The King, The Widow, and Rick. I suppose we couldn’t just call Rick The Leader or The Sheriff, could we?
The episode begins with Rick on the road as he grabs a note from a microwave while others return to the Alexandria Safe Zone and Aaron arrives at the Hilltop with Gracie. At the Kingdom, residents honor their dead when two residents hand a paper to Carol. Turns out these papers are letters being shared across the Kingdom, the Hilltop, and Alexandria- we hear Rick narrate that the plan is working. Sure it is, Rick.
The others learn of the Kingdom’s downfall in battle. Rick explains that this is scary, and Sasha was the first sacrifice- there will be more, but they need to make this right. Rick is headed on foot to start the next step. And every hour, the Sanctuary grows weaker with walkers keeping anything else from getting in. They’ll meet in two days to win this all.
And then Rick arrives at the Junkyard Gang’s base.
At the Hilltop, the Saviors are indeed kept as prisoners, and Jesus even gives them food during their stay, much to the chagrin of Maggie and Gregory. The cellar had some extra turnips, so Jesus figured it was fine. Gregory, though, would rather have gallows built to hang the Saviors.
Naturally, Maggie is considering all options, so Jesus wonders why they’re fighting, as he’s thinking differently now. He’s fine with ending the Saviors and Negan, but also wants to be sure that what’s left is worth what they lost.
Over at the Kingdom, Carol tries to pay Ezekiel a visit, as they’re expected to meet Rick and the others. Apparently Ezekiel told Jerry that he can leave his post, but it’s what he does. Henry offers to go with Carol, but she doesn’t want any kids following her. Given Carol’s past experiences with kids, I don’t blame her.
Rick comes face-to-face with Jadis to explain that the deal is still on the table, even though Jadis grazed- not shot- him. Rick still wants to work with the Junkyard crew, and he feels that he could take over this place with the numbers. Even still, he came alone. He then shows the photos he took of the attacks on the Saviors and offers a better deal than Negan’s.
Forget Negan, switch sides again, and be a part of the next world that Alexandria, the Kingdom, and Hilltop will build together…or Rick will destroy them. And Rick isn’t giving Jadis time to think this over, but she still says no.
Back at the Hilltop, Gregory and Maggie talk spar over Gregory selling out the Hilltop to Negan. Gregory defends himself, saying he made a strategic choice, though Maggie says he just did it to save his own ass. Though Gregory still offers he can help and be the person telling her that it’s fine to follow her gut. But now, she’s the leader and can’t have wolves wandering around among the sheep.
At Alexandria, Rosita tries and fails to stop Michonne from leaving, so she joins her instead, never mind that both of them are still healing. Though Rosita is in worse shape since she was shot. Yeah, this makes sense.
Meanwhile, Tara meets up with Daryl and tells him that he was right when he didn’t kill Dwight, as they wouldn’t have gotten this far without him. But after this, Tara still wants to be the one to kill him. It could be the both of them, though.
That evening at the Hilltop, one of the Saviors asks Jesus if he even signed up for this duty, but Jesus is too focused on keeping watch. The Savior mentions that he used to be alone for awhile until he found some tough guys. One after another, each took over.
He mentions that he’s good with hands, so he was sent to put up the fence at the satellite outpost. Jesus, though, cuts the Savior’s story short. None of them are innocent.
On the road, Rosita asks Michonne why she needed to come out here, and it’s because she wasn’t with the others at the Sanctuary. It’s like sirens have been going off in her head and she can’t turn it off. She helped start this and she just needs to see something that will silence those alarms.
The two stop when they hear a sound that Rosita feels couldn’t reach the Sanctuary, but it doesn’t hurt to look, so the two enter the woods. They soon happen upon a building.
Elsewhere in the woods, Carl watches from a distance as an impaled walker reaches for an empty bag. He finds the distressed man from before and explains that his father just fired warning shots before- he didn’t intend to shoot at the man. The man introduces himself as Siddiq, played by Avi Nash, and asks why Carl is offering him food and water. Carl thought about what Lori once said about doing what’s right.
Siddiq drinks up the water and thanks Carl for his help. Turns out Carl was looking for Siddiq. He explains that he and his father are from a community and then asks Siddiq the traditional questions: he’s killed 237 walkers. As for how many people Siddiq has killed- just one. The dead tried to kill him, but they didn’t.
