Time to bring the fight right to the Saviors’ doorstep as Rick and company decide to go on the offensive in a surprise attack on the still unseen Negan. Another strong entry for the season with equal parts action and character moments, this is “Not Tomorrow Yet.”
The episode begins with Carol collecting items from the collection and still having time to kill walkers in-between gardening. And she ruins her good white shirt in the process. Anyway, Carol gets back to cooking and delivers treats to the residents, keeping up that nice lady routine.
She soon visits Tobin and tells him that he deserves some beet and acorn cookies. After tasting one, at Carol’s insistence, Tobin concludes that it may be the best beet and acorn cookie that he’s ever eaten, and he’s not fucking with Carol on that one.
When the others return, Rick tells Aaron and Sasha that Olivia needs to run an inventory check and he wants everyone to assemble in the church for a meeting in an hour. A fight is coming.
Morgan approaches Carol, saying it’s been a few weeks since their confrontation. He asks why she didn’t tell Rick about what happened, but Carol instructed Rosita, Tara, and Eugene to keep quiet. She wants to move past it. Morgan counters that Carol doesn’t need to carry around the guilt of not telling people. Also, there’s a cookie at Sam Anderson’s grave.
At the group meeting, Rick explains Maggie’s deal with the Hilltop and how Alexandria will receive supplies in exchange for Rick’s folks helping deal with the Saviors. And they have to win not just for themselves, but for the people of the Hilltop. However, this needs to be a group decision.
Rick opens the floor for objections and Morgan asks whether they can beat the Saviors. Rick is confident that they can, based on what they have learned as a group. Morgan says offer the Saviors a choice to talk, but Rick says that the Saviors won’t compromise. More than that, he doesn’t want to give up an advantage, despite Morgan saying that there’s possibility with life.
While Morgan believes that no one is trapped, Rick knows that their enemies will always come back, so they should be stopped before they have a chance to kill. Aaron is the next to speak up, saying that what happened in the community will not happen again. So it’s settled. No one shies from this decision. Not everyone has to kill, but for those who don’t, they have to accept it.
That evening, Carol makes a note in her journal and totals the number killed to 18.
Maggie, meanwhile, tells Glenn that someone needs to keep watch on the perimeter. She could do that, as it’d be safer, but she’ll be joining Rick and the others on this mission, as she made the deal with Gregory. This part wasn’t her idea, but she acknowledges leading everyone into this. She has to come. That’s a bit of a stretch, Maggie, but sure.
Carol, lighting up a cigarette, chats with Tobin who is worried about tomorrow. He’s not going, but knows that Carol is and how she’s able to do things that terrify him. In his mind, her strength gives her the ability to do the scary stuff few would want. That’s what a good mother does. The two soon kiss.
Abraham breaks up with Rosita because he’s an idiot. And even though dingleberries are brown, Rosita won’t let Abraham leave until he gives an answer. His response? He thought at first that Rosita was the last woman on Earth when he first met her, but she’s not.
Following this, we get a scene with Denise and Tara- who is obscured by a big-ass plate because the writers and directors aren’t subtle about hiding Alanna Masterson’s pregnancy. Whatever. Anyway, Tara admits that she loves Denise and just wanted to say it. Denise will say it once Tara returns. Tara offers Denise a chance to come with, but as Denise is the only doctor, she has to stay.
As best as he can, Andy describes the layout of the Saviors’ compound, but he’s unsure whether the facility has an armory. It’s nothing but guesses, but the group has worked well with less, so the plan is a go for tonight. That will be an issues since guards won’t be asleep, but if the Saviors want Gregory’s head, Rick will give it to them.
Next day, the group hits the road, Jack, and begins scouring the land. Even Gabriel is out to help and promises Rick that he won’t go anywhere. Rick asks why Gabriel is still wearing a collar, and his answer is that it’s part of who he is. Plus, it would be harder to be spotted in the dark. Clock it: Father Gabriel just told a joke.
But not everyone is in a jovial mood. Rosita, still bitter, lets Carol know how pissed she is with Morgan trying to talk everyone out of this attack, as he might not know what the hell he’s talking about. She’s damn insulted since he still saved that Wolf, but Carol defends Morgan, saying that he just doesn’t want to kill. True as that is, Rosita says that killing just happens. No shit.
