Can’t wait to see the survivors take on the Reapers in what’s sure to be an explosive episode.
The episode begins with Maggie and company on the run from the Reapers. Weapons fly from every which way. Duncan and Cole go down, while Elijah is snatched away, but everyone, now separated, flees.
Well, that was short.
But enough about that. Over at Alexandria, Magna tries to shoot down birds when Carol and Kelly arrive. Magna reminds Kelly that they were supposed to have a shift together, but something came up for Kelly. Magna offers Kelly an opportunity to talk about it, but as far as Kelly is concerned, there’s nothing to talk about. Good talk.
As Aaron helps other residents rebuild the wall, Carol heads to the pantry and gets ready to head out so she can retrieve Alexandria’s horses. Aaron arrives and reminds her that she’s slated to help with the crumbling wall. Aaron and Daryl already came up short when looking for Buttons, but Carol says that without the horses, they won’t be able to move anything heavy. She’ll be back in a few hours.
At least she’s not chasing mice.
For whatever reason, the kids are getting screen time this week. We cut to Judith, Gracie, RJ, and Hershel playing Slap to pass the time. How they even know how to play Slap is anyone’s guess. Hershel asks if Judith ever worries about her mom when she goes out, but Judith’s used to it at this point. The adults always promise to see their kids soon, even in the before-times, but they can’t always mean it now.
It’s supposed to be reassuring, Judith believes. Hershel thinks it’s the adults wanting to make themselves feel better. Judith knows that her mother always comes back. I guess that’s why we haven’t seen Michonne in God knows when.
If I wanted to watch Rugrats, I’d turn on Nickelodeon. They still air Rugrats, right?
On her own, Maggie arrives at an abandoned mall. When she tries to enter it, a blade lands right at a nearby wall. She finally enters and sets some bottles against one of the doors to indicate when someone might be tailing her. As Maggie heads upstairs, a ninja walker gets the jump on her, but she manages to knock it down several flights. Come on, Maggie, you should’ve heard that.
Further up, she encounters a Reaper. But instead of keeping them alive for information, she kicks him down the stairs as well. Doesn’t seem like he’s down for good, though. At the sound of rushing footsteps, Maggie flees.
After briefly checking in on Gabriel, who is in pursuit of a hobbling Reaper, we return to Maggie in the mall. As luck would have it, she runs into Alden and Negan, but also a pair of Reapers. Maggie overtakes one with some help from Negan, but the other tosses a flash grenade and flees. When their vision returns, they find a trail of blood and a badly bleeding Alden with two marks carved into his stomach.
Maggie’s plan hasn’t changed. She still wants to head to the radio tower and wait for the others at the supply house in Arbor Hill. Negan, though, knows theatrics. The Reapers have made it clear that the others shouldn’t be on the road that the Reapers can use. Plus, the others might be dead. Since Negan doesn’t have a better plan, his best option now is to help up Alden. The three head out.
Rosita’s mushroom-picking trip is interrupted when Carol, Magna, and Kelly corral her into helping rescue one of the horses. The four approach it from separate sides, with Magna and Kelly closing in, but the horse flees. Well, that worked.
Then Rosita informs Carol that she’s been having dreams about Abraham, who is trying to tell her something important. But Rosita can’t hear it most of the time. Just when she can, Abraham dies. Rosita doesn’t know why she even told Carol this, but you have to fill out the episode somehow. It used to freak out Rosita, but now she thinks it’s a message for Alexandria.
Magna, meanwhile, drops some horse knowledge on Kelly: if a horse lets you touch its ear, then it trusts you. But since horses are wild creatures, there’s no telling if they’ll get this one.
This safe house is further away than Maggie thought, so no time like the present. The three follow the sound of screaming and find Agatha taking care of walkers. She’s got Duncan with her, who isn’t dead after all, but has lost a ton of blood. Maggie apologizes for all she’s put him through, but he assures her that they were lucky.
He wants Maggie to promise him that she gets home. As Duncan’s watch ends, Maggie pulls out a blade and puts him out for good.
Carol and the others, meanwhile, find dead, decapitated horses. A lot of good that search did. They’ll keep looking for the others that no doubt would stay close to the water. Rosita and Kelly suggest heading back since it’s getting dark, but Carol reminds them that Alexandria needed these horses yesterday. Well then, you should’ve done it yesterday.
