Before we get to the heavy stuff in last Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Not Tomorrow Yet,” we get a bit of an idea of what is going on with everyone else back in Alexandria. It seems Carol has taken it upon herself to take care of everyone around town by baking them acorn and beet cookies, which we are informed are quite tasty. She’s just doing her best to keep everyone’s spirits up and tummies full. As Tobin put it, she seems to be a mom to everyone in Alexandria. He also says this is the reason she can do some of the scary stuff we’ve seen her do. But is Carol a mother to Tobin, too? Well, thank goodness Tobin tells Carol she’s not a mother to him, but something else, before they kiss…because that would be super awkward. Side note: I approve of Carol getting some…I just don’t approve of her getting some from someone who isn’t Daryl. End side note. Meanwhile, Carol seems to be kept up at night from the growing body count at her own hands and blaming herself for little Sam’s death during the walker fest from the mid-season premiere. Perhaps her guilt of killing so many of the living is foreshadowing of the news they are about to get upon the return of the group from the Hilltop.
Last Sunday brought the group visiting the Hilltop home to confer with the rest of the citizens of Alexandria. Do they bring the fight to the Saviors with a preemptive attack (Rick’s preferrence), or do they wait for the Saviors to show up at Alexandria’s doorstep? Rick explains to everyone this must be a group decision, and we only have one objector in the end. Morgan “All Life Matters” Jones, of course…big surprise. The rest, while uneasy about it, seem to be on board with Rick’s plan. Although, let’s face it, I don’t think anyone really wants to get on the wrong side of Rick’s plans. Better leave it to Daryl and Michonne to let Rick know when he’s being a bit too scary for everyone’s taste. This time though, they’re backing him. And after the town was surprise attacked by the Wolves a few months back, I don’t think any of them want to take any more chances.
Here’s the plan: Take a group out to the Saviors’ compound at night and attack while the Saviors are sleeping. Here’s the catch: They are about to deliberately kill the living…and not out of self-defense. Sure, it may be out of self-preservation, but what will be the cost?
In order to even get close to the Saviors’ compound, the group must bring the Saviors what has been demanded—Gregory’s head. Obviously, they can’t bring the actually Gregory’s head, so they conjure up a zombie look-alike. The nose isn’t quite right though, so Rick offers a few punches to the walker’s face. This leads one of the Hilltop members to express that the Saviors may be scary, but they’ve got nothing on Rick Grimes. When they arrive at the compound, the Savior guards seem to buy the smashed up zombie head, so they offer up the Hilltop hostage they’ve been holding. In move Rick and his people. All seems to be going according to plan as the Savior body count rises. Here’s the problem, though. As mentioned before, our group is murdering the living. Not only this, but they are murdering sleeping people who can’t fight back, putting knives right through each of their skulls as if they are walkers and not living humans. This is unprecedented for Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn, and the rest. Up until this point, the policy has been to only kill the living out of self-defense. And clearly some are having a harder time than others with this new course of action. Glenn, and we learn Heath as well, has never before killed another living human. For Glenn, it’s part of what defines his character and sets him apart from the others. What does this mean for him, and how does this change him going forward? Only time will tell. Being the good man that he is, Glenn, after killing his first victim, stops Heath from crossing that line with him. Glenn saves Heath from having to learn what it feels like to take another life by stopping Heath and taking care of Heath’s victim. All seems to be going according to plan until a Savior wakes up for a midnight bathroom break and sounds the alarm. That’s when things get really bloody. In the end, though, Rick and his people make it out alive with no casualties.
Don’t start celebrating just yet, though. This is The Walking Dead, after all. It couldn’t be that easy. They went into this knowing very little about the Saviors. How strong are the Saviors? How many people do they have? What does their weapons situation look like?
As the group is exiting the compound, a lone Savior bursts through a side door on Daryl’s motorcycle, which he happened to lose to some mystery people awhile back. Said mystery people were a bit scary when we first encountered them and now we learn they were Saviors. Daryl is able to apprehend the escaping Savior, but when he does the group learns some devastating news. A steady female voice comes to them via a radio being carried by the Savior they’ve just detained. This voice informs them to drop their weapons. She’s willing to talk with Rick, but she won’t come out from her hiding place. When Rick seems reluctant to follow her demands, she informs him she has Carol and Maggie, who have been patrolling the perimeter.
Truth be told, this is arguably the darkest episode of TWD to date. As our group faces a situation they never saw coming, they are faced with some very difficult decisions and questions, and we face those things along with them. We ask ourselves, “What would we be willing to do to survive and what lines would we be willing to cross? If we did survive after crossing those lines, would it have been worth it? Will the cost of staying alive mean we lose our humanity in the end?”
There’s been lots of speculation as to who we may lose as we head towards the season finale and the introduction of the mysterious Negan, who will be portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. There has been strong suggestion it will be Daryl who pays the ultimate price. I confess I have been worried about this, but refuse to give into this scenario. After last weekend, I’m adding a few more possibilities to the list. Could it be Carol or Maggie and her unborn child after being taken hostage by the Saviors? Or, could it be Glenn? The man who has defied death multiple times, the man who has had to cross a line he never could have imagined, the man who would do anything to protect his wife and child.
*All photos courtesy of AMC