The Walking Dead Gets Lost In The Wilderness
Debates about faith, and swamps both ethical and literal, bog down an otherwise suspenseful chase episode in this EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!
Four Saviors at a lookout post on an overgrown highway bridge get an alert over their walkie-talkies: Dr. Carson and Gabriel have finally turned up missing from the Sanctuary, as has one of the cars, and the three of them are most likely somewhere en route to the Hilltop. None of this is a surprise to those of us who watched Eugene facilitate Carson and Gabriel's escape, in pursuit of what Gabriel thinks is his divine mission to deliver a doctor to help Maggie through her pregnancy and childbirth, but it's important to remind everyone early on that these are the episode's stakes for Father Gabe. These Saviors all pile into their late-model pickup to join the search, leaving their post completely unattended. Really a well-oiled operation, this.
The moment they're gone, the camera slowly cranes way down in a manner that suggests that we're about to see the doctor and the priest ironically lurking near the base of the bridge supports. But no, it's Daryl, and he's leading Tara, Rosita, Dwight, and no more than a few dozen Alexandrian refugees through the woods. That does include Judith, who is strapped to Tobin's back because he's the tallest, I suppose. Along the way, they're greeted by a charred-looking walker. Tara steps up to take it on, and Dwight helpfully offers to cover her. Tara thanks him for this by more or less shoving the Cajun-blackened critter directly into Dwight's arms -- only one of which is functioning, you'll recall, because Laura put a bullet through the other one. Rosita and Daryl are scandalized by Tara's rudeness. "He can handle it," Tara chirps as Dwight still manages to topple the walker to the ground and stomp its skull in without assistance from anyone. Tara: "See?" How thoughtful of Tara to showcase the talents of the man who killed her girlfriend, because of course that's totally what she's doing. As an annoyed Daryl and Rosita shoo everyone off into the woods, they share some dialogue indicating that they overheard that Gabriel and the doctor may be making their way to the Hilltop as well, just like they are. "Hopefully better than us," Rosita says.
This is, of course, a vain hope. We catch up with Carson and Gabriel pulled over on the side of the road, the doctor sitting impatiently behind the wheel while Gabriel struggles to navigate in the absence of Google Maps. Over and above the fact that dead-tree cartography has become a lost art, Carson notices that Gabriel now seems to be having trouble seeing, which could be a sign that the infection he's been fighting is attacking his optic nerve. Gabriel reminds everyone of their overarching goal -- get Carson to Maggie -- and tells Carson, "Just have some faith. We're on the right path even if we're on the wrong road." Keep talking like that, Gabriel, and Carson may kill you before the infection does. For now, it's enough to say that Carson doesn't share Gabriel's optimism. And when Gabriel, sweaty and borderline delirious, makes a bad "Footprints" joke before nearly passing out, it doesn't improve Carson's outlook. (Full unconsciousness on Gabriel's part would have been preferable, I'm sure.) And then, then, the car won't start. And did I mention that there's been a one-legged zombie crawling up behind the car this whole time, dragging a length of chain secured around its ankle? Gabriel looks out the car window and belatedly notices its approach, trying to blink away the blood in his eyes. So the faith thing is working out great, I see.
At least Carson and Gabriel make good use of the time afforded them by the opening credits and the first ad break, because we come back to see the crawler already dispatched on the ground and Carson administering a vision test while Gabriel sits on the car's rear bumper. It's a test that Gabriel is roundly flunking. Carson berates himself for letting Gabriel leave the Sanctuary, but mostly out of concern for Gabriel, which seems odd. Carson was safely ensconced in the Sanctuary, and now he's lost in a zombie wasteland with a busted-ass car and a busted-ass dude. The only good news is that unlike the Sanctuary, there may at least be some antibiotics at the Hilltop, because Carson stashed some there before the last raid. That would be awesome, if our heroes weren't currently stranded without transport. Gabriel's brilliant plan for now is to find another car, but he's interrupted when he hears a metallic clanking noise somewhere in the distance. Wow, I heard people's other senses get heightened when they lose their sight, but I didn't know it was possible to get a head start on that. Carson ends up following Gabriel through the woods, even as the latter keeps walking into foliage and whatnot. It's the blind leading the bland. Eventually, they fetch up against some camouflage netting to discover a small homestead on the other side. Gabriel thinks this could be their salvation. Carson doesn't think the place exactly screams salvation, which of course only tells us that the salvation will happen later. But then, so will screaming.
