‘The Walking Dead’: More — Or Less (RECAP)

Walking Dead Rick Michonne
Gene Page/AMC

[Spoiler Alert: Read on only if you’ve watched The Walking Dead: “Say Yes.”]

And here I thought scoring guns for Jadis and The Garbage Dwellers atop more stuff for the Saviors would be stressful. Turns out, it’s the sexiest thing ever. Or maybe this is the only alone time Rick and Michonne have had in a while. In any case, they’ve set up Camp Sexy Times in a van in the woods from which they’re meeting their obligations and indulging their hormones with equal fervor.

An abandoned house yields a bit. A pair of Saviors practicing their chip shots and discussing Fat Joey are good for pretzels and the batteries needed to keep the walkie alive (we don’t find out if the golfers lived). Not much in the way of guns, but Michonne is ready to head for home anyway. Not Rick. Sexy camping suits him. Just a few days more, he pleads. Say yes, Michonne. Michonne says yes. (It takes a village, Carl and Judith. Daddy’s got stuff — and his lady — to do.)

We cut away for a little Alexandria time comprised of Rosita sewing up her own face and telling Tara that they’ll never, ever, ever find enough Garbage People guns, even if they search for a year. Except Tara knows how wrong Rosita is — unless Tara keeps her great big secret. For now, she tells Rosita to buck up and save the ’tude for battle.

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Speaking of bucks, back at Camp Sexy Times, Michonne spots a deer. Apparently Rick owes her some venison from “that time at the gate,” so they set off after the critter and end up at the worst carnival ever. There are rides and games and prizes — and every last attendee is super dead. “Something serious happened here … a long time ago,” Michonne observes, and at first I think it might explain the fate of the Oceanside men. But there are ladies here, too, so so much for that. Rick and Michonne hop up on a soggy rooftop to have a better look.

The walkers are a mix of soldiers and civilians. The soldiers are still wearing their guns, so hurray (I guess never mind what horror caused soldiers who are still wearing their guns to expire, anyway). It’s the firepower motherlode they need and giant teddies, too! Let’s go git it! OK, let’s fall through the dilapidated roof first — and find that utterly hilarious, because a) we magically landed on a mattress and b) said mattress is surrounded by a veritable warehouse of food. So many wins at the carnival!

On a solo mission, Rosita comes upon a squirt gun and the kind of walker that almost makes up for how much of a backseat the walkers have taken in this show. And that’s about it. Returning home crabbier than she left, she decides to pick on Gabriel. She should never have listened to him. Should have killed Negan just like she planned. Yeah, she’d probably be dead, too, but Eugene would still be here (Don’t you worry about Big E a bit, Rosita. He’s juuuuust fine.) Olivia would be here, too. And Spencer — useful guy that he was.

Yes, Rosita, that’s exactly what would have happened. One unobstructed shot and everyone in the Sanctuary would throw down their weapons and celebrate like Whos in a Grinchless Whoville, I’m sure of it. Grief or no grief, can enough hubris fit into that snotty little body for her to possibly believe it? Carl, I get. He’s a teenage hormone case. But Rosita? You’ve never gone it alone, sweets. Not ever. Your toughness comes in numbers and you’re old enough to know it. In any case, Gabriel tells her that Alexandria still needs her, so if it’s his fault she’s still alive he’s cool with that. What she does with that life is all on her though — and yelling at a fool in a clerical collar seems like poor use of time. He has no idea.

Over a little candlelit dinner of tasty rations, Michonne makes a list. Step one: Get the guns. Step two: Secure Jadis’ cooperation. Step three: Kill Negan and whomever gets in the way of that (<— that, Rosita). Step four … is what? When Negan’s gone, they’ll need a new world order — and with a bunch of cooks in a newly Negan-less kitchen, who’s way is it? Rick says everyone will figure it out together. Heh. Dude, with Ezekiel and Jadis in the mix, even you can’t believe that. We know it’s not going to be Gregory’s, but after that, all bets are off. Whatever the case, Rick doesn’t want to be the leader. He’d be it if he wanted to. But he doesn’t want to. On the other hand, maybe they could do it together. Like Mr and Mrs. President. Say yes, Michonne. Michonne says yes again. To him, and five more bags of reconstituted goodness.

Rick takes advantage of her good mood to ask for one more one more day on the savenge. WHAT KIND OF FATHER ARE YOU, MAN?! One with some tasty chili and mac-and-cheese … together! And, apparently, a twinge of conscience, after all. When Michonne is deep in a full-belly sleep, her man buries his head in his hands.