As for Siddiq’s traps, they’re just part of keeping him alive. His mother thought that killing walkers would free their souls. Carl wonders if that makes things harder for Siddiq, but Siddiq doesn’t know why. He has to at least honor his parents. If Carl wanted to honor Rick, the two wouldn’t be talking. And he wouldn’t be offering to bring Siddiq back with him.
Henry fights off two walkers that are eventually shot by Carol, who again warns him to keep away from her. He’s not scared and wants to be a fighter. He wants to go with Carol to the Sanctuary to get revenge against the men who killed his brother. She hands him a gun, and luckily, he’s seen enough people using guns to get how it works.
At the Hilltop, Enid tells Jesus that Maggie wants the Saviors inside. They’re brought in as Jesus finds that a cage has been constructed. The Saviors will be fed, as Maggie instructs. Gregory doesn’t want people that no one trusts kept inside the walls, and Maggie couldn’t stop thinking about what Gregory said. Growing up on a farm, she knows about sheeps and wolves. As such, Gregory is put in the cage with the Saviors.
Jared, warning Maggie that she’s going to get some people killed, tries to escape, but he’s knocked out by Maggie. The Savior who spoke with Jesus thanks Maggie for what she just did, but she warns him to not make her regret it.
Carl and Siddiq approach and kill some walkers that are in the middle of feeding on an animal. One falls on top of Carl when the impaled one approaches. Carl manages to shoot the walkers off of him. Siddq doesn’t want any trouble and remembers that Rick wants nothing to do with him, but Carl believes that sometimes kids have to find their own path to show their parents the right way.
Michonne and Rosita enter a facility and overhear two Saviors talking about the trouble Rick has been giving them lately. At the sight of a tennis ball rolling their way, the Saviors open fire when they spot Rosita. One of the Saviors engages Michonne in a fight while the other prepares to head for the Sanctuary. Before he can leave, though, Rosita corners him with a rocket launcher.
Rosita manages to blow up the Savior, but the other escapes in the van and makes enough noise with the speakers before, guess who, Daryl and Tara collide into them out of nowhere. Well, that was convenient. Michonne and Rosita tell Dwight and Tara that they need to see the Sanctuary, but Daryl informs them that they all have important work to do.
We return to the Kingdom, Carol tells Jerry to stand next to Henry and cover her ears, but before she can open fire, Jerry tells her that the doors aren’t locked.
She heads inside and finds a solemn Ezekiel, who again tells Carol that he merely played a part. And yet he smiled, but he can’t be what the people need anymore. So he asks for Carol to leave him alone. Carol asks why Ezekiel kept visiting her, and he says that it was his duty to make sure she was okay. Not good enough of a reason. Turns out that Carol makes Ezekiel feel real. Carol tells him that, to her, he is indeed real.
Carol tells him that he managed to make the Kingdom residents believe, so he must be there to help them grieve and move on, as he owes them that much. The people need King Ezekiel, and if he can’t be the king, then do what he does best and play the part. It bothered Carol, sure, but she’s still standing and acting like everything is normal, which is why Ezekiel must give the people. And yet, Ezekiel cannot.
In the Hilltop prison, a Savior tries to stop Jared from escaping, saying he already screwed up once. But Jared tells the Savior to bide his time, as this place will be theirs once.
Aaron, meanwhile, tells Enid and Maggie about losing Eric and how he’d love to talk to him again. Jesus enters and tells Maggie, cradling Gracie, that she did the right thing, and that Gregory is trying to suck up to the Saviors. She says the Saviors could be traded for some of their own people. If they can’t do that, then Maggie can’t promise that the Saviors will live.
As Aaron prepares to leave, he tells an approaching Enid that he’s leaving to make sure they win. He wants to go with her to make sure that happens. So Aaron instructs her to grab her stuff.
On the road, Michonne and Rosita spot the Sanctuary from afar. Daryl then starts up the truck because he’s ready to end this thing right now.
Back with the Junkyard Gang, Jadis draws an A on a shipping container that is housing a very naked Rick. Well, maybe Jadis will try to lay with him after all.
After that little trip to the Sanctuary, we’re back with the communities in the ongoing war in an episode that feels like an opportunity to bring everyone up to speed. Not us, but the communities themselves since, unless they run into one another, they don’t know how one group is doing. But there’s a big distance between the Alexandria Safe Zone and the Kingdom, for example.
So I like the idea of delivering letters and picking them up at certain spots in the road. After all, they’ve managed to get the jump on multiple Savior outposts, so it’s safe for them to keep letters in strategic spots on the road without fear of being ambushed.
