The cold open gives us an Impressionistic view of a roadside showdown in which Carol ran into trouble. We know it was Carol because of the rosary sitting in a puddle of blood. We don't know what happened or who survived. Backing up a little, the next scene shows Carol packing up food and gear in anticipation of her departure from Alexandria. Tobin comes in and it's literally blah-blah-blah as the sound fades out during his talking to her, showing her displacement. Later that night, she slips from their bed, grabs her pack and leaves.
Here's what I'm not recapping: Rick and Michonne snuggling together in bed because ick. Except that they both seem happy and they both are all, we're not losing this. So of course they will.
Things get a little confusing for a bit because Daryl hops on his motorcycle and leaves, apparently to revenge Denise's murder, around the same time that it's discovered that Carol is gone. Glen, Michonne and Rosita take off after Daryl and Rick and Morgan take off after Carol. Because when two of your best fighters leave, it's a REALLY good idea for five of your other best fighters to leave too. People are making extremely bad decisions here and, quite frankly, not acting the way they should be acting, given what we know about these people.
Carol drives down a stretch of road in one of the cars that had been placed outside Alexandria's gates (it's covered in spikes as an anti-zombie precaution). She comes up to a pickup truck carrying five men, well-armed with guns and spears. They shoot out her tires and the stand-off begins. They know she's from Alexandria. She figures that they are Saviors. They are menacing and Carol starts to shake and tremble, on the verge of another panic attack. She begs them not to let this devolve into violence - no one needs to die today - but the men sense weakness and move towards her, menacing. And then she shoots them all with the semi-automatic she has hidden inside the sleeve of her oversized barn coat. She doesn't get them all, however, and the driver lunges out of the truck, shooting back at her. She hides behind her car and when he gets close enough, impales him on one of the spikes. Then she takes his gun and goes to check on the others. One man is hiding and when she gets closer, he lunges at her with a knife. Their struggle is offscreen and there's a gunshot.
Back in Alexandria, Maggie looks tired but she is working on getting the town prepped for when the Saviors attack. She hides guns and other stuff. Enid tells her to sit and rest, "put your feet up and eat some pickles," and she'll take Maggie's guard shift on the wall.
Rick and Morgan drive and talk, looking for Carol. Blah blah blah.
Back at the aftermath of the roadside massacre, the passenger in the truck is still alive, although shot in the shoulder. He gets out to survey the damage. The man who attacked Carol with the gun is lying on the road, bleeding from a massive stomach wound. The passenger tells him to shush and then walks off. In the distance, on the road, there's a figure but it's too far away to tell whether it's Carol or just some wandering zombie.
Rick and Morgan get to the roadside massacre. When that gutshot man can't tell them anything useful, Rick just puts his knife through his skull. They put down a zombie who is feeding on the man Carol impaled. Rick shakes his head, admiringly. "I'm proud of her. She took four of them down. That woman, she's a force of nature." Morgan just looks weary at all the humans killing other humans. Bless his heart but he sure does seem naive to think that this world is going to get any better. He and Rick find a trail leading off through the fields. There's some blood and they decide to follow it, just in case it's a wounded Carol. Or a zombie Carol who needs to be put down. Rick notes that these dead Saviors are awfully close to Alexandria: "We didn't end it." No, notes Morgan, "we started something." Unbeknownst to them, the shoulder-shot passenger comes out of his hiding place and follows them.
In the other storyline, Glen, Michonne and Rosita have gone back to the train tracks where Denise died. They find Daryl's motorcycle, hidden in the underbrush. Rosita thinks that maybe they should just let him do what they want but Glen's not having any of it, saying that Daryl's going to get himself killed. They catch up with him after a while. He's furious, with himself: for not having killed Dwight out in the burned forest. Glen pleads with him to return to Alexandria so they can figure things out. "It's gonna go wrong out here." Michonne also asks him to go back but Daryl can't/won't. He continues off along into the woods, Rosita trailing after him. Glen and Michonne don't follow, but decide to head back, regroup. But instead of moving swiftly and with purpose, they stop in a clearing for a heart-to-heart and before long, they are captured by Dwight and a group of Saviors. Why has everyone decided to not use their brains today?
Rick and Morgan find a female zombie who looks a little like Carol. It's isn't her though and they put it down without incident. They continue on through pastureland to a barn. There's a small swarm of zombies there, and a man who seems to be fighting them. He hides from Rick and Morgan, though, telling them that he's just out here looking for his horse, but there's a bunch of walkers. While Rick and Morgan tangle with the zombies, the man runs off. It kind of looks like he's wearing body armor. Rick takes a shot at the man but Morgan gives him a shove and the bullet goes wide. It is my completely unfounded opinion that this is Negan and he has drawn the walkers here as an impediment to Rick and Morgan. Morgan's all, you didn't know who he was. Rick: I don't take chances anymore. Except that he's out here, looking for a woman who doesn't want to be found. Then Morgan tells Rick the story about how he saved that Wolf and the whole Carol/Denise/Wolf thing. "All life is precious ... [because I saved him, he saved Denise and then Denise] was there to save Carl. It's all a circle. Everything gets a return." He tells Rick to take the car and go home where he is needed. He says that he will keep looking for Carol and he will find her. Rick: "You're coming back." A statement, not a question. Morgan: "Yeah. But if I don't, don't come lookin'." He turns to go but first, Rick insists that he take a pistol. Morgan doesn't want to but he does.
When Rick gets back to Alexandria, he is a little concerned that Michonne, Glen, Rosita and Daryl are still out there. Nothing to panic about yet. Enid goes to check on Maggie and Maggie asks her to give her a haircut. She wants it short because she's got a lot to do and doesn't want anything getting in her way. Of course, right after she says that, she screams and drops to the floor, clutching her belly in pain.
Meanwhile, Glen and Michonne are bound and gagged at the Saviors' campfire. Daryl and Rosita sneak up, intending to save them. Glen spots them and struggles, trying to wave them off. That's because Dwight and another couple of Saviors are sneaking up behind them. "Hi, Daryl," says Dwight, as Rosita puts her hands up. As Daryl turns to face him, Dwight shoots him (from the way the gun was pointing, it looks like he shot Daryl in the shoulder and not the head, which is why I am not FREAKING OUT right now) and the screen goes black. Then Dwight says, "You'll be all right."
This fucking show. Does EVERYONE have to make really stupid decisions all at once? Carol: whose character has been painstakingly built over five seasons to make her into a total "force of nature" has completely flipflopped from out of nowhere, with no warning. All the best fighters rush off half-cocked, with no plan - what if Carol didn't want to come back, Rick and Morgan? what then? - leaving Alexandria to be defended only by Abraham, Maggie, Sasha and Carl. Glen and Michonne: yes, let's stand here in the middle of an unfamiliar forest and just TALK, instead of hightailing it back to the car. I know I'm echoing other reviewers when I say that with these last couple of episodes, it really seemed like the characters were doing things just because the show's writers wanted them to, and not acting from a place of character. Everything is being moved into place for next Sunday's season finale - in which we'll finally get to meet Negan, and it'll all be horrible. I shall have to start steeling myself now in order to get through 90 minutes of this mess.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
3 hours ago