Back at the exodus from Alexandria -- or the Alexodus, as I have just dubbed it -- Daryl has gotten so far out ahead of the main column that Rosita has to catch up to him and tell him that most of the others are exhausted. Instead of reminding everyone about that time he chased a car on foot literally all night because Beth was in it, he agrees to a ten-minute halt. Tara has also caught up, and as she gestures behind them to Dwight, she poses a question: "Is there a reason why he's still breathing?" Dude, he's right there. Daryl says it's not the time yet, and as he heads back to cover their tracks, Rosita agrees with him, pointing out to Tara that Dwight could still be useful. Tara looks back at Dwight, who is leaning against a sapling pretending he didn't just hear all of that.
Hilltop. It looks like after the sacking of the Kingdom, Carol and Morgan have made it back here with Henry. I presume the rest of that community has also relocated here, not that we see many of them this episode. King-In-Exile Ezekiel, for instance, is conspicuously absent, probably off building a stage somewhere. Anyway, Morgan and Henry are staring stone-faced at the prisoner's paddock where Maggie has corralled her Savior hostages. Carol offers to take a shift at this low-impact guard duty, but neither man nor boy feels like taking a break. Much better for Henry to sit here staring daggers at the Saviors as if one of them personally killed his brother (and Morgan's protégé), Benjamin. Which seems pretty unlikely, except for how we know full well that Jared is still right in there among them. Convenient, that. As always, Jared himself is the opposite of helpful in this situation, suggesting that Henry be relocated somewhere else before the Saviors roll in on this piece. And the kid is creeping everyone out with his staring anyway. "Which one of you killed my brother?" Henry shoots back. Rather than allowing anyone to pursue that thread, Carol dismisses Henry to go get something to eat from Jerry. Hey, can we go see Jerry too? I think I'd much rather spend the next hour with him. But no, we're stuck here with Morgan arguing to Carol that Henry has a right to know the answer to his question, and that if the kid feels like killing someone else, he's clearly fine with it. Carol disagrees that Henry is fine -- or that Morgan is, for that matter -- and finally prevails on Morgan to let her relieve him at guard duty. She takes up his position and watches him go, while Maggie, off in the background, watches Carol. But who's watching Maggie? And for that matter, who's watching the fucking prisoners now?
At the Sanctuary, Eugene has been summoned to an audience with Negan. That gentleman is in rather a foul humor after having learned of the disappearance of his "only doctor and the creepy-ass priest," and Eugene is clearly not above suspicion. But Negan keeps his threat thinly veiled beneath his promise to drag the two fugitives back and get the story out of them. Eugene plays it about as cool as he's capable of getting, but lets slip some curiosity about what happened at Alexandria. Negan asks Eugene if he cares, after said community tried to vaporize Eugene during his last visit. Eugene takes the point, or pretends to, and Negan says that Eugene is about to get his own outpost so that he can get started on making bullets, as promised. Eugene dares to wonder how that squares with Negan's philosophy of people as a resource. Negan chuckles that bullets are a last resort. "Lucille here, she gets first dibs," he non sequiturs. But if Rick keeps starting shit, Negan says that's on Rick. Meanwhile, Eugene will at long last get set up in his machine shop, complete with his own security detail, not to mention a couple of Negan's wives to provide massages and meals. That all sounds pretty good to Eugene, who just needs one thing to close the deal: "Will there be wine?" Coincidentally, people always ask me the same question when I invite them over to watch The Walking Dead.
Gabriel sits alone in the cluttered cabin he and Carson found. Among the various detritus is a gigantic piggy bank marked "I Love Ham Radio" on the side. Pork puns! I will be referring to this porcine prop as Anton Chekhov for reasons that may or may not become apparent later. Gabriel gives it an amused rattle and sets it back down, then directs what's left of his gaze to the radio equipment. Carson comes back from a perimeter check to see Gabriel squinting at the chicken scratches in the operator's notebook, and quickly ascertains that there's not much in there that will help them. Gabriel clings to the long-gone radio operator's scripted message of hope, saying that perhaps it gave him the strength to carry on. In the meantime, Carson has opened the door to a bedroom to find a desultory zombie handcuffed to the bed, surrounded by pills and duct tape with a plastic bag still over its head. "Yeah," Carson says drily. "That didn't happen." Apparently the joys of being a one-man AV club can only carry you so far.
Out in the wilderness, Daryl and the other leaders of the Alexodus are perusing a map and realizing that the Saviors probably have most of the routes to the Hilltop staked out from here. Fortunately, Dwight is there to point out that Negan conveniently left a stretch of swamp unmapped, deeming it too dangerous. Daryl and Rosita are clearly considering this as an option, much to Tara's horror: "It's too dangerous for the Saviors so you're gonna send us?" Tobin and Scott point out that maybe Dwight shouldn't be trusted after turning on his own people. "I didn't just turn on them, I killed them," says Dwight, not really helping himself out there. But his point is that one of them got away, so returning to the Saviors isn't on the table for him. He can't ever return to the Sanctuary, not ever, because he'll end up super-dead, so he's never going back there. Ever: "I chose my side. This is it. I'm here to help you beat Negan. After that, well, I know how it ends." So...the swamp it is, then, as suggested by the one guy here who literally has nothing to lose.
Maggie sits in her office staring at Gracie The Savior Baby in a crib that's been set up there. Gracie just stares back at her. In other words, Maggie's new Enid seems to be working out just fine. But it's not like nobody is doing any work around here; Dianne comes in with a ledger and the grim news that they'll have to cut everyone's food rations by a third to make it through the week. Maggie wonders if it would help to quit feeding the prisoners, but Dianne's already out ahead of her on that: she points out that Jesus could still find something on his current scavenging run, but neither of them seems hopeful. That makes sense. When Jesus finds trucks full of supplies, they tend to end up at the bottoms of lakes.
Back at the cabin, Carson scolds Gabriel for not lying down, but shuts up when he realizes that Gabriel has found a couple of the former occupant's medicine bottles, both of which contain the kind of antibiotics Gabriel desperately needs. "This man may have just saved your life," Carson tells Gabriel in frank amazement. Gabriel manages to look pretty smug for someone who can't look at much of anything at all.
As they approach the swamp, Daryl warns Dwight that it won't change anything even if they get through. Dwight reprises his old song and dance about how he did it all for his wife Sherry -- the same Sherry who helped Daryl escape, and may yet be out here even now, just so we won't be too surprised if she turns up again. By now they've arrived at the edge of a brackish bog that's pretty spooky-looking already, even discounting the fact that it doubtlessly conceals any number of mossy, squishy zombies sloshing around underneath the surface. Daryl enlists Rosita to help him clear a path through, and Siddiq and Scott will come along as well. But when Dwight volunteers to help out with Daryl's crossbow, his offer is rudely declined. As for Tara, she declares, "I'll hang back, watch over the group." Weird how she's staring daggers at Dwight right now instead of looking at a single one of the people she's supposedly here to protect. Whatever, let the wading begin.
At the Hilltop, Gregory has apparently requested an audience with Maggie, and through the wires of the cage he's sharing with the Saviors is petitioning for his release. Maggie isn't down with that, and starts walking away. "You can't just leave me in here forever, you know," Gregory whines. "Give me a reason to kill you and I won't have to," Maggie offers. Okay, see, now we have a negotiation going here. But instead, Alden the "reasonable" Savior steps up and asks Maggie if they could maybe start getting some time outside the pen for good behavior, one at a time. Maggie not only shoots that idea down, she also informs them that she's cutting off their rations. "My people come first," she says. "I don't have a choice." Alden thinks she does, but unfortunately for him, he's the one in the pen.
