The Bites Of War Strike Home On The Walking Dead
The Saviors taint their weapons with zombie blood, and it pays off gruesomely.
We begin with the back of Morgan's head. He's shaking it as he faces the front of a pick-up truck somewhere in the woods. Morgan finally turns his head and we see what he sees: the ghost of Gavin, standing a ways down the woods, holding a stick in his hand. He's wearing khakis and an off-white shirt, and his gaping neck wound has bled all over it. Morgan is not thrilled to see him. After a lengthy silence, Gavin finally says, "You know what it is." Is it a g-g-g-ghost!? Morgan looks away and shakes his head. When he raises his hand, we catch a glimpse of the wedding ring he still wears. Gavin says, "You were supposed to." Morgan says no. "You were supposed to!" Gavin repeats, more forcefully.
Morgan comes charging at him with his bo. "No!" Morgan screams as he attacks, but we cut to a wide shot and see he's just striking at air. He realizes that and tries to get himself together, and as he's bent over trying to reconnect with reality, Morgan hears a car horn in the distance. He rushes back to the truck and honks its horn through the open window. Other members of Rick's crew honk horns in their own vehicles. We cut to Daryl, who doesn't have a loud horn on his motorcycle, so he has to resort to an air horn. It goes, "FURRRRPPPPPPPPPPPP!"
Back at The Hilltop, Jerry and some other survivors hear the call. "It's on," says Jerry. Everybody gets into position, presumably to shoot some Saviors. Inside Hilltop House, Henry -- still with his sharp stick and armor on his little boy body -- is eyeing a pistol that's lying on a table. His red-rimmed eyes look tired. He asks if he can have the gun for when they come. Ezekiel, who looks to Carol first, since she's standing nearby, takes the gun and tells Henry, "This is not your lot." Henry is thinking, "Well then give me a semi-automatic lot you motherfucking Hamlet-ass bitch!" Ezekiel tells Henry to stay inside with the others until it's done. Yeah, that always works on this show: telling young people to stay indoors. Henry says he needs to help, and needs to fight. Ezekiel says he'll stay and help guard the house. Henry hits up Carol instead, insisting, "You know I can help."
Without even glancing back at Henry, Carol says that if he goes outside during the attack, he'll die. Ezekiel comes over and kisses Henry on his mop top of hair and says, "Protect them." Henry, sleep-deprived, thinks, "Protect this, you fucking Cats chorus reject. Rum Tum Tugger on these nuts, ya dumb prick!" I may be projecting a little.
Last week, we had a Glenn Close lookalike; this week, we have this show's version of Margo Martindale. She's working in the infirmary, organizing meds, when Siddiq walks in carrying blankets. He's about to put them on the bed, but she corrects him, telling him to put them in the corner. "What'd you say your specialty was?" she asks. Siddiq says he was a second-year resident. She says that means he's never performed surgery. Nope. She asks if he's ever done an amputation. Also no. She wonders if he can even hold someone down who hasn't been put under. He scoffs and says he can figure it out.
Faux Margo Martindale asks if Siddiq can shoot a gun while holding someone down. She cuts him off as he starts to answer, telling him he doesn't know enough, and that's more dangerous than people who don't know shit. Siddiq admits that he hasn't done much, but that all he's done since the hospital is things he's never done; he's standing there ready to help. He pushes the cabinet door closed on her, telling her to stop listing what he hasn't done and start telling him what to do, "besides where to put the damn blankets." Faux Margo says simply, "I like you," before getting back to business. And I like her! She passes Siddiq an armor vest and says, "Get ready."
Pastoral shots of the Hilltop locales as sunset arrives. And then it's dark. Maggie, wearing a jacket, is standing at her porch watching what she can from there. A caravan is coming. Jerry turns from the guard tower and makes a giant jacking motion with his arm to alert Maggie. She turns toward the camera and says, "Here we go." And that takes us to the opening credits.
Post-credits, the trucks are still coming. We see all the Negans, including Simon and Dwight, get out of their vehicles a ways shy of the gate. Simon says he was hoping to give the entrance a big sloppy kiss, but there are obstacles in the way, mostly boards with nails in them meant to blow out tires. Simon orders them removed and answers a call from Maggie on his walkie-talkie. She wants to talk to Negan. Uh yeah, but she knows they all are, right? Simon says he's Negan, but his birth certificate says Simon. He asks whom he has the displeasure of speaking with. Maggie says she's "Maggie Rhee, The Widow."
Simon offers his condolences for what has happened, and what's about to: they got her coffin care package and the bill has come due. Maggie threatens the lives of the 38 captives, and says that if Simon turns around and leaves, they'll stay alive. She says she has 38 bullets she'll personally fire into those people. She puts one of Simon's captives on the walkie, and he says it's too nice a night to die slowly. Outside, Simon looks angry. When Maggie asks what they're going to do, Simon says that the captives are damaged goods. He thinks that if they got caught, they need to figure their shit out, so screw those captives. Inside, Gregory, standing near Maggie, asks her if she thought this cockamamie plan would work. "It will," she says.
Simon says it's time to get the party started. The goal is not just infection: it's conclusion. "We are doing away with these people. All of them!" Before he goes into action, Dwight tells Simon, "This isn't what he'd want. You know that, right? He could still be out there." Dwight asks if Simon wants to face that if he comes back. Simon thinks it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
Just then, Daryl rolls in, firing an assault rifle from his motorcycle. Instead of just picking him off, everybody on Simon's team scrambles. Simon makes it all the way into the gates of Hilltop. So does one of the trucks from The Saviors, but it plows into the side of a school bus that is rolling by as a blockade.
"Now!" Maggie yells, and a bunch of Hilltoppers emerge firing. A smile plays on her lips. Lots of random gunfire and extras on both sides falling down, shot. Some of Simon's people stand up and fire arrows, hitting some of the people in Maggie's vicinity. Maggie tells Battle Armor Dianne to take Gregory and the other prisoners into her office until it's done. Alden, the prisoner who spoke to Simon, asks if he can help fight. He says that he's obviously got no loyalty to The Saviors anymore, after what just happened. Before she runs inside, Maggie looks onto the battlefield and asks, "Where the hell is he?"
More arrows are let loose. More shooting from Carol, Michonne, Rosita, and others. Tobin is firing around a corner and has the misfortune of getting rushed and stabbed by a Savior. Tobin falls down hard, his chest bleeding. Carol spots what's happening and shoots the Savior just as he's about to land a finishing blow on Carol's old flame. She rushes over and tries to hold in Tobin's squishy guts. "Long time no see," he tries to say, coolly. Carol is in no mood for flirty banter when she's holding a man's large intestine.
Simon is peeking around a different corner and spots Tara by herself, shooting from behind a car. Holding a hatchet, Simon tells Dwight that he's going to take out Sunshine, and asks if "D" wants her instead. Dwight says no. Simon says he can get the next one because he needs a group effort there. Simon goes and Dwight follows.
Carol is relieved of duty by Siddiq, who has shown up to help Tobin. Carol reluctantly leaves as Siddiq starts undoing Tobin's bloody shirt.
Daryl notices that Simon and Dwight are trying to sneak up behind Tara, ducking behind a teepee. Instead of firing at them, Daryl yells, "Tara!," just as another guy is trying to attack him. Dwight manages to shoot an arrow at Tara before Simon can get to her, which sends Tara spinning and firing into the air. Wow, nice shot, Dwight -- you couldn't have missed a little? Tara drops, and Daryl fires some covering fire to make Simon and Dwight run away. We see Tara, with an arrow in her, look at the big Hilltop mansion. The light at the front of the building is shot out. Daryl watches as Rosita helps Tara up. Just then, Michonne comes up to tell him that Maggie has given the signal, and that they have to go. "Daryl!" she commands when he's slow to respond. He follows.