Magna gives Carol a hug, and now it’s time to go home. However, horse ex machina, as several horses stampede from out of the woods. They’re apparently headed for the dairy farm, so they can be fenced in, which is exactly what happens. Kelly tells everyone to drop the lassos. The horses aren’t running- they want to come home. The horses soon calm down enough to let the ladies approach them.
Wait, where did this dairy farm come from?
Whatever. Gabriel finds the bleeding, dying Reaper, who tells Gabriel that he has been blessed. The Reaper asks if Gabriel will pray for him. True, the Reapers tried to kill Gabriel’s friends, but they also tried to kill the Reapers as well. Plus, Gabriel’s still a man of God, right? But as far as Gabriel is concerned, God isn’t here anymore. With that, he lands the killing blow.
I dig this jaded Gabriel.
With twice as many walkers in their path, Negan tells Maggie that they should rethink her plan. Maggie reminds Negan that he’s free and can go whenever he wants, but he can help her. Maggie’s friends trusted him when she was gone. People change. Maggie believes he has everyone fooled and that he should stop pretending to be one of them. He’s probably as good at lying to the others as he is to himself.
Alden asks Maggie if this is what she expected when she came home, but nothing surprises her anymore. Except Hilltop. Alden is confident that they’ll build it back up, better than it was before.
Negan finds a burned walker strapped to a tree. Above its head is a sign that reads “Judas.” As walkers close in, the four take out as many as they can until Agatha is bitten by one. Maggie tries her best to rescue her friend, but Agatha implores her to leave. Negan pulls Maggie away as the walkers close in on Agatha.
I’m sure this was worth introducing Maggie’s new allies, just to drop three of them a few episodes later.
As the horses are brought back to Alexandria, much to everyone’s delight, Magna catches up with Carol. She knows what she’s doing and wants her to stop. Carol is giving Kelly false hope that Connie is still alive, but can’t accept what it means if she’s not. Magna just wants her family- what’s left of it- to heal, but Kelly looks up to Carol. So whatever Carol is doing just makes it harder for Kelly.
Has anyone seen Luke, by the way?
Carol lays down one of the horses, pulls out a blade, and puts it out of its misery just as Aaron enters the stable.
On another episode of Rugrats, Judith brings the other kids a plate of…something. Like any reasonable person, they’re not chomping at the bit for mystery meat. It’s probably horse meat, I guess. Hershel suggests taking as small a bite as possible, since he and his mom ate whatever they could when on the road. He assures them that this meat can’t be as bad as the spiders.
As Rosita brings baby Coco around to pet the horses, she spies Carol literally wiping the blood from her hands.
She later joins Kelly and Magna outside of the church and beckons Kelly to come with her for another trip.
While Negan chomps down on some crap cardboard, he suggests that he, Maggie, and Alden head into the woods. Maggie, though, is adamant that the road is faster. Alden agrees with Negan since the woods have cover, but Maggie spots an old church and picks this as their spot for a break today, so get up and get away.
Inside, Alden maintains that he’s slowing down Maggie and Negan. If these Reapers are anything like Maggie said, then things will just get worse. Alden is dead weight. He tells Maggie that the reason he walked away from the Saviors and joined with Maggie is because he trusts her to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is or how much it costs. The supplies are the only thing that matter.
Alexandria needs them to do this. Adam needs a father, but Alden knows he won’t make it out alive. After all, Maggie left Gage. He made his choice, and now Alden is making his. If this plan fails, then everything Maggie worked for will go to shit. Negan reminds Maggie that, with the sun going down, she has to make a choice.
Maggie again gets on her soapbox and tells Negan that his reckless past and days of deciding who lives or dies are over. It’s his fault that they’re in this situation because of him destroying what they built. Rather than argue that, Negan again tells Maggie that she still has to decide.
So she leaves Alden with some supplies and weapons, including one of Negan’s blades, as she and Negan leave the church. Outside, after putting down an approaching walker, Negan and Maggie hit the road as the episode comes to a close.
It’s funny how we start off with the main threat of the Reapers, only to jump away from them and stick with Maggie and whoever she finds for most of the episode. You have this dangerous menace and right when we’re in the thick of it at the start, the episode decides to split everyone up. In the heat of the moment, sure, everyone won’t stick together. But why not extend that opening sequence?
