One of the problems with The Walking Dead is that there is no spatial sense or sense of time. How far are Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, the Sanctuary and Oceanside from one another? In some episodes, it seems like just a few miles; in this episode, people seem to be driving for hours and hours and hours. And how long has this all been taking, this carrying out of Rick's plan against Negan and its subsequent breakdown? Days? Hours? Also, how long does it take to die of a zombie bite - one that doesn't rip your throat out but a flesh wound that merely introduces the virus into your bloodstream? Asking for a friend.
Rick stares down into the Sanctuary, stunned by the epic falling apart of his plan. At the first return of gunfire by the Saviors, Jadis and her garbage people cut and run and we never see them again for the rest of the episode. So they were super-helpful. Carol drives up, Jerry riding shotgun, and Rick dives into the car. The three of them talk over each other, expositing that (a) the Saviors got out and (b) the Saviors are going to hit back with a vengeance so they need to warn the other communities ASAP.
This is interspersed with a flashback to Carl telling Rick that they need to stop fighting and start working on how everyone is going to live in the future, after this shit with Negan is over.
Back at Alexandria, WTF Daryl, you don't even stick around to see if your plan worked? No, he didn't and he will be surprised to find out that no, it didn't, not really, since the Saviors got out. In a house, a weirdly shaky Carl is writing what looks like goodbye notes - of course, if Negan has his way, there won't be anyone around to read them. He has crap handwriting, btw. That night, Michonne catches him dropping food down into the sewer; he's got Sadiq stashed there. Then, they hear a pounding at the gate. Michonne: "They got out!" It's Negan, giving them three minutes before he huffs and puffs and blows their house down.
At the Kingdom, Ezekiel finally snaps out of his funk when the Saviors arrive and start throwing their weight around. He hides, sneaking around, and setting off a big explosion. The Saviors give chase, knowing that Negan wants his head on a pike. In the confusion, some of the Kingdom people start to fight back, which is particularly notable since none of those left are fighters. Carol directs the people on where to meet up outside and then she sees Ezekiel. He has Shiva's old chain in his hands and he smiles at Carol as he closes and locks the gates, himself inside with the Saviors. Carol's all, NO! And he tells her to save his people like she saved him. Then the Saviors come up and knock him unconscious. Luckily, Morgan is lurking there, outside the Kingdom's wall.
Out on the road, Maggie, Jesus and some Hilltop redshirts get ambushed. Maggie: "They got out!" One of the Hilltop redshirts gets shot and the Saviors throw their weight around, menacing and threatening. The Hilltoppers are finally allowed to return home and toe the line. When she gets back, Maggie calls one of the imprisoned Saviors out of the holding pen and, in front of a shocked Jesus, shoots him in the head. She orders him tossed out of the Hilltop with a message: WE HAVE 38 MORE. STAND DOWN. "We aren't even but it's a start." Then she starts planning for Hilltop to make the last stand against Negan.
In Alexandria, Carl has decided he is in charge and his plan is for everyone to run and hide in the sewers. His goal is to save lives for what comes later. Michonne protests that they can't just give their home up to Negan. Carl's all, no - all we have to do is survive the night. As Negan continues his countdown, Carl climbs up to the top of the wall and offers himself up: Kill me, if you have to punish someone, and leave everyone else alone. Negan's all, that's tempting but it's much less fun when you volunteer. So then Negan starts firing off grenades or RPGs or some such, exploding some of the houses. Carl drops back down and as the Alexandrians start to scatter, they toss around smoke bombs so that soon the town's streets are full of smoke. As Negan and his goons stroll through the town, Carl skulks around, unseen, heading for the sewers.
And on the back side of town, Daryl and some cohorts bust through the walls, with Dwight and some Saviors giving chase. The Alexandrians get out far enough and then set up their own ambush: Daryl, Michonne, Tara and Rosita with big ol' guns. There's a shootout, during which one of the Saviors realizes that Dwight betrayed them, then Daryl and his posse prevail, killing everyone but Dwight, who has gotten wounded. It looks touch and go for a moment, whether Daryl et als. will let him live but in the end, they scoop him up and take him with them, sneaking back into Alexandria and into the sewers, as Carl planned (except for Michonne - she won't go down there). Daryl does ask Dwight what happened, if what Daryl did allowed the Saviors to get out, but Dwight says that Eugene figured out how to get out. Which begs the question: with all the recent focus on Eugene, why didn't we get to see this brilliant idea?
Back at the Sanctuary, Eugene's conscience gets the better of him. He takes care of the guards (dosing them with laxative - heh) and gives Gabriel keys to a car just outside so the priest and the Hilltop doctor can get away. Amazed, Gabriel asks him to come with them but weird ol' Eugene just leaves them to it.
When Rick finally makes it back to Alexandria - seriously, where the fuck has he been? how long does it take to drive from the Sanctuary? - he goes to his house and starts yelling for Carl and Judith like a fucking lunatic. Negan is there, waiting for him, and the two of them have fisticuffs, Rick managing to dodge Lucille more often than not. Eventually, Rick gets himself tossed out a window and just makes a run for it.
Michonne finds him, out there on the smoky streets, and leads him down into the sewers. Everyone is there, sad and quiet, but safe for now. Rick glares at Dwight and Sadiq, is relieved to see Judith. He and Michonne go to Carl who for once is not wearing that STUPID FUCKING HAT. And then Carl pulls up his shirt and shows them the walker bite on his stomach. It's been there a while - hence the goodbye letters, hence the attempt to offer himself up to Negan since he's going to die anyway. Michonne falls to her knees (and now I'm thinking that's why everyone else is so sad and quiet too) and Rick just stares at his son, stricken.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
19 hours ago