… or When Life Gives you Zombies, Make Pink Cookies.
The pantry may be bare, Walking Dead fans, but Carol’s baking prowess knows no bounds. Alexandria needs cookies, and cookies they shall have! With a little foraging and ingenuity, she puts Betty Crocker to shame and delivers her acorn and beet wares to those awaiting the return of Rick and the rest.
The RV pulls up, and Rick informs Sasha and Aaron that they have procured enough provisions to stock the pantry for a month. This is the good news. Next, he asks that a meeting in the church be arranged. He doesn’t say why, until Carol asks. Rick tells her they’ve got a fight on their hands. This is the bad news.
But it’s no surprise! The season is more than half over, we know the showdown with Negan is on the horizon, and with only four episodes left after this one, it’s time to get on with it! All of this happy sh-t has gone on long enough. The time for strife is NOW!
While contemplating the bad news, Carol looks down at the remainder of her pink cookies and up at the gray clouds in the sky. Morgan approaches her and wants to know why his secret Wolf project has yet to be spilled to Rick and the rest. He implies her silence makes her equally responsible for his stupid actions. This is completely ridiculous, Morgan! Carol dismisses him and walks off. As she passes by the grave of young Sam, we see a cookie left next to his “headstone.”
OK … Morgan … ever since you lost your sh-t, you’ve been attempting assisted suicide, either by outright requesting it … “Kill me!” (ugh, that whole episode will be burned on my brain for eternity) … or by doing moronic things that make people (including viewers) want to kill you. Maybe you should try telling on yourself at the upcoming church meeting. I know there will be weapons present and more than one or two people you’ve pissed off willing to put you out of your personal misery.
But, you won’t. You’ll continue to be ‘that guy’ … even though you know your whole ‘all life is precious’ mantra has yet to prove itself even remotely valid under the current circumstances, you will continue to uphold it. Have you thought about how many innocent people have died because of you and your mantra? Why have you not been eaten yet???
So yeah, the meeting at the church. Rick explains the situation to the entire group. In order to protect themselves and reap the benefits of Hilltop, they all have to work together to obliterate Negan and the Saviors without warning. There is no other option that will work. Negan will never be satisfied, and eventually, he will come down on both Hilltop and Alexandria if given the chance. Rick wants consensus from the group to initiate the attack … to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes a problem.
As the camera pans over the faces in the church, they look concerned, but even Father Gabe appears to understand that Rick’s plan is the best plan they have. And then Morgan opens his yap.
Present Negan with a choice.
Are you kidding me? You know when kids started becoming total assholes? When that whole “giving kids choices” cushy parenting thing took off. My mom tried that out once or twice. “Your room is a mess. You can choose to clean it and go outside, or spend the rest of the day in your messy room.” Guess what I did?
It was much more effective when my mother “cleaned” it for me. I came home from school one day to find ALL of my sh-t gone. She bagged up my crap and hid it for a week. I lost my mind. Finally, after borrowing clothing from friends and crying a lot, my mother returned my stuff. She promised me the next time, it WOULD be thrown out. I knew she meant business. Choices … pfffft.
It’s pretty apparent that everyone is uber-stressed out about the whole situation — even Carol is walking around smoking cigarettes — but they all know negotiation with Negan is out of the question. They have to mentally prepare for the inevitable.
Carol runs into Tobin while she’s out for a smoke. They talk. He tells Carol she can do things that terrify him … because she’s a mom … she’s been Alexandria’s mom since she showed up. It reignites something within her. They share her smoke … and a kiss. Didn’t see that coming.
But I did see Abraham walking out on Rosita coming. She finds him packing his bags. Turns out, she’s not the last woman on Earth. He leaves her in tears with very little explanation. Since she will be joining the group to raid Negan, I hope this leaves her angry and focused instead of emotionally checked-out. Her skills will be necessary.
Elsewhere, Andy, a guy from Hilltop, is drawing out a map of Negan’s compound based on what he remembers. He doesn’t know how many people occupy the compound, but he does have an idea of where the armory might be if there is one. The little information he provides is better than no information at all. It will help.
Andy says there’s no way in without drawing attention, but Rick begs to differ. He believes they’ll be able to walk right through the door … with Gregory’s head. It’s what Negan wants. I wonder how they’re going to get Gregory to give up his head? Based on his selfish nature thus far, I don’t think he’ll be willing.
The next day, the caravan heads toward Negan’s compound. They make a pit-stop and lay on the horns for a moment. I’m not sure what’s going on, but Rick and Father Gabe have an entertaining exchange. Father Gabe, now toting a rifle, expresses his willingness to do all he can. Rick asks why he’s still dressed for preaching. Gabe says it’s because it’s who he is (or was) … and also a great way of hiding in the dark. Rick slaps him on the shoulder … and it’s genuine.
Carol, smoking again, looks at Maggie with concern.
In the woods, Glenn and Heath are killing walkers. We find out why they stopped. They’re looking for walkers that resemble Gregory. Now I get it. As they sort through their options, they discuss what it will be like to kill actual living humans, as neither has had to do such a thing yet. I never thought about it, but yeah … I don’t recall Glenn killing anyone who wasn’t already dead. I seriously hope this isn’t some foreshadowing of yet another possible Glenn death. My nerves are shot.
