We just breezed past the first 21 outposts.
The episode begins with the convoy still on the road. In one vehicle, Maggie remembers being separated from Hershel. She breaks out of her zip cuffs and unmasks the person sitting next to her, who just happens to be Gabriel. He, in turns, unmasks Rosita. Gabriel and Rosita jump from the vehicle, but as Maggie prepares to jump, she stumbles back and awakens the sleeping Commonwealth soldier.
The two struggle and Maggie gets the soldier to fire his gun towards the front of the gun, right through the driver’s head. Maggie tosses the soldier from the van, which now steers out of control. The driver crashes, flinging another through the windshield. As Maggie inspects the now downed van, she considers taking the soldier’s rifle. However, the rest of the convoy approaches, so she abandons the gun and flees into the woods.
As day breaks, Gabriel and Rosita’s snooze is interrupted by a Commonwealth soldier who has reanimated. The two put it down with one of the soldier’s weapons and begin relieving him of his belongings, such as his radio and rifle. A transmission goes through on the radio- no sign of one convoy or the escapees, but the soldiers did find a set of boot tracks.
Back with the convoy, everyone begins to awaken with no recollection of how much time has passed since they were injected. Annie notices that one of the trucks is missing because I guess she was keeping count. Also, no sign of Maggie, Gabriel, Rosita, or the kids. Annie also notes that when they stopped, there was a crash, so it’s possible that Maggie, Gabriel, and Rosita escaped.
A man boards the bus and begins what I assume is a prepared speech. For everyone, today’s the first day of a new beginning. The world works when everyone knows their place, and theirs is at the bottom. All of the resources that we use to bring the old world back? That all starts at places like this. Also, they should take comfort in knowing that good people will benefit from their labor.
This is their redemption and salvation. The children are safe, and if the people play by the rules, they’ll get to see them again. To do that, they have to work as one. No one has a name because there’s no need for them. So they won’t address themselves as such, and this man won’t identify himself. As the man points from person to person, they begin exiting through the rear of the bus.
One of those selected is Annie, whom Negan promises he’ll save. Everyone selected, it turns out, is being transported to another site. Those remaining will work until the tracks are clear. Work is hard, but luckily the prisoners will be protected by the Commonwealth. They should take solace in knowing it’s better being here than out there in the world.
Maggie spots a kid walker. She has another vision of Hershel and lifts up a rock, but can’t bring herself to put down the walker, so she just walks away from it.
I imagine that walker is feeling pretty offended right about now.
So what is Rosita’s master plan? Follow the convoy to wherever it goes. Not the best idea, but Gabriel doesn’t have a better one. He shoots down the idea of splitting up, but does make quick work of two walkers- one of which catches Rosita off guard. She falls and ends up dislocating her left arm, so Gabriel pops it back into place.
I’d like to remind people that Rosita took down Dante on her own.
Anyway, Rosita shoulders on despite her injury. Gabriel reminds Rosita of what she says when he beats himself up: quit bitching and move forward. They do that anyway when they hear a train horn, though Gabriel can’t believe it.
Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl watch some Commonwealth soldiers from a distance when an actual, functional train arrives. Daryl thinks if they hang back far enough, they should be able to follow the train undetected. A truck arrives with a prisoner: Connie. Carol turns on the radio to follow the conversation: the soldiers have been ordered to board the exile, even though it’s against regulation.
But the order came from on high. Connie not going to be a worker- she’s designation two, which sounds ominous. The plan is to get Connie there safely, wherever ‘there’ is. Carol wonders what designation two is, and Daryl realizes they can’t get Connie, as the soldiers will radio ahead. Then the survivors won’t get the kids. Carol suggests they still follow the train to the others and then bust them out at once.
So the two speed ahead to a point where the train will arrive at a junction. Daryl has no intention of waiting, but Carol once again brings up the cave incident. At the time, Kelly said they can’t save the others if they’re dead. If they go it alone, they might make the same mistakes again. Dunno who this ‘they’ is since Connie going missing is mostly Carol’s fault.
I also don’t know why we’re going over this topic again, but you have to pad out the episode somehow.
Then we arrive at the Crossing of Convenience. Maggie approaches a crossing as she hears an approaching motorcycle. A Commonwealth soldier gets off at this exact point to radio that there’s no sign of the escapees. The soldier then spots a walker- the same kid walker that Maggie let go. That must be one fast walker to have caught up with Maggie and a soldier on a motorcycle.
Instead of just approaching the walker and killing it up close, the soldier stupidly tries to fire at it from a distance, giving Maggie an opportunity to ambush him. As the kid walker approaches, Maggie again hesitates before finally putting the kid walker down.
If this wasn’t convenient enough, Daryl and Carol soon approach the same crossing. She tells Carol that she hates not knowing what’s happening to Hershel, but Carol tells Maggie that this isn’t on her. She’s just one person. Carol tells Maggie that when she got her new job at the Commonwealth, she barely saw Daryl or anyone else. People just did their old thing, like the old world.
But after the fall, they were forced to become family. That’s a good thing and a gift that held even in the Commonwealth. But that place had to come at them when they were separated, which must mean that they scare the shit out of Pamela. I dunno. Dividing and conquering isn’t some novel strategy, but whatever makes you feel better. Anyway, they feel Pamela failed and they’re not alone anymore. They’re going to make this right.
Are you kidding me? Now Rosita and Gabriel just happen to show up at this exact spot, too? The world really is a small place. They found them by following the train.
Where’s Daryl? Interrogating the Commonwealth soldier. Well, he asks the man to please do something good with the time he has left, given his injury. When the soldier doesn’t respond when asked about designation two, Daryl talks about his time with the soldiers. He joined because his family needed money. But his kids were taken from him and he wants them back.
The others arrive to let Daryl know that the train’s arriving soon. Daryl takes out his blade and asks the soldier if he wants to die quick or screaming. Gabriel recognizes the soldier as a regular at his Sunday sermons. He’d always come late and leave early, as if he wanted to talk about something. The soldier asks if God forgives people like him, and that Gabriel does not know.
The soldier feels wrecked with guilt and shame all the time. Gabriel says that fear can make us do things that feel shame, but it can also push us into the light. The soldier is trying to do the right thing, and God sees that. Gabriel kneels next to the man and says that people remember the last thing that you do. The end of each story is very important. How does this soldier want his to end?
At last, the soldier admits that exiles are punished through hard labor. Right now, Gabriel’s friends are on railway duty. The soldier was called out when some of the transports escaped, so the four will have to follow the train to find out where their friends are. As for designation two, the soldier only heard rumors. You’re taken some place far away and never seen again. Daryl immediately leaves.
Gabriel agrees to pray with the soldier as he goes. He sits next to the man and pulls out his Bible.
I love everything about this scene.
Outside, Daryl figures that if the train pulls in, Connie is as good as gone. The best way to get the kids is without the Commonwealth knowing that they’re coming. They can’t just leave Connie, but Carol believes that there’s a way to do both.
So what about that manual labor? We join the prisoners as they work to clear the wreckage. Kelly notes to Ezekiel that there are only three guards to watch the prisoners. She suggests running, but Ezekiel cautions her to stop talking and keep working.
Negan, meanwhile, asks a Commonwealth soldier about his wife and gets clubbed across the face. You stop only to eat or sleep. Well, this guy probably just made Negan’s shit list. Three people, meanwhile, make a quick getaway and are quickly and mercilessly gunned down. You might want to rethink that plan of yours, Kelly.
About that train. Some soldiers stop to clear the path of walkers and change the points. Carol, Daryl, Rosita, and Gabriel get to work taking control of the train and disarming or killing any soldiers they can find.
But one comes out with Connie at gunpoint and orders Daryl to lower his weapon. Connie attacks the soldier, but he overpowers her and storms the train as Daryl chases after him. Connie’s alright, but the soldier boards a motorcycle and manages to escape.
