No, the question is who are you?
The episode begins with us still jumping forward in time six years as Michonne speaks about life not getting any easier. The sun rises, days pass, and the world keeps spinning. Time keeps on moving and weeks go by as everyone tries to make sense of it all. Like Daryl, who goes hunting in the water and still manages to kill some walkers.
We catch up with everyone’s lives, with Carol back at the Kingdom. While everyone tries to look for a better future, the truth is, according to Michonne, the path ahead looks darker. It’s harder to see. On the road, Michonne finds an abandoned vehicle and finds a box filled with a four leaf clover and a few other items, including a toy of a sheriff not unlike Rick.
She pockets it and continues to dream every single day for everyone. She will never give up. Still, even with the darkness, there are flashes of light and beacons that shine out, calling to everyone. It’s just enough to keep going. As Daryl spots a walker tied to a tree he sees a bird nest up in some of the branches. As Michonne boards her horse and departs, we see the burned out remains of the blown up bridge from way back.
In the woods, Rosita, Eugene, Aaron, and Laura search for Judith, who is joined by some newcomers. Judith assures them that these people need their help, though Rosita tells her that they can’t do that. Magna realizes that there are more of them in their community, but this is interrupted when some walkers arrive. Eugene makes quick work of them no problem, though more are on the way.
At the Kingdom, Jerry’s small talk with Carol is interrupted when they hear a noise. Henry, now played by Matt Lintz, is dealing with a bursting pipe and he managed to fix it. They’re apparently just barely holding things together with the tools they have. Henry still feels they need someone with more experience, but that’s a conversation for another day. Oh, and Ezekiel warns Henry to watch his tone.
Later, as Henry trains Carol tells Ezekiel that Henry isn’t wrong. The Kingdom is getting older and Henry just wants to fix it. However the fair is right around the corner and the Kingdom needs Henry here. Ezekiel just wants him safe. And things haven’t been the same, but Carol believes sometimes you need to let the cracks happen to let in the light.
The newcomers arrive at the Alexandria Safe Zone, with Judith assuring them that they will be safe. She even takes Magna’s hands. With that, they enter and are immediately impressed with what they see.
As the residents pile out to see what’s happened, Michonne returns at the same time to see that there are five unknowns with one headed to the infirmary. They all surrendered their weapons and are here because of apparently Aaron’s call, but then Judith speaks up and admits that this was her decision.
Michonne reminds Judith and everyone else of the rules, but still, the newcomers are already here. And it’ll be dark soon, so the newcomers can be brought before the council tomorrow. With that, the newcomers are to be placed in holding. Oh, and Judith picks up the figurine that Michonne found.
At the Kingdom, Henry parts ways with Ezekiel and promises to return before the fair. Ezekiel and Jerry still want to come with Carol and Henry, if it would help bring the communities back together. Henry sees the world as it should be, not as it is. To Ezekiel, that makes Henry a dreamer. But to Carol, this world could use a few more dreamers.
The Alexandria council assembles and we learn that it was Magna and Yumiko, played by Eleanor Matsuura, at first, then Connie, played by Lauren Ridloff, and Kelly, played by Angel Theory, then the one they lost yesterday. Luke, played by Dan Fogler, explains that there were others, but they didn’t make it.
Before this, Luke was a music teacher. Magna waited tables at a truck stop. Connie was a journalist, and Kelly was in high school. Now they’re fighters who do whatever is necessary to survive. Luke, though, doesn’t believe he did anything special. Hell, he doesn’t know what he did to deserve it. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and met the right people.
To him, the only commonality is that they’re all breathing. Aaron motions for a vote, but Michonne has a question. She states that as a community, they want to be kind and charitable. But decisions like this one can come with a heavy price.
She asks for Magna’s left hand and examines it to see a prison tattoo based on the four dots on the wall. So Magna’s apparently done hard time. Michonne then tells Magna to place her knife on the table, so she pulls it off of her belt buckle. Michonne seconds the motion, but before Magna can ask her a question, Michonne is already gone.
Later, Gabriel powers up his radio equipment and is about to try and make contact when Rosita arrives, as she’s surprised that he didn’t give up. He’s still thinking about others out there, and he believes the newcomers are good people. Rosita agrees, and she knows that Michonne is just getting Magna riled up for no reason.
Gabriel believes that if they go further out, they can boost the signal of the radio. It’s a security breach and there’s no good odds that they’ll find anyone, but it’s worth trying. However, Rosita will go out with Eugene to check a spot for a radio frequency while Gabriel remains to help the newcomers. With that, they kiss.
Judith overhears Michonne talking to herself, saying that this wasn’t what they planned. As Judith attempts to leave, the floor squeaks, so Michonne hears her. It’s almost time for her lessons.
On the road, Carol informs Henry that they aren’t going to the Hilltop, but they’re interrupted when they hear someone yelling. Henry rushes off to find out who needs help, and it turns out to be Regina. Yes, the Saviors have survived the camp firefight and Jed is happy to see the boss lady again.