The next plan, I guess, is to drop a bunch of distracting grenades, giving our heroes time to stand up and shoot at all the headlights of the Savior vehicles. With all the lights out, The Saviors are supposed to be in complete darkness -- so much so that, after a long moment of stillness, Simon and the others emerge very slowly. "I can't see shit," says Simon. The clump of Saviors moves together very slowly, as if in complete darkness, but the problem with this scene is that we can see them perfectly clearly, so the scene looks like it was lit up under a full moon with 100-watt LED bulbs shining down from ten feet away. There's light bouncing off Simon's forehead, for fuck's sake. And we're supposed to believe they can't see anything?
As everyone fakes being careful stepping in the "dark," Simon tells a group to go around the other way to try to surround their enemies slowly and carefully. Dwight asks what they're doing. Simon says they're going to make a house call and do some slaughtering. So they start walking toward the big mansion. He whistles loudly. They can't sense that this is a trap? Well, it is, because a bunch of headlights from parked cars suddenly light up, and there's machine gunfire. "Goddammit!" Simon yells as his crew gets shot up. Some fall down, but most of them get away, which makes no sense given that there are guns being fired from like eight different windows in the building. The Saviors run as pumped-up music plays. More headlights light up, and they're fired on from another angle. Rick Grimes emerges shooting and takes out several more Saviors. Rick runs out of bullets and just throws his rifle aside like last week. How many rifles does Rick have to just toss like that? Does he get the sixth one free with his punch card?
As Simon and his crew scramble away, Rick does some hand-to-hand combat with his cute hatchet. He sees someone bent over Tobin and goes to attack, but it turns out it's Siddiq giving medical care. "Just stay down," Rick whispers to a terrified Siddiq.
Morgan is trying to do some ass-kicking too, but he's interrupted by Ghost Gavin, who stands there still bleeding and says, "You know what it is." Is it bigger than a breadbox? Is it Sonny Bono? Morgan turns away. "You know what it is!" Gavin yells. Is it The Game of Life? A duck? Something on a keychain?
The remaining Saviors have gotten in their vehicles and are driving away before anyone but Maggie and Rick can get to the gate and fire at them. The two fire, but it does no good. Maggie stands there breathing really hard, finally saying, "I wanted them dead. All of them. Negan most of all." Rick is like, "Yeeeaaahh. Me too. I guess? Maybe not as badly? I mean, he made some good points about my shit leadership? It's not like he killed my son -- oh shit, I'm sorry, Maggie, that came out all wrong." Rick actually just says that he saw Negan out there and tried to kill him. "I didn't," he admits, "but I tried." Also he set some zombies on fire and it was pretty cool, but let's not dwell on the cool parts. "Thank you," Maggie tells him. She wouldn't if she knew how lamely Rick fucked up trying to fight Negan.
Hilltop, the next day. It's business as usual with zombies at the gate and vehicles being moved back into place. Maggie is telling Enid that they don't have the resources to withstand another attack, so she'd better get ready to run if it comes to that. Daryl notices Tara getting out of one of the cars, and says she shouldn't be out here. She rubs her arm, saying it's just a scratch, and she can still help. Daryl asks what if it was more than that. Tara blames herself for Daryl ending back up with The Saviors. Daryl says it's not her fault; that's just who he is. Tara says they got lucky finding Rick and Maggie. It could have gone differently, the way it did when she was with The Governor. Oh yeah! That seems like centuries ago. Tara says she was with them like Daryl's brother. Daryl scoffs and says that Merle ran the wrong way his whole life. If he'd stuck with his brother, they'd be in a group like The Saviors. But he says he'd have figured out who they were, just like Tara did. Tara thinks maybe that's what happened to Dwight. "Was that before or after he killed your girl?" Daryl asks. Ooh, good point from the man who is talking more than he ever has before. "Or is that all square now?" he asks. Tara says they are, because Dwight saved her life. Daryl says he tried to kill Tara the night before, but Tara insists that she saw him try to help them win back in the woods. Daryl's not having it. "Yeah, I saw what I saw, too," he says and walks away, all pissy. Tara is like, "What climbed up his crossbow shaft?"
Inside the Hilltop mansion, where there's a crib in a room, Rick is using his hatchet to pull boards off the windows. First, that's not what a hatchet is for. Second, why are the boards on the inside? Third, why are you taking the boards down when there might be another attack literally within hours? Rick sure knows how to waste time on bad planning. Michonne is just watching, probably thinking all three of these points. So sweetly, she says quietly, "I saved you this turnip." YOU! (Clap!) ARE! (CLAP!) TOO! (CLAP!) GOOD! (CLAP!) FOR RICK! (CLAP!) GRIMES! (CLAP!)
Rick, asshole, doesn't even stop what he's doing and just says, "Ehh, I'm okay." That's not okay. "Rick," Michonne starts, but he interrupts her to say that Maggie turned off the generators to save energy, but that the kids are gonna need air. Can't they get air outside? Michonne puts down the neglected turnip and comes closer to Rick, asking, "Can I take a look at that cut?" She says she has some stuff to clean it. Rick brushes her off, asking her to let him get this done first. Hurt, Michonne backs off, then goes over to another window to help remove boards. Rick finally stops. He explains that he saw Negan at the back of the convoy, and that's why he felt he had to try to go get him. "I had to," he says.
Jerry is digging in the grave area as Maggie comes by. Dianne brings the prisoner who was asking to help earlier. Maggie cuts the rope around his hands and says she'll get him outside the gates with a guard so that he can bury his people. "They're not mine," he says, as he looks over at a truck of bodies, "but I'm glad you see them that way. As people." He goes off on digging duty anyway. Dianne decides to have a moment. "You're a good leader," she tells Maggie. "I knew it before. But last night, you saved the gate, you saved the community, you saved lives." Maggie says it's because they sacrificed there. She glances toward three rows of graves in front of her. Maggie says that Negan is still in play. She sent him a coffin with a body in it to make him mad and lure him to Hilltop, and she did it so Glenn's grave would be the last thing he saw. "Even if it came at a cost," she says. "I don't know if that makes me a good leader." She says the only regret she has is that Negan isn't in that pile of bodies. Damn! Even Dianne thinks that's some cold-ass shit as Maggie walks away.
Infirmary. Tobin is being visited by Carol, who says she was worried. Still thinking he's Mr. Smooth, he says that if he'd known getting stabbed would get Carol's attention, he'd have done it a lot sooner. Uh, gross? Carol apologizes for how she left and what she did to him. Tobin's not looking for that, and says that Carol doesn't owe him anything. "Was any of it real?" he does ask. She says she didn't want it to be real. She shrugs that she was pretending. Tobin, clearly a little stung by that, tells her not to go easy on him. She says she was trying to live a life, but that when they found out there were more Saviors and that there'd be more fighting and death, she just couldn't. She says that was right about the time she started to feel it wasn't going to be pretending anymore. The timing sucked, basically. "Maybe," she concludes. Tobin, sardonic, says that might be the nicest thing anyone's said to him. He asks if Carol's going to leave again after it's over. She doesn't know. She says she might have to accept that some people get to live; others just get to fight. "Even after it ends?" he asks. Carol doesn't think it ever ends. Tobin says that the end of the fight is what they're all fighting for. I'm not sure on the logic of that. Carol says all that means is we get tomorrow. Maybe one more night.
Outside the gate, Nice Prisoner is digging a grave. Over Carol continuing to talk about getting one more morning, no guarantees, we see Jesus herding prisoners back into their pen. We see one of the captured Saviors looking very sad. And we see young Henry find a gigantic rifle just lying inside the mansion. He picks it up curiously. For some reason, we glance up at a grandfather clock that reads 6:23. It ticks and tocks.
On the porch of the mansion, Carol and Henry are walking by Rick, who is loading up his revolver with bullets. Henry insists that he wouldn't have died if he'd gone out during the battle. Siddiq stops by to ask if he can treat Rick's wounds so that they don't get infected. Instead of actually bandaging Rick, he starts to offer a prayer for the dead that ends with, "Do not send us astray after them." He says, "Those who died," but Rick stops him with a stern "Don't."
