The Walking Dead – The King, The Widow and Rick
By: Kelly Kearney
This week the ladies take the lead as they pull their communities together in the aftermath of the Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) ambush. With Rick (Andrew Lincoln) moving on from the demolished Sanctuary towards a truce with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her trash heap hipsters, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) grapples with a decision over what to do with the Jesus’ (Tom Payne) captives. Over at the ASZ, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) hit the road to scope out the condition of the Sanctuary and find themselves in an explosive situation while Carol (Melissa McBride) has her hands full with a mopey King who’s lost faith in his role as a leader.
Rick and His Trash Heap Hipster Problem
It seems like we’ve seen every angle of this Sanctuary shoot out we could possibly want. From Rick to Negan to the no name Sanctuary workers, we’ve relived that ambush for six weeks and now we’re FINALLY starting to see some progress. In letters sent to all three communities, Rick, Carol and Maggie bring each other up to speed on the battles and their casualties. Maggie talks about Jesus’ captives and Carol relays the bad news that only she, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) made it out of the fight alive. Rick claims they are closer than ever to winning the war against the Saviors, but the final piece of his coop de gras is in the hands of Jadis, the leader of the garbage people and the community Rick wanders into after that bizarre helicopter sighting from last week.
Why Rick thought the backstabbing Jadis would jump at the chance to help him finish off Negan is beyond understanding, but the overly optimistic Grimes gives it his best shot. He approaches the naked woman who’s making a wire sculpture among the trash heap and shows her the polaroid’s he took of the Saviors they killed. He tries convincing her that the Sanctuary has fallen and it’s surrounded by herds of walkers. The people inside can’t leave in fear of being shot by Rick’s crew and if they even made it passed the bullets they would still have to deal with a thousand or so hungry walkers. He offers Jadis a chance to join him and warns her that if she doesn’t comply, his soldiers will do to her people what they just did to Negan’s. She doesn’t even take a minute to ponder his offer when she orders her guards to lock Rick up in a shipping container.
The King Has Fallen
“Not one of us will fall,” words that haunt King Ezekiel now that he’s lost all his soldiers and his beloved tiger Shiva. After a day of hiding in the community’s theater, Carol can’t take it anymore and approaches the disillusioned King in hopes of pulling him out of his funk. She gives him an epic pep talk, reminding him that he was the inspiration for his people to build the Kingdom and they owe him everything. Carol thinks the Kingdomers need that inspiration now more than ever and he’s the only one that can give it to them. Unfortunately, Ezekiel feels guilty over leading his people to their deaths and blames it on the fact he isn’t a King – he’s just a man that made a terrible mistake. Broken and wrapped in Shiva’s chains, he tells Carol she should lead the Kingdom. While she would make a good Queen, she knows the role belongs to him. Carol changes the subject and asks him why he kept coming to the farmhouse when she always told him she wanted to be left alone. At first, he claims it was to make sure she was Ok, but she proved time and again she can handle herself. Carol doesn’t buy that answer. Ezekiel finally admits that he couldn’t stay away because Carol is real and she made him feel real or at least something other than the fictional character he plays. She smiles and gets a little teary and tells him that he feels real to her and his people, too. She goes on to explain that she’s survived this long by playing a part – a part she was accustomed to playing long before the apocalypse and now it’s become who she is. She asks Ezekiel to be the King and even if he doesn’t feel regal, he should try and fake it. Carol’s convincing with her soft tone and dewy eyes, but in the end Ezekiel declines the crown. He no longer has the strength to play the role of the King as he couldn’t save Shiva and he can’t save his people. Carol has her work cut out for her and it doesn’t help that the woman is a child magnet. Henry (Macsen Lintz), who’s full of anger over the Saviors killing his brother, starts following Carol around until she begrudgingly agrees to let him have a gun and tag along. If Henry knew Carol’s history with kids he might skip the acorn cookies and weapons training, but he wants vengeance and will risk looking at the flowers to get it.
The Widow is in Charge
Carol isn’t the only woman with her hands full of difficult men. Maggie is dealing with Jesus’ bleeding-heart rescues and a choice about what to do with the remaining Saviors. After Aaron (Ross Marquand) comes back with Savior baby Grace and an update on the Sanctuary, Maggie catches Jesus passing out food to the prisoners. Angry, she asks why he would waste their food on their enemies, but Jesus (who’s slowly becoming his namesake) thinks mercy is the right way to handle the Saviors. Besides, they all must live together once Negan is dealt with. Maggie agrees, but reminds him that their food is limited and when it runs out and their people are starving will he still feel right in his decision to feed the Saviors?