The group reunites after a few hours, and Carol confronts Rick about Maggie’s involvement. She shouldn’t be with them, but Rick says she’s there to guard things while they invade the compound. Carol insists Maggie not be left alone — that she stay behind with Maggie. Rick begins to protest, but Carol always gets her way. I assume this will somehow end up badly.
This show has made me incredibly negative.
Now! Time to pick heads!
Jesus, Andy and Rick look at their three best choices. Jesus says the one in the middle is pretty good … except for the nose. Rick fixes it by grabbing the head and punching it a few times. This causes some discomfort for Andy. When Rick questions him, Andy says, “The Saviors, they’re scary, but this prick’s got nothin’ on you.” He walks away disturbed. I laugh and feel some faith return, though I know it will be short-lived.
In the wee hours, Andy pulls up to the compound to begin the siege. The guards stop him, of course, but he produces the decoy head. The guards are complete douchebags, and for a few minutes, I am POSITIVE they aren’t going to buy it … but they do! One goon goes inside to get captive Craig, and the other starts whistling, “Happy Birthday To You.” Daryl quickly slits his throat. Goon #1 gets it when he returns with Craig.
Two down … ? more to go.
The group pours in like Ninjas. It’s ON! I will now spend the remainder of the episode chewing off the nails I’ve grown back over the past few weeks.
First on the agenda … find the arsenal. This leads to a lot of door opening and sleeping-guy murdering. There is a lot of sneaky head stabbing.
Heath and Glenn open the door to a room where two sleeping men lie. Neither is excited about what must be done. Glenn goes first. It’s difficult, but he manages. Heath, on the other hand, cannot bring himself to do the deed. Glenn takes care of it, and when he is finished, they notice a collage of Polaroids on the wall. Each photo is a ‘trophy’ … grisly images of murdered innocents. This changes everything.
Sasha and Abraham come upon a locked door … the armory. As Sasha tries to break in, they are discovered, and before they can kill the bastard that finds them, he has enough time to sound an alarm. Now it’s really on.
Outside, Carol hears the alarm and immediately springs to action. She tells Maggie to stay behind … yeah right.
Tara, Father Gabe, and Jesus also hear the alarm. Jesus was supposed to remain hidden so as to not blow their cover. Tara tells him to return to Hilltop with Andy and Craig. Jesus chooses to stay, pulls a mask over his face and assures Tara he will not be seen. I totally believe him. He’s slicker than snot on a doorknob.
Inside, it’s a battle of epic proportions. Bullets spray nonstop. Scenes flash from blasting enemies to blasting into the armory. Heath and Glenn access the armory just in time. They grab new weapons and fire through the door until they’re out of ammo. Hearing nothing, they open the door and see a pile of bodies. It appears they have gained the upper-hand.
Except for one guy, who is not quite dead. He raises a pistol and aims at Heath and Glenn, neither of whom are prepared to deal with him. Thank goodness Jesus is watching over them. BLAMMO! “This is the next world.”
Outside, Father Gabe comes upon a wounded Neganite. He calmly walks up on the man, locked and loaded. The short sermon Father Gabe gives before blowing the guy’s head off makes me think of Jules Winnfield … just a tiny bit. He has suddenly become cool in my book. Amen.
All is quiet, and the group exits the compound. Dawn has broken. They have all lived to fight another day. Peaceful (but haunting) music plays. This is a sure sign that we are about to be horribly disappointed.
Members of the group begin to disburse and head back to Alexandria. There are hugs, handshakes and smiles.
AND THEN THERE’S MORGAN WELDING SOMETHING!!! What the hell is he doing with a welder, and why wasn’t he assigned a babysitter in their absence??? COME ON!!!
But worse than that, it ain’t over at the compound. Michonne looks pensive, and when Rick asks her what’s up, she says she wonders which one was Negan … just as those words leave her lips, a motorcycle … Daryl’s … comes blasting out of the compound. He immediately shoots the rider, jumps on him and questions how he got the bike.
In an instant, all guns are pointed on this dude … but they are quickly lowered when a female voice comes from a walkie he had been holding. Rick grabs the walkie and suggests the voice come out for a chat. He is informed there will be a chat, but that no one will be coming out. Inside, they have “a Carol and a Maggie.”
SO WE GOT THAT GOING FOR US!
Now for your comments!
- What is Morgan welding? I hope like hell it’s a cage for himself.
- Did the compound break-in seem a little too easy, or is it just me?
- The group seemed confident about clearing the compound, so where’s this voice coming from? It’s gotta be pretty damn close to know the exact weapon Rick’s holding.
- Did you notice that the song playing at the end said something about keeping demons on a leash when the scene flipped to Morgan and his welding project?
- I saw Jesus come out of the compound, but failed to see him after that … soooo … yeah. Did I miss something?
New episodes of The Walking Dead premiere Sundays at 9/8CT on AMC.