'The Walking Dead': Rick's Group Tries to Build a Bridge and Get Over It (RECAP)

Emily Hannemann
Spoiler Alert Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Old habits die hard. Old grudges, it seems, die even harder... especially on The Walking Dead.

The "Saviors Save Us!/We Are Still Negan" contingent of the Sanctuary threatens to unravel Rick's numerous attempts at unification as a larger group tries to build a bridge that'll make travel more convenient between the communities. In circumstances like these, flushing bad blood down the drain can mean the difference between life and death.

But some might choose death over letting go…and with a mysterious Savior-killer lurking in the woods and a herd moving toward the bridge, it seems death is on the horizon.

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Wafer-Slim Pickings

The episode opens with Rick talking to a mysterious person off-camera (if you’ve seen the Comic-Con trailer, you know this is Negan). He tells him about the bridge they’re building. As he talks, a montage is shown of Rick walking through the camp composed of former Saviors, members of the Kingdom, Hilltop and Alexandria.

Ezekiel, Carol and Henry share a cute moment, and when Henry leaves, Ezekiel and Carol talk. Though they’ll soon be separated again, the King says he’s “not giving up on a fairytale.” Don’t talk like that, Ezekiel! You’ll end up dead when the Whisperers come to town!

Eugene has nothing for Rick but bad news. They walk through camp together, and as Rick and Rosita make plans to redirect a herd, the scientist tells his leader that the dam they’ve built is going to collapse soon and that they’ve lost another Savior who walked away from the job. He also tells him they’re running out of food; Alexandria’s “wafer-slim pickings are getting wafer-slimmer by the day.” Rick tells him Michonne’s taking care of it.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

On the bridge, the seeds of discontent are being sown. Justin, one of the Saviors, shoves Henry to the ground after the boy denies him a second glass of water. Henry retaliates, and upon seeing Justin heading back toward Henry, Daryl tries to talk him down. The attempt is unsuccessful, and ends in a full-blown fight between the two only broken up by Rick’s arrival.

Rick, Carol and Daryl talk about the incident back at the camp. True to form, Rick remains optimistic about their chances and believes they can hold out for a few more days until the bridge is finished. He thinks they’re all on the same side: Daryl doesn’t, and doesn’t even seem to think he and Rick are on the same page anymore. He storms out, and when Carol suggests Rick might want to talk to his friend, Rick says he doesn’t know what he’d say.

Rosita and one of the Saviors set charges to lure walkers away, and at Rick and Tara’s direction, Jerry sets in motion the second part of that plan by luring them toward a noisemaker. Everything’s in working order until their last man doesn’t come through.

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Dis-armed

Without the final distraction, the herd heads straight for the crew working on the bridge. As they’re getting overrun, one of the Saviors (perhaps unknowingly) drops a huge log on Aaron, trapping his arm beneath the lumber. Daryl and some others manage to free him, but his arm is mangled. Rick and a few others show up just in time and help take care of the walkers, and eventually eliminate the problem by rolling logs down the hill to — for lack of a better term — squish them.

Daryl takes a heavily-bleeding Aaron back to camp. The only doctor around is Enid, who has become Siddiq’s apprentice. Seeing the heavy bleeding, she determines the arm is beyond repair and she has no choice but to amputate it.

In the aftermath of the procedure, Daryl leaves the medical tent and goes after Justin, giving him a thorough beating. As it turns out, he was supposed to set the final charge to lure the walkers away, and his lame excuse that “the radio had no battery” isn’t holding any weight. Daryl only relents when Carol pulls him away, and by then most of the camp is watching.

A Whole New World

That night, Justin walks past Rick and tells him to “keep [his] dog on his leash.” Rick says he’s done giving him the benefit of the doubt, and orders Justin to leave their camp when morning comes. Justin won’t wait that long.

Rick then goes to visit a stabilized Aaron in the medical tent. By putting the bridge project first, Rick realizes he set Aaron up to pay the price. Aaron tells him it was worth it, because Rick started a whole new world and he’s glad to be a part of it.

