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‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Tara Returns and We Meet a Bad-Ass Camp of Women Survivors

The Walking Dead's Tara returns
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler on 'The Walking Dead' Gene Page/AMC

Hey, remember Tara?

The Walking Dead finally did! With only three episodes to go before the mid-season break, the AMC drama checked in at last with its fierce, fist-bumping, tragically funny heroine on Sunday, November 27. It was an episode that pushed Tara’s survival instincts to their limit — not to mention Alanna Masterson‘s stamina. (The actress, whose recent absence from the show coincided with the birth of her first child, spent probably three-quarters of this episode running through the woods at full speed.) Here are the five biggest moments from the episode titled “Swear.”

Related: PHOTOS: TV's 10 Most Shocking Deaths of the 2015-2016 Season

A New Community

The episode opened with Tara in a curious scenario: washed up on a beach with a young woman and a little girl standing over her, arguing about whether or not to kill her. The little kid, a murderous fiend, yelled, “We’re supposed to! I want to!” Why? ‘Cause they’re members of Oceanside, an all-female community that lives by the sea, eats a lot of fish, and shoots strangers on sight — which Tara learned the hard way after playing dead and then following the older girl, Cyndie (Sydney Park), back to her camp, where she was immediately cornered and nearly killed by a group of gals with guns.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on ‘The Walking Dead’ AMC

Wait, What?

How did we get here? Don’t worry: That’s where this flashback comes in. Tara and Heath (Corey Hawkins) were on a scavenging mission that went sour when they accidentally upended a cement truck full of zombies. As they battled to save themselves and each other, Tara was pushed off a bridge and into a river, where the current carried her out to sea. And Heath? It looks like he got away …  although considering how The Walking Dead loves to toy with our emotions, we won’t be celebrating until there’s a confirmed sighting of his non-dead body on screen.

Melissa McBride as Carol on ‘The Walking Dead’ AMC

A Deal Gone Bad

After convincing her captors to spare her life and consider an alliance with her own community, Tara and two guides departed for Alexandria. Only what seemed like the start of a beautiful friendship actually turned out to be a slow march toward death, when it turned out that the women of Oceanside have a good reason to be mistrustful: They went into hiding after every one of their men, and every boy over the age of 10, was murdered by Negan’s goons. But once again, Cyndie saved the day: after tackling Tara’s would-be executioner, the young woman led her out of the woods — in exchange for a promise never to reveal the location of Oceanside to anyone, for any reason.

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead's 10 Most Shocking Deaths Ever!

A Sad Homecoming

Some time later, Tara strode up to the gates of Alexandria with a spring in her step and a bomb-ass pair of sunglasses on her face — and learned from a weeping Eugene about the deaths of Glenn, Abraham, and her own girlfriend, Denise (Merritt Wever, who took an arrow through the eyeball at the end of season 6). And so The Walking Dead‘s brief moment of levity gave way once again to pure, unmitigated despair. God, this season is depressing.

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead Cast: What They Look Like on the Red Carpet

Andrew Lincoln (right) as Rick on ‘The Walking Dead’ AMC

A Promise Kept

And yet, despite her heartbreak, Tara proved once again why she’s just too damn pure for this zombified world: when Rosita (Christian Serratos) begged for a lead on a place where she could get guns and ammo to avenge their friends’ deaths, Tara clearly recalled the well-stocked armory back at Oceanside … and said nothing about it. That kind of loyalty deserves a fist-bump.

The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET

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