The exploration of the swamp continues. Rosita's hip-deep in the murk, poking at the bottom with a long branch until a roughly human-shaped hunk of swamp makes a grab at her. She sticks her knife through the top of its head and it subsides. Up ahead, Siddiq and Daryl come through a thicket to be greeted by a dozen or more undead Apocalypse Now cosplayers rising from the surface. They get to work hacking their way through side by side, as if they've been doing this together for years. It certainly is helpful of the zombies to reveal themselves before attacking like this.
Back on the shore, Tara spots a squad of walkers passing by and asks insincerely, "Who wants to help me take care of that?" Without waiting for an answer, she tosses her knife at Dwight's feet and says, "Congratulations. You just volunteered." Dwight picks up the knife, having been voluntold. Tara's the one with the gun, after all.
At the cabin, we get a Gabriel's-fucked-up-eye view of Dr. Carson. The effect is more or less what you'd see if you tried to look through a telescope made of cocktail weenies and some orange Jell-O. Carson says the fever's broken, but that there may be permanent damage to Gabriel's eyesight. He figures Gabriel has to be pretty bummed about being blind during the end of the world, but Gabriel always has some bromide at the ready about letting God lead the way, and this time is no exception. Sensing Carson's irritated skepticism, Gabriel allows that it's not like he's saying God has sent them on some scavenger hunt where they have to look around -- or feel around -- but whatever he was going to say is interrupted when Gabriel feels the need to demonstrate what "feel around" looks like, and blindly knocks Anton Chekhov off the table and onto the floor. Carson is gobsmacked at what the broken piggy bank turns out to have contained: "It's car keys and a map," he says. Because that's totally where people keep their maps and car keys. "Honey, I want to go someplace new today." "Well, then let's crack open the piggy bank because otherwise we're stuck here with no idea how to find our way anywhere." "What about change for the tollbooths?" "Jesus, do I have to think of everything?" Gabriel just sits back smiling, and barely manages to stop himself from saying, "That is just too on the nose even for me."
Off away from the group, Tara is letting Dwight do the zombie-stabbing while she covers him with her gun. Before he takes out the last one, he tells her he's sorry about Denise, for however little that's worth. Then he finishes off the final walker and finds himself staring down the silencer of Tara's gun. She tells him he should have stayed with the Saviors. "I hate 'em," Dwight says. "I hate Negan." Tara doesn't care, and says that switching sides doesn't make it right. Dwight asks her what killing him here and now will do. "It's gonna make me feel a hell of a lot better," she says, and fires. As she does so, Dwight dodges behind a tree, which takes the round for him, and dashes off into the woods with Tara haring after him. The chase lasts less than a minute before Dwight emerges into a clearing, and Tara catches up, holding her gun at his head. Defeated, Dwight says he knew this was coming, but he just wanted to help them win first. Disappointments all around, I suppose. But before Tara pulls the trigger, they hear voices and duck back under cover together. It's a crew of five Saviors, presumably beating the bush for runaways from Alexandria. Obviously, this could put Tara and the other refugees in a tight spot, but for right now, Tara's main concern is to keep her gun against Dwight's head.
Back to Carson and Gabriel. Carson is leading Gabriel through the cabin's overgrown yard, while Gabriel blunders along behind. That metallic clanging that drew them here earlier can now be heard here louder than before, but we still haven't seen what's causing it. That is, until Gabriel squints up with his ever-diminishing tunnel vision and spots a hand-painted metal sign swinging loosely in the wind overhead. "DANGER TRAPS IN YARD," it reads. Oops. Gabriel shouts a warning to Carson, but too late: the doctor goes down hard with his leg caught in a bear trap. As promised, we got the salvation, and then we got the screaming. And wouldn't you know there's a walker right there, which has never stepped on a bear trap in its entire unlife of standing ten feet away from one, and it's practically on top of Carson already. Like it's been hiding in the bushes all these years just waiting to jump out and go, "Did somebody say, 'Aaauhghaargh'?" Gabriel watches in horror, to the limited extent Gabriel is able to watch anything right now.