As they sit by the fire, Carol decides to try on the ring Ezekiel tried to give her in the first episode. He makes an attempt to propose, which (much to his chagrin) she talks him out of, but he’s ultimately overjoyed.

Decisions, Decisions

Interwoven with the bridge storyline is a Michonne and Maggie-centric plotline at the Hilltop. Michonne tells Maggie the Sanctuary sent the ethanol she asked for in the previous episode — Hilltop never received it, and Maggie’s not too inclined to send food when she can’t even use the plow from the museum run. She could have Ken’s father fix it, but she’s keeping him in a cell. Michonne attempts to change her mind, but Maggie’s decision on both matters is final.

Michonne overhears Ken’s mom trying to convince Jesus to let her see her husband, which then prompts Michonne to talk to him about his feelings on the matter. Jesus seems nervous to voice his opinion, but eventually says he “isn’t against a grieving mother seeing her husband.” Michonne encourages him to talk to Maggie about it, which he does, and succeeds in changing her mind.

Second Chances Aren’t For Everyone

Hilltop’s leader supervises a visit between Ken’s mother and father, and becomes emotional when his wife says she forgives him for what he did. Later, she visits him by herself and they talk about his alcoholic past.

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Maggie and Michonne talk about setting up a new system with laws for all of the communities. Although Maggie’s okay with it, she says she won’t give up the right to do what’s best for her people. She’s also decided to load up the food and send it to the Sanctuary, as promised. When Michonne asks her why she decided to let Earl go, she reminds her that Hershel was once an alcoholic, but many people’s lives were better because he had a second chance.

On the other hand, she says Gregory had chance after chance and wasted them all. Some people, Maggie says, can be redeemed, but others can’t. This declaration seems to unsettle Michonne.

The Helicopter Returns!

Rick looks on at the contented group from all the communities, and the narrative reverts to him talking to Negan in the cell. It’s implied he told him about the whole ordeal, including the happy ending. Negan asks when he gets to see that “pretty picture,” to which Rick responds that he never will.

Though the future Rick paints is optimistic, Negan’s more of a realist. He asks who Rick is building this future for, and makes the grave mistake of bringing up Carl. “You don’t speak his name,” Rick snaps. Negan tells Rick the bridge is a monument to the dead, and that he’s just getting the world ready for him again.

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On watch high above the camp in a construction crane, Jadis looks up at the sky and sees a helicopter. Justin walks along a road, drinking, and becomes aware that someone’s watching him. The spy eventually steps out of the shadows, and Justin looks relieved.

“Christ,” he says, putting down his weapon. “You damn near got yourself killed!”

The person seems to shove him to the ground, and the screen goes black. Is this where all the Saviors who “walked off” the job have been going?

Other Observations:

  • So… Father Gabriel and Anne are a couple. It wasn’t a huge component of this episode, but their new bond was given enough screentime that I can’t help but wonder if their relationship will be important in the future. And until then, they’re both weird enough to be perfectly matched together.
  • Anne’s paintings in Maggie’s office are incredible. I saw Hershel, Glenn and Beth at least, and the others seem to be members of her family she lost at the farm.
  • Who’s killing the Saviors? Is it the Whisperers? It seems a bit early in the season to introduce them considering there’s still plenty of inter-group conflict, and I doubt the Whisperers would only target Saviors. Maggie has no love for them, but it doesn’t seem likely she’d go to this extreme…would she?
  • I’m sad that this seems to be the end of Zach McGowan’s arc. I liked him as Roan on The 100, and I know plenty enjoyed his character on Black Sails. It’s too bad he didn’t have more to do.
  • On the subject of Maggie going to extremes, I can’t help noticing parallels between her rise to power and Daenerys Targaryen’s conquests on Game of Thrones. Maggie and Daenerys want to do the right thing and be good “rulers,” but they need a trusted advisor or two to temper their worst urges. Can you imagine how cool it would be if the Hilltop had dragons?!?

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

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