Elsewhere on the road, Eugene and Rosita talk Gabriel’s radio plan, and Eugene figures that this must mean Rosita really cares for him. They approach some fresh tracks in the road heading east, but luckily, they’re heading west for the tower.
Back in Alexandria, Siddiq updates Magna on Yumiko, who should be back up and running soon. She looks outside and spots Michonne training with Judith, and Luke asks Siddiq about his past. Siddiq explains that he was also a stranger, so Luke asks why things changed. Siddiq’s non-answer is that there’s a reason for everything.
As the Saviors deprive Carol and Henry of their food, they remind her that things have been hard since the Sanctuary went under. They’ve gotten hungry. Carol reminds Jed that they could’ve turned one of the other communities, but that was never going to work in their favor. Jed spares Carol as a courtesy for her sparing him back at the camp site. As for the supplies, that all goes to the Saviors.
Henry goes on the attack and gets the jump on Jed, but he’s overtaken in no time. Carol defends him and surrenders her ring to Jed.
As Judith goes over practical mathematics, it turns out that she’s reading a problem aloud to Negan, who doesn’t see the usefulness of these sort of problems versus a question that applies to the here and now. Judith tells Negan about the newcomers and he figures that she wants to help them.
When Negan was Judith’s age, he brought home stray dogs, and mom didn’t like that. But one day, he brought home the wrong dog. It didn’t bite Negan, though. It killed the other strays and chewed off half of his mother’s ear. However, that dog seemed as grateful as the others. After that, Negan didn’t bring home any more dogs.
Before Judith leaves, she tells him that it doesn’t matter whether Negan is good or bad on the inside. The numbers don’t care.
Atop the tower, Eugene sets the signal and is prepared to descend the tower when he spots an approaching herd. His descent is interrupted when he accidentally kicks away part of the ladder, so he’s forced to jump down. He hurts his knee, so Rosita brings him a shovel to use as a crutch. They flee as the herd continues approaching.
Oh, and the horses have fled because of course they have.
As night falls, Henry and Carol make camp. He doesn’t get why Carol didn’t try to fight the Saviors. To him, there’s right and wrong. She taught him that, after all. And he remembers when Carol did the same. But what happened? Henry happened. Maybe not today, but Carol knows that Henry will understand in the future. Still, Carol’s without her wedding ring, so there’s that.
Magna, Connie, and Kelly confront Magna on having the knife and now they want her to hand over Yumiko’s necklace, which she soon surrenders. To her, though, if they go back out, they’re as good as dead. Bernie would’ve wanted them to live in a place like Alexandria. Still, Connie wants Magna to back off of Michonne. Right now, they just need Yumiko better and they can leave.
Luke tells Magna that Connie is right. They need to save their fight for someone who deserves it. They decide to sleep on the matter, saying that maybe they’ll feel different in the light of day.
Back with Carol, she heads to the spot where the Saviors are resting. She takes Jed’s toothpick and tells him that she could’ve lived with Jed taking the ring, but not hurting Henry. With that, she tosses the flame and sets the Saviors alight as she walks away without giving it a second thought.
Then we return to Alexandria. As Magna prepares to break into Michonne’s home, she spots her holding another child. She knocks on the door and hands over another blade that Michonne missed. She tells Michonne that she was right- she’s done terrible things, and if she had all this, she wouldn’t trust anyone either. And Michonne admits that they’ve all done bad things, or else they wouldn’t be here. It’s not easy to live with.
It’s not easy, but it’s better than losing everything.
And Judith is sitting atop the stairs with Rick’s Colt Python. She believes that Rick would’ve wanted her to do the same, and Michonne admits that both Rick and Carl would’ve been proud. So, Judith asks, why won’t Michonne help them? And just as Carol said, she’ll understand sometimes. Judith admits that she knows Michonne talks to Rick and Carol.
She’s starting to forget their voices, but hopefully Michonne can still hear them.
Still on the run, Eugene prepares to give in and distract the dead so Rosita can escape. Before he can make a big revelation about how he feels for her, Rosita drags him along and they continue their escape.
Henry, meanwhile, apologizes to Carol for what he said and thanks her for her wise words. He then notices that Carol has her ring back, and they’re safe, so that’s all that matters. As for where they’re going, clear off the map, they run right into Daryl.
As Michonne gets ready for the day, and we see an X mark on her back, she goes through Rick’s old clothes and puts on one of his shirts.
The newcomers thank Gabriel, Judith, and Siddiq for helping them just as they’re ready to depart. Before they do, though, Michonne rides in and announces that there’s a change of plans. There’s a place like Alexandria and the leader might take them in. Yes, they’re going to Hilltop, and Siddiq will be going with them so he can keep an eye on a recovering Yumiko.
Eugene and Rosita dive into some mud and cover themselves up to mask their scent. As the walker herd passes them by, they make out what appears to be the dead speaking. Well, that’s new.
So here we are, six years later with another jump forward in time on The Walking Dead and this episode takes its time re-establishing the world, setting the stakes, and getting us caught up on who remains and who has left. And not just with Rick Grimes, as apparently the previous episode was also the last hurrah for Maggie as well.