Oh hey, Judith. Tara’s not your mommy. But at least she’s half-heartedly playing with the little bugger, mostly using the time to score an impartial sounding board who only knows a dozen words — none of them “Hey, Dad, Tara knows where to get some guns.” She hands the tot the bracelet Oceanside Cyndie gave her way back when and tells her all about the lady-town in the woods. When someone saves your life, it has to mean something, right, little child? You don’t just turn around and cost them theirs — which is totally what’s going to happen if she spills the beans about them. Because the ladies won’t join the collective fight — even if it is for the best. They will fight back. And their lives are worth as much as anyone’s, right? Judith, who has gotten her hands on a fruit snack does not have an opinion on any of this. She’s only seen about 12 people in her whole entire life.

Time for Rick and Michonne to harvest the carnival. It starts out fine until Sargent Windshield and Corporal Spikeshooter land them trapped in a car. No worries. It has a sun roof from which to escape. And the horde that surrounds them seems more interested in tickling their ankles than yanking them down and eating them up. Richonne makes effective use of carnival-based tools (anyone else besides me have Glenn flashbacks whenever they see a dumpster?) to thin the herd — until Rick spots the deer and decides that venison evensies trumps getting the guns. There’s a crap-ton of chili-mac right over there, Rick. Stay on task.

No venison for Michonne. The walkers call dibs on the deer just as Rick tumbles from his Ferris wheel perch. Thing is, Michonne didn’t see the livestock — just her lover nosediving into the herd. And when she sees the walkers feasting on a bloody mess, she leaps right in there and saves her man goes woozy and catatonic. Love is Michonne’s kryptonite. Or possibly van sex. Only Rick rematerializing and tossing her her katana (50,000 cheese points for that one) restores his lady’s walker-killing superpowers, if not her stiff upper lip. Sobbing, she leaps into his arms — and breaks down again when they finish the slow, somber work of harvesting all the guns amid the ruin of military uniforms. It gives Rick the feels.

The drive back to Alexandria is decidedly less spirited. Again, Rick begs for a few more days, even though Michonne is slumped against the passenger-side window, on her last emotional leg. Then, seeing his lady’s despair, he confesses his own weakness. Despite all the exercise, he hasn’t been sleeping for thinking about what they’ve lost. Who they’ve lost. And all the guns and supplies in the world can’t fix any of it. But surrendering isn’t a life. Fighting for a future — oh, good, he does still remember Judith and the other fatherless baby — is what life is all about. Yes, they can lose their lives. They can too lose each other, because it’s not about individuals. It’s about creating a future, no matter who survives to do that.

Back in Garbage Town, Rick speaks in full sentences, Jadis and Tamiel cherish brevity and there’s a dribble of discord about who should clean the guns. The haul yielded 63 of them. Four words for you, Mr. Grimes: “No. Need nearly twice.” Fine, crabby lady, then they’re taking 10 of them back to go find the “nearly twice.” Let the negotiations begin. Her: Five. Him: Ten. Her: Six. Him: Ten. Her: Nine … and the return of the yard-decoration cat. Jesus. Fifteen square miles of junk and she knows the cat is missing? This is not a woman to mess with. Rick does anyway. He’s keeping 20 guns, the damned cat, they will fight together and she will say yes. Lo and behold, she does.

Back home, Rick is wondering why Rosita ditched her shift on the wall, when Tara tracks him down.

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And Rosita? She’s at Hilltop. Turns out she feels like buddying up with Sasha after all. She hands Sasha one of the military guns, agrees to let her take “the shot” and says it’s time to bypass Rick and the gang’s excuses where Negan is concerned. They agree it’s a one-way ticket for both, but vengeance will be theirs. And for the others? I guess, their problem to solve.

Two familiar TWD themes in this episode — the power of hope for a future and the power of one over many. Michonne finally asked it for all us: Even if they do take Negan down, then what? Carol knows this, too. Anyone who has reached adulthood knows that evil is a part of daily life, no matter how hard you try to pack your life with only good. There are lovers and loners and fighters and schemers and a new Governor, a new Negan is always around the corner. It’s how you react that’s the thing. Maybe that’s what drives Sasha and Rosita to potentially unleash a whole new Armageddon that they don’t plan to be around to see. The agony of one over the lives of many. It’s almost certainly what drives Michonne and Rick and Daryl and Maggie to fight on. And for Gabriel and Tara to do how they do. The love of many over the agony of one — whether the world ends tomorrow or never.

The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC