'The Walking Dead' Episode 13: The Enemy Is Within (RECAP)
[Spoiler Alert: Do not read even a little tiny bit ahead unless you've watched the March 25 episode of The Walking Dead, "Do Not Send Us Astray." You have been warned.]
- Germ warfare is tuh-ragically real. And it's killing Carol's shot at a love life, too.
- Leaving a kid with murderous tendencies and a not-fully-developed brain alone with guns is dumb. Fatally dumb.
- Baby Heath Ledger—whose name is actually Alden, but too late for me now—is likely a good guy. And I think he might <3 Maggie.
- Morgan’s seeing things again. A serious ticked and dead Gavin to be exact.
- The spectral Gavin—who has his own staff—says Morgan knows what it is. He says that a lot.
- Rick may be a goner. Or, at the very least, his hand. Tara, too. Possibly others.
- And Maggie’s need for revenge just cost or saved a lot of people’s lives, depending on your perspective.
Let’s air this thing out.
We start with Morgan, who wages a mini-war with Ghostly Gavin in the woods. Morgan knows what it is. He was supposed to. Morgan swings his staff, but quickly realizes no one is there.
At this juncture, I'm not certain exactly what Morgan was supposed to do, but I'm guessing the "what it is" part takes us back to the midseason premiere when a still extant Gavin warned that Negan was unbeatable and so is this murderous world. At least the barter—lives for produce—kept the Hilltoppers safe.
No time to ponder it further, though. The chain of horns signaling the Saviors’ descent on Hilltop has begun and Morgan joins in. Back at Hilltop, Henry—whose staff still bears Gavin's blood—wants to trade up to a gun, but Ezekiel tells him his job is to stay indoors and “protect the others.”
But Henry's tasted blood now and he likes it. He needs to "help." Carol knows he can. “If you go out there, you’ll die,” she tells him. Or a bunch of other folks will, but we’ll get to his contribution to that stuff later.
Meanwhile, Dana, the resident doctor-type lady, is busting poor Siddiq’s chops. He's just a student. Has never done a surgery (um, yes, three, Siddiq corrects). Yeah, but no amputations.
Not only that, he's never fired a gun while holding down someone who hasn't been anesthetized ... which just sounds like a terrible idea anyway you look at it. Also, he's too puny to hold down anyone who hasn't been anesthetized in the first place, so there.
Here’s where this week’s money could be made on t-shirts: “People who don’t know enough are more dangerous than people who don’t know s—t,” she tells him. ZING!
“There's a lot I haven't done. I know that. But from my first day at the hospital to right now, all the things I’ve done are things I’ve never done,” he counters. “So stop asking me what I’ve done and start telling me what to do.” COUNTER-ZING!
It does the trick. All it takes for Dana to like you is a little backtalk. Well, and admitting she's in charge.
As night falls, so does an epic crap-storm. "Here we go," says Maggie. #Understatement
I need to do a quick bit of thinking here, because I can’t remember what Maggie does and doesn’t know in terms of Negan’s rules.
If she's counting on the Saviors to be spare with bullets and casualties, she is in for a surprise now that Birth-Certificate-Says-Simon deems himself in charge. But I don’t think she ever did know the “kill one, everyone else behaves” theory. Or if she did, that she currently cares. That's likely helpful.
On one side of the gate is Simo, bent on destruction. On the other, Maggie, bent on revenge. With Negan unavailable to take Maggie's call, the two launch their negotiations.
Maggie has 38 of Simon's people and 38 bullets with which to off them if he doesn’t pick up his toys and go home. She lets one, Baby Heath Ledger, weigh in. “Too nice a night to die slow,” he tells Simon. Not what I would have said when faced with one of 38 bullets. Its effect on Simon: Zippo.
Simon calls the POWs damaged goods, too dumb to avoid being captured and too dumb to get out of it, once they were. Well isn’t that just burning a bridge? Gregory neener-neeners Maggie about it, but she has a plan B.
Since he’s on a roll with the bridge-burning, Simon reminds his soldiers that the mission is no longer selective infection. It is conclusion. Death to everyone. Guns would be the best means of accomplishing that directive—or maybe not what with the way folks shoot around here, lately—but then we wouldn’t have the abject horror that goes down next.
Before it does, a weary Dwight tries talking some sense one last time. “This isn’t what he’d want, you know that, right?” he protests. “You sure you want to face that if he shows?” Simon’s all kinds of confident that Negan’s a goner. “Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission,” he says. “Future problems.”
Ah, Future Problems—the unpredictable cousins of Past Discomforts. Immediate Future Problems—the stark raving cousins in the attic. And here comes one now.
Daryl—who can shoot a gun and drive a motorcycle top speed—roars up, firing away as Savior after Savior falls. The gates open for him and, despite some popped tires, the Saviors take advantage and try to follow him in. The Hilltop school bus blocks vehicles from entering and gives the Hilltoppers an early advantage in the shootout, but the Saviors flow in on foot, firing muck-soaked arrows left and right.
With the gates breached, Maggie orders her prisoners inside, but Baby Heath Ledger wants to turncoat and takes arms against his brethren. Meanwhile, Tobin takes a knife to the gut and Carol runs to aid her former beau, until Siddiq takes over.
Is anyone else wondering why Dwight doesn’t just take out Simon when it’s just the two of them in the darkness, blame it on Daryl if he has to, leave the Saviors rudderless and head back to his chosen side?
Despite myriad theories to the contrary, I still think Dwight is Team AHK. But I guess a mole in the Savior ranks does make for better storytelling. And he is aware that Simon's thirst for blood and power may prove his own undoing, so why not help that along? He also knows that Daryl isn't fully onboard with his AHK allegiance, so maybe this isn't the time.