Gabriel feels his way to where Carson lies on the ground, stepping on a couple of bear traps himself but managing not to trigger either of them, because ain't God a lil' stinker? More walkers converge on Carson, only a couple of them stopped by traps of their own. Carson manages to fight off one or two of the others with his revolver until it gets knocked from his hand. While a final walker bears down on the helpless Carson, Gabriel gropes around in the turf until he finds the gun, and tries to take aim for a shot that would be tricky even if he could see. But after closing his eyes and opening them again, he manages to squeeze off the kill shot, saving Carson's life. "You did it!" Carson says. Gabriel modestly says, "I think I might have had some help," because there's nothing Gabriel loves more than a captive audience for his preaching and when is he going to get another chance to proselytize to someone who is literally caught in a bear trap?
From their hiding spot, Tara and Dwight can hear and see the Savior party deciding to close in on the swamp. That means they'll surely find the refugees who, without immediate protection by the main cast, are slow-moving, dull-witted, and helpless (actually not kidding about that). Tara points her little gun through the leaves, as though it's going to be any good against five people armed with what we're apparently not allowed to call assault rifles. But before she can squeeze off a shot, Dwight bursts from the leaves to reveal himself. Total reverse-Homer there.
While Tara wonders if this means she's going to have to kill six Saviors instead of five now, Dwight brazens it out, spinning a yarn about how he ended up caught in an ambush back at Alexandria and barely got away, then spent the night in the woods hiding and trying to get back. After confirming that nobody has seen Laura -- the one living Savior in the field who knows Dwight's a turncoat -- he asks them what they're doing out here, as if he doesn't know. They explain how they're about to check the swamp for Alexandrians, so Dwight "obligingly" says that he just came from there, and that there wasn't an Alexandrian to be seen. He totally gives them a bum steer and leads them off in the completely wrong direction, even claiming one of the Savior's weapons as he takes point. Tara, having watched this entire scene of self-sacrifice through the screen of bushes, lowers her gun and turns back. Oops, there's Rosita, who apparently didn't have anything else going on right now other than to witness a scene she had no intention of interfering in. "Why didn't you try and stop me?" Tara asks her. "Nobody could have stopped me," Rosita allows. Oh, is that so? Because I seem to remember that Lucille did, and she's not even a person.
When they meet up with the main group again, Daryl screams in Tara's face about how she was supposed to wait: "Negan could be on his way here right now!" Yell a little louder to guide him in then, why don't you? Tara says that Dwight saved them, and Rosita backs her up, but Daryl won't stop raging and cursing until he notices Tobin holding Judith and trying to keep her calm. With that, Daryl finally remembers to do the thing he told Rick he was going to do. Look who's come over all obedient now that Rick's down to just one kid.
Gabriel helps Carson and his half-severed leg into the seat of the Jeep they found in their dead host's garage, with a half-joking offer to do the driving. Carson declines with some amusement, but he won't be laughing if this Jeep turns out to have a clutch on it. Once they're both settled in, Carson thanks Gabriel for saving him, which is a remarkably charitable way for Carson to interpret his current situation, and gets ready to go. Too bad that squad of Saviors from the episode's opening is suddenly behind them, weapons trained and blocking them from backing out of the garage. "Hands up, assholes," orders the leader. I think the most maddening thing about the Saviors is their insistent refusal to understand who the asshole is in any given situation.
