I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. Season 7 thus far has been rather lackluster compared to other seasons. With the exception of a few episodes here and there, and how this episode began, I was really beginning to question whether the writers had just lost heart. But thankfully, I was proven wrong.
Last episode, we left Rick and Aaron on the bank of a lake filled with walkers and a houseboat on the other side. Long story short, they hop in a boat riddled with bullet holes that sinks about halfway. That was the goal, to reach a canoe to get them to the houseboat. Aaron nearly bites it (or rather, gets mobbed by water-walkers), but somehow manages to get free. Aboard the houseboat, the two find plenty of food but no ammo. With the wind, the houseboat eventually drifts to land and they make off with the food in their vehicle. Someone was watching them, but it isn’t clear who. I fully expect to find that out in the next episode.
Daryl’s making his escape, and nearly gets caught. He slips into a room where he finds some clothes and some peanut butter to eat. Before leaving, he snags a knife, then later a pipe. Outside, he runs into Fat Joey. Joey, swearing he’s just trying to get by, offers to let Daryl leave. Daryl’s having none of that “just trying to get by” nonsense, and bashes Fat Joey’s head in, just as Jesus arrives to witness the murder. Daryl takes Fat Joey’s gun and the two escape.
Maggie’s still reeling from the pain of losing Glenn, regardless of what her exterior may show. It’s as if she doesn’t want anyone to see her crying. During her time at Hilltop, she’s becoming the de facto leader, while the ever-impotent Gregory is still attempting to be relevant and demeaning towards Maggie. He just hasn’t quite grasped the concept that he’s neither needed nor wanted at this point. I suspect his time is coming to an end, and I hope it’s a fulfilling one. He’s certainly got it coming.
Carol has been receiving regular deliveries from the Kingdom, either by Richard, Morgan, or Ezekiel. She insists to Morgan that she just wants to be left alone, and after they confirm with one another that they’re doing all right, he starts to leave. Richard arrives at that moment, claiming he wants to speak to them both about something important. It turns out he wants Carol to convince Ezekiel that they need to strike against Negan. It’s adorable that he operates under the assumption that Carol hasn’t seen violence, and even she seems like she wants to laugh at the notion. She refuses him, saying she wants nothing to do with anyone, their lives or their deaths. Morgan just wants to live in peace and doesn’t want to jeopardize the peace they now have. Richard, who apparently has a hideout in the woods, goes there and has a meltdown of sorts. It’s clear he knows what’s coming and is powerless to do anything about it.
Michonne and her hostage make their way to Negan’s compound. She’s already made a vow to find a way to take out Negan and the Saviors, a way where her people will win. The woman tells her “We’re all Negan,” then proceeds to say that Michonne still has options. She tells Michonne to go home, destroy the vehicle, and that there’s a silencer in the glove compartment. Pretty much just gives her permission to do it. Why she wouldn’t just ask Michonne to let her go is beyond me. Was it pride? Or fear? Doesn’t matter, Michonne kills the woman and returns to Alexandria.
Speaking of Alexandria, the majority of the story takes place here, so I’ve saved it for last. Negan’s been making himself at home, even cooking dinner, shaving, and generally making Olivia miserable. Spencer decides it’s time to make his move and go visit Negan himself. They share a drink, and there’s mention of a pool game. Spencer points out that there’s a pool table in the garage across the street. The table is set up, and the two begin playing while discussing the real reason Spencer wanted to talk to Negan: Rick. Spencer proceeds to badmouth Rick and point out all his flaws and mistakes, which is met with Negan coming to Rick’s defense. He says Rick’s been out finding stuff for him, but Spencer’s been sitting around waiting for the moment to have Negan do his dirty work for him: Get rid of Rick and make Spencer the leader of Alexandria. What Spencer wasn’t counting on was the fact that Negan doesn’t very much appreciate that kind of disloyalty, accuses him of having no guts… then makes the statement true. Negan slices him open, and Spencer’s guts hit the ground.
Rick and Aaron are detained at the gate so the other Saviors can go through Rick’s haul (and berate them in the process). Aaron gets beaten while Rick can do nothing to stop it from happening. Finally when it’s over, the two men make their way through the town. After Spencer’s murder, Rosita loses it and takes her shot. Firing her gun, she misses and hits Lucille instead. A long, drawn-out Negan monologue is cut short, punishments must be dealt out, and Negan orders Arat to kill someone. Unfortunately, that someone is Olivia, with a bullet right through her cheekbone. Rick and Aaron arrive and it’s learned that Eugene is the one who made the bullet, and he’ll be leaving with Negan. The street clears out, leaving Rick with angry tears in his eyes and a recently-turned Spencer. That problem is quickly resolved.
Our survivors are later reunited at the Hilltop, and their reunion with Daryl is nothing short of heart rending, especially when he returns Carl’s gun, the very same gun he took off of Fat Joey.
Now, mind you, I’ve not read the graphic novels, but I ruined Spencer’s death for myself some time back and read a spoiler, so I only dared to hope that the show would follow the actual story. I was not disappointed. The final scene, with its hopeful music and the determined walk of our survivors through Hilltop does everything it’s suppose to in reassuring us that they may be down but they’re not out. They’ve been in difficult positions before and prevailed. Those moments have had costs, some more than others. But at least with most everyone back together and on the same page, there’s a fighting chance of getting everyone through it alive.