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The Walking Dead – Rock in the Road

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By: Jennifer Vintzileos 

 

Since we last saw the group, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and gang reunited with Daryl (Norman Reedus) while losing Eugene (Josh McDermitt) to The Saviors. Spencer (Austin Nichols) tried to usurp Rick’s power by appealing to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), only to have him literally spilling his guts in front of his fellow Alexandrians. And Carol (Melissa McBride) has found some needed time to heal outside the gates of The Kingdom, but how long will she sit on the sidelines before jumping back into the fray? 

 

In Alexandria, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) stands guard at the gate. But something seems amiss as Gabriel starts to pack up all the food from the pantry and any remaining weapons into bins. Shortly after, he is seen loading the items into a car and driving away from Alexandria. He has abandoned his post. 

 

At the Hilltop community Gregory (Xander Berkeley) brusquely addresses Rick and the group as they try to convince him to aid in the fight against Negan, insulting the group for their recent actions, especially Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) even after they saved the community. Gregory’s stance is that no one in his community is willing to fight. Jesus (Tom Payne) comes to their aid, trying to soothe over the building tension between Gregory and Rick’s group with little change. 

 

Realizing that they are not getting anywhere, Rick, Maggie, Sasha, Daryl, Jesus, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) leave Gregory’s office up in arms over their next move. But Enid (Katelyn Nacon) interrupts and brings them outside, introducing several Hilltop members that are ready to go against Negan and fight for their freedom. With the Hilltop community members ready to fight, Jesus knows that numbers are important and decides that the group should go pay a visit to King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). 

 

Kingdom members Richard (Karl Makinenand Alvaro (Carlos Navarro) lead the group into the community for an audience with Ezekiel, curious as to why Jesus has brought this group in and how they can defeat Negan. Jesus assures Richard that after Rick meets with Ezekiel, he will smile again. Before going in to meet with Ezekiel, Rick finds that Morgan (Lennie James) has been at the Hilltop this whole time. But as to the whereabouts of Carol, Morgan keeps her secret from Rick and Daryl.  

 

Just like Carol the group is surprised by Ezekiel and his tiger Shiva, but nevertheless approach the King with the request of joining forces and defeating Negan. Ezekiel has not shared his deal with The Saviors with his community and is angered that Jesus has broken that confidence. Yet the group is determined to sway Ezekiel that fighting is the only way to go, despite his hesitation to jump into battle. Rick then tells the story about a rock in the road that many who came across its path would try to avoid. One day, a villager stumbled over this rock and lost the contents in their hands. When they decided to dig up the rock to help future travelers in stumbling over it, they discovered a bag of gold underneath it. It seems the King of the land had put the gold there to reward the person who finally decides to rid the problem rather than avoid it.  

 

Moved by the story, Ezekiel seems to consider Rick’s plan. He asks Morgan for counsel, but we receive the same song-and-dance that Morgan has always offered: there has to be a better way than fighting. Benjamin (Logan Miller), one of Ezekiel’s counsel that was present for the meeting, advises Ezekiel noting that his own father imparted to him: if you’re asked to be the hero, be the hero. 

 

Despite their best efforts Ezekiel is not swayed from his peaceful stance, rejecting Rick’s offer to join up and fight. But Rick is not deterred, as he leaves Daryl at the Kingdom since Ezekiel has granted him sanctuary and Negan has never set foot onto their premises. It is now up to Daryl to try and sway the King to see that fighting is the only answer. Unfortunately, their visit is short-lived as a walkie that Jesus has pilfered off one of the Saviors starts going off. Negan has discovered that Fat Joey (Joshua Hoover) is dead and Daryl is missing. Saviors are now on their way to Alexandria to wreak havoc.  

 

On their way back to head off Saviors, the group is met with one of Negan’s traps to keep walkers at bay, a line of parked cars. But in moving the cars, Rick spots a cable laced with explosives and seizes the opportunity for the group to gather weaponry in their fight. As Rosita disables the bomb, everyone begins to hastily remove the TNT and carefully place it in the car. Yet time is running out as an army of walkers is descending upon the group.  

 

As Sasha and Jesus head back to the Hilltop, Rosita, Carl and Tara work diligently into cleaning up the scene of moving cars. Noticing that the walkers are heading straight for the rest of the group, Rick makes a quick decision and enlists Michonne’s help. They hotwire the two cars holding the steel cable and in the walker kill of the century drive the cars down the road, effectively killing a massive majority of walkers before jumping into the car with the rest of the group and evading the explosion of carnage.  

 

Luckily Rick, Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Carl make it back to Alexandria just as Simon (Steven Ogg) and his group of Saviors are pulling up. When Simon goes into the pantry this is the first time Rick and his group notice that all their food and supplies are missing, but play it off as simple hardship. Satisfied with their search The Saviors leave as the group now wonders where all of their supplies have gone to. In one of Olivia’s (Ann Mahoney) old notebooks, Gabriel has left the group a message that simply says “BOAT.” This alludes to where Rick and Aaron (Ross Marquand) had found supplies in prior episodes.  

 

Rick, Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Aaron head out to the houseboat in search of Gabriel, trying to figure out where he is. But they are not alone when several people yielding weapons come out and “greet” the group. Rick takes one look around at the number of people pointing weapons at them and rather than looking fearful, he smiles.  

 

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