Later, as it's getting dark, Maggie is walking through the mansion with a candle as people are lying down wherever there's space on the floors. There are some sick people, but most everyone seems to be all right. One of the Hilltop folks tells Maggie that, unlike Gregory, she's not all about herself. She looks down the stairs at all the people lying together on the floor. These are the people she's supposed to protect.
Unfortunately, Tobin's not going to make it. He's wheezing pretty badly as he sleeps. He suddenly wakes up, his breath hitches, and he falls into death. The bedside clock reads 2:13 AM. At 3:26, the other people in the room with Tobin awaken. Then Tobin himself arises. He attacks one of the helpers, biting him from behind and obscured past a doorway so that we only see feet twitching. It begins!
A watch on Faux Margo's hand says it's nearly 4 AM. She notices that the infirmary door is open, and goes over to investigate. There's blood all over the floor. Before she can do anything, Walker Tobin is already on her neck, chomping down. But the blankets! Make sure the blankets are in the corner! It doesn't matter if I'm dying, those blankets need a proper home, aaaagggghhh avenge me, blankets!
We see the face of the grandfather clock and I think it's showing that it's now past 6 AM, but still dark outside.
A shadow is creeping toward the main Hilltop mansion. We hear a baby crying. Everybody all over the floor is asleep, which doesn't seem at all realistic even this late in a zombie apocalypse. Nobody's gotta be up for a glass of water or to have an existential crisis? Anyway, a door is wide open, allowing Zombie Tobin, Gory Faux Margo, and other fresh zombies to enter. The Hilltop guy who was talking to Maggie earlier is now undead too, rising from his spot on the floor -- which is now a sort of deathbed -- to go on the attack. He rises, falls over, and gets back up again, because that's just what a highly motivated walker does. Dude leans over the stairs and straight up just falls the fuck down, tumbling over and over. Is this supposed to be comic relief?
Even though these walkers are growling, and everybody on the floor is silent, nobody wakes up. In the zombie apocalypse. It boggles the mind.
After a commercial break to make you forget that foolishness, we come back to the prisoner yard. Everybody is just as asleep out here, lying in the grass, as the people are inside. Do they pump melatonin into the air at Hilltop or what? These are the sleepiest motherfuckers I've seen in my whole life, and I saw The English Patient in a theater. Gregory is leaned up against the wire fence, snoring. He's poked in the back by a rifle. He wakes up with a start to see Young Henry holding a gun and telling him to shush. Henry asks if he's Gregory. Gregory rises to his feet and tells the boy to let him out. Henry just wants to know if Gregory knows which one killed his brother. Gregory doesn't know the brother or any of these people. "I'm not...one of them," he says, casting a dirty look at the sleeping prisoners. Gregory lays the fake concern on thick, saying that's a very dangerous weapon, and that he doesn't want anyone to get hurt, including the kid. Gregory asks for the gun, and to talk. Henry doesn't respond. Gregory says he's sorry about his brother, but that killing any of these people isn't going to bring him back. Only nature can do that. Henry thinks it'll make him feel better, adding that it already did, once. All right, calm down, Li'l Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer. Alden gets up and tries to talk to Henry, telling him his older brother got killed, too. He says that killing whoever did it sounds good, but won't make the kid feel better. Not for long. They hear a scream from the house, and everybody gets up, including Jared.
Inside the mansion, all hell has broken loose. Maggie, holding a flashlight and gun, sees people running everywhere and zombies chomping on whatever legs they can grab. Zombie Tobin bites a neck. There's screaming. Daryl stabs a zombie head. More biting of limbs. Ezekiel tries to help. Siddiq jumps in and wraps a belt around someone's arm. He sees Rick and tells him he's going to need help. "Yeah," Rick moans, and uses his tiny hatchet to cut off someone's arm above the elbow. Jesus and Michonne team up for some kick + sword action.