Daryl boards another motorcycle and chases after the soldier as we transition into an episode of “Ride with Norman Reedus.” Daryl catches up with the soldier and swiftly kills him.
As for the guy that Maggie got, they bring him to the shed with the Commonwealth soldier. He explains that his family lives at a nearby outpost. If the warden finds out that he helps them, he’ll end up just like the people who were taken. The man does say that there’s a map back at the train in the engine room. Time to pay the train a visit, then.
Daryl and Connie reunite, happy to see one another again. This moment is short lived when the main threatens to kill himself with a screwdriver. Carol says that they would just injure him enough to make it look like he got away. That barely helps. The man knows he’ll be tortured if the Commonwealth finds out what he did. Then his family is as good as dead.
The man follows through and pushes the blade into his throat. He collapses on the ground as the tool goes through his entire neck.
That looks deeper than just an injury.
Back at the outpost, Ezekiel gives Kelly a plate of shit- I mean, slop. It looks bad either way. Negan joins Ezekiel, who is in no mood to talk to the former Savior leader. Ezekiel admits that he avoided Negan for years for a reason, but Negan tells Ezekiel it’s time to shelve that shit. That’s hard for Ezekiel to do, given what Negan has done. That shit, Ezekiel has not forgotten. Neither has anyone else. That includes Negan.
He admits that he probably deserves to be in a place like this as penance for what he’s done. But this place doesn’t fit Ezekiel or the others. Or Annie, who Negan still needs to find. Negan is coming to Ezekiel as a soon-to-be father and man who has led people. They’ve gotta put their shit aside and work together. Negan understands the warden’s playbook of using fear as a weapon.
But scaring people into an uprising only works if you’re the one holding the gun. Fear won’t work, but hope will. That is Ezekiel’s thing. This place thrives on breaking people. They need to inspire people, but need a spark that reaches into their hearts and wakes them up. Ezekiel doesn’t know how to do that here. Luckily, Negan can deliver that spark, but he doubts that he’ll be getting away with the others.
Before Negan can elaborate, it’s time for everyone to get back to work. Still, Ezekiel promises that he’s with Negan. For now.
Night falls as Commonwealth soldiers round up the prisoners. A soldier guns down three walkers- the three people who previously tried to escape.
So how do the others find their friends? Rosita suggests getting the long range radio back up. They do, and Rosita radios to Outpost 22 in need of assistance. She says that the train was overtaken and now she’s lost in the woods. Despite presumably not recognizing this voice from outpost 22, someone on the other end does respond and asks for Rosita’s original sit-rep and location, which was junction seven.
Rosita confirms that she still has her compass. She’s instructed to head due north through the woods until she reaches a breach. She’ll eventually reach Packard Avenue and head south until she reaches a suburban neighborhood.
A section has been fortified with walls. When she arrives, she’s to take the northeast gate closest to the railroad tracks, and there will be guards on the lookout for her. No spare units to send for a pickup. Also, there’s a convoy coming in for processing on the governor’s orders.
At the same time, the prisoners arrive at Outpost 22, which we find out is the Alexandria Safe Zone. It’s crawling with Commonwealth soldiers. Back to the radio, word is most of the prisoners sent for processing used to live here before the Commonwealth and turned it into an outpost. Also, keep an eye out for any hostiles. Shoot to kill, if Rosita must engage.
A livid Maggie tells the others that Pamela Milton has underestimated them since day one. They’re going to get their kids, take back their home, and make it right. Pamela won’t even see it coming.
I guess no one told them that this is Lance’s doing.
With a few exceptions, our survivors have had no problem with confrontations. But it’s when they’re pushed to the brink or put in dire circumstances that they rise up and fight back. More so when there’s a lot on the line. That’s very much the case here with everyone scattered and the children being taken to boot. The situation is more desperate for them because they have no idea where the kids even are.