In the woods, Glenn and Heath take care of walkers. Easy as that is, both acknowledge that they’ve never had to kill people yet. Glenn asks Heath if he’s ever seen something where, afterwards, he didn’t want to sleep because he could see it when he closed his eyes. Both have seen such horrors and killing someone could be worse than that. So yes, Glenn is nervous. They get to work hacking away the walker.
Rick assembles the group and tells them go get a look of how many people are at the compound. They’ll go in a couple of hours before dawn, when the guards will presumably be tired. Jesus will be kept in the shadows to avoid detection. Everyone will roll out at midnight.
However, Carol asks Rick why Maggie is on this mission. He tells her that Maggie is guarding the perimeter of her own volition. Though as many people as possible will be needed to converge on the armory, Carol elects to stay since Maggie a. shouldn’t be out here, and b. shouldn’t out here alone. made a choice to stay out here, but Carol doesn’t want her out there alone in the first place.
So the group has potential substitutes for Gregory’s head. The nose, as Jesus points out, has a different shape, so Rick punches it a few times. Cover story is that Gregory broke Andy’s hand. Though Andy is still afraid of the Saviors, he sees that they have nothing on Rick Grimes.
That night, Andy arrives in a car and announces that the dark deed is done. He steps out and reveals Gregory’s head to two Saviors who inspect it. One of the Saviors agrees to then bring out the Hilltop resident. Once he heads in, though, Daryl soon approaches and kills the other Savior as the rest of the group rushes inside.
When the other Savior returns, Michonne kills him and the others enter the compound. What starts now is a very dark ambush with Rick and the others murdering the Saviors in their sleep. Glenn soon murders one of the others, though he doesn’t feel good about it. He forces himself to kill the one man that Heath hesitated to murder. They also notice several photos of bashed-in heads.
Outside, Tara asks Gabriel if he’s still a priest. He is, despite being taught about guns and other weapons. Tara admits that she lied to Denise, who caught Tara thinking about something, so she said that she loved her. What Tara didn’t reveal is that she’s done something like this current mission and didn’t like it. That said, Tara still loves Denise, so she knows why she’s fighting.
Back inside, Sasha and Abraham find a locked door. A man walks out and engages the two in battle long enough to pull the alarm. Carol and Maggie hear said alarm. Though both can help, Carol insists that Maggie stay, saying that she’s supposed to be someone else. At the compound, Tara wants the Hilltop folks back so the deal is still intact. Andy and the other resident leave as Jesus heads in, confident that he won’t be spotted.
Inside, the group tear through as many henchmen as possible. The shooting dies down after Glenn and Heath open fire from behind a locked door. They open the door and find a pile of bodies. One henchmen almost opens fire, but Jesus finishes him off.
Outside, Father Gabriel finds one henchman sprawled out on the ground. The henchman says that Gabriel is just as dead as him. Gabriel quotes John 14:1 before putting the man down. Amen.
Back in Alexandria, meanwhile, Morgan is hard at work. At the compound, some of the group remains. Heath especially is ready to leave.
Michonne just wonders which one of these men was Negan, if he was even there. Suddenly, everyone spots a Savior rushing out of the compound on a motorcycle. Rosita manages to shoot him off of the vehicle and Daryl begins to beat the hell out of the man, demanding to know where he got the motorcycle.
Though the man invites death, there will be no murder today, as someone announces via walkie-talkie that everyone should lower their weapons. Why? Because the voices on the radio want to talk and are in possession of Carol and Maggie. Well, shit.
Another well-paced episode, but “Not Tomorrow Yet” was quite dark in its second half. As Rick pointed out, the group has learned a lot, so rather than sit on their thumbs and wait, they’re bringing the attack to the enemy first.
But before getting there, let’s talk about Carol. Melissa McBride is still excellent at portraying this cold hearted killer who hides hear darkness behind a façade of being a loving mother with a killer shot. She’s still playing both roles, but her talks with Maggie, Tobin, and Morgan made me think.