With Maggie in charge and debating all her prisoner options, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) offers her some free Savior advice. The former Hilltop leader tries convincing Maggie that the Saviors would kill them all if given the chance. As night falls, the captives worry that Maggie listened to Gregory and the hammering sounds they hear in the distance are Hilltoppers constructing their gallows. Maggie isn’t clueless. She knows these Saviors might be her only bargaining chip if things don’t go their way. So, in the morning, she herds the prisoners into a sectioned off field in the community. They’re sandwiched between two barbed wire fences like a holding cell and she promises to feed them and treat them humanely unless they give her a reason not to. She also lets Gregory know that he was right about letting untrustworthy people inside their walls and so she orders some community members to throw him in with the Saviors. He freaks and struggles when they grab him and the men rough Gregory up before tossing him into the pen, bloody and afraid. Most of the prisoners agree to not stir up any trouble except for the mouthy Savior Jared (Joshua Mikel) who tries to grab a Hilltopper’s gun and forces Maggie to bash him in the head with the butt of her rifle. Later, Jared tries to cut the ropes around his wrist with a rock, but another prisoner named Dillon (Callan McAuliffe) stops him before the rogue Savior gets any more of them killed.
After the prisoners are locked in for the night, Aaron talks to Maggie about his grief over Eric’s death while she comforts baby Grace. Jesus interrupts their talk to thank her for the kindness she showed the prisoners, but Maggie didn’t let them in because of her big heart. She tells Jesus they are bargaining chips and when they’re no longer useful they’re dead.
With Rick sending word about the fall of the Sanctuary, Michonne and Rosita decide to go see it for themselves. Ignoring their orders to stay behind at the ASZ, the two women hit the road and only stop when they hear loud music blasting from the woods off the main road. They decide to investigate and stumble upon a building with two saviors, a man and a woman, rigging a truck with a wall of speakers. Michonne and Rosita overhear their plans to use the speakers to lure the walkers away from the Sanctuary. Michonne, still recovering from that fight with Jadis’ group, accidently alerts the Saviors of their presence and a fight ensues. She takes on the female Savior Zia (Ciera Payton) and it’s a messy fight and Zia winds up escaping when Rosita blasts her partner Leo (Adam Cronan) with a rocket launcher she found in the building! Luckily, Savior Zia doesn’t get far because as she’s pulling away in the truck of speakers, Daryl (Norman Reedus) smashes a big rig directly into the wall of sound and finishes her off with a bullet. Tara (Alanna Masterson) was also in the demolition derby truck and, after a few hellos, all four head towards the Sanctuary to gawk at its destruction and finally put their minds at ease.
Michonne and Rosita aren’t the only ones breaking Rick’s orders. Carl (Chandler Riggs) left the ASZ to search for Siddiq (Avi Nash), the man at the gas station he briefly met at the start of the season. After walking through the woods with bags of food and water, Carl finds Siddiq killing walkers. Carl cautiously approaches and offers him the supplies, but Siddiq is confused since Rick shot at him when he asked for help. Carl admits that he and his father don’t always agree and after hearing Siddiq talk about his mother’s lessons of helping others, Carl had hope that Siddiq was a decent man. Young Grimes decides to ask his new friend his father’s favorite two questions; how many walkers have you killed and how many people? Siddiq admits he’s killed over 300 walkers because his mother thought it was the only way to release them from their cursed zombie life. He sees it as an act of kindness and Carl, who was taught kindness by his mother, relates to Siddiq’s reasoning. As for humans, he’s not the murdering type but does admit to killing someone as they were being torn apart by walkers. Carl is impressed and it’s not like he has a lot of male friends his own age. So, he offers the young man a place in their community. He’s also hoping that if he’s right and Siddiq is trust worthy, Rick will see that some people are worth saving.
The episode closes with the communities divided over the fate of their enemies and a choice between mercy and wrath. Some of Rick’s crew plan on killing every Savior they find while others, like Carl and Jesus, have hope that humanity will overcome their violent existence and start building a world that’s safe for everyone. Time will tell, but with Rick naked and locked in Jadis’ shipping container and Negan back at the Sanctuary gearing up his troops, it’s anyone’s guess how this war will end. One thing is for certain, the men have had their time in the driver’s seat nad it’s about time they pass the reigns. When it comes to the ladies of “The Walking Dead,” Beyoncé said it best, “Who run the world? GIRLS!”