Moments later, Carson is tossed into the bed of the Saviors' pickup truck, where Gabriel is already sitting Buddha-like with his wrists bound together. Carson mutters to him that the Saviors must have heard the zombie-shooting from earlier. "He's still leading the way," Gabriel says, infuriatingly. "Believe it and you'll see it." After a moment's thought, Carson says he thinks he does see it. Obviously Carson isn't in the habit of casting his eyes heavenward, metaphorically or not, because otherwise he wouldn't be freshly maimed. And that wasn't even the last time he ignored or misread a sign from above. This is: he grabs at the nearest Savior's gun. And then he's shot down in front of Gabriel's bum eyes almost instantly. The Saviors yell at each other about getting the doctor killed and move out. Gabriel, being hauled off in the truck bed with the dead body, finally looks defeated once and for all. Aw, don't cry, Gabriel. Maybe Dr. Carson can't help Maggie now, but thanks to you he was able to enjoy his life on earth for several additional minutes. Plus, God obviously thinks you're adorable.
The gates of the Hilltop open in silent, dramatic slo-mo to admit Daryl -- now carrying Judith so that he'll get all the credit for bringing her here, I suppose -- followed by Rosita, Tara, and all the rest. Carol runs up smiling to greet them, followed by Maggie. The smiles don't last long, as Daryl tells them something we don't hear. But it looks like he just says "Carl" and shakes his head. As if that's an unusual thing for anybody to do, but people get the message anyhow. Enid, having somehow gotten back here all the way from Oceanside already, collapses in sobs. This means her only viable dating partner is now Henry, but I'm not sure that isn't a step up. We get another close-up look at Siddiq's survivor's guilt. Maggie crouches down in the lane to comfort Enid, but the rest of the group walks on past because it's not like Enid was ever not a mopey sourpuss anyway. Nothing new to see here.
Back at the fallen log-bench where we saw them at the beginning of the episode, Morgan, Carol, and Henry are sitting together again. Carol explains to Henry that Carl died helping a stranger. "In the middle of all this," she marvels, leaving unspoken the obvious addendum "What an idiot." Morgan gets up and decides to give Henry a belated and dishonest answer about who killed his brother: "It was Gavin. And you got him, so." Well, there you go, then. Hard to see more than a dozen or so ways how that lie could turn out wrong. Meanwhile, I have a question: has anyone made a decision about who is actually responsible for Henry now, or is he basically just a community urchin?
Siddiq approaches Maggie to thank her for her hospitality and ask the location of the infirmary. But not because he's hurt, as Maggie initially assumes. "I have some medical experience," he explains. Maggie appreciatively points him toward the trailers and watches him go, with the hint of a smile. Well, look who just decided she's back on the market. Someone shows up who's been through hell, and he still just wants to do the right thing and help as many people as he can. That girl has a type, doesn't she? Of course, as the show's one remaining doctor, Siddiq is going to be all up in Maggie's business sooner or later anyway, so she might as well enjoy it. I also like this development because it means Gabriel's entire mission is not only failed but also redundant, and I'm always up for piling another layer of humiliation on top of that guy.
That evening, Eugene is already at work manufacturing bullets in the machine shop. Negan's wife Frankie comes up to him, all friendly if not outright flirty. I'm not sure why she's being so nice to a guy who drank the wine she gave him to fix her radio that he instead cannibalized for a kamikaze mission. Eugene, never one to pass up an opportunity to take advantage of the even the briefest of windows where a power dynamic is in his favor, snaps at her about her lack of proper safety gear, demands eggs for himself and his crew to be made by Negan's other wife Tanya, and basically shuts Frankie down in every way possible. "And my brow," he adds, "will soon be in need of wiping."