Carol has gone to some dark places and it’s affected her psyche. She hasn’t allowed it to break her spirit, but like the Wolves’ attack on Alexandria and after killing Lizzie, she gives herself time to grieve. Things like leaving a cookie at Sam’s grave and having fun talk with Tobin illustrate how protective she is of the people around her, but let her drop her defenses for a moment and be herself.
I found her list interesting, as it looks to be Carol’s way of keeping track of the people she’s killed. Unlike Glenn, Carol acknowledges that you have to cross that line to protect the people close to you, even when that means killing humans. But like Daryl said before, they ain’t ashes. And all that fire burning within can’t consume them.
What also struck me as noteworthy was Carol telling Maggie that she should be someone else. She expresses concern multiple times over Maggie being on this mission instead of staying back at the Safe Zone.
Though Maggie can make her own decisions, even if this isn’t a particularly smart one, Carol doesn’t want Maggie to act like she’s a killer or be in the field when she’s not needed. Now that Maggie is prepared to give birth, I get the feeling that Carol wants Maggie to focus on that instead of fighting.
But to my recollection, Maggie has never taken that sort of approach with Rick when it comes to Judith. Different circumstances, yes: Maggie hasn’t given birth yet and Rick always makes sure to have someone take care of Judith. Perhaps she’s feeling regret for not keeping a better watch of people in the group? It’s an odd place for Carol to be in right now, but we can tell that she’s conflicted.
In fact, the whole episode centered on conflicting approaches to this assault. Morgan still believes that, despite the horrible things that come from leaving bad people alive, all life is precious. Until forced to, he refuses to take a life, and even then, he still also feels remorse for what he’s done.
However, the main group has become hardened by what they’ve seen and don’t want to take any chances. It’s a far cry from Dale’s warning back in Season Two about what the group would become if they murdered someone based on what they might do.
Here, Rick chooses to go on the offensive and while he has no problem killing someone while they sleep, it’s still a gruesome sight to watch him and others murder people in their sleep. Safe to say that the Saviors are not good people, so their deaths aren’t exactly unwarranted from Rick’s point of view.
That said, I like that we got to see how these actions affected the likes of Heath and Glenn, both of whom have never had to kill the living before. It’s necessary to prevent further killings, but that doesn’t mean someone like Glenn or Heath have to like what they’re doing. And there’s clear disgust on both of their faces to indicate this is a turning point for them. At least Glenn went the extra route and prevented Heath from having to get his hands dirty.
But they still both opened fire on the Saviors while locked in that one room, so their hands aren’t completely clean.
The shootout itself was very tense and made me wonder what, if anything, would go wrong. By episode’s end, Rick and pals managed to walk out of that facility unscathed. Their point was to send a message and they did just that, but they’ve gotta know that they’re inviting trouble.
Negan is a threat, but Rick only knows about him based on what Jesus has said. He still doesn’t have firsthand experience of what he can do, which, in my mind, makes his inevitable retaliation a big deal, even though we don’t know what will happen.
Confrontation is nothing new to these people, yes, but to murder people in their sleep to neutralize a threat is as stupid as it is smart because it gives Negan even more of an incentive to kill off someone from the group.
More immediate is the capture of Carol and Maggie. I’m curious how it happened, but at the same time I welcome it because it proved that Rick’s plans aren’t foolproof. Plus, they can’t just walk away now because two key members are held captive.
Abraham has horrible timing. I’ll say again, I don’t get why you would turn down a pretty young thing like Rosita, but at least he’s putting out there that he can’t see a future with himself and Rosita.
While I’m not a major fan of Tara’s character, one thing I did like was her subtle reaction to Rick talking about killing the Saviors. Tara worked with the Governor. She knows what it’s like when a madman declares war on a group of people and wants to murder them in cold blood. Now, Rick isn’t the Governor, but I like how Rick’s words conjured up this memory in Tara, showing that while she’s moved past that, she still can’t ignore her past mistake.
“Not Tomorrow Yet” was a fast, intense episode that put Rick’s group on the offensive as they brought the unexpected fight to the Saviors. They dropped a lot of bodies, which is sure to displease Negan, but sent a message that they are willing to fight and defend their communities. It had some equally good character moments and with this surprise attack, the show continues to ramp up my excitement for Negan’s debut. Now to save Carol and Maggie, first.