But despite the Kingdom’s setback or Gabriel’s capture, the war goes on and this episode slowly help set the next phase into motion, while also giving other characters a bit to do, such as Rosita and Michonne.
Rick’s plan of going to the Junkyard Gang is both good and bad in my opinion. At this point, he should realize that he can’t trust these people. And Jadis refused to cooperate, so there’s no reason for him to go and try to negotiate just because he’s got photographic evidence that he can defeat the Saviors.
I appreciate that he went alone, though. Rick has what it takes to handle himself and having someone with him, no matter who it could’ve been, would just be an extra target for the Junkyard Gang. If they got killed, that would be on Rick’s hands. And they would’ve been outnumbered, so even if one got captured, they wouldn’t be in any position to fight against Jadis.
At the same time, Jadis recognizes Rick’s value, which is why he’s not dead. Negan wants Rick. You can barter for him in a way that you couldn’t for someone like Aaron or Morgan, for example. So maybe Jadis will come around and change her mind on working with Rick or perhaps she has something else in mind. After all, she took his clothes and is wearing his boots. Maybe she will try to lay with him.
I suppose I could call Rick the eternal optimist by still believing that some good will come out of cooperating with the Junkyard crew, but I don’t know why because as of now, they haven’t done anything to prove, in the end, that they’ll ally with Rick. At least Oceanside, even if begrudgingly, did eventually let Rick and the others use their guns. But hey, Rick may have a long term plan here, so he has to follow that path.
Like his son. It’s nice that Carl is staking out his own path when he decides to befriend and bring in Siddiq because, as Carl has said to Rick before, not everyone is bad. And just like Aaron and Gabriel proved, strangers can become trustworthy allies when given the chance. Carl is more open to giving Siddiq the chance that Rick wouldn’t, so here’s hoping that Carl has made the right choice.
Speaking of Siddiq, Avi Nash makes a good first impression. He feels well traveled and experienced about the world around him, but still scared and uncertain on who he can trust. But given the number of walkers he’s killed, it’s baffling that he had as much trouble as he did when he and Carl encountered a few.
Then you’ve got the foursome of Daryl, Tara, Rosita, and Michonne. I get that Michonne and Rosita needed something to do, but I wish it had been handled better, more so with them clumsily approaching those two Saviors. From Rosita losing her gun to finding the rocket launcher to Daryl and Tara just happening to be at the facility to smash into that one Savior, it felt too convenient.
More than that, this mission that the four of them are going on, I feel, just spells disaster. Each time a group like this goes out on their own, something bad happens. Sasha went in, left Rosita, and became the sacrificial lamb. When Daryl and Rosita tried to save Glenn and Michonne, they ended up getting captured. Maybe they’ve learned since then, but I see part of this mission ending in disaster.
Like it did for Ezekiel. Great as Khary Payton is when Ezekiel is posturing and giving speeches, he’s just as great here as a sadder, quieter man that has lost many of his followers, Shiva, and his will to keep going. Nice of Carol to try and snap him out of his funk, given that he made everyone believe in something, because now Ezekiel needs to be there for the people while they’re hurting.
And Ezekiel doesn’t have much time to process this because the war is still going on, so the best thing he can do is play the part.
As for Carol and Henry…she’s right to tell him off and try to keep him out of the war. She’s not going to have someone die on her watch and given how young Henry is, it doesn’t seem like he’s trained for battle. Right now, he seems more focused on avenging Benjamin. Given Carol’s experience with kids, hopefully Henry isn’t interested in looking at flowers.
Over at the Hilltop, Maggie’s continuing to grow into her own as a leader at the Hilltop with locking up and completely pushing Gregory aside, knowing that he’ll try to screw her over at any point. More than that, she’s willing to work with Jesus as far as imprisoning the Saviors, even though she is probably on board with killing them.
But as Jesus says, you have to be sure that, when the war is over, what you have left is worth what you lost. Some of the Saviors could turn out to be allies and necessary for the survivors once the war is over. Like Dwight, there’s no need to kill someone that may be worthwhile to your cause. It’s understandable that Maggie and the others are cautious, but Jesus has a good point about keeping the Saviors alive.
“The King, The Widow, and Rick” wasn’t as fast paced as previous episodes, but it didn’t need to be, as it provided the characters an opportunity to catch up on their respective situations as well as plotting the course for the next phase of the war. But with Ezekiel still recovering, the Saviors at the Hilltop, and Rick’s imprisonment, kicking this phase into motion isn’t going to be a smooth run.