I’m a big fan of episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ that expand the show’s universe as we know it. We all remember how things got much more interesting when the Governor and his people first came into the picture, or the first time our heroes stepped foot in Alexandria. This week, things expand further as Rick and the gang get introduced to a whole new group of people… also known as “Characters We Can Feed to Walkers Later On.”
As this week’s entry gets underway, Abe and Sasha return to Alexandria after a scheduled patrol. Abe seems to still be attracted to Sasha and is disappointed when she tells him that her daily shift duties are changing and Abe will now have to go on patrol with Eugene. (That won’t go well, will it?). Abe continues to think about Sasha when lying in bed with Rosita later on. Why Abe wants Sasha over the super-hot Rosita is anyone’s guess. (Maybe it’s the old Bill Maher adage, “You show me a hot girl and I’ll show you a guy who’s tired of f***ing her.”). Much of this episode has to do with Abe finally figuring out whom he wants to be with.
Jesus is waiting for Rick and Michonne to get dressed when Carl, Abe, Daryl and Glenn all show up, pull their guns on him, and ask what he’s doing there. When Rick and Michonne come out of their room to calm the situation, Jesus tells them that it’s his job to find other communities to trade with, and he’s noted that Alexandria’s food provisions are low. He offers to take them back to his own community so they can barter a deal.
Loading up in an RV, Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Maggie, Glenn and Abraham join Jesus on a road trip. On the way, they come across a crashed vehicle, which Jesus says belongs to his people. Tracks lead away from the crashed car into a nearby building. Suspecting a trick, Rick has Maggie guard Jesus while the rest of them go inside. In the building, they kill off a few Walkers and rescue four people who then join them on the trip. Back in the RV, we learn that one of the four is a doctor named Harlan Carson, who tells Glenn and Maggie he was an obstetrician before the Walker apocalypse.
The group finally arrives at “The Hilltop” where Jesus’ people live. Like Alexandria, the community is surrounded by a big wall. Once inside, Rick and the others find a big house in the middle surrounded by FEMA trailers and a whole lot of food production (gardens, hen houses, livestock, etc.). Jesus tells the group that the building is called Barrington House and used to be a history museum. Going inside, everyone is greeted by Gregory (Xander Berkeley), who asks them to take time to clean up before they talk. Suspecting that he’d be likely to clobber the guy after a few minutes of conversation, Rick asks Maggie to do the talking for the group.
Gregory doesn’t seem too keen on making a deal with Maggie and the others (although he does seem creepily interested in Maggie). However, he offers them supplies in exchange for some of their group staying behind (including Maggie herself) to work off the debt within the community. Maggie doesn’t like this deal and goes to talk to the others. Rick insists that they’re going to get some supplies one way or the other. Jesus says he’ll have a talk with Gregory and asks for a few days to work things out.
A small group of community members led by a man named Ethan return to the Hilltop. When Gregory comes outside and asks them what happened to the rest of their group, Ethan tells him that Negan killed them and is still holding his brother Craig as a hostage. Ethan then suddenly stabs Gregory, yelling that Negan demanded he do so. Rick and the others spring into action. Rick goes after Ethan, who tries to choke him, but Rick stabs him in the neck and kills the man. This stuns the rest of the community who just stare at Rick in bewilderment, which causes him to look at them and ask (quite humorously), “What?”
Jesus manages to calm everyone down. The good news is that Gregory isn’t seriously injured and Dr. Carson is able to patch him up. Meeting with him a second time, Maggie tells Gregory that Rick and her group will kill Negan and the
“Survivors”?“Saviors” (Negan’s followers) in exchange for half of the Hilltop’s supplies. After a bit of back and forth, Gregory agrees… but Maggie says she has one more demand for him.
As it turns out, the demand Maggie made was to get an ultrasound of her and Glenn’s baby from Dr. Carson. The episode wraps up with the group heading back toward Alexandria in the RV and Maggie passing around a photo from her ultrasound to everyone – including Abe, who seems to have come to a decision about whether he wants to be with Rosita or Sasha.
Although most of this episode was just setup to lead viewers into the final round of episodes in Season 6, I really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to seeing how Rick and the others deal with Negan (whom we haven’t met yet but is going to be played by a notable actor whose name I won’t spoil). I also enjoyed the fact that Maggie, who has been sidelined story-wise for most of Season 6, was finally given something to do other than pining over the fate of Glenn.