Rick Grimes’ impending departure from The Walking Dead has been widely publicized. With his exit, so too will apparently end his dream of a post-apocalyptic utopia.
This week, Rick wakes up to a quiet morning in Alexandria. He seems happy. Tomatoes are growing in the garden. Michonne is working on a new charter for their united communities. Judith has a slight cough but Rick isn’t worried about it. After taking her for a quick check-up with Siddiq, he and Michonne spend the morning playing with the little girl. Rick even suggests to Michonne that they should consider expanding their family.
Maggie’s morning isn’t going quite as well. While riding to the Sanctuary to deliver their promised food allotment, Maggie and a Glenn lookalike are stopped by a group of angry Saviors looking for their missing friend Justin. The situation is very tense. The group’s leader, a prick named Jed, steals one of Maggie’s tomatoes (symbolism!) before they go on their way. Moments later, Maggie and Glenn2 come across Justin. Unfortunately, he’s now a Walker.
Rick’s happy morning is interrupted by news of the Justin development. The Saviors on the bridge work crew are rioting. Some instinctively blame Daryl, others Jadis. Rick has to break up the commotion and disperse the crowd with promises of finding out who’s responsible. The Saviors want guns to protect themselves, but Rick isn’t ready to trust them that much yet.
The first thing Rick does is ask Gabriel, who lies and provides an alibi for Jadis, claiming that he was with her the whole night. Gabriel warns Jadis that Rick asked about her. She’s offended that everyone would immediately suspect her. Even Gabriel doubts her. She keeps the secret of the helicopter sighting to herself.
Rick next questions Daryl, using his old police interrogation techniques. Daryl is also offended. Rick says that Justin’s body had a small puncture wound that looked like it could be from an arrow or a crossbow bolt.
While doing a grid search around the construction site, Maggie and Cyndie from Oceanside spot a group of Walkers clustered around an old house, drawn to the sound of a metal sheet banging against the roof in the wind. Maggie draws the Walkers off so Cyndie can fix the roof. Of course, Cyndie is attacked by more Walkers from inside the house. She barely survives when Rick and Daryl come to her rescue.
Rick is concerned that the group from Grid 5, which was closer, didn’t get there first. Searching through the forest, they find the Oceansider named Beatrice unconscious on the ground. When they wake her up, she claims she was struck in the back of the head. Her search partner, Arat, is missing.
When Maggie and Daryl come across another Savior body killed by a small puncture wound, Daryl says he knows who did it.
Jadis returns to the dump and pulls out a hidden walkie-talkie stashed beneath some trash. She uses it to speak to a mysterious voice that asks, “What do you have, an A or a B?” She says she has neither and asks what it will take to be extracted. The voice tells her she needs to deliver an A. Gabriel, who followed her and spied on her, overhears everything. He confronts Jadis and demands the truth. She confesses that she and the Heapsters traded human captives for supplies. Jadis begs Gabriel to help her and run away with her. When he says he can’t do that, Jadis instantly turns cold, remarks that she’s surprised he’s not a “B” after all, and knocks him out.
Carol is ambushed by Saviors and held at knifepoint by Jed, who has a standoff with Rick. Jed demands guns and says that he and the rest of the Saviors are going to walk. Carol wrestles herself free and stabs Jed in the shoulder, but Rick refrains from killing him. He allows Jed to return to his friends. If they want to leave, they can leave.
Maggie and Daryl track Arat to an old rehab facility that was the original home of the Oceansiders. Beatrice (who faked her previous attack) holds a spear gun at her. Cyndie explains to Maggie that they’re taking revenge on the Saviors who killed all the men and boys from their community. Arat murdered Cyndie’s 11-year-old brother right in front of her. Asserting that “Rick’s rules aren’t the only rules,” Cyndie says that she’s following the example Maggie set when she executed Gregory. Thinking this over, Maggie decides that the Oceansiders deserve their own justice. She and Daryl walk away while Arat begs for her life, insisting that she’s changed. Cyndie shoots her dead.
The next morning, most of the Saviors walk away from the work crew. One crushes the tomato Rick picked earlier beneath his boot.
Maggie and Daryl trek toward Alexandria. Maggie says, “We gave Rick’s way a chance. It’s time to see Negan.”
I didn’t much care for last week’s episode, but this one played a lot better for me. The political intrigue between the various groups is compelling, and I appreciate that Maggie has legitimate reasons to go against Rick. I even liked Jadis’ turn back to the dark side. It seems that human nature isn’t so easily overridden.