Speaking of that, Daryl spots Simon and Dwight advancing on Tara and
shoots them dead watches them bob and weave for a bit, then helpfully calls out Tara's name when they're just about upon her.
That doesn't save her from taking a squishy-sounding boop from Simon's blade. One with enough squishy for us to know she's got the zombie cooties if zombie cooties are, in fact, a thing. That does inspire Daryl to fire at them, but he misses, because, like zombie cooties, Rick's bad aim appears to be an infectious disease.
After a spell, the Hilltoppers aim their weapons at the headlights illuminating the battleground and it gets quiet. Too quiet.
Simon cannot possibly be dumb enough to think that the surviving AHKers took their leave … or yes, he can. He sends Gary’s group to go 'round back and check, just in case, while he, Dwight and some others prepare to huff and puff and blow Maggie’s house down with some proper slaughtering. For fun, he cribs Negan’s whistle for their entrance music.
It helps the Hilltop nicely in determining when it’s time to bring up more lights and rain down the gunfire, with help from a newly-arrived Rick and Morgan. Ghostly Gavin and his conviction that Morgan knows what it is made the trip, too.
The remaining Saviors—and there's lots of them because no one can shoot worth a damn around here—make a run for it, giving Maggie and Rick some quiet time to, er, post-mortem the post-mortem. “I wanted them dead,” Maggie says. “All of them. Negan, most of all.” Same, says Rick. Then tells her that he went rogue to try to make that happen, but didn’t quite manage to seal the deal. She thanks him anyway.
Time to assess the damage. Starting with Tara.
Her once-grinchy heart is still grown three sizes, which she demonstrates in a heart-to-squinty-suspicion with Daryl. She says they are lucky to be here and laments her wasted time with the Governor that Merle was part of, too. Dary says that if he’d stuck with his long-lost brother, he’d be in with the Saviors, too. But the good guys always figure it out and that’s what counts.
That opens a door. A teeny-tiny one. Maybe that’s what happened to Dwight, Tara says. He figured it out. And with that Daryl’s had enough with the navel-gazing: “Was that before or after he killed your girl?” he growls. “Or is that all square now?”
Tara knows what she saw: With only her as a witness, Dwight helped the Alexandrians. She’ll forever hate what he did to Denise, but he saved Tara's life, too. Call it a wash. They’re cool.
Meanwhile, Michonne tries to soothe Rick’s wounded spirits with a turnip, but nobody wants the damned turnips around here (remember when Jared refused when Jesus, the Paul Rovia one, offered the veggie, too?). Rick doesn't want her to fix his owie, either.
Shut down, Michonne helps him pry boards from the window to ventilate the place. It helps. He starts explaining about his special time with Negan. She keeps her productive day trip with Maggie, Enid and Rosita to herself.
Time to bury the dead on both sides of the fence. Baby Heath Ledger insists the Saviors aren’t his people, but he's awarded the job, anyway.
Meanwhile, Dianne tells Maggie that despite the number of bodies going into the ground, she is, indeed, a good leader. The gates are intact. Lots of people survived. But Maggie’s not so sure. She didn't care what it took to see Negan dead.
“I wanted my husband’s grave to be the last thing he saw,” she says. “Even if it came with a cost. I don’t know if that makes me a good leader. I do know that the only regret I have is that Negan is not in that pile of bodies.”
Meanwhile in the infirmary, Tobin tells Carol that if he’d known getting stabbed would get the lady’s attention he’d have done it a lot sooner. (Ohhhhhh, Tobin. Sooner would have been so, so much better, believe me.)
But since they’re there, what say we talk about their unceremonious breakup, when Carol went MIA to be all lonesome and delusional in the little house by the big woods. She’s real sorry about that, but she needed to think there was potential for no more fighting or dying. That if she pretended it, it might become real. But those days are gone.
"Some folks are lucky enough to just live," she tells him. "Others are lucky enough to just fight."
And you can count her among the latter, ’cause this crap ain’t ever going to end, mister.
"Winning just means we get tomorrow," she says as we get a look at various souls in the community. "Maybe one more night. Maybe one more morning. After that, no guarantees."
Truer words never spoken, Tobin, trust me. And, hey, Jesus, the Paul Rovia one. Welcome back.
So then, TWD'ers, is that really It? That the cost of battle is never, not ever worth it? Or is It something else? Are we about to get our second kid walker in Henry (fun fact: Macsen Lintz, who plays him, is the little brother of Madison Lintz who played Carol's late daughter Sophia)? Or is Henry alive and well and gone after the Saviors?
Since Tobin turned in under two hours, how much time can Tara possibly have left? Is Rick a goner, too, or was his boo-boo not from the bat or will lopping off his hand, a la the comics, keep him alive? And what about Carol and Siddiq, who each had their hands in Tobin's freshly infected blood?
But this most of all. Had Maggie not been prepped for Simon's brand of negotiations over Negan's via her own need for revenge, would we have lost even more folks and spared more Saviors than we already did? She's clearly struggling with that worst sort of mental math, especially now that her place and people are in ruins.
There's ample argument to be made that Gavin's final words—living and dead—were spot on and that if you keep fighting this world, it will keep fighting you back. That no one had to die if everyone had just laid down their weapons. They were Carl's words, too. Maybe cooperation, whatever that must look like for now, could be as appealing as revenge. Maybe windmills and aqueducts and refined grains really are the end to war and the start of a future.
Or maybe—records for Georgie and cheeses for Hilda and pickles for Midge notwithstanding—everyone is just too far gone to believe it.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC