or Spencer and Olivia for that matter. But by withholding that information, he's making her less safe; she doesn't know how dangerous the Saviors really are. He's also not treating her like an adult capable of processing painful information, as she has so many times before. Yes, maybe this would unleash Warrior Carol, but she would recognize soon enough that there's not much they can do in their current situation unless Rick actually raises an army. It may seem like a nice thing to do, but it will probably hurt Carol in some more significant way in the long run. Not cool, Daryl.
Wrap It Up
Daryl's position on Ezekiel has softened considerably since Carol vouched for him, and as Daryl points out to Morgan, a dude with a pet tiger can't be all bad.
However, they exchange words about Morgan's unwillingness to support a war. "Wake the hell up," Daryl tells Morgan. Morgan, on the other hand, figures out that Daryl didn't reveal to Carol the extent of what's happened. "Or she'd be here otherwise," Morgan says. "We're all holding on to something."
Perhaps baffled by being called on his own bullshit, Daryl decides to leave The Kingdom, putting himself and others in danger by heading to The Hilltop. Nobody ever said Daryl was the smartest apple in the bunch.