Frankie is just opening her mouth to lay into Eugene when suddenly they've got visitors. Plural. Negan sweeps into the place, leading a pair of Saviors who have Gabriel in custody. Eugene's brow situation quickly becomes more urgent as Negan expansively announces, "And he told me a very interestin' story about how he made his way out of our lovely home." Uh-oh, is Eugene about to get busted? Well, Negan's mood is vastly improved from before, and Gabriel doesn't really have a reason to roll over on Eugene, so probably not. Indeed, Gabriel obligingly mumbles to the room, "It was Carson." Well, I don't know if that story was interesting, but at least it was...short. Negan congratulates himself on having called it. "I am agog," Eugene deadpans. "But why bring him here?" Um, because Negan still hasn't learned to keep his least trustworthy people away from each other? Actually, the reason Negan gives is that even with Gabriel's eyeballs offline, he figures Gabriel's hands can still be put to use sorting bullet casings. Eugene warns Negan that his bullets are still higher in quality than quantity and that it'll be a few more days before he'll have the numbers Negan is looking for. Negan's mood goes south in a hurry, and he brandishes Lucille as he growls at Eugene, "That simply doesn't work for me." Eugene shakily suggests an interim measure of using catapults to launch zombie bits over their enemies' walls, employing a form of psychological warfare I like to call shock and eww. That idea seems to satisfy Negan for now. "I do believe a rose just sprang out of that big pile of shit," he grins, and exits. "Big day tomorrow," he says. Oh, Negan, you're big every day. Seems to me like he's overdue to be small for little while. Just one day when he limits his speeches to five-minute chunks, modulates his voice at a steady volume, refrains from grinning sideways at everyone, and keeps his knees straight. It's called self-care. Give it a try.
Eugene walks over to the work table where Gabriel's been installed, without bothering to look at him. Gabriel sadly says he thought he found what he was supposed to do. "You have," Eugene says, sliding the tub of casings in Gabriel's direction. "So have I. Get sortin'." Wow, that's colder than Eugene's eggs are going to be when they get here.
Out back of the Hilltop the next morning, Maggie and Jerry (seemingly released by the Saviors and fully recovered from his car crash two nights previous) and Dianne and Scott approach the pen. Maggie points at Alden and Gregory, the two men in there currently wielding the cojones to stand and face her, and announces that the prisoners are going to be taken out in pairs. They'll get to start by cleaning out the stables, which doesn't sound too bad because I can't remember the Hilltop owning a horse; it'll probably just involve a lot of dusting and sweeping. In addition, all the hostages will get quarter rations like everyone else. Of course, since Gregory can never leave well enough alone, he suggests evacuating the entire Hilltop before the Saviors arrive. "How can we win?" he asks. "Look around, Gregory," Maggie says, still fresh from the morale boost of meeting Siddiq. "How can we lose?" With that, there's a call from the lookout to open the gate; Rick has returned. Well, Maggie...there's your answer.
Looks like Dwight accompanied those Saviors all the way back to the Sanctuary, presumably to enact a cunning plan in which he'll do some more spying until Laura inevitably finds her way home and exposes his betrayal. For now, however, he's front and center as Negan gives his Saviors the zombie apocalypse version of a PowerPoint presentation, using a very powerful pointer indeed. Negan has a few walkers chained to the fence behind him, and because he's the boss, he can make them stand there while he tells them a bunch of stuff they already know.
Specifically: "You get a bite, some kind of wound from one of these things, something in them gets in you and you die. You join the club." Speaking of clubs, he and Lucille deliver a few backhanded swings at one of the captive zombies, opening some wounds on it. He strokes its face with the spiky, gore-soaked bat, getting it even grosser and pulling it away with chunks of undead flesh tangled in the barbed wire. It's basically horror-movie Velcro. So, needless to say, Negan is not taking a small day after all. "Look at that," he says, pointing it right at the camera so we can see the dyed corn syrup dripping off of it. "With this it can just be a touch. Or a big, wet kiss. Either way, this gets you full membership, and that's what we want. We want people to join the club." This probably wasn't quite what Eugene had in mind when he suggested turning zombies into ammunition, but it makes sense that Negan took the idea to its logical conclusion. Dwight watches in horror, wondering if this means Negan has finally gone full Kurtz. Negan holds his serving of undeath-on-a stick right up close to his own grinning face, seemingly unconcerned that he's one bad step from a Darwin Award, and cheerfully concludes, "Hilltop is gonna learn to toe the line one way another. Dead, or alive...or some kinda shit in between."