If the Reapers are as dangerous as Maggie claims, let us see more of their handiwork instead of cutting away from that opening. Sure, we saw a few of them throughout, but these small doses do little to differentiate the Reapers from past groups, like the Saviors or Wolves.
Brief aside, speaking of the Saviors, I did appreciate Negan mentioning the Reapers’ theatrics and how dangerous it is to be on the road. It’s a nice callback to “Last Day on Earth” and how the Saviors blocked Rick and company on the road at every turn. He knows all about using every avenue to your advantage, so it’s nice that he brought this up.
Sticking with Negan’s past, I’m left wondering that we’re still dealing with Maggie talking about Negan’s past. Still? Just when it seemed like the two had an understanding at the end of the last episode? Maybe Maggie had to be around when Alpha was still alive, but what good does bringing up Negan’s past actions do at this point? Everyone remembers what he did. But everyone knows what he’s done since then.
If Negan wanted to leave, he would have by now. He didn’t have to kill Alpha. He’s not lining people up and deciding who gets bashed in the head. At this point, Maggie’s harping on it just because. She’s talking in circles and we as an audience know she still hates Negan. Is she trying to get a rise out of him? Negan’s past the point of heated debate.
Just about any time he talks with Maggie, he’s the calm and reasonable one, while Maggie is just antagonistic. And she thinks she’s so in the right that she blames him for every terrible thing that’s happened so far, never mind the actions of others. I do like how Negan is just done with Maggie’s crap. When she rails on him towards the end, rather than launch into his own tirade, he just tells her to decide.
They have more important things to deal with than Negan’s past actions. Plus, Alden was slowing them down, so it makes sense to deal with this now instead of later, when the situation could be more dire. The episode sets it up like this could be Alden’s last stand, what with his talk of the future and why he joined Maggie. But we just leave him in that church. For all we know, he could get his strength and come back later.
So it’s less of a goodbye and more of a “See you later.” More so since Alden wasn’t bitten- he’s just in pain. But at least had the gall to admit that his injury slowed down Maggie and Negan. Better that than him wind up further injured and putting the others in peril.
The same can’t be said for Duncan, Agatha, and Cole. Again, funny that we get this momentous occasion of Maggie reuniting with the three in the premiere. Now all three of them are dead. You’ve got to lighten the load and thin out the cast somehow, but I didn’t think all three would die so soon after their introductions. Then again, I thought most of the Highwaymen would stick around, and I was wrong there.
We didn’t have time to form any meaningful connection with these three. Elijah at least got a bit more to do than them. But if the three were going to bite it three episodes into the season, why even have them in the first place? No one’s gonna weep over their loss. Sure, Maggie will, but her relationship with these three occurred off-screen. Do any of you care that they’re all dead?
I didn’t think so.
Okay, so what about the horse play? I don’t know when Kelly would’ve started looking up to Carol. If anything, part of her should hate Carol since she’s partially responsible for Connie’s disappearance. Carol apologized for this in “The Tower,” but beyond that, I don’t recall many instances of these two specifically bonding. So it’s strange that, even with those additional episodes, we rarely, if ever, saw this.
If Kelly needs someone to latch onto, then I guess Carol works as that figure. I get Magna wanting to keep her family together and not give Kelly false hope, but part of me wonders if she feels left out. Kelly has the tighter bond to Connie than the others, Yumiko is off at Commonwealth, and has Luke been brought up since “Home, Sweet Home?” My hope is this doesn’t lead to some forced drama between Magna and Carol.
I’m not sure what to make of Rosita having dreams about Abraham. What would Abraham have to possibly tell Rosita from beyond the grave? Also, why not of all times? I know that Michael Cudlitz is slated to direct a Season 11 episode, so maybe we get a flashback of him or something that sheds light on Rosita’s dreams.
The only other noteworthy thing from the episode that I liked is just how further jaded Gabriel is. He calls Gabe a coward, and now here he refuses to pray for a dying Reaper, telling him instead that God isn’t here anymore. Gabriel may be a man of God, but even he has his breaking points.
“Hunted” was fine. Had some nice, slow building moments with Maggie in the mall, but if the Reapers are such a dangerous threat, the episodes should devote more screen time to them so we see how menacing they are. If the opening sequence was just a tease to a bigger fight, then fine, but right now, nothing separates the Reapers from the Wolves beyond them wearing masks.