As far as I can tell, the door is still open for Lauren Cohan to return, but at the moment, seems that’s it as far as Maggie’s storyline goes on-screen. And I do like how the show hints at…some kind of shit that went down at Hilltop. Was there a revolt? Did Maggie have to execute someone? And who leads that community now? Because were it still Maggie, I imagine Michonne would have referred to her by name.
It seems like even though there have been six years of relative peace, communities still find themselves struggling, if Hilltop, the Sanctuary, and the Kingdom are any indication. Alexandria, though, seems fully operational and better than it’s ever been before, so I imagine that it will have much to contribute to the fair that Ezekiel spoke of, but we’ll talk about that fair when we get to it…
As for the sheriff elephant in the room, it’s interesting to see how people have changed since Rick vanished. Daryl is off on his own in the woods. There’s a council in Alexandria. Judith is taking after her father. Michonne still talks to him and his son. Even though he’s no longer around, Rick’s presence is still very much felt in Alexandria specifically. His legacy lives on in them.
And Michonne still keeps his memory alive when we see her talking to both Rick and Carl, similar to the comic where Michonne would talk to herself. Rick will always be with her, Judith, and new child R.J., and unlike Judith, she has a better idea of how the two sound. Not that Rick was ever going to leave her memory, but it’s great that, even now, he’s still very much at the front of her mind.
It also explains her attitude towards newcomers. As said, they have learned what happens when you let in new people. But by the same token, newcomers can end up being very beneficial. After all, Aaron didn’t have to bring Rick and company to Alexandria, and Deanna didn’t have a council vote, so yes, it helps to keep up your guard, but not every new person is bad.
It goes back to that optimism that Carl spoke of when he brought Siddiq to Alexandria. Or how he trusted Gabriel initially when Rick didn’t. Everyone isn’t bad. And while Michonne has every right to be suspicious and unflinching towards Magna and company, I felt she took it a bit too far. Like Gabriel and Rosita said, Magna being in prison doesn’t make her a bad person or threat.
To Magna’s credit, she doesn’t lose her cool, because that would’ve proven Michonne right. And she does surrender the other blade, which, for the moment, seems to put her in Michonne’s good graces once Michonne acknowledges that they’ve all done bad things to get where they are.
I like the newcomers. They feel like they’ve roughed the harsh parts of this world for years and have been together long enough to establish a rapport. They bicker and disagree with one another, but have a strong bond that’s kept them together to this point. They recognize how Alexandria could be a good home for them, but also accept the possibility that they’ll have to keep on moving if they’re rejected.
Sticking with Alexandria for a moment…Gabriel and Rosita? Well, stranger things have happened, and to be fair, Jadis is in the wind now with Rick, so that won’t resume anytime soon, especially given where things ended with the two of them. It’s an odd pairing, but nothing too out there for this show.
At the Kingdom, it’s nice to see the bond between Henry, Ezekiel, and Carol grow to where it has. I especially loved Ezekiel warning Henry to watch his tone. He may be the king, but damn it, don’t go mouthing off to Ezekiel like that. Henry’s still got that fire in him based on how Carol taught him and it’s great to see him standing up for himself, but he’s still very in over his head at times.
Luckily, Carol is still great at masking her true prowess when she seemingly surrenders to the Saviors. She can deal with her things being taken, but when you hurt the kid? That’s when Mama Bear kicks in. Admittedly, I’m curious just how many Saviors are actually left.
The Sanctuary apparently fell, but not all of the people there were just Saviors. Some were workers. I imagine that maybe some live at the various communities? After all, we see Laura on the council at Alexandria. If I had to guess, Alden could still be at the Hilltop. And given their history, I wouldn’t bet on Oceanside accepting any Saviors, even if they were female.
Still, the sight of Carol setting the Saviors on fire and walking away with no remorse reminds you just how deadly this Mama Bear can be.
Then we’ve got the ending with Rosita and Eugene. And first off, I think maybe the residents should just not travel by horse anymore because they’re not doing them any real favors anymore. Is this the horses taking revenge or something? Okay, moving on.
So the two of them escape the herd by hiding in the mud and…it seems like the walkers are communicating. Yes indeed, the Whisperers are on their way. And with two episodes left for the year, I am very excited to see them make their debut. Still, part of me finds it tough to accept that we’ve got newcomers and the Whisperers on the way, but Rick isn’t here. Same with no Carl and Negan talks.
Oh, there’s something I forgot to mention. Negan’s alive and kicking as well. Still in the cell, but he seems to be in good spirits and I got a kick out of him helping Judith with her math problems. The question aside of how Michonne isn’t telling Judith to keep away, I thought it was a nice scene between the two. Hope Negan gets to meet the newcomers soon, too.
Rick Grimes is gone, but The Walking Dead soldiers on. New faces have arrived, the world is continuing to evolve, and a new threat is on the horizon. But will people take Rosita and Eugene seriously when they say that they heard the dead speaking? We’ll see.