On The Walking Dead, It's The United Stakes Of Tara
Tara and Heath reappear after a long absence, and an all-woman village of survivors is uncovered.
Baby-Sitters Club Founding Member
Name: Cyndie. Age: Late teens. Occupation: Humanitarian. Goal: To keep her child companion, Rachel, from killing a human that washes up on the shore of the beach that's apparently nearby to where they live. Sample Dialogue: "She's not a bobber. She's alive."
The Shore Thing
Tara has washed up on some shore we've never seen before and it's particularly apt since we haven't seen her on the show for so long. It's almost as if someone cast an item out into the ocean and it turned up after so much time that they forgot it even existed for a while. Welp, glad you're back!
We zip back in time to some period shortly before Tara washed up on the beach; she's in the RV with Heath on a scouting mission that so far hasn't been at all fruitful after the attack on Negan's satellite station. They're unaware of the chaos that's happened back in Alexandria, and Heath is having some very bad feelings about what went down and all the killing that Rick's camp did. He's suddenly realizing how bad things are getting, and weighing in his mind how much his conscience can take, which just goes to show you how sheltered he was as one of the original Alexandria residents.
On The Menu
Just Eat Around The Eyeballs
Tara wakes up, and it turns out she was at least partly faking being unconscious in order to infiltrate this seaside village she's been dragged to by Cyndie. They must be pretty confident that she's going to wake up because Tara finds some items around her for sustenance.
Bottled water: Don't drink that salty ocean water, have some plastic-bound goodness! It's hydrating af!
Dried, stick-like fish: Hope you enjoy your seafood stiff and crispy! You know what? Maybe save that for later, your stomach might not be up for it just yet.
Nice Spying, Tara
Alert Type: Intruder Alert.
Issue: Tara explores and finds a jungle village that is apparently populated only with women and children. She tries to be sneaky, but is discovered and surrounded by women (and Rachel), all pointing guns at her.
Complicating Factors: Tara tries to play it off like she's harmless, and didn't mean to hurt anybody, but she did hit someone in the face with the butt of a rifle, so that's not helping her case.
Resolution: The leader of the group, a woman named Natania, comes forward to make sure nobody shoots Tara by accident. But she sure doesn't look happy to have a visitor.
Spoiler: Natania is actually a fair and benevolent leader, sort of the anti-Negan.
Like Sands Through The Hourglass, So Are The Reanimated
Back in the timeline with Heath, he and Tara are trying to get past a bridge and being cautious as they scavenge, but as Tara tries to pull a bag loose, she unearths a clump of undead that were buried under a bunch of sand.
Gross! These dried-up motherfuckers attack, natch, and as you can imagine, it's no day at the beach! Tara and Heath get separated as he ducks behind a hanging tarp.
Name: Natania. Age: Late 50s. Occupation: Mayor. Goal: To protect her group at all costs, especially from a shady intruder who doesn't appear to be telling the truth about where she's from (that would be you, Tara). Sample Dialogue: "We shoot strangers on site if they come into our camp."
Plot Lightning Round
Recognizing over dinner that Tara appears to be a skilled fighter and a good person, Natania invites her to remain in their town, Oceanside, and make it her home permanently. She even offers to help find Heath and allow him to stay as well. When Tara asks about why there aren't any men, she's told there was a skirmish and they were all killed, alongside Cyndie's mother and brother. They escaped the group and found a place to hide, where they've been ever since. Caught in a lie, Tara reveals details about Alexandria and about the mission they took on to kill the people at Negan's satellite station. Natania only agrees to send a scout with Tara to go check out Alexandria.
Tara bids a fond farewell to Rachel, the little girl who wanted to stab her in the head on the beach.
Even though she had apparently brokered peace and gotten Natania's blessing to return home safely, Tara still decides to run off the first chance she gets, drawing gunfire from the women who were supposed to escort her back. Or did she sense that she was going to get killed and that this was all one big ruse?
She's caught, of course, and is told some unfortunate truths: the women know about Negan and that there are way more Saviors than Tara and her friends knew about. It was the Saviors who killed all the men and every boy over 10. That's why they ran off and have been hiding ever since.
Just as she's about to be shot in order not to spread word of Oceanside, Cyndie steps in and saves Tara.
Wrap It Up
Tara makes it back to the bridge she had previously fallen off and into water while fighting the undead and losing track of Heath (which led to the show's cold opening). She has to make it through an obstacle course of zombies with Cyndie's sniper help.
She travels back toward Alexandria, with stops in to a shop where she finds a female doctor bobblehead (it reminds her of Denise!) and eats that old dried-up fish.
Tara returns to Alexandria where some very, very bad news is waiting for her. Denise is dead. Negan has struck harshly at the group.
Rosita wants to take up arms and fight back. She asks if Tara found anything out there in her travels, anything at all that might be an asset. Tara lies and says she didn't find anything, especially not a well-armed village of badass women living by the ocean.