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‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: That Heartbreaking Death Looks Like the First of Many

The bad news is, a minor-but-beloved character died on this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. The worse news is, it looks like he’s not going to be the only one.

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In an episode titled “Monsters,” various members of the Grimes Gang grappled with the eternal question — to kill or not to kill — while the Saviors showed no such ambivalence. The result was a gratuitous in-group forest fight and a heartbreaking loss for the good guys, as evidence continued to pile up that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has a mole in his ranks. Here’s everything that happened on Sunday, November 5, in zombie town.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Juan Gabriel Pareja as Morales on The Walking Dead.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Juan Gabriel Pareja as Morales on The Walking Dead.

What Happened to Eric?

After being shot in the abdomen last week, it looked like Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) might still pull through to fight another day. Under a tree away from the firefight, Aaron (Ross Marquand) examined his husband’s wound and expressed optimism that he’d survive. But when Eric urged Aaron to leave him and return to the fight, their emotional goodbye turned out to be their last. When all was said and done, Aaron came back to a bloodstained tree, an abandoned gun, and no sign of Eric — until he looked to the horizon, where a distant shambling member of the undead cut an awfully familiar silhouette. Aaron never caught up to the zombie, which means that you can, if you want to, invoke the “He Isn’t Dead Until We See a Body” clause of your viewership contract to stay hopeful … but realistically, Eric isn’t coming back. RIP, Eric.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones on The Walking Dead
Lennie James as Morgan Jones on The Walking Dead.

Shooting the Hostages

Meanwhile, Tara (Alanna Masterson), Morgan (Lennie James), and Jesus (Tom Payne) tied up their hostage Saviors with a clothesline and started perp walking them back to the Hilltop — an operation that predictably went pear-shaped as soon as a herd of zombies rolled down a hill into their midst. (Who knew the walking dead were such good tumblers?) One tied group, led by the Rat-Faced Prick who killed Benjamin last season, fled into the woods with Morgan in pursuit. But when he took aim to kill them, Jesus intervened yet again, leading to yet another altercation (really? must we?!) about whether the Saviors should or should not be shot. By the time the men were done punching each other, their hostages had escaped to who-knows-where. How many times does this have to happen before Jesus gets over his Savior complex?

What Does Negan Know?

When we last saw Rick, he was staring down the barrel of a gun held by Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja) — and as this episode kicked off, not much had changed. Morales was mostly unmoved by reconnecting with his fellow survivor; the realization that “the Widow” leading the uprising was Glenn’s pregnant wife was the only part that seemed to give him pause. But Morales won’t be making any future appearances on this series; Daryl (Norman Reedus) overhead the man’s villainous monologuing and dispatched him without hesitation — even though he, too, knew Morales back in the day.

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“I know who it was,” Daryl said. “Don’t matter. Not one little bit.”

After shooting their way out of the complex and handing off the building’s only survivor (last week’s Savior baby) to a freshly widowed Aaron, Rick and Daryl ended up alone — and here, the plot thickens. Earlier in this same episode, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) made his way back to the Hilltop and begged to be let in, which was mostly a pathetic spectacle but did include one ominous revelation: Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) knew what Rick was planning even before Gregory showed up. And those guns that Rick and Daryl were supposed to find? According to a stranded Savior (a.k.a. One Tree Hill‘s Lee Norris), they were moved to another compound. Someone knew they were coming, and that’s bad news — particularly for a certain melodramatic monarch of the apocalypse.

Khary Payton as Ezekiel on The Walking Dead
Khary Payton as Ezekiel on The Walking Dead

A Bad Day to Be the King

All episode long, King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) led his troops through the forest, advancing on the Saviors’ compound and gleefully declaring that not one of his people would die in this series of skirmishes. And for about 55 minutes of this The Walking Dead hour, he was right! …Until he wasn’t, at which point Zeke and his subjects learned an important lesson about not prematurely celebrating your victory in an open field where you’ll be like fish in a barrel for your surprisingly well-armed enemies. That’s case closed on the mystery of the missing guns; the big question now is whether any of the Kingdom’s people survived that shocking showdown.

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

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