That hurts more for Maggie, this powerhouse who has a taste of how it feels to be powerless. Not to say she’s been invincible, but there’s rarely a situation she can’t solve or fight her way out of, until now. With Hershel gone, she’s doubting herself even though, as Carol said, it’s not just on her. She’s not a one-person army like Rick. Not a fair comparison, but hey, Rick is a one-man army!
What I don’t get or like is Maggie’s hesitation to put down a child walker. Sure, there’s an extra level of sadness to see a walker that was once someone’s child. But a walker is a walker. For Maggie to flinch seems a bit out of character. I can’t imagine this is the first child walker she’s seen, either at all or since having Hershel. I get her losing some confidence with Hershel kidnapped, but hesitating at putting down a walker is a stretch.
Know what else is a stretch? Maggie, Daryl, Carol, Rosita, and Gabriel reuniting at around the same time. Even though them taking over the train was a cool sequence, I find it laughable how the starts aligned for things to work out that conveniently at that moment.
I did enjoy their moments of trying to appeal to the Commonwealth workers. Like them, the workers have families and lives of their own. So they all have something to lose if Pamela brings down her iron fist. It was a nice change of pace to see Daryl not go right for the bad cop move and meet the soldier on the same level since he himself once worked for the Commonwealth.
In addition, I enjoyed seeing Gabriel use his time as a preacher to appeal to the soldier. He didn’t talk down to him, but said that fear can push you into the light. As the soldier is about to meet death, Gabriel lifts his spirits and brightens his faith by telling him that God sees him doing the right thing. Much as I like Gabriel as a bad-ass, I also like the quieter moments when he’s guided by his faith instead of his cynicism.
Speaking of Gabriel, I continue to enjoy the back-and-forth between him and Rosita. They’re both hard-headed and stubborn, but also know when to rely on reason. They keep one another in check. But like Maggie, Rosita has a lot to fight for with Coco kidnapped.
So her going in without thinking straight, and dislocating her arm in the process, shows that she needs to slow down and think of a plan instead of just moving forward. Thus, that’s why Gabriel is here to help keep her head on straight.
Going back to faith, Negan hopefully providing the spark to life the prisoners’ spirits could be what’s needed to redeem himself in Ezekiel’s eyes. Obviously Negan is going to be fine because plot armor and the upcoming Negan and Maggie spin-off. But beyond that, I hadn’t considered until now that yeah, the Saviors wiped out a ton of Ezekiel’s soldiers.
Granted, Ezekiel was a bit too cocky when he kept saying he wouldn’t lose one of their ranks. He paid the price for that in spades. Even before that, the Saviors always had it out for Ezekiel and his theatrics. To Ezekiel, it’s not fair that Negan gets to walk around as if nothing happened. I’ve said it multiple times that Negan has proven that he is a changed man, but people can’t just forget what he did. Just ask Maggie.
So it makes sense for Ezekiel to still hate Negan after all these years. It also would make sense that Ezekiel wouldn’t just “shelve that shit.” Negan’s resigned to his fate. He’s already had Maggie giving him the stink eye for years, so people still not forgiving him for his past actions? He’s used to that. He’s focused on looking forward, not dwelling on the past.
But with all hope appearing to be lost, Negan could be the catalyst needed to raise everyone’s morale. Plus, he’ll need to deal with that one soldier who clubbed him.
So I wonder how the remaining survivors will retake Alexandria. More than that, I wonder how many people in the Commonwealth know or care that this was Lance’s doing, not Pamela’s. It’s been awhile since we saw the Commonwealth plant their flag at the other communities, so I’m okay with Alexandria already crawling with soldiers and renaming the areas “outposts.”
But what is designation two, and what awaits the survivors now that they’re back at home? It’s been awhile since “Acts of God,” so how much has changed at Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside since then? There’s always a fighting chance, but how much of an uphill battle will it be? “Outpost 22” leaves our scattered survivors in an interesting predicament. We’ll see how they fight their way out of this one next time.