Let’s be honest: rebuilding a civil, fruitful society in the wake of a bloody war isn’t easy, even without the added menace of reanimated corpses in the mix. So it’s no surprise that this season of The Walking Dead finds Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew struggling with the teamwork that makes the dreamwork.
The Sunday, October 14, episode saw three separate communities — the Hilltop, Alexandria, and the Saviors — working to build bridges, by, uh, building a literal bridge. (No subtle metaphors here, folks.) But with resources in short supply, tensions running high and the former acolytes of a certain bat-wielding sociopath refusing to play well with others, things were bound to get worse before they got better.
Mercy From Maggie
As the episode opened, Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) decision to execute Gregory was still weighing heavily on Michonne (Danai Gurira), who wanted to see the communities unite under a more restorative system of justice. With her encouragement, Maggie made a series of tough choices: to supply food to the Saviors despite the disappearance en route of their last shipment of ethanol and to release Earl from prison and into supervised work duty after his attempt to take her life. As for Gregory, however, she had no regrets: “Some people can’t be redeemed.” (Honestly, she’s not wrong.)
Romance In the Air
Meanwhile, the post-war romances were blooming among members of various camps: Carol and Ezekiel, Jerry and Nabila and … Gabriel and Jadis?! Yep, that happened. After a brief flirtation, Jadis (now known as Ann, played by Pollyanna Macintosh) learned that Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) wasn’t the celibate sort of priest and leaped directly into his pants. So, at least some of the survivors were getting along! On the other hand…
Despite having some genuine good guys in their ranks, many of the Saviors spent this episode making trouble: going AWOL from the bridge, hogging the water and worst of all, shirking their duties during a key walker-herding phase of the project, resulting in tragedy when a horde of zombies descended and Aaron (Ross Marquand) ended up trapped and crushed under a log. Daryl (Norman Reedus) saved the day by dispatching the undead, but there was no hope for Aaron’s arm.
“I have to amputate,” said Enid (Katlyn Nacon), who is apparently a doctor now. While everyone came together in the end, it wasn’t quite happily-ever-after. A lone Savior, walking home, was taken out by an unknown assassin. That mysterious helicopter reappeared, hovering in the night sky. And in an Alexandria jail cell, a dusky-voiced, bearded Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) taunted Rick for his naive optimism.
“You’re not saving the world,” he sneered. “You’re just getting it ready for me.”
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.