They try to get everybody outside. Jared, out in the prisoner yard, says that's music to his ears. Henry asks if it was him, stupidly opening the fence padlock with a key and charging inside, pointing the gun. Henry says he wants to know who killed his brother, now. Alden keeps trying to reason with Henry. "Be a man," Henry tells him. "Step forward so I don't have to kill your friends." He says he's counting to 10, and then he'll start shooting. Henry starts counting as the Saviors back away, but before he can get very far, a zombie pops up out of nowhere and bites a prisoner in the shoulder. Can we start the count over? Everybody scrambles, and Henry doesn't know where to point his gun. So he just starts firing randomly. Jared runs over, tackles Henry, and takes away his gun. Instead of shooting the boy, which is totally what I would expect, Jared just tells the others that it's open, and that they can all go. So they do, everybody escaping. Gregory hesitates, but ends up running. Henry looks around at what he's done and lies back, devastated. Worst child warden ever!
There are still zombies awakening at the Hilltop house, but Rick, Morgan, and the others are trying to take them out methodically before they rise. Daryl wants to know what the hell happened. Rick says that walkers got in, obviously. But Daryl points out that these are all their own people. In another room, Bertie is being attacked by Zombie Tobin, who somehow managed to survive all the extermination. They struggle as Carol comes in from behind and turns him around. "Stay back!" Carol tells Bertie. Carol looks at Tobin's stupid zombie face as he tries to bite at her, and she's so, so sad at what might have been. Music swells and things go calm, even as Carol stabs Tobin in the head.
Tobin falls over as Carol breathes heavily. Daryl, Maggie, and Rick swoop in too late, asking if Carol's all right. Yeah, sure, are you guys done playing theory detective before you sweep the rest of the house for more dead risers? Carol says that Tobin didn't get bit, but still turned. Rick remembers that Negan's bat was covered in walker blood. He thinks maybe they did something with their weapons. "They have us working for them again," Maggie suggests, "killing our own." A sick guy in bed says it's a favor, really. He looks at his wounded arm, breathes heavily, and asks for one of them to put him out. "I can't," he cries. "You gotta do it for me." Maggie holds his hand. Rick, who still hasn't gotten his stupid facial wound stitched up, looks bummed.
In another room, Daryl and Rick join Rosita, Enid, and Tara, who say the house is clear. Tara asks how this happened. Well, funny you should ask. Long, long pause. Daryl finally says that the Saviors did something to their weapons: he says that everyone who was cut or shot got sick, and some of them turned. Tara realizes what they're telling her. She was shot by an arrow. And that's very bad news. Daryl blames himself for not killing Dwight when he could have. Tara disagrees. She thinks Dwight wanted to be there with them despite Tara wanting him dead. "Karma's a bitch, right?" she finally says.
Outside, Siddiq is trying to hold off walkers. He's almost overwhelmed before Alden takes out one of them with a hoe. Maggie and some of the others approach, guns drawn, telling him to put his hands up. He explains that the kid set them free and lots of Saviors escaped, but that other Saviors are trying to close the gate and help. They look over, and that is, indeed, what's happening. Maggie asks what Siddiq was doing outside. He says he was checking on the prisoners, but that they were gone. Maggie asks why Alden stayed. He says they're not worth anything to Negan and Simon anymore: they remained despite having plenty of chances to run. Maggie is super-conflicted.
Next morning. Carol is calling for Henry. She, Ezekiel, Jerry, and Morgan are all looking for the boy, who's gone missing. Enid shows up and says that Henry broke into the pen before they all got out. Isn't that exactly what Alden told them the night before? Carol says that she told him what would happen. As they rush over there, Morgan stays behind. Ghost Gavin appears again, saying, "You know what it is. You know what it is." Is it Ritz crackers? A sponge in the shape of a dinosaur? Two tickets to The Book Of Mormon? Morgan shakes his head. Gavin repeats, "You know what it is." I got it: a breakfast burrito? Gavin keeps repeating the statement as Morgan grunts. "YOU KNOW!" I seriously don't, man.
Close-up on Maggie as Rick stands out of focus behind her. She's staring at all the new graves Jerry and Jesus were digging. Dianne asks, "What is it?" Maggie stares hard. "The cost," she says quietly. Rick, standing next to a tearful Michonne, just walks away. We cut to black as Rick exits the scene. Hey, go get your wound treated! You're still a dad!