First, the bad news: Negan, the big, bad villain of this season’s The Walking Dead, didn’t make his much-hoped-for first appearance on the Sunday, March 6, episode.
The good news is, we met some of his friends, and it was a brutal, bloody reminder of just how deadly Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his pals can be when they put their minds to it. After securing a near-unanimous vote to hunt down and kill the Saviors before they showed up at Alexandria’s gates, the group planned and executed a near-perfect tactical takedown of the rival group.
The other bad news: Near-perfect isn’t the same as actually perfect. Here’s how it went down.
Carol Gets Busy in the Kitchen … and Elsewhere
If you’ve been missing Carol (Melissa McBride) these past few weeks, you’ll be delighted to know that she’s still a lean, mean, zombie-killing, cookie-baking machine. After foraging for acorns to grind up for flour, Alexandria’s housewife with a double life whipped up a big batch of baked goods for everyone in town — except Morgan (Lennie James), for obvious reasons. (She might be keeping secret his little mishap with the Wolf, but cookies are a bridge too far.)
Who did get a cookie? Poor, dead Sam, whose death is definitely weighing on Carol’s conscience — albeit not heavily enough that she counted him on the list of people she’d killed since the world ended. And after going out for a midnight walk on the eve of the mission, Carol ran into Tobin (Jason Douglas) and ended up smooching him. That sound you hear is the outraged screaming of Caryl shippers everywhere.
The Countdown Begins
It didn’t take long for Rick to sell the townspeople on taking the fight to Negan, as he explained that their options were pretty much either “kill” or “be killed.” With everyone (except peacenik Morgan) on board with the kill-‘em-all plan, and the hours ticking away until the big confrontation, the Alexandrites got busy getting their affairs in order.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) resolved to both go and fight. Tara (Alanna Masterson) confessed her love to Denise (Merritt Wever). Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) broke up with Rosita (Christian Serratos) — and botched the exit interview just as badly as we’d hoped he would. (Pro tip: Your “it’s not you, it’s me” speech should never, ever, under any circumstances include the word “dingleberries.”)
And Rick? Rick punched a decapitated zombie head in the face. But as you will see, he had a good reason.
Showtime at the Saviors' HQ
Armed with a rough blueprint of Savior Central and the punched-up head (which looked enough like Hilltop colony leader Gregory to fool Negan’s guards), Rick led Alexandria’s best fighters to the gates under cover of darkness. They made quick, vicious work of the two guards, and even quicker, more vicious work of many sleeping people inside before one man woke up and sounded the alarm. It wasn’t long before the group was engaged in an out-and-out firefight inside the Saviors’ compound, culminating in a bullet-riddled climax as Glenn and Heath (Corey Hawkins) found their enemies’ arsenal and used it against them.
So, how did it all turn out? Keeping in mind that the goal was to murder as many people in cold blood as possible … um, pretty well! In fact, at sunup, it seemed like the Grimes gang had left nobody alive.
But things aren’t always what they seem, which the group discovered when a last survivor emerged on a motorcycle. They shot him down and grabbed him, when there was a squawk of static from his belt. The surviving Savior had a walkie-talkie, and on the other end, a woman’s voice demanded that Rick and his friends drop their weapons.
"We’ve got a Carol and a Maggie," the voice said. "We think that’s something you might want to chat about."
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.
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